With new business, Bill Gavin hopes to fill niche

Bill Gavin, owner of Caledonia Welding and Repair, which he recently opened, stands beside his portable welding unit. Photo by Charlie Warner

By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor

“I’m not trying to take over for Stan Olson. He was someone who could do it all. I’m just trying to offer a service for area residents,” said Bill Gavin. Gavin recently started up a new business in town, called Caledonia Welding & Repair.

Gavin was referring to longtime welding and repairman Stan Olson, who recently passed away. Olson was known throughout the Caledonia area for his expert welding techniques and ability to fix just about anything.

Gavin, who is a Caledonia native, learned the welding trade when he enlisted in the Army Reserves while still attending Caledonia Area High School. While in the Reserves, he entered the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Program and then studied at Western Technical College (WTC) in La Crosse.

He then was deployed to Kuwait, where he served as a welder.

“Anything that broke in Kuwait, we tried to fix,” Gavin said. “For a deployment to the Middle East, it was pretty easy.”

When Gavin returned from the Middle East he worked for several different manufacturing companies in the area as a welder and metal fabricator. He then went to work as a welder’s assistant and then as a welder on various pipeline projects all over the United States for about six years.

“I got sick of all the traveling and not being home,” he said. “So when I learned that Stan passed away, I thought maybe it was time to move back to Caledonia and start up a business in my father’s (Mike Gavin) old shop.”

Caledonia Welding & Repair is located in the 300 block on South Second Street.

Gavin will offer all types of metal repair, metal fabrication and auto mechanic work. He has stick-feed and wire-feed welders, as well as an acetylene torch welder. To bring his shop to the job, Gavin has a work truck outfitted with the various welding equipment.

“With this unit,” he said, pointing to his work truck, “I can make the repairs on site. And if it’s something I can’t fix right there, I’ll bring it back to my shop.”

For more information about Gavin’s new venture, see his ad in the Argus Business Directory.

You can contact Charlie Warner at [email protected]