In 1971 my father Nick Steckhahn Sr. left his job as a service technician in pursuit of the American dream: to own a business. With a loan from a family member he built a new garage and opened up shop at our home on Hubbard Avenue in Frogtown. Some of my earliest memories of the business are of eating breakfast at the kitchen table while my father dispatched the guys out to their jobs.
The business soon outgrew our home and my dad bought his first store front on Arcade St near Case Avenue on the east side of St Paul. While on Arcade Street I finished trade school and started working full time as a service technician. Once again we started running out of room.
With more room at our new location on Payne Avenue my father decided he wanted a sheet metal shop so we could fabricate our own ductwork. He heard about a heating company called Ferraro Heating that was selling off all of their sheet metal equipment and closing. Well, my dad ended up buying more than just the equipment.
Pat Ferraro joined our team and we became Aabbott Ferraro. Our background had been mainly servicing equipment; bringing on a Master sheet metal worker like Pat gave us the ability to provide even better service to our customers. I left the service side of the company and worked under Pat as an apprentice for 4 years. This was a great experience; I had the opportunity to learn from one of the best installers in St Paul. Pat retired from our shop in 2002, and I am thankful for the time I worked with him. He is a true craftsman.
In 2005 my father retired. Shortly after that, we were forced to move off Payne Avenue after losing our warehouse to a neighborhood improvement project. We moved the business out to Roseville near 280 and Hwy 36. Our new facility has a 6000 sq. ft. warehouse, loading docks and a large office. No need to have meetings at the kitchen table anymore!
My father doesn’t come to the shop much, but his spirit for always doing the right thing for our customers is strongly present.
Nick Steckhahn, Jr.