Hydraulic repair shop mixes business, pleasure

Photo: Owner David Winkles stands behind the bar of his Bourbon Street-themed “man-cave,” a place where his customers can relax and talk business. Photo by Sand Kaczmarski

by Sandy Kaczmarski
ELBURN—Tucked away in a corner of Elburn in one of the industrial areas, there are quite a few businesses that go unnoticed. These large, warehouse-type buildings are on a seldom-traveled street unless you have business there.

It’s the ideal location for a new business that’s been in town since June: Pumps Electric & Hydraulic Repair, located at 107 Paul St.

“I absolutely love it out here,” owner David Winkles said.

The company is a pump and electric rewind shop providing services for a number of municipalities such as Wasco, wastewater treatment plants, excavating companies and also some bigger clients that include work at O’Hare International Airport.

Winkles has been in sales and electric motor repair for more than 30 years. He also serves as a representative of a company in Manteno, Ill., Miller Hydraulics, whose owner helped Winkles with financing to open the business.

Winkles lives in Geneva and had a sales office in Chicago. So, how did he end up all the way out in Elburn?

“I met this woman named Kim,” he said.

Kim Schnizlein is now his fiance and also the chief operating officer and director of operations for the business.

He started getting some new business in the western suburbs, and was making sales calls in Elburn when he remembered there were some nice buildings here. He now leases the corner space from Gerry Snow, owner of G. Snow and Sons (gsnowandsons.com/), a sewer and water installation service.

Winkles spends a lot of time on sales calls, but also jumps in when something needs to get done.

“I just got an electric motor in here today, had to show the guys how to take a torch and cut the bearings off the shaft,” he said.

The company employs five people, and Winkles said he just hired a new employee.

His sales office is inside the shop, and since there was a large space above the office area, Winkles said he had a vision.

“I built a Bourbon Street, New Orleans theme over the office,” he said. “We call it the Old Bayou Saloon.”

Inside is a bar area with seating and a flat-screen TV, and a balcony overlooks the spotless repair shop. Winkles said it’s for clients to come by and visit, and he wanted to “make it exciting for people to come over and hang out with us.” He’s already planning a Friday night fish fry and Super Bowl party for his customers.

For more information, go to the website at pumpselectrichydraulics.com or call (630) 365-5511.