Rediger celebrates 20th anniversary with customer appreciation days

By Kalona News
Posted 6/24/99

Placing the customer’s needs first has been Jerry Rediger’s motto since he opened Rediger Service on Highway 1 in Kalona in January of l979.

“We’ve strived hard to meet the needs of our …

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Rediger celebrates 20th anniversary with customer appreciation days


Placing the customer’s needs first has been Jerry Rediger’s motto since he opened Rediger Service on Highway 1 in Kalona in January of l979.

“We’ve strived hard to meet the needs of our customers, and they have rewarded us with their patronage to help us grow the business,” Rediger commented. “That’s why we are having a customer appreciation celebration to mark 20 years in business.”

The 2-day celebration will be held Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26.

There will be specials both days. You’ll be able to purchase hot dogs and drink for 50 cents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Coffee or milk with a Kalona Bakery donut will cost only 25 cents.

Be sure to register for the door prizes that will be given away both days. Some of the door prizes include a NASCAR clock, phone cards, a Hills Bank Kalona savings bond and many others.


Rediger has been working with cars since his high school days when he worked for Kalona Auto. He worked for Kalona Auto after high school and then worked at Dwight’s APCO for two years. There he learned how to do alignments, etc.

When he bought the service station where he is now located, it was a Skelly Oil service station. In l983, the supplier became Getty Oil and then Texaco Oil in l988.

Rediger added tires and on-the-farm service. He started with just two employees— including himself.

He had his brother, Larry, build the new service center on former Milwaukee Railroad right of way in 1983. He bought the former railroad bed from a local group that had tried to maintain rail service.

Rediger always had a dream that a convenience store would work well at the service station site. In l996, he had his brother remodel and add to the service station to make it a convenience store/gas station. He now concentrates all his service work in the building on the former railroad bed and continues to operate the on-the-farm service.

Besides Goodyear Tires, Rediger offers a large variety of tires for cars, pickups and trucks. Brands include Remington, Michelin and Firestone. Plus, they offer tire alignment and mechanical services, including engine service and repair.

With the growth of the business, the number of employees has also increased. He only had one employee besides himself in l979. Today he has three full-time and two part-time in the service department, plus one full-time and five part-time in the convenience store.

Working in the service center are Vince Burroughs, who joined Rediger in February after 25 years as a mechanic with Buckwalter Motors in Wellman. Others include Daryl Gehman, Dean Whitlow, and Ryan Rediger. In addition, his wife Leann does the bookkeeping.

“Leann keeps things coordinated between the convenience store and service center,” Rediger stated.

Larry Chmelar, is the manager of the convenience store. Other employees, all part-time, include Pat Allen, Karen Dondelinger, Anita Kanagy, Veva Herschberger and Brooke Schlabaugh.

The convenience store is open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays and most holidays. The Service Center is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday thrugh Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

A native of Ottumwa, Chmelar managed a low-income housing complex in Elgin, Illinois before moving to Monticello in l995. He and his family started attending Zion Christian Church in Wellman. He began working for Eastside Feed in Joetown in February of 1997 and joined Rediger in September of 1998.

“I’ve really enjoyed working and living in the Kalona community,” Larry said. He also enjoys working to improve the product line and service of Rediger Convenience Store.

“We’ve increased the food line to offer a variety of locally prepared foods,” he noted. This includes hoagie sandwiches from the Kalona Bakery, homemade salad (by Pat Allen), homemade cinnamon rolls and kolaches by Ila Miller, homemade soups and Miller family spreads.

“We have a greater variety of unique offerings including food, snacks and gifts,” he added.

“We work hard to meet the needs of our customers,’ added Chmelar. He and Jerry pointed out that their efforts are often rewarded with repeat business and compliments. They noted that often they are complimented about how clean their restrooms are and how friendly their employees are.

They invite you to allow them to express their appreciation during their 20th Anniversary celebration Friday and Saturday.