Forty years ago, Bennie Young decided to start his own welding business, and no other place but Hatton would suit.
"I've lived here all my life," says Young, the 58-year-old owner of Young's Welding and Machine Shop.
To celebrate being in business for 40 years, Young is having a Customer Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and providing lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Young delved into welding his junior and senior years of high school through FFA. He said his FFA teacher, Leo Smith, taught him the trade, and then he polished his skills at a vo-tech school in Mexico after graduating from North Callaway High School. In 1971, Young took out a bank loan and started up a business on his own - Young's Welding and Machine Shop, LLC. Through the years, his business has expanded. Just a few years after he started, he added a side business, Hatton Vermeer Sales, LLC. Young works as a Vermeer representative selling hay equipment to the region. When he started Young's Welding, he had one 42 x 72 work shed. Since then, he's added two other buildings including a 60 x 100 building where Young says he does his "major fabricating."
Young explains that he dabbles in "anything and everything" when it comes to welding. He fabricates structures, does repair jobs, portable welds, builds specialty railings, creates highway signs and mine skids and more. Sometimes he welds to very specific needs like the time he fixed a tractor for a farmer who couldn't use his leg for the clutch anymore, so Young rigged the clutch to work by hand instead.
Young said his secret to staying in business so long is two-fold - "a lot of hard work and a lot of hours" - is number one. And his loyal customers is number two.
"We've got a really good customer base," he said.
He added that owning a business in the "community-oriented" Hatton also helps.
"You can't beat it," Young said.
Young has four children and seven grandchildren and is married to Meda Young. One of Young's sons, Bennie Young Jr., also works at Young's Welding. Working with family can have its ups and downs Bennie admits, saying, "We've gotten better over the years."
Young adds, "I've mellowed out in my old age, I guess," and the two men laugh.
Bennie said he started working at his father's shop when he was only 8 years old and has worked there full-time since 2007.
"You get a lot of satisfaction out of getting a job done that not anybody can do," Bennie said.
Debi Watring has worked for Young for five years and says he is a cornerstone of the community.
"He just helps so many different people," Watring said. "Being here and being a success has made him be able to help the community."