Grande Old Time

In NorCal, a one-stop-shop for pumps and motors 

This week, our editors came across a nice piece in The Union, a local newspaper serving Nevada County, Calif. It features a family-owned and run shop that combines two established businesses under one roof while keeping both namesakes. Pumps West & Motor Electric, of Grass Valley, Calif., is the result of two longtime family operations now under the same umbrella.

Motor Electric started in 1942, the brainchild of an Air Force pilot. David Grande spent nearly two years working alongside that pilot’s son, Blair Brooksby, before he bought the mechanics shop in 2010. The location was and is known for rebuilding starters, generators, alternators, motors and pumps.

With half the tenure but equal credibility, Pumps West came to be in 1986, through the efforts of Grande’s father, John Mienar. Mienar’s customers were those in need of storage tanks, electrical pumps, filtration systems, irrigation pumps, piping, water testing and fire protection systems, in part due to there being “so many wells in Nevada County (CA)”, writes Cory Fisher of The Union. He was also renowned as a master fixer, a trait passed on to his son.

The connection was complete in 2015 when David Grande purchased the pump business from his father, combining the two to make Pumps West & Motor Electric (keeping the names of both shops was a conscious decision, if you’re curious.) 

A few encouraging quotes from Grande: “We fix what people tend to throw away,” and “it’s a recession-proof business.” As long as he maintains a substantial stock of motors, pumps, and other equipment for replacement, his three-man shop can lean on the fact that it does specialty repairs with virtually no limits. Hence the 1950s grandma’s Kitchen Aid mixer, vintage military welder, goat milking machine and tattoo gun on its track record. Everyday appliances—food processors, hair straighteners, etc.—can also often be fixed at a fraction of the price to replace them, he told The Union. Grande also mentioned environmental benefits, at the crux of two states with a lot of energy demand and not so much water.

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One Response to “Grande Old Time”

  1. They’ve fixed a goat milker AND a tattoo gun, eh? I want to believe that those both belonged to the same guy.

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