“Come on back, but you should know I’m hard at work,” Ken Jaeger says with a wink as he waves me past the counter. We head into the back of Ken’s Repair, made cozy by a wood furnace, and Ken settles down at his office table, ignoring his half played game of solitaire. Snow or no snow, Ken’s waiting for the potential “logger rush” near closing time. “They fall year round,” he explains, “sometimes on snowshoes.”
Ken would know. Born and raised in Revelstoke, he followed his father into the profession of logging. “I studied it, when I was out there, and I studied the fallers working,” he says. “After all, it’s as safe as you make it.”
In 1973, seeing workers needing repairs, maintenance and parts, Ken quit falling and Ken’s Repair opened its doors. The store has since earned a reputation for being able to fix any kind small engine. “It’s true,” he laughs.
With customers hailing from Revelstoke, Golden, Malakwa, Nakusp and Salmon Arm, Ken’s Repair not only fixes small engine equipment but is a reseller of lawn mowers, snow blowers, generators, pumps, and more. In addition, the business sells parts, safety equipment and clothing such as corked boots, gloves, goggles and safety vests.
When asked about his customers, Ken smiles and says, “It’s everybody and anybody. Maybe they’re working and need a repair. Maybe they need help figuring out what kind of snow blower will work best for them. Maybe they need an old snow blower fixed.” Snow blowers have been rather popular this winter, and Ken just brought in a new order of them.
While being interviewed, a customer picking up a repair order hollers into the back room.
“Thank you Ken. That was fast! I appreciate you fixed it even though I didn’t buy it here.”
“Glad to do it,” Ken replies, and it’s clear he means it.
“We pride ourselves in fixing things right the first time,” Ken says. “We’ve got a great crew here. Luke’s the mechanic, Gerda does the book keeping, and Kim works the counter.”
When asked if he misses falling, Ken chuckles and shrugs at the same time. “I’m too old,” he explains. “But I miss being outdoors. I miss the scenery.”
Ken’s years of falling ensures he has many stories–from the time up in Fort Saint John where it was -55 C weather for weeks, to the time when five loggers were killed around Revelstoke in separate accidents.
Once, Ken started to fall a tree with a hornets’ nest. The hornets promptly swarmed Ken, who took off with his chainsaw idling in the tree for three quarters of an hour. In the end, Ken came back with an axe and felled a nearby tree into the hornets’ tree to finish the job.
In a different incident, Ken felled a tree in winter and had a rather bewildered and sleepy bear stumble out.
Nowadays Ken gets back to nature fishing trout. But more likely than not, you’ll find him working at his shop, ensuring customers are satisfied with their repairs and orders. Not playing solitaire.