One business led to another, another, and a few more!
NFIB member Drew Kimmel worked at several coal companies in Western Pennsylvania until 1990 when he set out at age 32 to buy his own mine. He leased land in Indiana County where he knew there were reserves and bought equipment to unearth it. He was his only employee, rising before dawn and working late into the night. But it paid off. Today Dutch Run Mining in Indiana County has seven employees and survived a recent slump in the industry.
Supplying the nearby Keystone coal-fired plant required a way to move the coal, so Kimmel started a trucking company. Today, Dutch Run Trucking employs a dozen drivers and staff and contracts with additional owner-operators.
When Kimmel bought a commercial building to house his mining office he ventured into a third business of a different sort. An auto and tire service located in the newly purchased building was to close after the sale, but the only employee of that company made an appeal. Where would he find another job if the business was shuttered? Would Mr. Kimmel give it a go and let the auto business stay open? Kimmel agreed, but only if it didn’t lose any money in the next six months. Today three mechanics work at K and D Auto and Tire in Elderton, Pennsylvania.
As if that weren’t enough, there is still the Kimmel family farm to take care of, which Kimmel expanded four-fold to 500 acres of crops and 120 Angus beef cattle. He also has a second mining company, Jericho Fuel and leases rental properties.
At age 59, this serial entrepreneur hasn’t lost his touch. He recently bought Donatello’s restaurant in downtown Indiana. He will open a second restaurant to be named Off the Rocks in a few months.
NFIB asked Kimmel how he juggles his time running all these enterprises. He says he rises at 4 a.m. and doesn’t finish till ten at night. He has dependable managers at each operation and stays in touch through the day via phone and email. His philosophy is “you are only as good as your people.” He says he respects them and treats them well and prays each night not to become arrogant and to remember from whence he came.
Kimmel still operates the high lift at the coal mine, engages in farm work, and greets restaurant patrons almost every night. He says he gets the most pleasure from serving his community and his customers.