About Us


  North Star Plumbing Heating and Cooling got its start in 1924.  Back then, it was only a very small part of North Star Hardware, which was founded by Leo Stammen and his brother-in-law, Leonard Grilliot.  At that time, the hardware was a small tin shop that carried only a few plumbing supplies.  They made wash boilers as well as repaired them and sold wash buckets, washing machines and miscellaneous hardware items.

The Original Hardware Store

The Original Hardware Store

  Trading horses and mules as well as selling horse collars was essential to the early success of the hardware.  In 1928, Leo began to sell Dunham tillage equipment and Milwaukee grain and corn binders.  In 1930, Case tractors and equipment were added.  In 1935, a full line of Allis Chalmers tractors was added and in 1939, the New Holland line was brought in. 

  In the 1930’s and 40’s, more of the Stammen family joined the business.  Leo’s sons, Bob, Tom and Luke and daughter Joan were all helping run the business.  Later, 4 sons-in-laws would join: Val Groff, Ben Selhorst, Al Hemmelgarn and Slim Wehrkamp.    

  In 1952, Al Hemmelgarn married Ruth Stammen, Leo’s daughter, and Al left a good job at National Cash Register to join his father-in-law at the hardware.  Soon after, Al took over the plumbing division.   

Al and Ruth Hemmelgarn

Al and Ruth Hemmelgarn

In the early 1960’s, a propane gas business was added to the hardware, which was managed by Slim.  As the hardware continued to grow, and more equipment lines were added, and more family joined the business, they simply outgrew the building.

In 1976, the hardware moved from their original location to just south of town. 

The "new" store in 1976.

The “new” store in 1976.

In 1980, the propane gas division expanded and formed their own business called North Star Blue Flame, which was owned and operated by the Slim Wehrkamp family. 

In 1990, Al Hemmelgarn took the plumbing division of the hardware, along with his four sons, Dave, Chuck, Ken and Tim and formed what is now known as North Star Plumbing, Heating and Cooling.  They moved the business back to the original hardware store.

The store in 1990.

The store in 1990.

From L to R: Dave, Ken, Tim and Chuck Hemmelgarn

From L to R:
Dave, Ken, Tim and Chuck Hemmelgarn

  North Star Hardware and Implement Company continues to be owned and operated by the Stammen family.

  As North Plumbing, Heating and Cooling continued to grow, the need for a bigger building developed.  In 2012, we moved into our current building adjacent to the original hardware.

Many years, several buildings and multiple generations have passed since our founding, but one thing has not changed –  our hard working dedication to excellent service.  Give us a call today!