In 1956 Loftness Manufacturing, the forerunner of Loftness Specialized Equipment, Inc., had its beginnings in a farm shop owned by Dick Loftness, a Hector, Minnesota, farmer. Dick had made a V-type snowblower for his own use. A few neighbors saw the blower and asked if Dick would make one for them. Soon Dick had made several of the snowblowers, and Loftness Manufacturing was launched.
Gradually, the sales grew until it reached the point where Dick could no longer operate at the farm. He moved the business into a small, vacant building in Hector and employed a few farmers who were not busy in the winter. In 1970, Marv Nelson, a local farmer, began acting as a distributor for Dick. He bought the snowblowers directly from Loftness and traveled the upper Midwest, selling them to farm implement dealers. Gradually, sales increased, and the Loftness Snowblower name was beginning to be recognized. Loftness Manufacturing was once again moved in 1975, this time into a building Dick had built in Hector. The company continued to grow, but by 1979 Dick decided to sell. Marv Nelson bought the business, controlling production as well as distribution. Semi-trucks were purchased, and snowblowers were delivered directly to dealers. Up to this point, snowblowers were the only product manufactured. Sales fluctuated widely, since they were dictated solely by weather. Another product was needed to smooth the peaks and valleys of sales.
Through the years, Loftness added new product lines, including vegetation management equipment, crop shredders, grain bagging equipment and, most recently, fertilizer and lime spreaders. After Marv’s passing, ownership of the company was split between his wife, Gloria, and sons Dave and Steve Nelson. The three continued to grow the company until deciding to transfer ownership of the company to the employees who helped Loftness become such a success. On January 1, 2020, the company joined an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), officially making Loftness Specialized Equipment 100-percent employee owned.
Today, the legacy built by Dick Loftness and the Nelson family lives on, with each employee taking a personal stake in the quality of their products and success of their customers.