Forging A Legacy
Carmel Welding Celebrates 70 years of Serving the Community
Writer: Josh Brown
Photographer: Brian Brosmer
In an age of big box stores and online shopping, one Carmel business has stood the test of time. Bill Wiggam was only seven years old when his father, F. Keith Wiggam, started Carmel Welding in the small farming community. Today, the family-owned company is celebrating its 70th anniversary as the oldest business in Carmel.
“It is fantastic to celebrate 70 years,” says co-owner Bill Wiggam. “Being in business this long is pretty hard to come by nowadays. I know when my dad started this, I don’t know that he assumed it would still be here 70 years later. It means a ton to me, and to have my son involved in it, a third generation, is great.”
“There are generations of people now that have been coming in to see us,” adds Bill Jr. “I don’t ever want to take that for granted. It is an amazing feeling when you see those people come in and talk about the way it was when they first started coming to us.”
Bill Jr. grew up around the family business and says it was always something that was familiar to him. An interest in the community side with regular customers as well as a passion for the outdoor, lawn and power equipment part of the industry kept him involved. Today, he co-owns the business with his father.
The store still stands at its original location on South Rangeline Road in the same building, albeit with some changes and expansion. When Carmel Welding first opened in 1948, South Rangeline Road was a simple, two-lane gravel road, far from the five-lane main road that now runs through the city.
“With everything going on around us and changes throughout the city, we are still here, which is pretty unique,” Bill Jr. says. “Now, we are showing our age a little with the newer buildings around us, but it has been great to be a part of Carmel’s growth as a city. We are right in the heart of it. There are many people coming into town and a lot of opportunity for us with projects and our business to gain new customers.”
As the industry evolved and big box stores popped up over the years, Carmel Welding has also shifted and adapted. Long gone are the days of being a general blacksmith shop. Today, the store has evolved into a supply company as well. The welding side remains its bread and butter as Carmel Welding offers full repair services on just about anything that is made of metal from farming, lawn and construction equipment to everyday household items like lawn or patio furniture.
More than that, Carmel Welding & Supply Co. has dove head first into the lawn and landscaping industry as a multi-line dealer of brands like Toro, STIHL, Grasshopper and more. If you have a lawnmower problem or need a specific part, Carmel Welding can do it.
Over the years, the company has been asked to repair or complete some interesting projects.
“One of the most recent ones we did was a rework of the Lombardi Trophy,” Bill Jr. says. “Now, I don’t think it was an original one. It was a replica that looked just like it. Several years ago we did work on the Colts Fanbulance. It was an old ambulance that the guys converted into a Colts tailgate. We built a collapsible goal post for them, which was a lot of fun.
“We’ve even had some special projects with the Indiana Office of Defense making specialized parts for tanks,” he adds. “Now, that probably wasn’t top secret or anything, but we still had to follow some pretty strict guidelines.”
Staying in business for 70 years obviously doesn’t come without hard work and dedication. The key for Carmel Welding, much like any other successful business, has been great customer service and employees. Their team, the Wiggams say, is what sets them apart.
“We have surrounded ourselves with the best people and do the best we can with our work and that is why customers continue to come,” Bill says.
“We don’t have much turnover with the team that we have working here,” Bill Jr. adds. “We look for customer-service oriented people. We also spend a lot of resources each year on training our guys. Our team appreciates the small business feel, too. They’ve got a voice and they are empowered with making decisions. Each one of our guys has a following of people, customers that come in and ask for them specifically for a project.”
As the weather starts warming up for summer, Carmel Welding hits its busiest season with customers flocking in for lawn mower parts and repairs, patio furniture repairs and more.
Looking back over seven decades in business brings a sense of pride for Bill and Bill Jr. and its something they certainly do not take for granted.
“Throughout my life, I’ve seen many businesses come and go, so to be around this long makes me proud,” Bill says. “I’m proud to be here this long and service the Carmel community and also to have been able to put my daughter and son through school because of this. My son being a part of this with me is a great feeling as well.”
“When I was younger I’m not sure I really appreciated how involved our business is in the community,” Bill Jr. says. “But having daughters of my own who now see and hear about the business and us being a part of the community for this long is great. When you have customers come in saying they’ve been coming to us for years and years, that is a great feeling. Seventy years is a long time for a business to be in one place. It is exciting to see what the future holds for us because we’ve got a lot to build on.”
Carmel Welding & Supply Co. is located at 550 S Rangeline Rd. You can give them a call at 317-846-3493 or visit them online at carmelwelding.com.