Mellmer takes over Northern Auto & Diesel

Dalton Mellmer grew up in the garage. Watching his father, Mike, fix big diesel engines, Mellmer turned it into his career.


By COLE BENZ | Record Editor |

Dalton Mellmer grew up in the garage. Watching his father, Mike, fix big diesel engines, Mellmer turned it into his career.

Mellmer has operated Northern Auto and Diesel in Reeder since January when he finished his schooling. He attended the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton to further his education as a diesel mechanic.

Though he had grown up around engines and gathered experience as he watched his dad work, he still picked up a great deal of knowledge through his time in Wahpeton. Most of what he learned involved the technical side of things, more of the ‘how’s’ and ‘why’s’ of engine functions. Mellmer also gained an extensive education in mechanic technology, learning diagnostic tools and other methods involving more of the computer side of machines and engines.

He finished his schooling in January and immediately started working at the shop.

Mike Mellmer previously had ran the business for nearly 30 years, but slowly his attention turned to his farming business and the garage traffic slowed down.

Mellmer is looking to build the business back up. Years ago it was full service station with gas and diesel, with a convenience store inside, and the garage open for auto repairs.

Inside you can still pick up soda, candy, and ice cream, but the return of gas and diesel services may have to wait.

“I hope one day to get the gas and the diesel back in here,” Mellmer said.

He said the price to put those services back as one of the main reasons he is holding off on adding those amenities.

His work picked up right from the start, adding that he didn’t have to do much, if any advertising to fill his scheduling book.

“Very busy, instantly,” Mellmer said.

He hasn’t been affected by the down turn in the oil activity. Since most of his business has been in the farming industry, there have only been a few instances where he has helped workers from the oil field after breakdowns.

His book of business is scaheduled out roughly a week in advance, though he said that he sometimes prioritizes depending on the severity of a repair.

Mellmer is flexible enough to get out of the garage for a service call. If a farmer breaks down in the middle of a field, he won’t hesitate to make the trip out and get the outfit running again.

The shop is still a family affair; when there is not farming to be done, any one of Mellmer’s siblings can be seen working in the garage with Dalton.

Norther Auto and Diesel is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For appointments contact the office at 701-853-2577.