Christ and Ronda Stang found a fresh start and so much more in North Dakota

North Dakota Opportunity Fund helps Hettinger couple build a new shop for their growing hydraulics and repair business 
In 2009, Christ Stang moved from California to North Dakota with a service truck, his personal belongings, and a desire to start over. 

Back then, much of the national economy was mired in ‘The Great Recession.’ The lone exception was North Dakota, especially western North Dakota, where many jobs were available for skilled workers both in the energy and agriculture sectors.

Christ, a master mechanic who had owned a shop in Anderson, California for many years, came to North Dakota looking for a fresh start. He found what he was looking for in an unlikely place for a California transplant: Hettinger, North Dakota. It was in his new job as a mechanic servicing agriculture machinery that Christ first saw the opportunity to start his own business.  

Seeing Opportunity, Meeting Demand

“You work with hydraulics in all types of machinery and when a hose goes bad you give up precious time searching for a replacement,” says Christ. “It was when we were looking for a new hose for a client that I realized the potential of a hydraulic hose business that would supply new hoses.”

Having observed the lost time for mechanics and clients, Christ started Chris Stang Hydraulics LLC in 2017. It did not take long for him to discover there was indeed much customer demand.

“We started out buying hydraulics and selling hoses from a raw storage container located at a feedlot outside of Hettinger and after a year I expended the business doing mechanical work on equipment and trucks,” says Christ.

But the need for a new facility, especially one closer to Hettinger became apparent to both Christ and his business partner and wife, Ronda.

The couple married in 2013. After more than 30 years in banking, Ronda left to join her husband full-time in the business. 

Word of Mouth and Reputation Fueled Growth

“We have a true partnership in life and business,” says Ronda, who handles administrative duties, maintaining inventory for truck parts and hydraulics, organizing the shop and, by her own proud admission, “pushing a broom.”

“In the past five years, we have built a nice customer base and we continue to grow. We carry a large assortment of hydraulic hose options that has opened the door to many customers. We have had customers drive 85 miles to our shop to buy a hose they can’t get elsewhere,” notes Ronda.

The Stangs do not advertise. Growth has come by word of mouth and reputation. So far, they have served more than 400 customers.

“We’ve become busier as more people learn about Christ,” says Ronda.

For both, 2022 was a big growth year. The couple decided the time was right to expand.

NDOF Helped Finance New Shop

In visiting with their lender with Starion Bank about building a new shop, the Stangs learned about Lewis & Clark Development Group and, specifically, the North Dakota Opportunity Fund.  

“We always wanted to build our own shop and be closer to town to better serve our local customers,” says Christ.

Financing for NDOF allowed the Stangs to build a new facility that houses both their hydraulics shop and repair business. 

Neither Christ or Ronda were familiar with NDOF prior to the project but both were quickly impressed with what the program did for them. Both praised their lender, Kordel Wolfe with Starion Bank in Mandan, and were impressed with how LCD Group handled everything through Wolfe. 

Now in their new shop, the Stangs feel as though they’ve come into their own as business owners. 

“We now have a full-service shop and a self-contained, climate-controlled, custom hydraulic hose facility. We’ve come a long way from the days of operating out of a raw storage container,” notes Christ. “Our dream of having our own shop is now reality,” says Christ.

All Christ was looking for in 2009 was a fresh start. Along with his wife, Ronda, the Stangs found so much more.

“In a time of so many uncertainties, we are blessed with loyal customers and a financial team that believed in us, backed us, and helped us achieve our dream.” 

Learn More: Click here to learn more about how the North Dakota Opportunity Fund is making business dreams a reality throughout North Dakota.

Photo Credits: Christ and Ronda Stang