“When your name is on the building, you have no choice but to work hard and have great service. My dad taught me that when I was a kid.” — Kevin Franko, owner, operator and master mechanic

Been in the small-engine business since ’59

In 1959, Bob Franko opened his own business in pursuit of the American Dream he fought so hard for in WWII.

You see, Bob was always a hands-on type of guy that believed hard work would pay off. That’s why he always fixed the mowers himself, why he answered the phones himself, and probably why he found himself in the misfortune of the European Theater.

Bob was shot down in the 11th bombing mission of Berlin and was captured by a pregnant German with a double-barreled shotgun and a not-so-sunny attitude. Long story short, he made it back to the US, as it would take a lot more than a lady with two pokes of lead to keep him from the life he was fighting for. After all, he needed to make it back to his wife – Caroline, the maker of the meanest and sweetest birthday and wedding cakes anywhere in the tri-cities.

Upon his return, Bob worked alongside his brother Joe at the Army Depot just outside of Granite City, Illinois. They were two of the finest mechanics their side of the Mississippi. So good, in fact, that when Bob got the entrepreneurial itch, he knew just how to scratch it – with a wrench and a blade sharpener of course.

Franko Small Engines is now owned and operated by Bob’s son Kevin and his wife Teresa (married for more than 30+ years now). Kevin’s been working around the business his entire life but officially traces his employee roots back to 1974.

As for Bob and Caroline, well they didn’t go far. They retired in the house next door.