Published: March 26, 2024 | Updated: March 22, 2024

'The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get'

Coeur d'Alene Tractor

Coeur d'Alene Tractor

Cal Russell is one more link in a family of entrepreneurs behind tractor companies spanning five cities in the region. 

Beginning in Spokane with Adams Tractor in 1929, Coeur d’Alene Tractor was added to the family business in 1948 and 28 years later, with Russell’s help, the family opened Boundary Tractor in Bonners Ferry.

“We’ve seen good and bad times in all the years we’ve been in business and we’re just tenacious enough to stick it out, I guess,” Russell said of the longevity of the family business.

His catchphrase has always been persistence pays, and he considers that to be their recipe for success.

“My son, who works at CDA Tractor, is the fifth generation in our business, we’re pretty proud of that fact,” Russell said.

The long legacy that Adams Tractor has had in the agricultural business have remained in spite of good times and bad times and “blips in the economy,” Russell credits the success of the business to being able to adapt to community needs.

“You gotta change or you’ll just get left behind,” Russell said. 

Fifty years ago, the family was mainly selling tractors to farmers; now they focus on smaller tractors and equipment for more individual rather than agricultural purposes. 

The family has been hard at work, with stores in Colville and Lewiston adding to the scope of the business.

“My grandpa used to always say, it’ll surprise you the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get,” Russell said.

‘Know what your why is’

If Rick Evans could start Evans Brothers Coffee all over again, he wishes he and his brother, Randy Evans would have considered the big picture a little more at the beginning.

“Be willing to hire good people that have skills you don’t have,” Evans said.

When the brothers were starting out in 2009, they were concerned about taking out too many loans and used less expensive shortcuts to create a logo and a website design.

“Most of that we wound up redoing the right way,” Evans said.

Now, he believes that investing in the business will be worth the pay off in the long run. 

“Really know what your why is and connect it to a bigger purpose beyond just making money. Being able to hold that vision through the tough times is important,” Evans said. 

He believes when starting out, you should consider what kind of business you want to be and what kind of service you want to provide. 

“It’s about the culture we can build at our community and how it can spread beyond into our community,” Evans said.

As their 15-year anniversary draws near for Evans Brothers Coffee, the brothers have had successes in Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene and learned from starting a location in Spokane which didn’t work out.

“It’s certainly been a lot of waves we’ve had to ride and obviously COVID was a big one, but even before that, coffee prices skyrocketed a couple of different times and we had to raise our prices,” Evans said.

Keeping the employees happy with benefits, networking with other businesses whether they’re in your industry or not, and constantly tightening up the operation are tips Evans offers to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“The details matter,” Evans said.

Evans Brothers initially began as a wholesale coffee business, and now the brothers have expanded their business to include 25 employees and a burgeoning mail order coffee business.

‘Sign’ of good things to come

Two decades ago, when Denny Wuesthoff opened his sign painting business, he sought independence and the opportunity to use his artistic side professionally.

“I’ve always liked to draw and do different things and one day, I just quit my job and decided to do it full time,” Wuesthoff said.

If you have an idea you can’t let go of for a business, his advice is to adjust your lifestyle to try out your vision.

“Line everything up and if it looks like it can work, don’t be unhappy because of fear,” Wuesthoff said.

It hasn’t been an easy road for him to get to the point where he was able to open his new storefront by Radio Brewing in Kellogg.

There was a point where he was sleeping in a recliner for a stretch of time and now he feels he has the space to play in his new basement studio and sell updated vintage picker pieces, hand-made bars, and his artwork in the storefront.

“It was part of the fun getting here,” Wuesthoff said.

One of those thrills was being 85 feet in the air while painting the Millworx tank in Post Falls.

Currently, he’s working on some pieces for a big job in Yaak, Mont.

Painting old car doors has become a favorite way to stretch his creative muscles along with painting window displays across the region to brighten up businesses.

“I totally believe that as long as someone can financially ride it out for a while, you should go for your goals and dreams,” Wuesthoff said.

    Randy and Rick Evans started Evans Brothers Coffee in the summer of 2009. Today, they have locations of their business in Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene.
    Denny Wuesthoff, of Wuesthoff Signs and Stripes stands by an old car door he's repainting with fishing gear information for a job in Yaak, Mont.
    A drawing Denny Wuesthoff drew on a hunk of limestone.