Local Business Continues Family-Owned Tradition in Spearfish

Every weekday morning the lights are on and tinkering sounds echo from Clauser Machine Works. As early as 6:30 a.m. the door is unlocked — welcoming all visitors inside. The faded white walls are covered in pictures of friends, family, and memories. The smell of sweet dust and coffee is strong. Empty chairs sit scattered about waiting for occupants to use them throughout the day. Clauser Machine Works has a friendly atmosphere for all who have stopped in for a “coffee break” or mechanical work over the years.

“Having your own family there to watch over things and to look out for you is one of the best parts of owning a family business, and a lot of people stop in for lunch and visit, which makes every day enjoyable,” said family-member and bookkeeper Gloria Clauser.

According to John Clauser, the machine shop has been open for 52 years. It was originally located in Deadwood but moved to Spearfish in 1976. The business is run by John “Toad” Clauser Jr. and his son John “Reno” Clauser III, and is locally known for its family-run tradition and welcoming atmosphere.

“It’s a pleasure to be independent,” said Toad Clauser.

Clauser Machine Works has long been known for their mechanical handiness. This is impressive because their business has never had to advertise for themselves. Loyal customers spread the word for them.

“It gives us satisfaction knowing that we are fixing things for the city and then to feel the appreciation from the customers,” said Gloria Clauser.

The family has two generations working in the shop and a third generation is starting to pitch in too. “LJ” or “Little John” Clauser IV, will be the third in the line of workers. Maintaining the “family-owned” aspect has never been an issue for this tight-knit clan. The skills of machine work have been passed down from father to son, and now to grandson.

Customers often stop in the morning hours or early afternoon to just visit. The establishment is known for this kind of environment. Visitors and customers can always expect a cup of coffee and a little snack.

“It’s a lot of monkeying around and drinking coffee,” said Reno.

“It’s so nice being around your family every day and knowing you’ll always be there for one another,” said Gloria.