Developing a business that's been around more than a century requires insight, focus, and keeping up with changes in technology in your area. Swains Spring Service has been able to do just that. Swains is still growing and changing as a business that emerged from what began in 1885 as "Gilmore & Swain: Buggy and Carriage Repair, and Corrective Shoeing." The business began in the historic J.C. Adams stone barn in Sun River, MT located about 20 miles west of Great Falls. In 1912 R.H. Swain bought out his partner and the cumbersome name was changed to "Swains Spring Service" which at the time was located in downtown Great Falls. In 1928 Mr. Swain had a new building built to his specifications at 523 2nd Avenue South. This building would house Swains for over 65 years and remain as proof to Swains past in downtown Great Falls.
More than 80 years from the business' beginning, Jeff Carlisle and Jim Blunn (current owners) were in the midst of a labor strike with the local auto dealers where each was employed. With family to support and not wanting to cross picket lines, Jeff went to work for Swains in 1989. By this time R.H. Swain Jr. had retired at age 87 and the business was in the hands of Bob Bowlin (Swains son inlaw) and Booney Peressini (long time employee). Seeing the potential for a strong future in Swains and knowing the owners (both in their 70's) were near retirement, Jeff approached his employers about the possibility of buying the business and continuing in the future.
In 1992 Jim Blunn joined the crew at Swains, the same year the owners finally agreed to sell the business to Carlisle and Blunn as a team. The change of ownership took place in March of 1993, Blunn and Carlisle then began to work on plans to help Swains grow in the future. Feeling cramped almost prior to becoming owners Carlisle and Blunn began to work on plans for a new building and location for Swains. In April of 1997 Swains made the move from its 2800 sq foot past to the newly constructed 11,000 sq foot building with better access leaving behind some of the business' personality, but ensuring the ability to grow!
Swains continues to produce on site, odd, rare, or just unavailable springs using blue prints and equipment aquired or fabricated since the business began. It's nice to be able to supply something few other businesses can, and to see happy people after the transaction.
Swains has changed considerably during its life. Now specializing in suspension and chassis repair and modification for everything from light autos to Class A motorcoach chassis. Swains offers many supplies and services at competitive pricing for the agricultural market as well as the recreation market, a division we expect to enlarge greatly in the future.
"We've worked on rocking chairs, tractor seats, and in a pinch we can still work on buggies and carriages." Both Jim and Jeff share a love for Montana and all the outdoor opportunities it offers and continue to steer the company more and more to support the recreational market. Watch for more added lines for the outdoorsmen and RV enthusiast! Thank you for viewing our site and we hope to serve you soon.
Jeff, Jim, and Bev