J & M Fabrication opens new shop

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ John and Melanie Patterson have moved their home-based business, J & M Fabrication, to a new location, 3204 Governor Road. The couple offers metal repairs, custom truck accessories, indoor and outdoor metal art, signs, chainsaw chain sharpening and custom fabrication designs.

What began as a hobby, then turned into a part-time business, has become a career.

John and Melanie Patterson have moved their home-based business, J & M Fabrication, to a new location, 3204 Governor Road.

The couple offers metal repairs, custom truck accessories, indoor and outdoor metal art, signs, chainsaw chain sharpening (by John’s father Clarence) and custom fabrication designs.

John said his work with Union Pacific Railroad required him to be away from his family longer than he liked. He took a job teaching welding at Marshalltown Community College for seven years. Now, he teaches in the continuing education department.

“We did welding and fabrication as a hobby, going to vendor shows, but then the business just exploded,” John said. “We had a shop (on our property) for about 6-7 years, then the opportunity came up to obtain this one.”

Owning his own business is a dream come true.

“I’m a fourth generation welder. My great-grandfather, grandpa and my dad are all welders,” John said. “My family had a small welding shop in Eldora, but I wanted to learn from other welders and not just have the business handed to me, so some cousins took that business over instead.”

Materials come from M. Gervich and Sons as raw steel.

John handles the welding work, while Melanie paints the products.

“Every bit of it is handmade,” he said. “I do not have a CNC plasma cutter, so everything here I draw out on steel with a marker, cut it out and clean it, then Melanie paints it all. I learned the old school way. We didn’t have big computers and machines that did it for us. We did it all by hand. That’s what I’m still doing today and trying to bring back that quality of work.”

While the shop space features ready to purchase items, the couple enjoys fulfilling custom orders.

John said giving back to the community and supporting veterans causes are key components to his family’s business mindset. It supports Hearts for Heroes and Paws & Effect.

“The Hearts for Heroes sign was probably (the job) that put us on the map,” he said. “Also, for the last four years I’ve been involved with Paws & Effect.”

John and Melanie serve as volunteer firefighters with the Le Grand Fire Department. They had boots on the ground when the July 2018 tornado struck.

“I was doing personal search and rescue,” he said.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Emergency jobs can be arranged after hours. A portable welding service also allows John to complete a project on-site wherever he needs to travel. For more information, John may be reached at 641-691-1135.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or

sjordan@timesrepublican.com