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Our story begins with a man named Vernon Horton, lovingly known in our family as "Papaw". Papaw grew up working the fields and picking cotton in Southern Arkansas alongside his 17 brothers and sisters. At 15 years of age, Papaw saw his older brothers called to World War 2. Papaw, being too young at that time to be enlisted, was left behind to work the fields with the younger children. With only a few boys left to tend to the crops, Papaw was never able to complete a full year of schooling, so he only achieved an 8th-grade education. A few years later, Papaw would get the opportunity to join the fight and serve on the Pacific Front in Okinawa and Korea as a technician fifth grade for the US Army's 57th Artillery Battalion, repairing equipment and learning the mechanical skills he would soon build a career on.


One day in the summer of 1946, while on furlough, Papaw would visit his brother and sister-in-law. Accompanying them was a young woman - Alice "Jean" Thompson, a Missouri farm girl who happened to be visiting her sister at the same time, and who our family would come to know as "Mamaw". They fell head over heels in love with each other - so much so that they decided to tie the knot only a few months later!


In 1950, after Papaw was given an honorable discharge from the army, they moved to the small, but industrious, town of Lufkin. Initially, Papaw worked at Lufkin Industries, like many in Lufkin at that time, but after an employee layoff, he went to work for a small feed store called "Boesch Farm Products". In 1962, Mamaw and Papaw finally decided to chase the American Dream - they saved up enough money and purchased the small engine repair portion of the business from Boesch, packed it up and moved it to Frank Ave. and rebranding it "Horton's Lawnmower Shop". With Mamaw working the counter and Papaw running the shop, they managed to build the company from the ground up, eventually hiring two other small engine mechanics, and developing a solid reputation in the community. Soon, however, the business would grow far too large for just two people to manage alone, and a new generation would enter the workforce.

In 1972, Mamaw and Papaw would hire their son-in-law, Jerry Stout, to help manage the growing company. Horton's Lawn Mower shop would soon be rebranded to "Air Cooled Engine & Equipment Company." and we would begin offering a larger selection of equipment and parts. Ten years later Mamaw and Papaw's daughter, Linda, would join the team. With Linda's prior experience in banking and Jerry's experience in management, the company would be pushed to new heights. In the mid-1980s, no longer content to only serve the customers that walked through the door, Jerry and Linda would reach outside the four walls of our brick-and-mortar building, and Air Cooled Engine Co. would soon climb its way to become an essential distribution center for several small engine parts and equipment lines for the East Texas area. Mamaw and Papaw would officially retire in the early 1990s, and the business would steadily grow - eventually employing a full team of inside and outside sales representatives to supply parts to over 200 independent repair shops around East Texas. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and as the internet and logistic technologies grew more advanced, manufacturers began pulling smaller distributorships in favor of larger central distributors, or a "factory-to-dealer" approach. By the early 2000s, there was hardly a need for Air Cooled Engine Company's distribution side.

Due to the hardships encountered in the late 1990s, Air Cooled Engine Co. would have to scale back its operations and focus entirely on its storefront. Jerry and Linda's daughter, Stacie, and son-in-law, Dale Robertson, would be pivotal in helping to transition the company from a dwindling parts distributorship into a flourishing power equipment dealership. Having been a part of the business for more than a decade at this point, Dale and Stacie worked to shift our focus back to the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area. Over the next 10 years, Air Cooled Engine Co. would achieve multiple awards for equipment sales milestones - consistently placing in the top 10% of Scag dealerships and being recognized as one of the top 10 selling Dixie Chopper Dealerships in the nation. After Jerry and Linda retired in 2008 and 2013 respectively, Dale and Stacie would continue to operate the dealership until their son, Connor, and daughter, Kristen, joined the business in the early 2020s.

In the last few years, Connor and Kristen have helped the company adjust to the modern age by expanding our online presence, revamping our inventory system, and expanding into the compact tractor market. We now stock more parts and equipment than ever before, and as we begin the transition into our 4th generation of owner/operators, our family remains optimistic about the future, and we're proud to get to continue on the legacy of the generations that came before. Air Cooled Engine Company's story is far from over, and we'll never forget that it only ever existed because of you - the customer. Thank you for allowing us to serve you and your family for the past 60+ years!


Vernon & Jean Horton.jpg
Jerry & Linda.jpg
Connor, Papaw & Kristen.jpg
Dale & Stacie.jpg
Vernon "Papaw" & Jean "Mamaw" Horton
Jerry & Linda Stout
Dale & Stacie Robertson
Connor Robertson, "Papaw" and Kristen Robertson
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