Ryan Lalone: Owner
For Diesel Freak business owner Ryan Lalone, family, opportunities, and good values are in his very DNA and are the fuel of his business. Ryan’s business education starts as far back as the early ’20s with his great-great-grandfather’s one truck milk hauling business, continuing to his grandfather’s foresight to embrace the future and switch to bulk milk transportation when every other milk transportation owner refused to change (subsequently causing their own demise and presenting a rich opportunity for grandfather to take over their routes because he was prepared), to the family broadening out add hauling to their business picking up customers like Nestle, Cracker Barrel and others. By the time Ryan and his brother were of age to take their place in the family business, there were 11 grandchildren.
Due to the size of the family, the business was divided into three portions. With Ryan’s portion, he continued the family legacy of hauling milk, but since cows don’t stop producing milk hauling it is a seven days a week/year-round gig where there’s very little time off. Keeping his fleet of trucks operational was a main priority. Repair shop hours are usually from 8 to 5, but for Ryan and the business, a truck couldn’t be down for repairs waiting for a shop to be open. In order to keep his business on the road, he needed to make his own repairs. To family and friends, the shop that he created became known as a repair facility that never slept with Ryan often working into the wee hours of the night on not only maintaining his fleet but just about everyone else’s vehicles. Requests from friends to work on their trucks grew and spread to people that they knew, widening Ryan’s reputation and adding to the business of his day to day routine. He decided that he needed to move to be a more legitimate repair facility by getting licensed and fully insured.
Everything Ryan has ever owned he has modified, be it a lawnmower, a snowmobile, or anything really that ran on a fuel of some sort. He learned how to really turn up the performance of just about anything, which added to the popularity of his ever-growing “open always” repair business. After a nasty fall off a semi that he was working on resulted in a fractured skull, Ryan was (after many years of constant motion) forced to stop while he healed. He took the time to read almost anything that he could on diesel and electronic injection. He read and re-read, absorbing the knowledge. It was during this time that he decided he wanted to go into performance diesel, and that’s when Diesel Freak was born. Getting back on his feet after his downtime he got right back to wrenching and working to add performance work to shop. Adding apparel to the business, working on NASCAR transporters, and having a stint on a performance truck show attracted even more business.
Diesel Freak has grown and grown exponentially since its early days in 2002 from a 7,000 square foot repair facility for his family business to a recent purchase of 36 acres to build up the business with a new facility planned in the future. Keeping with the tradition of having family in the business, Ryan’s brother and brother-in-law have come to work with him adding their passion for both all things mechanical and building the business. Diesel Freak has also grown to have a large dealer network, making parts readily available along with a healthy dose of automotive know-how and support. Ryan wants Diesel Freak to be the best at everything that it does, and it is.
As large as Diesel Freak is Ryan has never forgotten what got him to where he is: family, being there to help people, and seizing opportunities where others see none. That’s what continues to grow the reputation of the business as a place that can do just about anything right.
1160 Millbocker Road
Gaylord, MI 49735-9507