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About Us

Don Kotula - Founder and Chairman

If you love what you do, it’s not really work.

- Don Kotula, Founder

True Northern

Since founder Don Kotula opened his garage door to the world in 1980, Northern Tool + Equipment has stayed true to a vision that has guided the company ever since — building lasting relationships by providing the right solution for our customers. Today, Northern Tool + Equipment has grown into a billion-dollar company that provides over 70,000 carefully chosen tools via catalogs, website and retail stores. We seek talented people who wish to share their initiative, ideas and expertise; we develop and support our teams and we put them in a position to succeed. We know our customer, we provide value and we act with integrity. We are True Northern.

Large Enough to Matter, Small Enough That You Can Make a Difference

Can a family business be a major player? Taken together, Northern Tool + Equipment’s operations generate over $1 billion in sales each year. Within our industry, Northern is a recognized leader. At the same time, Northern Tool + Equipment is a family business in the ways that matter. Senior management is just down the hall or up the stairs from everyone in our headquarters building. Don Kotula isn’t an oil painting in the lobby — he’s walking the hallways and offering ideas (and wisdom) to the team.

We Build Lasting Relationships

At Northern Tool, we’re far more interested in building relationships than we are with simply making transactions. Our customer base is exceptionally loyal, because customers know that we will give them the right solution. Our employees are loyal, too – because we strive for low employee turnover, we regularly celebrate work anniversaries at Northern. Every year, team members earn recognition for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, even 30 years of service.

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Continuing Growth

From the beginning, Northern Tool + Equipment has been on a continuous pattern of growth. By staying true to our Core Values, Northern has been able to maintain success in its operations and thrive in good times and periods of uncertainty.

An Industry Leader

Northern is an industry leader. We listen to the customer and respond. We offer top-quality tools and expert advice to our customers.

A Commitment to Innovation

We have a manufacturing facility where we design, test and build world-class tools. Our merchants travel the world to find superior products.

Work/Life Balance

As a family-owned business, we don't just talk about work/life balance at Northern Tool + Equipment. We have respect for personal lives; wherever possible, we strive for flexibility in work schedules and we maintain a relaxed, professional atmosphere. By treating our employees with respect and understanding, we are able to maintain a cohesive team.

I think a lot of companies ignore the discussion of values in the work place. Northern not only embraces values, but clearly defines them and provides a process for recognizing them in our employees every day.

- E-Commerce Team Member


Corporate - World Headquarters (WHQ)

Burnsville, MN

Many core activities take place at our corporate headquarters in Burnsville, Minnesota. Among the departments located here are: Advertising, Real Estate/Facilities, Accounting/Finance, IT, Marketing, Operations, Business Development/Compliance, Merchandising, Retail, and Human Resources/Learning + Development. Team members at WHQ hold positions from entry level through senior management.

See All Open Corporate Jobs

Retail Locations

120+ Locations In 22 States

While Northern Tool + Equipment began as a nationwide mail order business, our retail stores are an integral part of our business. We operate stores in multiple states and we are expanding into new markets at a steady rate. We have a particularly strong presence in the Southeast, the Midwest and Texas. We offer part time and full time positions in sales, product placement and cashiers. Management level opportunities include Assistant Store Manager and Store Manager positions.

See All Open Retail Jobs

Northern Tool + Equipment Manufacturing

Fairbault, MN

Our state-of-the-art facility in Faribault, MN is a key part of our success. We design, build and ship NorthStar and Powerhorse products, including high-quality generators, pressure washers, water pumps, air compressors, log splitters and more. By building these items ourselves, we provide our customers with premium tools at direct-from-the-manufacturer prices. We have opportunities in assembly, machine operating and welding, along with positions in engineering, customer care, purchasing and more.

See All Open Manufacturing Jobs

Customer Contact Centers


Our Customer Service and Sales Departments operate 100% remote. All positions are staffed At Home. Some regional restrictions do apply.

Available opportunities include careers in Customer Service, Inside Sales, Account Management, Operations, as well as management positions.

See All Open Customer Contact Jobs

NTE India

Hyderabad , India

At Northern, we are committed to investing in every domain to deliver an outstanding omnichannel customer experience for our customers. The need for expansion across the world is essential, and we’re at the forefront of that change. It has become more critical than ever to explore and innovate.

The hub in Hyderabad, India provides significant support to our business with a wide-range of capabilities. NTE India is an extension of our headquarters and expands Northern’s reach to find talent which supports our strategic growth plans. As we grow, we recognize having a global talent strategy is critical to the success of our business.

The team in India is accelerating innovation to provide our customers with compelling new products and solutions.

See all Open NTE India jobs

Distribution Centers

Savage, MN, Ft. Mill, SC and Arlington, TX

Our distribution centers support our businesses. Our largest facility is in Fort Mill, SC (near Charlotte). We opened a new distribution center in Arlington, TX in 2011 that is key to supporting our retail growth. We have career opportunities for fork lift drivers, receivers, pickers and supervisory personnel.

See All Open Distribution Jobs

Parts & Service / Small Engine Repair

120+ Locations In 22 States

Northern Tool & Equipment retail stores offer complete parts & repair services for outdoor power equipment. Our shop-within-a-store concept is staffed with factory-trained and certified technicians working on residential and commercial mowers, trimmers, generators, pressure washers and much more. A typical work day for the small engine mechanic may include: diagnostics, repairs, parts sales and orders, inventory management and warranty of private label and major manufactured brands. Northern offers full & part-time positions with opportunities to build a career with a nationally recognized retail team as a small engine mechanic or service representative .

See All Open Parts & Service / Small Engine Repair Jobs

Join Our Talent Network

Receive Alerts with New Job Opportunities

Not seeing any openings that match what you are looking for, or want to stay connected with Northern? Join our Talent Network to receive job alerts and relevant company updates and communication.

Join Our Talent Network

Since we are a company founded and built on providing solutions, we as employees have the platform to contribute ideas at any level of the company. It’s easier to have your voice heard. It’s great to be part of a culture that provides such a platform.

- Contact Center Team Member

Company Perks

Northern Tool + Equipment offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package. Most benefits are offered to employees working 30 hours per week. Part-time employees may be eligible to enroll in the 401(k) plan. The following benefit plans are available to eligible employees:

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  • In the spirit of one of our favorite Core Values, Have Fun, we work hard but also play hard here!
  • Annual summer picnic
  • Team lunches
  • Ice cream socials
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Casual/Dress for Your Day
  • Interdepartmental team events and competitions – we love a little friendly competition
  • Service awards
  • Core Values recognition program


  • 401k with company match
  • Flex spending account for medical and dependent care
  • Life Insurance (company paid and provides 1X annual salary in coverage)
    • Supplemental life Insurance available for employee, spouse, and children
  • Travel Assistance program - benefits available for emergency situations while traveling
  • Accident and Critical Care coverage
  • Tuition assistance
  • Employee Discount at all Northern Tool companies
  • Paid Time Off
  • Retail manager bonus plan
  • Commission plans
  • Annual Incentive Plan programs


  • Comprehensive Medical, Dental and Vision Plans
  • 100% coverage for in network preventive care
  • 100% coverage for in network preventive medications
  • Disease prevention and management including weight loss support through Omada
  • Tobacco cessation support
  • Company sponsored fitness and wellness challenges
  • Employee Assistance Program (includes 24/7 support and up to 3 in person counseling sessions at no cost)
  • Accident and Critical care coverage
  • Short term disability
  • Long-term disability (company paid, provides up to 60% of monthly covered earnings)
  • Flex Spending Accounts for Medical and Dependent Care Expenses
  • Grand Rounds – health care advocate to support employees with accessing quality care
  • Learn to Live – mental health online support/resources for all employees and family members


  • Volunteer Time Off – paid time off to volunteer!
  • Charitable Matching Programs
  • Community Health Charities sponsor
  • Regular donations made to 360 Communities
  • Supporter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Made in Minnesota, Nurturing Trade + Excellence Program
  • Regular donations to communities impacted by storm disasters
  • Member of Make Time to Vote organization


  • MN Top Workplaces recipient for 5 years in a row – recognized as a top scorer in work/life balance
  • Work/life balance continually scores at the top in engagement surveys
  • Remote work options
  • Generous PTO plan
  • Volunteer Time Off (VTO) – paid time off to volunteer
  • Paid Holidays
  • Paid Parental Leave
  • Caregiving support – all employees eligible for a company paid membership to Bright Horizons to support finding resources and receive discounts to meet care giving needs
  • Reasonable retail hours, no big box hours here!
  • Member of Make Time to Vote organization – paid time off to vote


  • Career growth and advancement
  • Regular 1-1s and coaching
  • Access to talent management technology to support individual career development and aspirations
  • Access to many Learning + Development offerings online and in person
  • Partnerships with many educational programs, organizations, and institutions
  • Internship and apprentice offerings
  • Stretch assignments and opportunity to try out new things!
  • Tuition assistance
  • Various leadership development programs for leaders at all stages in their management career

Hiring FAQs

How will I know if my information has been received?
Shortly after completing the application you will receive an email confirmation that we have received your information.

Do I have to fill out the application to be considered for a position, or can I mail my resume, email my resume or drop it off in person?
In order to be considered for any given role at Northern, you must complete the online application process.

Do I need to re-apply as new opportunities are posted?
Yes, you need to apply for all positions for which you'd like to be considered, even if it is a position you've applied for previously. Log into your account and select the new role for which you would like to apply. Your information will already be in our system, so you don’t need to fill out the application in its entirety again, so it is a quick process. You will receive an email confirmation letting you know that your information was successfully re-submitted.

How can I check the status of my application?
If you have not heard from us after submitting your application, you can assume that we have reviewed your application and felt that we had other candidates whose experience and qualifications were better suited for the opportunity for which you applied. We apologize that we cannot reach out to every candidate to let them know the status of the application.

I do not see a job posted where I live, or I am interested in employment with Northern but there are no current openings that match my background. Can I be notified when a job in my location or field of interest comes available?
Yes. On our main careers page, please click the link to Join our Talent Network. Joining our Talent Network will enhance your job search and application process. Whether you choose to apply or just leave your information, we look forward to staying connected with you. By joining our network you will:

  • Receive alerts with new job opportunities that match your interests
  • Receive relevant communications and updates from our organization
  • Share job opportunities with family and friends through Social Media or email

What is Northern’s hiring process?
Our recruitment team or Store Manager will review all resumes and/or applications that are submitted for a specific role. We will typically conduct a telephone interview with those candidates that are best suited for the position. If we feel the candidate meets the necessary requirements and core competencies for the role and our culture, the candidate will be referred on for an in-person interview with the Hiring Manager. Depending on the position, you could be invited back for follow-up interviews as well.

How much time should I allow to fill out the application?
The application takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. You may exit our online application system at any time, save your answers and return to finish and submit your application when you are ready to do so.

What should I do if I am experiencing technical problems with the online application?
We apologize if you are experiencing technical problems while using our Careers site. The internet browsers that that are supported by our Applicant Tracking System are Internet Explorer 9-11, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.

If after reading this FAQ section, you have not found a solution for the issue, please go to Jobvite Support for additional help. Please describe in detail the problem(s) you are experiencing.

I saw a position posted on a job board but it is not posted on your website. Is it still available?
Our Careers site has the most up-to-date information regarding openings at Northern Tool. Job boards do not always get updated immediately. If the position is not posted on our website, it is not available any longer.


Follow Northern Tool and Equipment's career market on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Glassdoor.

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New Northern Tool boss 'ready for the major leagues'

The parking lot of the Northern Tool + Equipment store in Burnsville is chockablock with pickup trucks, trailers, sturdy cargo vans and SUVs.

One visitor to the store — Northern Tool's chief executive Suresh Krishna — takes a read of who's walking the aisles and looking at the power tools, generators, pressure washers or specialty welding equipment.

"Most are contractors, landscapers, painters, electricians and auto body shop owners," said Krishna. "They need professional equipment they can rely on."

The retailer's customer profile hasn't changed all that much in the four decades since founder Don Kotula began building mechanical log splitters and selling them out of his Eagan garage.

Kotula, who named the company Northern Hydraulics, sold engines, parts and accessories through a catalogue with the tagline, "Serving industry and agriculture." The first retail store, opened in Burnsville in 1981, called itself a "Handyman's Headquarters."

Kotula's sons, Ryan and Wade, have now set an ambitious course for Northern Tool + Equipment. In the spring of 2020, they hired Krishna, a former executive at Polaris Industries and Sleep Number, to accelerate store openings and enter new cities.

"Because we've been so inwardly focused, I have to keep reminding my team we're now in the major leagues," said Krishna, who spent five years on the Northern Tool + Equipment advisory board before becoming CEO.

Northern Tool is by far the smallest team in the league, Krishna adds. The chain has 120 stores in 22 states, mostly in the eastern half of the United States, with clusters in Texas and the southeast, where contractors and landscapers can work outside year-round.

In the Twin Cities, where Northern Tool has 10 locations, Home Depot and Menards each have almost twice the number of stores. Northern also competes with Fleet Farm and other farm-and-ranch retailers as well as specialty equipment suppliers, such as McMaster-Carr and Granger.

"We're not a pure competitor to any of them," Krishna said. "We wrestle with that internally saying, we've had tremendous growth — 35% year-over-year. Is that because the market is up and all of our competition is up? Or are we all outperforming the competition?"

Northern Tool sets itself apart as a manufacturer of its own Made in USA equipment and as an in-store repair shop. Northern Tool technicians service any type of small gas-engine-based equipment, whether or not it sells them.

Most of the company's NorthStar line of tools, the largest brand in its portfolio, is designed, manufactured and tested at its facility in Faribault. Early in the pandemic, Northern Tool used technology for an existing agricultural sprayer to design a new line of cleaning and disinfecting sprayers. The result: Sales of NorthStar branded products rose 30% last year.

The coronavirus pandemic, tariffs on Chinese imports and supply-chain complications have defined Krishna's 18 months on the job.

With a strong housing market and consumers fixated on home improvement projects during the pandemic, Northern Tool's revenue jumped 35% to $1.95 billion for the fiscal year that ended in July, Krishna said.

The company diversified its supply base from China and set up sourcing offices in Vietnam and India, which helped avoid tariffs. Though Krishna declined to reveal profit and other financial details, he said gross margin rates were up on the year and operating expenses were down. "It validates a lot of the thinking I had about the potential of the company," he said.

The centerpiece of Krishna's growth strategy is stores — lots more of them, and coming online quickly. By the end of the decade, Northern Tool aims to have 300-plus stores.

"In our e-commerce business, we ship to all 50 states," Krishna said. "We have brand awareness broader than our retail presence."

While Northern Tool had settled into a pace of four to five new stores annually, Krishna plans to go deep into new markets, standing up eight to 10 stores in a year. On top of that, an equal number will open in strategic locations or in markets with an already-strong presence, such as Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Miami.

The first expansion market is suburban Chicago, where Northern Tool will open a second store later this fall and continue its push through 2022.

Adding stores is a capital-intensive strategy that Krishna said will include acquisitions, squeezing efficiencies out of current operations and a renewed commitment to serving the needs of skilled tradesmen and serious do-it-yourselfers.

To that end, Northern Tool recently sold South St. Paul-based Sportsman's Guide and the Golf Warehouse, a mostly e-commerce business it bought in 2012 for $215 million. The sports-and-leisure division contributed about 25% to overall sales, but Krishna considered it a diversion.

In March, Northern Tool bought Maryland-based Jacks Small Engines, one of the nation's biggest online supplier of parts for lawnmowers, snow blowers and other power equipment.

Krishna is just the third CEO at Northern Tool, taking over after 36-year company veteran Chuck Albrecht retired. He majored in mechanical engineering in college in India and received an MBA from Northwestern University.

He spent decades in middle and upper management with publicly traded corporations, wearing expensive suits, managing P&L statements and overseeing supply chains across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

But he's at ease without the tie. He said the job touches his own "blue-collar roots" growing up in Jamshedpur, in the eastern part of India. "This is coming back home in many ways," he said.

At least twice a month, Krishna visits stores and warehouses, stopping in regularly at the factory in Faribault. On those days he tries to go to three or four locations, starting in the morning, eating lunch with warehouse leaders and ending the day over dinner with the regional sales force.

"To me, breaking bread with people is critical," he said. "It's a sign of making personal connections."

Customers may have noticed a number of changes in the past year, the most obvious being a deeper assortment. Northern Tool stores went from having about 40,000 itemsbefore the pandemic, to about 100,000 now.

Krishna and his team worked with marquee national brands such as Milwaukee and Stihl to expand their offerings far beyond what can be found at most big-box stores.

Northern Tool also forged a new partnership with Rockler Woodworking and Hardware to sell more than 300 woodworking products in select stores and online. It was a way for Northern to team up with another Minnesota-based and family-run brand while adding customers who picked up new hobbies during the pandemic.

Northern also is developing its own non-gas engines, responding to rising consumer demand for electric-powered tools. In April, the retailer rolled out its first NorthStar industrial electric pressure washer for agriculture and lawn care use or in indoor spaces, such as restaurants and factories.

Another consumer trend on its radar: connected devices.

"When you are the owner of a landscaping company and you've got a crew in five different locations, you want to see how the equipment is performing and how it's being used," Krishna said.

But some challenges are emerging. The D.I.Y. pandemic boom has begun to cool. Inflation remains an issue and the tight labor market is a challenge, particularly because Northern relies on a well-trained sales force that understands specialized equipment.

Krishna said he and his executive team, a blend of veterans and new hires, intend to build on the entrepreneurial spirit Don Kotula established 40 years ago.

Though the company remains run by men for a mostly male customer, almost 100 women hold leadership roles at the store level.

"It's very much the case that the best years are still ahead of us," Krishna said. "We think we could double in size in next five to 10 years. We have room to grow."



Northern Tool + Equipment: Chief executive officer (April 2020).

Sleep Number: Chief operating officer (2017-2020); senior vice-president and chief operations and supply chain officer (2016)

Polaris Industries: Vice-president Europe, Middle East, Africa (2014-2016); vice-president global operations and integration (2010-2014)

UTC Fire & Security/Kidde: Vice-president global operations, supply chain and IT (2007-2010)

Diageo spirits and beer: Vice-president supply chain in North America (2002-2007)

Education: MBA Kellogg School of Management; BS in Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, India

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Northern Tool

Northern Tool + Equipment.png
IndustryIndustrial tools retail and manufacturing
FounderDon Kotula[1]

Burnsville, Minnesota

Number of locations

120 stores (2020)

Key people

CEO: Suresh Krishna
BrandsNorthStar, Powerhorse, Klutch, Strongway, Roughneck, Bannon, Ironton, Ultra-Tow, Gravel Gear

Number of employees

over 2,500 (2020)
SubsidiariesThe Sportsman's Guide
The Golf Warehouse

Northern Tool + Equipment (commonly referred to as Northern Tool) is a manufacturer and retailer of light industrial equipment and do-it-yourself supplies. Founded in 1981 as Northern Hydraulics, the company was officially renamed to Northern Tool + Equipment and is the owner of several private label brands including NorthStar, Powerhorse, Klutch, Strongway, Ultra-Tow, Roughneck, Gravel Gear, Bannon and Ironton which make up a portion of its product line. It also owns The Golf Warehouse and The Sportsman's Guide. As of September 2021, Northern Tool no longer owns TGW or The Sportsman's Guide.


Northern Tool was founded by Don Kotula when he began selling log splitters out of his garage.[2] He originally worked in heavy equipment sales at Ziegler, but left when the business began slumping during the 1981-82 recession. In addition to log splitters, Kotula sold cylinders, valves, and hydraulics with his family members assisting in the sales and order fulfillment.[2] The company's first brick and mortar store was opened in Burnsville, Minnesota in 1981.[3] The company also mailed its first catalog in 1981. The company launched its website, in 1999.

Northern Tool began its own manufacturing business in 1991 with the launch of its NorthStar brand. Northern manufactures tools such as log splitters, generators, pressure washers, sprayers, pumps, and air compressors.[2] Northern Tool operates (2) manufacturing facilities along with (4) distribution centers. Northern Tool + Equipment's private (9) private label brands make up 40 percent of sales. The company launched a website and mail order catalogue in 2008 called Kotula's, named after the founder.[4]

As of January 2021, Northern Tool opens its 120th retail location in Humble , TX. with stores now in 22 states.


In addition to tool sales and manufacturing, Northern Tool owns The Golf Warehouse and The Sportsman's Guide.

The Golf Warehouse / The Sportsman's Guide[edit]

Northern Tool purchased both The Golf Warehouse and The Sportsman's Guide from Redcats in 2012. The operation of both companies were combined, but continue to operate as standalone online retailers.[5]

The Sportsman's Guide was founded in 1970 by Gary Olen and focuses on hunting and fishing gear, military surplus, ammunition and outdoor sporting goods. It was purchased by Redcats in 2006 for $265 million. The company was publicly traded at the time and the purchase was valued at $31 per share prior to going private after the sale.[6] The Sportsman's guide also operates websites including and[5]

The Golf Warehouse, commonly referred to as TGW, was founded in 1998.[7] It maintains a retail store in Wichita, Kansas with the majority of its sales coming online. In 1999, IMG Sports Capital invested in 70% of the company. IMG sold its interest to The Sportsman's Guide in 2003 and the company was sold to the European distributor PPR in 2005, adding baseball items to its offerings through the website[7][8] The company sells name brand golf equipment and promotional golf items through online ordering and catalogues.[9]


Main article: 250

Northern Tool was the sponsor of the 250, a NASCAR series race held at the Milwaukee Mile. The race was held in both 1984 and 1985, but then discontinued until 1993 when it resumed through the 2009 season.


  1. ^Albright, Mark (23 December 2005). "A toy store for men". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  2. ^ abcSt. Anthony, Neal (19 December 2017). "Privately held Norther Tool, with $1 billion in sales, opens 100th store". Star Tribune. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  3. ^Renalls, Candace (30 January 2012). "Iron Range native with junkyard roots built business into national chain". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  4. ^Vomhof J.r, John (14 December 2008). "Northern Tool and Equipment launches quirky Kotula's brand". Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  5. ^ abVomhof Jr., John (8 November 2012). "Northern Tool buys two sporting-goods retailers for $215M". Minneaapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  6. ^"Redcats to Buy Sportsman's Guide". TheStreet. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  7. ^ abNord, Jeretta Horn (2009). A Cup of Cappuccino for the Entrepreneur's Spirit:: Find Your Passion and Live the Dream, Volume 1. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN . Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  8. ^Moon, Chris (21 May 2010). "Golf Warehouse expands east Wichita store". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  9. ^Bierer, Casey (17 June 2006). "In Their Own Words The Golf Warehouse". The Golf Channel. Retrieved 4 October 2018.

External links[edit]

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Stihl Li-Ion Cordless Pole Pruner 10in. Bar 13ft.L Shaft Model# HTA 135


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