Jake’s Inc. is a family story of success and inspiration



Jake Krippelz, Jr., Ryan Krippelz, Jake Krippelz, III, and Joseph Kippelz, Sr. with a guitar signed by Los Lobos and The Mustangs. The guitar was awarded by the Paramount Theater/RiversEdge committee for their sponsorships over the years.

Brynn Copp, Staff Writer

What started with a definitive story of survival and immigration during World War II became a multi-million dollar family business.
Jake’s Inc. is located in Aurora and specializes in machining, rebuilding, and more. The expanded shop is on 580 South Lake Street in Aurora, Illinois. Relatively where it’s been since the eighties when Jake’s Inc was incorporated. Jake’s Inc. is very involved in the community of Aurora, sponsoring the Paramount Theater and the RiverEdge Park over the years.
As a part-time job, it was started by Jake Krippelz Sr., his two sons, Joseph Krippelz Sr. and Jake Krippelz Jr. in 1984. Joseph Krippelz Sr. and Jake Krippelz Jr. are now the President and Vice President after Jake Krippelz Sr. passed away in 2012 and have run it along with many of their sons and daughters.
Joe’s own sons worked at the shop in their high school and college years. They even have young workers today trying their hand at the manufacturing business.
Joseph Krippelz Sr says, “We encourage young people to come in and if they’re interested in that trade… and be exposed to the manufacturing part of the business, to see if any of that appeals to them.” East offers many courses like auto shops, maintenance, and engineering for all grades.
The story of Jake’s Inc. starts roughly 40 or so years before the incorporation, during the Second World War when Jake Krippelz Sr. was about 13 or 14.
As a young teenager, Krippelz was studying the trade of toolmaking and craftsmanship when World War Two broke out. His father had known the German language and was given the choice by the German government to join the SS or be killed. He reluctantly went along and left his family behind. While Krippelz was learning his trades at a factory and eventually went to Croatia, his mother and sisters were taken to a concentration camp.
Krippelz’s father eventually deserted the SS and miraculously found his wife and daughters after they had been secretly transported out of the concentration camp. Krippelz continued life in Croatia learning his trades, during this time his family immigrated to the United States. Jake Krippelz Senior’s father’s name can still be seen inscribed in the fence on Ellis Island from their 1949 immigration.
Seven years later, Krippelz’s parents came back in contact with him. Their children, Joseph Krippelz Sr. and Theresa Krippelz (Allen) were 5 and 3 when they immigrated to the United States. “We didn’t have any money… [during the immigration] We went from Croatia to Switzerland, then from Switzerland directly to Chicago,” Joe Krippelz said.
In the beginning stages of their company, Krippelz–unable to type–had his daughter, Theresa, fill out his invoices for him while she was still in high school. The three Krippelz men ran their company part-time for several years, bringing on one acquaintance that made four, until Halloween night in 1985 when Jake’s Inc. was made official.
Joe Krippelz, Sr. remarks on how in the initial stages of the business, they worked three jobs to make ends meet: their full-time jobs, their band, and their part-time job of Jake’s Inc.
“Our weekends started at noon on Sunday because on noon on Sunday we would stop everything we were doing and our mother would make soup or whatever Croatian food she would make on Sunday and so me, Jake, and my dad would go home and have our weekend for around 6 or 7 hours a day and then it would start all over again.”
When they began to pay insurance for their business once it got up and running, they realized they’d need to raise their prices in order to make payroll, seeing as they needed to pay insurance. It went uphill from there.
“…we went from a three-man shop in 1984 to 2022 to a facility of 85 employees. Revenue in 1984 of under a million dollars to today, a revenue of 20 million dollars plus a year. We evolved that just the three or four of us did that.”
The key to their success was always sticking together as a family, Krippelz says, “…a testament to being consistent, to working together as a family for one goal. The reason we’re successful is because there was never any animosity–any jealousy–we all had the same amount to win, we all had the same amount to lose.”
His son, Ryan Krippelz, also believes very strongly about the importance of family.
He says, “Although it’s easy to get caught up in your work, it’s as important (if not more important) to make time for the things in life that really matter, like family and friends.”
The future of Jake’s Inc will reside in the hands of Ryan Krippelz and Jake Krippelz 3 in what will hopefully bring an age of new manufacturing technology and continuous prosperity and success for Jake’s Inc.