Space, Captains Kirk and Picard told us as we watched Star Trek, is the final frontier.
What was true for mankind’s exploration of the universe also is true for the car collector. There’s never enough space. Space for cars. Space to work on them. Space to store tools and parts.
As it turns out, what’s true for car collectors also is true for grain farmers in southeastern Nebraska.
“We started this company in 2016,” said Ryan Stauffer, who operates a 6,000-acre grain farm and couldn’t find a solution to the farm’s equipment and spare-parts storage needs, so “we came up with this.
This is the Levrack, a system that hangs sliding shelves from a frame to optimize storage in limited spaces.
“Levrack came out of a need for storage in our farm shop,” the company’s website reports. “Existing storage solutions on the market were too expensive, inflexible or just looked bad. Systems with mobile aisles required a track on the floor, which didn’t work for such a rough setting. We realized that by combining the best elements of pallet racking, workbenches, and cabinets we could triple our usable storage capacity. Levrack was born.”
Stauffer had a friend, A.J. Stauffer (although they share the same last name, they are not related) who was nearing the end of a job devising mechanical systems for a military contractor. So the unrelated Stauffers worked together to fashion a prototype for a different kind of sliding storage system.
They sold their first unit within six months, realized this could be a business opportunity, and starting building more. Eventually they found a company in Wisconsin that was better suited for producing the panels and trolley system, leaving them to focus on the frame and final details.
Among those details was the expansion of the product line. Levrack offers its storage systems in 7-foot, 8-foot, 10-foot and 12-foot lengths (add 3 inches on both ends to accommodate the rack from which the shelves hang). They also have created workstations that attach to the racks as well as accessories for customizing the various shelving units.
The 7- and 8-foot units include 4 sliding shelves while the 10-foot has 5 shelves and the 12-foot has 6. Prices range from $2,850 for the 7-foot unit to $5,500 for the 12-footer.
Among the early units was one delivered to Ryan Stauffer’s alma mater, McPherson College in Kansas. Although he majored in business administration, Stauffer knew of the school’s automotive restoration program and its need for equipment and tool storage solutions.
Levrack has been featured on the Discovery Channel. Rod Emory Motorsports, the Gas Monkey Garage, West Coast Customs and Griot’s Garage have Levrack systems in their workshops.
But it’s not just such big and well-known companies that have units. Levrack recently sent an 8-foot system to Russell Chester (full disclosure: he’s my son-in-law), who recently moved to a new home that has a separate 24 x 32-foot building for working on classic and collector vehicles.
Russ reports that the unit was delivered on two pallets, and while it helped having a second person there for the erection of the frame, one person could do it alone, and assembling the sliding shelves is a single-person job. However, he does suggest you read the instructions more closely than he did so you don’t put a couple of panels on backwards and then have to remove and reattach them).
On the other hand, he’s already moved the whole rack system from one garage to a newer one on the property.
He also wishes he knew about the Levrack system before he purchased an upright storage cabinet that provides less storage capacity.
“This,” he said of the Levrack system, “is leaps and bounds better.”
“They’re for anyone who has a space issue,” Ryan Stauffer said, adding that he and A.J. knew auto enthusiasts would be interested, but also have sold units to a variety of crafts people, including woodworkers and people working in various skilled trades.
For additional information, visit the Levrack website.