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2012 Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vol. 109 No. 48

Jon Peterson is no stranger to disaster From a tornado to a fire, Peterson Companies’ story has a strong connection Cliff Buchan News Editor Jon Peterson is no stranger to disasters. The company he founded in 1997, Peterson Companies, benefited from one when a severe tornado ripped through St. Peter. He’s also been a victim of one when fire destroyed the company’s facilities in Chisago City a year ago. Peterson has seen both sides of disasters and Peterson Companies remains standing tall. It has been a busy year since flames destroyed the company’s headquarters on CR-22 on the border of Wyoming and Chisago City last March. This spring saw the completion of a new and larger company headquarters on the site of the original building which has been home to Peterson Companies since 1997. It was a tough blow for the company as the 2011 spring fire happened just as Peterson Companies was moving into its busy warm weather month construction and landscape projects. There was work to do, both on contracts and digging in to the rebuilding project. For Jon Peterson, it wasn’t a question of if the company would rebuild, but where. The company

moved to a temporary location in Columbus and weighed building options before agreeing to rebuild on its existing site near the Peterson family farm where the business saw its start. The Peterson family has been on the land for 100 years. “I didn’t want to be the one to change that,” he said. Offers to build in Osceola, WI, were considered, but when an agreement was reached with Chisago County and Wyoming and Chisago City for future tax abatements, the decision to build on site was made. The 18,000 square foot two-story office and shop was built by Stone Construction with many Peterson employees handling specific parts of the project. The new facility is energy efficient with in-floor heat that burns waste oil generated by the company. “It’s all free heat,” Peterson said. “We went as energy efficient as we could possibly go.” A “green” complete with plant life and landscape display helps with the building’s cooling and provides a showcase for the services offered by Peterson Companies. The building is designed for expansion

Photos submitted and by Cliff Buchan

An aerial view of the new shop and office for Peterson Companies of Chisago City. At right, the new lobby with its creative designs. when the company reaches the point that more space is needed. Today, the company will employ 65-70 workers during the busy spring, summer and fall with 20 employees working year-round. The company was forced to replace inventory and shop equipment costing in excess of $500,000 following the fire.

A Stormy Start

Peterson, 34, a 1996 Chisago Lakes High School graduate, worked on the farm and drove truck after finishing high school. An area sod hauler hired Peterson to lay sod for extra weekend cash.

“The weekend projects became week-long projects,” he said. “I had enough money for a down payment.” The down payment went to purchase a skidsteer in 1997. It was needed as Peterson took on snow plowing, landscaping projects and stayed with sod work. He hadn’t been at it long when the early and savage spring storms in March of 1998 pounded St. Peter. A contractor who had worked with Peterson recruited him to head to St. Peter to help with the clean up. Peterson see page 5A

Entrepreneur fires up restaurant scene DJ Lowe serving burgers and shakes at his family-friendly eatery, DJ’s Grill

Photo by Cliff Buchan

Whitaker Buick GMC has won a national dealer of the year award for 2012.

Whitaker Buick earns dealer of the year award Cliff Buchan News Editor A national honor has been won by Whitaker Buick GMC in Forest Lake. On March 6, Whitaker was notified it had won the’s 2012 Dealer of the Year for the Buick and GMC brands in Minnesota. is the nation’s leading online resource for car and truck buyers seeking thirdparty information on automobile dealerships. features more than 41,000 U.S. and Canadian car dealers, and nearly 600,000 consumer dealership reviews. “We’re thrilled to earn this award as it’s based entirely on customer feedback” said Steve Whitaker, president of Whitaker Buick GMC. “We appreciate the confidence and loyalty of our customers, and all of our employees who make it a priority to take care of these customers every day.” The award is given for distinction in outstanding customer service based upon customers’ reviews of their dealership experience shared on’s website. The 2012 award winners demonstrate consistently high PowerScore

ratings for customer satisfaction, placing them in the top of their class. The PowerScore is determined using an algorithm that factors the dealership’s average consumer rating and the total number of reviews written about the dealership during the 2011 calendar year. The dealership must also have at least 25 new reviews written on DealerRater’s website during the previous calendar year and an average rating greater than 4.0, with 5.0 as the highest possible score. Whitaker Buick GMC’s current score is 4.9.

About Whitaker Buick

Whitaker Buick GMC is a family owned and operated dealership that started business in 1954 on University Avenue in St. Paul. The dealership relocated its operation to Forest Lake in 2006, where they serve Twin Cities Buick and GMC customers through service, parts, financing, and new and used car sales departments. Whitaker Buick GMC is located west of I-35 and south of W. Broadway Ave. at 131 SW 19th St.

Clint Riese Staff Writer Forest Lake’s newest restaurateur is serious about food, but he likes to keep everything else lighthearted. DJ Lowe sees his new establishment, DJ’s Grill, as an inviting neighborhood eatery where adults can relax with a beer or glass of wine, kids can lick a hand-scooped waffle cone and the whole family can enjoy burgers, fries and shakes. But not just any burgers, fries or shakes. Lowe’s menu puts a fun, fresh spin on some American standards. His menu features a dozen or so burgers, plus a rotating special. Some are infused with barbeque sauce and topped with onion straws, others are topped with pineapple and teriyaki onions, and the special may even incorporate chocolate chips and sprinkles. All come with steak fries that are cut and prepared fresh each morning. “It’s more of a familyoriented place,” said Lowe, a 2007 Forest Lake High School grad. “It’s a mix between an Applebee’s and a Perkins, but with really good food and good burgers, more of a char-broiler.” From sandwiches to giant salads, pasta to steak, or kids’ meals to appetizers, the full menu is available all day. Meals can be complemented by a shake, malt or one of eight flavors of ice cream, and washed down by an uncommonly large selection of wine and beer.

When Pizza Man vacated the building off Highway 61 late last year, Lowe took the plunge. “This place went up for sale and I thought it was my time, so I just jumped in head-first,” he said. Along with his cooking background, Lowe’s jump to full-fledged business ownership has been eased by his experience with managing and scheduling, along with some ties to the restaurant community.

“I’ve done this for quite awhile,” he said. “I’ve been to different food shows and I know a lot of people in the industry, so I have someone to talk to and kind of relate.”

many would expect Lowe to be in over his head by now. Enjoying the Ride “Everyone doesn’t beIt’s been a friendly exlieve me that I did it myperience at the new esself,” he said. “‘Who are tablishment. Lowe enjoys you with? Did your parseeing customers surents fund you?’ No, it’s my prised when they learn he own thing. I’ve worked is the owner, particularly hard.” Skeptics would point out that several restauDJ’s Grill see page 5A rants have cycled through the building at 21450 Forest Blvd. N. in recent years. The Forest Lake native has more experience than most would guess, though, and he believes a good product will trump any location concerns: “Everyone says it’s a bad location, and it is tucked back a little bit, but I got a big, bright LED sign now, and the food – it’s family-friendly. It’s burgers and fries and it’s what people like.” So far, Lowe has been right. He has been meaning to organize a grand opening, but said business has been too steady to give him the time so far. Lowe took a job at The Cornerstone Pub & Prime in Wyoming at the age of 15, and it did not take him long to discover his love for the culinary arts. He worked for several years at Max’s Groove House, which, ironically, is the original tenant of the building DJ’s Grill now operates in. His chef career includes stops at a large resort in Montana and a child care facility in Shoreview, where he was responsible for feeding 80 kids per day. “I love cooking and I Photo by Clint Riese just love seeing people’s Taking the Leap D.J. Lowe with his famous one-pound Beast Burger faces when we bring out At just 23 years old, the food,” Lowe said. which is served at DJ’s Grill.

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As times change, so does Houle family business Liquor Works in FL is latest venture

Photo by Cliff Buchan

Andy Reagan of Andy’s Automotive Repair with an eight-cylinder, 350 engine that he is about to install in a 1959 Chevrolet for a customer.

Reagan living the American dream working on Callan’s veand struck a deal He owns Andy’s hicles to lease Callan’s industrial Automotive park building which came open when the Forest Lake Repair school district lease ended. Reagan dove head first Cliff Buchan into repair work and conNews Editor tinues to rehab the 5500 Andy Reagan isn’t jok- square foot building to his ing when he says he is liv- purposes. ing the American dream. An Early Start It’s a story that results in Reagan, a 2006 Forest a production plant closLake High School graduing, a job loss and the perate, has been a car junkie sonal conviction to move and wrench lover since he forward in life by starting was a kid. He credits Bill his own business. Poidinger of Scandia, his Reagan, 24, is the owngrandfather, as the major er of Andy’s Automotive influence. Repair, 793 SW 15th St. He Poidinger owned Bill’s opened the shop on Dec. Towing and North Country 1, 2011, just 19 days before Auto Salvage and Repair his job of five years at the in St. Paul before retiring. Ford Motor Co. plant in St. Reagan says he was 10 Paul would end with the when he started working plant’s closing. alongside his grandfather, And Reagan doesn’t feel learning the ins and outs bad at all about his job beof auto repair. ing washed away by the He helped his grandfaplant closing. ther restore a 1950 Chevy “This has been my truck from the ground up. American dream, what His love for custom work I’ve wanted to do since eland building engines conementary school,” Reagan tinues to be part of the said. business. With the Ford plant closShortly after high ing well documented and school, he landed a job planned, Reagan knew his with Ford. He was trained regular job would come to in automotive repair by an end. With that in mind, Ford and spent his years he spent the previous year doing that work in the drawing out his business plant. plan and acquiring equipAs an independent ment that he would need shop owner, Reagan is to start an automotive rebuilding his business on pair shop. By the time the personal service and qualplant closed, he was ready ity workmanship completto roll. ed at affordable rates. He’s He met Larry Callan working solo for now, but through a friend, began as the business continues

Cliff Buchan News Editor The Houle family has been involved in the Forest Lake and Wyoming business world one way or another for a half century. When times in the business world change, so does the Houle business direction. The family sold gasoline and handled auto repairs through Stu’s Standard Oil as far back as 1962. Over the years, the family left the gas and repair business and moved into video rentals. Come this fall, the family will mark its 30th year in the video rental business, now run under Blockbuster in Forest Lake. As the video market changes, so does the Houle family. Two recent moves reflect those changes. Last July, the family downsized its Blockbuster location at 168 S. Lake St. to allow for the opening of a 2000-square-foot Liquor Works operation. The Blockbuster operation is now running in about half the size of its original location. The liquor store move

gives the Houle family two off-sale sites. Four years ago the family took over the Wyoming store under the same name. It had opened in 2000 in space leased by the Houles. The sagging video business was also seen in Wyoming as the Houles closed the Blockbuster store there and liquidated the inventory. The business operation is owned by three sons of Stu Houle and their wives: Duane and Lynelle Houle, Tom and Laurie Houle and Mark and Nan Houle. Duane Houle runs the Wyoming Liquor Works while Tom Houle manages the Forest Lake store. “We needed to find something to fill the space in the building,” Tom Houle said of the Liquor Works opening last July 11. “We were already in the liquor business.” He continues to manage the Blockbuster store in Forest Lake and is hopeful the market will remain at levels that will enable the store to continue. If not, a liquor store expansion here could follow in the future. The Houles continue to look for a lease holder to fill the space in Wyoming where Blockbuster operated. At the Liquor Works, the Houles are provid-

ing inventory and prices that meet demands and is competitive. “We guarantee to meet or beat anyone’s price in town,” Tom Houle said. “We are also trying to meet the requests of the customers,” Laurie Houle says of the store’s inventory in Forest Lake. With 10 off-sale stores in the Forest Lake market, remaining competitive is essential, the Houles said. The Forest Lake Liquor Works operates in 2000 square feet of space and carries a well-rounded inventory of ice-cold beer, wine, cordials and liquor. The store is also a fullservice retail outlet for the Minnesota State Lottery, offering a full selection of scratch-off games and lottery tickets. Watch for regular wine tasting events, the owners said. The complete operation is just another avenue of retail, Tom Houle says. “It’s standard retail.” Liquor Works is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store also has hours on all legal holidays with the exception of Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day.

to grow, he will likely need to hire a second mechanic later this year, he says. He plans to add tire sales in the very near future with a wide variety of tires to be stocked. From simple oil changes to complete engine repair, Andy’s Automotive Repair can handle any job. Diesel repair is also offered. Along with complete and professional service, Reagan says he is also committed to meeting the needs of customers when services are needed. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 to 4 on Saturday. “The open sign is usually on until 9 or 10,” Reagan says. That’s part of what he believes he has to do to see the business succeed, he says. Another part of Reagan’s American dream is also found on the home front. He and his wife, April, another Forest Lake High School graduate, are the parents of two kids, Carter, 3, and Brynlie, 1. They live in Forest Lake. Reagan says he is pleased with the progress of the business to date and is confident the business will grow. His long-range goal is to one day open multiple locations for Andy’s Automotive Repair. “You only live once,” he says of the desire to pour Photo by Cliff Buchan his energy into a business Tom and Laurie Houle are in charge at the Forest Lake location for Liquor venture. Works. Duane and Lynelle Houle run the Wyoming Liquor Works.

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Thursday, ���� 3A �� ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� Page �����������������������


Burgers, malts and 1950s fun at Bobby & Steve’s Auto World On I-35E and CR14 in Lino Lakes

Cliff Buchan News Editor Ever get a hankering for a juicy hamburger and an ice-cold malt made with real premium ice cream served in a back-to-the50s atmosphere? Never had such an experience but think you might like it? It’s easy to experience with an eight mile drive south to Lino Lakes on the Photos by Cliff Buchan southwest corner of I-35E Jason Douglas Snyder is right at home with some famous guests who call Bobby and CR-14. That’s where and Steve’s Auto World in Lino Lakes home. The I-35E retail outlet is dotted Jason Douglas Snyder has with Coca-Cola memorabilia and a 1907 Cadillac that is a centerpiece for the his Bobby & Steve’s Auto store’s display area. World, 7090 21st Ave. Good food and fun, both served up in an old-fashioned style, are the trademarks of Bobby & Steve’s, but just one component of this freeway business. Now in his eighth year of business in Lino Lakes, Snyder continues to refine the business operation. He opened a new coffee bar this spring. It goes along with the full-service restaurant menu that includes breakfast, plenty of sandwiches and wraps, classic diner signatures, soups and salads and an ice cream menu that features tempting malts, shakes, sundaes and floats. The ice cream bar uses only Bridgeman’s Ice

Cream to make the treat even more special. The business also offers the complete auto detailing that has made the Bobby & Steve’s Auto World network popular and a first-class car wash. He also expects to add complete automotive repair service this spring. The Lino Lakes operation owned by Snyder and his wife Trudi is one of eight in the metro area. As a freeway destination, the operation offers gasoline and convenience store items to make the stop worthwhile.

Hill to Climb

When Snyder purchased the former BP and Ember’s gas and restaurant business in 2005, he recognized the area as a good one to do business in. He is keeping the faith even during this soft economy and during a period when road work on CR-14 and I-35E put a choke hold on the operation. He continues to deal with motorists who are confused by the new exit and entrance ramps from I-35E and the need to utilize Northern Lights Boulevard on the west side of the freeway

to reach Bobby & Steve’s His goal is to make Bobby & Steve’s a destination for good fun, food and vehicle needs. “This is the best kept secret in the world,” Snyder said. “We’ve got a nice restaurant. We’ve got a nice staff.” Snyder believes he is succeeding in making Bobby & Steve’s a family operation. A youngster under 10 accompanied by an adult eats free and there are no exceptions. While many repeat customers come for the food, there also are “regulars” who stop in every day for coffee and conversation. Bobby & Steve’s is a fun destination, Snyder believes. Full-size statutes of Elvis and Betty Boop greet customers by the door and the lobby is filled with Coca-Cola memorabilia. The 1907 Cadillac parked just beyond the restaurant seating area is the real deal and not a model. The classic car runs and has been used in area parades. The dining room at Bobby & Steve’s is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 to 8 on Sunday. The restaurant also has a party room/meeting room available to handle groups as large as 100 people.

Business development team created by CU Recovery, Inc. Bryan Moffitt heads new division Cliff Buchan News Editor A Wyoming company with 22 years of operation has taken steps to create a new business development team. Earlier this year, CU Recovery, Inc. and The Loan Service Center, Inc., a fullservice collection agency and collection staffing so-

lution for credit unions, named Bryan Moffitt as manager of the newly created business development team. Moffitt will be responsible for nationwide research and development of new market opportunities in underserved collection segments within the credit union industry. His focus will be creating collection strategies that meet individual credit union needs from the comprehensive suite of programs offered by CU Recovery and The Loan Service Center.

His new position was effective on Feb. 7. The new position will upgrade the company service offering to clients, assuring that they will receive the utmost benefit when and where it is needed, the company said in announcing the appointment. Joining Moffitt on the business development team is Emily Ericksen, who has been promoted to business development representative. Moffitt has served the company as a territory manager for CU Recovery and

The Loan Service Center for the past eight years. Ericksen was named the 2011 top collector for CU Recovery. “With growth and a changing marketplace in the collection industry, the creation of a business development department strengthens our ability to meet the needs of our customers,” said Wendy Elieff, vice president of sales and service. “Bryan’s unique ability to understand and develop action plans based on client needs was a key factor in creating the new position as

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ter provides staff solutions for credit union collection departments to minimize losses on their active delinquent loan portfolio.

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Bryan Moffitt



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part of our strategic reorganization,” Elieff added. Since 1990, CU Recovery, Inc. and The Loan Service Center, Inc. are collection solutions operating exclusively for credit unions, meeting collection needs with a comprehensive onestop-shop for all subjects relating to minimizing loan loss and maximizing recoveries from non-performing loans. CU Recovery is a fullservice collection agency dedicated to the recovery of charged off loans. The Loan Service Cen-

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���� 4A �� �– ��������� Page Thursday, ����� April ��� 12, ���� 2012 �–������ Forest���� Lake����� Times



Boats an art form to FL shipwrights Sunrise River Boatworks crew pours heart and soul into their craft Clint Riese Staff Writer Given the amount of history inside, the building at 1520 Ninth Ave. SW in Forest Lake could well be a museum. Packed one next to the other in an unassuming warehouse sit over a dozen wood boats in various states of repair. From a 1941 Chris Craft barrelback – the likes of which maybe 50 remain in the world – to a 46-foot pilot house which was made in 1927 and originally owned by the father of Hubbard Broadcasting founder Stanley E. Hubbard, each vessel has a story to tell.

“It’s almost like a little museum,” said Sunrise River Boatworks owner Aaron Starke. “They all have their own little piece of history. A lot of them are very unique and rare.” Starke, a Rochester native, bought the business on Jan. 1, 2010 from Tom Moravec. The Wyoming resident founded the shop out of his garage in 1980. Just months after taking ownership, Starke moved the shop to Forest Lake from the Wyoming warehouse it had called home since 2002.

Making Art

The current home of Sunrise River Boatworks boasts 8,000 square feet and Starke and his crew of three use every nook and cranny. “We still need more room,” Starke laughed. Indeed, business has been good for the shop, which has gained a repu-

tation for high-end work. Orders come from Maine to Oregon and anywhere in between. Sunrise River Boatworks handles any type of project, from motor work to full-blown “keel-up” restorations which can take years. The pilot house, for instance, is about two years into a seven-year rebuild. “It’s just nothing that can be done overnight,” Starke said. “When you’re making art, it takes time.” Starke has been around boats all his life. He spend long hours of his childhood in the garage learning to build cedar and redwood canoes from his father, who went on to own a boat shop. Starke himself worked for several shipwrights around St. Paul and eventually went into business with his father. When in a pinch, though, Starke defers to employee Ross Carlson, a shipwright of three decades. “He’s the master,” Starke said. Larry Giebel and Nick

Peterson round out the team. It’s clear that all regard their duties as far more than means to a paycheck. There is an allure to wood boats which Starke says borders on romanticism. “There’s nothing more beautiful than shiny mahogany,” he said. “There is so much more character and so much more beauty than the plastic boats that are built today.” Wooden boats are not just eye-candy; they offer practical advantages, as well. Starke says they ride smoother than any fiberglass craft. “You can actually feel the boat flex, so they give you more of the Cadillac ride,” he said.

New Venture

Though space is tight, the Sunrise River Boatworks crew is finding room at the shop for its newest venture. Over dinner and some drinks, Starke and a friend from his high school days dreamed up the idea of building stand-up paddle-

Photos by Clint Riese

Above: The Sunrise River Boatworks crew – Ross Carlson, Larry Giebel, owner Aaron Starke and Nick Peterson – are two years into a restoration of this 1927 houseboat. Below: The Forest Lake shop is at full capacity. Left: Carlson, a shipwright of 30 years, and Starke plank a boat.

boards, which are emerging on shores all over the globe. Not just any board, though, but high-end, hand-built wooden ones. The result is Madera Boardworks, which Starke and his friend, Adam Bass, started in January. The boards are built at the shop here and shipped to Madera’s retail store in Bend, OR. For help in making the boards, Starke recently partnered with Thomas Schrunk, a prominent

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wood veneer artist who has worked for Steinway Pianos and done custom work for celebrities. “Anybody with a little bit of skill can build a boat, anybody can restore a boat, but to bring it to a level where you can call it art is really when you have a product that you can sell,” Starke said. “We’re not in it for the production, we just want to build some really nice high-end boards that people are going to enjoy.”

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Thursday, ���� 5A �� ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� Page �����������������������


Jon Peterson is no stranger to disaster from page 1A “We virtually plowed the streets off,” he said of the demolition and cleanup in St. Peter that followed the March tornado. “We were in St. Peter all summer. That’s when we gained some [business] ground.” The company labor teamed jumped to 15 workers that spring and more equipment was needed to get the work done. While the crew led by Peterson stayed in St. Peter for several months, other workers were needed at home to take care of existing contracts and clients. Peterson Companies was the first in and last out in the St. Peter storm

aftermath, Peterson said. And the company has never stopped growing. The firm continues to specialize in the projects that got it off the ground — landscaping, plowing, lawn maintenance, irrigation systems, sod work. But with the growth came new project areas. The company has made a major move into athletic field construction. “That’s where we found our niche,” Peterson said. There is also heavy equipment expertise that has led to road construction projects. Peterson Companies handled the CR-22 rebuilding project last year in Wyoming and did the Lake and Broadway roundabout and US-

61 improvements in downtown Forest Lake in 2010. “That’s the biggest project we’ve done locally,” Peterson said of the Forest Lake contract. But with athletic field projects becoming the company’s new bread and butter, Peterson said expansion moves are in the works. Peterson Companies has taken on field projects throughout the Upper Midwest and is now exploring a new market — the southern states where year-round projects are not limited by winter weather.

Family Ties

As the business founder, Jon Peterson, who serves as company president, now has family help.

Brothers Curt and Steve have joined the team with Curt Peterson a vice president of field operations. With many of the Peterson workers long-term employees, he says the recovery from the fire was helped significantly by a loyal group of workers who look at the business as a family concern. The recovery was similar to the team spirit that went into the multi-month operation in St. Peter that couldn’t have been done without a team effort, Peterson says. As he looks around the grounds of the new company headquarters, Peterson sees a company fleet that now contains 500 pieces of equipment.


That’s a far cry from that John Deere skid-loader that he purchased in 1997. That unit is long gone after thousands of hours of operation. And when it comes to company equipment, Peterson has gone to extra measures to design company vehicles in a distinctive yellow and orange color theme. “I wanted something interesting,” he says. “It’s something that stands out and you can see them a mile away.” And as the company grows, that color combination will also be more and more common.

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Entrepreneur fires up restaurant scene from page 1A if it is someone he knows. “I’ve seen my daycare lady from when I was 4, I’ve seen my bus drivers, friends of the family,” he said. “It’s so funny, too, because I’m right across the street from the high school so everybody I went to high school with has seen this place at one time or another. They sit down and I’ll come up and talk to them and they don’t even realize [that it is my place]. All of a sudden it’s like ‘Whoa.’ They put two and two together. ‘Are you the owner? Yeah!’” Lowe’s passion carries over to the menu. He often experiments with new ideas or takes requests from customers. His “beast” burger totals a full pound of beef, six slices of bacon, three slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion straws. The whopping result stands nearly a foot high on top a pound or so of steak fries. Some of his best creations may not yet be on the menu. For a special treat, request the deepfried ice cream, but make sure to give Lowe a few days’ notice. Lowe may eventually open his grill for breakfast or make use of the drivethrough window in the summer. For now, he just hopes the wave of interest remains high. “It’s like it was meant to be,” he said. “Everything is just falling into place and it’s going good and I have great people here working for me.”

Randy Rheault new Prudential agent in Wyoming Cliff Buchan News Editor A 10-year veteran the Prudential Insurance Company of America has found the perfect place to do Rheault business: His hometown. Randy R. Rheault, 38, set up shop in an office bay in the Pfeiffer Chiropractic Building, 5321 East Viking Blvd., Wyoming in May of 2011. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Rheault. He grew up in Wyoming, graduated Forest Lake High School in 1992 and found a business career with Prudential. After nine of years of working in branch offices in the Twin Cities, he moved out on his own and found the perfect location in Dr. Brenda Pfeiffer’s office building in the heart of downtown Wyoming. He works with clients to fill needs for life insurance, health insurance, long-term care, annuities and retirement funding. “My work is really based on client needs,” he says of the insurance and financial services that he provides. The Wyoming office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Rheault will meet with clients after hours by appointment. Randy and Erin Rheault are the parents of two kids, Julia, 7, and Garrett, 6, who attend Wyoming Elementary School. He is also involved in the community as a member of the Wyoming Area Business Association.

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Interstate Companies locates to former Eagle Trucking site Snow melter clears TCF stadium for NFL game Jennifer Mevissen NFL’s Vikings/Bear game. Staff Writer At 53-feet long, the piece When the roof col- of equipment melts up to 40 dump truck loads lapsed at the Huof snow an hour, bert H. Humphrey says O.J. Rinehart. Metrodome in DeIn addition, it has cember 2010, senda filtration system ing snow avalanchthat removes deing onto Mall of bris. There’s also America Field and a smaller version rendering it unplayof the snow melter, able, the Metropolitan Sports Facili- Rinehart the SND-580. In an event of ties Commission an emergency, Inturned to a Forest Lake terstate Companies is business to step in. Interstate Companies’ ready to respond with a SND-1800 snow melter wide array of equipment helped clear TCF Stadium and manpower within in Minneapolis for the minutes. In addition to

the 18,000-square foot service facility, their mobile service teams are equipped to handle repairs wherever and whenever they are needed. Rinehart started Interstate Companies 12 years ago. Back then, the small operation was run from his mom’s kitchen in Blaine. A majority of the work was asphalt and concrete paving, but has grown to command one of the state’s largest snow removal fleets, and expanded to include excavation projects. Cargill, Honeywell and Cub Foods, including Forest Lake’s store, are among Interstate Companies’ customers in the winter months. “We started out with a different business model but it’s changed as our customers have requested different services from us,” Rinehart said. A 1993 graduate of Forest Lake High School, he eventually moved the construction business to a location in Hugo before buying the Crystal Pierz building on US-8. Rinehart gives much credit to Chief Financial Officer Greg Dumke for putting the former Eagle Trucking site, just south of US-61 on TH-97, on his radar. Interstate Companies made the move last fall and has been able to occupy the entire facility, making use of the remnants of past long-term tenants. “This was available and perfect for us,”

Photos by Jennifer Mevissen

O.J. Rinehart relocated Interstate Companies to the former Eagle Trucking site south of US-61, off TH-97 in Forest Lake. Greg Dumke, chief financial officer, and Jim Robertson, general manager, oversee daily operations of the construction business. Now that winter is over – Interstate Companies has one of the state’s largest snow removal fleets – much of the work will be in the project excavation, specialty services, asphalt and concrete paving, street sweeping, hydro wash, and pavement marking divisions. Dumke said. The building, located at 20920 Forest Rd. N., sat empty for nearly two years after the death of the Eagle Trucking owner. Rinehart said that although the wallpaper was outdated, the built-in cabinets within the nearly 10,000-square foot office space are beautifully crafted. “This has been a really good fit,” Rinehart said. He may have built Interstate from the ground up, but General Manager Jim Robertson has walked nearly a mile in

Rinehart’s shoes. Robertson, Rinehart says, is being groomed for Dumke’s job. A 2006 graduate of Bemidji State University, Robertson started out on a street sweeping crew. It was not really what the Hibbing native thought he’d be doing after college. “There was only mining or working at the hospital,” Robertson said of his employment choices in the Northern Iron Range. Through his years at Interstate Companies,

Robertson has come to work almost every job. Other divisions include pavement marking, hydro wash, and specialty services. During the peak season, as many as 180 employees are on the payroll. Rinehart encourages his workers to shop locally. He said they get fuel locally and buy parts in town. The plan is for Interstate Companies to be here for the long-haul. “We’re pretty well invested in the Forest Lake community,” Rinehart said.

AutoZone on track for mid-May opening in Forest Lake Jennifer Mevissen Staff Writer Driving into Forest Lake, it might seem there are no shortages of auto parts stores in town. “We still think there are many under-served markets,” said Ray Tohlman, corportate spokesman for AutoZone. AutoZone is the leading retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. It sells auto and light truck parts, chemicals and accessories in over 4,900 stores located in 48 states and in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Mexico. He noted that customers know when they enter an AutoZone they will always find a great selection

of quality merchandise at “We’re happy to be the low prices they want, here. We know we’re goas well as the repair infor- ing to be an asset to the mation and trustworthy community,” Tohlman advice they need. The national chain is nearing completion on a new 7,370 square foot standalone building on a vacant commercial lot at 339 SW 12th Street. The contractor is on track for a mid-May opening, he said. According to their website, AutoZone requires upfront, high-impact locations with excellent visibility and access from adjacent streets. All stores are company-owned and operated; there are no franchises. They’ve been eyeing Forest Lake as a location for over a year, Tohlman added.

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said. AutoZone strives to be a responsible corporate citizen by giving back to

the communities. It supFor more information, ports education, human visit services and civic programs across the country.

Photos by Jennifer Mevissen

The new AutoZone store at 339 SW 12th Street is on track for a mid-May opening. A corporate spokesman said they’d been eyeing Forest Lake as a location for over a year now.

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Thursday, Page �� 7A ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� ���� �����������������������


Photos by Jennifer Mevissen

At left, the Fantastic Sams’ Forest Lake team. Above, owners Marvin and Lori Babcock with Amanda Bantz, seated, who manages the new location. Below, hair stylists at the Chisago Lakes Fantastic Sams are Ashley Johnson, Ashley Riegert and Janet Petroske.

FL Fantastic Sams owners expand local operation with Chisago Lakes franchise Salons growing at a fast clip in Minnesota Jennifer Mevissen Staff Writer Fantastic Sams, the national brand known for professional hair care at affordable prices, continued its fast-paced expansions in Minnesota with its latest salon opening its doors last November at 29575 Sportsman Drive in Chisago Lakes.

Since 2002, more than 100 Fantastic Sams’ salons have opened throughout the state, including more than 80 around the metro area. Marvin and Lori Babcock are the proprietors behind two of the franchises in the Lakes Area. “We are fortunate to have enjoyed great success in Forest Lake,” Marvin said. “We feel that a second

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location in nearby Chisago Lakes/Lindstrom will help meet demand as consumers continue to look for a good value when it comes to hair care,” he added. They opened the Forest Lake location in May 2005. “Minnesota continues to be one of the fastest growing regions for the Fantastic Sams,” said Dave Boitz, regional director of Fantastic Sams of Minnesota. “We have a number of dedicated owners who continue to reinvest in the Fantastic Sams brand by opening multiple locations,” he added.

Fantastic Sams is a full-service salon offering a wide range of hair care services, including haircuts, color, hair straightening and texturing, facial waxing and more. Weekly specials include Mens Mondays where a gentlemen’s haircut is only $9.99, Tuesday/Thursday Highlight includes a seven foil and haircut for just $29.99, Women’s Wednesday offers a haircut and wax for $18.99, and haircuts are only $10.99 anytime with a valid military ID. There are also discounts for senior citizens from Tuesday through Thursday. Chisago Lakes Marvin and Lori said The new Chisago Lakes

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they saw Chisago Lakes as an underserved market in terms of franchises. Opening their new salon there hinged on McDonald’s, which is next to Fantastic Sams, setting up shop along US-8. Marvin said the first month until the restaurant opened its doors in December 2011 was a challenge they’ve overcome. “People like the name recognition,” Lori said.

Forest Lake

In fact, their salon at 555 W. Broadway Ave. has done so well the couple plan to move it by June 1, 2012 to Suite 1, which was formerly occupied by Memories & More. The Forest Lake location was ranked among the Top 5 in the country for color in 2010 and consistently #1 in Minnesota.

The couple credit the staff with the salon’s success. Marvin is a United Airlines pilot and Lori is a dental hygienist at a local office, so they rely heavily on dedicated employees. The Babcocks say increasing the amount of parking in a lot adjacent to the plaza has helped to accommodate customers. “We’ve outgrown where we’re at now,” Marvin said. In the new Fantastic Sams space, he noted there will be three more stylist chairs as well as two additional shampoo bowls. “We’ll have a more spacious, bigger salon,” Marvin said. For additional pricing information, call Fantastic Sams in Chisago Lakes at 651-257-1122 and Forest Lake at 651-464-2288.

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Page 8A – Thursday, April 12, 2011 – Forest Lake Times



these area business 2,977 years 124 Years

110 Years

Landmark Insurance

107 Years

98 Years

St. Peter’s Catholic Church

First State Bank of Wyoming

ECM Publishers, Inc. 19 years in Forest Lake Publishing, Printing, Distributing

Forest Lake Times

St. Croix Valley Peach 58 years Forest Lake

886 North Shore Drive Forest Lake

109 Years

ECM Post Review

232 South Lake St. Forest Lake

137 years North Branch

880 SW 15th St. Forest Lake

1250 South Shore Dr. Forest Lake

26741 Felton Ave. Wyoming






67 Years

62 Years

58 Years

57 Years

56 Years

Forest Lake VFW Post 4210

556 SW 12th St. Forest Lake

Forest Lake Area Athletic Association (FLAAA) “Supporting Youth”

5530 206th St. N. Forest Lake

Olson’s Sewer Service & Olson Excavating Service

Carbone’s Pizza

17638 Lyons St.

Lake Shoppes

Forest Lake

(in franchise) 32 years Forest Lake

We Deliver

75 SW 5th Ave.

Forest Lake

next to Big Apple Bagel

Forest Lake






50 Years

49 Years

48 Years

48 Years

47 Years

Gold Dusters Jewelry

Birchwood HealthCare because the journey matters Center, Inc.

Forest Lake Sanitation

Walker Plumbing Company, Inc.

Sunrise Fiberglass Corp. 5175 260th St. SW.


608 South Lake Street Forest Lake 604 NE 1st St.

Forest Lake

Forest Lake




38 Years

38 Years

37 Years

37 Years

Thomco Carpet, Inc.

Waldoch Crafts & Custom Center

968 South Lake St. Forest Lake

13821 Lake Drive Forest Lake


Forest Lake Travel 20 North Lake St. Town Square Forest Lake

24049 Irish Ave. Forest Lake

651-462-5534 36 Years

24 years in Forest Lake

Tired Iron Collision Center

Lakes Transmission Service

21438 Forest Blvd. N. Forest Lake

43 SW 6th St. Forest Lake






33 Years

32 Years

32 Years

32 Years

32 Years

SRC Recycling Center

Waldoch Sports

6320 E. Viking Blvd. Wyoming

Lakes Dental Clinic

Dr. Stensrud • Dr. Goodein Dr. Ruther • Dr. Pink

13824 Lake Drive

956 West Broadway


Forest Lake Dental Lab, Inc.

(Across from Perkins)

Forest Lake

255 Hwy. 97, Suite 8B Forest Lake

Wyoming Family Dental Dr. Scott Timmons Dr. Chad Rasmussen

5305 E., Viking Blvd. Wyoming






26 Years

26 Years

25 Years

25 Years

25 Years

Affordable Muffler

Wine & Roses Liquors, Inc.

Northwoods Optics

Old Log Cabin

“Where Your Party Begins”

20 North Lake St

1031 South Lake St. Forest Lake

1107 South Lake St. Forest Lake




1155 West Broadway Forest Lake



Town Square Building

Forest Lake

9726 Scandia Tr. Forest Lake


Thursday, April 12, 2011 – Forest Lake Times – Page


ses have provided you with s of sales & service 98 Years

97 Years

First Service Agency

Tolzmann Painting Quality is a family tradition for three generations

93 Years

Security State Bank of Marine on St. Croix/Scandia Chisago Lakes Forest Lake



56 Years

56 Years

53 Years

Holiday StationStores

Carousel Hair Care

Lakes Gas Co.

(Hwy. 61) Wyoming

5 Convenient Locations Forest Lake


We care enough to do our best

633 South Lake St. Forest Lake

85 Years

Reub’s Tire Shop

Forest Lake Chiropractic Clinic P.A.

Member FDIC

651-433-2424 651-433-2265 651-257-4141 651-464-1033

26357 Forest Blvd

90 Years

Dr. David J. Lewis

308 North Lake St. Forest Lake

591 North Shore Dr. Forest Lake



51 Years

51 Years

St. Peter’s Catholic Elementary School

Rolseth Drug 655 South Lake St.

1250 South Shore Dr.

107 North Lake St.

Forest Lake

Forest Lake

Forest Lake






47 Years

41 Years

39 Years

37 Years

37 Years

Chris Sauro Insurance Agency

Dr. Leo C. Sinna

Joe’s Refrigeration & Appliance Service

Anderson Masonry, Inc. 7349 North Shore Trail Forest Lake Carroll

651-464-7741 Andy

Stewie’s Submarine Sandwiches

Specialist in Orthodontics

Same Great Subs 804 South Lake St Forest Lake

D.D.S. M.S.D.

5305 E. Viking Bldg. Wyoming

1068 South Lake St. Forest Lake

55 N.W. 7th St. Forest Lake






36 Years

36 Years

34 Years

32 Years

32 Years

Masquers Theater

Wyoming Drug

South Shore Veterinary Hospital

Yellow Bus Children’s & Misses Shoppe

Shadow Creek Stables

26710 Forest Blvd. Wyoming

380 W. Broadway Forest Lake

826 South Lake St. Forest Lake

PO Box 446 Forest Lake





31 Years

30 Years

28 Years

28 Years

Music Connection

Good Plumbing Hot Water Heating

Forest Lake’s Nandool Kennels

Buys Chiropractic

John L. Sullivan

6907 West Broadway Forest Lake

7661 Lake Drive Lino Lakes

(Musical Instruments & Sound Systems)

77 8th Ave. S. W. Forest Lake



25 Years

23 Years

Rapid Press

Tennis and Collins, P.A..

608 South Lake St. Forest Lake

20 North Lake St, Ste 202

Town Square Building

Forest Lake


651-464-6200 651-464-2645 (Fax)

Dr. Joel Buys

6150 202 St. N. Forest Lake

651-464-8270 27 Years 19 years in Forest Lake

Abra Auto Body & Glass 238 19th St. S.W. Forest Lake




22 Years

20 Years

18 Years


Montzka Legal Services

Where your pet is one of the family!

143 North Lake St. Forest Lake


Attorneys at Law


5305 East Viking Blvd. Suite 201 Wyoming

4848 Viking Blvd. Wyoming




Page 10A – Thursday, April 12, 2012 – Forest Lake Times

progress FL service shop brings Arctic Cat to town Lakes Arctic Cat defies the weather with big opening winter Clint Riese Staff Writer From a weather standpoint, this past winter was not an ideal time to open a snowmobile dealership. Fortunately for Lakes Arctic Cat, a number of other factors combined to make the move not only feasible, but successful. For one, Lakes Arctic Cat was not an entirely new venture but an offshoot of an existing business, Forest Lake Sales and Service. Local snowmobile enthusiast Mitch Lobin and Twin Cities businessmen Jim Kelly and Mark Kroskin opened the shop just east of I-35 in 2009. The shop continues to handle work orders for small engines, ATVs, snowmobiles, motorcycles and especially marine craft. A prime source of confidence for the ownership trio concerned the geographic setup of Arctic Cat’s dealership network. “We looked at the market and within about a 50-mile circle here there’s been several Arctic Cat dealerships that have closed in the last three years for various reasons,” Kelly said. Arctic Cat hoped the parts and service shop would agree to take on full dealership responsibilities, and it did just that starting last fall. Lakes Arctic Cat celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 29, then went on to essential-

ABBA Trophy finds home across the road at Forest Lake Printing One local mainstay adds another

Photo by Clint Riese

Lakes Arctic Cat co-owner Jim Kelly and parts manager Mike Fanum are gearing up for a rush on ATVs this spring. ly sell out its inventory of sleds. A big key, Kelly explained, was that a new line of much-anticipated Arctic Cats came out over the winter. “It was a brand new platform with a lot of new technology, leapfrogging some of the competition,” he said. “So we knew there was pent-up demand for new sleds and our sales have gone really well.” In addition, the area just happens to be a snowmobiling hot spot. “The fact that we’ve had the worst winter in 40 years and we’re sold out on snowmobiles is a testament to the number of riders in this area,” Kelly said. “There’s just a lot of activity around here... People will find a place to ride.” The 2013 snowmobiles have been announced and Lakes Arctic Cat will take spring orders through the middle of this month. Arctic Cat ATVs sales

will heat up this summer, though the business generates most of its revenue through marine service and repair until the snow falls again. It also deals used sleds and ATVs and can accept trade-ins. Overall, the team of six employees at Lakes Arctic Cat aims create a onestop shop that outdoorsmen can trust for quality products and service in all seasons. “Our goal isn’t to be the biggest dealership around,” Kelly said. “We’re never going to have a 50,000-square-foot showroom, but our customers trust us and we’ve got their back when something goes wrong.” For more information or to shop for parts, see Lakes Arctic Cat is located at 9651 152nd Ave. NE in Forest Lake and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Clint Riese Staff Writer A longtime local business has taken another well-established shop under its wing. Forest Lake Printing bought ABBA Trophy in November. Both operations are now housed in the print shop at 468 S, Lake St. For owner John Van Bergen, the acquisition made too much sense to pass up. “The more we’re building our system [at Forest Lake Printing] and I’m understanding what’s going on [at ABBA Trophy], the more it seems like a fairly logical move,” he said. “The process is very, very similar, it’s just different substrate. We’re still dealing with logos and type - instead of putting ink on paper, we’re engraving logos and fonts and type on plates.” That conclusion did not come before serious consideration. Van Bergen was skeptical when the Porter family, which owned ABBA for over two decades, first approached him in July. The Forest Lake native bought Forest Lake Printing in 2009, and he figured his hands were full enough with that venture. “We’re still trying to really make sure that we’re doing things as smart as we can on the print side,” Van Bergen said. “Then to have that kind of come up the way it did, I thought,

Photo by Clint Riese

Forest Lake Printing owner John Van Bergen and staff members Kyle Boulineau and Arealle Carazola show off some of ABBA Trophy’s products. ‘Man, am I really thinking about doing this again?’” A couple factors eased the transition, though. First, Van Bergen was able to bring every machine, tool and product across the street from the old ABBA Trophy location. Second, he had plenty of space to set up the trophy operation in the back of his print shop. A remodeled side room serves both as a showroom for the trophy products and as a meeting room. ABBA Trophy customers will not notice much difference, as all of the capabilities remain in place, whether it be medals, plaques or projects requiring more creative products such as apparel. The business is licensed with the Advertising Specialty Institute, meaning it offers inscripted promotional products such as mugs, golf tees and hats at wholesale prices. Van

Bergen was pleased to see one of his biggest print customers place a large order for pens just weeks after the acquisition, and he has also kept busy with orders for screen-printed bags and the like. Forest Lake Printing also brought one full-time employee over from ABBA Trophy. The trophy shop technically operates as a division of the printing business. Van Bergen feels the move should pay dividends for customer and owner alike. “It’s more added value, more of a one-stop type of deal,” he said. “You have to be diverse. In today’s world, we don’t have one particular niche that’s going to get us by. We need a lot of little spokes to drive that wheel.” See or call 4643116 for more information.

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DOWN THR0UGH THE YEARS these area businesses have provided you with 2,977 years of sales & service

14 Years

G-2 Dental

Dr. Greg Koch, Dr. Greg Harvey, Dr. G. Rankin Patet, Dr. Deb Wynia Dentists

1068 South Lake St. Suite 209 Forest Lake

12 Years

Serving area 36 years

9 Years

Carley’s Cafe

Nurseries Forest Lake, MN LANDSCAPING, INC.


20001 Forest Blvd Forest Lake


5 Years

1 Year

Serving area 16years


Forest Lake, MN 651.775.6203


9 Years



Forest Lake

10 Years

321 19th St. SW Forest Lake


2013 W. Broadway Ave. Forest Lake

651-982-4511 It’s fun to watch you grow!

Place your Business here next year

26685 Faxton Ave. Wyoming

59 South Lake Street Forest Lake



If you would like to have your business included in

Down Through the Years

next year, please contact Carol or Steve at 651-464-4601

Thursday, ���� 11A ��� ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� Page �����������������������


Bakke’s FL Family Dental practice adding to clinic staff, services Located in the Franklin Building downtown Cliff Buchan News Editor It’s often understood that families grow over time and in the short time that Dr. Steve Bakke, D.D.S. has owned Forest Lake Family Dental, the family practice has shown remarkable growth. Bakke operates his dental practice in The Franklin Building, Suite 100, 69 N. Lake St. He acquired Richard Nyman’s practice in March of 2005 Photo by Cliff Buchan and the family clinic conDr. Steve P. Bakke, right, has been joined in his For- tinues to grow. Since acquiring the Forest Lake Family Dental practice by Dr. Jeffrey M. Eggert. Bakke has owned the downtown family prac- est Lake practice, Bakke has continued to see the tice since March of 2005.

patient base grow as staff is added and more services are offered. In July of 2010, Dr. Jeffrey Eggert, D.D.S., joined the practice as an associate. He initially saw patients two days a week, but last summer expanded his office time to three days each week. His addition has also resulted in more support staff. Bakke’s staff today has grown to eight employees counting the two dentists. The clinic has three hygienists, two assistants and three front office personnel. The staff of eight is in addition to the orthodontics patients treated at Forest Lake Family Dental by Dr. Travis W. Wille, D.D.S., M.S. He maintains office hours two days a week at the downtown

clinic. The additional services provided by Eggert became necessary as the patient load continued to grow, Bakke said. “We were just too busy,” he said. Since taking on the practice seven years ago, Bakke estimates the patient load has nearly doubled. And the well-rounded practice is perfectly suited for families, much in the keeping of the practice name, he says. “We see a lot of kids,” Bakke said.


Dr. Bakke is a home town product. He graduated Forest Lake High School in 1989 and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He completed train-

ing at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2003. After working for a time at a clinic in Centuria, WI, he made the move to Forest Lake. Bakke and his wife, Susan, a hygienist who previously worked at the practice, live in Scandia with their son, Ben. Susan is a stay-at-home mom. Eggert grew up in Spring Lake Park and graduated high school there in 1995. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Minnesota and graduated from the dental school at the University of Minnesota in 2010. He lives in Roseville with his wife, Elizabeth. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert, D.D.S., owns a dental practice in North Oaks.

Kari family sees business growth at Decades Wine & Spirits in FL FL family launched liquor store last November Cliff Buchan News Editor A new start-up business needs to see growth and the Kari family of Forest Lake is seeing just that with Decades Wine & Spirits, 708 S. Lake St. Steve and Sharon Kari, long-time entrepreneurs in the area, opened the business in early November, 2011 in 3100 square feet of space in the commercial building on S. Lake St. that is also home to The Music Connection. “Our inventory is up 15 to 20 percent since we opened last fall,” said Steve Kari. “The business

is growing.” Much of that growth is coming from responding to what shoppers want, he said. Since opening the store, the Karis continue to take requests and see what products are in demand and what products are not in demand. “Every day there are new faces [shoppers] and new products coming in,” Kari said. “We’ve expanded all areas of our inventory and adding new wines weekly.” That expansion includes beer, Kari said. Decades is now stocking more imports and craft beers to meet customer demand. The Karis long standing in the community has helped generate business. Steve Kari has long been known as a quality builder and the family

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Photo by Cliff Buchan

Steve and Sharon Kari, right, with their son and daughter-in-law John and Kim Kari. They team to handle store hours at Decades Wine & Spirits, 708 S. Lake St. also ran Lakes Video for a number of years before selling the business that was located where Decades Wine & Spirits operates today. And the family involvement continues. Steve and Sharon are joined in the business by their son and daughter-in-law, John and Kim Kari, for the daily business man-

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agement. Both couples take turns working the store. Becky Johnson, a key employee, is also a Forest Lake native who knows the business inside and out, Kari said.

Business Facts

Another factor in the growth, Kari said, is the popularity of the store’s wine reward card which

if the shopper so desires. For area residents wishing to check out the wine inventory, weekend wine tasting events are show on the schedule. Decades Wine & Spirits is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

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is a debit/credit card for wine purchases. Here’s how it works. Card holders receive a 5 percent credit for the purchase of up to five bottles of wine. For the purchase of up to 10 bottles of wine, a 10 percent credit is added to the card. The balance can be accumulated and used on future purchases


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���� 12A ��� �– ��������� Page Thursday, ����� April ��� 12, ���� 2012 �–������ Forest���� Lake����� Times


progress Let Heinen Hardware help you ‘Do It Best’ New store also offers rental equipment Clint Riese Staff Writer Forest Lake handymen have a new option when it comes to do-ityourself projects. Heinen Hardware and Rental opened here last July and offers products tailored to both contractors and home improvement consumers. The new business at 1467 S. Lake St. also carries a full line of rental equipment. While such businesses already existed in Forest Lake, owner Joe Heinen and Mark Thibodeau saw great potential in the location on the south end of town. “They saw Forest Lake as a growing community and were famil-

iar with the [Northland Mall] property across the street and how it was going to possibly be developed,” said advertising manager Matt Steffens. “They felt a hardware store on that side of town would serve the needs of the community.” Heinen Hardware occupies 10,000 square feet on the north end of its building, next door to the Sprint store. The surprisingly spacious interior is among the most commented on feedback so far, Steffens said. The size allows the store to carry all sorts of products, from DeWalt tools to Weber grills to Valspar paint and more. In all, Heinen

Hardware has access to 65,000 items. The line of rental products, which includes items such as roto-tillers and power washers, has also earned praise from customers. Steffens said the rental gear will be replaced regularly so customers have continual access to top-of-theline equipment. The store, which employs eight or nine workers, also handles repair of small engines, windows and screens. Heinen Hardware aims to fill the role of hardware stores from days gone by, Steffens said, where consumers rely on the advise and workmanship of friendly experts. “We’re basically trying to be more of the

full-service hardware store,” Steffens said. “Unlike the big-box stores, you’re going to be greeted and asked ‘How is your day’ and ‘Is there something we can help you with.’” Heinen Hardware and Rental is part of the “Do It Best” network of stores. All 4,000 member Photos by Clint Riese stores are independently owned, but they join Heinen Hardware and Rental opened on Lake Street together to buy prod- last summer. Below: Spring is in the air, as shown by ucts in large volume in the store’s array of gardening supplies. order to lessen the final cost to consumers. The Forest Lake store is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. on Sunday. See more information at www.HeinenHardware.

Husband-wife chiropractic team settles in at new location in town Ploegers offer unique system for care Clint Riese Staff Writer A husband-wife team in Forest Lake is taking a different approach to chiropractic care. Touting the ideal of “lifetime wellness” over the cycle of reactive treatment, doctors Jonathan and Sarah Ploeger are up front about the unique way in which they run their clinic. Rather than racking up bills for repeat customers, they charge a flat monthly rate. The $79 cash fee covering unlimited care is often less than the co-pay alone for office visits elsewhere. Plus, it costs only $40 per month for a second family member and $5 for each additional one after that. “Most people come two to three times a week, so it works pretty well for them,” said Sarah. The end result is a family-based system that centers on preventative care. The clinic’s office is designed to be kid-friendly with a chalkboard and toys. In fact, the Ploegers regularly “adjust” their 1-year-old daughter. “We try to get people in before you have the bad back and keep you well so you don’t ever get to

Photo by Clint Riese

Jonathan and Sarah Ploeger met while pursuing their doctorates at Northwestern Health Sciences University. He earned his undergraduate degree from St. Johns in Collegeville, while she studied biology and chemistry at the University of South Dakota. that point,” Sarah explained.


The Ploegers met while working toward their doctorates at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington. They graduated in 2007. A native of Ramsey, Jonathan always liked the Forest Lake area,

and jumped at the chance to open a clinic of his own here in 2010 after practicing in Burnsville for a couple years. Hailing from a small town in South Dakota, Sarah was also excited when the family made the move from Burnsville to Hugo. The Ploegers moved the clinic in January from its original location on SW 12th Street to a unit with more spacious rooms in the Forest Lake Professional Building on Lake Street. Also, the doctors are finally fulfilling a long-time dream of working together. Sarah spends most days at a clinic in the Twin Cities, but she works here on Wednesdays. Jonathan is in on the other weekdays. “It’s grown,” Sarah said. “It keeps growing, and people are referring and telling family and friends.” Many customers simply walk in, but appointments can be scheduled and are required for first-time patients. Ploeger Chiropractic Clinic is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday and by appointment on Saturday. The office is located in Suite 15 at 1068 S. Lake St. Call (651) 3174955 or see for more information.

Power Chair and Scooter Store quick to expand

Photo by Clint Riese

It did not take long for Power Chair and Scooter Store Medical Supply to outgrow its original location. Local entrepreneurs Joel Erickson and Steve Harris opened the mobility assistance shop in Schilling Plaza in January of 2011. Business has been steady, and one year after opening the store expanded into the suite next door which had been vacated. The extra 640 square feet nearly doubles the original footage. The additional space has been used for a five-fold increase the inventory of diabetic footwear and also to house the billing department. Pictured, from left: Bobbi Sing, Megan Nelson, Skip Lutgen and co-owner Joel Erickson show off the expanded store. Power Chair and Scooter Store Medical Supply is found in Suite 7B of the building at 225 Highway 97 in Forest Lake.

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Thursday, ���� 13A ��� ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� Page �����������������������


Photos by Cliff Buchan

Kettlebells of various weights provide an extra punch for area residents who work on their fitness at Renaissance Fitness in Forest Lake. Here, participants in a Saturday class work on pushups and over-the-head drills. School owner Chris Costello, pictured center above, monitors the workout.

Costello steps in at Renaissance Fitness He took over Jim Mortimer’s school last December Cliff Buchan News Editor When Jim Mortimer decided last year to retire to Florida, he needed to find someone to take over Renaissance Fitness Kettlebell Skool which he had started five years ago. Mortimer didn’t have to look any farther south than Snap Fitness, 56 E. Broadway Ave. in the Gaughan Plaza Building where Chris Costello was the manager. Costello had worked as a part-time instructor at the kettlebell school and when Mortimer approached him about the business opportunity, Costello couldn’t say no. On Dec. 1, 2011, Costello grabbed the reigns of the school located in the heart of the downtown business district at 95 N. Lake St. It’s been a good first four months, Costello said in a Progress Edition interview, as he has provided additional classes as the

school’s enrollment is on the up tick. The Saturday sessions have been expanded to three and some classes feature as many as 25 students who are learning the health and fitness benefits of a kettlebell workout. The new business has been a perfect fit for Costello — the Forest Lake resident who is well known for his Halloween haunted house on Jason Avenue and horror film night at Lake 5 Theatre in Forest Lake. In addition to running Renaissance Fitness, he continues to manage the Snap Fitness facility. Costello is a firm believer that Renaissance Fitness has something to offer everybody. Fitness programs can be designed to meet all ranges of physical condition and personal needs. “It’s everybody,” Costello says of those who can benefit from Renaissance Fitness programs. “There

weight exercises, Costello says. The combination of these elements results in a full body workout with excellent cardiovascular benefit! Are the workouts hard? Yes however just like anything you do you will get 100 percent of what you give, Costello adds. T h e classes are always a blending How it of gender, Works age, expeHere’s rience and how it fitness levworks. els. AnyRenaisone and sance Fitever yone ness classes are welare an inti- Greg Lindeberg, right, of come to mate, group Forest Lake worked out walk in fitness style, with a kettlebell. and try a one hour workout where class, he says. participants use a comCostello adds: “Do not bination of traditional join a gym but do change kettlebell exercises, old your life! Group fitness is school body building the wave of the future for techniques and body all individuals pursuing a are more and more just regular people who are trying to improve their health and physical conditioning.” As individuals slip into a class, their progression is monitored and the scale of difficulty is intensified to meet individual needs. “One class each week will change your body,” Costello says.

healthy lifestyle. Renaissance Fitness offers a friendly and very familylike atmosphere that you will come to love! You will be challenged and you will work hard. That hard work and dedication are what will change your body and quite possibly, your life.” Costello is one of six trainers who are leading classes. His goal is to create a family atmosphere. While there is no doubt that hard work is involved, Costello says it can be accomplished while having fun. For the summer months, Renaissance Fitness trainers will conduct some outdoor training. Field trips are in the offering, including visits to Stillwater where outdoor sessions can be completed. Classes for couples and individuals are offered. The fun can involve some zany activities,

too, Costello says. Huge, 200-pound tractor tires are on hand for those who wish to wrestle with a heavy tire or use a sledge hammer to simply do some pounding. It’s all about getting the body to work and exert itself, Costello says. “Your body doesn’t care what you are using to stay fit,” Costello says. At Renaissance Fitness Kettlebell Skool, classes are offered daily starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Evening sessions Monday through Thursday start at 6 p.m. Other classes are also forming. Personal training sessions are available by appointment. For more information, visit or write to Costello at

Downtown store offers healthy eating options Jeff Anderson will mark one-year anniversary in May Cliff Buchan News Editor An ongoing battle with diabetes and finding healthy foods led Forest Lake resident to a simple solution: Start your own healthy foods and nutrition store. The end product is DiffFusion Nutrition, which opened last May in downtown Forest Lake at 143 N. Lake St. “I would go out grocery shopping and it would take four to five hours,” Anderson said. “I had to go to several stores.” Anderson said he has been unable to address the grocery shopping issue, but he had been able to help by offering a store that offers “diabetic friendly foods.” As one of 25 million diabetics or pre-diabetics in the country, he understands the need. Diff-Fusion Nutrition isn’t just designed for those with diabetes, he says. The shop’s protein shakes, sno-cones, lemonade and fresh-brewed coffee and tea are top quality products that are sure to please anyone’s taste, he says. There is nothing better than a refreshing snocone as a great way to beat the spring and summer heat, Anderson says. “Everything I have in the store is sugar-free,” Anderson said. After opening last May, Anderson moved to expand the store’s offerings to include home-made soups and sandwiches. The food items are perfect lunch items for workers in the business community, he said. The store is also a retail outlet for Diff-Fusion Nutrition products by

VisalusSciences/bodybyvi which are perfect for home use. Anderson says he is working hard to establish the store and is optimistic for growth as the warm weather months arrive. With more time, he says the public will become aware of his healthy products and cool treats. Diff-Fusion Nutrition is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Friday hours are 6

a.m. to 4 p.m. Anderson also offers extended hours during downtown events such as the summer Arts in the Park celebration at Lakeside Memorial Park every Tuesday evening. He will also extend hours on Friday evenings when public events are scheduled downtown. Customers will find ample parking in the municipal parking lot on the east side of Lake Street next to the park.

Photo by Cliff Buchan

Jeff Anderson mixes a smoothie at Diff-Fusion Nutrition, 143 N. Lake St. He opened the downtown store last May.

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���� 14A ��� �– ��������� Page Thursday, ����� April ��� 12, ���� 2012 �–������ Forest���� Lake����� Times


progress Photos by Jennifer Mevissen

The new Goodwill store in Forest Lake opened to customers in midFebruary, but the public was invited to an official grand opening ceremony on March 24. Colleen Eddy, president of the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce; Mayor Chris Johnson and store manager Rick Leistico look on while John Bergstrom, board chairman of Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota, cuts the ribbon last month. The retatil store and donation center is located at 197 SW 19th Street. The Forest Lake Goodwill is the first store in the the state to be LEED certified. Below, customers browsed toy shelves and clothing racks to find the best deal in town.

New Goodwill in Forest Lake is first MN store LEED certified “The values you instill everyday are vital for all of us in the Forest Lake community,” said Colleen Eddy, president of the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, during the ceremony. “We all benefit from your LEED certified store and donation center, the employment base you provide for local residents is very much needed and appreciated,” she added. Wirth-Davis said Goodwill encompasses the

three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. He noted that achieving LEED certification of the 20,600-square foot building was a threeway partnership between Goodwill-Easter Seals, Oppidan, Inc., the developer; and Fendler Patterson, the contractor. “We have a commitment to be a responsible steward of the environment,” Wirth-Davis said. The Forest Lake Goodwill is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday

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through Friday, 9 a.m. to For more information, 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 call 651-464-4003 or visit a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. www.goodwilleasterseals. Donations are not taken org. one hour prior to the store closing.

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Jennifer Mevissen Forest Lake location is the Staff Writer 25th retail store and joins At first glance, the new a family of 179 across Goodwill in Forest Lake North America. The new might resemble other sec- donation center at 231 ond-hand shops. But look SW 19th Street opened in around the building and mid-February and is the you’ll see signs mounted first site in the state to be on the walls highlight- LEED certified. Mayor Chris Johnson ing job development and said the city is always skills training. looking to expand Forest “Every time we open a store and sell merchan- Lake and bring in more dise to customers, it cre- businesses and families. “Goodwill is certainly a ates a net that we welcomed addition use to invest in to our community,” program services he said. because we’re all Not only will the about assisting store provide empeople with barriployment opportuers to education, nities and shopping independence options, but Johnand employment to achieve their Wirth-Davis son is optimistic Goodwill will also goals,” said Presidraw outsiders here dent/CEO Michael Wirthwho may not otherwise Davis at a March 24 ribcome. Customers can enbon cutting. Goodwill-Easter Seals joy a convenient drivehas been in Minnesota through donation center for 93 years, he said. The open daily and staffed by an attendant.

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Thursday, Page ��� 15A ���������April �����12, ���2012 ����–� Forest ������ Lake ���� Times ����� –� ���� �����������������������


10K MMA scores KO with new location Move to Wyoming has led to growth for mixed martial arts center Clint Riese Staff Writer As 10K MMA recently turned the calendar over to start its third year, the mixed martial arts training center is finding its stride. For ‘The Land of 10,000 Strikes’, a busy second year included moving to a larger facility, adding classes and coaches, and watching the number of pupils soar. Much of the growth has come since a November relocation from along Highway 8 in Forest Lake to a bigger building along Highway 61 in Wyoming. “It’s like in ‘Field of Dreams,’” said owner Mark Petrulo. “Build it, and they will come.” The new location at 5460 260th St. offers about 3,000 square feet, most of which is set up as a spacious gym. Petrulo and his staff – Brandon

Affordable mattresses are the name of the game New retail store targets cost-conscious buyers

Photo by Clint Riese

Class is in session at 10K MMA’s new home on 260th Street in Wyoming. The mixed martial arts studio now has more room for its growing classes. Smith, Tim Burton and Jason Grafft – coordinate a schedule which runs from about 3-8 p.m. each weekday. Open mat training is also offered from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Regular classes reflect 10K MMA’s four pillars of training: boxing, no-gi Brazilian jiujitsu, catch wrestling and American sanshou. The latter two are unique to the area. The Tuesday night boxing class is led by Robert Brandt, a Woodbury native who recently placed

third in the light heavyweight division at the USA Boxing national championships. The gym has also added a kids MMA and fitness course and a cardio kickboxing class for women. Both are held semi-weekly, and have brought the total number of pupils to about 75. “We take a holistic approach for the whole family,” said Smith, noting that courses follow a detailed curriculum set up to ensure continual pro-

gression. The staff never stops learning either, as they train under a Brazilian jiujitsu blackbelt in Hudson, WI. 10K MMA continues to train US Army recruits through a partnership with the Future Soldier Program, and Petrulo soon hopes to add courses in self-defense for women and CPR/First Aid. For more information, see

Clint Riese Staff Writer A new store on one of Forest Lake’s main drags is hoping to save mattress shoppers from having to drive 15 miles up the freeway. Affordable Mattress opened a retail store in September at 21440 Forest Blvd N. According to store manager Ryan Fleming, the name says it all. Those desiring the newest models and top-of-the-line features should seek elsewhere. Those looking for a good mattress at a great price should look no further than Affordable Mattress. The store carries mattresses from major brands and featuring 10-year warranties, but it also specializes in wholesales and buying direct in order to keep the final customer price down. It also carries a select inventory of furniture, and can order more specific items upon request.

The process of opening the store was timely, said Fleming, whose uncle runs the family-owned business. But it has been worth it. “It’s picked up,” he said. “Especially with tax season, and college season is right around the corner as well.” Affordable Mattress is headquartered in St. Paul and has a third location in Minneapolis. While the retail store here is new to the area, it is not the company’s first endeavor in Forest Lake. Affordable Mattress had a similar store in town until about a decade ago, and a warehouse in 2011 which led to the new location. Affordable Mattress is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, see

Lake Area Bank adds Elvehjem as new VP He started last fall at FL office Cliff Buchan News Editor A local resident with 10 years of banking experience is a new staff hire at Lake Area Bank. Matthew Elvehjem was hired as vice president of business banking last September. He works at the Forest Lake office of Lake Area Bank, 91 S. Lake St. “We are very excited to have someone with Matt’s

background join our Lake als in Forest Lake and the Area Bank team in Forest surrounding areas. Lake,” said Rita “I am proud to Pechmann, vice call Forest Lake president. my home and to “His experifurther my inence makes him a volvement in the valuable resource community.” for individuals Elvehjem is a looking to sucgraduate of St. cessfully grow Cloud State Uniand manage their versity with a deElvehjem business.” gree in business “I am very excited administration. He is also about joining the Lake a 2007 alumni of the GradArea Bank team,” Elve- uate School of Banking in hjem said. “I look forward Madison, WI. to working with the local Elvehjem combines his businesses and individu- professional work with

numerous community and volunteer organizations. His community involvement includes work with the Forest Lake Rotary Club where he serves on the board of directors. Elvehjem helped found the Wyoming Area Business Association where he also served as a board member. He is also a member of both the Forest Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chisago Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Clint Riese

The business is called Affordable Mattress and store manager Ryan Fleming and a staff of about five have plenty of them to choose from at the retail store on Forest Boulevard.

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���� 16A ��� �– ��������� Page Thursday, ����� April ��� 12, ���� 2012 �–������ Forest���� Lake����� Times



Haven Center opens sister site in Forest Lake Lakes Counseling now seeing clients Jennifer Mevissen Staff Writer A new faith-based, nonprofit social service agency is now open in downtown Forest Lake. Lakes Counseling started seeing clients on Jan. 2, 2012 in Suite 105 at 146 N. Lake Street. The Forest Lake location is a sister site of the Haven Center in North Branch. “We have a lot of the same therapists,” said Director Bill Koski, M.A., LICSW. His specialty is ADHD, adolescent males, anger management, disabilities, life coaching, PREPARE/ ENRICH, and veteran’s issues. Koski says the northeast metro is an underserved area. Lakes Counseling approaches treatment with holistic health care that addresses the body, mind and spirit. “We’ll offer prayer to our clients who would like it,” said Valerie Kos-

ki, MSW, LICSW. “At most agencies that wouldn’t be considered kosher,” she added. Lakes Counseling is affiliated with the American Association of Christian Counselors. The staff at the agency understands that each person has a different set of needs and goals. In response, they treat a variety of issues through individual, couple and family therapy. Support groups and classes are another service. At Lakes Counseling there are a variety of programs that offer hope, provide help and promote healing. The staff includes: • Michael Branchaud, M.A., LPC. His speciality is addictions, anger management, Asperger’s disorder, couple therapy, domestic abuse, emotional overload, Family of Origin, men’s issues, parenting, and stress management. • Jane Hartman, B.A., intern. Her specialty is gender roles, grief and loss, spiritual abuse, and women’s issues.

Photo by Jennifer Mevissen

Lakes Counseling offers a variety of programs that offer hope, provide help and promote healing. The Forest Lake staff includes Pat Nielsen Wilkie and Carla Martinson, seated; Michael Branchaud, Bill and Valerie Koski. • Eve Kaldahl, M.A., LPC, LADC. Her specialty is addictions, adolescents, anger management, co-dependency, DBT (Dialectical Behaivor Therapy), and family therapy. • Carla Martinson, M.A., LADC. She’s bilingual in Spanish. Martinson

specializes in addictions, adolescents and children, anger management, codependency, eating disorders, PREPARE/ENRICH, marriage and family counseling, and DBT. • Pat Nielsen Wilkie, Psy.D., M.A., LPCC. Her specialty is aging issues,

career couseling, couple counseling, family care (addictions), genetic diseases, grief and loss, medical psychology, and women’s issues. Lakes Counseling accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, medical assistance, Preferred One,

UCare, and private pay. To schedule an appointment or for questions, call 651-982-2550. More information can be found at

DaySpring Wellness Center in rural Scandia to care for your body, mind and spirit Jennifer Mevissen Staff Writer Dr. David Schmidt offers a unique approach to taking care of the body, mind and spirit at DaySpring Wellness Center from his residence in rural Scandia. “I look at this place as a healing center,” he said. Dr. Schmidt, a 1989 graduate of Forest Lake High School, is now practicing in his hometown. In 1999, he joined his father, Curtis Schmidt, in Taylors Falls where the two saw patients. “I’ve been mobile the past two years,” Dr. David Schmidt said. He doesn’t fit the mold of the typical medical

professional that works from a traditional office. Dr. Schmidt does make house calls – a service that is reminiscent of the older days. “No wasted time sitting in waiting rooms or driving to and from your visits,” he said. Dr. David Schmidt operates from his country home, which he said the pastoral location offers a tranquil setting for patients of all ages seeking treatment. Before treating anyone with significant trauma – an example would be from an automobile accident – Dr. David will review x-rays that can be done at Fairview Lakes

Medical Center in Wyoming where he has hospital privileges. Dr. David Schmidt earned a degree in sports medicine from St. Olaf College and Northwestern where he was enrolled in the chiropractic program. And in 2009, Dr. Schmidt received a Master’s in Theology. He’s had patients ask him to pray for healing the body, mind and spirit. “I’ve had a component of both ministry and chiropractic care,” he said. With his wife, Jean, the two can assess your diet and fitness and help you develop a program to achieve your physical or nutritional goals. Mar-

ried for 17 years now, the couple were high school sweethearts and have five children. DaySpring Wellness Center accepts most insurance, and has affordable cash plans. To schedule an appointment with Dr. David Schmidt, call him at 651208-9972. For more information, visit www.DaySpringFamilyWellness. com. Courtesy photo

Dr. David Schmidt offers a unique approach to taking care of the body, mind and spirit at DaySpring Wellness Center in rural Scandia.

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2012 Forest Lake Times Progress  
2012 Forest Lake Times Progress  

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