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St. Cloud Area Chamber Announces Business Award Recipients

St. Cloud City Hall
ST. CLOUD –  The St. Cloud Area Chamber has announced its business award recipients.

The 2014 St. Cloud Area Business Award winners are going to: Jim Kruse and Melissa Kelly from J.F. Kruse Jewelers for the small business award, the Family Owned Business of the Year award is going to Pat and Paul Duininck from Royal Tire, and the Business Central Mark of Excellence-Emerging Entrepreneurs award is going to Midwest Machinery.

Jim Kruse from J.F. Kruse Jewelers says he never intended to own a jewelry store but says he discovered a talent for sales at an early age.

“I never made a business plan. I’ve never taken any business classes in my life,” Kruse says.

Kruse worked at D.J. Bitzan Jewelers and gained a knowledge of the industry as a bench jeweler and salesman. Kruse opened J.F. Kruse Jewelers in 2000 after making his own jewelry creations and selling them on the side. In 2013, J.F. Kruse doubled its size with a new store on Waite Avenue next to Shopko.

Royal Tire started in 1948 and was acquired by Roger Duininck  in 1978. Pat and Paul grew up helping out around the family business, which provides tire sales along with service and repairs.

Paul officially joined the business in 1979, followed by Pat in 1984. A slow transition started to gather speed as Pat and Paul both pushed for a more aggressive growth plan.

“Dad wanted to take things a little more slowly and deliberately. So he decided it was time to sell us the business,” Pat says.

Today the company is about three times the size of what it was when Pat and Paul took over.

Midwest Machinery won The Business Central Mark of Excellence-Emerging Entrepreneur Award honor by being a company whose ownership has been in place for less than 10 years and has demonstrated growth since current leadership took control. The company is managed by six second-generation owners: Ben Swenson, Andrew Swenson, Brian Weber, Corey Weber, Adam Weber and Paul Seipel.

Jim Kruse, Pat and Paul Duininck and the Midwest Machinery ownership team will be honored at the Chamber’s Business Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 1st.

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