ST. CLOUD -- One St. Cloud mill has stood the test of time and survived three fires. Heim's Mill in St. Cloud has been in operation since the 1800s. One local family has overseen the business since 1900.

The mill burned down for the first time in the 1800s due to a lightning storm. Current owner Robert Heim says the second time that the building burned down was in the wake of a Native American conflict.

The final time a blaze swept through the mill was in the late 1880s. Heim says a miller went upstairs to check on a clogged pipe back when the mill made flour for human consumption. The mill worker pounded on the pipe and dropped his kerosene lamp which caused an explosion. Heim says the worker suffered serious burns but survived.

The building was reconstructed for the last time 130 years ago in the same location along County Road 1 in St. Cloud.

The Heim family bought the mill more than 100 years ago. They had owned a feed mill in Germany prior to coming to St. Cloud. George W. Heim had noticed that the mill was for sale. The original owner had died and the estate needed to be settled.

George W. Heim's son John eventually took over the business and sold it to his son David.

Robert Heim is John's son. He says, "how many families can say that they grew up working with their grandpa?"

It's become a way of life for Heim who started working at the mill when he was eight years old. He says, "we manufacture and distribute feeds for probably just about every non-zoo type of animal you can think of."

Some of the animals include deer, elk, rabbit, pig, cow, horse, chicken and more. The Heim's have gotten to know many local farmers over the years who also have multiple generations of ownership.

Today they continue to produce feed for farm animals and employ about six full-time workers and two to three part-time workers. The number of employees has decreased over the years due to better equipment and new technology.

Heim says there will always be a need for this type of work because animals will always need to eat.

Ashli Gerdes, WJON News
Ashli Gerdes, WJON News