ST. CLOUD -- A business that has been in the St. Cloud metro for 45 years has made it onto our Thriving Local list, Short Stop.

Byron Bjorklund is the owner of Custom Catering by Short Stop as well as the Short Stop restaurant. His brother started the business as a way to help his siblings afford to go to college.

"He came up with the idea to have a small little restaurant in Sauk Rapids. It was primarily broasted chicken and burger menu."

The Sauk Rapids location was the first Short Stop to come to town. Bjorklund and his siblings were able to work in the restaurant through high school and college. Then when he was just about done with college, Bjorklund decided to grow the family business.

"When I was a junior in college I had to do a paper for a business course about starting a new business. I thought well I'll do it on something that I know which is running a restaurant. So I did it on starting a restaurant and I had to find a location, a building and do the whole proforma. So I thought, maybe I should do this. I ended up doing that on East St. Germain [Street] in 1984."

Then again in 1987, it's current location on 3rd Street North in St. Cloud opened. After having so much success, people started requesting Short Stop to cater. This started a whole new chapter for the business.

"In the early 1990s, I looked at the market place and decided there was room for a dedicated catering company."

Today, Custom Catering by Short Stop is the largest caterer north of Minneapolis.

"We have 150 employees and 100 events a week. [We do] everything from boxed lunches, on a snow day we'll do lunches for car dealers, we'll do galas like Holly Ball, Mardi Gras [and weddings]."

But this growth didn't come without challenges.

"The biggest hurdle during that time was to get people to understand that we did more than just broasted chicken."

Now the catering side has its own space next to the restaurant, dedicated to tastings. Looking toward the future, Bjorklund would like to continue to partner with local event venues.

"We're exclusive at the Rolling Ridge Events Center in St. Joseph, the Regency Plaza downtown and we've added the Crooked Willow Events Center in Osakis, Minnesota, we [provide] exclusive bar service there as well. I think the future is to continue to add venues that offer our premium and exclusive services for food and beverages."

Short Stop takes pride in building a healthy community both inside and outside their doors.

"We can contribute to making this a vibrant, strong, rich community, to do business in and live in."

Short Stop opened its first restaurant in February 1974 currently it operates from one location on 3rd Street North in St. Cloud, next to the Paint Store and Mooore. 

If you have a suggestion for a business that's thriving locally here in central Minnesota, let us know! Email chrissy@wjon.com

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