By Tim Krohn
The Free Press
Lloyd Lumber Just Ask Rental is a business rich with family history that competes successfully against major big-box retailers and thrives in a slow housing market.
"A lot of people ask me 'how do you guys do it,' " said Mike Bertrand. "The answer is, quite simply, our people."
More than 75 percent of the employees at the North Mankato business have been with the store 15 years or more and dozens of them were at the Greater Mankato Growth Business Awards & Hall of Fame banquet Tuesday night as the business was one of two inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The business was started in 1946 by Robert Lloyd who later sold it to Bud and Kathleen Bertrand who were later joined in business by sons Mike and Barry.
Bud died in 1993 and Barry in 2004. Today Mike runs the business and 86-year-old Kathleen still works every day.
The other Hall of Fame winner, Wells Federal Bank, started 77 years ago as a savings and loan "to promote home buying and thrift."
Today, said president Lonnie Trasamar, Wells Federal is a full-service bank with nine locations and 80 employees.
Distinguished Business Awards went to Brunton Architects and RedSky Lounge.
Corey Brunton started as an architect in 1992 and started his own firm in 2007, later building a new office on Belgrade Avenue in North Mankato.
RedSky is owned by Michelle and David Schooff and Michelle's brother Rudy Stroup. Besides its bar and catering services, the lounge features a wide variety of musical and entertainment acts and hosts private functions.
As the state marks the 150th anniversary of the Dakota-U.S. War, two men who helped start a reconciliation effort in Mankato were honored by the Greater Mankato Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The CVB gave its Bring it Home Award to the Mahkato Wacipi Pow Wow, now in its 40th year.
Accepting the award were Bud Lawrence and Jim Buckley, who along with Dakota elder Amos Owen started the pow-wow.