RRV : 100 years and countingTechnology, customer service keeps century-old businesses alive
For more than 100 years, Dakota Monument Co. has crafted memorials that mark the passing on of a loved one.
The company, which was founded in 1911 by O.C. Anderson, H.F. Nesne and O. Skognes, has always had an Anderson at the helm. Today, the business is owned and operated by Dave Anderson. Although the name and the ownership have stayed the same, the art of creating monuments has changed.
Dave Anderson, owner of Dakota Monument in Fargo, N.D., says technology and production have changed the landscape. “Everything from design work to cutting work was done by hand years ago,” he says. Today the work is done using computer technology.
On June 27, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota will recognize Red River Valley businesses, such as Dakota Monument, as well as others from across western Minnesota and North Dakota, who have been in business 100 years or more. The North Dakota and Western Minnesota Centennial Luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the North Dakota State University Alumni Center in Fargo, N.D. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem will be the keynote speaker.
The centennial luncheon is one of three in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2012 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. The luncheon highlights how ethical business practices encourage longevity and stability for companies and the market.
Adapting to changes
Dakota Monument builds more than 2,000 memorials a year for customers in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota.
The company longevity can be attributed to its ability to change with the market and the regional demographics
When Dakota Monument first started, families buried their loved ones on the farm and had family plots with monuments and individual graves. Then in the 1950s, the garden concept came about promoting all flat markers. Now, that has changed back to upright markers and from traditional shapes to shapes that can be customized depending on the customers’ wishes. Anderson says he’s even made them in the shape of stock cars and motorcycles.
The material used to make the memorials has also changed from marble, slate and sandstone to granite because of the hardness of the stone.
Strata Corp., which was started operating in 1910, is also being recognized.
Kevin Opdahl, controller for Strata in West Fargo, N.D., says it is excellent that the BBB is recognizing businesses for their 100-year milestone.
“On our logo it says 100 years of commitment to excellence and commitment to customer service,” Opdahl says. “We take pride in what we do. We strive for excellent customer satisfaction.”
Strata continues to grow its heavy highway construction, concrete and aggregate sales company in North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. Today, it has more than 2,000 employees.
The company’s commitment to customer service has been important over the past 100 years.
Popplers Music Inc. in Grand Forks, N.D., has also been around more than 100 years and is being recognized. “I am pleased for those who have gotten us this far,” says Don Langlie, the owner for the past five years. “I’m carrying on, but they deserve the honor of carrying on that longevity.”
Popplers, which was started in 1909, hires employees who work with print music and have teaching experience and music degrees. “We think it is necessary,” Langlie says.
Langlie says employees realize and understand the need for relationships. “It is not a commodity. It is such a personal thing,” he says. RRVPB
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