Kevin and Mark Dierkhissing owners of Harold’s Club in Dodge Center were given the Dodge Center Chamber Business Persons of the Year award on February 3. Photo by Larissa Behne
By Ruth Hanson
Harold Dierkhissing would be proud.
The club on Main Street in Dodge Center has been his sons, Mark's and Kevin's, business since 1974. The brothers were named the Chamber of Commerce Business People of the Year at the Dodge Center Chamber annual meeting on Monday, February 3.
Their story begins when the two boys were growing up in Mazeppa. They graduated from high school there. Kevin went to work at the Holiday Inn South in Rochester at the front desk. Mark worked at the grocery store in Mazeppa.
"I did everything," he said.
Harold, their father, managed the Mazeppa Liquor Store. Gordy Rigg told him that the Municipal Liquor Store in Dodge Center, managed by Maxine Unger, Gene Unger's wife, was thinking of going private.
"If it hadn't been for Leonard Talcott, the mayor of Dodge Center, we wouldn't be here today," Kevin said.
"He was very helpful in getting this going," Mark added.
Elmer White had a 3.2 burger and fries place next door and sold it to them after his wife died. Bob Gunderson had a theater in the building where they are now. People remember that place as a movie house where they could go to the movies for 75 cents.
Kevin and Mark opened the first Harold's Club in the former 3.2 beer place and ran it there for two years. It took a year to remodel the present Harold's Club. They moved there in November of 1975.
"Our dad never worked there," Kevin said. "He worked at the Mazeppa Liquor Store until he passed away in 1978."
He said he likes working at Harold's because he sees different people every day.
"We thank the community and the surrounding community for all their support," Mark said. "We have been blessed with good help."
Regina Timm was their first waitress and has been followed by a handful of waitresses now.
Marie Gilbertson was a waitress at Harold's for over 30 years - until she was killed in a car accident. She got broadsided one evening on her way home from work.
"It is hard to believe that business has been here for 40 years," Jay Standinger, Dodge Center Chamber president said as he presented the 2014 Business People of the Year with their award at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. "They have touched many lives in Dodge Center and area communities. Many have celebrated coming of age, weddings, births, coming home; good times and bad, they have been involved. When you enter their establishment, you are welcomed."
And Mom, Mary Ann Dierkhissing, is very proud her boys got this award.