2021 Minnesota Family Business Awards Finalists

Recognizing successful family businesses and the values they perpetuate.

Broders’ Restaurants

Headquarters: Minneapolis

Inception: 1982 

Family members in the business: 4

Employees: 100

Broders’ Restaurants is a trio of South Minneapolis Italian restaurants started by Tom and Molly Broder and run today by their three sons, with guidance from their mother. (Tom Broder died several years ago.) Broders’ Cucina Italiana, Broders’ Pasta Bar, and the most recent addition, Terzo, have evolved into neighborhood institutions. The family kept all three open during the pandemic and is looking toward the future, remodeling the spaces and updating the leadership structure with growth and employee development in mind.

Elsa’s House of Sleep

Headquarters: St. Paul

Inception: 1997

Family members in the business: 5

Employees: 14

Founded by Elsa Rezene as a mattress store, Elsa’s House of Sleep is now a full-service furniture store. Rezene passed away in 2004, and her son Tetra Constantino took over ownership and management of the business. Today, all three of her children and several other family members work for the business, which has two stores, although one remains closed due to riot-related damage. Still, in the last five years, Elsa’s has grown from $1.5 million to $2 million in revenue and pivoted to e-commerce during the pandemic.

Sever’s Fall Festival by Peterson Family Farm

Headquarters: Shakopee

Inception: 1997

Family members in the business: 6

Employees: 50-150

The Peterson property is a working farm that hosts seasonal events. Established in 1890 by Sever Peterson I, the farm primarily sold produce until 1997, when the third generation opened a fall festival and corn maze that drew upward of 100,000 pre-Covid. In 2019, the fourth generation added Sever’s Holiday Lights, and a drive-through display helped keep them afloat in 2020. Now the family is focused on expanding agri-tainment events.


Headquarters: Rogers

Inception: 1976

Family members in the business: 3

Employees: 70

Founded by Chuck Groebner in 1976, Groebner (formerly Groebner & Associates) is a manufacturing representative and distribution company that specializes in selling, stocking, and advising on natural gas products, from the pipeline to the meter. Today, Groebner has facilities in Minnesota, Illinois, Kansas, and Texas, as well as a sales team across the U.S. This year, Chuck’s son and CEO Joe Groebner transitioned leadership to his two children; the new generation is focused on providing continued support for the industry’s ever-changing needs.

Hewitt Docks, Lifts & Pontoon Legs

Headquarters: Nicollet

Inception: 1971

Family members in the business: 6

Employees: 85

While it started as Bauer Welding Shop, offering welding, machining, and automotive repair, a request to help build a dock prompted owner Larry Hewitt to pivot to a business that designs and manufactures docks, boat lifts, and pontoon legs in its 450,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Today, Larry and Linda Hewitt are retired, and two of their children own the business. They saw increased demand during the pandemic and are focused on increasing employee morale after a tough year and a half. 

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