KEI is named 2016’s Business of the Year
It has been almost two years since they established themselves in Blue Earth and Kibble Equipment Inc. (KEI) has already made a large impact in town.
Now, KEI?in Blue Earth has been announced as the recipient of the Business of the Year award by the Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce and will accept the honor at the upcoming Annual Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Banquet this Friday, Jan. 15.
The business for many years was known as Detke-Morbac but in May of 2013, KEI, which owns several John Deere dealerships in Minnesota, purchased the Blue Earth John Deere dealership and began to make plans for bigger changes with the local business.
Shortly after the purchase, Steve Kibble, one of KEI’s owners, announced they had purchased parcels of land north near I-90 to build a larger building and equipment display lot in what is now the Golden Spike Business Park.
It was then in October of 2014 that KEI broke ground at the new business park and began building.
Construction pushed through the winter in hopes of opening sooner, but a snow storm in November held up the project longer than expected.
Regardless of the project’s delayed timeline, KEI was open for business in their new location just this past June.
With first the name change of the well-known company and then a major building project of a brand new store, KEI created 18 more jobs for Blue Earth and increased their customer base up to a 50 mile radius.
They even received a recent visit from Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar who was excited to see the growth in the community with the new building in the new business park.
Craig Krysan, store lead/ sales manager at KEI in Blue Earth, says it is quite an honor to receive the Business of the Year award.
“It is just really impressive to me to see that the community we work in is recognizing us so early on. That only means that we have even more of an opportunity to positively impact our service area in many years to come,” says Krysan.
Community is a big and important part of KEI’s service Krysan says.
“Service is always number one for us. Not only do we try to be stewards and supporters of the Blue Earth area with charity events and other community-based opportunities,” he says, “but our customers are very close to us, too.”
One of the store’s most recent, more hands-on events was just this past December. Santa came to visit the John Deere dealership, while snacks and sleigh rides were also available for members of the community.
Jim Nauman, parts manager for KEI, attested to the role community members have at the local John Deere retailer.
“When our customers have children, we get to know them and watch them grow, and get to know our customers and their families very well,” says Nauman. “These people are like family to us more than they are just customers.”
Krysan says there is much more to come in KEI’s future.
“Not only are we hoping to expand our client base in the future, but we are ready to develop even more relationships with the people in our community. It’s just nice to be recognized as a new and growing business,” says Krysan.
He says it is in part of KEI’s opportunity to expand the store in Blue Earth that has lead to such an honor like the Business of the Year award.
“We’ve been given a lot of opportunities with this new store and we are very thrilled to be up and ready and running for not only our customers in the area, but the entire community we live in,” says Krysan.
And, Blue Earth’s KEI certainly has plenty of room, both physically and figuratively, to grow. KEI seems to be a testament to the town motto that claims the earth is so rich, the city grows.