The Frandsen Legacy
From its humble beginnings as a small lumber company, Frandsen Corporation has evolved over 70 years into a diverse, entrepreneurial organization of companies in the financial services, manufacturing, and distribution segments. But it doesn’t stop there. The Frandsen organization today is a major benefactor to people, causes, and communities throughout the Upper Midwest through the Frandsen Family Foundation.
Highlights of the Frandsen Journey
1953 Dennis made his first real estate investment with the purchase of 200 acres of timber at Rush City, Minnesota, and moved his business to Rush City.
1961 Frandsen purchased a partial interest, along with the Rush City Development Corporation, in Star Tool Company, a plastic injection molding enterprise that relocated from the Twin Cities to Rush City.
1963 Dennis became majority owner and president of Star Tool. He renamed the company Plastech Research, Inc. (later Plastech Corporation).
1973 Plastech moved from downtown Rush City to its newly constructed plant in the Rush City Industrial Park. Today Plastech is a state-of-the-art campus with more than ten buildings, operating round the clock 360 days a year. In the fall of that year, Dennis took All American Snowmobile Parts to the retail market with a nationwide direct-mail catalog, and changed the name of the company to Dennis Kirk.
1976 Plastech created a separate tooling division as a result of the acquisition of the Starmold division of Twin Tool in Hugo, Minnesota. This was the first of many acquisitions the company would make in succeeding decades, several in Minnesota as well as Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and New Mexico. Each acquisition added new customers and new product capabilities.
1977 Frandsen sold Dennis Kirk, yet it remains one of the leading independent distributors of snowmobile, motorcycle, and ATV parts and accessories in the world—still located in Rush City.
1980 Frandsen became a partner in Kinger’s Mall Associates and constructed a new retail shopping mall in Rush City.
1981 Plastech purchased R.C. Company of Tampa, Florida, a manufacturer of plastic hair curlers, and transferred operations to Minnesota. Frandsen’s son Bob established RC Company of Rush City to perform assembly operations for the curlers. RC Company later acquired a line of luminarias (decorative bag-and-candle lights) and expanded it to hundreds of decorative lighting and novelty products that were sold all over the country. Operations were phased out in 2008.
1982 Dennis Frandsen purchased his first bank, Fidelity State Bank of Luck, Wisconsin. Frandsen Bankshares was formed, which eventually became Frandsen Financial Corporation. Additional bank acquisitions soon followed, establishing a business model of growth through acquisition of profitable banks.
1983 Plastech opened a sales office in El Paso, Texas.
1986 A profile in the Minnesota Business Journal entitled “Mr. Rush City” recognized Dennis Frandsen’s impact on the town.
1994 Dennis gave 117 acres of land on West Rush Lake near Braham, Minnesota, to Chisago County—the largest donation the county had ever received. Today the land is a county park known as Dennis Frandsen County Park.
1996 Frandsen acquired Miller Manufacturing, a manufacturer and distributor of farm, ranch, and pet supplies.
1997 Frandsen Corporation was formed as a central management company for the growing enterprise, which then included ten banks and two manufacturing companies with multiple locations. The Frandsen Technology Center in Arden Hills, Minnesota, was opened, and is now the headquarters for Frandsen Financial Corporation.
1998 Traveling on a bus to the NBA all-star game with Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor, Dennis negotiated the purchase of Taylor’s bank holding company, Taylor Bancshares—adding six bank charters and doubling the size of the bank holdings. That summer Dennis was featured on the cover of Minnesota Business and Opportunities magazine.
1999 Dennis and his son Greg purchased InterNet, Inc., a converter of plastic and metal mesh based in New Hope, Minnesota. They renamed it Industrial Netting. Dennis was named Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year for the Upper Midwest by Ernst & Young.
2003 With the closing of the last satellite plant in Amery, Wisconsin, Plastech consolidated its entire operation in Rush City. Dennis Frandsen received the John F. Cade Award, presented annually to an outstanding entrepreneur by the John M. Morrison Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
2005 Miller Manufacturing purchased a 285,000-square-foot building in Glencoe, Minnesota, and centralized manufacturing and distribution operations there.
2007 Miller Manufacturing purchased Springer Magrath Company of McCook, Nebraska, adding a line of professional veterinary supplies to its offerings. Frandsen Financial Corporation opened a new financial advisory firm, Frandsen Investment Services.
2009 Dennis Frandsen was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame.
2011 Frandsen Financial consolidated its banks into one charter as Frandsen Bank & Trust, with over thirty branches in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Springer Magrath relocated from Nebraska to the Miller plant in Glencoe.
2012 Miller Manufacturing purchased the farm store division of Double L Group of Dyersville, Iowa, adding some 100 new products and increasing the Miller line to nearly a thousand items.
2014 Miller Manufacturing purchased Allied Precision Industries of Elburn, Illinois. With this acquisition, Miller’s product count handily topped a thousand items and broadened and strengthened their position in the farm, ranch, and pet categories, as well as adding growth opportunities for Plastech.
2016 Frandsen Financial Corporation purchased the former Provincial Bank, with offices in Lakeville, Apple Valley, and Hastings, Minnesota. This acquisition brought Frandsen Bank & Trust closer into the Twin Cities market area.
2017 With the encouragement of customers, Frandsen Bank & Trust opened a new, full-service community bank in downtown Duluth.
2017 Dennis Frandsen initiated a beneficent relationship with Lakes Region EMS, the ambulance service that services major portions of east-central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. His donations included an aircraft hangar at the Rush City Regional Airport; tractor and cart to tug the life-support helicopter in and out; major improvements at all Lakes Region EMS bases; one fully equipped new ambulance for northwest Wisconsin; and equipping the entire ambulance fleet with hydraulic gurneys.
2018 The Frandsen Family Foundation announced it would offer full two-year scholarships plus an allowance for books to any 2018 Rush City High School graduate who attends Pine Technical & Community College in Pine City, Minnesota.
2019 Frandsen Corporation purchased the former Lakeland Tool & Engineering in Anoka, Minnesota, along with its satellite plant in Frederic, Wisconsin. The Frandsen scholarship offer was extended to all high school graduates in Braham, Minnesota, and Luck, Wisconsin, and the choice of schools was expanded as well.
2020 Frederic was added to the list of high schools eligible to receive the Frandsen two-year scholarship.
2021 Frandsen Financial Corporation purchased Bank of Zumbrota in Zumbrota, Minnesota, and Pine Island Bank in Pine Island, Minnesota. Pine City became the fifth high school to be offered eligibility to receive the Frandsen Family Foundation two-year scholarships.
2022 Frandsen Bank & Trust opened a full-service banking office in Hermantown, Minnesota. This addition expanded the Frandsen footprint to 46 communities, today employing over 1,200 people in financial services, manufacturing, and distribution.