Fergus Monument celebrates 130thPublished 11:36am Monday, August 12, 2013
Over the years they’ve helped countless number of people in the community grieving as they memorialize their loved ones. As time has passed, their name has taken the longevity of the stone they work with. Fergus Falls Monument Company celebrates its 130th year of serving the community this month.
As another milestone passes for the historic company, they will celebrate by looking to the future. This will be the last year owner Bob Welle and his brother, Tom, will head the company’s operations.
This upcoming year, brothers Ryan and Michael Welle will take over for their father and uncle. With the passage of ownership moving down a generation once again, the family has even more reason to celebrate their time in Fergus Falls. The brothers will take over the business much like their father and uncle before them, though things weren’t easy for Bob and Tom at the very beginning.
They took over after their father’s death in 1970 while Bob was still serving in the Navy. Over 40 years later, the two are fi nally ready to pass the historic business on.
“I know they had it tough,” Ryan said.“Those were tougher times for them. But they’ve done such a good job at building it up.”
For Ryan, who has worked in the company on and off for the last 10 years, the opportunity to take the lead has always been something he’s looked forward to. He was drawn to the monument business early on and said he enjoys the work his family has done for so long.
“I go and talk to folks, I hear life stories, that’s basically my job. Selling the monument is residual, everything else you go in and just talk to people,” Ryan said. “It’s really neat.”
The opportunity to workwith family is also a special aspect that Ryan cherishes. Over the years, the family has grown accustomed to working together, and Ryan said they know to leave business matters behind them as they walk out the front door. Their family-based attitude has helped mold their business as well. It has been their approach to working with families that has helped solidify their position in the community.
Michael pointed to the loyal staff the company has had for years as one reason they have gained such a reputation.
“We have such great people who work here,” Michael said. “It’s a core of just great people who have worked here so long.”
As another year passes, Ryan said they have, and always will, take pride in that approach.
“We’ve seen a lot of companies come and go in the monument business,” Ryan said. “We definitely take pride in that we’ve been here so long and that it’s a family owned business. I’m extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to even do this.”