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Staying Stong and Sticking Around: A Look at Some of Richfield's Long-Standing Businesses

Richfield Patch takes a look at a handful of long-standing, family-owned businesses in the city.

While Richfield is working on many projects that will attract new business, it also has the luxury of having a handful of businesses that put down roots before and on the cusp of the Richfield boom in the 1950s and 1960s.

Richfield Patch spoke with owners of four long-standing businesses in Richfield; each one continuing to be family-owned and operated. Here, business owners talk about their business and what they believe continues to make them a success.

1.

Business Type: Auto repair service

History and Owners: This family business started as a blacksmith shop in 1893 and is now run by Joel and Bob Elsen.

"It's always been a family business," said Bob Elsen. "People know we're here, we've always been honest and fair. Word of mouth spreads our reputation and that's why we're still here. Joel and I are fourth generation owners and there's a fifth generation working here."

2.

Business Type: Plumbing services

History and Owners: Blaylock was started in 1938 by Earl Blaylock. His children now run the business.

"We were one of the first plumbing businesses in the area," said co-owner Wally Blaylock, son of Earl, who also added many well-known plumbing businesses in the area, such as Winslow Plumbing, got their start after the owners worked at Blaylock.

Wally Baylock said diversity in service has been key to staying successful in Richfield.

"Being able to shift our focus of interest to whatever was the most prevalent," he said. Wally said they've serviced apartment and townhouse developments while also maintaining their residential service.

3.

Service: Plumbing services

History and Owners: Haeg Plumbing was started in 1952 by husband and wife duo, Ray and Audrey Haeg, who are still the present owners.

"We usually have a lot of family working here," said Ray Haeg. "We still have four immediate family members working here. My son Wayne is a master plumber and eventually he'll take over the business."

The Haegs built their business on Ray Haeg's parent's family farm property.

"Ma and dad farmed this area back in the 30's and I built the shop on the farm," he said.

4. (VPI)

Business Type: Manufacturer of protective coatings

History and Owners: Jack Eriksen launched Viking Paints decades ago and he currently owns the shop with his daughter-in-law, Patricia Eriksen.

"VPI is one of the very few manufacturing businesses in Richfield," Jack said. "VPI is very family oriented–employing either relatives or close friends."

When asked why he chose Richfield for his business, Jack Eriksen said, "[The city] permitted us to both manufacture and sell our products from the same building– unlike other suburbs. VPI began with no customers or any known prospects–only the confidence of the founder that it would succeed, and it has and still is growing and generating record sales."

Richfield Chamber of Commerce Director Steve Lindgren said it was amazing that Richfield had a number of business that span multiple generations.

"[The chamber congratulates] and acknowledges these multi-generation establishments," Lindgen said. "[For years, these businesses] have provided goods and services to the citizens of Richfield, and the metropolitan area in many cases."

Congratulations to all the Richfield business that have found a home in the city for so many years.

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