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"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Sunday, December 4th, 2016
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Jeff and Kathy Hebl find new beginning with their independent business


Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in Preston Features

Jeff and Kathy Hebl stand in front of their company van. Photo by Hannah Winget

By Hannah Wingert

“It wasn’t easy to walk away from that $45,000 piece of paper that declared our franchise with Servicemaster. We’d invested a LOT of time and money into it,” said Jeff Hebl. But walk away from it he did, along with his co-owner and wife, Kathy Hebl.

Jeff and Kathy originally bought the cleaning and restoration franchise in 1994, expecting it to be a short-term endeavor that they would build and then sell. But when their children came along, they realized that keeping their Servicemaster business would allow them the flexibility to be there for their kids when they needed them. When the kids were young, they often took them along on jobs, giving them small tasks such as sweeping or picking up garbage.

When the Hebls first started business with their Servicemaster franchise, things seemed to go well with the corporation. Their franchise allowed them exclusive rights to Fillmore and Houston counties for their territory, but then Servicemaster decided to do away with borders and territories and allow their franchises to go wherever there was work. This meant that Jeff found himself bidding on the same jobs as other area Servicemaster owners. He also became dissatisfied with the unrealistic expectations the company had for their franchises. “A lot of their decisions weren’t applicable to a rural area and neither were the prices they wanted us to charge,” Jeff pointed out.

“I’m not trying to badmouth or shame Servicemaster” Jeff said and added that he believes that buying the franchise was a good thing for him and his wife. But after 19 years, it had gotten to the point that Jeff and Kathy knew they were either going to sell their business or disenfranchise and go independent. “We decided that it was best for us and for our customers to break away from the franchise. If we’re going to stay in this until the end, why not do it for us instead of for someone else?” Jeff asked.

So they chose to go independent. “We generate less revenue now, but we’re much happier,” Jeff said, and Kathy agreed. “The decisions (for the company) are now made locally by local people.”

“Our employees are the backbone of our company. We don’t ask our employees to do any jobs that we wouldn’t do ourselves,” said Jeff. The work is labor-intensive and not for everyone, but Jeff and Kathy make sure they’re up front with potential employe .....
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County bounty: feet, tails, pelts, and ears

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in All Features

By Jason Sethre Since 1874, in a community that resembles a roller coaster, often referred to as the land of the Shea family (a plentiful farm family spanning generations that occupy more than half of the town), there has been the annual Viola Goph ..... 
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Henrytown Lutheran Church is rising from the ashes

Mon, Jul 4th, 2016
Posted in Canton Features

By Barb Jeffers Since the loss of their church by a devastating fire on April 16, 2016, the congregation of Henrytown Lutheran Church may have been without their church but they never lost faith. Before the smoke had cleared from the fire at Henr ..... 
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Local martial arts master finds fulfillment in refereeing

Mon, Jun 27th, 2016
Posted in Harmony Features

By Hannah Wingert “I was just looking for something else to do after wrestling ended,” remembers Dan Rogers. He had just finished his wrestling career in college and wanted to replace it with something else while he completed his undergrad in ..... 
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No limit on fun during DNR Fishing Day

Mon, Jun 20th, 2016
Posted in Lanesboro Features

By Barb Jeffers On a beautiful summer day, there is no better place to be than in Sylvan Park in Lanesboro, Minn. with a fishing pole in your hand. Many visitors with several area groups had the opportunity to spend a day not only fishing in Sy ..... 
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F & M Community Bank celebrates 105 years

Mon, Jun 20th, 2016
Posted in Preston Features

When the F & M Community Bank was first started in March of 1911 by a group of local individuals, they had no idea how much the bank would grow and change over the next 105 years. “When I started working at the bank full-time in September 1982 ..... 
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Lanesboro School welcomes new superintendent

Mon, Jun 20th, 2016
Posted in Lanesboro Features

As soon as Matt Schultz saw Lanesboro Public School’s posting for a new superintendent, he knew he wanted the job. He applied for it, went through the interview process and was thrilled to hear the news that he had gotten the job. He will be rep ..... 
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St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Harmony to hold final service

Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in Harmony Features

By Hannah Wingert St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, also known as the Big Springs Church, has been a landmark on County Road 22 outside of Harmony for over a century now. The congregation was first organized in January 1870 and in 1873, the church memb ..... 
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Mr. and Miss Buffalo Bill chosen

Mon, Jun 13th, 2016
Posted in Lanesboro Features

As Buffalo Bill Days in Lanesboro, Minn. quickly approaches, the Buffalo Bill Days committee decided to hold an essay contest for the fifth graders at the Lanesboro school. The winners of that contest were announced during an awards ceremony at ..... 
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