It was a bit like musical chairs among business properties in Spring Valley. When damage from an ice dam prompted Minnwest Bank officials to explore combining their separate drive-up and walk-in facilities last fall, Kwik Trip had already re-located to the former BP site on North Section Avenue. That made the old Kwik Trip building on Broadway available, and it was the perfect opportunity for Minnwest to pursue a new presence and deepen its roots in the city.
“We’re glad you didn’t recognize the building,” Minnwest president Ivan Van Essen said with a chuckle when the Fillmore County Journal chatted with him after a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 15.
Minnwest maintained the original shell of the former Kwik Trip building, renovated the interior and added a vestibule and drive-up area, prompting positive feedback from customers.
“The first one who walked in said, ‘Wow, this is really nice,’” said Kyle Rupprecht, who is Minnwest’s market president for Spring Valley, Lewiston and Wykoff. “The first customer through the new drive-up also commented on the nice, wide lanes and how nice it was that they could hear the banker.”
Focus on community
Minnwest Bank is a community bank with currently 36 locations throughout Minnesota and South Dakota. The company entered the area in 2018 after purchasing Security State Bank locations in Lewiston, Wykoff and Spring Valley, where Minnwest originally operated out of two locations on Main Street and Broadway.
“We serve a farming-based community and small businesses, and we’re looking to grow and continue to do that,” Van Essen, who is based in Sioux Falls, said. “This facility will be a springboard for that.”
The new, combined facility employs 10 staff members, including four universal bankers (tellers), two ag and commercial lenders, two corporate employees, one market sales manager and one banking assistant.
Minnwest’s re-launch in Spring Valley was also a reason to celebrate for the Spring Valley Economic Development Authority (EDA), City of Spring Valley and the Spring Valley Chamber of Commerce, all of whom dispatched representatives to the ribbon cutting in support of the bank’s new presence.
“We appreciate Minnwest Bank’s continued investment in the city of Spring Valley, and we value their commitment to service excellence for our community and surrounding area,” said EDA Director Chris Hahn. “We have a lot of ‘shovels in the ground’ right now in Spring Valley, and it’s always exciting to see the completed projects. Minnwest Bank and its construction partners created a beautiful new location.”
Rupprecht echoed that sentiment.
“The community support has been incredible and comforting, and we can serve the community better than in the past” he said.
As Minnwest drew up plans to renovate the former Kwik Trip building, bank leaders were mindful of the community at the core of its longevity and success.
“This was definitely a community project. We tried to use as many local vendors as we possibly could, and they did a great job,” Rupprecht said.
At the helm was JJBK Construction Partners, who served as the general contractor and oversaw most of the construction. The teller pod inside the building was designed by Spring Valley resident Larry Storm, who also built the custom cabinets for the pod. Other companies from Spring Valley or the region who had a hand in the building transformation include O’Connell Excavating, Do it All Services, Triple EEE Roofing, Slifka Construction, Rubin Mechanical Services, Valley Home Improvement, BTR Construction, Mc Connell Electric, ACE Hardware (all of Spring Valley), Stone Expressions of Marion, Iowa, Kommit Concrete of Eyota, Route 52 Plumbing of Byron, Hidden Valley Designs of Onalaska, Wisconsin, Precision Signs of Austin, Nagle Sod and Nursery of Owatonna, as well as Mudd Brothers, M&M Asphalt, K&M Glass, Expert Insulation, Junges Flooring and Beckley’s Office Products of Rochester.
Spring Valley-based Valley Diner also was Minnwest’s go-to location for weekly meetings to discuss construction progress with JJBK. The project began last November and was completed a few weeks ago.
“We did a lot of inside work in the winter and then really hit the outside in the spring,” Rupprecht said.
When asked whether customers should be concerned about the recent turmoil in the banking industry, Van Essen gave reassurances that banks who have recently failed or faced challenges are much different than community banks like Minnwest.
Their problem, Van Essen explained, lies in how their balance sheet was structured.
“They put a bulk of their deposits into bonds, and when the rates escalated, the bond values dropped. As long as you can hold them until maturity, you are fine, but when their deposits started going down, they had to move some of their assets and take some losses. That spooked everybody and started a run on the bank,” he said.
Van Essen also stressed that Minnwest has a diverse asset base with ag, commercial, business, house and car loans, which doesn’t fluctuate with the market.
“Our deposit core is the local community,” he said. “You should always be prudent with your money and know who you’re banking with. Make sure you’re with a strong community bank. That’s where I’d stay with my money.”
When to go
Minnwest Bank’s new location is at 640 North Broadway Avenue. Lobby hours are Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drive-up hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. via an interactive teller machine (ITM), which provides a video connection to a Minnwest universal banker, who can cash checks and transfer funds without a debit card.
“This is still fairly new in our area but very popular in other parts of the country,” Rupprecht says. “It allows us to have extended hours like Saturday.”