Made in the Midwest: Minimizer

Posted at: 07/17/2013 6:44 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It started with an idea and a garbage can. Today they pump out more than 800 fenders per day.

This week’s Made in the Midwest takes us to Blooming Prairie where the family run company Minimizer has been growing for more than 25 years.

Since its start in 1984, a lot has changed at Minimizer in Blooming Prairie.

"He just found an old building and bought a machine," said CEO Craig Kruckeberg.

Kruckeberg’s father, Dick Kruckeberg, started the business. His grandsons are now helping to run it.

"We're up to seven lines, three robots, and over 30 years," said Kruckeberg.

Before starting Minimizer Dick Kruckeberg was  a semi-truck driver. He thought up the company’s main product when he dented his brand new steel fenders.

"About 2 weeks later my mom backed over a rubber made garbage can, he walked up and popped it out with his foot and thought, If I could hike fenders out of this stuff I'd be a hero," said Kruckeberg.

Minimizer is now famous for their durable plastic poly truck fenders.

"Drivers like them so rocks aren’t getting kicked up and denting their trucks and cracking their windows and mirrors," said Kruckeberg.

Since their start the company has branched out into many different products.

"We make floor mats, fenders, tool boxes, and mud flaps, anything that can be made from  plastic that can go on the inside or outside of the part of the truck," said Kruckeberg.

Most of their products are made using molds. The sheets of plastic are then melted and sucked into place on the mold. They are then cut by robots and packaged for shipping.

The company keeps it all as local as possible.

"Everything that we have manufactured, all of our parts the install components everything is made in the U.S. and 95% are made in a 40 mile radius," said Kruckeberg.

Many of their 55 employees are even from the area.

"I graduated from Blooming Prairie where I was raised," said Brandon Haubenschild.

Minimizer is always coming up with something new. On average the company grows by about 25 percent each year.

When the family looks back on where it all started, it never ceases to amaze them.

"My dad nudged me and said, hey not bad for a truck driver, I said it was a great idea, but it was my marketing that got us here, so we both take a little credit," said Kruckeberg.

Minimizer has earned numerous recognition and awards throughout the years. Most recently Craig Kruckeberg was one of 6 finalists in the Midwest for the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year.