Opportunity knocks

Dec. 15, 2014
It all started 30 years ago with an accident and an idea. Today, Blooming Prairie, Minn.-based Minimizer serves as an example of what can result from a willingness to identify an opportunity or a solution where others see only a coincidence or a problem.

It all started 30 years ago with an accident and an idea.

Lorraine Kruckeberg was backing her car out of her home’s driveway when she ran over a Rubbermaid trashcan. Her truck driver husband, Dick, was nearby, so he walked over to pick it up from under the vehicle.

After Dick Kruckeberg straightened it out, he noticed the trashcan looked as good as new. It then dawned on him that it would be incredibly beneficial to make truck fenders out of the same durable and flexible Polyethylene material. So Dick Kruckeberg enlisted the help of a friend who worked in the molding business carved out the mold for his new take on fenders. With that, a company -- Spray Control Systems Inc., which would eventually come to be known as Minimizer -- was born.

In those early days, the company consisted of Dick Kruckeberg driving around with a set of Polyethylene fenders in the back of his pickup truck while he called on area dealers and trucking companies to gauge their interest in buying them. Three decades later, Minimizer has evolved into a 60-person operation based in Blooming Prairie, Minn., with an international distribution under the direction of Dick Kruckeberg’s son and Minimizer CEO Craig Kruckeberg. In addition, the company has expanded its offerings beyond fenders. Minimizer is now a provider of bracket kits, toolboxes, customized floor mats, LED lights, slick disks and decorated mud flaps.

It’s quite heartening and inspiring to consider that a successful, family-owned business was able to grow and evolve from such unique, humble and accidental origins. Given Minimizer’s backstory, one cannot help but wonder what other useful innovations might be developed if people were only more willing to stop, take a look around and identify an opportunity or a solution where others see only a coincidence or a problem.

According to Craig Kruckeberg, the company was built on his father’s desire to take an idea and see it out to fruition. As a result, he says, Minimizer strives to create opportunities for its employees to create game-changing, innovative products and solutions much like Dick Kruckeberg did.

The Minimizer CEO is also quick to add that the company’s mission – to transform an idea into something tangible and impactful – has and will remain in line with his father’s vision for Spray Control Systems Inc. when it came into existence three decades ago.

“If I felt that we were changing what Mom and Dad started, I probably wouldn’t be as proud of (the company),” says Craig Kruckeberg.

“My father set the rules in the beginning, and we just kept doing for 30 years.”

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