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Hotel Online Special Report
Minnesota Resort Association 
Honors John Rykken 
and Vera Kinder
St. Paul MN - Nov. 1998 - John Rykken, owner and operator of Timber Bay Lodge & Houseboats, Babbitt, has been named 1998 Minnesota Resorter of the Year by the Minnesota Resort Association. Rykken's son, Ron, a part-owner in the business, accepted the award at the Association's annual meeting at Madden's Resort on behalf of his father, who was out of the country.

&'en though he was not present, Rykken's peers were able to view a videotape of the surprise presentation of the award to him at his resort by association staff. Rykken was taken off guard by the unannounced visit, but was clearly touched by the award. Through interviews and a montage of photos, the video offered an often lighthearted glimpse of the Rykkens' 18 years in the business.

Afterward, Rykken said the personal touch is the key to success in the resort business.

"This is a service business," Rykken said. "You build it based on personal relationships. You get to know everybody in every cabin. We spend a lot of time with everybody."

That philosophy has helped the resort to a very high return rate for customers. Rykken said the resort now has second and third generations of families returning to the resort.

Rykken was quick to credit his family for the resort's success. The. first five years the Rykkens owned Timber Bay Lodge & Houseboats, John still held a management level position at Control Data in the Twin Cities. The resort was capably run by his wife, Toots, and his three sons, Ron, Bob and Tom.

"We're very much a family oriented resort," he said. "The rapport you develop with your customers, a lot of times It's your family that develops it." he said. "My wife and three sons were the front line of the resort in dealing with the people and the problems."

And in the first few years there were many problems, he said, mainly of the physical variety affecting septic and electrical systems, boats and motors. But the family worked through those.

"Looking back we can say we accomplished a lot," Rykken said. Making improvements was a little like "swallowing an elephant," he said. "You do it one bite at a time. The key is that every year you can say that you've done something to improve."

The Rykkens added new houseboats and cabins and consistently upgraded existing facilities.

Bob and Tom Rykken have moved on to new careers after having put in nearly ten years each in building the business. Toots and Ron are still actively involved.

"This is one of the few businesses still run by Mom and Pop organizations," Rykken said. "Almost everything else has been taken over by corporate franchises. The vast majority of resorts are family run operations."

Rykken has been active in the Minnesota Resort Association for 15 years and served as president in 1991.

Rykken joins these past recipients of this prestigious award:
 

1997 Hal Rime, Buckhorn on Caribou Lake, Marcell
1996 Dee Sullivan, Sullivan's Resort & Campground, Brainerd
1995 Bruce Kerfoot, Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais
1994 Gene Glader, Cascade Lodge, Grand Marais
1993 Andy Kroneberger, Indian Beach Resort, Spicer
1992 Jan Gladson, Whispering Waters Resort, Underwood
1991 Bill Peters, Sunset Beach, Glenwood
1990 David Kaldahl, Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes
1989 Joe "Mac" McGuire, McGuire's Piney Ridge, Pine River
1988 Sherm Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh's Resort, Brainerd
1987 Dave Tuttle, Bearskin Lodge, Grand Marais (Gunflint Trail)
1986 Mark Ludlow, Ludlow's Island Lodge, Lake Vermillon
1985 Roger Schwieters, Boyd Lodge, Crosslake
1984 John Arnold, Madden's on Gull Lake, Brainerd
1983 Sue Leagjeld, Driftwood Family Resort, Pine River
1982 Fred Boos, Grand View Lodge, Brainerd
1981 Jack Ruttger, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood
 
Vera Kinder Receives Pioneer Award 
from Minnesota Resort Association

Vera Kinder, owner and operator of Forestview Lodge In Walker, received the Minnesota Resort Association's Pioneer Award during the Association's annual meeting and fall conference at Madden's Resort, Brainerd.

Kinder is just the sixth recipient of the award given by the Association to resorters who have made a significant contribution to the development of the resort industry in Minnesota.

The award was presented to Kinder by fellow resorter Dee Sullivan who said that "Vera is so well respected. She lives and dies for the resort. Her guests know it and her peers know it. I don't know anyone more dedicated to the service of her guests than Vera."

Kinder and her husband, Orville, who died in 1991, bought the resort in 1952 before electricity was available in the area. At that time the resort, which was opened in 1924, had 17 cottages and a lodge. Over the years, they made steady improvements, adding, besides electricity, a swimming pool, an extra dining room and meeting room to the lodge, three new cottages, three handicapped accessible cabins and a large marina.

Kinder, now in her 47th year in the business, has long been active in the MRA. Forestview Lodge was one of the original resorts that chartered the association in the 1940's.

After Kinder's husband died, her son Neill, a registered pharmicist in California, came back to Minne-sota to help Vera run the office and kitchen. Son Brook runs the marina and outside crew.

Kinder joins the following resorters who have received this award: Jim Madden, Madden's on Gull Lake, in 1989; Justine Kerfoot, Gunflint Lodge, in 1991; Goldie Pohlman, Nelson's Resort, in 1993; Eleanore Gmeinder, Gull Lake Resort, in 1995; and John Arnold, Madden's Resort, in 1996.
 

1997 Hal Rime, Buckhorn on Caribou Lake, Marcell
1996 Dee Sullivan, Sullivan's Resort & Campground, Brainerd
1995 Bruce Kerfoot, Gunflint Lodge, Grand Marais
1994 Gene Glader, Cascade Lodge, Grand Marais
1993 Andy Kroneberger, Indian Beach Resort, Spicer
1992 Jan Gladson, Whispering Waters Resort, Underwood
1991 Bill Peters, Sunset Beach, Glenwood
1990 David Kaldahl, Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes
1989 Joe "Mac" McGuire, McGuire's Piney Ridge, Pine River
1988 Sherm Kavanaugh, Kavanaugh's Resort, Brainerd
1987 Dave Tuttle, Bearskin Lodge, Grand Marais (Gunflint Trail)
1986 Mark Ludlow, Ludlow's Island Lodge, Lake Vermillon
1985 Roger Schwieters, Boyd Lodge, Crosslake
1984 John Arnold, Madden's on Gull Lake, Brainerd
1983 Sue Leagjeld, Driftwood Family Resort, Pine River
1982 Fred Boos, Grand View Lodge, Brainerd
1981 Jack Ruttger, Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood
Contact:
Minnesota Resort Association
Chuck Mowrey, 
Communications Director
(651)222-7401
Also See: Butch Eggen Elected 1999 Minnesota Resort Association President / Nov 1998