The story of Two Rivers Enterprises began in 1949 at the Opole Blacksmith Shop. This shop was owned and operated by three brothers: Vince, Roy and Frank Warzecha. Opole, located halfway between Holdingford and Rice, Minn., is an unincorporated community north of St. Cloud.
The brothers grew the blacksmith shop until it eventually became Polar Tank Trailer. After selling the company in 1967, Frank started Lake State Industries in Rice. At Lake State his two sons, Bob and Dan Warzecha, learned about the stainless steel industry.
Bob, currently president of Two Rivers Enterprises, with Dan as vice president, grew up in the industry and around the area they’ve based their business on.
“I took a few college courses, but dad (Frank) taught us everything we know about stainless steel,” Bob said.
The brothers received their start when they were about 13 years old, picking up scrap and cleaning up, as well as learning the basics of welding at Lake State.
“At 13 years old, we had a contract to create pallet supports for the U.S. government to be used in the Vietnam War,” Bob said. “It was my job to wash them and get them ready for painting.”
After putting in many years working with their father at Lake State, the two brothers decided to strike out on their own, sold their stake in Lake State and opened Two Rivers Enterprises in Holdingford, their hometown.
“Growing up, grandma would tell us stories about going to Two River Lake south of town to catch big fish,” Bob said. “So when our attorney asked us to pick a name for the business, it stuck out. We want to catch the big fish.”
And catch big fish is what Two Rivers Enterprises does.
With their experience, they chose to focus on providing stainless steel equipment for food processing, foodservice and restaurants.
“We’ve done work pretty much all over the United States – some work in Fiji, Trinidad & Tobago and other places,” Bob said. “In the States, you’ll find our clients in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, New York, Nashville, Memphis, D.C., etc.”
Bob noted their customers tend to stick around. He said they pretty much have the exact same customers year after year, and just keep adding new ones.
“Clients tell us we’re the best fabricator they’ve ever dealt with,” Bob added.
Employees also tend to stick around. By offering fair pay, 401K, 100% covered health insurance, profit sharing, employer-paid long-term disability insurance and more, they’ve cultivated a strong team and recruiting culture.
“All of our employees are partners. They’ve been a huge part of our success from the beginning,” Bob said. “We had a profit sharing distribution just the other night, and let me tell you, everyone left with a smile on their face.”
While you can see a full company timeline below, these days they’re focused on adding a second shift, and concentrating on better technology to serve the medical and pharmacy markets.
“My dad, Frank, passed away on March 17, 2015,” Bob said. “After spending some time in the hospital before he died, Dan and I realized there were some definite improvements which can be made in our field to better serve these clients.”
While the details are confidential, the Warzecha brothers and Two Rivers Enterprises are planning to provide cleaner, safer workplaces across all medical practices in the near future.