Leo’s Potato Dumplings, positioned in Lankin, North Dakota, is on the market. The enterprise will be relocated to the appropriate entrepreneurial, meals business-minded particular person. I reached out to Mary and Jerry Hodny, who’ve owned and operated the enterprise since 2009 once they bought from founder Leo Bosh, age 87 on the time.
Bosh began the enterprise in 1989. The potato dumplings he created and that are carried on by the Hodnys are Czechoslovakian in heritage and hold “Czech heritage alive” for the Hodnys, who stay within the household dwelling in-built 1897 on the homestead based by Jerry’s great-grandfather’s Czech household.
Potato dumplings should not solely a meals enterprise for the Hodnys. They’re a rural cultural merchandise and a value-added product for agriculture, as they’re made out of domestically grown elements.
“We’ve witnessed moms and grandmothers inform their youngsters that they don’t seem to be making dumplings anymore as a result of they’ll purchase Leo’s potato dumplings,” mentioned Mary Hodny. “Leo’s Potato Dumplings are made with nearly all North Dakota elements. They’re a easy, hearty, Czech consolation meals that lots of people get pleasure from.”
Mary and Jerry expanded the potato dumpling enterprise over the previous 13 years of possession and now are searching for a purchaser to develop and proceed their rural enterprise.
Initially the enterprise was frozen merchandise solely going to a couple shops. Now, the Hodnys self-deliver the potato dumplings to shops all through the Crimson River Valley of North Dakota and northern Minnesota, and a distributor, S&S Roadrunner in Bismarck, North Dakota, helped increase the attain to the outlying areas of North Dakota and 4 surrounding states. Moreover, they created new merchandise within the enterprise, Czech Fries and Kolache.
I nearly all the time have a pack of Leo’s Potato Dumplings in my freezer and serve them with a beef or pork roast within the fall and winter months as a consolation meals all of us love.
In the event you’re from a rural higher Midwest neighborhood, it’s possible you’ll know potato dumplings as a cultural meals merchandise, no matter your heritage. My household was simply speaking final weekend about if and when the native small city café would begin “potato dumpling nights” once more within the fall and proceed by the winter.
For Leo’s product, “Historically, the potato dumplings are cooked from frozen in boiling water, making it straightforward for anybody so as to add them to the dinner desk as a hearty facet dish. We’ve recognized individuals to make use of the dough for soup dumplings, whereas others boil them after which fry them in butter for a special texture expertise,” mentioned Mary Hodny.
Mary, 58, and I spoke this week by cellphone. She shared, “I’m not previous and feeble, however a youthful particular person can go locations with this enterprise.” The enterprise grew considerably by Delight of Dakota vacation showcases over the previous decade round North Dakota with individuals sampling the product and shopping for it.
As soon as the enterprise is offered, Mary hopes to spend extra time with their grandchildren. She mentioned the potato dumplings enterprise is “actually a labor of affection.” She’s going to proceed with a meals truck and catering enterprise she and her daughter, Katrina, began in 2015, which they hope to deal with and develop.
Mary mentioned the potato dumpling enterprise will be relocated “or taken on by an entire neighborhood” and consists of the 2 product strains — potato dumplings and Czech Fries — using the title, retail buyer checklist, and, relying on the consumers’ wants, the tools and the constructing through which the merchandise are made.
Hodny famous the dumpling merchandise could be “a pleasant addition to an present meals manufacturing firm.” The enterprise could be a worthwhile, stand-alone enterprise or a hobby-like enterprise relying on how the operator chooses to make it run, mentioned Hodny. It comes all the way down to how a lot product and supply of the product will be made.
At the moment, Mary works full time within the potato dumpling enterprise with Katrina, who’s ending her bachelor’s diploma and works every day within the enterprise round her class schedule. Mary’s enterprise companion and husband, Jerry, works full time for the native county freeway division.
Who buys a potato dumpling enterprise? Czech heritage just isn’t required, simply an entrepreneurial mindset and ideally a meals enterprise understanding, says Mary.
“A really perfect purchaser would have a superb understanding of the meals business and an entrepreneurial mindset that enables the enterprise to repeatedly develop,” she mentioned. “They have to even have the perception and open-mindedness to see its potential.”
The Hodny household mentioned they “wish to see Leo’s Potato Dumplings proceed to develop and convey a little bit of selfmade goodness to the dinner desk.”
For the love of potato dumplings served to my household and for the continuation of a rural, small enterprise, I hope a purchaser is discovered.
Pinke is the writer and common supervisor of Agweek. She will be reached at [email protected], or join along with her on Twitter @katpinke.
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