D&K Design Center to open, Solberg Insurance to move

Photo by Robert Williams
Dan and Karen Pifher are opening a new business, D&K Designs, in the building at 305 West Main Street. The city will celebrate the new business with a ribbon cutting that includes Solberg Insurance’s move from the Baldwin building to the old bank.

By Robert Williams


City officials, the Economic Development Authority and the local Chamber of Commerce will celebrate a new business and a move in late January.

D&K Designs will be a new business owned by Dan and Karen Pifher located on West Main Avenue.

“A few years ago when we were engaged with organizing the mural, building the frame for it and painting the building blue I never imagined Dan and I would ever be the ones utilizing the building,” Karen Pifher said in a Facebook post announcing the new business. 

Solberg Insurance moved from the Baldwin building to a new space in the old historical bank building. The ribbon cuttings are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, at 11 a.m.

Downtown retail building

“We’re facing a deadline of February of 2024 for permanent financing for that facility and we don’t have anybody actively looking at it right now—the post office may be a possibility,” said economic development consultant Don Lorsung. 

Lorsung thanked outgoing mayor Ken Miosek for his efforts on the project and pushed for incoming mayor Mark Flemmer to reach out to the post office to see if they are willing to fill the space or possibly buy the building.

“At least then we know where they’re at on everything,” Lorsung said.

Lorsung also suggested forming a committee to market the building and meet with area realtors.

City administrator Stephanie Poegel suggested partially completing a flooring and plumbing project in one of the spaces to make it more attractive to potential businesses.

“I know there is a benefit for how you want it to be, but there is also a benefit to having at least one open and ready to move in,” she said.

The EDA also discussed the future demolition of the Sanders Oil building, which is scheduled to be replaced with green space. No exact timetable is set for the demolition. The EDA agreed to purchase the building in late 2021 with conditions of receiving approval of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the removal of a hydraulic oil tank.

Multi-family housing

The EDA is identifying two lots in the Red Willow Heights Development for the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation to build upon for a year. The lots will not be for sale for that one-year timeframe while MMCDC seeks funding to build.

A sale was recently made in Red Willow at 701 10th Street, lot 4 of block 6.

Lots are available and information is available on the city website under the Economic Development tab. Sales Contingencies are:

• A bank letter of commitment to finance construction of a new single-family dwelling, or a buyer letter of commitment showing proof of cash reserves necessary for construction.

• An earnest money requirement payment of 20 percent of the sale price of the lot (non-refundable, remainder due at closing).

• A site plan/survey and construction plan for the new dwelling are submitted prior to closing on the lot sale.

• Construction must begin within 12 months of the closing date or property ownership reverts to the EDA. 

Wannigan Park

Donations continue to be received by the Frazee Community Development Corporation for the future park project.

“Things are picking up on that end,” EDA chair Hank Ludtke said.

Ludtke will be traveling to the capitol in mid-January to lobby for the project during the coming bonding talks during the legislative session and for Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources monies, along with pushing for funding for the Heartland Trail.

Quiet Zone

According to mayor-elect Mark Flemmer, construction will begin this spring on the railroad quiet zone. The project was held up while the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration did not agree on which product to use to create the quiet zone. The MnDOT Quick Curb system was approved by both parties and the city council will vote in January on purchasing the equipment.