Brendefur grows business into DL area

Contributed photo
The stump grinder Gabby Brendefur inherited from her grandfather is still being used at her business, Gabb’s Stump Grinding.

By Chad Koenen


A stump grinder once owned by Gabby Brendefur’s late grandfather has transformed the countryside throughout the greater West Central Minnesota area.

Brendefur, who started Gabb’s Stump Grinding in 2020, inherited a stump grinder from her late grandfather after he passed away. After sitting in her garage collecting dust for quite some time, Brendefur put out a few feelers to friends and family to see if they had any stumps that needed to be removed on their properties. 

“My grandpa had the grinder and he purchased it for himself. He had a bunch of property where he was taking trees down,” said Brendefur. “One day I put a few feelers out there to see if someone needed something done.”

The 2011 Henning High School graduate quickly found a niche and need for stump grinding throughout the region and expanded her reach to Detroit Lakes, Ottertail, Henning and everywhere in-between. At a crossroads in her life, Brendefur was looking for a change professionally and wanted to start her own business. As demand for stump grinding continued to grow, Brendefur quit her job working for MnDOT and started her new stump grinding business based in Ottertail.

“I was really just ready to get away from that kind of work and working for someone else,” she said, adding that many of her family members have owned their own businesses in the past. “I was just kind of doing it on the side until I decided to leave MnDOT for good and I have been plugging away at it ever since.”

Enlisting the help of her brother Gavin during the summer of 2022, Brendefur continued to grow her business as residents look to get rid of old trees, or make way to complete a remodeling project of their home. Today, her fiance Dave Bartnes helps with the business as much as possible as Brendefur continues to grow her still young small business.

“We have really gone from the Ottertail area and stretching it to the Detroit Lakes area,” she said. “We go where the work is.”

Gabb’s Stump Grinding currently has two walk behind stump removers, including the original stump grinder that Brendefur inherited from her late grandpa. Due to the size of the stump grinders, Brendefur can easily get in-between buildings, cabins and tight spaces commonly found in the lakes area throughout Otter Tail and Becker County. 

“I can get in-between lake homes,” she said. “Usually there is not much space in-between the homes.”

The biggest stump she has removed so far has been seven feet in diameter, something her stump grinders were more than equipped to do. As any construction or landscaper will attest, one of their favorite parts of the job is seeing how their work transformed the area—something that Brendefur is one of her favorite aspects of the job as well.

“The before and after are my favorite,” she said. “Usually I always remember to take the before picture, but the after picture I sometimes forget.”

Brendefur will travel throughout the region and has even had some requests in the Fargo-Moorhead area. For more information about Gabb’s Stump Grinding contact Brendefur at (218) 731-9093 or view her on Facebook.