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Dick Kruckeberg 1935-2022

His idea led to a successful  manufacturing company
Delmond Kruckeberg will be remembered as “one of the county’s most successful entrepreneurs ever.” He died Friday in Blooming Prairie. File photo
His idea led to a successful manufacturing company
Rick Bussler, Publisher

An idea Delmond, more commonly referred to as Dick, Kruckeberg came up with 38 years ago after watching his wife back into a garbage can spawned what has become a multi-million-dollar company with roots in Steele County.

The company went on to be operated by family members spanning three generations before it was sold about five years ago.

Kruckeberg, the founder of Minimizer and now known as High Bar Brands, died Friday night in Blooming Prairie. He was 87.

“Dick is one of the county’s most successful entrepreneurs ever,” said John Iaconvino, former publisher of the Blooming Prairie Times. “He’s in the same lane as the Kaplans, Daniel Gainey, who Dick once worked for, and very few others around here.”

In his early years, Dick worked for Owatonna Public Schools and for Dan Gainey, owner of Jostens. His work with Jostens was split between Arizona and Owatonna.

After Jostens, Dick went to Rochester and started a service station, which ran for about 15 years.

Truck driving came next for Dick and that's what led to creation of a manufacturing company in Blooming Prairie in 1984. How Spray Control Systems Inc. got its start is well known to many in the area.

He came up with the poly fender idea after his wife backed over a Rubbermaid trash can. He popped it back into shape and developed the idea of a better heavy duty truck fender using resilient plastic.

“We had a good product from day one and have been totally customer orientated,” Dick once said.

He always emphasized, “It’s all about how you treat people, and I think you should treat people like you want to be treated.”

Dick always displayed true humility. He once said his companies would not be where they are today if it were not for their customers and employees.

Spray Control later assumed the name of Minimizer, which went on to become a multi-million- dollar operation. It became the No. 1 brand in heavy duty after-market accessories for trucks. Minimizer’s product distribution has gone worldwide, including points as far away as Israel and South America.

Dick eventually turned over the reins of his empire to his son, Craig.

“Dick was a serial entrepreneur,” Craig said of his father. “Minimizer is Dick’s; I’m just a place holder. Minimizer is his baby, and we just dressed it better.”

Through Craig’s marketing expertise, the company grew substantially and became recognized across the country and further. The company employed about 90 employees at one time.

Minimizer eventually outgrew Blooming Prairie and moved to Owatonna in 2021 where it built a new facility in the city’s industrial park. The company has since changed its name to High Bar Brands.

Besides being a successful businessman, Kruckeberg was a strong civic promoter in Blooming Prairie. He and his wife spent many hours volunteering in the community, especially during the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration. He was also a member of the Lions Club.

In 2017, Dick and his son Craig were honored as the Citizens of the Year in Blooming Prairie.

Both Dick and his late wife Lorraine grew up in the Blooming Prairie area.

Dick picked up a hobby three decades ago collecting tractors and automobiles. They were all auctioned off in September 2021. A shed that had stored the collectibles for more than 25 years has been converted into a gymnasium for the recently opened Leo Augusta Children’s Academy.

“It’s a hobby that got out of hand,” said Craig Kruckeberg.

In recent years, Dick Kruckeberg has focused his time on a stained-glass art. He ran the business on Main Street in Blooming Prairie.

Funeral services will be Friday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Claremont.

A complete obituary can be found inside this edition.

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