SPIRIT OF OWATONNA
The Meger family has been operating Brick-Meger Funeral Home in Owatonna since 2000. Shown with owner Glen Meger are his wife Cheryl and their three children, Alex, Brett and Michael. Brick-Meger will be recognized with the Spirit of Owatonna award this week. Submitted photo
-Mike Jensen, Spirit of Owatonna Winner
Two long-time businesses with deep connections in the community are being recognized with Spirit of Owatonna awards.
Brick-Meger Funeral Home and Tri M Graphics will be honored at the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet Friday night in Owatonna. This is the third year that the special award has been given out, according to Brad Meier, director of the Chamber.
“We wanted to find a way to recognize businesses that are active and doing good things in the community,” said Meier. “These are people who care about the community and do unselfish work,” he added.
The Spirit of Owatonna award will be extra special for owner Glen Meger as it’s the first community award he has ever received.
Meger came to Owatonna in 1995 to work at Michaelson’s Funeral Home as a funeral director. In 2000, he purchased the Brick-Postlewaite Funeral Home from James Postlewaite. Meger expanded the facility in 2008. His two sons, Michael and Brett, have joined him as funeral directors in recent years as well as his wife Cheryl as an administrative assistant.
Glen Meger recalls how William Brick, one of the former owners of the funeral home, emphasized the importance of having “to look for opportunities for the community to get to know you.”
“His philosophy was that you can’t hide in the office and be a stuffy old funeral director,” Meger said, noting Brick felt it was important to display the human element of connecting with people. “Bill felt that people need to know you outside of your profession. There is time to take your hat off,” Meger added.
The era when Brick owned the funeral home focused on church functions and activities, Meger said. Since taking over, Meger has evolved his involvement into more of giving back to the entire community.
Meger has developed his outreach into the community through several core functions, some of which include: Fourth of July, Steele County Fair, Community Pathways food shelf, clergy appreciation event and various prearrangement and end of life seminars.
Several years ago, Meger began his first community activity by offering free watermelon in the parking lot for people who wanted to watch the fireworks during the Fourth of July. Brick-Meger is located near the fairgrounds. Since then, it has evolved into live bands, DJs, more food and games for the entire family.
Referencing the Fourth celebration, Meger said: “That’s what motivates us. We are giving back to the community.”
Meger said he has found that by being involved the community will in turn support him and his business. “We have discovered what goes around comes around,” he said, adding the impact of the things he does is felt in the community.
Winning the Spirit of Owatonna, Meger said, recognizes the hard work and effort that his staff puts forward to the community.
“It’s rewarding to know you are recognized for those efforts,” he said. “Everything we do hasn’t gone unnoticed. All the hard work is paying off.”
Meger wants people to understand that he is committed to serving families more than even his greatest hobbies of golfing, fishing and hunting.
“I don’t do those things as much as I do serving families of Owatonna,” he said after wrapping up a visitation around 10 p.m. on a recent Sunday. “It’s pretty humbling, and I’m grateful to be here for those families.”
Tri M Graphics
This is also the first business award for Tri M Graphics, according to owner Mike Jensen.
“It means the world to us,” he said. “We certainly believe in the community and engaging with the community.”
Jensen’s father, Jon Jensen, founded the business in 1981 in his garage. In addition to another full-time job, Jon Jensen did printing work for eight hours at night.
In 1985, while hanging some siding at a rural church in Steele County, Jon Jensen and a coworker fell from some scaffolding landing two feet away from a stake in the ground. After some time in the hospital and some soul searching, Jon felt that God was telling him to get out of the siding business, Mike Jensen said.
By 1988, Jon Jensen had outgrown the garage and found the current building in Owatonna, which was renovated in 1990. Mike Jensen joined the business in 1989.
Each November Tri M hosts an open house where entries from the calendar contest are displayed, and the new calendar is unveiled. The event has turned into a life of its own by becoming a big community event attracting around 500 people.
Jensen said his company is committed to non-profit organizations both through time and strategic development.
Tri M’s mission statement, Jensen said, is building relationships through innovation and interaction.
“We are all about building relationships,” said Jensen. “We are invested in the community,” he said, adding “people are seeing that we are living out our mission.”
Besides operating a printing company, Jensen has been involved with the Chamber and served as an ambassador for the past 23 years. Just this year he will scale back his duties by becoming an emeritus ambassador.
Regarding his community involvement, Jensen said: “For me, I look to those folks who have gone before us and have laid the foundation in this community to strengthen it. I hope I have played a small part in that development.”