Down The Road: Sioux Center, Casey's Bakery and Interstate Companies

      Yea, these are one of my favorites I think. You can't beat a hot, blueberry donut." Everybody has their favorite at the bakery, even the baker! Meet third generation baker Ryan De Groot of Casey's Bakery in Sioux Center.Grandfather Casey started the bakery after World War Two. His son Ron took over the late 70's, eventually growing it from main street to the Centre Street Mall.The changing business climate in small towns left a gap for baked goods. And Casey's grew to fill that demand in many grocery and convenience stores throughout the region, it's most popular product, Dutch almond patties. "And so it kind of grew from there, developing relationships with different stores. And once you have a quality product and they see that you can kind of have your own niche," said DeGroot. The business has expanded numerous times since moving into the mall 23 years ago. It has about 90 full and part time employees, who keep the bakery humming 24 hours a day, six days a week. "Buns and breads are typically made at night, donuts early morning, and they'll make cookies and cakes and stuff all day long," said DeGroot. While sweet treats are still the main attraction, Casey's has also adapted to the growing number of customers who are more health conscious. "Using all the grain instead of all of the white flour, and just all the health benefits that go with that. Using new things, we've done a lot with aronia berries lately with the high anti-oxidant levels, said DeGroot. Casey's has also adapted by adding a deli, a coffee bar, and selling some other local products, even his neighbor's blend of coffees. Ryan is proud to carry on the family's heritage as bakers and fondly remembers making Christmas candy with his grandfather.

      "Stirring the anise candy and burning your fingers is always one of the oldest memories. And the smell. I don't know if you're ever made anise candy but this smell when you put it the hot sugar is just unmistakable, it plumes everywhere. And you could always smell it out in the mall," said DeGroot. Some of the heavy lifting, and a lot of the prep and design work are done in Sioux Center.

      "Interstates Companies is an electrical design-build contractor. We actually have three locations here in Sioux Center and this is our corporate headquarters," said Lori Walstra of Interstates Companies. Teams of computer and engineering experts in Sioux Center work with clients to come up electrical components needed to operate a big business or factory. "And a lot of the factories are for that ag-value added stuff. Flour milling, feed milling, oil extraction and all kinds of food and beverage and brewing," Dave Crumrine, President of Construction Division. About 300 people work at the Sioux Center facilities. And about 350 more work in Omaha, Sioux Falls, Fort Collins, Cinncinnatti and many other places. "We have individuals who are traveling from the east coast all the way to the west coast working on various industrial projects," said Walstra. In Sioux Center, the components are designed, prefabricated, packed and shipped for the specific needs of each area on a job site. Oddly enough, this big business started on the front porch of John Franken's Sioux Center home in the early 1950s. Franken sold television sets to a community hungry for this newest technology. He also started installing antennas and power receptacles. "And then we met some people that needed out help with these mostly grain handling facilities and the explosion proof wiring on them. And so then we started traveling the country during a big economic boom time for the ag industry back in the 60's," said Crumrine,