By Al Edenloff
Alexandria Mayor Sara Carlson looked out over a luncheon crowd of more than 400 people at Arrowwood Resort on Tuesday and asked how many of them had been touched in some way by Anderson Funeral Home.
Nearly every hand in the room went up. “Now that’s true caring,” Carlson said.
It’s also one of the reasons why Anderson Funeral Home was selected to receive this year’s Business and Industrial Appreciation Day Award.
The luncheon has honored a Douglas County company annually since 1984. The event continues to grow and is the longest standing annual event of its kind in Greater Minnesota.
Honorees are selected by the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce based on four main factors — increase in annual sales, employment growth, significant regional economic impact and community involvement.
A video shown at the luncheon highlighted the history of the funeral home, which dates back to 1872 when a Swedish immigrant John Anderson founded the home. It also included interviews with families who shared how the funeral home helped them through tough times by providing services with an extra touch of caring.
Today, the home employs 24 full- and part-time employees, including five funeral directors, and operates at two locations — Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory on Voyager Drive and Anderson’s on Broadway.
The home also contributes to the community. It donated to the new YMCA and the Alexandria Area High School and supports community events. Staff donates time to service clubs, churches and local organizations.
After Tom and Dave Anderson, the brothers who are the fourth generation of their family to operate the funeral home, were presented the award, Tom said it was an honor that Anderson’s never expected to receive. He said other local businesses have larger payrolls, contribute more to the local economy and build products while Anderson works quietly in the background helping families through a difficult time.
Dave said he thoroughly enjoyed his 38 years at the family business. He said there wasn’t a day when he didn’t look foward to going to work. He said one trait that helped the funeral home over the years was adapting to the needs of the community. He shared a favorite quote from Will Rogers: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Having their work recognized by the community was an honor, the brothers said, and one they share with all those who play a part in Anderson’s success — the funeral home directors, staff and their spouses, a supportive community, and the many families that have turned to Anderson for help while dealing with the loss of a loved one.