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now employs about 300 people, with 160 of that number employed in its Maple Lake operations. Owner Bill Ramsay of Edina is joined in the management of the company by his son, Dave Ramsay, and daughter, J. J. Halverson.
Bernatello’s has continually expanded and improved its Maple Lake facilities over the years. In 2000, the company purchased Roma Pizza, based in Eau Clair, WI. In addition to the Roma line of products acquired in that deal, Bernatello’s obtained direct-store delivery systems in Minnesota,
Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. Bernatello’s General
Manager Jim Cousin said Five Star Frozen Foods, a frozen pizza manufacturer and distribution company, has a strong presence in eastern and central Wisconsin and will help Bernatello’s grow in that area.
And Cousin said customers will be able to purchase Bernatello’s flagship line, Bellatoria Pizza, at Target stores, which will be adding Bellatoria to its frozen food offerings on March 18.
Bernatello’s began operations in Maple Lake 27 years ago by producing 12,000 pizzas on the first day at its new plant.
Current production capabilities can reach more than 130,000 pizzas per day.
Bernatello’s is one of the Midwest’s leading manufacturers of frozen pizza, with a market that reaches throughout the Upper Midwest, the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan and Canada. In 2008,
Bernatello’s began selling three-packs of pizza at club stores, such as Costco, around the nation in a move that made Bernatello’s a national brand.
With a current portfolio of brands that includes Bellatoria, Bernatello’s and Roma pizza, the acquisition of Five Star Frozen Foods will add the ORV’s and Borbello’s bands to the Bernatello’s portfolio.
Michele and Ed Pawlenty became the ninth publishers of the Maple Lake Messenger when they purchased the local newspaper from Theresa and Doug Andrus in August of 2011.
Ed Pawlenty is an executive with the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Michele is an accountant with Jodee Paape & Associates in South St. Paul.
“A newspaper is key to a community and an asset,” Ed Pawlenty said. “It is an especially vital piece to a smaller community.”
The Pawlenty’s often drove through Maple Lake on the way to their cabin in Sauk Centre and have gotten to know the community through the pages of the Messenger.
“We love everything we have learned about the town of Maple Lake and the people we have met so far,” the couple said. “It reminds us of home. We believe a great paper is the product of a great community; it ties everyone
together. We are very excited to build on this rich tradition of community voice and involvement. We look forward to meeting everyone.”
In a smooth transition at the Messenger, there were no personnel changes and Andrus, who purchased the Messenger in 2000 from Harold Brutlag, stayed on as managing editor. Brutlag also continues on the Messenger staff in an as-needed basis for printing and continues to write his weekly outdoor column, “Brut’s Bleat.”
H&H Sport Shop expansion plans
Although the H&H Sport Shop on Hwy. 55 is no longer the site of the city liquor store, other plans for expansion are taking shape.
Last year, H&H reached an agreement with the Maple Lake School Board to acquire just over an acre of school property that would allow room for expansion of the H&H facilities in exchange for an easement and road into the new community ballfield area.
The proposed improvements at H&H include the addition of a warehouse building to the back of the existing store, removal of the building that formerly housed the city liquor store, realignment of the gas