When Joe Pollpeter, owner of Two Rivers Glass and Door, decided to step away from his family business, he looked to two of his most dependable project managers to rise to the challenge of ownership. They readily accepted.
Chris Rotert has worked for Two Rivers Glass and Door for the past 16 years, primarily as a project manager. In May 2018, he took over as operations manager. His associate, Alex Riesberg, has worked for the company for 10 years as a project manager. When Pollpeter approached the two a year ago about eventually taking over the organization, they both jumped at the chance.
“Owning a business has always been a dream of mine, and this was such a great opportunity,” said Riesberg.
“I always knew I wanted to be a business owner, but I didn’t know it would be at this company or in my thirties,” added Rotert.
Carrying on a family legacy
Founded in 1992, Two Rivers Glass and Door has evolved from an old pickup truck with a glass rack into a continuously growing business with a reputation for dependable service and quality craftmanship.
The business has played a role in creating many iconic Des Moines landmarks, from the colorful glass in Gray’s Lake Bridge to the Meredith Garden Fountain.
Not only has the company left its skillful mark on the Des Moines community through both residential and commercial projects, but it has fostered a family-run business atmosphere that Rotert and Riesberg hope to continue.
“We’re trying to keep the same atmosphere Joe created by treating employees like family,” said Riesberg. “He built a solid foundation, and it’s a great company to work for.”
To fulfill Pollpeter’s succession plan and maintain his commitment to his employees, Rotert and Riesberg needed some guidance and financial assistance.
Transitioning from manager to owner
Rotert looked to his uncle, Dale McCleish, partner at Schuring & Uitermarkt P.C., for financial advice.
“He referred us to Northwest Bank and set up meetings with them. He had experienced a lot of success working with the bank and recommended them for our needs,” said Rotert.
Northwest Bank worked with Rotert and Riesberg to secure a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to assist them in purchasing the business.
“They really helped us throughout the whole process. Going down this road, we had many questions, and they were able to help us along the way to get it done,” said Riesberg.
Working with commercial bankers, Ross Taets and Jill Thielen, Riesberg and Rotert created a financially viable business plan to help them secure the organization and keep their commitment to Pollpeter.
“Northwest Bank tried to make the process as easy as possible. They took the brunt of the paperwork and explained everything to us,” said Rotert.
In addition to securing an SBA loan, the two continue to utilize Northwest Bank’s services to manage their business’s checking and savings accounts.
Continuing to grow
With the help of Northwest Bank, the two were able to move from managers to owners. In taking this step, they will be able to continue the family-centered legacy the Pollpeter family established over 25 years ago.
Looking forward, Rotert and Riesberg are still unsure exactly what the future will bring.
“We have several ideas for efforts on how to provide growth for Two Rivers and expand our capacities,” said Rotert. “In time we will find directive on how we implement those ideas.”
And with the help of Northwest Bank, the two will be able to tackle whatever the future holds.
Northwest Bank’s commercial business bankers are committed to helping small business owners achieve their dreams. Contact one of our bankers today to find out more about small- business lending options.
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