Howard Lake Herald, January 19, 1998

Judd family back in business in HL


"I think it is in the genes," said Jan Judd.

Owning a restaurant runs in the family, she said, and the Judds are back in business in Howard Lake with the purchase of the Garden Spot Inn.

It truly is a family thing. Dave and Jan Judd purchased it, and Dave's brother, Dan, is the general manager.

Dan's fiance, Erin Lundgren, is an assistant cook. Lundgren, who comes from Lakeville, has over three years in the food service business.

Dave and Dan, sons of Grant and Inga Judd, grew up in Howard Lake, so they are no strangers to the community.

Jan's dad is Glenn Diers, who still farms south of town. She graduated from Howard Lake-Waverly High (HL-W) School and went on to become the vice President of Operations and superintendent of bookkeeping at a bank in Shakopee.

Other interests led her to become a pre-school teacher, and she was instrumental in implementing the pre-school program for the Shakopee Area Catholic School.

Using her banking and numbers background, Jan was the obvious choice for organizing and keeping the financial records, said Dave.

She also helps with the banquets, he said.

Dave graduated from college as a chemist and is employed with Hewlett Packard as a computer consultant and sales representative for the Chemical Analytical Group.

What do chemistry and computers have to do with each other?

Well, one segment of HP deals with computers that measure ingredients for labs.

Dave sells the computer systems that do those tasks. The main focus is on pharmaceuticals right now, he said, and he has had occasion to write special programs for customers.

He is also a 15-year veteran volunteer fireman for Shakopee, and is the assistant fire chief.

Dan comes from a managerial background, as foreman of an office installation systems crew for Metro Systems in Eden Prairie.

After college at UMD and four years in the medical field in the Airforce, Dan is back home in Howard Lake.

He and Erin are planning an April wedding and are looking for a home in the area.

These first couple months have been really hectic learning the business, so they haven't had a real chance to look, said Dan.

It could have been worse, since he had no experience in food service. But with his management experience and people skills to help, it has just been a really busy learning time.

"It's kind of neat," said Dan, "I get to see more of the people in town now than I ever did. I have the same friends now that I had in kindergarten."

All three Judds had similar things to say about why they came back to Howard Lake.

Dave said, "I have great memories of this place, and I have great friends. There is a strong core in this community that does good things for others."

"There is a generosity of their hearts," said Jan.

Many years ago, Hulet Judd and his son, Gordy, owned a dry goods store in Howard Lake, H. D. Judd & Son. Later, their grandpa owned the lumber yard with Jim Dahlberg.

Then Gordy and Grant started Judd Distributing Co., a sales and contracting organization for Wausau Homes. Grant was president and general manager, and Gordy was vice president.

On Inga's side of the family, her mom and grandmother owned restaurants. Her mother had one in Pillager, and her grandmother owned one in Brainard.

"I've always wanted to own my own business, and this is an opportunity to become more independent and self-sufficient," said Dave.

"We found out the place was for sale, and my family had great memories of the place when it was owned by Timber Dahlberg," he said.

"Our grandparents lived 200 yards down the road, and I went swimming there every day," said Dan.

"Larry and Barb Mattson worked very hard to build the place up, and it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up," Dave said.

He said the Mattsons left a really good waitstaff behind.

"There are no delusions about it being easy," said Jan.

There is more to this enterprise than hard work. Dreams for the establishment include a deck, more landscaping, and more dock area for boats.

One of the things planned by the new owners is a romantic Valentines Day evening with a special menu. This is by reservation only in the upstairs area.

A grand opening will take place Saturday, Feb. 21 with a buffet, discounted menu items, and entertainment.

For those intrepid golfers, undaunted by cold or snow, the second annual Garden Spot Whiteout Ice Golf Tournament will take place on Howard Lake the first weekend in March.

"We plan more bands for the weekends," Dave added.

Customers have noticed the new menu, he said, and some of the favorites are still available.

"We have an experienced chef, who helped develop the menu. Most items are fresh, rather than frozen. We are proud of that," said Dave.

There is also pride in their words, when they speak of the Garden Spot and the community. The Judds have come home, and they are back in business.

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