Page 11 - Rockford Living Magazine 2020
P. 11

For those who do listen, Floyd is always willing to share his propensity for marketing, which he admits is part science but also a weird blend of smoke and mirrors.
“I can tell you the truth, the total truth, knowing full well you understand a lie,” he says, which of course necessitates further discourse, and it will likely include allegories involving the insurance industry.
While marketing is important, he notes that an understanding of history is also essential. By paying attention to what came before, you can better predict your future — not only in business but in other life-affecting decisions. “Your history is the only thing you possess that someone else does not have, and that history has value,” he asserts. Floyd also is not averse to invoking his Christian religion. Truly, “the good Lord” looms large in his vital choices.
In the last few years, Floyd has turned the business over to his children. That allows him to focus on building up agrarian elements on the site — numerous outbuildings that include barns and more. He’ll rise and shine at 6:30, have breakfast with Sharon and fix her a lunch for later (her health has been compromised in recent years by surgeries and arthritis), then put in a full stint most weekdays, sometimes alongside Rockford builder Franko Schuyten, who has helped Floyd re-purpose many of the structures. “My hobby is building, designing and creating,” he says.
That means hardly ever tossing something. “Floyd is a scavenger,” says son Jeff. “You don’t throw away a 2-by-4 if it’s more than a few inches long.”
A walking tour of the pastoral grounds that feature a winding creek will put you face- to-face with everything from grain bins for
Havemeier family photo from 2010.
After turning the business over to his children, Floyd spends most days “building, designing and creating” on his hobby farm.
  storing charcoal to coffee roasters dating back more than a century. You’ll also see entire areas dedicated to aspects of the business, including an outdoor cooking area where classes are conducted for those interested in buying “Big Green Egg” grills and other products.
Those products include mouth-watering pecan rolls available only Fridays and Satur- days, homemade fudge, smoked meats, bagels, fine cheeses, coffees roasted on the premises and “world-famous bagel dogs.” When the wind is right, the delicious odors waft through the town of Rockford.
Floyd was delighted several years ago when Rockford native Ginger Zee — now chief mete- orologist with “Good Morning America” — tout- ed those bagel dogs as one of her go-to foods while on the air. Next thing he knew, ABC was in Rockford to film a segment and interview Floyd about his special sausages in a bagel bun, and how Ginger planned to serve them at her
upcoming wedding. Since then, Floyd’s bagel dogs have been selling like hot cakes.
With Floyd divesting himself of the busi- ness, it might now more aptly be called “Floyd’s Boys,” as the sons and their sister now put in the long hours necessary to keep it going. Heidi is in charge of the bakery and deli and confections. Doug leads The Cookery Nook. Bryan manages some 30 employees and directs The Outdoor Cook. Jeff oversees The Coffee Ranch, and teams sometimes with Doug and Brian on the days they roast coffee beans, which means heaving sacks weighing about 150 pounds.
Managing all that tonnage day in and day out over the course of more than 40 years has provided Floyd and all three sons something they share in common: Scars from hernia surgeries.
Some of the kids’ spouses are also involved, as are some of Floyd and Sharon’s grandchil- dren. While it was expected the sons and Heidi initially pitch in while in their teens, no one was ever forced to remain.
Jeff, for instance, had an interest at one time in architecture. But after 42 years on the job (he started there full-time as a teen) he doesn’t look back with regrets.
“We’ve all grown into it,” he says. “And yes, we put in 50- and 60-hour weeks of physically hard work. But our roles have allowed the business to continue to grow while giving Floyd people he could trust to run it. And so he doesn’t have to continue to be here day after day.”
Jeff smiles. “He finally gets to spread his wings.”
Editor’s Note: The author of this profile, Tom Rademacher, spent more than 30 years as a reporter and columnist at The Grand Rapids Press. He now freelances. Contact him at:
Photo by Michelle Wise

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