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Bavarian Inn Lodge Extends Family with Generations of Suppliers

Frankenmuth Resort Employs Michigan Family-Owned Businesses for $3-Million Expansion

Photo Caption: The Zehnder family, including Bavarian Inn co-founder Dorothy Zehnder, gather with multiple generations of the various family-owned businesses that have worked on the Bavarian Inn Lodge as the 6,000-pound roof was raised four stories to cap the Lodge’s new waterslide tower.

Oct. 25, 2012 - Frankenmuth, Mich. -- “Let our family serve your family,” is not just a slogan for Judy Zehnder Keller, President of the Bavarian Inn Lodge. She believes in working with family businesses much like her own, and has employed many in the Phase VI expansion of the Frankenmuth landmark.

“Family is everything to us,” said Zehnder Keller. “My mother Dorothy, at nearly age 91, is still very active in the kitchen, my brother Bill and I along with our spouses oversee the restaurant and lodge. We both have two of our children in the business, making nine family members in senior management at this time. There are four in the fourth generation, four in the third generation and one in the second generation. It is a blessing and an honor to work with family.”

At this month’s “Raise the Roof” event, where a 6,000-pound roof was affixed atop the Lodge’s new waterslide tower, the owners and families of six such family-owned companies celebrated their long affiliation with the Bavarian Inn Lodge.

The Zehnder family, owners of Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge, and River Place Shops, has been in business in Frankenmuth for 84 years. Saginaw contractor R.C. Hendrick, which has built all six phases of the Lodge, began business in 1876. William (Trace) Hendrick III is the fifth generation to join the business. Within the Hendrick organization, many other families are employed, such as project manager Tony Leuenberger along with his father Bruce and brother Brian.

Five additional multi-generational family businesses involved in the renovation:

  • Remer Plumbing and Heating, founded in 1957 by Richard Katz, is currently in its third generation with son Mark and grandson; 
  • Wm. Bronner & Son Contractors was founded in 1883 by John Bronner and is now operated by Ronald and his son Matt; 
  • Nuechterlein Electric was founded in 1952 by Tom Erdman and is in its third generation with Nate and Andy at the helm; 
  • Fox Excavation was founded in 1982 by Eric Fox, who is now in business with son Carl; 
  • Baruzzini Pool was founded in 1951 by Don Baruzzini, who is joined by sons Tony, Ted and Dominic.

The $3-million expansion of the Lodge’s Family Fun Center, which includes installation of two water slides, is set to open November 15th. The expansion will add some 30 jobs to the Lodge, bringing employment to 300.

“This expansion brings together the experience of nearly 600 years of multi-generational family businesses,” said Zehnder Keller. “You might say we’ve all become one big Michigan family dedicated to serving your family.”

About Bavarian Inn Lodge
Judy Zehnder Keller designed, developed, and leads the Bavarian Inn Lodge’s seven-acre facility. The multi-faceted resort has 360-guestrooms and a conference center perfect for hosting conventions at the local, regional or national level. Millions of visitors travel to Frankenmuth annually. In 25 years of business, the Bavarian Inn Lodge has been an important destination for travelers, evidenced by the 1.25 million room-nights that have been booked there since its opening.

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Media contact:

For more information about the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Judy Zehnder Keller, please contact Sue Voyles, Logos Communications, Inc., or 734-667-2005. Visit the online press room at

Zehdner-WmBronner_Families.jpg Zehnder-Erdman-NuechterleinFamilies.jpg

Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family with the
William Bronner Construction Company

Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family with the
Nuechterlien Electric – Erdman Family
Zehnder-FoxExcavationFamilies.jpg Zehnder-HendrickFamilies2.jpg
Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family with the
Fox Excavating Company
Four Generations of the Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family
with Four Generations of the R.C. Hendrick & Son Co.
Bavarian Inn Zehnder Family
with the 
Katz Family
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