GSM, Becky Bakes celebrate Business of the Year honors

Becky Bakes hosts Memorial Day Pop-Up Friday

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Becky Bakes, 2024 Small Business of the Year employees from left, Emily Atnip, Brady Waibel, Cindy Schroepfer, Kathy Seidl and Becky Waibel pose at an award celebration at GSM Tuesday.

NEW ULM — Claps of thunder and a steady rain couldn’t dampen the spirit of the 2024 Big and Small Businesses of the Year celebration at Gag Sheet Metal (GSM) Tuesday.

“It was interesting. We moved everything inside for the noon meal and then the sun came out,” said GSM President John Gag.

After a recent vote by New Ulm Chamber of Commerce members, GSM was named 2024 Large Business of the Year. Becky Bakes received the Small Business of the Year Award in recognition of Chamber and community involvement and economic impact.

J & R Schugel Trucking was nominated for Large Business of the Year. Gutes Essen and Minnesota Valley Funeral Homes were Small Business of the Year nominees.

GSW was founded in 1904 by John Gag’s great-grandfather, George Gag.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Gag Sheet Metal (GSM) President John Gag stands in front of an historical photo at the 2024 Large Business of the Year Celebration at GSM, 1500 N. Front St. Tuesday.

Several years ago, the business that was housed in several sites in New Ulm at the same time, moved into a building built for Tactronics about 60 years ago at 1500 N. Front St.

“There were several companies including some that built motors here. We’re the first ones in here that isn’t building motors. It’s worked out real well. Now we’re in one location. It’s easier to track equipment, do inventory and better for everything,” Gag said.

“We were in the old ice house from 1967 to 2006. We thought we wouldn’t outgrow our last location, the old greenhouse property, that we bought in 2006. We were wrong, but I guess that’s a good problem. Here we are. Now we think we can’t outgrow it,” he added.

Gag said his business now focuses more on employee retention than recruiting.

“We’ve seen some growth, but it’s with buying equipment that we can and getting as efficient as we can be. We have about 75 employees,” he added.

“I’m excited to see so many people out here to help us celebrate with Becky Bakes. I think their desert is a hit,” Gag said.

GSM offers appliances, plumbing repair, installation, drain cleaning, heating and air conditioning, flat roofing and sheet metal work in much of southern and western Minnesota.

Becky Bakes, 2013 S. Minnesota St. is a mother/daughter bakery business owned by Becky Waibel and Emily Atnip. The business opened just before the start of the COVID pandemic.

The business specializes in baking cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods for weddings, graduations, birthdays, holidays and any other special occasion.

“We’re always looking at different directions for what people want,” said Waibel.

Atnip recently came up with crookies, a croissant and a cookie.

“More and more people are finding out about us and where we are. It’s great. The community is supportive,” Waibel said.

Becky Bakes celebrates Pop-Up Friday with specialties including a six pack of cupcakes with two Oreo fudge, two raspberry, and two caramel cream cheese filled cupcakes, rhubarb tore and M & M cookies, plus cutouts, scones, monkey bread, muffins, bars and cheesecake, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, May 24.

To learn more about the New Ulm Chamber of Commerce, visit 222.newulm.com, email chamber@newulm.com or call 507-233-4300.


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