After 19 years operating Lin Furniture in Little Falls, owner Linda Burggraff decided it was time to sell.
It is something she had discussed for the last two years with her employee, Todd Waldoch, 27, who was interested in buying the store at some point. He grew up in Randall and lives in Flensburg and knew he wanted to stay in the area.
Even though Waldoch never officially received a title, he has worked in several departments as needed, for nearly seven years. He has delivered furniture to customers, worked in the warehouse and has interacted with customers and sold furniture.
“He’s just an all-around nice guy. I feel fantastic and am comfortable about him taking over. I trust him,” Burggraff said.
Burggraff describes Waldoch as a very customer service-oriented individual.
“He is a people person and is very good with customers,” she said.
Waldoch said he’s had very good mentors in his life to get where he is in his life today.
“It all started with my teacher, Bill Swanson. He taught marketing at Little Falls Community High School,” Waldoch said.
But becoming a business owner is not all bliss. In the midst of the excitement, there is also the fear of failure.
“It’s like getting married. You have that whole combination of being scared, happy, excited and everything else at the same time,” he said. “I thought buying a house was scary, but that is nothing like buying a business. You are depending on that income.”
But business ownership is an adventure that his wife, Meghan, is willing to go along with.
“She’s really excited for it and is also excited for the change,” Waldoch said.
Even though Burggraff had turned over the reins of ownership to Waldoch, he plans to keep the store as it is. Even the name will remain the same.
“The only difference will be that Linda will be working part-time,” Waldoch said.
Looking back at the 19 years in Little Falls, Burggraff said she never anticipated when she was growing up that she would one day own her own business.
It started with her working retail in a store next to the current building. Then in 1978, she returned to buy some clothes for her son, Brian, for kindergarten.
“At first, they asked me to just work for three days while they were starting the new furniture department,” Burggraff said.
At the end of the three days, Burggraff was offered a part-time position. Later on the store became Douglas Furniture.
Burggraff worked there for two years.
Once again, the store was sold. This time it was named Audette Furniture, where Burggraff worked for 15 years.
In 1998, Burggraff decided to venture out on her own, bought a building and Lin Furniture was born.
Next to the Lin Furniture is Burggraff’s husband, Dave’s business, “Dave’s Custom Framing.
Since Dave wants to be able to help repair furniture more at Lin Furniture and to enjoy some other things in life while he still has his health, he’s now looking to sell it.
“Come buy it,” he said.
Waldoch said customers can expect the same quality and customer relations. The same for its eight employees.
“It’s very much a teamwork here. We are a very tight knit family here. It’s never felt like you’re going to work, but you feel like you’re right at home. I like it a lot,” Waldoch said.