(Jon Kirkhoff voice) Because of the LED revolution, the lighting business really has gone from a mom-and-pop type of business, six, seven, eight years ago, to now high-energy, high-technology big business. More has changed in the last seven years than the prior 70. In my hometown, we're lighting the mile and a half of Nicollet Mall with a very sophisticated, high tech system. The convention center, downtown Minneapolis, the domes that glow at night and have light shows, is another one that we've worked on.
John Hartley founded our business 29 years ago. John and I came together and we decided to put together a buyout strategy for John to retire, and make sure that the company moved forward with a solid foundation. So four and a half years ago, I came on board with the four-year buyout plan. I did bring Rob in to help me run the business and run Iowa for us. And that's when Rob and I moved into a process with our attorney, to interview banks.
(Rob Beaman voice) It was an interesting process that we went through when we were trying to decide what bank to work with. The reasons why, ultimately, we went with Alerus, Alerus was big enough to be able to handle our needs without stretching or straining. Not so big that they weren't personal. It was still very much a one-on-one personal relationship. But then as new business owners, the other thing that we were very cognizant of was the idea that we needed a team of people.
(Jon voice) Because Rob and I don't know what we don't know. And so to have that professional resource in the financial world is a great thing for us. The amount of services that they offer, the amount of vision, and then you now also have a friendship rather than just a business relationship. So not only could they provide the financing for the purchase, but there was banking available, HSA, and other things that made it almost a no-brainer for us to move in Alerus' direction.
(Rob voice) We loved the fact that Alerus had a variety of different services that we could tap into. There's so much that we probably don't worry about as much as we maybe could. We know it's taken care of. I guess the Alerus piece, that's the piece you know you just don't have to worry about. It's just a comfort to have them as part of our team.