New business will locate at Hemmingsen site

Dru Larson and John Hannasch feel that their business, Northwest Lighting Systems, will be a good fit for the Hemmingsen RV property. Hemmingsen RV plans a final retirement auction on June 17 to sell its remaining RV parts and service equipment.

By Seth Schmidt

A commercial lighting business will be establishing itself on Hwy. 14 in Tracy.
Dru Larson, Tracy, and John Hannasch, Burnsville, partners in Northwest Lighting Systems, announced last week that they have purchased the Hemmingsen RV property from Warren Hemmingsen.  The business will provide energy-efficient LED lighting retrofits throughout the region.
“We think this is a really good opportunity for us,” says Hannasch, a 1983 Tracy Area High School graduate, who now lives in Lakeville.
Larson, a 1987 TAHS graduate, who has owned and operated Dru Larson Construction in Tracy for more than 20 years, plans to phase out of the construction business and make Northwest Lighting his full-time endeavor.
The men said they have been talking about the joint business venture since December, and finalized the partnership this spring.
Northwest Lighting Systems was founded in 1991, with Hannasch as the firm’s first employee. In 2001, he became a partner with a New Hampshire businessman, Kevin Eagan, in the commercial lighting business.  Larson is buying out Eagan’s stake in Northwest Lighting.
Larson said that he is investing in Northwest Lighting for two reasons:  the potential of the company, and the chance step down from the physical rigors of hands-on carpentry.
“I had six shots in my back last year and my knees were starting to give me trouble,” Larson said.  “This should be a lot easier on my body.”
Larson made his decision this spring, before lining up summer work, so he could wrap up existing work commitments.  Typically, Larson has had a crew of one to five people, with some summer workers being high school students.  In recent months he has taken a series of classes and trainings in the commercial lighting field.
“Dru has been picking it up quickly,” said Hannasch.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.