Chamber honors person, business, organization of the year

The Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce this year is honoring the late Thomas Vrochota posthumously as its person of the year, has named Minuteman Press its business of the year and has Princeton Public Schools its civic group of the year.


Vrchota, who passed away Sept. 22 this year, had owned and operated an American Family Insurance business in Princeton gala vrchota

since December 1991. The chamber write-up on Vrchota describes him as having been very personable with his customers anda devoted family man. His interests beside his family – wife Jessie and their children – included horseback riding, fishing, hunting, raising yellow Labs, and music. He played guitar and sang in the local Tuesday’s in the Park concert series, at church and in nursing homes he visited.

Minuteman Press

Tim and Mindi Siercks at their Minuteman Press business.
Tim and Mindi Siercks at their Minuteman Press business.

Mindi and Tim Siercks brought Minuteman Press to Princeton in 2011 and have been so successful, Mindi says, that they’ve

outgrown their space in downtown Princeton. The company’s work includes developing web sites, printing, copying, design, offering supplies and more. The chamber’s description of Minuteman Press is a company whose philosophy is “your business is their business and that if you succeed, they succeed.”

Tim, in his off time serves on the 2013 city planning commission and the chamber board, as well part owner of a business called Princeton Speedway, Inc., that kept the motor speedway at the Mille Lacs County Fairgrounds operating this year. Mindi serves on the Princeton Public Utilities Commission.

Princeton Public Schools

The Princeton School District offers education to students from pre-kindergarten on up through high school, with an enrollment of approximately 3,200. Besides academics, the district provides many extracurricular activities through its four main classroom buildings. Julia Espe became the district’s new superintendent this past summer and is working with the school board and study committees to recommend a facilities-improvement proposal for a possible voter referendum next spring.

The district emphasizes its Tiger Pride theme to teach students to have respect for themselves, others, the community and school property. The district’s slogan is “No Boundaries to Learning.”

The nominees

There were no other nominees for person of the year than Vrchota. The nominees for business of the year besides Minuteman Press were Ashworth Appliance & Electronics, Hierlinger’s Shoes, and Louise’s Basement Boutique.

The nominees besides Princeton Public Schools for civic group of the year were Friends of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, and  Princeton Area Library.