South Isle Family Campground owners inducted into Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame

Sue and Wally Heise (center) with their daughter Kim Ames, her husband Chad (far left) and their son Bryan (far right). Photos provided by  Minnesota Resort and Campground Association
Sue and Wally Heise (center) with their daughter Kim Ames, her husband Chad (far left) and their son Bryan (far right). Photos provided by
Minnesota Resort and Campground Association
Sue and Wally Heise with their plaque commemorating their induction to the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame. Photos provided by  Minnesota Resort and Campground Association
Sue and Wally Heise with their plaque commemorating their induction to the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame. Photos provided by
Minnesota Resort and Campground Association

Isle – Wally and Sue Heise, owners of the South Isle Family Campground, have been inducted into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association.
The Heises have operated the campground since 1991. They were nominated for induction by a fellow Minnesota resort operator.
“This one is honoring old people that’ve been around a long time,” Wally Heise joked about his and his wife’s induction.
Wally and Sue Heise have shown dedication to the campground industry, both serving at various times on boards and committees within the industry community in Minnesota. Sue Heise served on the board of the Minnesota Association of Campground Owners before it merged with the Minnesota Resort Association to form the MRCA. Wally Heise has been a board member for the MRCA, and he served as its president in 2007. He has also been a member of the advisory committee for Explore Minnesota Tourism.
The Heises entered the campground business after a downturn in the electronics industry left Wally Heise unemployed.
“The computer industry in the late ‘80s kind of fell flat on its face,” Heise said.
Heise explained that he had been making the wage of a college-degree engineer, without a degree, and he wasn’t able to find another job in the computer business that paid as well as his old one.
“Instead we bought a campground and didn’t make any money,” Heise said.
Camping had already been a family hobby for the Heises prior to buying the campground, and Heise had also camped with neighbors when he was a child.
Although their early years of campground operation were difficult, the Heises persevered through them.
“The main reason I think is the people. … They lift you up,” he said.
Over the years the Heises have more than doubled the number of campsites at the South Isle Family Campground, from 65 sites to 130. When they first bought the campground, they ran it during the spring, summer and fall months, and worked other jobs during the winter off-season.
The Heises have been in the campground business long enough now that people who camped at the South Isle Campground as children in their early days of running the place are now old enough to bring their own families out to camp there.
“It’s so much fun to see children who are now adults bring their children,” Heise said. “They’ve got the biggest smiles.”
Heise is proud to have been inducted into the hall of fame.
“I’m honored,” he said. “I’m pleased that people recognize our dedication both to our business and the hospitality industry.”