100 years and going strongOver the last 100 years, countless businesses have opened in Rosemount. And while others have closed their door, First State Bank of Rosemount has survived recessions, depressions and technology.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
Over the last 100 years, countless businesses have opened in Rosemount. And while others have closed their door, First State Bank of Rosemount has survived recessions, depressions and technology.
One of the oldest businesses in Rosemount, First State Bank opened its doors in October of 1909. The grain elevator, operated by Fluegel’s Farm, Garden and Pets, is the oldest running business in Rosemount. But First State Bank is the oldest family run-business in town, said Rosemount Historical Society member Maureen Geraghty-Bouchard.
Established by S.A. Netland on Oct. 9 the bank opened in a small building east of its current location. Netland later sold the bank to F.A. Ruhr who owned it until 1949, when longtime employee Ralph Toombs purchased it. Toombs began working at the bank in 1919 and stayed there for the rest of his life.
Ralph’s sons, Robert and David, followed in his footsteps and so have six of his grandchildren.
“It’s a family run since 1949,” said Barb Toombs, vice president of the bank and wife of current president David.
Over the years the leadership has changed, but it’s always been a Toombs. After Ralph died in 1970 his wife, Louise, served as president of the bank. When she retired their son Robert took over as president and their son David became vice president. Then when Robert retired David took over the head post.
Six of the other employees at the bank are sons or daughters of Robert or David. The bank employs 19 full- and part-time employees.
“We keep business, business and family, family,” said Barb Toombs about working with family members.
The Toombs have witnessed a lot of changes in the banking business over the years. When David started in 1953 bankers used pencils, fountain pens and big ledgers. And every desk in the place had a typewriter. The bank moved to a new location in 1960.
These days there are more than 30 computers in the bank and customers do most of their banking online. There are still three typewriters in the bank though.
Despite all the changes the bank has kept up to serve its customers.
“The quality is better but expensive to keep up,” said David.
In addition to surviving changes in technology, the bank has made it through some rocky financial times, including the Great Depression in the 1930s and a number of recessions over the years. Vice president of operations Mark Toombs credited sound decisions and learning from mistakes for the bank’s success.
Part of that decision making has led the bank to invest locally, because that’s where it does the most good, he said. The bank also makes its loan decisions locally.
More than anything, though, Mark said good customer service keeps the bank in business.
“The thing that sells the bank most is our customer service,” said Mark.
Barb said they like to know all their customers by name, which is apparent the minute you walk through the door. Hellos come from all directions. She said they take pride in the fact some of their customers are third generation.
Knowing their customers are their neighbors as well the bank supports the community in a number of ways. The bank gives away two $500 scholarships to Rosemount High School students who will continue their post secondary education in the business field annually. It supports youth athletics and sponsors Teen Night. Additionally, the bank provides resources for events such as Leprechaun Days and the Haunted Woods Trail.
“We like to be involved in the community,” said Barb.
While proud of the accomplishment, David said the anniversary will be just another day.
“It’s historic but it’s just another day,” he said.
Going forward, Mark said they will continue business as usual and the bank will continue to grow and change with the community.
The bank will celebrate the milestone with an open house from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9. The bank usually has a customer appreciation day in October and this event will follow suit with a few extras added in.