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Perham chamber award winners announced

The Perham Chamber of Commerce recently announced the winners of the 2011 Chamber Leadership Award as well as the inductee into the Hall of Fame.

The Leadership Award will be presented to Nick Theroux of Blossoms, Birds and Beyond, and this year's Hall of Fame inductee is Kenny Nelson of KLN Enterprises. Theroux and Nelson will be honored at the annual Perham Chamber Leadership Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday, April 14 at 6 p.m. The cost for the banquet is $25 per plate, and reservations may be made by contacting the Perham Chamber office at 218-346-7710.

Nick Theroux

Theroux is a Minnesota native relocating to Perham in 2003 after retiring from a 32-year career in the telecommunication industry. Nick and his wife Jodi Theroux purchased property in the Perham area in 1999 with plans to relocate back to Minnesota to be near their parents.

The Theroux's five children and seven grandchildren reside in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Georgia. The Theroux's are the owners/operators of Blossoms Birds & Beyond Garden Center in Perham.

Theroux's telecommunication career started with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company and Midwest Cable Communications in Bemidji, Minn. In 1982, Theroux continued his career with a move to Chicago, joining Gannett Broadcasting's Cable Television division. In 1992 he joined the Marcus Group in Dallas. In 1998, the Marcus Group was sold to Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft along with Bill Gates.

In 1999, Theroux relocated to St. Louis as vice president of engineering and development for the newly formed Charter Communications.

Theroux also served as treasurer of the Greater Chicago Chapter, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. He is a past technical adviser to the National Cable Television Institute, Denver.

Theroux has served the communities he has resided in with his current and past associations with Rotary International, Lions Clubs International and Perham Area Chamber of Commerce, in addition to many others.

Once becoming established in Perham, Theroux began his involvement with the Perham Area Chamber of Commerce first as a director in 2005, then as president from 2008-2010. In 2005, the Perham Chamber needed a change. Over the next five years, Theroux began the process of revitalizing the Perham Chamber from an organization that marketed the Perham area to itself into an association that markets the Perham area to millions of families interested in the many resources and activities the area has to offer.

Kenny Nelson

Kenny Nelson has lived in Perham since he was 4 years old. He is a graduate of Perham High School and from the University Of Notre Dame in 1963.

After college, Nelson joined his father, who at the time had a feed manufacturing facility that made poultry and livestock feeds. In 1965 they began Tuffy's Pet Food Company and began producing dog and cat foods.

In 1971 they sold Tuffy's to the H.J. Heinz Company and in 1973 Nelson started Barrel O' Fun Snack Foods Company. Barrel O' Fun was sold to the G. Heinemann Brewing Company in 1981 and Nelson stayed on until 1986.

In 1987 Nelson started Kenny's Candy Company and in July of 1988, Nelson, along with a group of investors, bought Barrel O' Fun back. In 1993, he started a chocolate manufacturing company called Nelson's Confections that was subsequently sold in 2002.

In 1995 KLN Enterprises was formed, and Nelson acquired a majority ownership of Barrel O' Fun from the other investors. Marketed today under KLN Family Brands, the three companies - Barrel O' Fun, Kenny's Candy Company and Tuffy's Pet Foods, employ over 1,100 people.

Nelson has an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit and has been instrumental in the growth of Perham. His emphasis today remains in the sales and marketing of the KLN Family Brands.