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Perham's Kenny Nelson inducted into Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame

Kenny Nelson of KLN Family Brands in Perham was inducted into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame July 26 at the Hilton in Minneapolis. Courtesy photo1 / 2
Recipients of the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame July 26 were John Gabbert (Room & Board), Andrew Duff (Piper Jaffray), Sharon Hoffman Avent (Smead Manufacturing), James Cracchiolo (Ameriprise Financial) and Kenny Nelson (KLN Family Brands. Courtesy photo2 / 2

Ken Nelson, who started KLN Family Brands with his father, Darrell (Tuffy) Nelson in 1964, has been inducted into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame.

Nelson joined four other recipients in receiving the honor last Thursday evening at the Minneapolis Hilton. Nelson was feted as one of Minnesota's five most accomplished business leaders for 2018 at the evening event, which included cocktails and dinner.

Also inducted in the Hall of Fame were Sharon Hoffman Avent of Smead Manufacturing, James Cracchiolo of Ameriprise Financial, Andrew Duff of Piper Jaffray and John Gabbert of Room & Board.

Twin Cities Business Magazine described Nelson's accomplishments:

"Kenny Nelson launched not just one but three successful companies in highly competitive industries, pet food, snacks and candy. What's more, he founded and grew all three in Perham, a small town in central Minnesota far from a major urban center. He succeeded by finding his own niches and by drawing upon the distinctive advantages of his hometown."

After launching Tuffy's Pet Food with 13 employees, the Nelsons expanded into the snack food market with Barrel O' Fun in 1973. In 1987 doors opened at Kenny's Candy. KLN Enterprises was formed in 1995.

Tuffy's Pet Foods celebrated 50 years in 2014 and is presently in the middle of a $35 million expansion. Among the speakers who joined Nelson at the podium was his son, Charlie Nelson, who is a third generation owner.

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