Sixty or 61 years? Either way it has been a long standing business built on hard work and a commitment to customers and the community.
Don’s Auto Service and Repair (Don’s), founded by Donald and Janet Berning, is believed to be Albertville’s longest standing family run business. Don, a lifelong Albertville resident, began work as a mechanic in 1943 for Wilfred Scherber’s Albertville Motor Sales, located at the corner of Main Avenue and 56th Street (currently Albertville Body Shop, Inc.).
Soon after the start of his career, Don was drafted and served as a mechanic in the Marine Corp in WW II until his return in 1948. In 1951 Don married Janet Barthel of St. Michael and by 1953 Don and Janet had acquired Albertville Motor Sales and Don’s Auto began.
Don and Janet raised six sons (Greg, Gordy, Adrian, Duane, LeRoy and Brian), all of which have worked for the business over the years, and in 1976 relocated the business to its current location at 11438 County Rd. 37.
Janet recalls Don “putting all the kids to work when they were too young and working incredibly long days.” Today the business is still as family orientated as ever and is owned and operated by son Gordy Berning and his wife, Theresa, with Greg and Janet right at the helm with them. Ken Weber, a long time Berning family friend, has worked for the business for 40 plus years.
In 1953 when Don’s began, the gas pumps (two) were on the curb, Albertville had a population of less than 250 people, Interstate 94 didn’t exist, only about six blocks were paved, and, if you lived in the Twin Cities, Albertville was a long ways away. While Don’s has seen countless changes, the business still specializes in auto repair and service, and owner Gordy is committed to one thing not changing and that is Don’s Auto’s “commitment to customers and honest service.”
This past week, Don’s celebrated its 60th Anniversary (but really 61 years) and thanked customers and the community by providing free donuts, coffee, lunch and prizes.