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Tip Top's latest scoop: New owners

The Tip Top Dairy Bar in Osakis was recently purchased by Brad and Kristie Kirckof of Sauk Centre. The iconic Osakis restaurant opened on April 2 and will stay open through at least the month of September. (Celeste Edenloff / Osakis Review)

Brad and Kristie Kirckof have two goals in mind: To keep everything the same and to continue the tradition that was started back in 1955 by Norman Hansen.

A tradition that will provide the community of Osakis and surrounding areas with "the best quality food at fair prices in a pleasant family-friendly atmosphere."

The Kirckofs, who live in Sauk Centre, said they are truly looking forward and are excited about this next chapter in their life — as the new owners of the Tip Top Dairy Bar in Osakis, an iconic business on West Nokomis Street for more than 60 years.

"Timing is everything," said Brad Kirckof, who served as the mayor of Sauk Centre from 2006 to 2014 and is now the chair of the Sauk Centre School Board. "My wife heard the Tip Top was for sale from her beautician."

Kristie said the business hadn't even been listed yet when she found out it was for sale, but knowing it was for sale piqued her interest.

The Kirckofs said they have enjoyed coming to the Tip Top for years and knew of its great reputation. Last June, they said they started conversations about buying the business with the former owners, Bernice Kostrzewski and her son, Kyle. By September, they knew they were going to buy the business and said they helped the Kostrzewskis close it up for the winter.

The Tip Top Dairy Bar is only open about six months of the year, from April through September.

The decision to purchase it, according to Brad, was because of the products, the staff and the community.

"You can't find a friendlier, more pleasant place and the products are awesome. The best in the state," he said. "It was a perfect fit for us."

Brad and Kristie praised the Kostrzewski family for all that they did the past 10 years and that they hope they will be able to continue on their tradition. This new venture, they said, will allow their own family to spend more time together. Their 15-year-old son, Matthew, will be one of the 24 employees they have on staff.

Many of the same employees, they said, have come back and will be working this season with them, which they are very grateful for.

"We've had to add a few new ones as some of last year's staff have moved on, but we have a really great staff who have helped us and are teaching us how to do things," said Brad.

The Tip Top Dairy Bar opened on April 2 and since then, even though it's only been about a week, Brad and Kristie said they are thankful for the Osakis community.

"The locals are very supportive and have accepted us with open arms," said Brad. "From the city to the businesses to the community members, it's been just great."

The Kirckofs said they don't plan on making any changes to the business. The hours will remain the same — they are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Memorial Day and then they are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. After Labor Day, the hours will go back to 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The plan is to be open through September, but depending on the weather, the Kirckofs said they might stay open longer.

The menu won't see any changes either, they said.

"We'll be providing the same great products as before," said Kristie. "Our goal is to keep everything the same."

And even though the family lives in Sauk Centre, Brad said, "Our hearts, our business, is now in Osakis. This is a local business that has been here since 1955 and we hope to carry on its tradition."

Owner history

1955 — Norman Hansen

1965 — Arthur Hegdahl

1973 — Donald Jacobson

1982 — James Smithlin

1982 — Dwayne Maus

1986 — Roger Christianson

1988 — Gerald Schoeneck

2002 — Les and Delores Butkowski

2008 — Kyle, Bernice and Dennis Kostrzewski (Dennis passed away in 2015)

2018 — Brad and Kristie Kirckof

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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