When the Culver family opened the very first Culver’s in their hometown of Sauk City, Wisconsin, in 1984, they never dreamed just how popular their one–of–a–kind ButterBurgers® and Fresh Frozen Custard were destined to become. Today there are more than 450 family–owned Culver’s restaurants across 19 states and growing. Franchisee and owner–operator Brian Farrell began his career as a Culver’s employee while attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison with the intent of someday owning his own Culver’s. Shortly after his college graduation, he completed the company’s ButterBurger® University, an intensive 16–week training course for new franchise partners. He opened his first Culver’s in Chicago in 2003. In addition to another location in the Chicago area, Farrell owns Culver’s restaurants in Arizona in the cities of Camelback, Chandler, Peoria, and Phoenix.
Farrell opened his Phoenix Culver’s in March of 2009. Camelback and Peoria followed in February and December of 2010, respectively. The Chandler location opened in December of 2011. It was during his pursuit of financing for the Chandler location that Farrell re–connected with Bill Shaw, senior underwriter at Alerus Bank & Trust. He knew Shaw from previous loans when Shaw worked for a different financial institution.
“It’s been great to be working again with Bill as well as the entire Alerus team,” says Farrell. “Alerus Bank & Trust is a very dynamic bank with respect to understanding our needs.”
Based on the smooth and successful experience Farrell went through in securing financing from Alerus for the Chandler location, when refinancing became available on his Phoenix location, he brought the opportunity to Alerus. Noting that the refinancing was successful with terms beneficial to both parties, Farrell says that he’s currently looking at refinancing his other two Arizona locations through Alerus.
“The great thing in working with Alerus is that they clearly understand my long–term future goals for expansion, and they’re helping me prepare to get there,” says Farrell.
Two of the hallmarks of Culver’s restaurants—great relationships and exemplary service—are exactly what Farrell has found in Alerus.
“A lot of banks talk about relationships and having a personal connection,” he says. “In working with several banks and bank presidents, the thing I really appreciate about Alerus is the flatness of the organization. Employees have autonomy to make decisions quickly.”
That autonomy, Farrell says, is extremely important and valuable to him. “We’re not chasing things way up the corporate ladder to get deals done. I know who I’m talking to is available to have a frank conversation, and I can get an answer quickly and work toward creative and dynamic solutions.”
“Alerus understands small business,” concludes Farrell. “Any small business owner looking for a new banking relationship should visit with Alerus. I’m certain they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
Camelback, Chandler, Peoria, and Phoenix, Arizona