Case Study:
Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops

Company Profile

“I don’t make a major change without input from my Alerus banker.” That’s Hal Gershman of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops. Hal’s father, Harry “Happy” started the business 65 years ago. Since then, Hal has expanded Happy Harry's presence to four shops—superstores, really—in Grand Forks and Fargo.

The stores reflect North Dakota’s architectural heritage with echoes of barns and grain elevators, built from fieldstone and red-stained cedar. Inside, approximately 15,500 square feet of wide aisles, well-organized shelves, custom white oak wine racks and other features provide comfortable browsing.


Hal’s father started banking with Alerus Financial in 1935, and the two companies have grown together. “We’re both in highly regulated industries,” Hal explains, “which provides empathy in business decision-making. Yet Alerus also has a different perspective to business growth.”


“I rely on Alerus for business and financial advice. For instance, when we expanded our Fargo operations, our Alerus bankers were at the table from the initial planning stages,” Hal explains. “They were also there during some management challenges and helped point us in the right direction.”

Hal has worked with other banks. The difference? “Absolutely night and day,” he says. “Alerus is based on integrity, intelligence and service, which is really the only way to successfully conduct business for the long run.”

Hal now utilizes Alerus for nearly 100 percent of his business and personal financial needs. “They help our business earn and save money, they also administer our 401(k) plan. On a personal level, my wife and I sit down periodically with our Alerus advisors to review reports and develop or shift plans as needed to achieve our goals. Alerus’ guidance provides a safe haven for our investments with reasonable returns.”

One of Hal’s father’s dreams was to serve on the Alerus Board of Directors; Hal has fulfilled that dream, serving on the Board of Directors since 1988. It’s a proven partnership: “I consider my Alerus bankers my Board of Directors,” he says. “And I don’t understand why everyone isn’t banking at Alerus.”




Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops
Grand Forks and Fargo, ND

Business Type


Services Used

Commercial Banking
Business Checking
Online Banking and Bill Pay
Business Savings Products Direct Deposit
Retirement Plans

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