News & Events
September Spotlight: Baune’s Catering, Highway 68/67 Off Sale
By: McKenzie Fischer
For the month of September, the Wabasso EDA, Commercial Club, and Redwood Area Development Corporation are highlighting Brian Baune and his businesses Baune’s Catering, Highway 68 and 67 Off Sale, and B&L Lawn and Snow.
If you’ve ever been out and about in Wabasso you’ve probably spotted one or two of Baune’s Catering vehicles or seen Brian Baune yourself hard at work outside of his store, Highway 68 Off Sale, previously known as Baune’s Café and Catering. Brian owns a multitude and variety of businesses in the Wabasso area and got started in the entrepreneurship world at an early age. Brian’s parents, Butch and Phyllis Baune built the store that sits on Highway 68 back in 1982 and opened as Baune’s Café in July of that year. Helping build the café and getting it ready for opening are some of Brian’s fondest memories growing up in Wabasso.
After graduating school, Brian worked in the cities until 2005 when he then decided to pick up his things and move down south to North Carolina where he spent his time working at a corporate job. After being in North Carolina for a while, Brian decided to move back home so he could be closer to his family and parents and decided to help out the family business. Though he had no culinary background besides what his mother Phyllis taught him, Brian stated that “cooking and catering was something that came really easy to me, and it was something that I became passionate about after years of helping mom and dad at the café.”
Although some of us may not remember it, catering was not always a service that Baune’s Café offered. After operating as a café for the first 6 years, people couldn’t get enough of Phyllis’ recipes so in 1988 they decided to start offering catering for events such as weddings and other gatherings in order to keep making their customers happy. In 2013, Butch and Phyllis retired and passed the business down to Brian in January of 2014.
Brian and his ‘go getter’ wife Linda operated the café for about three years and then decided to close that portion of the business and convert the café into a liquor store while still maintaining some takeout lunch and supper specials on top of their thriving catering business. As if he wasn’t busy enough, soon after opening the liquor store in Wabasso, Brian also decided to open a second liquor store location in Morgan, MN. “Linda and I felt that the store in Morgan was a great opportunity for us to expand our business and that it could bring more jobs to the area back here.” Brian also stated that they really wanted to focus more on the catering aspect of their business and switching the café into a liquor store allowed more time for them to focus on doing just that.
In the midst of restructuring Brian’s business, the world was hit by the COVID19 pandemic and the way everyone lived, worked, and did business had changed. Brian’s wife Linda made the decision to quit her job as a nurse after working in the field for over 30 years in order to become Brian’s most dedicated business partner. Brian stated, “I don’t know what I would have done without her, she is the biggest and most motivated woman I have ever worked with in my whole life. She is the one who handles all of our customers, brides, bookkeeping, you name it, she does it.”
Now, after almost 40 years, Baune’s Catering has blossomed into an amazing business venture and unlocked immeasurable opportunities for Brian, Linda, and their family. With the help of their family and talented staff, they now cater on average 350 events every year with about 50 of those being weddings. “The most events we have ever catered in one day was six. It was a crazy day, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all of our great helpers.” Brian also said that the biggest crowd they’ve ever catered was around 1,500 people! When asked what his customers favorite meal for catered events he replied, “Probably our roast beef, we go through over 10,000 pounds a year!” When asked what Brian’s favorite thing about catering was, he commented that it was really cool to have originally catered for the parents of the generation of children that are getting married now and getting to cater for their weddings as well.
Since taking over the business, Brian has added on a 24x54 garage in order to store all the inventory and equipment needed to run both businesses and has also installed a 10x12 walk in cooler. All of the changes both inside and out have completely changed the look of the business compared to when he originally took over in the beginning of 2014. As far as the future goes, Brian and Linda are focusing on maintaining their liquor stores and catering business. Brian is currently in the process of construction on a new building towards the West end of Main Street that will be for his side business (yes, he’s managed to find time for another business operation!) This building will be to house equipment for B&L Lawn and Snow which provides many different types of snow and lawn care services for anyone looking for an extra hand. Brian anticipates the building to be finished later this fall, just in time for snow removal season!
When asked who Brian’s biggest advocates were along his entrepreneurial path he responded, “I have really always been the kind of person who just gets out there and gets it done but I would without a doubt have to say that Linda has always been my biggest supporter of me in this ongoing journey.” Brian and Linda would like to take the time to say thank you to all of their customers who have shown loyalty, support, and friendship over the last 41 years of business. The advice that Brian has for others looking to start their own business is to always work hard, be honest, and don’t be afraid to take advice from others. One piece of advice that Brian has gotten that stands out to him among the rest is to not let other people’s negativity get to you and to give your best 125% of the time.
If you are looking to try some of Brian’s delicious recipes, find a caterer for an event, looking for someone to help out with lawn care, or trying to find a side gig at the liquor store/catering business, he says he’s always hiring, and you can get in touch with him about any inquiries for
any of his businesses at Highway 68 Off Sale or by calling 507-342-5123.