Posts tagged ‘Plymouth’

Maple Grove plumbing company celebrates 90 years

Here’s a story about our stores 90th anniversary that was in February. We got our plumbing license from the city of Minneapolis on February 13th, 1923. We’ve done plumbing at: the University of Minnesota’s presidents house, TCF Bank Stadium, the artist that formerly called himself  the artist formerly known as Prince’s house, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and NFL hall of famer Allen Page’s house, Tennant Company, Northwestern College, and hundred’s of other residential and commercial plumbing sites. It’s been quite a ride.

They say that only 30% of family business’ survive into the second generation, 12% are able to make it to the third generation, and only 3% make it to the fourth generation. We are on generation #4 and we don’t plan on giving up anytime soon.

Business Matters: Maple Grove company celebrates 90 years.


LeVahn Brothers Hardware Celebrates 90 Years | community businesses | Maple Grove Magazine

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing's original plumbing license from 1923

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing’s original Plumbing license from 1923

The Maple Grove landmark turns 90 this month.


“Get in, get help, get it done,” is the door sign that greets you when you walk into LeVahn Brothers Hardware. But the friendliness doesn’t stop there: Once you step into the store, you’re greeted by a smile and a kind, “Hi, how can I help you?”

This family owned establishment was started by brothers Arthur, Ernie and Ed LeVahn in 1923. The business thrived there until 1994, when it moved from its original North Minneapolis location into Maple Grove. There store is owned by Loren LeVahn and managed by his son, Andrew LeVahn. The store is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month.

The Original LeVahn Brothers Plumbers

The original LeVahn Brothers Oscar, Ed, and my Great Grandfather Art

They rent and repair, size and cut, sharpen and test—but that isn’t all they do. Their extensive plumbing knowledge, combined with the vast amount of plumbing parts they stock, is but one reason that several stores, including Lowe’s, send their customers to them.

Another unique aspect of the business is their popular blog, which brings inquiries from all over the country. This-easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide is written from experience, and gives customers all kinds of informative tips and tricks. Andrew LeVahn says he tries to post about things that are relevant to the time of year, as well as issues he has heard customers discussing. The blog is filled with pictures, recommendations and product highlights.

What it comes down to, though, are the customers, the LeVahn’s say. “We have very, very regular customers,” says Andrew. When a customer walks in, they try to take them to the item they are looking for, instead of just directing them to an aisle. Andrew says they have customers who tell them, “‘I don’t know what I would if you guys ever went out of business.’” He says he usually replies in kind: “‘We don’t know what we would do if we went out of business.’”

Their attitude is to try to do as much as they can for the customer, he says. Their biggest strengths are their longevity, knowledge and professionalism, Andrew says. They try to be as honest and professional as possible—meaning they do jobs right the first time and don’t charge their customers just to charge them. If it’s not broken, they won’t fix it—and furthermore, if they can help you fix it yourself, they will try their best to do so.

1923 Plumbing registration card from the city of Minneapolis

1923 Plumbing registration card from the city of Minneapolis

“We do work from restaurants, industrial buildings, universities to fixing the faucet at the person’s house down the road,” says Andrew.  Some eclectic jobs have included some work at Prince’s house and servicing Eastcliff, the President of University of Minnesota’s home.

LeVahn Brothers Hardware Celebrates 90 Years | community businesses | Maple Grove Magazine.

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing and Hardware is located a 12700 Bass Lake Rd in Maple Grove, MN 55369

Find us on the web at or on Facebook at

Business Matters: Maple Grove company celebrates 90 years

The Original LeVahn Brothers Plumbers

The original LeVahn Brothers Oscar, Ed, and my Great Grandfather Art

LeVahn Bros. Plumbing and Hardware is a fixture in Maple Grove today. But you have to go back to 1923, when Warren G. Harding was president, to discover the origins of this local company that’s celebrating 90 years in business in February.

At their retail shop in Maple Grove, LeVahn Bros. is the kind of place where you come to get answers. A fourth-generation family owned business, the hardware store has an old-school feel with aisles of tools and parts and employees that can answer questions about that doodad that you need to fix a leak or to install something.

“We try to stress the service and the expertise that we’ve got,” said store manager Andy LeVahn. “People keep coming back because they know they can come in and get something and get out quickly and get the right thing the first time.”

Andy LeVahn is the fourth generation of LeVahn’s to run the business, but it was his great–grandfather, Art, and his two brothers who started LeVahn Bros. Plumbing in North Minneapolis back in 1923.

At the Maple Grove store, old black and white photographs adorn a wall depicting the early days of the business. Back then plumbers used a horse and buggy and later a Model T Ford to answer service calls, and a receipt from 1923 shows outfitting an entire house in Minneapolis with plumbing cost $68.14.

A Plumbing bill from 1923 or $68.23

A LeVahn Brothers Plumbing bill from 1923

Today, the prices and the modes of transportation have changed, but LeVahn Bros is still a plumbing business. Andy’s father, Loren LeVahn, the current business owner, added a hardware store to the business in 1994. The retail business brought the company to Maple Grove, and the plumbing/hardware store pairing has helped sustain the business.

“When the hardware store gets slow, the business in the plumbing seems to be a little bit better, so they can help each other out that way,” said Andy LeVahn.

It’s customers like Dennis Peterson of Maple Grove that help explain the company’s true longevity though. Peterson is one of many loyal customers who frequent the shop on a regular basis.

“I’m sure I come in here at least once a month for something,” said Peterson. “Some things I really need some help on, I come here cause they can help you more than the big stores can.”

LeVahn Brothers Plumbings retail Hardware Hank Store

Our retail Hardware Hank store located In the Bass Lake Shopping Center

The roots of good customer service go back 90 years for LeVahn Bros., and the younger generation believes that’s just as relevant today as in 1923.

“My great-grandfather started it in Minneapolis. They always try to put the customer first, and that’s what we try to do also,” said Andy LeVahn.

Alexandra Renslo reporting

Here’s a link to the video  from Channel 12 TV: Business Matters: Maple Grove company celebrates 90 years.

LeVahn Brothers Plumbing and Hardware is located at 12700  Bass Lake Rd in Maple Grove, MN 55369

Find us on the web at or on Facebook at 

It’s prime lawn care time |

It’s the perfect time to attend to your lawn.

As garden chores wind down, you can turn your attention to improving your grass — now and next spring.

Star Tribune photo galleries

Early fall is a time of active growth for grass, both above and below ground. That means regardless of the current condition of your grass, it’s prime time for lawn care. Any effort you put into your yard now will pay dividends not only this fall, but also next spring and summer.

Here’s how to keep your lawn looking great:


fall fertilizer

Because turf grasses are growing so actively now, they’re able to take up and make use of fertilizer most effectively.

Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer in early to mid-September, then water the lawn lightly afterward to make sure the granules reach the soil and don’t wash away. (Nitrogen is always the first of three numbers that give the nutrient analysis of any fertilizer.)

The University of Minnesota no longer recommends a second application later in autumn, because grass is less able to absorb nitrogen then. One fall application will do.


Though we often receive plenty of rainfall in autumn, it’s not unusual to run into a dry spell.

If we haven’t had rain for a week or so, you should water the lawn, especially if it’s been warm or windy. It best to water deeply, rather than lightly, but how often you need to water depends on the weather. As the temperatures drop, you can water less frequently, but as long as grass continues to grow it will need water — whether from the sky or your sprinkler.


Keeping the grass taller during summer (2 1/2 to 3 inches) results in deeper root growth. But once the weather cools off, you can gradually reduce the height of the grass. By the final mowing, your lawnmower blades should be set so the grass is only about 2 inches tall. If the grass blades are left too tall going into winter, they can pack down, which makes the grass more prone to disease.


Scotts ez Seed shaker


Early September is the best time to overseed thin patches of grass. Soils are still warm, there’s usually more rainfall, and nights are longer and cooler — all favorable conditions for grass seed to germinate and grow rapidly. Plus, few weed seeds are programmed to sprout now, so there’s less competition.

Scruff the soil so seeds make good contact rather than sit on a hard-packed surface. Aerifying the lawn before overseeding loosens the soil and creates an excellent surface for planting. Fertilize with standard lawn fertilizer or one formulated specifically for use when planting grass seed. Then water lightly as often as needed to keep the soil moist. Water more heavily and less frequently as the young grasses grow. Mow the areas that are overseeded when existing grasses grow too tall. Most important, do not use any form of herbicide in these areas until next year, including fertilizer/herbicide combinations.


An abundance of crabgrass has been one of this year’s most common complaints. The repeated heavy spring rains interfered with pre-emergence herbicides. So even lawns that were treated for crabgrass may have lots of it.

Because crabgrass is an annual weed that dies over the winter, there’s no point in using weed killers on it now. Instead, plan to apply a pre-emergence herbicide to infested areas next spring.

Natural products containing corn gluten meal also prevent crabgrass, but they take several years of spring and late-summer applications to be the most effective.



Creeping Charlie Herbicide

Ortho herbicide for creeping charlie

By the latter part of September, temperatures will have cooled enough to begin using broad-leaf herbicides on dandelions, plantain, creeping Charlie and other perennial weeds, which spring back from the same roots year after year.Because perennial weeds are storing nutrients in their roots now for next year’s growth, they’ll take in herbicide more readily in the fall. On really tough weeds such as creeping Charlie, you can add a second herbicide application two weeks after the first.

If you prefer not to use herbicides, manually dig out perennial weeds. And remember, the weeds you remove this fall won’t be around to produce seeds next year.


If your soil is hard or you have a thick buildup of thatch (more than 1/2 inch), your lawn will benefit from core aeration in September. Aeration takes small plugs out of the soil, which allows water, fertilizer and oxygen to penetrate below the surface and encourages good grass growth. (The small cores of soil should be left on the surface of the grass, so they break down and top-dress the soil.) You can rent an aeration machine (it’s hard work) or hire the job out.

Power rake

If the thatch is really thick, rent a dethatching machine, also known as a “vertical mower.” (Again, this is hard work you may wish to hire out.) The machine slices through the grass, bringing up lots of thatch, which will have to be raked up and added to your compost pile.

Aerating and dethatching may be done on the same day, but they will dry the soil rapidly, so be sure to water the lawn once you’re done.

Deb Brown is a garden writer and former extension horticulturist with the University of Minnesota.

via It’s prime lawn care time |

Other posts that you may enjoy:

Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening.

LeVahn Brothers Hardware is located at 12700 Bass Lake Rd. Maple Grove, MN 55369

Find us online at and also on Facebook at

You can aslo call us at 763-553-1222


Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening

Here’s a link to a great website with all sorts of good information on lawn and garden care. This particular post is talking about thatch in your lawn what it is and what you can do about it. Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening.

For more info on what you can do here are a few blogs that we wrote on lawn care:

Lawn dethatching | Lawn gardening | Home lawn care: Gardening.

Adventures In Gardening Vol. #4: Our First Harvest

Josey was very excited about her first harvest

Up until this point the garden has fun but has been mostly work. There has been the excitement of seeing the plants sprout and then grow but my daughter likes to cut to the chase, she wants results. About 2 weeks ago we finally got those results from our peas and beans. Now, it wasn’t a “bumper crop” but it was something tangible that she could see, touch and eat. That’s right, my daughter the picky eater ate her vegetables without sitting at the table for an hour and actually LIKED them. She even asked for more! My son was also impressed. I would have had more pea pods but he kept picking and eating them right out of the garden.  Vegetables do taste better right out of the garden, but there is also something to be said for putting in the effort to get something that makes it taste that much better.

I was thinking…  she also doesn’t like to eat meat. Maybe next year we’ll get a cow in the spring. She could help feed it and take care of it. We’ll fatten it up all summer and then together we could slaughter it  in the fall. That’ll get her to eat hamburger.

Mosquito Repellents and Killers

Are we going to have a bumper crop of mosquitoes this summer?

I hate mosquitoes. I hate everything about them. The biting, the itching, the buzzing sound by your ear as you lay in your tent trying to sleep. Unfortunately, it looks like this year we may have a bumper crop of them. I’m not sure when you were outside last but I did some upkeep in my garden one evening last week and it was all I could do to keep from being carried away by the damned things. With all the rain we’ve had this year I knew it wouldn’t be long before they really showed up.

Whether it’s the West Nile Virus or if you just want to prevent being bitten here’s some tips on what you can do to defend yourself:


Q: What type of repellent stays effective the longest?

A: The champion is DEET in a controlled-release formula (which typically involves a 20% to 34% concentration of the ingredient) or in high concentrations (30% to 100%). Controlled-release formulas have a slight edge in duration of effectiveness.

DEET (Diethyl Toluamide) is a chemical. To some people, the thought of applying it to their skin makes them uneasy. Yet DEET has been in use since 1957 and has been repeatedly tested for toxicity. The human body does absorb DEET, but is believed to eliminate it through urine within 24 hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of DEET and considers it safe when applied according to label instructions.

DEET is the only active repellent ingredient available in high concentrations (30% to 100%) in the U.S. Why? Only DEET’s higher concentrations have been screened extensively for toxicity, a lengthy and expensive process. Such data is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates repellent ingredients in the U.S.

In 2008 an alternative to DEET, a 20% formula of the chemical picaridin(p-CARE-uh-din), became available in the U.S. Previously it had been available only in a 7% solution. Picaridin’s advantages over DEET: It does not damage gear (in particular, DEET negatively impacts plastics), usually works better against flies and, in the opinions of many people, smells better. DEET in controlled-release formulas and higher concentrations still outlasts it.

In lower concentrations, active ingredients (DEET included) provide shorter-term effectiveness. The duration of effectiveness will vary by active ingredient.

For example, in an often-cited study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, DEET at 6.7% was effective for 112 minutes before the first bite was registered. Citronella, the first widely used “natural” active ingredient (and one that is fading in popularity today), at 10% yielded a bite after 19.7 minutes. A 2004 study produced similar results.

What does that mean for you? Base your choice on the amount of time you plan to spend outside. If you are planning an all-day outing, it makes sense to choose long-duration repellent that contains a higher concentration of an active ingredient—you may have no need to reapply the repellent. If you are planning to be outside for a shorter time, you could choose a low-concentration repellent—usually effective for 1 to 4 hours.

Note: DEET concentrations above 50% do not provide more protection than lesser concentrations, but they are believed to increase the length of the protection.

(taken from

Spray repellents: There are plenty of choices of products out there that contain Deet. Choose one that suits your needs. I’m not a big fan of the way that Deep Woods Off smells but for circumstances that I want higher protection this is what I would choose. 3M also has a good product called Ultrathon that is very effective. There is also repellents that work better for when you are going to sweat. Off Active is one such product that I’ve used and it seemed to work fairly well.

Using a product high in Permethrin can also be effective in repelling mosquitoes. Repel  has a product that is called Repel Mosquito Stop Clothing and Gear. It is to be used only on clothing and gear and is not supposed to used on your skin. I’m not sure the health risks of this product but based on the warning labels on the back of the package warning against any possibility of skin contact I’d say that if your against using chemicals this is not the product for you.

A new addition to the game is the use of personal repellent devices. These are manufactured by a number of different brands and they generally use some form of clip on device that uses a fan to emit a repellent. Off has a clip on that offers up to 12 hours of protection. I’ve heard good things about these but they are a little to pricey for my peanut butter and jelly budget. The clip on runs around $10 and refills are around $7 plus batteries.

If you just want to take care of a backyard there are a number of choices to kill off and or repel theses nasty bugs.

Bonide has a few of options that do a tremendous job of repelling mosquitoes. Two of my favorite products to use are Bonide’s Mosquito Beater Granules and Mosquito Beater RTS liquid. They both do a fantastic job of keeping your backyard mosquito free. The granules are a 100% natural blend of geranium oil, cedar oil, lemon grass oil, garlic and citronella oil. The liquid formula is Permethrin based and seems to be more effective. It also is effective in controlling fleas, ticks, spiders, crickets and even ants.

Another way to control mosquitoes is to help prevent them from maturing. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and the larva need to develop in the water before becoming flying spawns of Satan. You can help prevent this from happening in your yard by not allowing them to have water to lay eggs in. Any puddle can become a breeding ground so after a rain empty out containers that hold water (like playground equipment for instance). If you have a pond you can add all natural EPA approved mosquito dunks that will kill off larva for up to 30 days. Mosquitoes will not lay their eggs in moving water so you could also add a pump/fountain to a pond. Add a Water Wiggler to your bird bath that will not only prevent mosquitoes but it will attract more birds.

A Water Wiggler in your bird bath prevents mosquitoes from breeding and attracts more birds!

If you really want to be serious you could also use a Mosquito magnet. Mosquito magnets emit low amounts of carbon dioxide (provided by an attached propane tank) that attracts mosquitoes to the magnet. They enter the Mosquito Magnet and are trapped inside by a filter system. You periodically need to empty the filter of mosquitoes and also refill the propane tank. There is a bit of upkeep with these machines and opinions are mixed in terms of how effective they are. I owned one at one point but was tired of the maintenance. I stick to the spray and granular products from Bonide and I’m happy with their results.

Another more natural option for mosquito control is to attract bats with a bat house or two. Bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes a night.  Adding a bat house can really help your yard be more bug free. Check out this blog for more details How to Get rid of 1-5000 mosquitoes every night. Try a Bat House.

For more information call us at 763-553-1222

Come in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Road Maple Grove, MN 55369

Visit us on the web at

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