After managing the Northwest Watertown for 28 years, Pete and Marilyn Laven decided to open their own business. Laven's Northwest Monument Company is located at 1701 E. Lakeshore in the old Dekalb office.
"We're looking forward to spreading out and doing our own thing," Marilyn said. "One of our daughters does sales for us in Des Moines and our son does all of the settings. I think it's going to be a family business."
The Lavens got started in the monument business when Pete was working in a cemetery in Minnesota years ago.
"The granite people asked him if he'd ever thought about the granite business," Marilyn said. "That's how we got started."
Pete did some direct sales in Marshall, Minn., before taking a manager position and opening the monument business in Storm Lake.
There are currently 15 salesman out of the Lavens' office. Together, they cover three-fourths of the state of Iowa.
"I think we're going to be in business for a long time," Marilyn laughed. "We're looking forward to spreading out even more."
The Lavens say they enjoy the business because they are a part of a once-in-a-lifetime decision that people make.
Read the rest of this story in the 10/12 Pilot Tribune.