Leo’s Potato Dumplings comfort food company is up for sale

Leo’s Potato Dumplings, located in Lankin, North Dakota, is for sale. The business can be transferred to the right enterprising and food conscious person. I reached out to Mary and Jerry Hodny, who have owned and operated the business since 2009, when they bought it from founder Leo Bosh, then 87.

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Mary and Jerry Hodny have owned Leo’s Potato Dumplings since 2009 and are now selling the business. They used the Pride of Dakota holiday storefronts in North Dakota to expand the business.

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Bosh started the business in 1989. The potato dumplings he created that are operated by the Hodnys are of Czechoslovakian origin and carry on “Czech heritage” for the Hodnys, who live in the family home built in 1897 on the farm founded by Jerry’s. Czech family of great-grandfather.

Potato dumplings aren’t just a food business for the Hodnys. It is a rural cultural element and a value-added product for agriculture, as it is made from locally grown ingredients.

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Leo’s Potato Dumplings are currently made by Mary and Jerry Hodny and their daughter Katrina in Lankin, North Dakota, but the business could relocate if sold, says Mary Hodny.

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“We’ve seen mothers and grandmothers tell their kids they’re not making dumplings anymore because they can buy Leo’s potato dumplings,” Mary Hodny said. “Leo’s Potato Meatballs are made with almost all North Dakota ingredients. This is a simple and hearty Czech comfort food that many people enjoy.

Mary and Jerry have grown the potato dumpling business over the past 13 years of ownership and are now looking for a buyer to expand and continue their rural business.

Originally, the company only sold frozen products to a few stores. Now the Hodnys deliver the potato dumplings themselves to stores in North Dakota’s Red River Valley and northern Minnesota, and a distributor, S&S Roadrunner in Bismarck, North Dakota, has helped extending reach to outlying areas of North Dakota and four surrounding states. In addition, they created new products in the company, Czech Fries and Kolache.

I almost always have a package of Leo’s Potato Meatballs in my freezer and serve them with roast beef or pork in the fall and winter as a comfort food we all love.

If you come from a rural community in the Upper Midwest, you might know potato dumplings as a cultural food, regardless of your heritage. Last weekend, my family was talking about if and when the local small-town cafe would start “potato dumpling nights” again in the fall and continue through the winter.

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Meatballs perpetuate food traditions with varied heritages. Pictured are Leo’s Potato Dumplings from Lankin, North Dakota.

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For Leo’s product, “Traditionally, potato dumplings are cooked from frozen in boiling water, making it easy for anyone to add them to the dinner table as a side dish. copious. We’ve known people who used the dough for soup dumplings, while others boiled them and then fried them in butter for a different texture experience,” said Mary Hodny.

Mary, 58, and I spoke on the phone this week. She shared, “I’m not old or weak, but a younger person can go far with this business.” The business has grown significantly through Pride of Dakota holiday window displays over the past decade in North Dakota, with people sampling the product and buying it.

Once the business is sold, Mary hopes to spend more time with their grandchildren. She said the potato dumpling business is “really a labor of love.” She will continue with a food truck and catering business that she and her daughter, Katrina, started in 2015, which they hope to focus on and grow.

Mary said the potato dumpling business can be moved “or taken over by a whole community” and includes both product lines – potato dumplings and Czech fries – the use of the name, the list of retail customers and, depending on buyers’ needs, the equipment and building in which the products are manufactured.

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The expanded product of Czech Fries is included in the sale of Leo’s Potato Dumplings.

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Hodny noted that the dumpling products would be “a nice addition to an existing food production business.” The business can be a profitable, stand-alone business or a hobby-type business, depending on how the operator chooses to run it, Hodny said. It depends on the product quantity and product delivery that can be made.

Currently, Mary works full-time in the potato dumpling business with Katrina, who is finishing her bachelor’s degree and working in the business daily around her school schedule. Mary’s business partner and husband, Jerry, works full-time for the local county highway department.

Who buys a potato dumpling business? Czech heritage is not necessary, just an entrepreneurial spirit and ideally an understanding of the food business, says Mary.

“An ideal buyer would have a good understanding of the food industry and an entrepreneurial spirit that allows the business to continually grow,” she said. “He must also have the insight and open-mindedness to see his potential.”

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An active food business, the Hodny family hopes to soon find a buyer for their potato dumpling business.

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The Hodny family said they “wanted to see Leo’s Potato Dumplings continue to grow and bring some homemade goodness to the dinner table.”

For the love of the potato dumplings served to my family and for the pursuit of a small rural business, I hope a buyer will be found.

Pinke is the publisher and managing director of Agweek. She can be reached at kpinke@agweek.com, or connect with her on Twitter @katpinke.


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