By Mollie Rushmeyer, Correspondent
Hard work, family and hometown pride serve as the bedrock for Doris Wendlandt’s life and the many facets of her day.
One of her great joys is owning the Queen Bee Bar and Grill in Paynesville for the last 17 years, and serving the Paynesville community where she was born and raised.
“It’s home to me,” Wendlandt said. “It’s a beautiful town, with beautiful lakes — like Lake Koronis. And we work together (the downtown Paynesville businesses) to keep the draw here and keep us going.”
Both she and her husband, Tom, grew up in Paynesville, but because he was a few years older, they didn’t meet in school as one might think.
“We met where everyone around here meets, the dance in Richmond,” she said with a laugh.
Now 39 years later, they have five grown children: Jennifer, 38, Troy, 37, Jamie, 35, Trisha, 31, and Michael, 26, as well as five grandchildren.
Two of her children, Jennifer and Trisha, work with her at the Queen Bee. Jennifer is the restaurant/bar manager, while Trisha uses her Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts background in the kitchen.
In her youth, Wendlandt experienced every aspect of working in the restaurant industry, starting out young.
“At 12 years old, I was working at Jerry’s Supper Club in Richmond,” she said.
She moved from washing dishes to waitressing eventually. Then after going back to school at St. Cloud Rasmussen College for bar and restaurant management, she quickly realized she wanted to do more than just manage a bar or restaurant — she wanted to own one.
The thing that keeps her at it, she said, is the customers. She said she has met so many people from all over the country and across the globe, and being a world traveler at heart herself, that has always been one of the best parts of the job.
“We get to meet new and wonderful people every day,” she said.
In this busy business owner’s down time, she said she enjoys spending as much of it as she can with her family and doing some traveling of her own.
They like to motorcycle and have used their bikes to explore much of the contiguous United States, as well as traveled to Germany, France, Alaska, Costa Rica and Mexico. And with family close by, from Paynesville to Alexandria, and working with two of her children, she doesn’t have to go far to spend time with them.
“It has been very rewarding to work with family, and get to see grandchildren so much,” Wendlandt said.
Giving back to the town she calls home as well as to the people who share it with her, is important to Wendlandt.
She’s a former Paynesville Chamber of Commerce president, who now works with the other retail business owners of downtown Paynesville on an event committee. The group plans activities such as the Cruising on James car show, a family Halloween get together, a Christmas project, a lady’s night and many others to ensure the town has fun special events and crowds are drawn to the businesses at its heart.
Wendlandt also serves on the Board of Directors for the Paynesville Lions Club. Through a number of different projects throughout the year, like the Town and Country Days hamburger sale, she helps raise money for the hearing and sight impaired.
When informed she was chosen as the Woman of the Month, she said her reaction was, “Really? Are you sure?”
It was a little bit of a surprise, but a big honor, she said, when she found out.
Congratulations, Doris Wendlandt, September’s Woman of the Month.