The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism used Tuesday's Business After Hours event to act as a chance to "officially welcome new owner to the long-established, Kottke Jewelers" in downtown Owatonna.

Kottke Jewelers
Owatonna Chamber of Commerce

Lauren Kozelka took over as owner of the 100-year-old business earlier this year, saying it "fulfilled a lifelong dream." Tuesday's event drew many Chamber businesses to 115 North Cedar. Lauren and Kyle purchased the business in December 2021.

In a recent interview on AM 1390 KRFO/94.7 FM, Kozelka said taking over the business has gone very well, "It's been a blast...I'm just overwhelmed with the support of the community of taking over a 103-year-old business and getting to live out my passion, and clearly Kottke Jeweler's vision."

Customers appreciate that the business is staying with a local owner, "I think that's the best part about it, is seeing that and seeing them come and the generations behind them come. That families come, and maybe they're on their grandson getting engaged. Grandpa got an engagement ring [here] and then father did, now we're on to grandson, or I could even say, great-grandchildren. It's just amazing to see all of that come to life and be a part of that."

Kozelka was appearing on the Fair Talk broadcast to highlight their sponsorship of the Hot Glass Academy at the 2022 Steele County Free Fair, "I'm super excited. When I was talking to [fair manager] Scott [Kozelka] about it, it kind of brings us back to when Bill [Kottke] used to carry so many different gift items...It's just kind of fun, an ode to the history of Kottke Jewelers."

Bill Kottke sponsored a 4H watch in the past, as part of an airplane fly-over of the fairgrounds.

Lauren Kozelka continued, "Just being able to continue that sponsorship...We just want to be a part of something substantial in our community that we all love...I've been a long 4Her my whole life."

Listen to Fair Talk each Thursday at 9:40 am on AM 1390 KRFO/94.7 FM leading up to the Steele County Fair August 16 through 21 in Owatonna.

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