(Alexandria, MN) You can just picture a young, impressionable Jeff Roste, who at age eight was first shown his Grandpa Rudy's Western Town. It was crude, but creative and something Jeff just couldn't get enough of. Now in his 50's Jeff is equally enamored by the little Western Town, but, it's no longer his Grandfather's, it's his own. Jeff's Grandpa died only a few years after that impactful visit. The buildings, the characters and the rest of what made up that town were passed down to Jeff's uncle. Hoping to one day get it out of storage, and back assembled for public viewing, Jeff watched it change hands once again to another uncle.
Eventually last year he asked if he could have it with the promise to fix it up. Did he ever! He has repainted, replaced, re-worked and upgraded many components to the little miniaturized town, but nearly all of his Grandpa Rudy's originality still shines through brightly. The completely redone town is on display outside of D. Michael B's inside the Viking Plaza Mall in Alexandria. It features cooler, more efficient LED lights were placed throughout the town, upgraded gears, an improved and expanded waterfall flows from the windmill. One of Jeff's favorite additions is the music that plays along to the character's movements. Keith Martinson of Northern Heart Media created a song to play in the town saloon that loops for 1:05. The song is called "Good Times at the Western Town" and uses only the 4 instruments that appear to be used by the miniature characters in the saloon.
All of the touch-ups, upgrades and improvements were not extremely expensive, but they weren't cheap. That's were sponsors Integrity Title and Glenwood State Bank came in. They've helped out tremendously.
In addition to the video feature below, Jeff's Western Town will also be featured this upcoming Sunday, October 4th in a story from John Lauritsen in WCCO's "Finding MN" (during the 10:00pm news).
Jeff owns a company called "Creative Impact Design." You could say that the company name is the very definition of what this project involved.