A.J. Kluver is the Pastor at Living Word Lutheran Church. The church is a Lutheran congregation in mission for Christ located at 1722 16th Ave East in Alexandria. They are small enough to where they have a family atmosphere and everyone knows each other, yet large enough to be effective in their mission.
My name is Tara Bitzan. I am a lifelong resident of Douglas County, and can’t imagine living anywhere else! I grew up on a farm in Moe Township and graduated from Brandon High School. I earned degrees in Mass Communications and English with a focus on print journalism and a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University.
I was thrilled to find a journalism position “back home,” and spent the next 25 years working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria. I met a lot of incredible people and had some amazing experiences while working as an intern, staff reporter, Life editor, Special Projects editor and finally editor at the twice weekly community newspaper.
In June 2016, I moved a few blocks down the road to begin working as director of the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. I loved my previous career as a community journalist, and I love my new career at the Chamber. I truly believe the reason for both is because of what a great community the Alexandria Lakes Area is! I consider myself blessed every day to be able to live and work here, where I believe we have the best of everything – shopping, health care, education, recreation and natural beauty.
My husband, Dennis, is also a Douglas County native, and is the co-owner of Bitzan-Ohren Masonry. Our blended family includes five children and five grandchildren. I love spending time with family, reading, gardening, relaxing at the lake, and going to work because I love my job! Not only do I love the work we do at the Chamber supporting our local business community, but I also love the people I work with. They are talented, innovative, hard-working, high-energy, fun, and truly care about what they do. I am blessed!
Bryce's Beans is owned and operated by Bryce Swenson. The business started with a cast iron skillet and a passion for good coffee. All of the custom offerings are sold fresh and roasted to order. Bryce has seen increased exposure through Chamber membership and loves being a part of this community! Watch the video above to learn more!
My name is Andrea Dwyer and I have been with that Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce for a little over one year. As the Financial and Database Coordinator, my main focus is to take care of our members’ profiles and financials in our database. I love being a part of the Chamber for two reasons. The first is being part of an organization that supports the growth of our community. The second is having a work/life balance. Being able to have flexibility is important to me. This flexibility provides time for me to spend with my family and own and operate my own business.
I own Rustic Haven. I started it as a ministry in 2017 to get the name of Jesus in people’s homes through creativity. I create custom home accents, which are blessed and have Jesus etched on the back of them. Jesus is my foundation and to be able to share my gifts and His name to others is an amazing feeling and opportunity.
In April of 2018, my boyfriend Kyle and I bought a farm! On this farm is a 6,000-square-foot barn that a portion of my store is run out of on weekends and by appointment. There are a lot of plans for our property down the road. We plan to get married on the shoreline of our private lake. We also plan to recruit some chickens and goats and renovate the barn for future purposing.
Another addition to our family in 2018 is Harley, a 1-year-old Yellow Lab German Shepherd mix. She absolutely loves bringing us “dead” surprises, which is great since we are training her to be a hunting dog. Hunting and being outdoors is a big passion of ours, whether it’s bow fishing, musky fishing, hunting, golfing, hiking or camping. We love it all!