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Lakeshirts takes on new Minnetonka-based investor

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"We're proud that we've built a company that's been recognized multiple times as the best place to work in the area, and we intend to keep it that way," Lakeshirts' co-CEO Mark Fritz, left, with partner Mike Hutchinson, said in a statement issued Jan. 9. "Given our new configuration, we now have additional resources to do even more." (Submitted photo)

Lakeshirts is starting the new year by taking on a new investor, sparking rumors about the future of the Detroit Lakes-based company.

Mike Sidders, Lakeshirts marketing director, told the Tribune Wednesday that the longtime owners of the garment and apparel business, Mark Fritz and Mike Hutchinson, remain in place.

"Sold is definitely not (true)," Sidders said Jan. 8. "We've certainly taken on a capital investor."

A representative from Carlson Private Capital Partners (CPC), a private investment firm formed by Curt Carlson and his family in Minnetonka, walked through the Lakeshirts facility earlier this month. Rumors started shortly after that CPC had bought the company and was the new owner.

"Mike and Mark are co-CEOs and will remain our co-CEOS," Sidders said, addressing those rumors.

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A Jan. 9 news release issued by Lakeshirts said that CPC had made a "significant investment" in the company, although the specific terms of the agreement, including ownership details and dollar amounts, were not shared.

"Our family is thrilled to be partnering with the Fritz and Hutchinson families and the Lakeshirts team to continue the growth well into the future," Andrew Cantwell, the Managing Partner of CPC, said in the release.

The release clarified that the things important to Lakeshirts -- such as profit sharing, casual work attire and community involvement --will not change with this investment.

"Nothing about our day-to-day operations changes at all, including our management team, which remains completely intact," Hutchinson said in the release. "Our headquarters location, our business practices, and most importantly, our culture all remain completely unchanged."

Lakeshirts, founded in 1984, is a resort and college garment manufacturer. It is headquartered in a 325,000-square-foot production and warehouse facility in Detroit Lakes, with more than 700 employees, according to information from the company.

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At a year-end celebration two weeks ago, over one million dollars from Lakeshirts' fiscal year 2019 profits were paid out to employees. (Tribune file photo)

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