A Quick Look into Joe Powers

Powering To The Top

By Jennifer Gangloff

Credit: Ken Klotzbach

Joe Powers dishes on the Canadian Honker and growing his business ventures

He started out as a hotel dishwasher in high school and today stands awash in success as president of Powers Ventures, but Joe Powers hasn’t lost sight of his humble beginnings. He still keeps a tight seal on a 30-year-old family secret, understands the power of community, and hopes that his newbie managers avoid the fate of indecisive squirrels.

The rise of Powers Ventures, now one of Minnesota’s largest caterers, dates back to the opening of the Canadian Honker Restaurant & Catering in 1984. Joe Powers was just 21, but carried the backing of family and bank loans and set out to make a go of it in a location where eight other restaurants had already failed. Now, 30 years later and just a few hundred feet from that original location on Second Street Southwest, the Canadian Honker is a local icon with a national following, having served an estimated 3 million customers.

Powers, the fourth generation of Powers in Rochester, was born and raised in the city, and he plans to continue growing his businesses locally and giving back to the community. Powers Ventures, which funnels 10 percent of all net sales into local charitable causes, has given more than $1 million to help food programs, affordable housing, homelessness, youth development, community development, education initiatives, senior citizens and veterans.

In addition to the Canadian Honker, Powers Ventures includes four other businesses: the Rochester Event Center, which opened in 2006 and offers conference, meeting and event space; Canadian Honker Events, which opened in 2011 and hosts and caters wedding receptions, business meetings and social gatherings; Top Tier Delights, which opened in 2012 and offers custom tiered cakes; and Pinnacle Catering, which opened in 2013 and offers catering services within 30 miles of Rochester. Powers Ventures has 55 full-time employees and more than 50 part-time and seasonal employees.