25 years ago, Ed Kaeding started Norhart, a unique company that builds and then leases high-quality, affordable homes. Norhart rentals feature smart-home technology, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. After Ed passed away in 2014, his son Mike and daughter-in-law Alyssa decided to honor Ed’s legacy by focusing on helping people live better, both inside and outside the company. Unlike traditional management companies, the Kaedings host community events focused on creating genuine relationships between residents.
The Kaedings also work to improve the lives of non-residents by supporting the homeless through a donation-matching partnership with Stepping Stone Emergency Housing. They bolster small businesses in their area by giving free restaurant gift cards to residents and other supporters.
The Kaedings first sought mentoring during a difficult time for the company: One of their newest apartment buildings had unhealthy vacancy levels. Nothing they tried fixed the problem. Seeking help from SCORE, says Mike, was a “game changer.”
Their mentor, Neil Posnansky, who Mike now considers a friend, has helped the Kaedings with marketing and public relations, leading to significant press coverage and partnerships that benefit both Norhart and the surrounding community. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without SCORE,” says Mike.
Norhart is a finalist for the 2018 American Small Business Championship. In April 2018, Norhart rented out 43 apartments, breaking the company’s record for new rentals in a single month. They’ve been featured in eight different news stories, including one by the Associated Press. They’ve also started a partnership with Hamline University’s MBA program, in which students assist them with developing what they call “an unparalleled apartment lifestyle.”