Leading Mom In Business!

10 May

Judy Zehnder Keller, Bavarian Inn Lodge, Wins Top Honors in
Mom Business Competition

Frankenmuth, MI – April 29, 2011 – From among contestants across the United States, Judy Zehnder Keller, Bavarian Inn Lodge, has been ranked #10 in StartupNation.com’s 2011 Leading Moms in Business competition.

Millions of votes have been cast in the annual competition, and this year’s flurry of popular support of the 2011 contestants was no exception. America has once again demonstrated its immense interest and supportiveness for moms building businesses as they also tend to their families.

“With startup rates at an all-time high, these leading moms are leading the pack in startup rates,” says Rich Sloan, chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation. “They’re going after their business opportunities and developing their innovative products and services with fervor,” Sloan adds.

“My successes are a direct result of the people I get to work with each and every day”, says Judy.  “Those are not only the employees at the Lodge, but the guests that visit us.  Our mission at the Lodge is to create enjoyable experiences for our guests, ourselves and each other and we do that by having fun at work every day”. 

The winner’s profile for Judy Zehnder Keller, Bavarian Inn Lodge, can be found here.

The 2011 Leading Moms in Business ranking highlights some of the dominant trends, motivations and attributes among moms in business. They include:

  • A great eye for providing attractive discounts, coupons, savings and value, all especially important to consumer moms of the recession era.
  • A likelihood to come up with innovative products and solutions to address the challenging maze of motherhood. It’s an environment that demands resourcefulness.
  • Conscience-driven business, where “doing well” is just fine, but the real rush comes from doing good.
  • The attraction of being your own boss looms large for moms wanting to take control they just can’t find in a day job.
  • Sustainable solutions and responsible business practices are increasingly paramount.
  • Making the most of social media for business benefit is seemingly a birthright for the socially adept moms.

The full results of the 2011 Leading Moms in Business ranking are available on StartupNation’s website.

About StartupNation

StartupNation provides over 200,000 pages of business advice and networking for entrepreneurs and serves millions of entrepreneurs annually. StartupNation is a free service founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with the intention of providing a one-stop shop for entrepreneurial success, including blogs from a host of experts, podcasts, webcasts, eBooks such as Start Your Own Mom Business, award-winning step-by-step advice, and more.

StartupNation co-founders, Rich Sloan and Jeff Sloan, are two of the country’s leading small business experts. The Sloan brothers speak frequently at entrepreneurial forums and recently hosted a Public Television special helping people transform their passions into business opportunities. They are authors of StartupNation: Open for Business, published by Doubleday. The Sloan brothers are regularly quoted and featured in media such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, FOX News and many others.


Judy is the daughter of the late William “Tiny” Zehnder, a native of Frankenmuth, and Dorothy (Hecht) Zehnder, who grew up in Reese.  Judy was born in Saginaw on April 11, 1945.  Her great, great grandparents came to Frankenmuth from Germany in 1846, one year after the original 15 settlers arrived.  Judy has lived “in” and “for” Frankenmuth all her life.
Judy is the only one of the third generation Zehnder children to have actually lived with her parents, Tiny and Dorothy, in the Zehnder Hotel as a child.  She learned firsthand from young on the restaurant service profession.  She remembers the family getting up early Sunday mornings, attending 8:00 AM church services, and then working all day in the restaurant serving thousands of chicken dinners.
After attending St. Lorenz Lutheran School and Frankenmuth High School, she attended college at Michigan State University.  There she earned her B.A. degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1967 and her M.A. degree in Educational Psychology in 1973.  She also attended Gourmet Cooking School in Tegernesee, Germany in 1974.
She worked in the Bavarian Inn Restaurant and served  in various management positions from 1960-1986.  She is presently serving as president of the Bavarian Inn Lodge after planning and overseeing its construction in 1986.  She also serves as president of the Frankenmuth Cheese Haus, Frankenmuth Gift Shop, Inc., and the Frankenmuth Motel.
Her leadership skills are evident in many ways as she serves as a board member of the State of Michigan Travel Commission, the Michigan Hotel/Motel Resort Association, the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority, Saginaw Valley State University Board of  Fellows, and the Frankenmuth Sister City Committee – 20 years as chairperson.
During her years with the Sister City Committee, Judy and her husband Don arranged for tours of Germany for Frankenmuth High School German students.  She even helped arrange fund raising efforts for those who couldn’t afford it.  During a ten year period over 700 students, parents, grandparents, and friends made use of these ten-day tours which helped develop good German-American relationships.
Judy has also been an advocate for women’s rights.  She was the first female member of the Frankenmuth City Counsel, the first female member of the Frankenmuth Rotary Club, and the first woman president of the Frankenmuth Noon Rotary Club.  She is a member of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce, the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce, the Michigan Historical Society, the Frankenmuth Historical Society, as well as the American Association of University Women.  She was also a member of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Commission for the German-American Tri-Centennial Observance.
One of her more recent promotions of Frankenmuth is getting businesses and home owners throughout town to display colorful Easter decorations every spring.  It is a custom begun in the area of Germany where our early ancestors grew up.
Judy married Don Keller on November 8, 1969.  Don also works for the Bavarian Inn Corporation as treasurer.  They have three grown children, Michael and his wife Kimberly, Martha, and William “Woody,” and a granddaughter Alexia.


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