What started as a side gig for a couple of friends has, over the years, turned into a longtime family business in Mound. And, this year, Green T Accounting will finish up its 55th tax season.
Founded by friends Al Hauer, Gordy Tulberg and Lee Greenslit in 1961, Green T was a way for these enterprising men to earn extra money on evenings and weekends during the spring tax season.
“We did a few tax returns on the side, and then we decided we’d set this up,” Greenslit said.
While Hauer left after several years, Tulberg and Greenslit kept at it with Tulberg going full time in 1976 and Greenslit in 1985. Tulberg passed away in 2013, but his legacy continues since the legal name of the business is Tulberg and Greenslit.
According to Greenslit, Green T was the name chosen early on since Tulberg was the mayor of Mound and didn’t want to take advantage of his position to solicit business.
Dave Greenslit, Lee Greenslit’s oldest son came on in the 1980s and now runs the company. Those two are joined by Dave’s wife Jackie Greenslit and Lee’s daughter Susan who recently started helping after retiring from General Mills. While it’s mostly been a family business, one longtime employee, Jan Krake, worked for the company for over 30 years before retiring in 2012.
Currently the office is on Commerce Street in the building that used to be the Sollie store, owned by Ed and Pete Sollie, uncles to the Andrews Sisters. Over the years, though, Green T has had a variety of office arrangements.
“One year we sort of had a friend that ran a law office and he let us use it at night,” Greenslit said. “Then his boss found out about it, and they kicked us out.”
“So, we ended up upstairs in a hallway,” Greenslit recalled.
From there, they’ve moved around.
“I don’t know if we’ve been in every building in Mound, but it seems like it,” Greenslit said.
Green T also had offices in Glen Lake, Excelsior and Burnsville, but decided to consolidate in Mound.
There is some method to building selection, though.
“How we pick a location is that it has to be close to a bar so that you can take the people who are unhappy over there and try to talk them through it,” he said.
A big challenge over the course of years has been the increasing complexity of taxes.
“I had some old tax returns by dad did in the 30’s and it was like nothing,” Greenslit said. “And now, there’s just pages and pages of stuff.”
Green T Accounting does taxes for a steadily growing number of individuals, small businesses, farms and nonprofits.
“It’s gone from 100 returns to over 900,” Greenslit said.
With the increase in number of returns comes an increase in the number of client relationships, a key part of a small business of this type.
“For a lot of the people – it’s kind of a family reunion,” Greenslit remarked.
“It’s kinda interesting to see what people have done over the year,” he said. “We chat with them, and I don’t know if it’s the tax thing or if people just like to talk with you.”
According to Greenslit, he’ll even make house calls, but only if he’s fed.
“If you’re semi-pleasant and listen to their story, then they come back next year,” he shared.
Other firms have expressed interest in the company, but Green T has no intention of changing.
“These bigger firms – they want to buy you off,” he said.
Greenslit estimated that Green T gets a couple letters every year from interested companies.
Though he recently turned 80, Greenslit has no plans to stop doing taxes anytime soon, and he doesn’t think his son will stop soon either.
“We’ll just keep chugging away here,” Greenslit said.
“He’ll probably stay here another 20 years,” Greenslit said, referring to his son. “And I’ll be 100, sitting here with my walker.”
Contact Katie Morford at [email protected]