The art of masonry takes exact technique and temperament to withstand the physical rigors of the profession, as well as an eye for detail, in order to create beautiful, quality designs often seen on homes and businesses. This was an art Gus Kopsas began learning at age 16 and later taught to countless family members and other brick craftsmen in the region.
Today, his daughter Karla Kopsas owns K&K Masonry, Inc., which continues to produce and complete high-quality masonry work in the community.
In the Early Days
In 1955, the crews would unload the masonry materials by hand off the railroad cars, before taking them to job sites.
By age 17, Gus had worked his way up to foreman and had his own crew. He married Elodis Kahl on March 17, 1959 in Rock Rapids, and soon after, Gus and two associates began Northwest Iowa Masonry, which built a number of schools and commercial buildings throughout the region. Locally, during that time, they completed the brick on the Spirit Lake Elementary School, as well as part of the high school.
During the summer months, the family enjoyed traveling along by RV with their dad and his crew. Karla said they loved making new friends and seeing new communities. However, the economy of the 1980s was tough on many people, causing Gus to move the family to Texas in 1986 to find work.
In 1993, the Kopsas family moved back to Spirit Lake, and Gus and Karla began working for Bob Glover Masonry, a former employee of Gus’. In 1995, Gus, Elodis, and Karla bought the masonry side from Bob, and began K&K Masonry, Inc., with Karla’s mother doing the bookwork.
“Bob was like a second father to me, and it was such a blessing to learn alongside him and my dad,” Karla said. “I was extremely grateful for my dad and Bob’s guidance over the years; for me to be successful in what is stereotypically a male profession.”
K&K Masonry, Inc. Today
Now, Karla completely oversees all aspects of K&K Masonry, Inc., with longtime journeyman masons Krista Catlin (sister) Charley Carney, Mark Torrance, Ryan Winters and Tyler Wolthius. Between them all, the crew has over 120 years of combined masonry experience and contributes beautiful masonry work on countless custom-built homes and businesses around the Iowa Great Lakes area.
K&K Masonry, Inc. specializes in all types of brick, block and stone construction for homeowners, residential and commercial developers. They can add warmth and elegance
to a front entrance, fireplace, chimney or entire home, while conveying an image of quality.
“We work with you to achieve the look you desire. These days, it is difficult to find a brick or stone mason whose main focus is on quality,” Karla said. “K&K Masonry, Inc. prides itself on maintaining the highest level of excellence and works hard to ensure that each job is completed with 100% satisfaction.”
The new home of K&K Masonry, Inc., complete with a showroom and office, is located on the west side of West Lake Okoboji. Karla has a large selection of stone and brick, making it easier for a client to find exactly what they want used on a project.
Karla loves the world of masonry, starting from the blueprints and progressing step-by-step to a job’s completion. “To see such uniquely beautiful projects right here in our community is tremendous,” she said. “I enjoy working with homeowners, building relationships with them, the local business owners and various contractors in the area. Each has a different vision for what they are wanting, and there is satisfaction working hand-in-hand with them to create something to be truly proud of and to have them come back for further renovations and enhancements for their properties.”
The Okoboji Welcome Sign between East and West Lake Okoboji is an iconic backdrop for many visitors’ photos in this area, a project Karla is proud to say they built, as well as many other structures often seen in various local photos.
“I cannot say how much it means to me to be a part of this community and working to restore some of our local iconic structures. For example, the restoration we did for the Historic Carnegie Library Building, The Mansion in Spencer and the entrance columns at Lakeside Labs, to just name a few. Our company takes pride and ownership in each job we do. I’ll find myself driving potential customers and even visitors to our area and being able to say ‘we built this, or restored that,’ this fills us with pride in our craftsmanship,” she added.
K&K Masonry, Inc. is members of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Home Builders Association of Northwest Iowa, and is BBB Accredited.
In her free time, Karla also has a wreath business called Little Greek Wreaths, with a retail store located at 1941 Hwy 86, Wahpeton. She said this creative outlet is a stress alleviator. “I love how I can combine two creative yet completely different trades, yet both add beauty to the world.”
For more information on K&K Masonry, Inc. or Little Greek Wreaths, contact Karla Kopsas at 712-320-2950, or visit kkmasonry.org.