Founded in 1993 by
The Kopsas Family
K&K Masonry brings your dreams to Life
One Brick At a Time
The art of masonry takes exact technique, a particular temperature and quality stonework to create beautiful designs. This was an art Gus Kopsas began learning at age 16 and later taught to countless family members and other brick craftsmen in the Iowa Great Lakes area.
Today, his daughter Karla Kopsas owns the family masonry business, K&K Masonry, which continues to produce and complete high-quality masonry work in the community.
The Kopsas' business
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. Materials had to be thawed out during colder temperatures, getting it just right or the mortar wouldn’t set. The sand came in on a dump truck.
By age 17, Gus had worked his way up to foreman, installing all types and brands of brick, block, stone, glass block, and pavers. He married Elodis Kahl on March 17, 1959 in Rock Rapids, and soon after, Gus started his own business, Northwest Iowa Masonry, which built a number of schools and commercial buildings in the region.
“They did the brick on the old Spirit Lake School, as well as the elementary and part of the high school,” Karla said. “The crews went all over the area and did a lot of schools.”
In the summers, the whole family would live out of the camper and travel around to different projects. Each of the kids learned aspects of the business and would often help as they got older. However, the economy of the 1980s was tough on a lot of 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 and Karla bought the business from Bob and changed the name to K&K Masonry. Karla’s mother Elodis did all of the bookwork.
“Bob was like a second dad to me, and it was such a blessing to learn alongside him, as well as my dad,” Karla said. “It wasn’t easy being in a man’s world, and early on, I felt I had to prove it to the boys I could do the work, making me extremely grateful for my dad and Bob’s guidance over the years.”
After 20 years, K&K Masonry is
Who we are Today
Now, Karla oversees K&K Masonry, and her sister Krista Catlin is also been a full-time contributor, having been involved for the past twenty years. Along with their Journeyman Masons; Charley Carney, Mark Torrance & Ryan Winters, they have over 180 years of combined masonry experience and contribute beautiful masonry work on countless custom-built homes and businesses around the Iowa Great Lakes area.
“Our crew gets along so well and is so easygoing,” she said. “Everyone’s strengths balance each other out.”When K&K Masonry begins a job, Karla reads the blueprints and bids on jobs; aspects of the business her father used to do. They work with their clients on all of the different sizes, selections, and stone options. Today, Karla said much of the stone is fabricated and she has two different distributors, even bringing beautiful stone over from Europe. She has a new showroom on the west side of West Lake Okoboji, showcasing stones and brick from distributors ? and ?. If there is a style a client prefers, she will work with her distributors to find exactly the right pieces.
“I love seeing all of the different projects in our unique area and it’s a blessing we don’t have to travel,” she said. “I also enjoy working with the different contractors we work with. Before they worked with my dad, now they’ve gained a respect for us girls and all of our hard work.”
During winter months, because mortar won’t set in extreme cold temperatures, the crew will create a shelter around the area. In higher buildings, the temperature goes up the higher a person travels, sometimes feeling like 100 degrees. While at the ground level, the air temperature is still very cold.
Compared to when Gus started in masonry, in today’s world, the mortar comes premixed and you don’t have to worry about unthawing. Modern technology has upgraded the beauty and efficiency of masonry.
In recent years, K&K Masonry redid the brick on Hoien Realty, which is located in downtown Spirit Lake. They’ve have created many of the city stone signs in the area, as well as the stone pillars at Lakeside Lab. Besides countless custom-work around the lake, K&K Masonry also did the brick work at Bridge’s Bay.
“I really love getting to know the homeowners and building relationships with them. I also love being a part of this community and giving back when we can,” she said.
Karla said many of the family have learned the art of masonry, and her nephew Jason Kirschbaum has branched off to create his own masonry business, Rock Solid Masonry.
“My dad taught all of his grandkids the art of masonry and we’re honored to carry on the family tradition,” she said.
In her free time, Karla also has a wreath business called “Little Greek Wreaths,” and her showroom is located at on the west side of West Lake Okoboji, 1941 Hwy 86. She said this creative outlet is a stress alleviator.
“I love how I can combine two loves together, which makes me happy,” Karla said.
For more information on K&K Masonry, contact Karla at 712-320-2950. K&K Masonry creates beauty one brick at a time!