The second in a series of salutes to men and women that have made a difference in our community. Today I honor Spike Ehrhardt.

Alvin “Spike” Ehrhardt was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, Spike attended Christian Brothers High School and Quincy University. He and his family have called Hannibal home since 1965. Married to his wife, Theresa for 45 years, they have seven children - four sons and three daughters. The boys are in the business with their dad, and the girls have all chosen successful careers in the medical field.

“F&M Bank made our first business loan the year before we moved to Hannibal. That loan helped us start our first Sandy’s restaurant,” explains Ehrhardt. The Sandy’s restaurants were converted to Hardee’s in 1973. In 1997 the Ehrhardt’s sold their restaurants; at that time they had 64 locations. Now the Ehrhardt’s mostly manage land and help construct other businesses. They have built McDonalds, Wendy’s and Denny’s in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. Gradually they started building hotels as well. Now they have many different hotel brands including: Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Extended Stays, CHOICE, Comfort Inn, Super 8, Fairfield, Courtyard and Hampton. The hotels include properties in four states. Spike handles the surveying and financing, while his son’s handle the building, as owner/partners.

Ehrhardt believes in giving back to the community. He is past president of the Hannibal Evening Kiwanis Club and the YMCA. He belongs to the Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, Holy Family Catholic Church, and was involved in the YMCA fundraising drive for Hannibal. “My grandchildren are active in the YMCA, so the Y is important to me, not only because of my children, but because it helps so many people in our community.”

Spike and Theresa have eight grandchildren and enjoy spending time with their family eating out and enjoying weekends together.

“We have a lot more going on in Hannibal than people realize,” states Ehrhardt.

Today, I salute Spike Ehrhardt and family for the business growth and leadership they have brought to Hannibal.