March/April 2023

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CONTENTS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

E X P LO R I N G C E N T R A L M I N N ES OTA’ S B US I N ESS ES .

Cover Story

28

PROFIT

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 : 4 E d i t o r ’ s N o t e / 1 6 N e t w o r k Ce n t ra l

ANIMAL HOUSE

34 THE CHILD CARE CRISIS Central Minnesota’s labor force crunch is pushing the need for child care to the forefront for businesses. 38 WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING DIRECTORY

From a renovated gas station to a state-of-the-art shelter, Vicki Davis has spent

41 TO BUILD OR NOT TO BUILD … THAT IS THE QUESTION Sometimes, the decision to build or lease is straightforward. Other times, not so much.

her career connecting people and pets.

GROW

48 COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION

NETWORK

50 6 UPFRONT Valuable information designed to guide and educate

18 BUSINESS TOOLS Useful tips and intelligence on how to continue to grow your business

50 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT East Side Glass Co.: Andy Ferkinhoff, Luke Ferkinhoff and Laura Hutt

ONLYONLINE BUSINESSCENTRAL MAGAZINE.COM • Five strategies for Facebook groups • Corporate sustainability must be a priority • Four-day work week? • Is your job application process frustrating?

Main Phone: 320-251-2940 / Automated Reservation Line: 320-656-3826 Program Hotline: 320-656-3825 / information@StCloudAreaChamber.com StCloudAreaChamber.com President: Julie Lunning, 320-656-3804 Director of Finance and Operations: Bonnie Rodness, 320-656-3806 Director of Programs & Events: Laura Wagner, 320-656-3831 Director of Marketing & Communications: Emily Bertram, 320-656-3809

Director of Downtown Planning & Development: Tyler Bevier, 320-656-3830 Director of Community Engagement: Antoinette Valenzuela, 320-656-3834

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF ____________________________ Main Phone: 320-251-4170 Executive Director: Rachel Thompson, 320-202-6728 Director of Sales: Nikki Fisher, 320-202-6712 Sales Manager: Craig Besco, 320-202-6711

Administrative Assistant/Network Administrator: Vicki Lenneman, 320-656-3822

Sports & Special Events Manager: Mike Johnson, 320-202-6710

Administrative Assistant: Shelly Imdieke, 320-656-3800

Information Specialist: Olivia Way, 320-251-4170

Marketing Manager: Lynn Hubbard, 320-202-6729


EDITOR’S NOTE

Far lef t: Vicki Davis and Editor Emily Ber tram getting their puppy f ix. Lef t: Emily and her dog, Lucky

Dog Mom for Life

S

–––––––––

ome of my earliest childhood memories involve

way home with us. I remember being in shock. It was a

dogs. My grandpa bred both springer spaniels with

surreal feeling to finally have a dog of my own.

his dog Sadie, and golden retrievers with his dog Sam

Today, Lucky is an integral part of our little family. He

for years. We always had at least one dog, often two

is endlessly patient with my daughters, to the point that

overlapping each other.

I have to remind them that he’s not a jungle gym. He is

The first dog I remember was lazy, silly Boomer, one

fiercely loyal to me - one look and he will cross the room

of Sam’s golden puppies. Then there was our black lab

to put his head in my lap. He loves going on hikes, fishing

Pitch, who we adopted from a local farm. After her came

for hours on Grand Lake, and destroying stuffed animals in

a beautiful golden girl named Simba along with a shy and

five minutes or less. He’s my snuggle buddy, my therapist,

smart collie mix named Shiloh. Our next dog was another

my playmate, and my best friend.

golden retriever named Molly, who we adopted from the

There is just something about the unconditional love

Tri-County Humane Society. A few years later, along came

of a pet that is hard to find anywhere else. Animals do so

Eddie – the epitome of a chubby, goofy golden mutt. A

much for humans, it’s hard to imagine not being able to

few years later we were also blessed with a huge, sweet

do everything for them in return. On page 28, Vicki Davis

golden mix named Rook.

remembers a time when she

Finally, the last dog my parents had was a gentle giant golden retriever puppy named Louie, who just turned 7 and now belongs to my brother. I knew that I wanted a

couldn’t help every animal. It’s

There is just something about the unconditional love of a pet that is hard to find anywhere else. Animals do so much for humans, it’s hard to imagine not being able to do everything for them in return.

dog someday, but through

that motivation that has lead to her exponential growth and success in her executive director role at the Tri-County Humane Society. Clearly, I can relate to

college and most of my 20s

that love of animals. I have

we just weren’t home enough to justify having a dog of

been known to refer to Lucky as my firstborn - and

our own. However, in March of 2017, a picture of the

yes, I know that makes me sound nuts. But if fur-baby-

cutest little golden retriever puppy popped up on my

having-obsessed-crazy-dog-mom is wrong, I don’t

Facebook feed. An acquaintance of mine had found they

want to be right.

were unable to give him the time and attention that he deserved. As it turns out, I just so happened to be 20 weeks pregnant with our first child at the time, so our lives were about to be a lot more homebound than ever before - imagine that!

Until next time,

One trip to Long Prairie and a heavy dose of convincing (read: begging) my husband, Kyle, and Lucky was on his

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Emily Bertram, Editor


ST CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2022-23 BOARD MEMBERS ____________________________ Marilyn Birkland, SCTimes/LocaliQ

Publisher Julie Lunning // Editor Emily Bertram Founding Editor Gail Ivers CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Emily Bertram, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Michael Hemmesch, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Vicki Johnson, St. Cloud Area Planning Organization Mike Killeen, freelance writer Logan Anderson and Lynn MacDonald, St. Cloud State University Betsey Lund Ross, Lund Ross, P.A. Pat Plamann, Schlenner Wenner & Co. Jessie Storlien, St. Cloud State University

ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Melinda Vonderahe, Marketing Consultant Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media ART Design & Production Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media Cover Story Photography Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 BusinessCentral Magazine.com For advertising information contact Melinda Vonderahe, (320) 656-3808 Editorial suggestions can be made in writing to: Editor, Business Central, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Submission of materials does not guarantee publication. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Ron Brandenburg, Quinlivan & Hughes Doug Cook, Headwaters Strategic Succession Consulting LLC. Tanja Goering, Board Vice Chair Joe Hellie, CentraCare Ray Herrington, Pioneer Place on Fifth Patrick Hollermann, InteleCONNECT Hudda Ibrahim, Filsan Talent Partners Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction, Board Chair Matt Laubach, West Bank Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Past Board Chair Laurie Putnam, St. Cloud School District 742 Paul Radeke, BerganKDV Brenda Sickler, Theisen Dental Donella Westphal, Jules’ Bistro Dr. Jason Woods, St. Cloud State University Colleen Zoffka, Park Industries

© Copyright 2023 Business Central, LLC. Business Central is published six times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Phone (320) 251-2940 / Fax (320) 251-0081. Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.

ORTHOPEDICS TO THE EXTREME. YOUR EXTREME.

We’ve teamed up to bring you expert orthopedic services right in St. Cloud. We’ll help you reach your extreme. To schedule an appointment, call 320-253-2663.

CentraCare.com/ortho M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

N E WS & P EO P L E T H AT M A K E U P T H E C H A M B E R N E T W O R K

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : People to Know / Digging H is to ry / N e w at t h e To p / Reg io n al Ro u n du p BOOK REVIEW

NEWS REEL

The Gifts of Imperfection Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Markman joins Deerwood Bank

By Dr. Fred Hill

I

n the Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares 10 guideposts on the power of wholehearted living – a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. The guideposts she outlines are: Guidepost 1: Cultivating Authenticity – Letting Go of What People Think –––––––– Guidepost 2: Cultivating Self-Compassion – Letting Go of Perfectionism –––––––– Guidepost 3: Cultivating a Resilient Spirit – Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness. –––––––– Guidepost 4: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy – Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark. –––––––– Guidepost 5: Cultivating Intuition and Trusting

Faith – Letting Go of the Need for Certainty. –––––––– Guidepost 6: Cultivating Creativity – Letting Go of Comparison. –––––––– Guidepost 7: Cultivating Play and Rest – Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth. –––––––– Guidepost 8: Cultivating Calm and Stillness – Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle. –––––––– Guidepost 9: Cultivating Meaningful Work – Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To.” –––––––– Guidepost 10: Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance – Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control.” Dr. Brown talks about exploring the power of love, belonging, and being enough. She teaches us about courage, compassion, and connection

which are the gifts of imperfection. She reminds us that there are “things that get in the way.” She is a shame “destroyer.” Shame is basically the fear of being unlovable; it’s the total opposite of owning our story and feeling worthy. “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging,” Brown writes. We all have it. We’re all afraid to talk about shame. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives. Shame gets in the way! The 10 guideposts that Brown outlines in this book are keys to embracing wholeheartedness and casting shame out of our lives. And in the end, this book will bring you peace.

Mike Markman is the new

Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus

The Minnesota Trucking

professor at St. Cloud State

Association recently named

University.

Gerald “Red” Popp, professional

chief revenue officer for all 12 of Deerwood Bank’s locations. Markman’s banking experience ranges from teller to community regional president. He holds a B.S. in Finance from St. Cloud State University–Herberger Business School and is a graduate of both the American Bankers Association National Commercial Lending Graduate School and the Minnesota Bankers Association Commercial Lending School.

St. Cloud State University a top online college St. Cloud State University has been ranked as one of the top online colleges in Minnesota for 2023 by Intelligent, a trusted resource for online and oncampus program rankings and higher education planning. SCSU ranked 16th out of 26 Minnesota colleges based on an evaluation of program strength, graduation rate, cost, return on investment and student resources.

Brenny Specialized driver receives recognition

truck driver for Brenny Specialized, as the 2022 Driver of the Month T h e Gi ft s Of Imp e r fect i on; Let Go of Wh o You Th in k You ’re S u p posed t o B e and Emb race Who You Are. You r Gu ide To A W hol ehear t e d Li fe; Bren e Bro w n , Ph.D., L.M .S.W.; 20 10 , Ha zelden , Cen ter C ity, Min n esota, ISBN: 9 78 -1- 59 28 5- 8 49 -1

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BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3

for August. Popp has been in the trucking industry for 43 years and has driven more than 4.7 million miles accident free.


POINT OF VIEW

Business Central asked:

What is a professional accomplishment or achievement that you are most proud of?

Carrie Vessel, ABRA Auto Body & Glass Scott Anderson, Statewide Property Inspections

April Good, AMG Promotions & Apparel

––––––

That I have been in business for 21 years."

––––––

The successful programs that I have worked on with my customers, and what we’ve achieved together."

Aaron Heath, PeopleReady

Randy Weiher, Erbauer Built

––––––

Being named to the board of the MS Society of St. Cloud."

––––––

I feel proud when I build or remodel a home for someone and they finally get to move in and they’re really happy with everything."

––––––

Being a woman in a mostly male industry, I have worked to learn and understand more so that when other women need our services, I’m able to help them and it’s not intimidating for them."

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

DIGGING HISTORY

How the Eiffel Tower came to St. Cloud Frenchy’s Supper Club introduced Central Minnesota to French cuisine. By Jessie Storlien

Frenchy's Eiffel Tower sign, St. Cloud, August 2018

Metro Bus staff part of award-winning group The Metro Bus Training & of the Minnesota Rural Transit Assistance Program Entry Level Driver Training Working Group that was recently awarded the Management Innovation Award by the Minnesota Public Transit Association at its yearly conference in St. Cloud. This award is presented to individuals or organizations that have implemented a project that is innovative to the field of transit or have established a creative new partnership or method of addressing concerns of transit users.

O’Shea is new CEO of Stearns Electric Matt O’Shea has been selected as CEO at Stearns Electric. O’Shea has worked in the utility industry for over 18 years and was an officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard, successfully leading soldiers through two deployments. O’Shea has been with Stearns Electric since 2015, serving as vice president of engineering and operations for the last three years.

Goebel promoted at AIS Planning Nathan Goebel, CFP® has been promoted to advisor at AIS Planning. Nathan has been with the firm since December 2019.

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“I

was a pioneer,” declared Odette Pelarske, owner of Frenchy’s supper club. Odette Glanard married Joseph Pelarske on April 20, 1946 in Gonfrevile L’Orcher, France. Joe was a Polish man from Waite Park who served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war, the couple returned to Joe’s home in Minnesota. When Odette arrived in St. Cloud in 1946, she was a bit underwhelmed by the restaurant and entertainment scene. So,

while Joe went to work in the granite sheds, Odette decided to create an eatery like the ones back home in France. The couple bought an acre of land, a three-bedroom house, and a 3.2 beer joint south of the St. Cloud city limits, along Minnesota Highway 15. According to Odette, it was the only restaurant “on this side of the railroad tracks.” The establishment was named Frenchy’s after Odette’s acquired nickname. To

complete the image, a 25-foot, neon replica of the Eiffel Tower became the beacon of the bistro. Odette wanted to introduce French dining options to the area. Frenchy’s was the first restaurant in St. Cloud to serve frog legs, shrimp, lobster, and turtle. Odette was known for showing patrons how to eat the food she served, as well as offering advice on how to prepare it themselves. Customers were persuaded to try some of her signature fare through free samples of escargot (snails) or battered frog legs made with the family’s secret recipe. Joe and Odette had six children: Mariette, Joseph, Michael, James, Martin, and John. The children began helping out at Frenchy’s as soon as they were able. Their tasks included cutting 100-pound bags of potatoes into French fries, washing dishes, and waiting tables. “It was called an apprenticeship,” Mariette said of working in the restaurant. “You started when you were a little tot, emptying ashtrays and the garbage. You worked your

Courtesy of Stearns History Museum

Safety Department was part


The St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce Top Hatters’ visit with Odette Glanard Pelarske in Frenchy’s bar, 1968

way up to buttering toast and peeling potatoes.” The supper club quickly gained popularity, keeping the family busy on nights and weekends. Frenchy’s would start

to get busy in the evening, and after the bars closed at 1 a.m. even more people would join the crowd. Many of the patrons didn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave. “Some people would

RONALD HANSON, MD

spend the night and stay until they had to go to church the next morning,” Odette told the St. Cloud Times in 1986. It wasn’t always easy for Odette to live in Central Minnesota. She was sometimes singled out for being French, and the attention wasn’t always positive. However, a loyal group of customers — and her persistence — kept the restaurant and Odette in business for the long haul. The original patrons of Frenchy’s passed their love of the restaurant on to their children, who later became clients in their own right. “We really don’t have customers as much as we do visitors and guests,” Mariette explained to the St. Cloud Times in

1986. This attitude explains why Frenchy’s remained a community staple for over 40 years. It was Odette’s children, Mariette and Jim, who took over the eatery in 1986. The siblings renovated the menu and interior, but left the iconic sign out front. In 1991, a fire damaged the building, causing $125,000 in damage. The business never reopened, and in 2004 the structure was razed, leaving only the Eiffel Tower sign as a reminder of the place where French cuisine and community came together. Jessie Storlien works in the Learning Resource Center at St. Cloud State University. She is a former archivist at the Stearns History Museum.

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M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

PEOPLE TO KNOW

District 742 adds Somali immersion program

Leaders Among Us

St. Cloud School District 742 will now offer a Somali Dual Language Immersion program,

Get to know these influential people in your community

the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. The program is a 50/50 delivery model where half the day is taught in Somali and half the day is taught in English. It is available at Discovery and Talahi Community Schools only and limited to kindergarten students from the Discovery, Talahi, Lincoln and Oak Hill attendance areas.

Rachael Sogge Eyecon Graphics (320) 237-3695 rsogge@eyecongraphics.com Chair, Marketing Committee ––––––––––– The Marketing Committee is responsible for the overall marketing efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, including communication materials, advertising, publications, the website, promotional programs, and organizational research.

New hires at Apex Engineering

Donna Roerick

Apex Engineering has added three members to its staff. Ryan Kotta, senior environmental engineer with 15 years of experience, will focus on planning, design, bidding, and project management of water and wastewater

–––––––––––

Advantage Chiropractic (320) 251-1080 donna@advantagechiro.net Chair, Membership & Workforce Development Division

The Membership and Workforce Development Division is responsible for all marketing and membership activities, including workforce development, networking programs, and all the Chamber’s special events.

projects. Kent Exner is a senior transportation engineer with 24 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Through his career he has served on a number of local and state boards. Tej Bala brings 16 years of wastewater engineering experience to his new role as

planning, design, construction, and commissioning of water and wastewater treatment facilities.

New board members elected to GSDC Clare Richards, Ayan Omar, and Reade Sievert have joined the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp. board of directors. They will each serve a two-year term ending in December 2025.

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American Family Insurance-Michael Brower, Agent (320) 252-5151 mbrower@amfam.com Chair, Chamber Connection ––––––––––– Chamber Connection is the premier networking event for businesses in Central Minnesota. Hosted by a different Chamber member every Friday morning, Chamber Connection attracts 75 - 120 people each week to network and share information about their businesses, all for the price of $1 at the door.

Jason Bernick Bernick’s (320) 252-6441 jbernick@bernicks.com Chair, Government Affairs Committee ––––––––––– The Government Affairs Committee researches legislative issues, makes recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding legislative policy positions, organizes trips to the Capitol and legislative updates during the session, and maintains contact with area legislators and other elected officials throughout the year.

senior environmental engineer, where he will be involved with

Michael Brower

Troy Lenarz Regional Diagnostic Radiology, Alliance Imaging, The Vein Center Laser Treatment & MedSpa (320) 224-9558 tlenarz@rdradiology.com Chair, Business Development Council ––––––––––– The purpose of the Business Development Council (BDC) is to provide training and education for Chamber members and their employees to help their businesses grow and thrive. Programs include Lunchtime Learning and a variety of seminars, workshops, and certificate programs.

Shelby Hedtke Powder Ridge Winter Recreation Area (320) 398-7200 shelby@powder ridge.com Chair, Chamber Open ––––––––––– The Chamber Open is an annual networking and fundraising event for the Chamber. Volunteers organize the day’s activities, sell sponsorships, and help the day of the Open.


N E W AT T H E TO P

CEO Jason Hinnenkamp Current position:

Chief Executive Officer, Bernick’s Previous positions:

Chief financial officer, vice president of operations and vice president of sales, Bernick’s When did you start at Bernick’s? I started working

What are you looking forward to the most in your new position?

I am looking forward to new challenges with the role and new connections to be made with customers, the community, and suppliers. Age: 49 Where did you grow up?

at Bernick’s in 2002.

St. Cloud

When did you start in your current position?

What are your hobbies?

December 2022 Briefly, what will you miss most about your previous position? I will miss working

with the teams more closely on front line strategy and implementation.

I like anything outside. F U N FACT

My father worked for Bernick’s for 30 years, so growing up with the company – it has always been a natural fit for me.

You know business. We know banking. We won’t tell you how to run your business, but we will provide you with just the right financing options. Whether your goal is to grow or sustain the success of your company, our commercial lending experts at Farmers & Merchants State Bank will stand by you every step of the way.

FMPierz.com

IN MEMORIAM

In Sympathy We extend our sympathy to the family and friends of Ron Schmitz. Ron was the founder of Sauk Rapids based Ron’s Cabinets and Wilkie Sanderson (formerly Ron’s Cabinets). Ron received the 1990 St. Cloud Area and Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year awards. He was active in the Chamber, serving on several committees and as a Board member, as well as a dedicated businessman in the St. Cloud area. Ron passed away in September 2022 from injuries sustained while working in the woods.

Because friendly still counts.

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL Jett is new Commissioner of Education Former St. Cloud

DO IT NOW!

Be Nice

Kindness is key to developing trust and motivating staff.

District 742 Superintendent Willie Jett has been appointed to Governor Tim Walz’s cabinet as commissioner of education. In announcing the appointment Walz, cited Jett’s decades of experience in greater Minnesota, suburban and urban districts during his career.

Rodness joins Chamber of Commerce Bonnie Rodness has joined the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce as the director of finance and operations. She previously held the roles of director of outsourced services at Schlenner Wenner & Co., vice president of finance and operations at the United Way of Central Minnesota, and general manager at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in St. Cloud.

Catholic Charities announces new board member Rhonda Siltman, Sauk Rapids, has joined the board of Catholic Charities. She is category growth manager – private brands at Coborn’s Inc.

Crew Carwash named one of the best places to work Crew Carwash has been honored with a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing the Best Places to Work in 2023. This award is based on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their jobs, work environment and employer on Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies.

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P

rofessional culture has evolved a lot over the years. Ruthless, stern management was the rule in the business world for many years, and we have since come to appreciate empathetic leadership, friendly coworkers, and a professional culture that encourages kindness. That being said, kindness can still often be seen as a weakness in business. As it turns out, it’s quite the opposite. A study from the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada (APEX) found that teams operating in a respectful environment had 26% more energy, were 30% more motivated, and expressed 36% more satisfaction with their jobs. Plus, kindness is the first step to building trust, which is one of the most important factors in business. When there is mutual trust, information is shared more openly, cooperation increases,

and planning and execution become much easier. What does being kind at work look like? Positivity: Constructive criticism is good and necessary in any workplace. The key when delivering it, though, is to frame the criticism with positives. For example, compliment a coworker on the quality of her work, remind her that she needs to work on meeting deadlines, then finish by again expressing gratitude for her. Focus on good: Placing more focus on the positive helps everyone leave the interaction feeling good. Give credit: One of the simplest ways to show gratitude and respect is to share credit on ideas that turn out to be great. Acknowledge everyone who had a hand in a successful project or winning pitch – they will remember it. Be courteous:

Compliments are free, and they can leave others feeling

good for the rest of the day. Whether on a coworker’s recent work project or great idea, sincere compliments are never a bad thing. Offer help: Do you have coworkers who seem stressed or overwhelmed with their workload? Offering help – even if not accepted – is a great way to show your support and build trust. Manners matter: While it may seem like common sense, a simple thank you can go a long way. A personalized, handwritten thank you note? Even better. Lend an ear: Listening to coworkers – whether about problems, current projects, or a new idea they want to try – builds respect and shows that you are invested in your relationship with them. Small acts: Offering to refill someone’s coffee, paying someone’s parking meter, holding open a door – all of these things may seem small at the time, but have a major impact in the long run. Being intentionally kind has major business benefits. Research tells us that being nice may even be contagious. According to a recent study published in the journal Emotion, people who were on the receiving end of kindness at their jobs repaid it by being 278 % more generous to coworkers. Now that sounds nice.


NEW MEMBERS

NEW MEMBER Schleper Coaching, helping women uncover new potential. Pictured: Timothy Schmidt, Tricia Schleper, Donna Roerick.

NEW MEMBER Arbor Hair Studio, 1309 2nd Street S, Waite Park. Pictured: Carl Newbanks, Michelle Meier, Dustin Meier, Patrick Hollermann.

NEW MEMBER RAKA Handling, offers sales, service and support for material handling equipment, 1020 Lincoln Ave., Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Andy Norgaard, Chase Larson.

NEW MEMBER Pineview Park BMX, live BMX racing, practice and training available, 6540 Saukview Drive, St. Cloud. Pictured: Patrick Hollermann, Mark Post, Terry Schroeder, Jason Chirhart.

NEW MEMBER TABI Oasis, nonprofit helping people with traumatic and acquired brain injuries, 8076 165th Ave., Oak Park. Pictured: Tim McLean, Michael Puffer, Josh Vraa.

NEW MEMBER Automotive Parts Solutions Inc., salvage yard selling high quality auto parts, 1495 Broadway Street W, Rockville. Pictured: Tim McLean, Sara Crusoe, Jason Miller.

NEW MEMBER Innovative Office Solutions, office supplies and equipment, 1202 Sun Ridge Drive, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Andrew Deters, Crystal Brink, Becky Pietrowski, Tom Krupke, Chase Larson.

COMFORTED. The feeling you get from next level tech support.

// Managed IT Services // Security Assessments // Fraud & Data Services // VoIP/Video

I T ’ S N OT A S E R V I C E . I T ’ S A F E E L I N G . bergankdv.com | #STARTHERE M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

REGIONAL ROUNDUP

Common Themes Local cities have big plans for public safety, transportation and recreation in 2023.

Above: Sauk Rapids City Administrator Ross Olson at the 2023 Regional Cities Priorities Breakfast. ––––––––

C

ities around Central Minnesota are looking ahead to new initiatives as the 2023 legislative session commences. Transportation and public safety are forefront for each community, along with the enhancement of recreation and entertainment opportunities.

St. Cloud The City of St. Cloud will continue to remodel the former Tech High School building, which now serves as St. Cloud City Hall. The plan is to demolish the former gymnasium and pool area on the north side of the building. Mayor Dave Kleis noted that by tearing it down the city will save on operating costs and open up space for future development. Revitalization of downtown St. Cloud is also a priority for the city this year. The major focus is on workforce housing and public safety – especially recruitment and retention of public safety officials. “For us it’s a matter of increasing the quality of life so we can keep people in the community,” Kleis said. Road improvements continue to be a priority. “We did a record amount of road resurfacing last year,” Kleis said. This

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Above: Waite Park City Administrator Shaunna Johnson and Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller present at the 2023 Regional Cities Priorities Breakfast. ––––––––

year the city has partnered with MnDOT for reconstruction of Highway 10 and the Highway 23 overpass. Highway 10 will be lowered and sound barrier walls built. The Highway 23 overpass will become a folded diamond instead of a cloverleaf. The parks referendum for $20 million passed in November, which means work will begin this year to improve and expand neighborhood parks over the next three years. The referendum for funding of improvements to the Municipal Athletic Complex did not pass, so the city will ask the legislature for more bonding dollars than the original $10 million that was earmarked three years ago.

St. Augusta St. Augusta, with a population under 5,000, does not receive any municipal state-aid street (MSAS) funding to help with road improvements. This year, the city is going to the legislature to try to change that rule. The city has 66 miles of roads that it maintains

without state funding, so it eats a lot of the budget, according to City Administrator Bill McCabe. The City of St. Augusta currently purchases its water supply from the City of St. Cloud. With 500 users on the water system, the cost to build a water treatment plant outright is not affordable for the size of the customer base. “We are going to the legislature for some help in getting funding to build a water treatment plant,” McCabe said.

Waite Park Mayor Rick Miller and City Administrator Shaunna Johnson outlined Waite Park’s 2023 priorities, which include “bonding for the next phase of the Ledge Amphitheater, implementing our strategic plan that we worked on over the last year, hiring a police chief, and building a public safety facility,” Johnson said. The city is seeking $7.9 million to finish what has been started at The Ledge Amphitheater, according to Johnson. This would be used for additional parking, restroom and concession area enhancements, and construction in the west plaza to include permanent restrooms and an overlook of the


Revitalization of downtown St. Cloud is also a priority for the city this year. The major focus is on workforce housing and public safety – especially recruitment and retention of public safety officials.

quarry to further enhance the flexibility of the space for more of the year. “A lot of the things that we’re looking at doing will hopefully extend our ability to do events,” Johnson said. The city’s new strategic plan calls for work on industrial and commercial development, entertainment and recreation, education, transportation, the environment, and housing. Public safety is also a major initiative. The city is hiring a new police chief as Police Chief Dave Bentrud plans to retire in May 2023. A half-cent sales tax increase in the City of Waite Park goes into effect on April 1, with a large part of that funding dedicated to the construction of a public safety facility.

St. Joseph Recreation is a priority in St. Joseph this year. The city received $1.2 million in grants and aid from the Department of Natural Resources to improve a 90-acre park bordering the Sauk River on the south side of town. The plan is to clean it up, develop a trail system, and provide nature education opportunities. The city is also in the final stages of solidifying the capital campaign for a community center, as well as the lease agreement with the St. Cloud YMCA, which will be operating the facility. St. Joseph had a bonding bill last year to expand city sewer capacity to the west of town near County Road 2. “We have had some interest from builders and developers looking at that area for building out commercial property,” Mayor Rick Schultz said. The city is also looking at doing some transportation studies with the St. Cloud APO (Area Planning Organization) for the industrial park on the northeast end of the city. Preventing accidents and keeping pedestrians safe has become a priority. “St. Joseph has become a destination on weekends,” Schultz said. As a result, the

city has seen an increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic issues.

Sauk Rapids Sauk Rapids is looking to make updates to Mayhew Creek Park, an 80-acre park on the north side of town. The city will be asking for $10 million from the legislature to fund the development of a water park, early learning center, baseball fields, ice arena, new trails, track and field areas, a practice football field, and more. The cost of the project will be around $22 million. “This is an important project for the region,” City Administrator Ross Olson said. Improvements are also planned for County Road 1 in Sauk Rapids between County Road 29 and Highway 23, which passes the Sauk Rapids High School. A study by the St. Cloud APO determined that all but one of the intersections on this road are dangerous, and traffic volume on the road is rising. The improvements are projected to be $14-$16 million, so the city and Benton County are asking the legislature for funding.

Sartell More road projects are on the horizon for Sartell, according to City Administrator Anna Gruber, with plans for improvements to Leander Drive and LeSauk Drive. Both roads are access points to the Central Minnesota Healthcare Hub, the group of medical-focused businesses that are located off Highway 15. A pedestrian bridge will be completed in 2023 across the Mississippi River, starting from Riverside Avenue and crossing over to the former paper mill site. The City of Sartell is acquiring the former paper mill site, with plans for future development. A path along the river near the bridge is almost finished, with some lighting to be installed in 2023.

An Award-Winning SBA Lending Team The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Minnesota District has recognized Magnifi Financial as the top SBA Minnesota Credit Union! Magnifi Financial is proud to be recognized as a top SBA-lending financial institution for 6 out of the last 7 years. Our friendly and knowledgeable team helps businesses of all sizes to qualify and get funded with an SBA loan quickly and efficiently. Our team is committed to providing exceptional SBA lending service to businesses within our communities and beyond.

M Y M AG N I F I .O RG/S B A Insured by NCUA

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NETWORKCENTRAL GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

E V E N T S A R O U N D T H E ST. C LO U D A R E A

M O R E O N E V E N T S : Fo r i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e s e o r o t h e r b u s i n e s s e v e n t s , c a l l 3 2 0 -2 51 -2 9 4 0 o r v i s i t S t C l o u d A r e a C h a m b e r. c o m a n d c l i c k o n “ C a l e n d a r.”

Network! Green Thumb, Etc., hosted Chamber Connection in December. Chamber members joined in the holiday spirit by wearing ugly sweaters.

Julia Krengel (L), The Perfect Fit; Kelly Doss, Resiliency Coaching; Tina Johanning, Anna Marie’s Alliance; Briana Torborg, Falcon National Bank

Jason Miller (L), Premier Real Estate Services, and Mike Brower, American Family Insurance - Michael Brower, Agent

Dee Rengel (L), Rengel Printing Company; Megan Bistodeau, Gate City Bank; Kristin Hannon, INDY Foundation; Katie Jo Crozon, Kensington Bank

Network! St. Cloud Technical and Community College hosted Business After Hours in December 2022. The evening showcased the culinary talents of students, information about several student organizations at the college, plus plenty of networking.

Above: Jeanne Blonigen (L), ConnectAbility of MN; Tiffany Stang, St. Cloud VA Health Care System; Roxanne Ryan, WACOSA; April Mae Good and Brooke VanderLinden, AMG Promotions and Apparel

Heather Freese (L) and Jenna Peterson, Playhouse Child Care; Kristen Jurek, BerganKDV

Nick Novak (L), Nick Novak Homes @ NRG Realty, and Ahmed Abdi, Laari Media Group

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Left: Melody Vachal, Arise Cares


Profit! The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a delegation of area business leaders at the Minnesota Chamber’s Session Priorities Dinner in January 2023.

Jason Bernick (L), Bernick’s; Representative Dan Wolgamott; Jodi Gertken, CentraCare

Tammy Biery, Career Solutions; Dave Borgert; Jim Knoblach, Crown Properties

Representative Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus; Doug Cook, Headwaters Strategic Succession Consulting; John Wolak, Arvig; Paul Radeke, BerganKDV

Joe Hellie (L), CentraCare; Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction

Steve Gottwalt, Steve Gottwalt Consulting; Tama Theis; Blake Paulson, The Office of Congressman Tom Emmer; Dan Ochsner, Leighton Enterprises

Network! Sentry Bank hosted the Waite Park Chamber in December. The meeting featured a cookie decorating contest and some impromptu caroling.

Mike Forsberg (L), Forsberg Investments & Insurance; Representative Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus; Aaron Heath, PeopleReady

Michael McLaughlin, Screen Time Indoor Billboards; Kayla Ward, Doctors Park Mental Health Center; Allison Kampa (R), Pro Resources

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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BUSINESSTOOLS GROW

| NETWORK

|

PROFIT

R ES O U RC ES T H AT H E L P YO U R B US I N ESS G RO W

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : Management Toolkit / Entrepreneurism / Tech Strategies / Economy Central by Falcon Bank MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Just Pitch It! Earning media coverage for your business involves a mix of relationships and storytelling. By Michael Hemmesch

G

etting media coverage for your business or organization is hard work. There’s a reason it’s called earned media. This is especially the case in Central Minnesota where dramatic changes have occurred at local media outlets in recent years. Media relations is more than sending an occasional press release. A proactive public relations (PR) pitching strategy is the single best way to secure

Contributor ________

positive coverage for your business or organization, but you have to have the right approach. Effective media relations is about two-way communication and developing good relationships with reporters and media outlets. Through proper preparation and practice, you can feel confident about succeeding. First, there are differences between a media pitch and a press release. A media pitch is an email or phone call to a journalist in which you attempt to interest them in what your business or organization has to

Michael Hemmesch is the associate director of media relations at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

18

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offer. A press release is a formal email announcement sent to the media. It's usually used to announce something like a new product, an event, or some other newsworthy item. So, you have a great pitch, but how will you make the story easy to report? Whether you’re pitching trade publications, TV, print, online, or radio, spell out the elements and assets you have on hand to make the story as appealing as possible. It’s easy to get in the weeds while telling your story to a reporter. Often our first instinct is to over-explain and elaborate, especially if we think it’s an excellent story. But a great PR pitch will contain just enough information for a reporter to bite and want to learn more. Save the details for when the story is secured and the interview process begins. Don’t overwhelm the reporter before you even secure the story.

Here are six tips for preparing a media pitch: 1 Do your homework. Research and personalization are essential. Writing the perfect pitch won’t matter if you don’t think strategically about who you should send it to. A lack of personalization is the number one reason journalists reject pitches.

Read each reporter’s previous articles thoroughly. Learn more about their subject areas and writing style. Include background on who you are, especially if you do not have an existing relationship with the reporter or media outlet. Put a personal twist on each email. Most people can see right through a generic one. Make sure your email is properly addressed. Double-check that you’re writing to the correct person and that you’ve spelled their name correctly. Tailor to the medium you’re pitching. For example, pitching TV is quite different than pitching a newspaper. 2 Craft a story that’s both unique and timely. 3 Keep your pitch concise. 4 Create a compelling email subject line. 5 Proofread your pitch before

hitting send. 6 Remember to follow up. According to a 2021 journalist survey from Muck Rack, here are four helpful points for successful media pitches: 94% of journalists prefer a 1:1 email pitch. –––––––– 91% of journalists prefer

pitches under 200 words. –––––––– Continued on next page


86% of journalists are OK with a

follow-up email within one week of the initial message. –––––––– 68% of journalists prefer

receiving pitches in the morning and 57% of journalists say Monday is their favorite day to receive pitches. ––––––––

GROWING COMPANIES ENHANCING COMMUNITIES Granite Partners is a private investment and holding company founded in 2002 in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with a mission to grow companies and create value for all stakeholders. As trusted partners, innovative leaders, and responsible stewards, we are committed to 100-year sustainability, and we aspire to world-class wellbeing for all people in and around the Granite community.

Media relations should be a central part of your marketing and communications plan and a proactive PR pitching strategy is a great way to enhance brand awareness and reputation.

GRANITE.COM

TECH NEWS

Networking made easy How often do you find yourself tucking away a business card from a new connection, and never looking at it again? With a dot business card, that will no longer be an issue. Start by loading your dot profile with all your contact information — including a photo, email, phone number — even your taste in music and payment links. Then, with the use of a dot device, you can simply tap your “business card” to another’s phone, and they will instantly have access to your profile via their phone’s web browser. No need to download an app, and the other person doesn’t need to have a dot account to view your information. Could this be the future of business cards? Source: dotcards.net

BusinessSmart™ Easy-to-access checking and savings accounts built for business.  No minimum opening balance  No hidden fees  Interest earned on any balance  Rates above the national average Visit StearnsBank.com/businesscentral or call (320) 253-6607

Member FDIC Equal Housing Lender

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GROW

BUSINESSTOOLS

ENTREPRENEURISM

Investors Wanted Outside investors can take your business to the next level, but there are several questions to consider first. By Pat Plamann

The first step in positioning your business for outside investors is to be sure your financial records are current.

items. Properly categorize the company’s income and expense accounts and make sure they clearly reflect the business’s operations. Accurate and updated financial records are important to outside investors. What’s your business plan?

B

usiness owners spend all of their days and many of their nights running their businesses. Being a business owner is truly a labor of love. At some point, however, business owners must realize that in order for a business to continue to grow, outside investors may be needed. If you’re thinking about bringing in outside investors, here are some things to consider.

Contributor ________

How organized are your financials?

The first step in positioning your business for outside investors is to be sure your financial records are current. Reconcile your cash accounts with bank records and clean up any old outstanding items. Review your accounts receivable balances. Collect or write off any old outstanding accounts. Review and update inventory. Obsolete or slowmoving items should be disposed of and adjusted off your balance sheet. Review accounts payable and clean up any disputed

Pat Plamann is managing partner of the accounting firm Schlenner Wenner & Co.

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In addition to accurate financial records, having a business plan is important. Potential investors will want to know where the business is headed and what resources are needed to get there. What are the needs of your top customers? What kind of customers are you trying to attract? What new products or additional resources will it take to get these new customers? What additional markets or services are you planning on adding? Having a plan for where the business is going and what is needed to get there is important to outside investors. Is your culture healthy?

Company culture matters. Are the employees interested in the business and where it is going? How well do the employees function as a team? Are the employees an integral part of the businesses? An inspired and engaged workforce is important to outside investors.

How fast are you growing?

Are the demands for your products or services at the point where it is difficult to meet customer requirements? Are there substantial re-work or production issues that continue to occur? Outside investors typically have experience working with rapidly growing businesses and can add valuable insight and knowledge. Do you want better work/life balance?

Business owners sacrifice many things for the success of their businesses. However, so do many others in their lives. Outside investors provide resources that help the business continue to grow. In addition, outside investors allow business owners the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Work/life balance is an important factor when considering outside investors. Successful business owners dedicate their lives to their businesses. Preparing for, and realizing when to look for outside investors can allow your business to continue to grow and be successful far into the future.


TECH NEWS

Photo courtesy of Tom Wiscombe Architecture.

May I have your attention please? Much like our beloved Division Street here in St. Cloud, the Sunset Strip in Hollywood is known for its excessive outdoor advertising. In an effort to not only add a fresh element to the clutter of advertising along the roadway, but also to increase ad exposure to pedestrians, L.A.- based Tom Wiscombe Architecture has collaborated with Orange Barrel Media to create Sunset Spectacular. This three-sided, 67-foot steel tower includes vertical digital screens on two sides, an opening on the ground for pedestrians to enter and view videos projected inside, and a surrounding plaza for public use. During less busy times, the screens display night skies and sunrises and even art installations. Do they have your attention yet? Source: FastCompany.com See more of the unique structure on BusinessCentralMagazine.com.

The Tech of the Future // The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place annually in January. Each year, the tech world waits with excitement to see the new products and ideas that cutting-edge companies are working on. At this year’s show Lenovo launched The Yoga Book 9i. Everybody works better using two computer monitors, but how about one laptop with two screens? The Yoga Book 9i includes two 13.3-inch screens that can be rearranged vertically or horizontally and operated with one Bluetooth keyboard. See more trends on page 23. Source: Cnet.com

YOUR FULL-SERVICE

SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS

As a full-service marketing agency, we don’t just take your order. We listen to your business goals and get to know you in a way that provides real value in the form of strategic planning, creative ideas, and effective results. That’s more than marketing.

whitebox.marketing

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GROW

BUSINESSTOOLS

T EC H ST R AT EG I ES

You Can’t Say That! Understanding your rights is tricky, but important when monitoring employees’ social media accounts By Betsey Lund Ross

M

anaging employees has always come with its own unique challenges, but the introduction and widespread growth of social media presents new and unique questions about an employer’s right to regulate or restrict what employees are posting on social media. This is especially true if the employer deems the post to be harmful to the employer, or inconsistent with the employer’s values. The law in this area is ever changing. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was one of the first federal agencies to address this issue. The main source of law the NLRB enforces is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA was enacted in 1935 to address the growing public concern over workplace safety and conditions. Largely, the NLRA was passed to encourage unionization of

22

employees and to protect workers’ freedom of association. So, how does promoting the right to unionize, and protecting employee freedom of association, relate to social media? Take the case of Knauz BMW, a Chicago, IL, BWM car dealership and its former salesperson, Robert Becker. In 2010, the dealership hosted a catered event for customers to showcase the launch of its new product line. At the event, the dealership handed out hot dogs and water bottles. Becker, a salesperson for the dealership, was less than impressed with his employer’s decision to serve hot dogs and bottled water to customers. In response, Becker mocked the dealership by posting on his Facebook account, “I was happy to see that Knauz went ‘all out’ for the most important launch of a new BMW

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3

in years.” Becker was ultimately terminated from the dealership. He challenged his termination as a violation of his right to engage in “concerted activity” under the NLRA. Ultimately, the court found the dealership violated Becker’s rights under the NLRA by terminating him for his Facebook post. The court found Becker’s Facebook post constituted “concerted activity” protected under the NLRA. The court also found the dealership’s “courtesy” policy, requiring employees to be courteous to customers, was overly broad because it could discourage employees from speaking out against workplace conditions, in violation of the NLRA. Employees have the right to discuss, in concert, their workplace conditions and policies. When an employer unlawfully restricts an employee’s right to discuss workplace conditions and policies with co-workers, an employee’s rights under the NLRA are violated. The key issue in the case of Knauz BMW and Becker was whether Becker’s Facebook post constituted “concerted activity.” The NLRB has given employers some guidance, albeit limited, on the definition of “concerted activity.” Concerted activity is employee action that concerns wages or working conditions for workers and that contemplates group activity. Accordingly, when an employer takes adverse employment action

in response to an employee’s social media post, a violation of the NLRA occurs if the employee was discussing wages or working conditions with the goal of encouraging others to participate in the discussions (and possibly take action against such workplace conditions). Mere gripes by an employee, without the intent to encourage others to discuss workplace conditions, is not concerted activity and is not protected under the NLRA. The ongoing challenge for employers is knowing whether an employee’s social media post consists of “concerted activity.” If the employee’s post is an attempt to discuss workplace conditions, wages, or polices, the employer should take caution before terminating the employee or taking other adverse employment action. Additionally, employers should review their policies to ensure the policies are not overly burdensome on an employee’s right to discuss workplace conditions, wages, and policies with other employees. Attempting to restrict an employee’s right to discuss workplace conditions with other employees, whether on social media or in person, is prohibited under the NLRA. Betsey Lund Ross is an attorney and shareholder with Lund Ross, P. A. in St. Cloud, working in the areas of business law, employment law, and estate planning.


TECH NEWS

The Next Era of the Internet The evolution of the internet can be thought of in phases. Web 1.0 is the internet from 1990 to 2000. Also known as the “read-only” era, there weren’t a lot of creators, and interaction online was minimal. From 2000 to present is considered Web 2.0. It can be classified as the social web era, and includes the rise of user generated content and social media. And now, Web 3.0 is on the horizon. Also known as Web3, it emphasizes the use of artificial intelligence to interpret meaning behind information to deliver faster and more relevant results. It is decentralized, so it puts more power back in the hands of users instead of large social networking companies. It will allow faster and easier payment processing online. It is more personalized, delivers a higher level of privacy and security, and content on Web3 is uncensorable. As it exists now, Web3 is not quite ready for mass adoption, but its existence gives us a glimpse into what users find important, and where companies should align themselves online. Want to take Web3 for a spin? Source: Medium.com Visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com for a list of Web3 browsers and apps.

3 Tech Trends In addition to The Yoga Book 9i seen on the page 21, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased many more trends. Here are a few examples of up-and-coming products.

SomaSleep: Nanotech company Somalytics released a wearable sleep tracker eye mask – SomaSleep – that tracks your eye movements and delivers data on your sleeping patterns.

STEARNS ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION

COMMERCIAL REBATES Stearns Electric offers commercial rebates for lighting, HVAC, energy efficient equipment, fleet vehicle charging and more. LEARN MORE WWW.STEARNSELECTRIC.ORG

Prinker Hair Printer: Prinker, the manufacturer of an instant temporary tattoo printer, is working on another printer that allows you to add temporary color to your hair in seconds.

BLOK: Have you ever used your phone or computer to read a recipe while cooking? This new cutting board from BLOK comes with a built-in, detachable screen for viewing recipes and on-demand cooking courses. Source: Cnet.com

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Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

Downtowns are Here to Stay How they will look could be a different story. By Lynn MacDonald and Logan Anderson

O

ver the last few years, we have seen significant changes in where people are working. Remote and hybrid work arrangements have increased compared to the pre-pandemic norm, contributing to a reduced office presence. While the rates of in-person work differ by city, the Minneapolis Downtown Council reports approximately 55% of the Minneapolis downtown workforce is in the office at least once a week. A recent national survey found, “across all workers, cities, and industries, 30% of paid days were remote as of September 2022.” With remote and hybrid work arrangements continuing,

some businesses have been consolidating office space to adapt. In Minneapolis, there is a stark difference in needed office space pre-pandemic to now. At the end of 2019, downtown Minneapolis had 121,800 square feet of available sublease space. By the second quarter of 2022, 1.3 million square feet of sublease space was available in the same area. This “stranded” office space has led some journalists to raise concerns over the ability to maintain economically viable and vibrant downtown areas. This concern certainly has merit. Reduced office presence, declining commercial real estate

values and decreased foot traffic have created ripple effects for local businesses and local governments. In Minneapolis, the downtown area accounts for 4 % of the city’s land, but nearly 40% of the city’s property tax collections. Over the last three years, the 14 highest-valued office buildings in Minneapolis dropped in value by 7%, which translates to $165 million. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, professor of real estate and finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, points out that not all office space is equivalent. For example, in New York City, newer office buildings with more amenities have been faring better than older stock with fewer amenities. These “higher quality” buildings were faring better in terms of rents, i.e., these buildings weren’t losing value at the same rates as other, older, or lower quality office space with fewer amenities. He suggests this may indicate the importance of amenities in attracting workers back to the office. Urban economist Richard Florida reminds us that downtowns aren’t solely about offices. He emphasizes that cities offer social value. People still look to downtown areas for social interactions and this demand has been growing as restaurants, coffee shops and coworking spaces are becoming valuable for social connection and collaboration. Though people

haven’t been coming back to work in droves, they have been looking for housing. Dense downtowns such as Austin, Texas and New York City have seen significant increases in rental demand, indicating that people are still willing to pay a premium to live in an urban area. Cities and their downtowns will likely continue to undergo a shift in what space is used for. Some cities are already looking into ways to repurpose unused office space. Converting commercial space into residential or mixed-use development may help bring back downtown areas that are languishing. An analysis in Los Angeles County identified 2,300 potentially underutilized commercial properties that could possibly be converted to more than 72,000 residential housing units. While it is still unclear what the future holds for downtown office space and development, early evidence suggests that cities are thinking of creative ways to use their empty space. In a 2022 Bloomberg article, economist Florida wrote, “the rise of remote work today won’t kill off our downtowns, but they will be forced to change once again. And with smart strategies and perseverance on the part of city leaders, real estate developers and the civic community, they can become even better than they were.”

Contributors ________ Logan Anderson is a St. Cloud State University economics and political science student. Lynn MacDonald, Ph.D., is an associate professor of economics at SCSU.

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For a list of sources used in this story, visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com


Economy Central presented by September

July 2022 Jan Feb December Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

2022 Totals represent data reported as of 2/1/2023

2021

2020

162 $4,529,642

2021

1,350

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

2020

500

10

500

10

110 $12,380,467 181 $10,076,422

0

November

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

22 3,685,577

February

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

49 $1,155,337

Food and Beverage ST. CLOUD

October

B U I L D I N G P E R M I T S BY C O M M U N I T Y Commercial September 2020 #/$

TOTAL: $215,772,443

2021 #/$

August 246

282 2022 $105,238,005

275 $139,287,507

Sartell

July 309 December

158 $18,230,359

174 $31,707,799

$68,749,665 $15,070,149

June

Sauk Rapids November 8 $30,482,808

TOTAL: $153,245,951

65 Food and Beverage $11,765,992

$5,556,423

122 $11,691,421

$21,617,182

11 $9,754,200

12 2020 $2,774,220

Mar August

St. Joseph

2000

$2000000

Jan June

51 $7,919,703

TOTAL: 1868

TOTAL: 1823

St. Augusta

Apr September

TOTAL: 182*

56 2021 $12,310,906

May Waite Park October35

$200M $250M TOTAL: $153,245,951

2022 #/$

St. Cloud

Feb July

$150M

May

54 $2,766,805

113 $11,360,899

1500

TOTAL: $1,287,691

TOTAL: $1,604,677

$1500000

$100M

994 $21,072,914

95

1000

Data not released at time of print

$1000000

2021

$50M

252 $9,116,510

January

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $137,532,948 TOTAL: $215,772,443

$0M

236 May $7,739,324

December

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

2022

0$15,624,339

March $10,023,126

500

$500000 2020

477 $28,930,350

St. Augusta

$100M

Commercial Building Permits

2021

560

49

Commercial Building Permits

2022

January$16,235,353 June

2022

April $2,336,431

St. Joseph

$80M

2022 #/$

2019

TOTAL: $78,621,465

ST. CLOUD

612 $24,252,325

0

$60M

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

$40M

April

Sauk Rapids

Home Sales Closed

777 2020 $31,498,210

765

$38,601,654 February July

Sartell

$80M $100M TOTAL: $88,202,416

ST. CLOUD

$0 $20M

2021

2021 #/$

August

Waite Park

2020

$0M

2020 March #/$

St. Cloud

2021

2020

2019

2021

$60M

March

$40M

September

Residential

2022 $20M

May October

BUILDING P E R M I T S BY C O M M U N I T Y April

TOTAL: $84,561,804

$0M

June November

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL: $88,202,416

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $78,621,465

2020

ST. CLOUD

COLOR KEY:August

TOTAL: $84,561,804

Compiled by Shelly Imdieke.

Residential Building Permits

Home Sales Closed

October

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

ECO N O M I C I N D I C ATO R S & T R E N D S

E PARK,

November

16,523*

$200M

Residential Building Permits

2021

621,465

885,721

$80M

E PARK,

1,424*

32,948

24,272

December

2022

44 $3,001,040

ST. CLOUD 170 10 $300,363 96

$11,093,600 $0

$300k

$

Source: positivelyminnesota.com $0 $300k

$

2021

May and St. Joseph. Sources: Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, Apr

TOTAL: $137,532,948

Unemployment Rates

2020

2021-2022

2021-22 -% CHANGE

Source: positivelyminnesota.com

Feb

September

M

J

J

December

August

A

November

July

M

1.0%

October

June

Jan

May

April

March

1.5%

February

$250M

December

$200M

November

October

$150M

September

August

$100M July

June

May

$50M

April

March

4%

February

January

$0M

January

2.0%

5%

2020

Non-Farm Mar Jobs

0.5% 3%

0.0% -0.5%

2%

-1.0% -1.5%

1%

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

-2.0%

O

N

D

J

F

A

S

O

N

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

25


GROW

500

1000

E PARK,

0

16,523*

January

621,465

885,721

$100M

$80M

$200M

E PARK,

$80M

1,424*

32,948

24,272

$60M

1500

Jan December Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

ST. CLOUD

September

TOTAL: $1,456,189

September

TOTAL: 1569

TOTAL: $215,772,443

August

August

2022

July

July

2021

$0 2500

December

TOTAL: $1,456,189

August

TOTAL: $749,418

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,287,691

2000

$2000000

$600k

TOTAL: $1.2M 67

$900k

$1.5M

2022 TOTAL: 31

105.0 104.1

January

102.7

105.0

Mankato, MN

93.9

105.1

80.4

94.9

92.9

111.4

97.3

Cedar Rapids, IA 89.0

96.9

71.0

91.3

100.4

101.9

95.0

86.3

103.8

96.9

113.0

108.5

103.0

94.8

90.8

95.4

80

99.7

99.8

98.9

106.5

December

97.1

November

89.9

October

92.8

September

97.6

August

St. Paul, MN

95.6

The Cost of Living Index, which is compiled and published quarterly by C2ER - The Council for Community and Economic Research, measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 50,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing any measurable difference, according to C2ER.

Least Expensive Cities to live in the United States

Most Expensive Cities to live in the United States

SHERIFFS' FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS Residential

2020

2021

2022

New York (Manhattan), NY

227.7

Harlingen, TX

77.1

Stearns Co.

34

17

55

Honolulu, HI

184.0

Kalamazoo, MI

77.5

Benton Co.

8

14

12

San Francisco, CA

178.6

Muskogee, OK

78.3

New York (Brooklyn), NY

168.6

McAllen, TX

79.4

Washington DC

152.2

Decatur, IL

80.1

Benton County Sheriff's Civil Process; Stearns County Sheriff's Office

26

109.5

102.8

July

70

130.0

104.5

June

60

97.4

99.2

May

40

98.0

91.4

April

30

77.0

95.2

March

20

109.7

February

10

Grocery Housing Utilities Transpor- Health Misc. Goods Items tation Care & Services

Minneapolis, MN 99.0

January

50

TOTAL: 42

$1.5M

St. Cloud MN 99.3 February

Pierre, SD

2020

0

All Items

Eau Claire, WI

December

October

November

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2021

March

$1.2M

COST OF May LIVING INDEX AVERAGES FOR 2022 FOR MINNESOTA AND OTHER UPPER MIDWEST CITIES CITY

2020 Sheriffs’ Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES $300k

April

TOTAL: 182*

$1.2M

Cost of Living TOTAL: 1868

$900k

July June

TOTAL: $1,420,811

2021 Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

$0

October

TOTAL: 1823

$600k

November

September

1500

TOTAL: $1,287,691

TOTAL: $1,604,677

$1500000

$300k

$900k

Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

1000

Data not released at time of print

$1000000

$0

$600k

BY THE NUMBERS

TOTAL: $1,142,027 Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$300k

January

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

February

Feb

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

March

TOTAL: $1,417,352

2022

2021

ST. CLOUD

TOTAL: $1,287,691

500

$500000

Lodging Tax Dollars

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$0

2020

Mar

0 500 1000 1500 2000 Jan $150M $200M $250M Housing/Real Estate sources: St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors, http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics.

2022

2020

2021

2020

2019

April

TOTAL: 1868

Apr

TOTAL: $137,532,948

2020

2019

May

May

2020

2021

TOTAL: $1,420,811

June

TOTAL: 2010

June

TOTAL: $153,245,951

December

Food and Beverage Tax Collection October

UD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

2022

November

October

September

August

July

June

November

May

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

November

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud ing Permits ST. CLOUD October

$100M

2500

BUSINESSTOOLS

E C O N O M I C I N D I C A T O R S & T R E N DDecember S

2021

2000

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3


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l a m i n A e s ou H From a renovated gas station to a state-of-the-art shelter,

Vicki Davis has spent her career connecting people and pets. Story by Emily Bertram / Photography by Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography

“T

o know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote hangs on the office wall of Vicki Davis, executive director of the Tri-County Humane Society for the past 38 years. To say she has touched the lives of others – two-legged and four – is a massive understatement. By staying true to her beliefs and relentlessly pursuing growth, she has saved and continues to save lives every day. Davis grew up just outside of St. Cloud in Cable. She remembers spending many summers

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at her grandparents’ farm just down the road. “That’s where the horses were, so of course that was the popular place,” Davis said. She attended Tech High School, during

DID YOU KNOW?

95%

The placement rate of animals from the Tri-County Humane Society in 2021. It was 79% in 2013.

which time she started working for Dayton’s (now Macy’s). After graduation, she entered their management program and worked for Dayton’s for seven years. In 1984, after a brief hiatus from retail, she realized it was time to start looking for a new job. “So I started looking at the want ads and there was a shelter manager position for the Tri-County Humane Society,” Davis said. “I had never envisioned a job working with animals, because jobs like that are few and far between so I thought, what are the odds?” After learning that there were no benefits and the pay rate was


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29


COVER STORY

Personal

low, she said “Okay, I’ll take it.” After all, there were still animals involved. Davis started working for the Tri-County Humane Society about 10 years after its inception. “Coming from a management background, I was excited to see where they were at,” Davis said. The organization was still very new, and there was a lot of demand and opportunity within the community. “What better level to get in on than at the ground level.”

PROFILE ––––––––

Vicki Davis, 64 Executive Director, Tri-County Humane Society, St. Cloud, MN Hometown: Cable, MN Education: Tech High School, Dayton’s Management Program

Working for a Foundation

Work History: Dayton’s, St. Cloud Family: Fiancé, Jerry, and dog, Abbi Hobbies: Gardening, playing the French horn, fishing, and spending time at home. –––––––– Best Advice Ever Received: “Get a job you like. You don’t have to love it, because you might not always love it, but make sure you like it.” — from Davis’ parents. –––––––– Advice for Others: Don’t be afraid of change or data. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. –––––––– Fun Fact: Davis once dog-sat two Yorkies for Joan Rivers!

30

“THAT” Pet

I

f you are an animal lover, chances are you have that one pet that sticks out in your memory as truly special. Whether dog, cat, hamster or bird, they will remain in your memory as the epitome of companionship and love. For Vicki Davis, executive director of the Tri-County Humane Society, that dog was JayDee. “I got a phone call at the shelter that someone had a litter of dobermans that they wanted to bring in, but they had ringworm so they couldn’t,” Davis said. “But I said, ‘I’m kind of interested.’” She went over to see them that night and admits that, though the puppies clearly had ringworm, she didn’t mind. While the others were energetically running around, one puppy came and sat in her lap, looked Davis in the eye, and that was that.

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Starting in the early ’70s, there was a movement in St. Cloud to develop a local humane society. Supporters continued to hound area veterinarians, and eventually the group was successful. Incorporated in 1974, the Tri-County Humane Society first opened a physical location in 1976 in a renovated gas station off Lincoln Avenue. “We made do,” Davis said of the building. “It served its purpose to get started.” Initially there were 10 dog kennels, some cat cages, and a backyard for the dogs. Davis was the only full-time staff member, with five part-time employees.

She was Davis’ first dog that was hers alone. “It was she and I,” Davis said. “We spent entirely too much time together. I bought my first house because of her, because I needed a place to live with my dog.” Davis acknowledges that JayDee’s breed could have been seen as a negative, but certainly not by her. “Especially at that time, in 1985, dobermans had a bad reputation, so I wanted people to meet her and show what a cool dog she was,” Davis said. JayDee was smart. She had a huge vocabulary. She was always waiting to learn the next thing. “That’s her,” Davis said, pointing to a pencil portrait of a doberman pinscher displayed in her office. “Everybody’s allowed to have one really incredible, special pet, and that was her,” Davis said. JayDee was Davis’ companion for 10 wonderful years. “It was the best decision I have ever made.”


Timeline

“I AM SURROUNDED BY REALLY COOL PEOPLE. THE STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS AS WELL AS THE PUBLIC. ANIMALS BRING OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE.”

The first years were tough from a resources standpoint. “There was so much that we wanted to do, but we just didn’t have the money,” Davis said. They couldn’t afford to do full vaccinations, the shelter capacity hindered the ability to keep whole litters of puppies and kittens, and if animals got sick, they couldn’t afford to help them or even keep them in the building and risk exposing other animals. Davis recalls having to say no to people who brought animals in, simply because the organization didn’t have the resources to take care of them at that time. “Because it was so hard at the beginning, I think that’s what made me work harder so that we didn’t have to do that,” Davis said. Remembering the struggles of the early days has been the motivation for Davis throughout the years. “Getting our euthanasia rate to as low as it is now is a huge accomplishment,” she said. The only reason they perform euthanasia procedures now is if an animal is incurably sick or a danger to society.

Working for Growth

Fundraising efforts to build a bigger shelter began in 1986, headed by then-board chair Tom Ritche. “When we got to the point that we needed to start fundraising for a new building, what says ‘we need a new building’ better than this” Davis said, referring to an old photo of the tiny space they were operating in. Not only was it too small,

but the building would flood every spring. The new shelter opened in 1989. It was built for $240,000 — including the land. “To us it was the Taj Mahal. It was a real animal shelter,” Davis said. “It was built to house animals.” This building was home to shelter operations for 21 years. “That building did really well for that many years.” Several projects to extend the life of the building took place, including an addition in 1999 and the construction of a training facility in 2008 that turned into a surgery unit in 2010. In 2020, Tri-County Humane Society opened its new 14,000 square foot shelter, a $3.5 million project that was completed without taking out a loan. “The community wanted to take care of the animals, so we had that going for us,” said Davis of the impressive fundraising efforts. “It’s a good investment, the return is great, and we’re fixing things that just wouldn’t have been fixed before.” Since then, business has been beyond what Davis could have

DID YOU KNOW?

$1.7million

The current operating budget of the Tri-County Humane Society. It was $40,000 when Davis joined the organization in 1984.

TRI-COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY ––––––––

1974

imagined. “If you build it, they will come,” she said. “Numbers that we had before were good. The numbers now are incredible. When I can say we placed over 100 animals in a week, that’s a crazy thought.” Davis credits attending industry conferences with much of the growth and innovation that she has brought to the Tri-County Humane Society. She became active in the regional and national animal welfare scene around 1986. “That’s how we have come so far, finding out how other shelters are successful. I am not shy to ask, ‘How did you do this, and may we borrow that idea?’ ” Davis laughs. Now, she is the expert that other shelters are turning to for help. “Later on in the years, I became a more familiar face, so they were getting me more involved – asking for me to sit on committees – to bring a small shelter perspective,” Davis said. She is happy to provide insight from the aspect of a smaller shelter versus the large cities with endless resources.

Working for People

Davis will be the first one to tell you that the shelter’s clients are the animals. But that’s not to say that she doesn’t appreciate what animals can do for humans, and the important role that people play in the success of the organization. “I am surrounded by really cool people,” she said. “The staff and volunteers, as well as the public. Animals just bring

The Tri-County Humane Society is incorporated on December 11 ––––––––

1976 The first Tri-County Humane Society shelter opens on Lincoln Avenue in St. Cloud ––––––––

1989 The new Tri-County Humane Society shelter location opens at 735 8th Street NE, St Cloud on May 15 ––––––––

1999 The shelter puts on an addition to make more room for storage, office space, laundry, expanded small animal and stray housing, separate dog and cat isolation rooms, and an examination/ surgery suite ––––––––

2008 A training facility building is opened adjacent to the shelter for dog obedience, problem-solving, and classes ––––––––

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31


COVER STORY

Business PROFILE ––––––––

TRI-COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY 735 8th Street NE St. Cloud, MN 56304 (320) 252-0896 Website: tricountyhumane society.org Email: give@tricounty humanesociety.org –––––––– Business Description: Tri-County Humane Society (TCHS) operates an independent nonprofit animal shelter in St. Cloud. It offers services including care for homeless animals, pet adoption, pet lost and found, and humane education. –––––––– Number of Employees: 13 full-time and 17 part-time, with over 200 volunteers –––––––– Chamber Member since 2017

Above: The Tri-County Humane as it is today. Right: The first Tri-County Humane on Lincoln Avenue in St. Cloud ––––––––

people together, and bring out the best in people.” One way Davis and her staff connect humans and animals in a meaningful way is through the lens of mental health. “You start bringing science into it – they’re telling you how good it is for your blood pressure, your emotional stability, in cases of PTSD, and more,” Davis said. She notes that the pandemic proved to be a time to strengthen that bond, despite being open by appointment only. “People have just gotten smarter about the human-animal bond. It’s not just fun to have a pet, it’s very beneficial.” Pets are also great for seniors. “It’s somebody to take care of after years of taking care of a family,” Davis said. The Tri-County Humane Society also has a Veterans Fund that gives

LEADING THE Pack

D

avis offers a small shelter perspective on a statewide stage. She is the only one in Minnesota to hold the Certified Animal Welfare Administrator certification and has served on the following:

32

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away cats to veterans that suffer from PTSD. Volunteers are also important at the Tri-County Humane Society. Davis is particularly proud of their junior volunteer program. “What better place to get kids introduced to being a philanthropist – to help share your time and money – plus a job on your resume,” she said. The program is open to 10-yearolds with parental guidance and 14-year-olds alone. “Plus, being in a college community, we get a lot of students who come in and get their animal fix through volunteering,” Davis said. “We have about 200 volunteers at any given time that help in many different capacities.”

The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement’s Best Practices Committee

Minnesota’s Partnership for Animal Welfare (founding board member)

Davis and her staff regularly see some of the best and the worst days in people’s lives. “We never want to put any guilt or shame on anyone,” Davis said of their animal intakes. “People’s lives change. It could happen to you someday where you have to make a decision that you really don’t want to make. And that’s why we’re here – this is what we do!” She trains her staff to be courteous and understanding in all situations. She urges them to pretend they are on the other side of the counter. “Even with adoptions. Granted, you do this day in and day out, but try to remember this is a really exciting day,” Davis said of her staff

Minnesota’s Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Committee

Companion Animal Advisory Task Force for the Minnesota Board of Animal Health


“COMING TO THIS PLATEAU OF BEING IN A NEW BUILDING, OUR PLACEMENT RATE COULDN’T GET ANY BETTER … I JUST FEEL REALLY GOOD, AND I FEEL READY TO RETIRE.”

training. “This is a once in a maybe 15-year experience for them.”

Working for Animals

“Saving one animal won't change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal!” This quote serves as the mission statement for the Tri-County Humane Society, and words to live by for Davis. She has seen a lot of change and growth over 38 years, and is at the forefront of innovations that connect people to animals. The Tri-County Humane Society foster program has over 200 foster families registered. At the time of our conversation, there were 111 animals in the building, with 62 more in foster care. Animals enter foster care for a variety of reasons. “Most of the time it’s because they’re too young, or they need some extra socialization, or they have a medical issue they’re being treated for,” Davis said. It’s just one more way that Davis and the organization can help as many animals as possible. Cats and kittens outnumber dogs and puppies at the humane society by 3 to 1, so in 2019 Davis was looking for a unique way to specifically promote cat and kitten adoptions. She reached out to a realtor, and thanks to the generosity of property owners Jim and Brenda Feneis, the Kitty Korner was born. It was a quiet location for cats that didn’t do well with overstimulation, as well as an accessible way for

people to view available animals. Plus, it was a success – over 500 cats and kittens were placed from this location until they closed in January of 2021. The Tri-County Humane Society helps animals transition into the next stage of their lives in a number of ways, but the one that Davis is most proud of by far is the ability to do surgeries onsite. The former building had some space to do procedures in house, “but nothing to this scale. I never envisioned this,” Davis said of the new facility. “We have three vets that contract with us for services,” she said, with some vets coming in weekly or bimonthly. They also have great relationships with other vet clinics in the area so that they can refer adopted animals to reliable care in their new homes. The in-house surgery unit was also a big step towards Davis’ goal of a 100% spay or neuter rate before adoption, which the organization has now achieved. When she looks back on the early days of not even being able to accept animals with minor medical issues, she is humbled. “Having a surgery room – I don’t think I even dreamed that,” Davis said.

DID YOU KNOW?

4,499

The total number of animals placed in 2021, a record high.

Working for the Future

After dedicating 38 years to the Tri-County Humane Society, Davis is setting her sights on the next chapter. She plans to retire at the end of January 2024. “Coming to this plateau of being in a new building, our placement rate couldn’t get any better … I just feel really good, and I feel ready to retire.” Davis hopes that her successor is “somebody who is going to follow the same type of philosophy. Not being afraid to try something new. Following the science. Learning from others.” What does retirement look like for Davis? “I like just being at home. I mean you should see where I live, what’s not to love,” she said. She lives in her grandmother’s former home, where she enjoyed visiting so much as a child. “I’m in a house that I have a ton of memories with.” Davis also enjoys gardening, fishing, and playing the French horn in a brass quintet called Just For Fun. She enjoys spending time with her fiancé, Jerry, and her dog, a border collie and springer spaniel mix named Abbi. Davis is excited for the future of the organization, and knows that the growth and success that she’s been able to achieve at the helm is just the beginning. “There’s always more to do, and we’re not done yet,” she said.

Timeline

TRI-COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY ––––––––

2010

The training facility is turned into a surgery suite for spaying and neutering animals ––––––––

2012 The Tri-County Humane Society receives grants from the ASPCA to add cat portals to the cages in the cat room and to increase surgery equipment ––––––––

2019 Kitty Korner opens at 1715 1st Street S, St. Cloud to provide better access to cat and kitten adoptions ––––––––

2020 The new Tri-County Humane Society shelter opens at the same location on 8th Street NE with twice as much square footage and greatly improved amenities

Emily Bertram is the editor of Business Central Magazine and Director of Marketing & Communications of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

33


F E AT U R E

THE CHILD CARE

CRISIS

A

Central Minnesota’s labor force crunch is pushing the need for child care to the forefront for businesses. By Vicki Johnson

pril 29, 2018. The day that has forever changed my life. It was the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child. It was truly one of the most magical times of my life. However, that excitement quickly turned to all out panic when in July – at about 16 weeks pregnant – I sat down

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on my lunch break and started calling around for childcare. I spent nearly a week calling every childcare facility I could find in the St. Cloud area. In home. Center. At this point, it didn’t matter. After about 30 calls I got the “yes” I was looking for and practically threw my money at the center director crying tears of joy


that I found a spot. In my two subsequent pregnancies, the second call to “announce” my good news (after my doctor) was to my daycare. Parents, family, friends — they could wait. Daycare could not. Stories like mine have become an all-too-common occurrence when it comes to working parents finding childcare for their little ones across Central Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) found that between 2013 and 2017, Central Minnesota’s childcare sector had been growing. However, since 2017, childcare employers have cut 177 jobs. “Then we have to consider the child ratio potential of each job cut,” said Luke Greiner, DEED regional analyst. “At the lowest infant ratio, that eliminates about 700 infant positions, and at the maximum, [school-aged children] the loss would eliminate 2,655 childcare spots in Central Minnesota.” “We are facing a severe deficit when it comes to access to affordable childcare spaces,” said Sara Hagen, community child care coordinator with United Way of Central Minnesota. “If every child [in the United Way’s service area] pre-K and down, had access to childcare we would need 5,317 more spaces.” In rural areas just outside the St. Cloud metro, that deficit is even more pronounced. “Family childcare is the main source of childcare in rural areas where it isn’t feasible to have a center,” Hagen said. “PreCOVID we had over 80 family childcare providers in Central Minnesota. Now, we have

If lack of available spots is the problem, then why don’t existing centers expand? Or why don’t more facilities open? Well it’s not that simple.

BY THE NUMBERS

COST OF CARE The average cost for a year of child care at a center in Minnesota was

fewer than 30. Family childcare providers are leaving in droves.” For Hagen, a former preschool educator for 20 years, the issues surrounding available and affordable childcare is something that has been brewing for decades. “There’s this misconception that the childcare system was broken because of COVID,” she said. “No. COVID just exacerbated the problem.” A COMPLEX PROBLEM

If lack of available spots is the problem, then why don’t existing centers expand? Or why don’t more facilities open? Well it’s not that simple, Hagen said. “There’s this thought that we just need to increase the number of spots available. But even if we did that, who would we get to staff them?” In a recent survey of 15 locally licensed daycare center providers, Hagen said, only three were fully staffed. Of the remaining 12 centers, if they were staffed completely it would add 123 additional daycare spots “at the drop of a hat.” “But the problem is, employee retention is just garbage,” Hagen said. By and large, childcare is not a highly profitable profession. Hagen said the average childcare aid makes roughly $12 to $14 per hour with no benefits. “Childcare staff are living on subsistent wages and are struggling to make ends meet,”

she said. “They just aren’t given the due respect and wages they deserve.” In addition, many centers, providers, and parents don’t want just anybody providing care. Much like the K-12 education system, teachers or caregivers with experience and/ or background in early childhood education are critical to helping provide the tools and the skill set needed to mold young and impressionable minds. Needing an education, but having the stigma of low wages and no benefits, makes it difficult to attract and retain talent. So, why not just pay providers more money? Most childcare facilities are largely funded on tuition costs provided by parents. With the rising cost of childcare, Hagen said parents in two parent/two income households are left weighing the option of pulling one parent, typically moms, from the labor market. Other stop gap measures – particularly for low-income or single parent households or those with medically complex kids – include an increasing reliance on family, friends, and neighbors to assist in taking care of young children. “Childcare is just not affordable,” Hagen said. “It is literally like paying a college tuition every year.” “The whole funding model is wrong,” said Gail Cruikshank, talent director with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp.

$16,164 in 2021 – the sixth-highest in the nation, according to estimates by the Center for American Progress. Taking into account that Minnesota’s median household income is $71,000, that means over 20% of earnings are spent on child care.

CARETAKER WAGES On average, lead teachers in child care centers make about $34,000 in metro areas, and $29,700 in greater Minnesota. This is nearly half of what kindergarten teachers are paid in the metro area.

CHILD CARE INVENTORY The number of child care providers in Minnesota dropped from 12,200 in 2013 to 9,637 in 2019, and the decrease has accelerated since the pandemic, especially in the home-based child care sector. In the metro, a reported 2,700 slots were lost, while in greater Minnesota there was a decline of over 20,250 child care slots, according to the Center for Rural Policy and Development.

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F E AT U R E

“We can’t continue to rely totally on parents to keep this system afloat. Childcare providers really should be treated much like our public schools and offered government subsidies.”

“Employers know that talent is at a premium and there is definitely a shift in thinking. It’s now about how can we listen to our employees and come up with solutions.” —GAIL CRUIKSHANK, TALENT DIRECTOR WITH THE GREATER ST. CLOUD DEVELOPMENT CORP.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT

As businesses across Central Minnesota struggle to find and retain workers, the interest and urgency in addressing the childcare situation has taken center stage. Cruikshank said childcare availability has been top of mind not only for employees but for employers as well. With parents leaving the workforce due to either lack of childcare or inability to pay the rising costs of that care,

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Cruikshank said quality talent is unfortunately being removed faster than it can be replaced. “With a record low number of unemployed workers and record high job openings, the labor force crunch is still a barrier to companies looking to hire or even retain workers,” Greiner said. “The lack of childcare is a serious issue that has worsened by fluctuations of demand during the pandemic.”

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To provide some assistance to struggling employees, a few major employers in the area have opted to address this problem head on. Country Manor’s Kids Country has been providing childcare services for employees since 1985. “It really started out as an amenity service for our staff,” said Emily Frericks, director of marketing and public relations. “When you have a job as a parent you still have bills

that need to be paid. Providing onsite childcare for our staff really helps gives parents some sense of stability. We are a job where people need to be present. So, we feel we have a responsibility to our employees. If they are there for us, we should be there for them.” Kids Country, housed at the Sartell Country Manor campus, serves approximately 140 kids ages six weeks to 11 years old.


IN THE KNOW

While employees typically do have first pick of available spots, Kids Country is also open to the community. Other local companies such as Sauk Rapids-based IRT and Cold Spring-based ColdSpring (formerly Cold Spring Granite) have also adopted similar models in recent years. However, for small and midsize businesses, opening and operating an onsite childcare facility may not be an option. “Some companies have chosen to offer expanded benefits to employees for childcare,” Cruikshank said. “Others are wanting to work with neighboring businesses to be able to develop some sort

of childcare program for their employees.” At the end of the day, employers want – and need – to do something, Cruikshank added. “I think employers are starting to get that,” she said. “Employers know that talent is at a premium and there is definitely a shift in thinking. It’s now about how can we listen to our employees and come up with solutions.” For United Way’s Hagen, those solutions can’t be developed in a bubble. It will take a community effort. “This community is farther along than most,” she said. “But the key is understanding that this is a community issue and we have

to forge a way forward together. Right now, we are at that triage moment. We need to work to stop the bleeding and then we can begin to treat the problem.” And by treating the problem, Cruikshank said, we can ensure that our community becomes the community of choice – not only for parents, but for businesses as well. “Becoming educated on the crisis is incredibly important,” Hagen said. “Businesses, regardless of size, can make change.” Vicki Johnson is the senior transportation planner with the Saint Cloud Area Planning Organization.

CHILD CARE RESOURCES The St. Cloud Area has several great resources when it comes to child care, not only in the form of providers but also organizations with child care related services. Playhouse Child Care: 320-656-1910 Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota: 320-252-7616 Country Manor Health Care Campus: 320-253-1920 Milestones: 800-288-8549 United Way of Central Minnesota: 320-229-3519 Stearns County: 866-291-9811

MARKETING SOLUTIONS THAT

GET RESULTS

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WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING

Industry Impact Women bring a unique perspective, increased innovation and a welcoming culture to the manufacturing industry. he face of manufacturing is changing. Thanks to technological advancements, women are able to work on all aspects of manufacturing more than ever before – from the production line itself, to sales, engineering, and leadership roles. What do women manufacturing leaders bring to the table? According to an article written by manufacturing consultant Benjamin Wann: • Women tend to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace more readily, creating a culture that’s welcoming and respectful. • Women drive innovation, with a consistent effort toward improving efficiencies and creating value for customers.

• Women leaders place a high importance on work/life balance, proving that you can be successful and still have time for family. That’s not to say that female workers in the manufacturing industry don’t face challenges. With only 30% of manufacturing workers being women, there is a lack of representation at all levels. Things like long hours, night shifts, and hazardous job conditions can deter women from pursuing a manufacturing career. There is also less opportunity for advancement, and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has reported that women earn only 82% of what their male counterparts do. Challenges aside, the future of this industry is being influenced by women. According to

the NAM report, over 11% of all manufacturing companies in the United States are womenowned. They bring in nearly $1.5 trillion in annual revenue and employ over 8 million workers. Providing support for female manufacturing employees is important for retention. Women workers want to work for companies that promote diversity, advocate for gender equality, and offer training and resources specifically for women in manufacturing. As women continue to take up a bigger share of manufacturing industry jobs, companies that embrace female workers will stand out from the rest.

We’ve manufactured a place for women at DeZURIK

Join our team today and explore the many possibilities a career in manufacturing offers. DeZURIK.com • 320-259-2000 38

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Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

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WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING

QUANEX IS POWERED BY TALENTED WOMEN When you join Quanex, you join the world’s leader in component manufacturing. Become A Part of Something Bigger at careers.quanex.com. From the left: TAMMY REMER - Team Lead, JESSICA TURNER - Team Lead II, LEAH KUYAVA - Production Manager, BETH BURSCH - HR Generalist, JESSICA BECKER - Quality Assurance Manager

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SPECIAL FOCUS

To Build OR Not to Build … That is the Question Sometimes, the decision to build or lease is straight-forward. Other times, not so much. By Mike Killeen

Remember this scene? Thornton Melon owns a chain of successful plus-size men’s clothing stores despite not going to college. He decides to go back to college to experience what he missed out on and to be with his discouraged son at Grand Lakes University. Melon enrolls in a business class taught by Dr. Philip Barbay, dean of the school of business at the university. On the first day of class, Barbay begins to create a fictional company from the ground up, which includes the construction of a physical plant. Melon, using his experience as an entrepreneur, scoffs at that idea and says the company would be better off leasing the building and investing in certificates of deposit rather than making a down payment. After some debate, Barbay pushes forward. He asks the class, where should the company build the factory? “How about Fantasyland?” Melon replies, as the students erupt in laughter. — From the 1986 movie “Back to School,” starring Rodney Dangerfield as Melon and Paxton Whitehead as Barbay.

I

t’s no laughing matter to businesses. Sometimes, the decision to build or lease is straight-forward. Other times, there’s a long process involved. Call it a tale of two processes, with all due respect to Charles Dickens. For Traut Companies, the process was somewhat straight-forward. Traut Companies has been in business for over 60 years, offering commercial and residential well drilling

services, agricultural and lawn irrigation and a state-certified water testing laboratory. When company President Mark Traut and Vice President Dave Traut started selling part of the company to key employees about five years ago, those employees asked the Trauts to grow the company and find a bigger facility than what they had in Waite Park. “We had looked for a few years for another place to relocate,” Mark Traut said. “We

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SPECIAL FOCUS

EXPERT ADVICE

Expanding Know-How Mark Traut offered some advice to business owners looking to expand or build a new facility. Right Fit? Can you

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looked at empty lots and existing buildings, but nothing really fit our needs without a lot of money spent on renovation.” Eventually, the company decided to build a new facility in St. Joseph, constructing a building with a 24,000 square foot print, with a second floor pushing the usable space to 31,000 square feet. “The decision to build a new building eventually was easy,” Traut said. “The location of other lot options and/or the cost of renovating an existing building to fit our needs wasn’t found, so it made it easy to custom build at an affordable price.” ConnectAbility of Minnesota faced a different process. The nonprofit organization, which

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We make a GREAT first impression! With our extensive selection of flooring, window treatments, and lighting we help bring fashion, style, and durability to the workplace. provides coordination of services and programs to people with disabilities in Minnesota, had leased its previous two locations in St. Augusta and St. Cloud. But by the early part of 2022, the organization was outgrowing its space in St. Cloud. “I had remembered a space that I looked at in Waite Park in 2020 that was too large for us at the time,” said Sheri Wegner, executive director of ConnectAbility of Minnesota. “I saw the building was for sale in 2022, reached out to its realtor and looked at the space with a new perspective.” That started another process – due diligence. “After touring the building, it was a great fit for us. However, we hadn’t considered purchasing a building at that point, so we reached out to all the right people, most of which we met through the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, to help guide us through this process,” Wegner said, noting that she reached out to local nonprofit agencies such as WACOSA and Tri-Cap, their auditor Miller, Welle, Heiser & Co., accounting partner Schlenner Wenner & Co., and financial partner BankVista. “After a lot of due diligence and conversation with our leadership and board of directors, it was determined we would move toward purchasing our first building since the inception of our nonprofit in 1954,” Wegner said. Her next call was to Inventure Properties. “Clients like Sheri are out there quite a bit,” said Doug Boser, president and CEO of Inventure, which buys and sells real estate, as well as providing a variety of brokerage and facility services.

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“We’re really the client’s protector, if you think about it that way,” Boser said. “When I look to a client at the end, and they’re looking to me and they’re going ‘Doug, is it OK to buy this?’ and I go ‘Yes,’ that’s when we start to close.” “There are a couple of key factors that a business must decide on early,” said Brian Mathiasen, senior commercial lender at American Heritage Bank in St. Cloud. “The main driving factor is location,” Mathiasen said. “Do you want to be downtown, or do you want to be out of downtown? Sometimes, with a warehouse, they don’t care where they’re at. The second factor is, do you have the cash to buy the property? When you’re buying the property, you’re not financing 100% of it. Typically, 10% to 20% is needed from the borrower to purchase the property.” Mathiasen also said to remember items on the inside of the building during the process. “When you’re buying a building, the desks don’t just appear, the walls don’t show up,” Mathiasen said. “Sometimes you need a specialized building in a specialized location. You can’t take an office building and make it a brewery. You would have some specialized building needs.” Inventure’s Boser emphasized the need to start the process early. “When you start to get to what you feel is like 100 percent full in your office or your manufacturing shop, call us and start planning,” said Boser. “We will basically help you get to what I’ll call 125 percent over capacity. That will be the time to start building, and when you get to about 150 percent, that’s when you have to move.”


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Following the Pros Madison Miller offered some advice to business owners looking to buy or lease commercial property Clearly, business owners face a multitude of factors when deciding whether to build new, buy an existing property or lease a building. Madison Miller, a former research analyst for ValuePenguin.com, addressed this issue in a January 2023 online article.

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Pros for buying commercial property: Equity in the property builds over time. The asset value appreciates over time. The property might have the potential for rental income. There are tax breaks for interest, depreciation, and non-mortgage expenses. You have control over the property (within the confines of zoning restrictions). Pros to leasing commercial real estate: Access to more liquidity because you don’t have to make a down payment.

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Boser recommends giving yourself as much as a year when looking for a new property. “There isn’t a corral of properties waiting to come out to the market every day. If we’re limited on time, you only get to see what matches up to those properties available at the time.” Starting the process early is also important if you decide to build, according to Joe Seifert, president and owner of Miller Architects and Builders. “There are a few sectors – electrical and mechanical – still having very big supply chain problems. As soon as a project starts, you have to order everything. You never know if it’s a six-month or eight-month lead time to get something,” he said. “A lot of times, people come to us with, ‘Here, I got a problem. I’m either out of space, or my space is outdated. I need a different image, or we plan on growth and we’re going to need more room, or it’s just time. Or, I’m tired of renting. They know what they kind of want. We just end up asking more questions to find out what they think they’re going to need in the next five years,” Seifert said. “The one piece of advice that I would give is surround yourself with people smarter than you,” ConnectAbility of Minnesota’s Wegner said. “Our community is rich with resources, and there are so many people willing to help if they’re asked, and that came out in spades during our experience.” Mike Killeen is a freelance writer

vye.agency

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who has written for a number of publications in his over 40-year career.


C LO S E - U P : B R A D B U R Y S TA M M C O N S T RU C T I O N

Construction company leaders attribute success to diverse project portfolio

Despite a volatile

these projects have on the communities in which they are built. It’s great to be able to be a part of that.” Bradbury Stamm has constructed such structures as the Bemidji Carnegie Library, Becker Community Center, Lake George Fountain, Belle Plaine Aquatic Center, Bernick’s and Scheels Ice Arenas, as well as Thief River Falls Electrical Maintenance Facility.

market,

Bradbury Stamm Construction continues to see project success and sustained growth, through a commitment to their clients and a diverse work portfolio. A go-to builder for numerous businesses, governments, and schools, Bradbury’s leaders attribute much of the firm’s success to the high level of service they provide in conjunction with a diverse work portfolio. President John Waletzko says, “We don’t claim to be good at just one project type. The experience we have in our office allows us to pull together the right team suited for each individual project. Our breadth across multiple project types and delivery methods allows us to flatten out the highs and lows of specializing in a particular sector and to orchestrate a stable and sustained trajectory which is key from a construction partner. Our client partners also appreciate knowing they can reach out no matter the request and that each project receives the same level of service no matter the size or scope. Whether we’re doing a $60 million new building or helping with a building repair job, we commit fully to a project with the best quality, resources, and communication possible.” The company offers a full range of services including Construction Management, Pre-Referendum Services, Facility Studies, General Contracting, and Design/Build services. Bradbury Stamm Construction has built for national brands like FedEx, Spartan Nash Foods, Snap Fitness, Dairy Queen, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee as well as for a litany of locally based companies ranging from breweries, to manufacturing plants, and other professional spaces. Along with its commercial work, Bradbury Stamm Construction has developed a reputation as an educational builder. The company has decades-long relationships with numerous Minnesota school districts, including 5 districts with projects currently underway. Over the last ten years, SPONSORED PROFILE

New Flyer Building Addition

Bradbury has served approximately 30 school districts, building more than 70 K-12 projects. Over 50 of those projects were active campuses. Bradbury’s school projects range from $300,000 renovations to $90 million new builds. The team at Bradbury realizes that these projects have a great impact on their communities and do not come together overnight, thus they play an active role in all stages of the project from pre referendum through the finishing touches and beyond. Municipal work is another passion for Bradbury Stamm employees who take pride in being a part of important structures that support and enrich their communities. Sr. Project Manager Chris Koepp says, “In 11 years with the company, it’s rewarding to see the positive impact

In keeping with their commitment to a diverse work portfolio and capitalizing on the wide array of experience on staff, another significant project type for the firm is their multi family work. With 250 units currently under construction, Bradbury has built more than 50 multi family and senior housing facilities in Minnesota alone. These projects range from 8 units to over 120 units of housing per campus with amenities such as wellness centers, memory care units, salons, spas, pools, and restaurants. Over its 54 years of growth to become a leading Minnesota construction company, Bradbury Stamm Construction continues to see successes on the job site and in the community through a continued commitment to their clients, community, and employees.

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Bradbury Stamm Construction Winkelman, LLC bradburystamm.com | 320.253.2411 | 340 Highway 10 S, St. Cloud, MN 56304

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SPECIAL FOCUS

Commercial Construction Construction is big business, not only in Central Minnesota but across the United States. While this industry faces many challenges from workforce shortages to inflation repercussions, growth is still being reported across the board.

7.5 million The number of people employed in the construction industry in the U.S. as of January 2022, that’s about 4.8% of the entire workforce.

4.8%

$1.6 trillion

The increase in construction spending from 2019 to 2020. –––––––

The value of the U.S. construction industry in 2021. –––––––

Central Minnesota's construction industry seems to be going strong. Read more on recent projects around the area.

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Great River Children’s Museum (GRCM) GLTArchitects is nearing completion on design and plans for the new Great River Children’s Museum located in the former Liberty Bank building in downtown St. Cloud. The Museum features unique interactive exhibits including Climber to the Clouds, Community Connections, Great Explorations, Great Big River, Engineering Zone, and the Headwaters, offering kids the opportunity to play and learn in a fun and welcoming environment.

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W. Gohman assisted in expanding Blattner Energy’s headquarters building in Avon, Minn. The 72,466 sf new building addition adds 135 new offices and work stations, multiple collaborative group spaces, parking lot expansion, 10 new conference rooms, catering kitchen, work lounge, recreation spaces, A/V labs and a new auditorium. This building addition was safely tied into an existing, fully occupied building with the least amount of disruption to daily operations. In addition, W. Gohman was able to maintain Blattner’s current sustainable energy efforts and fortify their existing and new facilities for future growth. wgohman.com

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PROFIT

BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT TIMELINE March 22, 1953 / James and Marion Ferkinhoff found East Side Glass the same day their first son, David, is born.

EAST SIDE GLASS

Family is Everything East Side Glass is owned by three siblings, but all their employees are part of the family. By Emily Bertram

How did you get involved with the family business? Luke: I used to walk here from Tech High School to help my dad sweep back in the shop. It was always enticing as an established family business. I’ve been here full time since 2001. Andy: I’ve been working here since I was a kid, too. I don’t think any of us really planned to be here for life, but I’ve been here full time since 2004. Laura: I went to school for accounting, and I used to come here to help with data entry. I’ve been here full time since 2006. What is it like working together as siblings? Laura: It has its ups and downs. We hang out a lot outside of work, so we try to keep work at work. Plus, we each have our own thing here. Andy: It’s been about five years since we took over officially, and it’s still up and running well. We always said if we can’t go home and enjoy time together then let’s hang it up.

Have you faced any workforce challenges? Andy: We’ve been really lucky, our turnover is low and our people are great. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. Luke: Our core employees have been really loyal. Contractors know that our guys are good, and that they do quality work. Andy: And it’s helped that we’ve been here for a long time – it’s not like we just showed up the day our dad retired. Everyone seemed to respect that change. What does the future look like? Luke: We go up and down with the economy, but the trajectory is still going up. Our work is 65% commercial and 35% residential, but the residential side has been growing since COVID. Andy: We just launched a big marketing initiative to celebrate our 70th anniversary as well, and we’re excited to continue to expand into the North Metro.

Luke Ferkinhoff (lef t), Laura Hutt & Andy Ferkinhoff

PERSONAL PROFILES

Luke Ferkinhoff, 43 Hometown: St. Cloud Wife: Theresa; Children: Tanner, Alaina, Tucker Education: Tech High School and St. John’s University Hobbies: Playing music, spending time outdoors fishing and hunting Best business advice: Keep a healthy business and be prepared for the ups and downs. ––––––––––––––

Andy Ferkinhoff, 40 Hometown: St. Cloud Wife: Rachael; Children: Ariella, Jameson, Landon Education: Tech High School and IPR – College of Creative Arts, Minneapolis

Hobbies: Playing music and spending time outdoors Best business advice: If you can’t walk in the door with a smile, then what’s the point. ––––––––––––––

Laura Hutt, 37 Hometown: St. Cloud Husband: Brandon; Children; Riley and Reagan Education: Tech High School and St. Cloud Technical and Community College Hobbies: Golfing, dance, being outside, and raising kids Best business advice: Don’t take it home with you; keep it at work if you can. ––––––––––––––

AT A G L A N C E

East Side Glass Company // Joined the Chamber in 1970 // 305 Franklin Ave NE, Saint Cloud, MN 56304 // (320) 251-1900 // esg@eastsideglass-mn.com // eastsideglass-mn.com // Business Description: East Side Glass has been in business for over 70 years and is now a third-generation, family-owned and operated business specializing in residential and commercial glass services. // Owners: Siblings Luke Ferkinhoff, Andy Ferkinhoff, and Laura Hutt // Opened: 1953 // Number of Employees: 26 full-time, including the owners

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BusinessCentral Magazine.com // M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 2 3

1953 / A giant hailstorm hits St. Cloud causing extensive glass breakage and giving the “break” the business needs to stay afloat. James and Marion purchase a house at 622 East St. Germain Street and run operations out of the main floor. 1993 / James and Marion retire and their sons David, John, and Lyle take over. The three brothers found Thermo-Tech Vinyl Windows the same year. 2002 / East Side Glass and ThermoTech Windows win the Minnesota small business of the year award. 2003 / East Side Glass and ThermoTech windows split and become two separate entities. 2005 / East Side Glass moves to its current location at 305 Franklin Ave. NE in St. Cloud and expands, building a new facility. 2016 / East Side Glass expands and adds a second building at its current location. 2018 / David Ferkinhoff retires and his three children Luke, Andy and Laura take over ownership and operation of the company as the thirdgeneration family business.


We’ll help you do the little things that make bigger things possible. At Bremer Bank, we know the true value of a banking relationship isn’t measured in dollars and cents. It’s measured in trust, earned by helping you anticipate, grow and thrive through changes. It’s not always possible to know what the future holds. But we’ll be ready to help you make the most of it. Because right now, relationships matter more than ever. Talk to a Bremer banker today. Understanding is everything.

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