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NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 2016

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CONTENTS

GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

President’s Letter Business Calendar

8 20

Editor’s Note

Network Central

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C E L E B R AT I N G 1 6 Y E A R S I N B U S I N E S S

34

GROW

34 Cover Story A PEACEFUL MAN St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson does some of his best thinking in the chaos of law enforcement. But at heart, he likes a peaceful life. PROFIT

40 Feature LOYALISTS Don’t confuse satisfaction with loyalty. Satisfied customers leave. Loyal ones don’t.

44 Special Focus STARTUP MISTAKES New businesses have a better chance for success if they avoid these common pitfalls.

Special Section 48 FINANCIAL SERVICES

10 UPFRONT Valuable and important information designed to guide and educate

22 BUSINESS TOOLS

Marketplace intelligence and useful tips on how to continue to grow your business

50 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Tom Woods, Woods Farmer Seed & Nursery

Only Online // www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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Business Central is published six times a year

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President’s Letter

More than a year ago Chair Roger and a handful of Chamber Connection advocates mounted an effort to add diversity to our Chamber. I explained to them they could not be an official “committee” of the Chamber because that required staff time The Chamber recently sponsored a booth at the St. Cloud PRIDE Festival at Lake George.

and financial resources we did not have. The group assured me THEY would do the work. THEY would define how our Chamber becomes diverse, and

Embracing Diversity

A

THEY would do it for our members, because a more diverse chamber means we are richer in every way. That small group has expanded to 18 people

s chair of our Chamber’s Board of

crafting purpose, vision and goals this year. Chris

Directors, Roger Schleper, Premier Real

Jacques from Wiechert Realtors and Hudda Ibrahim

Estate Services, has identified three special

from St. Cloud Technical and Community College

emphasis goals he would like our organization to focus on:

serve as committee leadership. This year, we are working hard to add some

• Expand the Chamber’s diversity efforts

minority-owned businesses to our membership.

• Increase the Board’s understanding of

We want to help existing members reach out to our

Committee work • Educate and recruit larger businesses to the Chamber Expansion of our Chamber’s diversity efforts has been an organizational goal since I became

minority populations to fill workforce needs. We also hope to help members understand that minority populations offer marketing opportunities that could increase their sales, revenues and profits. We recently sponsored the St. Cloud PRIDE

president over 18 years ago. How hard can it be to

Festival at Lake George to promote our Chamber to

invite a few people to participate who are different

participants and other vendors. It’s too soon to tell

than those already attending our events? It’s much

what the outcomes may be, but our booth looked

more complicated than it appears on the surface.

good and our committee volunteers received great

By definition, differences divide us. Whether physical, cultural, religious or even gender-based,

feedback. Watch for signs of the work of our Diversity

differences make it more challenging to provide

Council this year. That’s right. When I told them they

programming, events and benefits that have appeal,

could not be a committee, they decided a council

value and accessibility for everyone.

was just as good.

Some business people don’t understand what our Chamber is because it is so culturally foreign

When we embrace diversity, everyone wins. Especially our community.

to them. Chambers of commerce in other countries are different from those in the United States. Some force membership through taxation. Others are government entities, and some even have mafia ties.

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Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

Teresa Bohnen Publisher


2016-17 BOARD MEMBERS

Main Phone 320-251-2940 Automated Reservation Line 320-656-3826 Program Hotline 320-656-3825 information@StCloudArea Chamber.com StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF President Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Vice President Gail Ivers, ext. 109

Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator Whitney Bina, ext.130 Special Events Coordinator Sheri Wegner, ext. 131 Membership Sales Specialist Rhonda Dahlgren, ext. 134 Administrative Assistant Kellie Libert, ext. 124 Administrative Assistant Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 Administrative Assistant Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

Director of Administration Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF Main Phone 320-251-4170 Executive Director Julie Lunning, ext. 111 Director of Convention Sales Lori Cates, ext. 113 Director of Sports & Special Events Dana Randt, ext. 110 Sales Manager Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 Social Media & Marketing Specialist Emily Bertram, ext. 129 Sales & Marketing Coordinator Rachel Granzow, ext. 128 Administrative Assistant Carrie Zwack, ext. 100

Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, Past Board Chair

Willie Jett, St. Cloud School District

Dan Bittman, Sauk RapidsRice School District

Diane Mendel, Playhouse Child Care Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University

David Borgert, CentraCare Health Neil Franz, Franz Hultgren Evenson, Professional Association Christy Gilleland, Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac

Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy Roger Schleper, Premier Real Estate Services, Board Chair

Jim Gruenke, Mark J. Traut Wells, Inc.

Melinda Vonderahe, Times Media Chamber Board Vice Chair

Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning

Allison Waggoner, DCI, Inc.

Dennis Host, Coborn’s, Inc.

Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St.Cloud

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Editor’s Note

Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman

Think Time M

any years ago I lived six blocks from where I worked. Parking on-site was terrible, so I walked to work every day. Every day. Summer walks must have been uneventful, because I remember little of them. My memories, instead, are all about winter. There’s nothing that looks homier to me than walking by a house at night and seeing the warm light from a kitchen. I don’t know when I first noticed that, but I certainly remember it from those winter walks home. One of the houses on my route always had a kitchen light on and I could see dinner preparations underway or the family already seated at the table. None of us knows what goes on in other homes, but I choose to believe that the family inside that house was as joyful as it looked from the outside. To this day, whenever I walk by a house with lights on at night, I think of that family and how cozy it made me feel to see them together. Some of those winter days were brutal. I would dress in snow pants, my heaviest parka, scarf, and stocking cap. And if the wind was howling, I was even known to put Vaseline on my eyelashes so the vapor from my breath wouldn’t glue my eyes shut as it froze. My route took me past a bus stop. Occasionally I would pick up an unknown companion. Dressed as we were in winter costumes, there was no telling who these individuals were. But we would say hello and walk together for a few blocks until one of us turned off to our destination. Our conversations consisted primarily of clever comments, such as “Sure is cold.” I never felt threatened or scared

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Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

It turns out that the quantity of time was less important than the quality. by these random companions. I wonder if I would feel the same today. Those walks were my best thinking time. I never intentionally thought about work, but as I unwound from the day, I came up with some of my best ideas. I invented a photography contest once. By the time I got home I had the entire plan worked out. Keep in mind that this walk was less than 15 minutes. It turns out that the quantity of time was less important than the quality. St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson (see the cover story on page 34) says he does his best thinking under pressure. When there’s chaos or a crisis, he kicks into high gear. “It’s because I want it to go away,” he said. These days I do my best thinking sitting quietly on my patio admiring the flowers. I guess it’s good that I’m a gardener and he’s the chief of police. Until next issue,

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Whitney Bina, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Luke Greiner, Minn. Department of Employment & Economic Development Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Logan Gruber, Cohlab Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Kellie Libert, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Chris Panek, CPA Pat Plamann, Schlenner Wenner & Co. Kelly Radi, Radi To Write Greg Vandal, Vox Liberi Dawn Zimmerman, The Write Advantage ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Wendy Hendricks, Hendricks Marketing Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media ART Design & Production Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media Cover Photo Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography ACCOUNTING Judy Zetterlund WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com For advertising information contact Wendy Hendricks, (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.


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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Point of View • Getting Going • Do It Now! • Your Voice in Government •

UPFRONT GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

People to Know • Business Calendar • Top Hat Photos • The Trouble with Business uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

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NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

BOOK REVIEW

Be Bold

NEWS REEL

Understanding “presence” can help us perform our best and empower others to do the same. Reviewd by Dr. Fred Hill

A

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s a doctoral student, Amy Cuddy was asked to present at an important conference. In an elevator she was invited -unexpectedly by three well established figures in her field -- to give her pitch. She failed miserably. After the disaster, she asked herself: What did I do? How did I fail? She had been studying her topic for four years – how was it even possible to do so poorly? Her book, PRESENCE; Bringing your BOLDEST SELF to your BIGGEST CHALLENGES, is her journey. Cuddy writes:

PRESENCE; Bringing

Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do-over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives’ biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret. By accessing our personal power, we can

achieve ‘presence,’ the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves… we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-today lives.

your BOLDEST SELF to your BIGGEST CHALLENGES by Amy Cuddy Little, Brown and Company • New York 2015 • ISBN 978-0316-25657-5 (hc)

Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

Cuddy overcame a major head injury, miraculously returned to college and her studies, experienced her elevator failure, and moved forward to become a dynamic expert and professional in the world of presence. She has helped millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about power poses. Now in her book she presents the science of many body-mind effects, and teaches simple techniques to remove fear, perform our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same. Cuddy says “we know it when we feel it, and we know it when we see it, but presence is hard to define.” It emerges when we feel personally powerful, which allows us to be attuned to our most sincere selves. Read this excellent book, and develop your own presence! Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor from St. Cloud State University.

GAALSWYK TRANSITIONS FROM INITIATIVE FOUNDATION Kathy Gaalswyk, founding president of the Initiative Foundation, announced her transition out of the Initiative Foundation after 30 years. During her tenure, the Foundation’s assets have grown more than $62 million and the organization has invested over $80 million throughout the region in targeted grants and business financing investments. The Initiative Foundation is one of six Minnesota Initiative Foundations serving Greater Minnesota. Gaalswyk and her husband plan to stay in the Brainerd lakes area and focus on their family, mission work and other community activities.

RICE COMPANIES STARTS REAL ESTATE BUSINESS Rice Companies recently formed Rice Real Estate Services, a full-service commercial real estate brokerage specializing in commercial sales, leasing and development. Casey O’Malley, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), serves as the primary broker/ president.

SCHMITZ PROMOTED Marie Schmitz, BerganKDV, was promoted to partner in the St. Cloud office. BerganKDV offers business planning and consulting, tax, audit and accounting, technology, payroll, and wealth management services in seven offices throughout the Midwest.


POINT OF VIEW

Business Central asks readers:

“What is one networking strategy you use?”

Tired of managing your company’s vehicle repair issues?

When you’re at an event, eyeball people you’ve never talked to before and then go introduce yourself.”

HAS THE ANSWER!

Liz Kellner • Odor Eliminators

When I go to events by myself, I’m more prone to go and talk to others I don’t know.” Tracy Jacobs • BerganKDV

Don’t try too hard.” Mike Mages • Strack Construction

Do something a little unusual in your conversation to make you stand out – joke around a little with them.”

Jim Schleper • Inventure Properties

IN THE NEWS

Paramount receives grant

P

aramount Center for the Arts received a grant from Aroha Philanthropies for its new initiative “Seeding Artful Aging,” designed to support and expand art programs for older adults. The Paramount was one of only 15 organizations throughout the United States to receive funding from Aroha Philanthropies. Over 200 organizations applied. The grant supports Paramount’s Growing Art-FULL! project, which includes 10-week sessions in movement, choir and clay offered through The Good Shepherd Community, St. Benedict’s Senior Community, and Whitney Senior Center.

FLEET SOLUTIONS Call us today to learn how we can partner with you to design a “no-contract” maintenance & repair plan that fits your company’s vehicle needs.

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UpFront GETTING GOING

NEWS REEL LAWYERS RECOGNIZED Kevin F. Gray, Gordon H. Hansmeier, Troy A. Poetz, Paul A. Rajkowski, and Eric S. Oelrich, shareholders with Rajkowski Hansmeier law firm, were named 2016 Minnesota Super Lawyers. Only the top 5 percent of lawyers in the state are named to the annual list. Poetz was elected as 2016-2017 president of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, an 800-member organization specializing in the defense of civil actions. Poetz joined Rajkowski Hansmeier in 2003. He specializes in defending large insurance companies and their insureds.

SCHUMACHER JOINS CSB Gigi Fourré Schumacher joined Institutional Advancement at the College of Saint Benedict as the senior planned and principle gifts officer. She brings over 20 years of fundraising and development experience and holds a degree from the College of Saint Benedict. Formerly, she served as director of development at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

AGENCY 128 EXPANDS Agency 128, a full-service advertising agency in St. Could, expanded its offices to Minneapolis to support a growing client base. In 2015, Megan Effertz purchased the company, which works with clients in several industries including healthcare, technology, construction, and more.

SPIRIT 92.9 NAMED AWARD FINALIST National Association of Broadcasters (NEAB) named Spirit 92.9(KKJM-FM) in St. Cloud a finalist for the 2016 Marconi Award for the religious station of the year.

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Follow the Leader

By Greg Vandal

Corporate power structures are not always what they seem.

I

n this age of smart screens and Pokémon Go, I’m not altogether certain that the games I played at recess more than five decades ago remain relevant. “Tag” has taken on a whole new meaning in the electronic age, and adults seem to be increasingly determined to organize what was once free time for children. Still, wander by any elementary school during lunch and you can see kids racing around the playground in pursuit of one adventure or another. On the playground, it’s pretty easy to discern who the leaders are even though official titles don’t exist. The little one who shouts “Let’s play this game” and is quickly surrounded by other willing participants may be a budding CEO. More powerfully, the child who merely moves to a

new activity and, with no words of encouragement or entreaties to others, is joined by a host of kids eager to take part, is exhibiting innate traits that could signal a future leader. If only the adult world could offer such clear cues regarding power, for it is not always so apparent to those on the outside looking in. In my role as a planner and executive search consultant, the discernment of organizational power and authority is a critical factor with a new client. Certainly, there are institutional signals about who is in charge. After all, the boss typically holds a title of some sort: Chair of the Board, CEO, Executive Director, Superintendent, and the like. But I am not always hired by the boss, and even when that is the case, that person may not be my central point of contact along the way. From client to client, there appears to be varying degrees of power that are attached to the institutional label. Sometimes the boss of record isn’t the boss at all or, more commonly, isn’t the boss all the time. Just like on the playground,

people in the organization quietly follow the person who merely moves to a new activity, with no proclamation that a change in direction is being made and with no (real) institutional authority to move that direction in the first place. A kind of moral authority, a power granted more organically by those being led, is at play instead. Depending on the command and control structure within that organization – and absolutely contingent on the good will of everyone involved – such a circumstance can bear fruit. And the successful outsider must take care to work within both the institutional and the actual power structures that are in place. A consultant has to understand who is the boss, but also who can actually effect change within that organization. A planner must advocate that there be a place at the table for both institutional and moral authority if real change is to occur. A wise institutional leader knows to leave room at that table for those within the organization who, with title or without, can make things happen.

contributor Greg Vandal is the sole proprietor of Vox Liberi, a consulting business that delivers planning and project management services to clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. He can be reached at greg.vandal@voxliberi.com.


DO IT NOW!

Achieving Personal Growth | Stop thinking of networking as a

chore and start thinking of it as an opportunity for self-improvement.

N

etworking creates connections, but attending networking functions can be difficult for many individuals. Re-direct your thinking about networking. Instead of focusing on the daunting aspects, Jess Williams, SmartCompany, suggests viewing networking as a self-improvement tool. Here are seven ways networking can help you improve yourself and your career. 1.Improve relationships Stay open-minded. You never know who you will meet and what relationships will develop on a personal level. 2.Build confidence Networking puts you outside of your comfort zone, especially to start. Keep practicing to build your confidence in

tackling uncomfortable situations and talking to new people.

teaches people to be active throughout the entire conversation.

3.Enhance communication With networking practice, you learn how to ask better questions and learn more about your connections.

5.Become understanding & accepting

4.Improve listening Active listening can be difficult. Networking

Through networking, you can meet many different people from many different backgrounds. Networking teaches you to be more understanding of others’ opinions, even when you disagree.

6.Read body language With practice, you’ll become more aware of your body language and what non-verbal messages you are communicating to others. 7.Be present Humans are easily distracted by our busy lives, but this can result in missed business opportunities when

meeting new people. With networking practice, you can learn how to be present throughout the conversation.

For more information, visit BusinessCentral Magazine.com

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UpFront YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

NEWS REEL BOBICK NAMED CEO Granite City Real Estate, LLC named Mike Bobick the company’s new Chief Executive Officer. He replaces Jim Pflepsen, founding partner, who will serve as the company’s Chief Operating Officer. Kate Hanson was named broker of the firm. Granite City Real Estate has 15 agents and brokers, making it the 12th largest commercial real estate firm in the state.

BRENNY TRANSPORTATION RECOGNIZED The Star Tribune named Brenny Transportation Inc. one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota - which recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. Brenny Transportation celebrated 20 years in business in June. The company has been named a Top Workplace four of the last five years.

CENTRACARE ADDS STAFF The following physicians have joined CentraCare Clinic: Dr. Meghan Scheibe, rheumatology and infusion services; Dr. Elizabeth Blixt, dermatology. CentraCare Health named Jody Zylstra, RN, the director of its hospital medicine section. Zylstra joined CentraCare Clinic in 2011 and previously served as ambulatory services section director.

THIEMAN LICENSED Beth Thieman, Granite Financial, passed the Uniform Combined State Law Examination Series 66 Licensing Exam. She serves as client service coordinator for Granite Financial.

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Doing it Differently Instead of once again talking about our transportation problems, this summit focuses on outcomes.

I

t seems as if transportation is an inexhaustible topic of conversation. Unfortunately the state legislature and the administration cannot agree on the best way to deliver it or fund it. Central Minnesota is taking all parties to task at a summit scheduled in early January 2017. The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation to convene our business community, elected and appointed officials, transportation planners and decision-makers for a half day of problem-solving and networking. How will this event be different from all the others you may have attended with transportation as the main topic? We start with three “mini-keynotes” featuring experts in air, truck and rail transportation. They will share their perspectives on our current situation and what we need to do to capitalize on existing opportunities.

The main speaker is futurist Glen Hiemstra, a distinguished national and international speaker and founder of Futurist. com. His popular keynote speeches examine the important events, trends and developments that are shaping the future, with emphasis on how we can create the future we prefer. Heimstra will facilitate roundtable discussions with attendees to identify the highest priority preferred outcome and action needed to achieve our greatest outcome. From there, we will engage

state legislative and administrative leadership in a conversation about how they will lead to help us achieve our outcomes. We will finish with our business leadership collectively coming to a single most important outcome that needs to be achieved in Central Minnesota and what all are willing to commit to do. Who are these business leaders? They are YOU! Plan on participating in a morning that will make a difference in Central Minnesota.

SAVE THE DATE

JANUARY 6, 2017

Leadership Summit WHEN: Friday, January 6, 2017 7:30 a.m. – 1p.m. WHERE: Gorecki Center, College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph

RSVP: Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation ldingman@ greaterstcloud.com (320) 259-0300

IN THE NEWS

NEW OWNERSHIP AT AIS PLANNING

C

athy Juilfs and Jason Hallonquist recently acquired 100 percent ownership of Accredited Investor Services, (dba AIS Planning) from Winona Banc Holding Company. Juilfs has been with the company since 1999; Hallonquist joined the business in 2001.


PEOPLE TO KNOW

Five Elected to Chamber Board

The following individuals have been elected to fill three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

David Borgert St. Cloud Hospital/ CentraCare Health (320) 229-4978 BorgertDJ@ gmail.com

Christy Gilleland Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac (320) 251-4943 cgilleland@gilleland chevrolet.com

Jim Gruenke Mark J. Traut Wells (320) 251-5090 treatwater@ trautwells.com

Willie Jett St. Cloud Area School District #742 (320) 253-9333 willie.jett@ isd742.org

Allison Waggoner DCI, Inc. (320) 252-8200 awaggoner@ dciinc.com

3 spine specialists for 3 times the back support. From non-operative care to surgery. Spine care is no small feat. So when it’s time to evaluate a patient’s back condition, we have a team of three highly trained specialists at their service. Each one specializes in the most proven methods of non-surgical therapy and minimally-invasive operating techniques in order to get backs on track as quickly as possible, in the best way possible. Our team is dedicated to providing Central Minnesota with the strongest spine care, delivered with precision. Faster treatments, better outcomes. Right here at home.

StCloudOrthopedics.com 320.259.4100

1901 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell

Knee & Shoulder • Joint Replacement • Sports Medicine • Hand Center • Trauma • Spine Center • Foot & Ankle • Physical & Occupational Therapy

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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UpFront

NEWS REEL BATDORF NAMED COOWNER META 13 Josh and Justin Gauerke, founders and owners of Meta 13 Interactive, named Nathan Batdorf co-owner of the company. Batdorf joined Meta 13 at the company’s beginning 11 years ago and formerly served as lead programmer.

GRAY PLANT MOOTY RECOGNIZED Star Tribune named Gray Plant Mooty one of Minnesota’s Top 150 Workplaces in 2016. The firm, which has locations in St. Cloud and Minneapolis, earned a spot in the midsize category. National Law Journal ranked Gray Plant Mooty 35th in the National Women in Law Ranking, which ranks law firms by the percentage of female lawyers and women in their partnerships. Females account for 24 percent of Gray Plant Mooty partners, which is above the national average of 21 percent.

MARCO RECOGNIZED, EXPANDS Consulting firm Great Place to Work and Fortune named Marco one of the country’s 100 Best Places for Millenials in 2016. Marco was also included on the 30 Best Places to Retire From in 2016. The Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal named Marco one of 65 Best Places to Work. Recognition is based on an employee survey conducted by Quantum Workplace. Marco purchased Document & Network Technologies (DNT), a copier/ printer and business IT services company in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the largest acquisition for Marco to date. The company now has eight locations throughout Missouri. Newsreel compiled by Whitney Bina. For consideration in News Reel send your news release to givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com

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BCCalendar GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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NOV/DEC 2016

CAN’ T M IS S O PPO RT U NIT IES TO INF LU E NC E , PRO M OT E , A ND L E AR N . Visit StCloudAreaChamber.com for a detailed calendar. SPOTLIGHT

NOVEMBER 1

Business Education & Technology (BET) Workshop & Expo Annual conference featuring training in business, education and technology areas. Cost is $10 per person and includes a boxed lunch, keynote address and four breakout sessions Registration is required at StCloudAreaChamber.com. Visit BET-Expo.com for more information. November 1, 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Best Western Kelly Inn, 100 4th Ave. S, St. Cloud

NOV 2 & DEC 7

Lunchtime Learning Educational networking events that give busy professionals a chance to stay on the cutting edge. Meets the first Wednesday of the month, noon-1 p.m. at the Chamber office. Registration is required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public. November 2: Sponsored by Times Media with Tonie Dickmann, Times Media, presenting “What is Geo Fencing and Why Should Your Business be Using it?” December 7: Sponsored by Central Minnesota Credit Union with Dr. Bruce Miles, Big River Group, presenting “Help Employees Be Their Best Every Day: More Productive Conversations by Owners and Supervisors.”

NOV 8 & DEC 13

NEXT – Chamber’s Emerging Leaders Offers professional development, leadership and networking opportunities for emerging leaders in Central Minnesota. Meets the second Tuesday of every month, noon-1 p.m. Cost is $195 for an annual membership. Register to Whitney, wbina@ StCloudAreaChamber.com. November 8: Gift wrapping, presentation and tour, Anna Marie’s Alliance. December 13: Holiday party, ugly sweater contest and networking. Location TBD.

NOV 11 & DEC 9

Government Affairs A discussion of local government issues on the

second Friday of the month, 7:30 - 9 a.m. at the Chamber office. November 11: Election outcomes December 9: Legislative Connections: Kick-off event

NOV 16 & DEC 21

Waite Park Chamber For businesses interested in Waite Park community issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. November 16, hosted by J. F. Kruse Jewelers at Waite Park City Hall. Speaker Heidi Hagen, Heartland Hospice, will explain what to expect from palliative and hospice care. Register early, seating is limited.


December 21: Hosted by Sentry Bank at the Moose Family Center, 1300 3rd St. N, Waite Park. Entertainment provided by the Tech High School Singers, sponsored by Forsberg Investments & Insurance.

NOV 17 & DEC 1

Business After Hours A complimentary open house for Chamber members and guests. Bring your business cards and prepare to grow your network! 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. November 17: Hosted by American Heritage National Bank, 2915 2nd St., St. Cloud. December 1: Hosted by St. Cloud Technical & Community College, 1540 Northway Dr., St. Cloud.

NOV 17 & DEC 15 TOP HATS: NEW BUSINESSES

Sauk Rapids Chamber For businesses interested in Sauk Rapids community issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. Meetings are held at the Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N, Sauk Rapids, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. November 17: Hosted by CentraCare Health with a presentation called “Finding Your Why� by Kalie Schuster, Leighton Enterprises. December 15: A holiday meeting hosted by BankVista. For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940.

Promotional Resources Inc., embroidery, promotional products, and advertising specialties, 702 19th Ave. NE, St. Joseph. Pictured: Julie Forsberg, Dale Kiffmeyer, Sheri Moran.

Benton Economic Partnership, Inc., nonprofit organization committed to encouraging and leading economic development efforts to grow the number of commercial, industrial, and retail enterprises in Benton County, 183 Cedar Drive, Foley. Pictured: Jayne Greeney Schill, Cheryl Scapanski, Jonathan Brenny, John Herges, Jake Bauerly, Sandra Saldana, Ed Popp, Inese Mehr.

Screen Time Indoor Billboards, an indoor digital billboard network thatbrings outdoor digital billboards inside, 1126 25th Ave. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Mike McLaughlin, Gary Verkinnes.

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UpFront THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Accounting Fundamentals

Trust your accountant and familiarize yourself with these essential accounting skills to keep your business running smoothly. By Chris Panek Have your financial statements prepared on a timely basis so you know if you are making or losing money and can make appropriate and informed decisions.

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ost business owners aren’t interested in doing their own bookkeeping and accounting. So hire a reliable accountant and be mindful of these accounting fundamentals to ensure you are running your business successfully. Keep accurate records and receipts. The IRS requires you to have documents supporting the entries in your books. Organize them by month and year so you are able to find them effortlessly if needed.

Understand how to read your financial statements. Do you know what your balance sheet and income statement looks like? If you are getting these reports from your accountant and don’t understand them, request some time to sit down and go over the reports. Be sure to ask questions until you fully understand what each item means. Know how your business is doing. Don’t be surprised with your profit and loss outcome when filing your tax return and it’s too late to do any tax planning.

Keep tabs on your accounts receivable. This report tells you how much money is owed to you. You may be having a busy year with plenty of invoices, but if you are not collecting your receivables, you could quickly start to have cash flow issues. Stay on top of your receivables by offering a discount to customers who pay early, make sure to assess finance charges for late payments, and evaluate whether or not you can require full payment at the time the order is placed. Create a budget and monitor it monthly. A budget will help you forecast your desired income and expenses. Monitoring it monthly will ensure you stay on track with your original estimates. If you have a bad month, you will know where you need to improve. Track what you are spending. Make sure all of your expenses are necessary. Each expense should directly benefit your business. If they don’t, consider cutting back or getting rid of those expenses all together. Stay

within your budget for each income and expense and your budget for the year will come out as you anticipated. Know what your break-even point is. Look at your total expenses each month to determine how much revenue you must make to break even. If you are not at a break-even point, you should look at ways to increase your revenues or lower your expenses. Detect fraud. Keep a watchful eye on all aspects of your business. Be sure to compare your bank statement with your company checkbook to make sure there aren’t any discrepancies. Inspect and monitor credit card statements on a timely basis and report fraud right away. Most small business owners dread accounting and bookkeeping and would much rather focus their time and efforts on sales and running their business. That’s great! You don’t need to become an accountant. But you do need to pay attention to the books. By keeping tabs on these accounting fundamentals you will ensure you are running your business the best you can by making solid business decisions based on reliable and consistent information.

contributor Chris Panek is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and Certified Public Accountant at Christine R. Panek, CPA. She has over 20 years of experience helping small businesses with accounting and bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, QuickBooks consulting and payroll services in the St. Cloud area.

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TOP HATS: NEW MEMBERS

Lily’s Wings, Burgers & Things, fresh food fast, restaurant and catering, 1501 Northway Drive, suite 1, St. Cloud. Pictured: Tammy Buttweiler, Steve Ehlen, Kelli Ehlen, Caryn Stadther

Wedding Day Diamonds, offering a large selection of loose diamonds, engagement rings, wedding bands, and diamond fashion jewelry, 44 Division Street, Waite Park. Pictured: Kris Hellickson, Larry O’Connor, Chris Panek.

Transportation Center for Excellence, truck driver training program for Class A CDL, 660 Mayhew Lake Road NE, suite 1, St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Ross Anvary, Ruth Anvary, Shawn Brannan.

Firing Line, LLC, indoor range, training and retail facility offering on family friendly, women friendly atmosphere, 3409 Mayhew Lake Road NE, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Deborah Baier, Jim Baier, Roger Schleper.

TOP HATS : NEW LOCATIONS, OWNERSHIP & EXPANSIONS Playhouse Child Care, educational child care center, has moved their south St. Cloud site from the Process Pro building to a completely renovated site at 2901 Clearwater Road. The move allowed the company to double their licensed space up to 96 children. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Kelly Haase, Rachael Bonn.

Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors. Inc., residential exterior contractor, doing business in Central Minnesota for over 40 years; siding, roofing, windows, rain gutters, vinyl decks, sun rooms, vinyl fence, and doors, 1200 39th Ave. NE, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Jayne Greeney Schill, Jen and Reed Breth, Braxton and Broden, Tauna Quimby.

Profile: Express Care There’s nothing worse than feeling your throat getting sorer and sorer on a Friday afternoon. Do you go to the doctor right away or do you tough it out until Monday? The last thing you need when you’re sick is the stress of making that kind of decision. That’s why we offer Express Care— after-hours weekday care and clinic hours on the weekend at our South and Northwest campuses. So don’t worry, just feel better. It’s the genuine care and respect we have for our patients that makes all the difference.

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www.businesscentralmagazine.com

5/28/15 11:20 AM

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UpFront

NetworkCentral GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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

GROW

Learning about businesses at the Sauk Rapids Chamber.

Jodi Speicher, The Good Shepherd Community Eric Hurd, shares the experience of being a Big Couple as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota.

Tammy Christopherson, Relax & Revive Massage Therapy

Dennis Miller, Falcon National Bank

Tracy Scapanski, Benton County Fair Board

NETWORK

Chamber Vice Chair Kendra Berger, Falcon National Bank (L) thanks out-going Chair Liz Kellner, Odor Eliminators

Bennie McWilliams, ECig Lounge (standing), Mike Nies, Nies Electric, and Tammy Ries, American National Bank

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GROW

A year full of learning opportunities at the Waite Park Chamber.

American Door Works’ Kristen Berreau’s monthly selfie keeps Chamber members front and center!

Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, shares the company’s 100 year history.

Jerry and Josh Battis, JB Home Improvers, talk about building a ‘tiny house.’ Devin Cesnik, Spartan Survival Training, provides tips on staying safe at home and work.

Tara Gronhovd, Plaza Park Bank, talks about community banking.

Jeremy Salzbrun, H&S Heating hits the big screen with his award-winning video.

Dr. Philip Bachman, Workmed Midwest, tries to shed light on medical marijuana in the workplace.

Dave LaVoi, Murphy Business of Minnesota (L) and Gary Bechtold American Door Works discuss garage doors.

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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InSIDE THIS ISSUE: Tech Strategies • Tech News • Management Toolkit • Entreprenuerism • Doing Good •

BUSINESS TOOLS GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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Economy Central by Falcon Bank uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

TECH STRATEGIES

Storylines

What do your social media posts say about you? If you don’t know, it’s time to look at the broader storyline. By Dawn Zimmerman Here are questions to consider when evaluating if what you’re posting is telling the right story for your organization: 1 Does your value

T

ake a moment to scroll over the social media posts your organization has shared in the past year or even the past month. When taken as a collective group, what do they say about your organization? It’s uncommon for organizations to step back and look at the broader storyline, but post-by-post your organization is telling a story.

Social media has thrived because of its ability to deliver messages and make connections in real-time. The best examples of social media by organizations are those that feel organic, authentic and even spontaneous while also retaining a clear and compelling storyline about the essence of the organization (or individual leader).

proposition come across clearly and consistently? This begins with clearly understanding why your organization exists. That’s different than what it does. Organizations that articulate their “why” upfront and build a social media content strategy around ways to communicate and reinforce that “why” produce the best storylines long-term. Your social media posts should consistently communicate “how” you are delivering “your why.” For many organizations, it helps to develop 1-3 key questions to help shape the content each week. For a school, a question may be “How are we equipping students to lead?” 2 Do your posts share or tell? What if the radio station you listen to started airing just commercials? They

contributor Dawn Zimmerman is CEO of The Write Advantage, a St. Cloud-based communications company that specializes in social media.

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may be entertaining for awhile (assuming they are of SuperBowl caliber), but even our attention to the best advertisements fade. We want the music. As a former journalist, I appreciate the concepts behind the Radio Theory. It’s easy to share posts about upcoming events, product releases and other promotional information related to your organization on social media, and they can be valuable, in limited doses. But it’s the human-interest stories within your organization and posts that speak to your personality and our humanity that capture attention – and have the potential to go viral. Take the time to share some good music to keep people coming back. 3 Are you talking too much about yourself? What if you sat down for coffee and only one person did all the talking? You would probably think twice before inviting that person to coffee again. Social media is inherently social. It’s designed to be a conversation. Too often in social media, organizations talk all about themselves and do all the talking. Not every post on your organization’s social media accounts should be about your organization. Seize opportunities to give kudos to others and not just talk about your own awards, events


www.scr-mn.com and successes. Talk more about your community. Find ways to join and ignite dialogue. Uncover opportunities to do good with the platform you’ve been given and rally your followers around causes you believe in. Social media is not intended to be a one-way communication. Whether we recognize it or not, our social media posts tell a story. People develop perceptions and string together your posts to form ideas about who you are and why you do what you do. Are you being intentional about the story you are sharing?

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3D-printed plastic blocks can now be turned into acoustic holograms that generate 3D shapes made of sound, which could function like sonic “tractor beams,” according to a new study. This could lead to innovative ways to manipulate objects in midair without touching them. Aside from the fun of being able to levitate objects, a more practical application could be around ultrasound therapies with sound fields sculpted to destroy unhealthy tissues in the body while leaving neighboring healthy cells intact. Source: Live Science

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Growing Web Traffic

Five Simple Ways to Increase Website Traffic (And One That’s Hard But Worth It) By Logan Gruber

you can understand what your visitors are doing on your site, how many there are, and where they came from. Here’s a video to help out: https://youtu.be/ lZf3YYkIg8w. 2 Make sure social listings are accurate If you have social media pages for your business, make sure your information is correct. Your page may have been set up years ago by a different employee, or never set up at all and could contain misinformation. Be sure your website has social buttons on every page that links to your social media pages.

I

ncreasing website traffic can be difficult and time consuming, but it’s rewarding to have business leads convert naturally from your website. There are a number of simple first steps you can take to help people flow naturally to your website which cost only time. Let’s look at a few you can do on your own, and one you might need some help with.

1 Implement Google Analytics In order to increase your web traffic, you’ll need to be able to measure it. If you don’t have Google Analytics, visit google. com/analytics and sign in/ create a Google account. Follow the instructions on account creation. Then, you’ll need to add your tracking code from Google Analytics to your website so

3.Confirm your directory listings are correct Directory listings are just like what you would see in the yellow pages of your local phone book, except online. Sites like Yellow Pages, the Better Business Bureau and more may have incorrect information for your business. If your information is inconsistent, Google will rank your website lower and fewer people will be able to find you. You can pay to have this done en masse, or you can do it one at a time on your own. 4.Produce content regularly (include internal links and a call-to-action)

contributor Logan Gruber is digital content copywriter at Cohlab Digital Marketing, a Google Partner. Learn more at Cohlab.com.

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People are drawn to dynamic websites, and a blog allows you to constantly create new content without changing your core pages. Choose your blog topics wisely, and in general write 300500 words per blog post. Be sure to link internally to appropriate pages and other blog posts on your site, so people will spend more time navigating your website. Also, include a call-to-action on every blog post, usually at the bottom. This can be a link asking people to contact you for more information, or a button which allows them to buy the product you’re referring to. 5.Share on social media Social media is a great way to get extra exposure for your content, which means more visits to your website. Each social network has its own best practices for how to write and link blog posts, so be sure to investigate how best to do so on your particular social networks. 6.Ensure you have a responsive website This is the step you pretty much cannot do yourself, but will need to hire a firm to help you. If your website is harder to use on your phone than on a desktop or if you have two totally different websites (one for desktop, one for mobile), your web traffic is going to suffer. A responsive website should be decluttered, with a focused, concise message that makes it easy to use on any device.


TECH NEWS

Micro Planes Electric aircraft could be a reality by 2025. Advances in lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage could make electric transport a reality. New materials will bring down the weight of aircraft and superconducting technology will change motors. If you do a lot of short-hop flights, start thinking microcommercial aircraft. Source: Fast Company

Transactions Simplified Most business owners are looking for two things: more time and more money. Now there’s an app for that! Actually there are several that can help you save time, money, and improve your financial performance. For instance, online payment networks, such as Dwolla, and WePay offer a secure, affordable way to send, request and accept money directly to and from your bank account. Because these types of payments don’t involve credit cards, you’ll save on hefty transaction and service fees, too. Source: Business News Daily

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BusinessTools ENTREPRENEURISM

Reduce Your 2016 Tax Bite

The best time to start planning for your 2016 income taxes isn’t 2017. It’s right now. By Pat Plamann

T

he first step in tax planning is ensuring you have your

books and records up to date. Be sure your bank account is reconciled, your customers are invoiced, and your vendors’ invoices are properly entered. Keeping books and records up to date will accurately show your business’ profit and allow you to determine what tax planning steps to take, which may include some of the following:

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Equipment Purchases One of the most common and effective tax planning tools is purchasing equipment. Review equipment lists for upgrades. The rules permitting current year deductions for equipment purchases are generous. There are two main equipment deductions: 1. Section 179 allows up to $500,000 of equipment purchases to be deducted immediately. 2. Bonus depreciation allows 50 percent of the cost of new equipment to be deducted immediately. Tax Credits Tax credits are a direct reduction of income taxes.

Therefore, they are more valuable than deductions. There are tax credits available for hiring targeted workers, performing qualified research, and using fuel for off-road purposes. Knowing which tax credits are available and how to take advantage of them will help lower your income taxes. Repairs Expense Take advantage of recent IRS rule changes clarifying what is a deductible repair expense. Expenditures that do not improve, adapt, or restore a building are now considered repairs expense. Properly classifying expenditures as a deductible repair expense instead of capitalizing them as

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

BRIAN BASTIAN, Partner, CPA

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Over 26 years of public accounting experience. Specializing in Audit and Accounting Services, Inventory Management, Budgeting Structures, Lean Manufacturing, Business Planning, Operations Consulting.

Over 15 years of public accounting experience. Specializing in Stock Options and Employee Stock Purchase Plans, Personal Income Tax, QuickBooks, Sales Tax, Tax Accounting and Management Consulting Services.

an improvement is a useful tax planning tool. Pre-pay 2017 Expenses Paying an annual insurance premium in December will accelerate the tax deduction into 2016. However, not all expenses qualify for this accelerated deduction. Knowing what expenses can be paid early is essential to accelerating tax deductions. Retirement Planning If a business does not have a formal retirement plan,

contributor Pat Plamann is a partner in the accounting firm of Schlenner Wenner and Co.

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setting one up now is a good way to help employees plan for retirement and generate a current income tax deduction for business owners. There are many different types of retirement plans, so choose one that works best for your business needs. Lastly, it’s important to note that tax planning should be a year-round process. Knowing the potential tax liability earlier in the year allows you to budget, plan your cash flow, and be prepared for paying taxes.

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St. Cloud Surgical Center 1526 Northway Drive • St. Cloud • 251-8385 • 800-349-7272 www.stcsurgicalcenter.com N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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BusinessTools DOING GOOD

Charity Season

If you plan to claim your charitable gifts as a deduction this year, here are a few things you should know.

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he holiday season often prompts people to give money or property to charity. If you plan to give and want to claim a tax deduction, keep in mind that you must itemize your deductions. That’s just for starters. Here are six more tips from the IRS that you should keep in mind: 1.Give to qualified charities. You can only deduct gifts you give to a qualified charity. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if the group you give to is qualified. You can deduct gifts to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and

government agencies. This is true even if Select Check does not list them in its database. 2.Keep a record of all cash gifts. Gifts of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. You must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity to deduct any gift of money on your tax return. This is true regardless of the amount of the gift. The statement must show the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. If you

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Centered on you.

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Deduct contributions in the year you make them. If you charge your gift to a credit card before the end of the year it will count for 2016. ... even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2017. give by payroll deductions, you should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document from your employer. It must show the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity. 3.Household goods must be in good condition. Household items include furniture, furnishings,

electronics, appliances and linens. These items must be in at least good-used condition to claim on your taxes. A deduction claim of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if you include a qualified appraisal of the item with your tax return. 4.Additional records required. You must get an

acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. Additional rules apply to the statement for gifts of that amount. This statement is in addition to the records required for deducting cash gifts. However, one statement with all of the required information may meet both requirements. 5.Year-end gifts. Deduct contributions in the year you make them. If you charge your gift to a credit card before the end of the year it will count for 2016. This is true even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until 2017. Also,

a check will count for 2016 as long as you mail it in 2016. 6.Special rules. Special rules apply if you give a car, boat or airplane to charity. If you claim a deduction of more than $500 for a noncash contribution, you will need to file Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions with your tax return to report these gifts. For more information visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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BusinessTools

Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

The Commuting Conundrum Nearly 34,000 workers in Central Minnesota drive more than 60 minutes to a job—each way! By Luke Greiner Number and share of workers driving 60 minutes or more one way to a job.

This map shows the counties that are included in the Central region of Minnesota as defined by DEED. 2015

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ong commute times in Central Minnesota are due to the proximity to the Twin Cities economy - nearly one in five (19.1%) workers in Minnesota’s Central region travel to Hennepin County alone! Wright County is home to the largest number of road warriors, with almost 7,000 people spending two hours or more driving to and from their jobs, while Sherburne County nearly matches that amount with about 6,800 long-distance commuters. (See map.) The St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (Stearns and Benton County MSA) contributes another 5,500

workers driving more than an hour each way. Although the four counties in Central Minnesota that border Interstate 94 contribute the largest number of long distance commuters, the largest share of workers driving 60 minutes or more is found along the northern fringe of the Twin Cities in Kanabec, Isanti and Pine Counties. Put it on my tab Some costs of long distance commuting are easily measurable, like gas and vehicle maintenance, while others are impossible to assign value to such as lost family time

or how time spent sitting in traffic raises stress levels. A simple analysis can help demonstrate how much long commutes cost in monetary terms. In 2015, the IRS standard mileage reimbursement rate was 57.5 cents per mile, representing the cost to drive per mile. For easy figuring we’ll use a commute distance of roughly 33 miles one way since the national average commute speed by private vehicle was 33.2 miles per hour. For about 34,000 workers in Central Minnesota, this represents the amount of time and miles they spend driving to their jobs,

contributor Luke Greiner is the regional analyst for central and southwestern Minnesota for the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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especially those commuting into the Twin Cities. However, many folks commuting on Interstate 94 or U.S. Highway 169 could travel considerably further than 33 miles one way. Let’s take a look at what it costs to commute an hour each way, or two hours each day. (33 miles x $.575 cents per mile) x 2 (to and from work) = $38 per day, or $9,500 per year (based on 250 work days) Based on IRS reimbursement rates, we know it costs roughly $9,500 per year to commute 60 minutes one way to work, which is a significant amount of money. However, unless you are able to work from home there is typically a cost to commute even short distances. For example, the average worker in Benton County spends about $3,500 per year on commuting costs, a savings of $6,000 compared to workers driving an hour each way. Before you increase your commuting time for an increase in pay, remember that your drive comes at a cost – both in time and money. BY THE NUMBERS

22 miles Average one-way commute for residents of Benton County ___________

32 miles Average one-way commute for residents of Sherburne County ___________

20.4 miles Average one-way commute time for residents of Stearns County


276.02*

$50M

$60M

$70M

$80M

December

$40M

November

September BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

Home Sales C

2015 October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

$30M

October April March

TOTAL:$58,463,276.02* $2M

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

TOTAL: $62,358,547

TOTAL:$64,832,866

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. C ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSE

Residential 2014 2015 2016* 2014 August #/$ #/$ #/$ February

St. Cloud

1209

1,151

752

July $26,145,498 $21,854,833 $20,286,399 2016 January 0

500

Sauk Rapids 447 321 245 June $19,206,069 $15,843,450 $14,488,019

$40M

St. Joseph 176 142 158 February $1,353,832 $2,293,565 $2,501,732.55

$50M

$60M

$70M

$80M

January December Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

Commercial Building Permits

$600k

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

BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY September

1000

$900k

TOTAL: 1221*

TOTAL: 1655

St. Joseph

2014

82 151 47 August Feb $3,783,078 $8,057,329 $30,161,956

July Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 Jan total is cumulative up-to-date.

2000

$200M

TOTAL: 1429

St. Augusta 7 5 66 September $202,027 $871,000 $0 Mar

TOTAL: $201,273,769.12* $150M

Food and Bev

ST. CLOUD 84 140 73 October $7,151,019 $18,735,131 $21,712,474.02 Apr

Waite Park

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

$100M

ST. CLOUD

Sartell 30 35 22 November $3,600,047 $11,485,611 $12,267,923 May 2015

1500

TOTAL: $870,220.24*

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

$50M

Food and Be

Sauk Rapids 409 567 504 December $7,465,381 $16,890,519 $7,371,587.00 June

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

$0M

500

St. Cloud 397 444 343 2016 $57,715,070 $94,320,804 $117,471,582 July

Commercial Building Permits

2014

0

Commercial 2014 2015 2016* August #/$ #/$ #/$

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19

2015

November October

TOTAL: $201,273,769.12*

2016

2014

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

$30M

100 79 71 $4,437,367 $4,720,246 $6,608,384

March

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

$2M

2016

$10M0

St. Augusta

500

$300k

$0M

2015

Waite Park 116 113 62 April $1,803,560 $1,552,641 $1,257,534.66

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

2014

2015

2016

2015

2014

$0

TOTAL: $62,358,547

2014

Sartell 291 329 210 May $8,129,708 $18,168,133 $10,039,212.81

2015

2016

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

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

$10M0

2016

July December June

November May

Residential Building Permits

$0M

832,866

COLOR KEY:

Compiled by Kellie Libert, data current as of 10/6/16.

2014 2016

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. C ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSE

Economy Central presented by August

TOTAL:$64,832,866 2015

Home Sales C

September

TOTAL:$58,463,276.02*

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS 2016

October

$80M

$250M

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

358,547

0M

769.12*

,393.19

,621.69

Residential Building Permits

$250M

2016

$0

$300k

June

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19 Sources: Building departments for the following cities: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph. 2015

May

2015

Unemployment Rates 2015-2016

2014

Apr

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

Non FarmMarJobs

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com

August

September

October

F

M

A

M

1.0%

December

July

J

Jan

November

June

May

$250M

Feb

April

$200M

March

December

5%

$150M

November

$100M

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

$50M

1.5%

February

2.0%

January

6%

$0M

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com 2014

2015-2016 % CHANGE

J

J

$0

$300k

0.5% 0.0%

4%

-0.5% -1.0%

3%

-1.5% -2.0%

2% A

S

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

-2.5% A

S

O

N

D

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

A

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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76.02*

BusinessTools

32,866

$80M

58,547

M

69.12*

93.19

21.69

$250M

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COLOR KEY: December

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

November

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

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

December

October

December

November

October

August

September

August

July

June

May

TOTAL: 1221*

April

September

ST. CLOUD

October

March

February

January

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

December

November

October

D, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

September

August

July

June

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

lding Permits

May

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

September

2016

TOTAL: $870,220.24*

July

TOTAL: $201,273,769.12*

August July

TOTAL: 1655

June

2016

May

2015

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

June

TOTAL: $150,360,393.19

April May

500

$600k

November

1000

$900k

2015

October TRACKING ENGAGEMENT

TOTAL: 221

July

around you need to start looking at what your

250

May leadership. There are many tools available to help

Residential 2014 2015 2016* TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

youApril gather this information, including 15Five, TinyPulse and Weekdone. Source: Hubspot March

2000

$1.5M

Stearns Co. 168 181 133 2014 Benton Co. 53 54 25

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office $0 $300k $600k $900k $1.2M

June

employees think of your company’s culture and TOTAL: 1655

200

TOTAL: 1221*

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

150

2015 SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

disengaged.” If you want to turn those numbers

TOTAL: 1429

100

$1.5M

are August “highly engaged” and 26 percent are “actively 1500

50

TOTAL: $870,220.24*

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

0

$1.2M

Gallup found in 2014 that 13 percent of all employees September

TOTAL: $870,220.24*

2016 2014

$900k

December IN THE POLLS

Food and Beverage Tax Collection TOTAL: 235 ST. CLOUD

$600k

Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

TOTAL: 133

2016

$300k

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

January

$0

Housing/Real Estate St. Cloud Area AssociationJan of Realtors, $150M $200Msources:$250M http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

2014

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

2000

Feb

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

1500

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

0

$300k

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

1000

2016

February

ST. CLOUD

500

2015

2014

2016

March

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

0

2015

Apr Mar

$0

$100M

2015

2014

2014

TOTAL: 1429

For a longer list and a review of each,

February

visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com. January

$1.5M

Lodging Tax Dollars December

November

We’re Number One …for kids! For the second year in a row, Minnesota topped

TOTAL: $1,508,301.02

the nation’s KIDS COUNT Index for overall child well-being. The state also captured some top-10

2015 TOTAL: $1,454,373.86 2014

$0

$500k

$1M

$1.5M

$2M

spots: No.1

in health; No. 3 in economic well-being; No. 6 in education, and No. 4 in family and community. Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud Total as of 10/6/16. *2016 total is cumulative up-to-date.

32

October

September

August

July

June

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2016

BY THE NUMBERS

TOTAL: $933,012.04*

May

ST. CLOUD

Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

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PERSONAL PROFILE

Wm. Blair Anderson, 49

Chief of Police, St. Cloud, Minn. Email: William.anderson@ ci.stcloud.mn.us Hometown: Detroit, MI Education: Bachelor of Science (Police Science); Master of Arts (Public Safety Administration) St. Mary’s University, Minnesota; graduate, FBI National Academy, Quantico, Virginia Work History: United States Army administrative specialist/military police clerk; news reporter for McGraw Hill; 21 years in law enforcement Family: wife; 4 grown children: three boys, one girl Hobbies: Reading, writing poetry, sports, cars Advice to an aspiring leader: Always remember the importance of every member of your organization! Best work-related advice you’ve received and who gave it to you: Lead from in front of your desk and not from behind it –Sheriff (ret.) Don Gudmundson

DEPARTMENT PROFILE

St. Cloud Police Department 101 11th Ave N. St Cloud 56303 Phone: (320) 251-1200 Fax: (320) 650-3839 Email: scpdinfodesk@ ci.stcloud.mn.us Website: www.ci.stcloud.mn.us Description: Public Safety Number of employees: 150 FUN FACT about the Police Department: There are several collegiate All-American athletes in our ranks.

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A PEACEFUL MAN St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson does some of his best thinking in the chaos of law enforcement. But at heart, he likes a peaceful life. BY GAIL IVERS PHOTOS BY BDI IMAGING

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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35


B

lair Anderson is familiar with violence. He grew up in Detroit, known at the time as the murder capital of the world. He recalls dodging random bullets on

his way to school. And yet he never felt unsafe. “I distinctly remember this. I was nine years old. I walked out on our front porch to get on my bike and Fred, the neighborhood drug dealer, and ‘Sugar,’ the local pimp, were shooting at each other,” Anderson said. They didn’t hit anything. And Anderson didn’t run for cover. He just stood and waited patiently until the shooting stopped. “Then I jumped on my bike and rode down the road.”

How do you go from that world, to one where you are the Chief of Police? “I don’t know,” Anderson said. “I do know that I always appreciated how the police made it stop as soon as they arrived.” In fact, Anderson found a document a few years back that showed as a junior in high school he planned to either be a journalist or a police officer. “I liked my interactions with the Detroit police. Maybe that’s why.” A WINDING ROAD Anderson grew up as number six of seven children. He was the middle brother of three boys and had four older sisters. “I had five moms growing up,” he said. Or maybe more, since the house was always full of extended family. “At one time or another about half of my mom’s siblings lived with us.” It was a two-bedroom house with one bathroom and at least nine people living there at a time. “But our house was always the place to be. As a kid I enjoyed that. Friday night was fish and spaghetti night,” he said with a wide grin. The neighbors watched out for each other. “If we did something we weren’t supposed to the neighbors gave us hell,” Anderson said. “Then they would inform on

There’s something wrong with us. We run towards what everyone runs from.”

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us before we could even get home. Double jeopardy did not apply at our house.” But what about the neighborhood criminals? “The criminals worried about the criminals,” he said. “When we put letterman jackets on and walked around the neighborhood, we got a pass from everyone. The criminals were just as proud of you as anyone else.” That meant Anderson’s roles as captain of the football and basketball teams served him well. Anderson took school seriously and was a good athlete. He had aspirations of playing basketball at a high level. His basketball skills gave him a full ride to college. But at 19, with a baby on the way, he dropped out of school and went into the military. “I worked in personnel because I could type,” he said. “I took typing in 7th grade because there were girls in that class.” That was followed by five years at McGraw Hill as a reporter for an industry trade publication. “I started as a receptionist,” he said. “The boss – a man –

The St. Cloud Area Leadership class watches the K-9 Unit in action.

didn’t want to hire me because I was male. The office manager, a woman, went to bat for me and I got the job.” It wasn’t long before he was tapped to become a reporter – one of the career choices on his list back in junior high. In 1995 Anderson interned with the Dakota Country Sheriff’s Office. In 1996 he became a deputy sheriff, in 2001 a sergeant, and by 2006 was commander of operations/detention services. “I wanted to be the chief the day I walked in the door as a newly sworn officer,” Anderson said. “We would do self-evaluations every year and I always put ‘Chief of Police’ as my aspiration. I had a supervisor who told me ‘You need to put down something more realistic.’ Come on. I was 28. I think I knew what I wanted.” PUBLIC SERVANT What Anderson wanted was to be of


service to others and to be in charge. “No matter what position you’re in, this is about being of service to other people – those who are calling 9-1-1 and those who serve in this department. I always want to remember what it was like to be a street cop directing traffic in the rain.” To Anderson, service is a privilege and he wants everyone in his operation to feel the same way. “We don’t strip human beings of their dignity – ever,” he said. “This is not negotiable. Everyone gets the same level of service – and I hold that bar high.” Anderson’s expectation is that by the time the police officers leave, the situation will be better than when they were called in. “That’s a privilege,” he said. “Not everyone can do that. You show up with answers to their questions and solutions to their problem – even if it’s temporary. That’s a privilege.” Anderson looks for people who understand the privilege of service. “I don’t generally hire people who have not volunteered somewhere,” he said. “They need to know that we are there as servants, not as oppressors. People who volunteer tend to recognize that more easily.” Having the authority to make those decisions is one of the things he likes best about being chief. “I’m the one who gets to make the decisions,” he said with his trademark grin. “That’s one of the reasons we become cops – we like to be in charge. I like being the one to strategize, to say yes to new ideas, to implement my ideas. I like being the chief…I like being the chief in this city.” That might surprise many who saw the arrival of Central Minnesota’s first black police chief as a ground-breaking decision. Anderson shrugs off the color question. He was the first person of color in the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office. He was the only supervisor and administrator of color at Dakota County. He was the first employee of color in Carver County in 2011. Warnings of “White Cloud” did not concern him. “I had my house bombed by Nazis in the 1990s because I married a white woman and had mixed-race kids,” he said. “St. Cloud didn’t scare me.

SHAKING IT UP caption here

S

The Police Department’s St. Cloud Youth Leadership Academy helps build relationships with area youth.

t. Cloud Police Chief

upgraded department

continues afterward with

Blair Anderson will

technology, and was able to

regular gatherings and

be the first to tell you that

increase staffing, all with

contacts between SCYLA’s

he stepped into a well-run

the support of the Mayor’s

participants and the police

department. But he had

Office and St. Cloud’s

officers involved in the

ideas of his own that he

elected officials.

program.

wanted to implement and he has spent the last four years making it happen. “We had an efficiency study done to guide us on

Anderson was also able to start, and say ‘yes,’ to a number of other department initiatives,

––––––– Bigs in Blue: Police officers serving as big brothers and sisters in the Central Minnesota Big Brothers/Big

changes we needed in the

including:

department,” Anderson

St. Cloud Youth Leadership

–––––––

said. “They told us what

Academy (SCYLA), modeled

we were doing well, made

after the original Michigan

Cops vs. Kids baseball –––––––

recommendations for

Youth Leadership Academy.

Police vs. Fire Flag Football

change, and created a

Its primary purpose is

Game – a local fundraising

long-term strategic plan for

to offer support, build

effort for the Tanner’s Team

the department that we’ve

relationships and mentor

Foundation

been following.” As a result,

youth in the St. Cloud

–––––––

Anderson reorganized

area. SCYLA begins with

COP House (see sidebar on

the command structure,

a one-week camp and

page 38).

Sisters program

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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37


My dad always said: Nobody is worthless because they can always be used as a bad example.”

COP HOUSE

S

t. Cloud’s new COP

(Community-Oriented Policing)

House is designed to be a stabilizing force in the south St. Cloud neighborhood where it is located. Modeled after a program started in 1993 in Racine, Wisconsin, St. Cloud’s COP House has officers who are dedicated to the neighborhood. The goals of the program are to help reduce crime by making connections in the neighborhood, positively influencing youth, better using current programs such as Neighborhood Watch, and establishing new traditions and programs. The home is not funded by taxpayers. The house is owned and operated by the Greater St. Cloud Public Safety Foundation, which is funded through private donations and grants.

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Growing up, human beings were welcome in our home no matter what.” TRANSITIONS If Anderson had any fear about coming to St. Cloud it was that the community might not turn out as it had been represented to him…and he wasn’t thinking about race. As it turned out, he didn’t need to worry. “I was told that this was a community where there are collaborative relationships. Partnerships. People who want to work together – government partners, advocacy agencies, business partners. And that’s exactly what it’s like. We have partnerships. We have outreach programs. We have neighborhood programs. We have conversations on race. St. Cloud is a model city. We’re moving forward, looking forward – and that’s really cool.” Still, he was entering a department that had been under other leadership for some time. And there had been an internal candidate for the top job. “Of course when

you’re new, you’re going to have to make some hard decisions, and some of them will be unpopular,” Anderson said. “But there are plenty of talented people here. The department had just gotten a little stagnant and that’s not uncommon.” His focus from the start was helping the department employees understand that he would be listening more than talking. That he wanted to build on what his predecessor had left. “And he left a full cupboard,” Anderson said. Yes, there were nay-sayers early on, “but they’re a minor distraction. And most of them don’t even live here. I have to say that Assistant Chief Rich Wilson [now deceased], who was the only internal candidate, was my biggest ally from the beginning. “I’ve been places where existing staff will watch the chief walk over a cliff,” Anderson continued. “Not here. They embraced me. We got on the same page very fast.” If Anderson has a frustration it’s convincing people he means what he says. “I like being the guy who gets to say yes when a young officer or administrator comes to me with a new idea. I love that! Give me a reason to say yes, just one reason,” he said. “I won’t always say yes, but try me. I say yes more often than I say no.” SOCIETAL UNREST A conversation with the chief of police would not be complete without a discussion about the shootings, violence, and unrest that has plagued the country – even St. Cloud – in 2016. A September attack at Crossroads Shopping Center in St. Cloud was still under investigation at the time of this writing. While Anderson could not address the ongoing investigation, he was full of praise for the police response to the crisis.


TIMELINE 1984 Blair Anderson graduates from St. Martin DePorres High School, Detroit, Michigan 1987-1995 Anderson serves in the United States Army 1990-1995 Anderson joins McGraw Hill as a news reporter 1995 Anderson begins a 16-year career in the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department, starting out as an intern 1996 Anderson becomes a deputy sheriff January 2001 Anderson becomes a narcotics detective

July 2001 Anderson becomes a supervising sergeant for the fraud unit, general investigations and patrol June 2006 Anderson is promoted to Captain: Jail Administrator December 2006 Anderson is promoted to Commander: Operations/ Detention Services 2011 Anderson joins the Carver County Sheriff’s Office as chief deputy 2012 Anderson is appointed Chief of Police in St. Cloud

“I am so happy and proud of everyone in this department. I sent them a letter – I really did. We haven’t had a chance to debrief yet, but as far as I’m concerned we did everything right.” Anderson also had praise for the Crossroads Shopping Center stores and employees. “They were beyond exemplary in every way,” he said. “And they still are as the investigation continues.” To help assure residents, Anderson and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis went shopping on the Tuesday following the attacks. “People were doing business as usual. It looked to me like it was about as busy on that Tuesday afternoon as any other Tuesday afternoon. That’s what I like to see, people going about their business, living their lives the way they always have. That’s the best thing we can do.”

BEST EXPERIENCE Patrolman Anderson came across an elderly woman with a flat tire. It was pouring rain and the woman was expected at the airport where she was to meet a family member. Instead of arranging for a tow truck, Anderson set the woman up in his squad car, gave her a phone to update family members, and proceeded in the pouring rain to change her tire. “The look on her face when I was done…” Anderson said, shaking his head. “That’s why we do this job.”

WORST EXPERIENCE “Delivering death notices is always bad,” Chief Anderson said. The worst was a recent St. Cloud case where a young boy wandered away from his family. “We hunted all night,” Anderson said. “We finally found him in the river. That was awful.”

MOST EMBARRASSING EXPERIENCE While on patrol, Anderson needed to make a rest stop. He removed his police belt and locked it in his car. Upon returning to the car he discovered not only had he locked his belt in the car, but also his phone, his money, and his car keys. Stranded until another patrol car came along, Anderson still shudders…and grins…when he remembers how hard his colleague laughed at the situation. “I never left the house without being sure I had an extra key in my pocket after that,” he said.

Has terrorist activity arrived in Central Minnesota? Chief Anderson doesn’t think so. “None of us can predict what someone else will do,” he said. “I tell people there’s nothing go ng on in St. Cloud that isn’t happening everywhere else in the world. Should our residents start worrying? Absolutely not. Should they have a heightened sense of awareness regarding what is happening around them? Yes.” The stabbings in St. Cloud are a separate issue from the race-related violence happening elsewhere, according to Anderson. “When a crisis happens in St. Cloud, we get so much support. This latest crisis made it even more evident. For every negative email I received I got 30 positive ones.” Anderson acknowledged that people and officers are a little on edge. But there are no

plans to serve the public any differently than they have been doing. “I want to be perfectly clear on this,” Anderson said. “There has not been an iota of that negative race-related behavior directed toward police in St. Cloud. If anything it’s been the opposite.” Following the July 2016 shooting of five police officers in Dallas, the out-pouring of support overwhelmed the St. Cloud Police Department. “Our lobby looked like a bakery with all the food people brought us,” Anderson said. “I spent four days responding to the positive emails and phone calls. People here truly appreciate what we do and how we do it. That’s why this job is a privilege.” Gail Ivers is vice president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and managing editor of Business Central Magazine.

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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Feature

L O YA L I S T S Don’t confuse satisfaction with loyalty. Satisfied customers leave. Loyal ones don’t.

Y

ou’ve done your homework. Your team is trained to provide exceptional customer service. And they deliver. You follow up interactions with customer satisfaction surveys and the results are music to your entrepreneurial ears: “Satisfied.” News flash! If your surveys come back showing your customers are satisfied, it’s actually time to worry. Satisfied customers leave every day, but loyal customers come back…and they bring their friends. The Difference Many business owners find a fuzzy line between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. While certainly related – satisfaction and loyalty are two different members of the same family

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– both are linked to business success, but with different strengths and outcomes. Customer satisfaction is a self-reported measure of how happy a customer is with goods or services purchased from a company. Customer loyalty is a company-derived metric of how likely a customer is to make another purchase – or defect to the competition. A loyal customer will willingly pay a premium in order to purchase a product with your brand on it. A satisfied customer may not. Simply stated, customer satisfaction is a look back at past transactions, while customer loyalty is forward-looking, an indicator of future buying behaviors. The critical question becomes: Is a solid customer experience enough

Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

to ensure future engagement and loyalty? Satisfaction Without Loyalty Let’s look at an example. Alex likes a downtown sports bar. He’s a regular there. It’s welcoming and has a wide selection of craft beers and comfort foods. There are many attributes of the establishment that he appreciates, but is he loyal? Not completely. He also visits his neighborhood sports bar. It’s convenient and has plenty of hi-def televisions from which he can cheer on the Vikings. Like the downtown bar, it offers decent service and a wide selection of menu items. If the first bar would ask for his feedback on customer satisfaction, he’d certainly check “satisfied” and they’d likely conclude

.

By Kelly Radi

“We’re doing great work here! Business is good, the future looks bright.” But, in this case, they’re jumping to conclusions. Make Metrics Matter A loyalty score is built of many components. It may include how often customers purchase, how much they purchase, what they purchase, how long since their last visit or purchase, and even their future value. Many businesses rely on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as a standard for gauging loyalty. Net Promoter Scores are calculated using the answer to a single question on a 0-10 scale: How likely is it that you would recommend a brand, business, service, or product to a friend or colleague?


Responses place customers in the following categories: Promoters (score 9-10) – loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others –––––––– Passives (score 7-8) – satisfied but unenthusiastic, vulnerable to competitive offerings –––––––– Detractors (score 0-6) – unhappy customers who can cause damage through negative word-of-mouth Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the NPS, which can range from a low of -100 to a high of 100.If your organization’s NPS is higher than those of your competitors, you will likely outperform the market. The previously mentioned sports bar owners are at risk of

drawing false conclusions about their business outlook if they limit their survey to “satisfied.” Unless they ask additional questions about actual behaviors (present and future), they won’t have the big picture. Asking “Would you recommend us to your friends?” and “How likely are you to visit our establishment in the next 30 days?” might lead to an entirely different set of conclusions, thereby impacting marketing priorities and service strategies. Efficient and Cost-Effective Successful companies know engaging their customers is critical. Therefore, they invest in customer loyalty marketing – the strategic promotion and management of existing customers’ loyalty toward

a brand. Marketing experts, like Brian Myres, CEO of Myres Consulting and COO of DAYTA Marketing, believe strategic loyalty marketing is an efficient and costeffective way to sell more to existing customers and to their friends. Efficient, explains Myres, because it allows you to target a segment you already have sufficient knowledge about – your existing customers. “Since you’ve already monitored their motivations, behaviors and purchasing history, you can fine-tune your approach by backing it against empirical evidence. Additionally, refer-a-friend programs typically result in your lowest acquisitioncost customers.” Cost-effective because it allows you to retain existing customers

while attracting new ones. The cost-effectiveness becomes clearer when you note that loyal customers have a higher lifetime value and greater average spending per purchase. Improving Customer Loyalty In today’s competitive, globalized economy, it’s as easy to switch sports bars as it is to change internet providers or banks. No industry is immune. What are you doing to develop long-term loyalty with your customers? Here are some best practices to retain and engage your loyalists. 1 Consider Vilfredo’s 80/20 Principle

The great Italian economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto

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N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 //

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Feature Remember timing can be everything when reaching out to existing customers. A dip in customer loyalty should trigger an incentive to make a purchase while a rise in loyalty requires a personal thank-you and an offer for a highermargin product or service. discovered that income is distributed in what we now know as the Pareto distribution – the 80/20 principle. Your revenue distribution likely reflects this with 80 percent of your revenue generated by 20 percent of your customers – loyal customers. Remember this when identifying areas of concern, budgeting your marketing dollars, and training your staff to tailor services to the particular needs of your loyal customers.

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2.Make Communication Count Appropriate, relevant communication will enhance loyalty and boost satisfaction. In fact, 94 percent of loyalty program members stated they want communication from the programs in which they participate (Maritz 2013 Loyalty Report). Dedicate time and resources to create quality, personalized content for your valued customers. Don’t just offer rewards to your customers while they’re in-store.

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Communicate on a regular basis, keeping your brand top-ofmind. Remember timing can be everything when reaching out to existing customers. A dip in customer loyalty should trigger an incentive to make a purchase while a rise in loyalty requires a personal thank-you and an offer for a higher-margin product or service. 3 Provide Perks By now you understand

loyalty is a complex function of product and brand experience. But did you know that implementing a loyalty program can actually generate new loyalty for your brand? In a recent Technology Advice loyalty study, 80 percent of the 3,162 respondents said they were more likely to do business with vendors that offered a loyalty program of some sort. Perks such as discounts, special events and exclusive access are what today’s customers expect for their loyalty. In addition, remember to reward referrals. A referral is one of the lowest cost-of-acquisition customers a business can have, as Myres pointed out. Not only does


it bring you a new customer, it reinforces the idea of how much a customer likes doing business with you.

social media and your online presence to your advantage to enhance loyalty and boost sales.

4.Don’t Diss the Devices

5. Strategize Your Surveys

Customer loyalty programs have been a staple of coffee shops (punch cards), airlines (credit cards), and grocery stores (points) for years. But, as consumers move toward digital and mobile connections to brands, the scope of loyalty programs and marketing is shifting. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents from the loyalty study said dedicated apps for the loyalty program made them “much more likely” or “very likely” to join. Use

When designing online surveys for the purpose of gauging your customers’ experiences, remember the sports bar scenario and think precisely about what you want to gauge. Satisfaction and/ or loyalty? Then follow the 3 Bs: be bold, be brilliant and be brief. You never want to overwhelm your valued customers with lengthy surveys. 6. Address Issues Immediately Converting unhappy customers into ardent admirers can make a huge impact on your

company’s bottom line. Yes, even customers who have one foot out the door due to an unpleasant experience can be turned into loyalists if you counteract that experience with prompt service and an agreeable correction. In fact, if you handle a complaint well and in a timely fashion, the displeased customer’s loyalty typically returns to a higher level than before the negative encounter occurred. 7. Engage Your Entire Team Pleasing your loyal customers is not a one-person gig. Empower your employees to give customers a reason to return. Make it a priority to educate and train ALL team members on the

importance of customer loyalty so they recognize the value and support a company-wide loyalty strategy. From car dealerships to real estate services, from hair salons to office supply retailers, customer loyalty is key to long-term success. Regardless of the type or size of your business, loyalty breeds loyalty! Loyal customers will spread the word about you, bringing in other like-minded prospects and turning them into referred customers for your business. So don’t settle for “satisfied” on your next customer survey. Kelly Radi is a freelance writer, public speaker and owner of Radi To Write, a public relations writing firm. radi.to.write@gmail.com.

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Special Focus

Startup Mistakes

New businesses have a better chance for success if they avoid these common pitfalls.

By Whitney Bina

N

ine out of ten startups fail, according to Forbes.com. Optimistic entrepreneurs often disregard this statistic when starting a new endeavor. Be the one that succeeds! Below are four common mistakes startups make and solutions to help you avoid them. MISTAKE: BEING UNPREPARED SOLUTION: Create a solid plan and do your research Every organization needs a plan. Prior to beginning the startup process, ensure you

have done proper research, John Fossum, CPA, BerganKDV, said. Create a business plan, research the industry and market, and identify your target audience. Establish relationships with attorneys, banks, tax advisors and financial advisors immediately. Create positive business connections with these entities in the very early planning stages. Melinda Tamm, owner, Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio, echoes Fossum’s advice on pre-startup research. “Know the

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industry inside and outside!” she advised. “Know your market and identify how your business will be different. “Identify your vision, mission and core values,” Tamm added. “When you know these three things, you can grow and change your business model and still find success.” MISTAKE: ACQUIRING TOO MUCH DEBT SOLUTION: Budget, Budget, Budget “Most people are good at developing a budget, but few are good at tracking performance,” Fossum said. “Develop your budget, track expenses and stick to it.”

“Financial planning is crucial. Know where you are financially and how much you truly have to spend,” Tamm said. “Be cautious and realistic – this is especially important for those entrepreneurial gogetters.” Small business owners and entrepreneurs often face a blurred line between business and personal liability. To help counter this, Fossum suggests getting creative with business funding. “Talk to your family members or search for investors to help fund your new company. Equity financing is preferable to bank debt,” he said. “Be open to finance changes,” Tamm said. “Don’t

be afraid to bid out your expenses to find the best options for your business.” MISTAKE: RISKING IT ALL SOLUTION: Weigh the consequences and be realistic New business owners face many risks, especially throughout the startup process. When determining what risks to take and which to avoid, seek consultation and explore all of the potential benefits and consequences. Pay yourself first, financial advisors suggest. Although setting aside monthly amounts for savings and retirement accounts is the recommended

best practice, this can prove difficult for entrepreneurs during the startup phase as many of their personal assets are tied up into their business. However, contributing to retirement is crucial. In addition to securing your future, established retirement plans also attract and retain new employees to your company. Going into business with family members can be a beneficial solution to debt management, as Fossum mentioned, but use caution. “If the business fails, this effective funding strategy can quickly turn into a personal relationship nightmare,” he warned.

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It’s our turf, where our roots are, where we’ve called home since 1916. For families throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin we’ve always been there to offer trusted financial advice, ideas and planning to help them raise their crops, their livestock, their families and their hopes. And that hasn’t changed for generations. Bernie Quist VP Industry Specialist Agricultural Financing Bernie.Quist@AgStar.com

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GUIDING YOU TO AND

THROUGH RETIREMENT

BRINGING MORE TO THE TABLE. Experience and insight go further with a team approach, and at DeGraaf Financial you’ll see the value of collaboration in every interaction. From planning conversations with financial advisors Glen Tautges and Larry DeGraaf, to ongoing support from our expert staff, we’re committed to helping you achieve your unique retirement vision. Glen Tautges

Larry DeGraaf

One of Tamm’s greatest risks was market saturation. Opening a new dance studio in the St. Cloud area when several dance studios were already established was a great risk for Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio, she said. However, proper market research and business planning allowed her to find a path to success, which ultimately paid off. “For me, financial stability is one of the best things about owning my own business today, but the first few years were scary,” Tamm said. “You can do it all, but it takes planning and one hundred percent dedication to what you’re doing.” MISTAKE: GOING IT ALONE SOLUTION: Use your network Use your legal and financial connections. “Setting up your business in a way that protects you is very important,” Fossum said. “Take advantage of the local business community and the contacts you’ve made in your industry to learn what works and what doesn’t work for others,” Tamm suggests. “Be open and honest about your questions and concerns. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.” For Tamm, it’s common to seek out other dance studios wherever she is traveling. Whether on a business trip or family vacation, she takes time to visit with studios across the country to seek feedback on her business and share her experiences with others. Constant learning leads to continued business growth.

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Whitney Bina is the communications

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Fixed insurance products and services offered by DeGraaf Financial, Inc.

Chamber of Commerce.

and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area

Guiding You To and Through Retirement

46

Special Focus

Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6


SMART BUSINESS: SENTRY BANK

SENTRY BANK: HELPING CUSTOMERS AND COMMUNITIES Local bank believes in long-term relationships and community engagement. “We get to know our customers well; what makes them tick, what keeps them up at night, and what we can do to help them succeed,” explains President Darren Heying. “We look out for their financial interests so they can concentrate on doing what they do best—operating their businesses.” Heying leads his team with a simple strategic plan: do the right thing. “In banking, sometimes we have to make tough decisions, but we’ll always be fair. These are people we care about—our neighbors and friends—and our goal is to help them thrive.” “We’re a true community bank. We believe in honoring our neighbors,” says Heying. “It’s our privilege to serve these communities and support local business success.”

Darren Heying, CEO/President

C

hoosing a bank for your business involves more than opening a new account at your personal bank or walking into the nearest branch office. You need to find a banker who will take the time to get to know you and your unique business needs—one who values longterm relationships and provides effective banking solutions. A bank that will go to bat for you. A banker who cares.

Locally owned Sentry Bank does just that. With four area branches and forty employees, Sentry Bank is small enough to know customers by name, yet large enough to provide a complete and competitive menu of products and services. The business banking team has over fifty years combined experience, delivering valuable expertise and resources in an ever-changing economy.

INSIDE SCOOP

How does Sentry Bank do the right thing? 1 Serves customers with the utmost respect and a friendly, personal touch –––––––––––––––– 2 Provides individualized solutions using the most effective products and services –––––––––––––––– 3 Follows current trends and understands local market conditions –––––––––––––––– 4 Makes timely, in-house decisions backed by expertise of local owners –––––––––––––––– 5 Supports area communities by actively participating in local events such as youth baseball and Joetown Rocks –––––––––––––––– 6 Partners with community initiatives such as United Way and YMCA

Sentry Bank

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Ryan Holthaus, Commercial Lender

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FINANCIAL SERVICES SPECIAL SECTION:

FINANCIAL SERVICES DIRECTORY:

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American Heritage Bank

Cathy Juilfs and Jason Hallonquist Managing Directors 320-252-6552 cathy@aisplanning.com jason@aisplanning.com aisplanning.com

Small businesses rely on advisors to help them make the best possible decisions. Central Minnesota has a wide variety of financial and professional services providers ready to help you with your investment and growth decisions. The following directory showcases a number of businesses that are available to assist you. Take a look, and when you find one that fits your needs, give them a call and see how they can help you grow your company.

AIS Planning is dedicated to providing the very best in Wealth Management and Retirement Plan services, focused on helping clients think bigger, plan better so they can enjoy more! Independent and locally owned, committed to serving Central Minnesota companies, families and individuals.

Where more than just money… relationships are our business.

West St. Cloud – (320) 654-9555 East St. Cloud – (320) 257-5000 Offices also in Clearwater, Long Prairie, and Browerville. Member FDIC

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Central Minnesota Credit Union

DeGraaf Financial Dan Hagen Senior Commercial Lender 888.330.8482 danh@mycmcu.org mycmcu.org Central Minnesota Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial cooperative. Earnings are returned to members through better rates and lower fees. CMCU was named the SBA Credit Union for the 2016 SBA Minnesota Lender Awards.

For more information call Wendy Hendricks at 320.656.3808 or whendricks@BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Deadline: November 28, 2016 BusinessCentralMagazine.com

DeGraaf Financial

Our St. Joseph branch features extended drive-up hours: Mon – Thurs 7:00 am – 6:00 pm Friday 7:00 am – 7:00pm Saturday 8:00 am – Noon

Securities and Advisory Services 320-251-6968 215 Park Ave. S., Suite 100 St. Cloud, MN info@DeGraafFinancial.com DeGraafFinancial.com

Guiding You to and Through Retirement From planning with financial advisors Glen Tautges and Larry DeGraaf, to assistance from our expert staff, our clients benefit from experience and a team approach focused on their unique financial goals. As independent advisors, we’re able to recommend strategies that are truly in your best interest. Contact us today to discuss your retirement vision. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor. Fixed insurance products and services offered by DeGraaf Financial, Inc.

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FINANCIAL SERVICES

AgStar Financial Services

Sentry Bank

Jodi Keehr & Jodie Garceau

Michael Grogan, Doug Danielson and Ryan Holthaus

Home Mortgage Specialists 320-203-4608 & 320-258-2974 jodi.keehr@agstar.com jodie.garceau@agstar.com agstar.com Getting a home loan with AgStar is different than at other places. AgStar offers unique financial solutions for our neighbors in small towns and rural commumities. We specialize in financing hobby farms, new home construction, recreational property or a future home site.

Commercial Lending Team 320-363-7721

Community Minded. SBA Preferred Lender. Local Decisions. Locally Owned. Locally Operated Since 1904.

Member FDIC

Plaza Park Bank

Jim Schleper Executive Director of Business Banking NMLS #769488 jschleper@plazapark.com 320-257-3305 www.plazaparkbank.com “We are locally owned and managed, which makes a difference—each week we’re making decisions that we feel are best for our clients. Business owners like knowing that the people making the decisions all live and work in our community. Each of us at the bank has a genuine desire to do what is best for you (the client) and I think that comes through in how we conduct business.”

Visit Jim in our Waite Park location today!

Stearns Bank

Falcon National Bank

John Herges CEO 320-223-6300 jherges@falconnational.com www.falconnational.com

A DOOR THAT’S ALWAYS OPEN. Mine. We understand that no two businesses are alike; that’s why we offer a unique, personalized approach to business banking. If you value a dedicated staff, local decision-making, and money to loan when you’re ready to borrow, you’ll appreciate Falcon National Bank. That’s reality. Member FDIC.

Bremer Bank

Isaac Flenner Vice President 320-258-5720 IsaacF@stearnsbank.com www.stearnsbank.com Isaac has been with Stearns for 11 years focused on Commercial and SBA lending across Central Minnesota and beyond. As a nationwide Preferred SBA Lender, Stearns offers FastTrack loans $350,000 or less approved in hours, loans up to $5 Million in days! Stearns is a $1.9 billion, top-ranked national bank focused on small business and equipment financing with an established history delivering outstanding customer service and local decisions. Isaac strives to deliver on our trademark slogan: We get the job done! When not at work, Isaac enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family.

We love dreams. But we love action even more. Our business banking experts can help take your business dreams and make them an effective reality, helping prepare you for what’s ahead. Downtown St. Cloud: 251-3300 West St. Cloud: 656-3300 Sauk Rapids: 252-1938 Sartell: 255-7121 • Rice: 393-2600 Bremer.com

Member FDIC © 2016 Bremer Financial Corporation.

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Business Spotlight

Plant Waterers

Tom Woods took a part time job watering plants and turned it into a lifetime career. By Gail Ivers would work, but he encouraged us to take a look at it and it turned out to be just what we needed. BC: How was it, Ellen, jumping into the business? Ellen Woods: Scary. I didn’t know any aspect of plants. But I love it. I was going to just do the bookkeeping, but it turns out I’m not an office person. I can’t sit in here hour after hour. We want to be where the action is, especially in the spring. We like to hear our customers say, “Oh, you’re out here and not in the office.”

At A Glance Woods Farmer Seed & Nursery 2801 1st Street S, Waite Park, MN 56387 320-252-5234 woodsfsn@growgreen.us woodsfarmerseed.com Business Description: Year round garden center specializing in Minnesota grown plants of nursery stock; annuals and perennials; residential and commercial landscape design and installation. Number of Employees: 3 fulltime; 14 on payroll Owners: Tom and Ellen Woods Family: Four adult children, all working in the business; three grandchildren Hobbies: Traveling; NASCAR

Timeline 1973 Tom Woods graduates from high school and begins working part time at Farmer Seed & Nursery. 1983 The Lund family buys the store from Farmer Seed Co., becoming Lund’s Farmer Seed & Nursery.

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Business Central: Why did you move to this location? Tom Woods: The City of St. Cloud was doing major road construction around our building in 2014 and they told us it was going to be worse in 2015. Our choices were to stay and absorb the assessments and know that our customers wouldn’t be able to get to us, or move. That’s when we decided to start looking. We already knew we’d out-grown our current location. The real estate agent we worked with proposed this site – we weren’t sure how it

1988 The building burns to the ground. The owners bring in a trailer to use as an office. Snyder Drug, then next door, allows the nursery to move their stock onto the Snyder Drug parking lot. 1989 The Lunds build a new building and purchase the rest of the block.

Business Central Magazine // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6

EW: We’re having fun. This isn’t work. That’s how we want our business to be. BC: Do you have a succession plan? TW: All four of our children are in the business and three are very serious about taking over. One of our grandchildren works as a plant waterer. That was my job when I started in 1973. So you never know where it can lead.

BC: What is your biggest challenge as business owners? TW: April, May and June. That’s our “Christmas season.” If we have a late spring we don’t sell until May what should have gone a month or two earlier. When it gets hot, people stop planting. EW: But our customers are very devoted. We know they’re going to be here, we just have to be patient. BC: What do you like best? TW: Working with Ellen. It feels totally natural to have her by my side.

1994 Tom Woods purchases shares in the company.

Tom and Ellen Woods. The business is renamed Woods Farmer Seed & Nursery.

1995 Jerry Lund passes away.

2014 The City of St. Cloud begins repair work on the avenue and alley around the store. More extensive construction is planned for 2015.

November 2006 Ellen Woods joins the business. December 2006 Irene Lund sells the company to

BEST ADVICE TO A NEW ENTREPRENEUR:

Do your homework. “It took us 1.5 years to decide that we could move. We wanted to be sure we could handle it financially.” Being in business is a big commitment, go into it 110 percent.

February 2015 Woods Farmer Seed & Nursery moves to their current location in Waite Park.


THE FIRST THING WE BUILD IS YOUR TRUST

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November/December 2016  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

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