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Offices also in Long Prairie and Browerville


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24 Management Tool Kit Recipe for Success

In the sales world, nothing is more important than prospecting.

24 Tech News 26 Going Green 31 TechStrategies

Never one to accept the status quo, Jim Christensen, Array Services Group, is always on the lookout for new opportunities.

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This Issue 44 Feature

Risky Business

In today’s economy any business can be a risky one. Knowing your industry and finding creative solutions to control costs can mean the difference between success and failure.

48 Special Focus Growing Pains

Today’s computer apps allow businesses to engage customers and generate revenue.

Consider the potential benefits and challenges before making the decision to open a second location.

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54 Business Spotlight

An App for That

OPTION MANAGEMENT

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Business Tools

36 COVER STORY

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Economy Central presented by Falcon Bank

Russ Portele, Coldwell Banker Burnet

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Special Sections 28 Welcome Back Students 49 Central Minn. Growth Guide

N E T WO R K

Upfront 10 News Reel

What’s happening and who’s moving. Business news from

around Central Minnesota.

10 Book Review

Be the Elephant; Build a Bigger, Better Business by Steve Kaplan

12 Your Voice In Government Hire a Veteran Members of

the armed services offer ideal employee traits, including a focus on responsibility and professionalism.

14 People to Know 18 The Trouble with Business Noncompete Agreements

Noncompetition agreements can be an excellent tool, but they’re not the right fit for everyone.

51&53 Smart Business

ONLY ONLINE •• Innovation Motivation

•• A Reading List for Innovators

•• Content Marketing

•• Forgotten Expenses

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PRESIDENT’S LETTER

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NETWORK

The Business Side of Things

I

t’s that magical time again. The time that rolls around

Your Chamber wants you to make informed and educated choices regarding who represents you.

once every four years when

we vote for almost every state and federal elected office in the land. This year you’ll be asked to make decisions regarding your president,

Teresa Bohnen, President

your Congressional representative,

the marriage amendment at our

our members we will supply the

one federal senator, your state

forums. If you want to learn the

space. Then we put the call out to

representative, your state senator

candidates’ views about those

our members and volunteers

and a myriad of mayors, city

issues, you need to find other

through our Government Affairs

councilors, county commissioners

forums. The candidates’ websites

Committee email network,

and school board leaders.

are a great place to begin.

encouraging them to attend. If you

That’s a lot of decisions.

Our forums and debates will

are a member of our Chamber and

help you learn how candidates may

would like to receive these notices,

that represents a diverse group

impact your business, your job and

please call or email Sharon Henry

of individual members and

your pocketbook. Our questions

at our office (shenry@StCloud

volunteers, we work to accomplish

focus on taxes, energy policy and

AreaChamber.com or 656-3824).

three goals for you as it relates to

infrastructure.

As a Chamber of Commerce

your government: •• build influence •• provide information and education •• develop collaborative relationships We work toward these goals

Between September and the November elections, we will be

choices regarding who represents

offering a number of meet and

you. This year the decisions are

greets, forums and debates for

critical to the future of our state

our members to learn more about

and our country. I hope you take

the candidates. We use a debate

advantage of the opportunities

format, asking a question, allowing

presented and Meet Me at the

each candidate to respond, and

Chamber! this campaign season.

in an unbiased and non-partisan

then allowing a rebuttal if their

way. We realize individuals base

opponent is mentioned or called

their decisions and opinions about

into play during the “final” round.

candidates on both business and

It’s interesting and fast paced.

social issues. We put our focus on the business side of things. You will not hear discussions regarding pro-life/pro-choice or

Your Chamber wants you to make informed and educated

We offer informal meet and greet opportunities to our national

Sincerely,

Teresa Bohnen President

and statewide candidates. If they contact our office and ask to meet

A WELCOMING STATEMENT The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce encourages you to welcome all students to your business. To show your support, gently remove poster in the center spread and place it in on your store front. Check it out on page 28.

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


Main Phone 320-251-2940 Automated Reservation Line 320-251-2940, ext. 126 Program Hotline 320-251-2940, ext. 125 email: information@ StCloudAreaChamber.com www.StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF President | Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Vice President | Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Director of Administration Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 Special Events Coordinator Virginia Kroll, ext. 105 Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator Whitney Bina Membership Sales Specialist Wendy Franzwa, ext. 134

Administrative Assistant Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 Administrative Assistant Cindy Swarthout , ext. 100 Administrative Assistant Sharon Henry, ext. 124 CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF Executive Director Julie Lunning, ext. 111 Sales Manager Lori Cates, ext. 113 Director of Sales & Marketing Judy Okerstrom, ext. 112 Director of Sports & Special Events Kelly Sayre, ext. 128 Director of Visitor Services Jean Robbins , ext. 129 Receptionist Nikki Fisher, ext. 100

2012-13 BOARD MEMBERS Jim Beck Minnesota School of Business Jason Bernick Bernick’s - Beverages & Vending Gary Berg G.L. Berg Entertainment, Performing Artists & Speakers Craig Broman St. Cloud Hospital/CentraCare Health System, Board Chair Neil Franz Neils-Franz-Chirhart, Attorneys at Law Jayne Greeney Schill St. Cloud Area School District #742 Steve Hahn HahnMark, LLC John Herges Falcon National Bank, Board Vice Chair Scott Johnson Times Media

Diane Mendel Playhouse Child Care Kris Nelson Custom Accents, Inc. Rick Poganski Principal Financial Group Dr. Earl Potter, III St. Cloud State University Roger Schleper Premier Real Estate Services Jodi Speicher The Good Shepherd Community Bill Winter St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, Past Board Chair Chriss Wohlleber Le St. Germain Suite Hotel

YOU BRING THE BEER WE’LL BRING THE BRAND Let’s party.

G A S L I G H T C R E AT I V E . C O M | 3 2 0 2 5 7 2 2 4 2

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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EDITOR’S NOTE

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NETWORK

Fish Tales

Above left: Editor Gail Ivers with her parents at Leech Lake. Above right: Editor Gail Ivers with her brother Wayne, circa 1963

E

And to the little boy

stopped. In 50 years of fishing, that

she said, “See, that’s

only happened once. We refer to it

why you have to wear

as the day the fish tried to bite the

a life jacket.”

bottom out of the boat.

We went to a

It’s memories like those that

variety of lakes and

make it easy for me to understand

resorts in northern

why Jim Christensen was interested

Minnesota, but most

in buying a fishing resort. Spending

of my fishing years

time with people who are having

were on Leech Lake

fun, telling stories, and making

near Walker. Our

memories sounds like a great way

ver since I was a little girl my

favorite fishing spot was in the area

to make a living. Of course it doesn’t

family has gone on a fishing

called The Narrows where we would

take into account the cooking,

vacation.

anchor down, throw out bobbers

cleaning, and customer service

and doze in the sun.

nightmares that accompany such a

My earliest memory is going

out on a big lake with lots of waves.

One day we started catching

business. But Jim’s destiny, and his

I was cold and getting wet so I

northerns. As soon as we tossed

sister’s lack of enthusiasm for the

crawled up into the bow and sat

a line in the water, it would zing

hospitality industry, took him in a

under the protective shield of a small

away. We could not reel in or bait

different direction. You can read

over-hang. Whining was not allowed.

hooks fast enough to keep up. All

about that on page 36. Our family fishing vacations

Still in the early years, I

this flurry of activity attracted the

remember trying to pass a little

attention of anglers nearby. At one

came to an end two years ago.

boy – someone even smaller than

point, I looked around and we were

Happily, the fish stories just keep

me – on the dock. Apparently my

being slowly circled by other fishing

getting bigger.

impatience resulted in clumsiness

boats trying to cast into our cache.

and I bumped into him sending

To this day my mother laughs about

him into the water below. It was all

the guy who changed his bobber to

of 4 inches deep, so there was no

match the color of the bobbers we

danger, but he fell hard enough to

were using. After about 30 minutes

get soaking wet. My mother was

of non-stop catch and release, my

appalled and I was scolded. But the

dad announced he’d had enough.

other mother was totally calm. No

He switched to another form of bait,

harm done, she assured my mom.

and the fishing bonanza abruptly

Until next issue,

Gail Ivers

Vice President

Editor

IN MEMORIAM It is with regret that we acknowledge the passing of Al Leighton and share our sympathy with his family and employees. Al was the owner of Leighton Broadcasting. He gave us the honor of featuring him on the cover of Business Central in March 2006. Al started out in radio in Brainerd and Detroit Lakes and talked of those days with great joy. After living in lake country I’ll bet Al appreciated a good fish story.

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


Publisher Teresa Bohnen Managing Editor Gail Ivers Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Whitney Bina St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Mary Edwards PhD, professor emeritus, St. Cloud State University Sharon Henry St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Dr. Fred E. Hill St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Dorraine Larison and Betsy Fruechte Gray, Plant, Mooty David Olson Minnesota Chamber of Commerce

Lawrence Schumacher Wordbender Communications, LLC 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 Accountant Judy Zetterlund WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman

W

e are proud to announce the certification of attorney Adam C. Schad, Tri-County Abstract and Title Guaranty, Inc. as a MSBA (Minnesota State Bar Association) Board Certified Real Property Specialist, an achievement earned by fewer than 2% of Adam SCHAD licensed Minnesota attorneys. Attorney This certification program is administered by the MSBA and approved by the State Board of Legal Certification.

T

he certified specialist designation is earned by leading attorneys who have completed a rigorous approval process, including an examination in the specialty area, peer review, and documented experience. Certified attorneys have demonstrated superior knowledge, skill and integrity in their specific field and can use the designation specialist to advertise their credentials. More information about Certified Legal Specialists is at: www2.mnbar.org/certify.

The Choice Is Yours...Choose The Best!

110 Sixth Avenue South • P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487

Mitch RENGEL

Phone (320) 251-2940 •  Fax (320) 251-0081 www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Sue LENTNER

President/CEO

COO

For advertising information contact Wendy Hendricks, (320) 656-3808, 110 S. 6th Ave. • P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. 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. © Copyright 2012 Business Central LLC Business Central is published six times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 110 Sixth Avenue South • P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 • Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 • Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.

Brenda ROETTGER Closer

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We do business the old fashioned way....we earn it! PROFESSIONAL CLOSING SERVICES | ABSTRACTING | TITLE INSURANCE CONSTRUCTION DISBURSING EXPERTS | TAX DEFERRED 1031 EXCHANGES Working with buyers, sellers, realtors, lenders, and builders throughout Central & Greater Minnesota.

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Book Review

Point of View

Your Voice in Government

14 People to Know

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Business Calendar

The Trouble with Business

It Happened When?

UPFRONT

R END

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Part I, Beginnings, Chapter 2, Map it Out or Mess it Up Growth without planning is risky business. A bigger business requires proper infrastructure. Seek the knowledge of whether your business is ready for growth or not.

Publishing, New York, 2006, ISBN 10:0-7611-4448-X

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uthor Steve Kaplan states “Many people say they have a sound business, and truly believe it, when in fact they have no idea whatsoever whether it’s true.” His purpose in writing this book is to create the playbook he wishes he had when he was building his businesses – a voice of experience to tell others what works and what doesn’t. The book has six parts and 22 chapters. In this review, I will concentrate on one chapter in each part.

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Part II, On Solid Ground, Chapter 5, Four Statements to Live By You must have accurate information regarding (1) projected revenue statement, (2) projected cash flow statement, (3) projected income (profit/loss) statement, and (4) projected balance sheet. Part III, The Role of Sales, Chapter 9, The Rule of Go Products, services, or concepts must be able to be presold to customers before being developed or introduced to the marketplace. Part IV, As Big As You Can Be, Chapter 11, How do You Make Your Money Identifying revenue sources, then grouping them into revenue streams, is part

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

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Author Steve Kaplan provides a playbook to help entrepreneurs build their businesses. Reviewed by Fred E. Hill

by Steve Kaplan, Workman

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Voice of Experience

Bigger, Better Business

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NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

BOOK REVIEW

Be the Elephant; Build a

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GROW

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science and part art. Where will your money come from? Who are your customers? Part V, Creating Value, Chapter 17, What Makes You so Special Why will people buy or reject your products and services? Develop a unique selling proposition – the quality that makes your product or service rise above the rest. Know how and when to create one. Part VI, Killer Mistakes, Chapter 22, Corrupting the Culture The key is to acknowledge that your culture will change, so get out in front of it and lead the organization through a smooth transition. This book contains lots of helpful information in the form of tools, tips, charts, and pithy sayings. Kaplan also created The Difference Maker Inc., a company that provides advice, leadership, and practical know-how. Check them out at www.differencemaker.com. BC Dr. Fred E. Hill is a professor of Learning Resources Services, at St. Cloud State University.

PineCone Vision launches center; awards scholarships Hinkemeyer PineCone Vision

Center has launched the PineCone Vision Therapy & Rehab Center offering Godtland vision therapy, traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, and low vision rehabilitation. Both Dr. Stacy Hinkemeyer and Dr. Ragna Godtland provide services at the center, which is located on Troop Drive next to PineCone Vision.

PineCone Vision Center awarded scholarships to three local students planning to pursue a degree in medicine. Recipients were chosen based on academic excellence and volunteer activities. Dr. Ragna Godtland is pictured with recipient Amanda Walz.

YMCA Board elects members Duane Rasmusson, vice president of human resources at CentraCare Health System, has been elected president of the YMCA Board of Directors for a two-year term. Other board elections include: Dr. Sara Cuperus, Scott Lahr, Bob Mahowald, Jennifer Mrozek, and Michelle Pape.


POINT OF VIEW

Business Central asked readers: What do you enjoy most about your job or business?

Kris Lehman Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity

I love the connections I have with people, especially people of faith, and the interconnectedness among churches in the relationships that I build.”

Being part of the exercise program and seeing the success of the individuals who attend.”

Kayla Deters AirMaxx Trampoline Park

“ Erik Hanson Thrivent Financial

I get to help people map out their goals, achieve their dreams and take care of themselves and their families.”

The pride I feel because I am part of the family business.”

Rachael Bonn Peters Body Shop, Inc.

I love the freedom; I get to work when I want to.”

medica works for your business. Medica is a leader in providing personalized healthcare coverage. And we offer the region’s most comprehensive portfolio of plan options. Whether you’re looking for cost savings, flexibility, or access to providers, there’s a Medica plan that works for you. Plus, employees get to choose personalized coverage that fits the way they live. So choose the health plan that works hardest – provides the most value – for you and your employees. Medica works for you. For more information, call your broker, or call Medica at 855-55-FOR-ME.

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UPFRONT

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NETWORK

N E WS R E E L Renslow receives award Molly Renslow, College of Saint Renslow Benedict, is the 2012 Athena Award recipient. The award is presented annually by The Women’s Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation. It honors a woman leader who inspires others to achieve excellence in their personal or professional lives.

Pennings joins BankVista Bill Pennings has joined BankVista Pennings as a residential mortgage consultant, providing mortgage loans to Sartell and the surrounding communities. Pennings has 38 years of experience.

Seifert appointed committee chair Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A. attorney Seifert Luke Seifert has been appointed chairman of the Minnesota State Bar Association Rules of Professional Responsibility Committee. He will serve a one-year term. The committee reviews and makes recommendations regarding proposed changes to the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct prior to consideration by the Supreme Court.

AIS Planning hires; moves Andy Hawkins was hired as a life wealth planner at AIS Planning. The company also moved to a new location on 12th Street in the Midsota building.

Gunderson joins Cartridge World Mike Gunderson was hired as the general manager of Cartridge World in Waite Park. He has previous experience running his own business and in sales.

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YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

Hire a Veteran

Members of the armed services offer ideal employee traits, including a focus on responsibility and professionalism. By David C. Olson

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any of us have witnessed welcome home parades for the returning members of our armed forces. And while it’s a feel good moment for veterans, the limelight can quickly fade as they face the realities of returning to civilian life – often with the prospect of no gainful employment. The fact is that Minnesota veterans are unemployed and that’s cause for concern. The national jobless rate for veterans from the post-9/11 Gulf War is 9.2 percent, according to latest statistics. The good news is that the number has dropped about a percent since the beginning of the year. The bad news is that veterans’ unemployment is still appreciably higher than Minnesota’s overall jobless rate of 5.6 percent. The state of Minnesota has made it particularly easy for employers to connect with veterans by following three steps:

•• Post your available jobs on www.MinnesotaWorks.net and label it “veteran friendly.” –––––––– •• Visit your nearest Minnesota Workforce Center at www.positivelyminnesota.com and let a veterans’ employment representative know you want to hire a veteran. –––––––– •• Connect with your local Yellow Ribbon Network to find service members who may be looking for a new opportunity. Find your network at www.BeyondTheYellowRibbon.org. Employers have the right under the letter of the law to express a hiring preference for all veterans, and spouses of veterans who have died or have a service-related disability. It’s clear that veterans, on their own merit, are deserving of jobs. The shortage of qualified workers has been well documented in Minnesota. Veterans present a bright spot in that regard. Members of the Guard and Reserve offer ideal employee traits. Their

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

performance in the service depends on being “on time, all the time” with a focus on responsibility and professionalism. Their worldwide service gives them an appreciation of the competition that employers face in the global marketplace. And they can be counted on for their leadership. BC David Olson is president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

IN THE NEWS

ROADEO DRIVE? Ken Rakke, Jabin Scepurek and Todd DeZurik of Metro Bus placed in the top three categories at the Minnesota Roadeo competition. Fixed route drivers Rakke and Scepurek placed first and second in the large bus competition. Rakke will compete in the International Bus Roadeo in May 2013. DeZurik, a Dial-a-Ride driver, placed third in the small bus competition.


IN THE NEWS

N E WS R E E L Pediatricians join HealthPartners Pediatricians Dr. Azhar Iqbal and Dr. Lisa Iqbal Guetzko have joined HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics. Dr. Iqbal has 14 years of experience in adolescent Guetzko medicine. He has special interests in common behavioral and pediatric dermatological disorders. Dr. Guetzko has three years of pediatric experience and has spent time internationally, caring for both adult and pediatric patients.

ON TOP

Marco was named one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota by the Star Tribune for the third consecutive year. This award is based on employee opinions about company leadership, communication, career opportunities, workplace environment, managerial skills, pay, and benefits.

Child Care Choices recognized Child Care Choices was recognized as one of the top 100 best companies to work for in 2012 by Minnesota Business Magazine. The company earned second place among the nonprofit companies in Minnesota. The award is based on leadership, benefits, work environment, training programs, employee satisfaction, and more.

F.Rajkowski Hansmeier

P.Rajkowski

Attorneys named “Super Lawyers” Frank J. Rajkowski, Gordon H. Hansmeier, Gray Paul A. Rajkowski, and Kevin F. Gray, shareholders with Rajkowski Hansmeier, were recently selected for inclusion in 2012 Minnesota Super Lawyers. Only the top five percent of lawyers in the state are named to this list.

Marco receives awards Marco received the Top Revenue Award at the HTG Summit 2012 in Knutson Dallas, Texas. Marco’s Chief Information Officer, Steve Knutson, also won Group Member of the Year for the large dealer group.

If growth is in the game plan for your business, count us in. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to expand, Bremer Bank is ready with a full range of financial solutions, backed by more than 100 years of experience and nearly $8 billion in assets. We can help you get where you want to go. Talk to a Bremer business banker near you today.

Downtown St. Cloud • 251-3300 West St. Cloud • 656-3300 Sauk Rapids • 252-1938 Sartell • 255-7121 Rice • 393-2600 1-800-908-BANK (2265) Bremer.com

COUNT US IN.

Member FDIC. © 2012 Bremer Financial Corporation. All rights reserved.

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UPFRONT

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NETWORK

N E WS R E E L

PEOPLE TO KNOW

Schlenner Wenner adds accounts

A Different Perspective

Schlenner Wenner & Co. has taken over the government and nonprofit accounts of the Gary Paulson CPA firm in Little Falls. Mary Backlund, CPA, who worked for Paulson since 1987, will continue working on these accounts at Schlenner Wenner & Co. Paulson was in business for over 30 years.

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Marco hires Marco, Inc. hired the following employees: Curtis Brown, Patrick Daniel, Jeffrey Douglas, Dex Holthaus, Kevin Lacher, Cody Meyer, Aric Stegen, and Dale Yasunaga.

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Craig Broman President of St. Cloud Hospital and St. Cloud Area Chamber Board

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

raig Broman, president of St. Cloud Hospital and St. Cloud Area Chamber board chair, welcomes the chance to be more involved in the community. Broman became chair of the Chamber’s board of directors on Sept. 1 and will serve until Aug. 31, 2013. While Broman, a 34year veteran in the health care industry, thrives on the hospital’s health care focus, he notes “it’s

good to get outside of the health care realm, too.” He sees his Chamber role as an opportunity to make important connections with those who are involved in businesses outside of his everyday experience. “I have been a member of one of the Chamber’s executive dialogue groups for many years and find that networking with other business leaders is helpful,” he said. “I wholeheartedly support the Chamber’s


mission to create, enhance and support a healthy business environment for its members.” As chair of the Chamber’s board, Broman looks forward to collaborating with more members of the local business community. “I have an interest in economic development – retaining and expanding

our local businesses,” he said. “Health care providers benefit from a strong business community. A healthy business community supports more jobs, which supports more families. Access to quality health care, a productive workforce and healthy business community are all interconnected.”

Broman moved to St. Cloud in 2002 after spending 15 years as a multi-hospital system executive. During most of these years, he was responsible for facilities in 12 states from Alaska to New Mexico, spanning over 28 hospitals and 20 nursing homes. “I really enjoy working in a community

Goal Setting During his year as chair of the Chamber’s board of directors, Craig Broman, president of St. Cloud Hospital, says he would like to see the following: •• Membership growth •• Continued active engagement of Chamber members •• Expansion of the Chamber’s role in economic development through the Grow Minnesota! program and business retention and expansion visits

that is also my home,” he said. For one thing, work is more gratifying. “Here, I can lead the hospital every day. When something is accomplished at St. Cloud Hospital, I feel a part of that accomplishment.” Something else that’s changed is Broman’s availability to be involved in the local community, which makes his Chamber role even more exciting. “In my prior work, I wasn’t home enough to be involved in the community or service clubs,” Broman said. “I like meeting people and learning what we’re trying to do together to make this an exceptionally strong business community and a great place to live.” BC

When joints wear out, we rebuild. Stay active with minimally invasive joint replacement surgery from St. Cloud Orthopedics.

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1901 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell StCloudOrthopedics.com 320.259.4100 orthopedics redefined

Knee & Shoulder • Joint Replacement • Sports Medicine • Hand Center • Trauma • Spine Center • Foot & Ankle • Physical & Occupational Therapy S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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UPFRONT

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NETWORK

N E WS R E E L CliftonLarsonAllen acquires AgStar business CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) acquired the tax and accounting business segments of AgStar Financial Services. Together, CLA and AgStar will incorporate tax planning, tax compliance and a service bureau with all

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BUSINESS CALENDAR SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 •• Visit events.StCloudAreaChamber.com for a detailed calendar.

Can’t miss opportunities to influence, promote, and learn.

accounting services. Compiled by Whitney Bina For consideration in Business Central’s News Reel, please send press releases to Gail Ivers, Editor at givers@ StCloudAreaChamber.com

Sept. 5 & Oct.3

Lunchtime Learning Noon - 1 p.m.

Educational networking events that give busy professionals a chance to stay on the cutting edge. Meets the first Wednesday of the month at the Chamber office, 110 6th Ave. S.

Registration is required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public.

September 5: Sponsored by Ness Plastic Surgery with Mike Roth, Northland Business Development Network, presenting “Are You Running Your Business or is it Running You?” October 3: Sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio with Mary MacDonell Belisle presenting “Getting Your Message Across”

Sept. 18, 26 & Oct. 16

Business After Hours 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

A complimentary open house for Chamber members and guests. Bring lots of business cards and prepare to grow your network!

September 18: Hosted by Sentry Bank, 4350 8th St. N, St. Cloud

September 27: Hosted by the Waite Park Chamber at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant, 1001 Division St., Waite Park

Focused on you.

You look for candidates who understand business and who’ll work with all sides to find real solutions to Minnesota’s challenges.

Meet Anne Nolan.

Anne’s a JD/MBA with a background in economic development and workplace policy. She’s also the operations manager for a

small entrepreneurial training, consulting and publishing firm that helps employers implement workplace flexibility strategies. Anne

understands the compliance requirements small businesses face because at her company, she’s the one responsible for ensuring they’re met. You can count on Anne to listen to your concerns, work hard to represent you in St. Paul, and always put the best interests of our community ahead of partisan politics.

St. Cloud • Waite Park • St. Augusta • www.votenolan.org • votenolan@charter.net Prepared and paid for by Nolan Campaign Committee, P.O. Box 7186, St. Cloud, MN 56302. 320-259-9503

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


October 4 October 16: Hosted by Plaza Park Bank, 131 6th Ave. S, Waite Park

October 17: Hosted by Restoration Professionals onsite at 301 34th Ave. S, Waite Park, with a presentation by The Initiative Foundation

Sept. 19 & Oct.17

Waite Park Chamber 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For businesses interested in Waite Park issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance.

September 19: Hosted by Bremer Bank with Bruce Johnson presenting on the Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity and ReStore, at Waite Park City Hall, 19 13th Ave. N, Waite Park

Star-Studded Celebration

Sept. 19 & Oct.17

Sauk Rapids Chamber

This formal celebration honors the many contributions of

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Chamber volunteers who make the St. Cloud area a better

For businesses interested in Sauk Rapids issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance.

place to live and work. 5-8 p.m. $25 per person.

October 4: Best Western Kelly Inn, 100 4th St. S, St. Cloud

September 27: Hosted

House Districts 13B and 14B and Senate Districts 13 and 14.

by Tri-CAP at Good Shepherd Fellowship Hall, 1115 4th Ave. N, Sauk Rapids. This meeting will run until 1:30 p.m. and include a candidates’ forum for Minnesota

October 25: Hosted by CentraCare Clinic at Sauk Rapids City Hall, 360 Summit Ave. N, Sauk Rapids, with a

presentation by Betsey Lund, Neils-Franz-Chirhart, Attorneys at Law, on “Small Claims Court in Minnesota.” For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940.

“TDS gives me the powerful, flexible solutions I need to grow my business.” ®

TDS offers economical and flexible voice, data, and managed-service solutions. The benefit to your business: improved convenience and productivity through increased mobility, advanced tools, and versatile features. Learn more at tdsbusiness.com/minnesota.

Powerful Business Communications 124128/4-12/7540

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UPFRONT

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NETWORK

THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Noncompete Agreements

By Dorraine Larison and Betsy Fruechte

Noncompetition agreements can be an excellent tool, but they’re not the right fit for everyone. CHECKLIST

Getting it right the first time

The following terms should be included in noncompetition agreements: l The agreement must have

consideration. Consideration is simply a real benefit to the employee that is beyond what the employee is already entitled to receive. This may include an offer of employment for a new employee

A

noncompetition agreement is an agreement that restricts an employee from pursuing a similar profession, trade, or role with a competitor, or from starting a competing business. Small employers should consider using noncompetition agreements, but only after thoroughly considering the benefits and drawbacks. There are certainly benefits to obtaining a noncompetition agreement. These include protecting the goodwill of a business, deterring raids of customers and employees by competitors, enhancing the business’s negotiation position upon an employee’s separation, and assisting in the negotiations for the sale of a business because the agreements are assignable. There are, however, potential drawbacks to using noncompetition agreements as well. For instance, you could experience difficulty enforcing the agreement if it is too broad, if there are flaws in the execution process, or if the employee received insufficient consideration for signing the agreement. You might have difficulty proving violations of the agreement. The expense of enforcement and frequent challenges to the agreements by former employees could be prohibitive. Occasionally noncompete agreements have a

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(the agreement must be signed before

negative impact on employee morale. Before deciding to use a noncompetition agreement a small business owner should ask whether the business has anything that needs to be protected. Items you may want to protect include trade secrets, confidential business or professional information that is not considered a trade secret, substantial relationships with specific prospective or existing customers, patients, or clients, and customer, patient, or client goodwill in a specific geographic location. In addition, employers may want to use noncompetition agreements if they provide extraordinary or specialized training for employees in order to restrict the employees’ ability to use the learned skills for a competitor. Employers should always seek legal counsel when implementing a noncompetition agreement to ensure that the terms are appropriate and that sufficient consideration has been provided to the employee. BC

the employee starts work) or items such as special bonus program participation rights, severance packages, and cash payments. l A specific, reasonable length of time

limiting the term of the agreement

l The breadth of the geographic area

applicable to the restriction, which must be reasonable l Language explaining how the

restriction is related to the employee’s position within the business l Language limiting the restriction to

the kind and type of information being protected l Language expansive enough to

protect as much information and assets as possible l “Survival” language clarifying that

post-employment restrictions survive the end of the employment relationship

Dorraine Larison is an attorney at Gray, Plant, Mooty specializing in employment law. Betsy Fruechte is a third year law student at the University of Minnesota working as a summer associate with Gray, Plant, Mooty.

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

l Language that protects trade secrets

forever, because trade secrets are subject to indefinite protection


IT HAPPENED WHEN?

1985

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

The 2012 Star-Studded Celebration is Thursday, October 4 from 5-8 p.m. at the Kelly Inn in St. Cloud. Individual tickets Chamber Board Chair Mike Ives presents retiring board member Sue Mackert with a certificate of appreciation at the 1985 Chamber Annual Banquet.

are $25; sponsorships are available. Former Chamber President Glenn Carlson greets the audience at the Annual Banquet.

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For reservations or more information call 320-251-2940, ext., 126 or online at http://events.

n 1985, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce recognized volunteers StCloudAreaChamber.com at an Annual Banquet at the Holiday Inn & Suites. Guests were invited to a formal dinner where volunteers received certificates of appreciation. Though the event has changed, the purpose remains the same. Now called the Star-Studded Celebration, the event honors the many contributions of Chamber volunteers who make the St. Cloud area a better place to live, play and work. In 2012 volunteers receive a gift called a “Vesta” and these days the evening is less formal and all about networking. BC

Our Focus: Your Family People of all ages are important to us At St. Cloud Medical Group, your family medicine physician is your partner, not just your provider. That’s why you’ll see your same doctor at every visit. By taking the time to understand you and your family, your doctor is prepared to offer care that’s focused on your family. It’s what we call personal patient care—something we learned when we started 84 years ago.

It’s the genuine care and respect we have for our patients that make the difference.

StCloudMedical.com South Campus

Clearwater Clinic

320-251-8181

320-558-2293

Northwest Campus

Cold Spring Clinic

320-202-8949

320-685-8641

Family Medicine + OB/GYN + Pediatrics + Express Care Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation + Occupational Medicine + Surgery

BusinessCentral7.5 x 4.875[Family1].indd 1

6/26/12 2:14 PM S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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UPFRONT

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NETWORK CENTRAL

NETWORK CENTRAL

Grow!

The Chamber offers a variety of affordable training programs for Chamber members. This year’s line-up included social media tips, customer service training, financing ideas for small business, supervisor development, and NEXT-St. Cloud.

Panel members for Customer Service Training, from left: Sarah Belknap, Subway; Larry Logeman, Executive Express; Theresia Sutton, DeZurik; and Anthony Farag, Resource Training & Solutions

Andrew Lasher, Stonebreakers Design, leads a Lunchtime Learning session

Marty Moran, Clear Path, LLC, provides an overview of financing options for small businesses.

David Miller, US Bank and Michele Stranghoener, discuss interpersonal communication.

Bill Dunsmore, (far left) River’s Edge Convention Center provides a tour for NEXT - St. Cloud.

Hannah Lemay; Shawn Richter, Granite City Armored Car; Mike Benda, Netgain participate in the Supervisor Development program

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Barry Kirchoff, Small Business Development Center, explains how to best prepare for an interview with your banker.


NETWORK CENTRAL

Network!

Business After Hours at ReStore - Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity

Doug Boser (L) Boser Construction and Bruce Johnson, Habitat for Humanity

Garrett Ewers and Kayla Deters, AirMaxx Trampoline Park

Jon “LT” Theis, Entice Media Works

Business After Hours at the Holiday Inn & Suites

Gary Berg, G.L. Berg Entertainment and Steve Paasch, GLTArchitects

Chad Houg, Transport Graphics (L); Melissa Billig, Inspired; and Rick Wildtraut, Jacobs Financial

Mary Kokula, March of Dimes (L); Lisa Maurer, Bremer; and Bonnie Rodness, Holiday Inn & Suites

Todd Fritz, InteleCONNECT takes a dive for charity.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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TOP HATS | New Members Salama Child Care Center, 1209 W St. Germain St., St. Cloud. Pictured: Kris Hellickson, Sahra Ali and Jayne Greeney Schill.

Braunreiter Dental, PLLC, 22 2nd Ave. S, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Shannon Templin, Cindy & Dr. Tony Braunreiter, Brenda Sickler and Rick Poganski.

Life Assembly of God, transforming lives, families, cities, and nations, 2409 Clearwater Road, St. Cloud. Pictured: Craig Moore, Donna Moore, Jayne Greeney Schill, Kris Hellickson and Neil Dezelske.

Independent Lifestyles, Inc., a non-profit organization serving people with disabilities, 215 N Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Shannon Templin, Cara Ruff, Danelle St. Marie, Terry Johnson and Dolora Musech.

Main St. Chamber, free lifetime membership, member opportunities to profit and save, 320 19th Ave. N, Sartell. Pictured: Jason Bernick, Paul Berndt and Diane Ohmann.

BAYADA Home Health Care, health care and support services for children and adolescents with medical needs, 2351 Connecticut Ave., Suite 320, Sartell. Pictured: Kris Nelson, Kate Obert, Marty Sureth and Shannon Templin.

Westre’s Marine & Sport, new or used pontoons, bass, deck and fishing boats, 1101 Highway 10 S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Rick Poganski, Jason Westre, Kelly Westre and Shannon Templin.

Odor Eliminators, sanitize and eliminate odors, 1080 107th St. NW, Rice. Pictured: Tauna Quimby, Liz Kellner, Jay Kellner and Inese Mehr.

Country Financial, full line of all insurances, financial services, 622 Roosevelt Road, Suite 150, St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Tammy Hanson, John J. Miller, Jim Brattensborg, Leah Vossen and Chris Panek.

Collins Brothers Towing of St. Cloud, 539 27th Ave. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Roger Schleper, James Trantina and Inese Mehr.

Jerry McCarter, CPA A competent and committed community leader.

Successful Businessman

• 32+ years as a CPA with CliftonLarsonAllen, 25 years as a Partner/ Principal, retired in 2008. • Three years as Professional Advisor Relations Officer with the Minnesota Real Estate Foundation. • Four years as a Special Agent and a CLU with Northwestern Mutual Life.

Community Advocate • Active member of St. Cloud Rotary. • Currently serves on the Steering Committee of Create CommUNITY. • Past Board President and past Treasurer of United Way of Central Minnesota. • Past Board Chair and past Treasurer of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation.

Learn more at jerrymccarter.com or call Jerry at 320-229-3930

Vote Jerry McCarter State Senate - Tuesday, November 6 Paid for by friends of Jerry McCarter; PO Box 1906, St. Cloud, MN 56302.

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


TOP HATS | Milestones

25 year Chamber member Cold Spring Electric 16994 County Road 158, Cold Spring. Pictured: Dolora Musech, Duane Koepp, Karen Schlangen, Delores Ressemann, Peter Stein and Diane Ohmann.

TOP HATS | New Locations, New Ownership & Expansions

TOP HATS | New Business Vein Clinic, PA, treatment of varicose veins and venous insufficiency using laser technology, 2719 W Division St., Suite 5, St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Kim Bourassa, Amanda Garner, Patty Baumann, Tonya Black and Owen Peterson.

Baker’s Hobby Emporium/ Goldeneye Framing & Gallery, 51 3rd St. NE, Waite Park. Pictured: Kris Nelson, Steve Knutson and Dolora Musech.

Entice Media Works, photo, video, and graphic design needs, 528 5th Ave. NE, St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Amie Robbins, Jon “LT” Theis and Jill Magelssen.

Town & Country Excavating, full service excavating construction support services, 934 13th Ave. NE, St. Joseph. Pictured: Dolora Musech, Jason Christen, Bryan Christen and Kris Nelson.

Cowboy Jacks, a restaurant with a down home feel, 506 W St. Germain St., St. Cloud. Pictured: Chris Panek, Curt Immerman and Jill Magelssen. 25 year Chamber member Food Ecstasy Deli Diner & Catering, 619 St. Germain St., St. Cloud. Pictured: Ken & Betty Maritsch and Inese Mehr.

Nextage – River City Realty, 2904 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud. Pictured: Jason Bernick, Al Witte and Bruce Braun.

St. Cloud Rox Baseball, 5001 8th St. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Wes Sharp, Scott Schreiner, Gary Posch and Tauna Quimby.

Tenvoorde Ford Quick Lane Service, 185 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Mayor Dave Kleis, Craig Schaefer, Mike Tenvoorde, Deb Tenvoorde and Rick Poganski.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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Tech News

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Going Green

Tech Strategies

Economy Central presented by Falcon Bank

BUSINESS TOOLS

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NETWORK

PROFIT

RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

TECH NEWS

MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Recipe for Success

In the sales world, nothing is more important than prospecting. By Whitney Bina

NOT YOUR MOTHER’S WALLPAPER With the creation of 2D printable loudspeakers,

W

hether you make cold calls, attend networking events, use referrals, or host workshops, prospecting is the key to making business contacts. And business contacts lead to successful sales. One should think of prospecting as a cookbook, according to Brian Hart, Sandler Training. Each recipe includes a definition of the ingredients, such as time required for prospecting and your overall budget, and the steps that will lead to a wonderful endresult. Your steps should be very specific and broken into activities that need to be done

every day. In order to create your prospecting cookbook, Hart suggests that you follow these steps:

1) Define exactly what you want to accomplish when prospecting. For example, you want to close four sales per month. 2) Determine your weekly or daily obligations and financial goals. You should know what you need to do and when. 3) Determine the number of sales you need in order to meet your goal and establish how much work you need to achieve that goal. 4) Ensure your goals are realistic. You may need to

readjust your goals in order to complete them each week. These steps will help you establish and achieve your sales goals. Pick the prospecting tools that work best for you and your company. Your prospecting methods may change based on how long you’ve been in the industry. You can also adjust your cookbook at any time, Hart said. When prospecting, remember to separate your industry identity and your personal life. Don’t take rejection personally, Hart said. Ultimately you want to go for a “no” so you don’t waste time on those contacts that will not be good customers. “You don’t have to like prospecting, you just have to do it,” Hart said. Prospecting can be hard work, but it is necessary for making successful sales. “You cannot fail at prospecting,” he added; “you can only fail to prospect.” BC

the ability to add sound to common printed products becomes a reality. Aside from the fact that newspapers and magazines could yell at you to buy more products, the technology may support field recordings inside road maps or strips of ambient acoustics added to rooms through loudspeaker wallpaper. Not ready for surround-sound wallpaper? How about wifi-blocking wallpaper: a printable electromagnetic shield that “only blocks a select set of frequencies used by wireless LANs, and allows cellular phones and other radio waves through.” The wallpaper uses conductive ink containing silver

Online now To view videos with tips on prospecting visit www. BusinessCentralMagazine.com

crystals, is printed in an abstract snowflake pattern, and is competitively priced with standard wallpapers. Source: BLDG/BLOG

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


“On which of these social media platforms are you most active?”

BY THE NUMBERS

Here’s what SmartBrief learned:

Dead Heat

When it comes to social media there’s only one thing that stands out: Odds are whatever you’re doing, about 30% of the business world is doing, too. Online publication SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs asked readers: 29.41% None, I do not regularly use social media 29.41% LinkedIn 29.07% Facebook 5.88% Twitter 

TECH NEWS

4.15% I am equally active on multiple platforms 1.04% Other 0.69% Pinterest 0.35% Instagram

SKIN DEEP

Color enhancing glasses may help medical professionals pick up on cues about patients that can’t be seen with the naked eye. The eyeglass filters amplify the eye’s natural ability to detect changes in hues beneath the skin. For instance, one filter would make veins show up more clearly, so no more jabbing the wrong part of the arm when a nurse is seeking an insertion point for a needle. In addition to the healthcare applications, the creators see a role for this new technology in poker, sports, dating, and security. Source: GOOD

WASHINGTON LEADERSHIP - MINNESOTA RESULTS

Michele» Bachmann» is» your» business» voice»in»Washington.»As»a»tax»attorney» and» business» owner,» she» shares» your» concerns» about» unemployment,» uncertainity»and»unnecessary»burdens.» Michele’s» leadership» to» repeal» Obamacare,» reduce» regulations» and» simplify»the»tax»code»is»inspired»by»the» »»New»Veterans’»Clinic»in»Ramsey business» owners» she» meets» everyday.»» »»Stillwater»bridge»bill»signed»by»the» President »»Spearheaded»Minnesota»Medicare»fraud» investigation »»Chief»author»to»repeal»Dodd-Frank»Act »»First»member»to»present»ObamaCare» MicheleBachmann.com Repeal»bill Paid for by Bachmann for Congress

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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BUSINESS TOOLS

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G R OW

GOING GREEN

Mainstream Green

Ogilvy Earth, the sustainability division of advertising agency Ogilvy Mather, collaborated on a project aimed at understanding the gap between consumer’s intentions and actions when it comes to buying green.

33%

of the U.S. population is “Lower Middle Greens” who believe talk about environmental problems and sustainability is hype.

16%

of the population are “Super Greens” who are leading the way in the sustainability movement.

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82%

of survey respondents see the green movement as feminine.

33%

of the U.S. population is “Upper Middle Greens” who have a strong belief in the existence of environmental problems, such as the impending water crisis.

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

#1

barrier holding Americans back from purchasing green products is the cost, also known as the “sustainability tax.” Source: Greenbiz.com

DID YOU KNOW?

POWER SAVERS In 2011, Xcel Energy customers participating in energy efficiency programs in Minnesota saved enough electricity to power every single home in the city of Bloomington for a year – with some left over. Source: Xcel Energy


Hire learning. Get the skills—for the career you want. » Small classes » Flexible scheduling » Industry-experienced faculty Learn more today. Call 320-257-2000.

St. Cloud Campus | msbcollege.edu

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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L O C

E G E L

3 1 2 1 0 2 r e a h e t In demic y aca


S T N E D U T S HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY. UNLEASHING

YOUR POTENTIAL.

Call today f o r a l l y o u r I T needs: • Web Site Design and Development • Content Management Systems (CMS) • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) • E-commerce

866.374.9066 www.jdb.com

Featured Project Arise Home Health Care

• Custom Applications Development • Dashboards and Reporting • Project Management • Network Design and Support


Talk about Positive Impressions Digital print technology is more than making copies.

Are you looking for a more efficient way to run your print jobs? Marco can help you expand your digital print capabilities with the newest production print systems and a depth of software and support expertise. Not only will we keep your digital print jobs flowing, we can also address color management, prepress workflows, variable data and other software applications. Want to chat about how you can leave a lasting impression on your customers? We’re all ears.

Digital print technology saves a financial services provider time and money. Find out how at www.marconet.com/SmartSavings marconet.com

HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY. UNLEASHING

YOUR POTENTIAL.

Call today for all your IT n e e d s :

Looking for Meeting Space?

• Web Site Design and Development • Content Management Systems (CMS) • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) • E-commerce Contact Jaime Engel 320.257.7100 www.jdb.com

Conferences | Meetings | Presentations | Receptions | Trainings | Workshops SCSU Welcome Center Advantages:

Adjacent parking Conference planning services Flexible catering options Personalized customer service Registration services available State-of-the-art technology

SCSU Welcome Center Location:

355 Fifth Avenue South (4 blocks north of campus) St. Cloud, Minnesota Contact:

320.308.6100 welcomecenter@stcloudstate.edu

www.scsutraining.com/rentwc 30

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Featured Project AbeTech

Highlights: Over 130 Pages , Kentico CMS Random Customer Quote Repeater, Web Analytics www.abetech.com

• Custom Applications Development • Dashboards and Reporting • Project Management • Network Design and Support


BUSINESS TOOLS

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G R OW

TECH STRATEGIES

An App for That Today’s computer apps allow businesses to engage customers and generate revenue. By Dawn Zimmerman

It is expected by 2015 that brands will be generating half of their web sales through social media and mobile platforms.

D

o you have an app for that? It likely won’t be long before that becomes commonplace in business sales and marketing meetings now that apps have become accessible and even affordable for small and medium businesses. Apps once were limited to businesses with a big idea and willingness to write the six-figure check to a software programmer. But it all changed at the end of last year. Apple may have introduced the first app, but Android blew it wide open – literally. The Android market surpassed 400,000 apps in December. That doubled the number of apps available in the previous eight months.

Android accelerated app development far more quickly because it operates in an open system. That system, unlike Apple’s closed system, makes it easy for developers to create and integrate software. Here are answers to some questions business leaders have been asking me lately that could help you navigate this new market: WHY ARE BUSINESSES USING APPS? In many cases, apps have been founded on fun and socialization. They are a way for businesses to share their brand, engage current and potential customers and build relationships. But they are

About the writer

beginning to provide a direct way to generate revenue. Sales through social commerce are expected to reach $30 billion within the next five years. It is expected by 2015 that brands will be generating half of their web sales through social media and mobile platforms. HOW ARE BUSINESSES USING APPS? Businesses most often are using apps to create a virtual brochure with vivid images and menus that foster interaction from the palm of a hand. They allow businesses to take content mobile and drive traffic to their websites or locations. They also can be used to push notifications that announce deals or sales, new arrivals, events, news, blog posts and more. Whether it’s a virtual shopping list that is integrated with notifications about deals for a specific product or an event-inspired app with information on conference topics, speaker bios, presentations and more, businesses are finding ways to

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

provide valuable information to users and make it easy to complete common tasks. HOW MUCH ARE WE TALKING? It can be free to create. The latest versions of graphic design programs such as InDesign 5 have the capability to create apps. Most of the tools can be found online – for free. The acceleration of the app market has led to the development of online platforms created to allow an individual with little or no design or programming skills to create and publish an app. Two leading web-based software systems - Buzztouch.com and Shoutem.com - allow users to build apps for free and charge a subscription fee for publication. A subscription can cost less than $20 a month and depends if it is created for Apple, Android or both. The market shift has been both significant and sudden. But it’s far from a fleeting fad. The growing desire to have an app for that is expected to propel the app market from the $6 billion industry it is today to $56 billion industry by 2015. It’s likely that apps soon will be as expected in business as a website. BC

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

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ECONOMY CENTRAL

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BY THE NUMBERS

RECOVERY

Labor force trends for the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) show the region is slowly recovering from the recession where unemployment peaked in 2009 at 8.2 percent.

Earnings Growth How fast is the growth in St. Cloud’s earnings after the financial meltdown of 2008? This is economics so, of course, it depends. By Mary E. Edwards, PhD

C

ompared to the United States overall, and to the State of Minnesota, some industries in Central Minnesota are doing very well, thank you. For others, not so much. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, total personal income based on residence surveys, dropped by 0.8 percent and 0.3 percent in the nation and the state, respectively, but it increased by 0.4 percent locally. Likewise, per capita personal income in St. Cloud dropped by only 1 percent, compared with a dip of 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent in the state and the nation. But this does not signify that everybody’s earnings, or those of each industry, faced a nearly identical change. Earnings by place of work are calculated by combining wage and salary disbursements, employer contributions to employee benefits and government social insurance (Medicare and Social Security) with proprietors’ incomes. Comparing rates of change for the sub components of earnings, wage and salary disbursements were basically flat, falling by only 0.1 percent, while those in the state and nation fell by over 2 percent. In contrast, nonfarm proprietors’ incomes in Central Minnesota increased by 4.8 percent, compared to decreases in the state

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of 1.5 percent and the nation of 5.9 percent. Central Minnesota’s farmers took the real hit with incomes dropping by 29.4 percent—a substantially larger decrease than that in the rest of the state or country. Of the major industry groups, the percent change in earnings ranges from a growth of 5.5 percent in real estate and rental and leasing to a drop of 19.6 percent in farm earnings. The retail earnings growth compares to flat figures for the state and nation. As with all numbers, the devil is in the details. For instance, despite the growth in overall retail, the subsector of “retail furniture and home furnishings stores” locally dropped 28.3 percent in earnings compared with a 12.7 percent decline nationally. Obviously the great recession did not affect earnings of all industries equally in all areas. Nor will the long process of recovery “float all boats” in a similar manner. BC

the number of people who moved into the St. Cloud MSA between 2000-2010

65,842

St. Cloud’s population, making it the 8th largest city in the state. When combined with Sartell, Sauk Rapids, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph the population increases to 111,057

8,872

the average number of unemployed workers in the MSA in 2009, compared to 7,334 unemployed workers in 2011 (6.7% unemployment)

Mary E. Edwards, PhD, is a Professor Emeritus, Economics, at St. Cloud State University.

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Now online

1,854

To read this article with accompanying income and earnings charts, Visit www.BusinessCentral Magazine.com

the number of jobs gained in the St. Cloud MSA (+2.0%) from 2nd Quarter 2010 to 2nd Quarter 2011 compared to 34,165 (+1.3%) jobs gained in the state of Minnesota

Economy Central presented by

Earnings Growth Story Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, CA05N Personal income by major source and earnings by NAICS industry. Last updated April 25, 2012—revised estimates for 2010; Source: Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development;

PRESENTED BY FALCON BANK


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BUILDING PERMITS BUILDING PERMITS BUILDING PERMITS RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS BUILDING PERMITS RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS TS,RESIDENTIAL CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING COMMERCIAL PERMITS, RESIDENTIAL CONSOLIDATED BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING COMMERCIAL PERMITS, BUILDING CONSOLIDATED PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING COMMERCIAL PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLID RESIDENTIAL BUILDING PERMITS RESIDENTIAL RESIDENTIAL RESIDENTIAL $5M $1M

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arm Jobs

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COUNTRY WIDE COUNTRY WIDE 2011-2012 % CHANGE COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED $120,000 10% $120,000 10% 0 0 $0 0 $2M $0 $0 $2M J F M A M J F M A M J J J A S O 10% N $2M D J J F J MA A S MO J N D J J A S O $2M NJ DJ JA FS MO AN MD JJ J J A S O N JD 2.0% NGE 2011-2012 % CHANGE UNITED STATES IN REAL-GDP MONTHLY % CHANGE STEARNS COUNTY2011-2012 QUARTERLY % CHANGE IN REAL GDP $100,000 QUARTERLY $100,000 3.0 3.0 1.5% 1.0 40

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Home Sales Closed Sheriff - Total ’s Foreclosure Auctions Lodging TaxHome Dollars Sales Closed - Total Waite Park Sauk Rapids ST. CLOUD St. Augusta Waite Park ST. CLOUD BENTON COUNTY ST. CLOUD

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$5,434,857

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45

$2M

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Sheriff ’s Foreclosure Auctions Sales Closed - Total Home Sales Closed - Total Lodging TaxHome Dollars BENTON COUNTY ST. CLOUD ST. CLOUD Waite Park Sauk Rapids ST. CLOUD St. Augusta Waite P

COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED $3M $3MCONSOLIDATED 15 150

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$46,603,752

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40 5743 2455 35 5232 2741 37 45 57

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$46,603,752

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COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED$3M COMMERCIAL BUILDING PERMITS, CONSOLIDATED $3M $5M $5M$1M $1M J J A F SM O A NM D J J F M

$25,702,953

$4M

$46,115,239

$4M

Sheriff ’s Foreclosure Auctions Sartell BENTON COUNTY Sauk Rapids

$1.5M

St. Cloud

$215,190

$1.5M

Sartell

$2M $1M

$2M

$393,348

$5,434,857

$10,914,217

$25,702,953

$46,115,239

$393,348

$2M

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$2M

$12,457,379 $23,294,590

$2M

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$2M

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Employers continue to face hiring challenges, despite persistent high unemployment rates. That’s the findings Median Housing Prices Local Nonfarm Job MINNESOTA BENTON AND STEARNS COUN from a survey conducted by the ManpowerGroup earlier this $200,000 year. The annual Talent Shortage Survey revealed that 49 percent$150,000 of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions within their organizations. Skilled trades, $100,000 engineers and IT staff are the hardest positions to fill, according to the survey.

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

35


OPTION MANAGEMENT

NEVER ONE TO ACCEPT THE STATUS QUO, JIM CHRISTENSEN, ARRAY SERVICES GROUP, IS ALWAYS ON THE LOOKOUT FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES.

BY GAIL IVERS // PHOTOS BY JOEL BUTKOWSKI

36

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


JIM CHRISTENSEN, CEO OF ARRAY SERVICES GROUP, IN THE COMPANY’S SARTELL OFFICE.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2 • •   w w w. B u s i n e s s C e n t r a l M a g a z i n e . c o m

37


I

f it wasn’t for his sister, Jim Christensen might be a resort owner today.

BUSINESS PROFILE Array Services Group 200 14th Ave E, Sartell, MN 56377-0324 PHONE: (320) 253-0800; FAX: (320) 253-4580

www.arraysg.com OWNERSHIP:

Jim Christensen, CEO Array Services Group consists of three separate business units: JCC with $22.5 million in sales and 150 employees ProSource with $11 million in sales and 185 employees CareCall with $4.5 million in sales and 185 employees COMBINED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 520 2011 COMBINED COMPANY SALES: $38 million

38

In 1976 Christensen, owner of Array Services Group in Sartell, was ready to buy a resort in Anoka, Minn. He had worked in collections for a number of years and decided that what he really wanted to do was be a business owner. A full service resort – complete with bar, restaurant, boats, and cabins – was available for $250,000. Christensen put $50,000 down. It was at this point, well into the negotiation phase of the resort purchase, that two critical things happened. The first was that Christensen’s oldest sister, whom he had hoped would help him in the business, told him that she had no interest in the resort. “I didn’t have any experience in the industry,” Christensen said. “I don’t know what I was thinking except that this is what I had decided I was going to do. I had been counting on my sister to help because she had experience in the food and beverage industry. Maybe that’s why she said no.” The second thing that happened was that Christensen received a phone call from a friend telling him that a collection agency in St. Cloud was for sale. The purchase price was $14,000. “I asked if it was Don Hustad who wanted to sell and he said yes. Don had been my supervisor briefly at one point so I knew him. Right away, I’m thinking ‘Hey, that’s quite a bit cheaper than the resort and I have some experience in that marketplace. Maybe I should take a look at it.’” Christensen was able to get his resort down payment back, he met with Hustad and his wife, and the deal was made. Christensen was a business owner.

STARTING OUT

After almost four years in the service, Christensen was discharged from the Air Force in 1969. He attended Hennepin County Community College and in November of that year went to work for GE as a repo man. When he left after three years, he was working with dealers on payment plans. “The way it worked,” Christensen explained, “is that the dealers could get the products from GE, then pay us when the products were sold. I had to go out and make sure we got paid for what they sold.”

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Christensen learned he had a talent for reading people. “That job gave me the background to understand human nature,” Christensen said. “I could tell within minutes how the person was going to react: belligerent … payment plan … take it back.” His next stop was in collections for Firestone in 1972, before moving to Minneapolis where he took a temporary job at the Bureau of Credit Control. “I had a different job lined up,” he said, “but by the time it became available, I was making too much money to quit what I was doing.” It was at the Credit Bureau that Christensen met and briefly worked for Hustad. It was also here that he started seriously thinking about starting his own business.

COLLECTIONS

In 1976 collection agencies were small, momand-pop operations with primarily local clientele, according to Christensen. Central Collection had three employees and about $50,000 in revenue. “This was the beginning of using computers in business,” Christensen said. “We were the first lease that Northwest Bank – it’s Wells Fargo, now – did for computer equipment in St. Cloud.” Using computers provided efficiencies that allowed agencies to increase the number of clients without having to increase the office staff. Christensen traveled all over Minnesota picking up clients, targeting those that had multiple branch offices. He also focused on health care, which historically has been the largest marketplace for collections. “Every small town had a dentist and a doctor’s office,” he said. “I would come every month and bring them a check. I knew I could get in to see the doctor because I had a check to give to him. That gave me the chance to ask for more business.” In his first ten years in business, Christensen grew his company to over 20 employees, added computerization, and moved from the East Gate Shopping Center in St. Cloud to an office in Sauk Rapids.

PEAKS AND VALLEYS

The arrival of dialers, computers that can dial hundreds of phone numbers a minute, moved collections to a new level. It also created other business opportunities.


IN HIS FIRST TEN YEARS IN BUSINESS CHRISTENSEN GREW HIS COMPANY TO OVER 20 EMPLOYEES, ADDED COMPUTERIZATION, AND MOVED FROM THE EAST GATE SHOPPING CENTER IN ST. CLOUD TO AN OFFICE IN SAUK RAPIDS.

John Bradshaw, an executive with a dialer company, and Christensen were business acquaintances. Together they created a company in 1992 called CareCall. “It was a customer service center. No collections at all,” Christensen said. Their market was large insurance, computer, and cellular phone companies. For the insurance companies, CareCall contacted clients to help them complete paperwork over the phone. “Blue Cross of Florida had a 20-30 percent loss factor,” Christensen. “We took them to a two to three percent loss factor just by helping their clients understand the paperwork.” With computer companies the goal was to prevent the customer from shipping the computer back to the company. “We were the first line of service. We’d ask if they were having any problems with the computer. Are you sure it’s put together right? Have you tried this? Is it plugged in? Is it turned on?” The real growth came with cellular phones. “A few days after buying a phone we’d give the customer a call and say we appreciate your business, how are you liking the phone, do you have any questions about how it works, are there any problems we can help you with, that

sort of thing,” Christensen said. “If we couldn’t answer the question, we’d hotwire the call to the company so they could take it from there.” Business boomed. CareCall went from three employees in 1992 to over 100 employees in 1997. In 1998 Christensen built a new building in Sartell for CareCall. “By 2001 CareCall was the big dog in the company,” Christensen said. “We had 170 employees, an office in Fergus Falls that was almost the same size, and fees in the $14 million range. It was crazy.” Then 9/11 happened and the market collapsed for cell phones. Providers consolidated and took the work inside. Christensen closed the Fergus Falls office. Employment dropped fast and painfully, bottoming out at about 130 people. In 2002 Christensen purchased Bradshaw’s shares in the business. Once the financial backbone, CareCall now accounts for about $4.5 million in over-all company fees of almost $40 million.

BRIGHT LIGHT

“Jim always has options that he’s thinking about,” said Chuck Engebretson, chief financial officer at Array Services Group. “I think that

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Christensen moves the company from the East Gate Shopping Center in St. Cloud to 350 S Highway 10.

TIMELINE Array Services Group Jim Christensen begins working for GE as a repo man.

Christensen takes a job in Minneapolis at the Bureau of Credit Control. 1977

1972 Nov. 1969

1973

Christensen leaves GE to work for Firestone.

“THATI THINK OPTION

MANAGEMENT HAS BEEN A KEY TO JIM’S SUCCESS OVER THE YEARS.

– Chuck Engebretson, chief financial officer, Array Services Group.

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Christensen opens an office in Albert Lea, MN.  The office closes in 1981. 1985 1979

Christensen purchases Central Collection Services in St. Cloud for $14,000.  The company has three employees and average annual revenue of $50,000.

Fun Fact: A dialer can make hundreds of calls in an hour.

Central Collections has 20 employees and fees of over $1 million. 1987

Central Collections moves to a new building in Sauk Rapids.

Central Collections buys its first computerized dialer.

1988 1989

Christensen opens an office in Minneapolis.  The office closes in 1990.

Central Collections expands debt recovery services nationwide.

option management has been a key to Jim’s success over the years.” One of those options was a project Christensen started in 1996 with just two people. “Jim had identified that many of our health care clients needed help with billing,” Engebretson said. The resulting company is ProSource, a billing outsource service for hospitals and small clinics. “We are essentially the receivables department for our clients,” Christensen said. “The first call is usually made 30-45 days after the patient receives services. It’s soft touch, customer service, fact gathering. If they have questions about a bill, if they aren’t paying because they were unhappy about something, this is all about empathy and helping the patients pay their bills.” Initially clients were hesitant about the ProSource model, according to Christensen. “They were afraid we might say inappropriate things.” Christensen brought in recorders and taped all of the conversations so clients could hear the calls, providing complete transparency of the transaction. “If our client received a complaint they could go to the tape and hear

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

1992

ProSource, a billing outsource service agency for hospitals and small clinics, is established.

Christensen builds a facility at the current site in Sartell to support CareCall’s growth. 2000

1997 1996

Christensen and John Bradshaw establish a partnership to create CareCall, a customer service contact company with three employees.

1998

Central Collection Services becomes JC Christensen and Associates (JCC).

JCC and CareCall have combined fees of $14 million and about 340 employees. CareCall opens an office in Fergus Falls.  At its peak, the Fergus Falls location has 130 employees.

what was said. Taping the calls was a huge step forward in getting clients to accept the ProSource model. And it was the best training tool we ever had.”

RISK-TAKING

“If we did things the old way,” Christensen said, speaking of his early days with Central Collections, “we’d run ourselves out of business because of the cost of personnel. We’ve invested in technology over the years because it’s what we needed to do to keep ahead.” “Jim’s greatest strengths are his instincts and entrepreneurial drive,” Engebretson said. “Things happen when you work for Jim. I knew this was a relatively flat organization when I started here, but I was surprised at how fast things go from idea to execution. He takes calculated risks and makes solid, relatively quick decisions.” An example of both innovation and quick execution was Array Services Group’s wellness program. In the early 2000s, Christensen and his management team determined that they wanted to provide health care services for employees


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Following 9/11, business for CareCall drops off dramatically.  The employee count drops to 130 and the office in Fergus Falls closes.  Christensen purchases Bradshaw’s shares in CareCall.

2002

2003

Christensen opens an office in Omaha.  The office closes in 2009.

2010 2005

Christensen forms Array Services Group, a holding company that now encompasses JCC, CareCall, Inc., and ProSource.

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using a new model. “We soaked up information for not very long, rolled the dice and tried it,” Engebretson said. “That whole process went from learning to action in single digit months. I’m aware of other organizations that made that a multi-year project.” Even though the final model didn’t look like what they had witnessed elsewhere, Engebretson calls the program a major success. “We put a nurse practitioner in our office,” he said. “Right away we saw fewer pizzas coming in the front door.” People would ask questions of the nurse practitioner that would save the employees from going to an urgent care center or the emergency room. “Sometimes,” Engebretson said, “the answer was get back to work you’re not sick, you’re just tired. Sometimes it was get out of here before you infect anyone else.” Today the company still has a wellness program, though once again its form is different than the original model. Array

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PERSONAL PROFILE Jim Christensen Jim Christensen

Services employs a full time health and wellness trainer and contracts with HealthPartners Central EDUCATION: 3 years of college Minnesota Clinics, covering the cost of employee WORK HISTORY:  General Electric Credit Corp., visits to HealthPartners HealthStation Clinics in Firestone Tire                                          Sartell and Sauk Rapids. FAMILY: 3 children all involved Not all risks have worked out for in business Christensen. Over the years, he has opened HOBBIES: Scuba diving, skiing, snowmobiling, motorcycling, and closed offices in Albert Lea, Minneapolis, boating to name a few. and Omaha. “I’ve learned that my ability to ADVICE TO A WOULD-BE run an office when I can’t see it is a struggle,” ENTREPRENEUR:  Do it!! Christensen said. “We got some very good BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED AND WHO GAVE results from those communities, but long IT TO YOU:  You can’t do term I have learned that I am not good with it all yourself, delegate to companies that I own that I can’t walk in and grow…Glenn Carlson, former president of the St. Cloud look at and physically be part of.” Area Chamber of Commerce. The Fergus Falls location was different, according to Christensen. It worked because the Fun Fact: Christensen had management team spent time in Sartell, as well been to St. Cloud once prior as in Fergus Falls. “That office did very well,” to buying Central Collection Services. Born and raised in Christensen said. “Though it did close in the Becker, he competed in track end, so I guess I’m 100 percent when it comes to in high school at Elk River and satellite offices.” came to St. Cloud for a track What he is good at is anticipating the next meet as a junior. big thing. The business is licensed to work in HOME TOWN: Elk River

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

all 50 states. They recently started working in government backed student loans and are looking at providing collection services for municipalities. “As we all know,” Christensen said, “the government needs to get paid, too. Municipalities have become an important market for our industry and we expect it to be a major portion of our future growth.”

GIVING BACK

Early in his career, Christensen had the opportunity to serve on the committee that made the original decision to build the St. Cloud Civic Center. Though committee service was not his strength, he appreciated what people who were good at it could do and how they could grow a community. He determined that his role as a business owner was to grow his company so he could give back financially to the community and to the businesses that were of high value to his company and to his employees. As a result, Array Services Group has made significant donations throughout


Continuing to Make a Difference!

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Central Minnesota, including such organizations as the St. Cloud Hospital, the public library, the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, the United Way, and others. “These are all organizations that help keep the people in a community healthy, strong, intelligent, and able to be successful,” Christensen said. Growing his business was always part of Christensen’s plan. “I think the most rewarding part of being in business was starting with three people and growing the company to 500-plus employees, delivering a needed service to multiple businesses and organizations, maintaining a good reputation in the marketplace, and doing it with a diverse and effective workforce.” Christensen is justifiably proud of his employees. In a business that is known for its turnover, he can point to a number of employees with significant longevity. The employees perform so successfully, according to Christensen, that sometimes they are hired away. Their high performance standards also cause clients to ask for new services. “We have an 85 percent close rate on new customers who come see our operation and meet our people,” Christensen said. “Once they see our employees and watch them work, they want to do business with us. “Honestly, without the talented people in this area who come to work for us, we’d never be able to do what we’ve done here.” BC Gail Ivers is vice president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and managing editor of Business Central Magazine.

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FEATURE

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PROFIT

RISKY Business In today’s economy any business can be a risky one. Knowing your industry and finding creative solutions to control costs can mean the difference between success and failure. By Lawrence Schumacher

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

B

etzy Gaetz grew up in the restaurant industry. John Schlecht’s retail career spans decades. Larry Logeman’s passion for transportation is matched only by his entrepreneurial spirit. Yet all three St. Cloudarea business owners openly acknowledge that they have chosen risky businesses to run, especially in today’s economy. “It’s very risky to run an independent restaurant in today’s market,” said Gaetz, co-owner and

manager of Anton’s Restaurant in Waite Park. “It takes being aware daily of every cost of everything coming in or going out your door just to make it work.” The independent restaurant, retail, direct sales, and consulting and business services are the four industries with the highest failure rates for start-ups, said Barry Kirchoff, director of the Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center. But starting any new business involves risk, especially if a prospective


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entrepreneur isn’t intimately familiar with the industry and the local market, he said. “You hear stories about entrepreneurs who roll the dice and come up a millionaire, but to make it like that, it’s one in a million,” said Kirchoff, who advises new and existing businesses on how to increase their odds of success. “Many people understand how to make or sell a good product, but they don’t understand the operating cycles of a business, how cash flows through one or leaks out of one.” Kirchoff’s advice for people who want to see their business succeed always starts with asking questions and gathering intelligence, usually by creating a detailed business plan. It continues with learning to be vigilant - constantly taking notice of the changing conditions around you and adapting your business to meet new realities. “If you’re complacent, you’re going to have a mediocre business,” he said. “It’s a very quick trip from success story to ‘what happened’ in today’s economy.” Human resources From a Ben Franklin store in 1997 to its current 40,000

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challenge for Gaetz, [even in ] an economy with significant unemployment. Despite a 40-year history at Anton’s of regular traffic, business on any given night can be a surprise, and you have to have enough staff on hand to deal with the rush, she said. “But you can’t always predict the demand, so having a bunch of people around when you don’t have the customers can get pretty expensive.”

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PROFIT

At Executive Express, Logeman found a unique solution to a similar problem. The St. Cloud-based scheduled transportation service provider to Minneapolis-St.

Paul International Airport needed people on hand to take reservation calls, but didn’t want to pay people to be waiting by the phone. The shuttle owner came up with an

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

of bodies in a call center,” he said. “We’ve also reworked our routes so we can fit in more runs with less down time. And we’ve done it with minimal labor increases, because their turnaround now is 15 minutes, instead of two hours.” Sales floors and rolling stock Logeman has to deal with lots of risk to his major infrastructure - the fleet of vans he uses to transport passengers to and from their destination. Fluctuating gas prices, accidents, (no significant injuries yet, Logeman is happy to report) mechanical breakdowns, and road construction all affect his bottom line. But buying enough vans to meet growing demand has allowed Executive Express to increase the number of runs through St. Cloud from five a day when he took over to 14 a day since this spring, and the company now serves 66 cities in Minnesota and Iowa. “I always make sure I have a van that sits in the back and is never used, just in case,” he said. “We keep our vans in good shape and we always have enough to meet the demand.” Keeping up with what customers are buying and getting it for a decent price are major factors in reducing retail risk, Schlecht said. That means adding new merchandise - hats, purses, jewelry, nail polish, constantly recruiting feedback from customers, and “finding purchasing groups that can get better prices than you could find on your own,” he said. “We’re part of two buying groups, and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we’d be today. Without a good buying group, it’s difficult for an


independent retailer to stay afloat.” Chain restaurants have an advantage in supply costs over independent restaurants that have to price themselves lower and find deals to stay competitive, according to Gaetz. “We work with our supplier whenever we can,” she said. “Sometimes when you go with someone exclusively and build a relationship, you get better prices than you otherwise could.” Customer satisfaction While chain restaurants are cheaper to operate, independent restaurants that know their customers can respond more nimbly to changing customer tastes and preferences, Gaetz said. “You don’t have the marketing and research dollars of the chains, so you have to know your community and be a part of it.” Executive Express’ biggest competitor is not another shuttle service, but people driving their own cars to the airport. “We put a fuel surcharge on our ticket costs,

depending on gas prices, but we can’t recover all of it, because people will only pay so much before they decide they’d rather drive to the airport,” Logeman said. “Though, when gas is expensive for us, it’s expensive for people to drive on their own, too, and we remind people about that in our marketing.” Crafts Direct makes retailing a two-way street by pushing innovative craft project ideas out to customers and responding when they suggest a new item or area of merchandise the store should sell, Schlecht said. “You have to be quick to the table to find the new trend, the new look. But you also have to know when to drop something that didn’t catch on or has gone cold, so you don’t lose too much on it.” BC

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G R OW T H

GROWING PAINS

Consider the potential benefits and challenges before making the decision to open a second location. CENTRAL MINN GROWTH GUIDE

Central Minnesota continues to thrive. Here is a glimpse of some area businesses that are growing — even in the toughest economic times.

By Whitney Bina

D

eveloping a second location may be a goal for your company, but expansions are not suitable for every business. Several St. Cloud area businesses have successfully opened additional locations. These expansions have been as close as Little Falls and as far away as Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Herman Roerick, owner of Central Landscape Supply, expanded his business to Farmington in 2006. “We expanded to serve customers in the south corridor of the state and Twin Cities metro,” Roerick said. With an expansion in Farmington, customers were able to save on freight charges and Central Landscape Supply was able to do business with more clients.

“Having a second location solved the dilemma of potential customers saying ‘I’d do business with you, but you’re too far away,’” Roerick said. A high demand for services outside of your business location is one reason to consider a second location. KDV is based in St. Cloud, but opened a second office in the Twin Cities when customer feedback showed the company was already developing clients in the metro area. Loren Viere, managing partner and CEO, said there were three reasons KDV decided to expand. “We wanted to provide opportunities for staff to grow, improve service to our clients, and remain competitive in the industry.” As they have expanded, KDV has evolved from

a traditional CPA firm to a specialized business services firm, Viere said. “In order to keep the best and brightest experts in every area, we needed to grow our business.” The main reason for his company’s expansion was the customers, according to Jeffrey Skumautz, president of Central McGowan Inc., “Central McGowan is driven by customer needs and always strives to introduce productivity enhancement processes,” he said. Growing geographically and offering more products to existing customers were two ways Central McGowan achieved business growth. Expanding your business to the best market may mean looking at other areas of the country. GATR Truck Center recently opened a second location in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Cedar Rapids was where the nearest

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


CENTRAL MINN. GROWTH GUIDE

St. Cloud Hospital Expansion Project Dale Gruber Construction, Inc Mexican Village Outdoor Patio

The expansion on the east side of St. Cloud Hospital will provide state-of-art health care for generations to come.

LOCATION Downtown St. Cloud

LOCATION 1406 Sixth Avenue North, St. Cloud

GENERAL CONTRACTOR Dale Gruber Construction, Inc

PROJECT COMPLETION June 2012

ARCHITECT Gruber Designs, LLC

WEBSITE www.centracare.com

PROJECT COMPLETION May 2012

DESCRIPTION St. Cloud Hospital’s 360,000-square-foot addition is set along the banks of the Mississippi River.

WEBSITE www.dalegruberconstruction.com DESCRIPTION 600 square foot outdoor dining patio with stucco columns and metal railings; complementing the restaurant’s existing décor.

Strack Companies Third Street Brewery LOCATION Cold Spring, Minnesota GENERAL CONTRACTOR Strack Companies ARCHITECT HMA Architects PROJECT COMPLETION June 2012 WEBSITE www.strackcompanies.com DESCRIPTION New state of the art craft brew facility for Third Street Brewery. This 18,500 square foot facility includes the new Brew House with a sampling area, two story office, material handling and fermentation facility.

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CENTRAL MINN. GROWTH GUIDE

“In the last 10 years, KDV has grown five-fold, which has allowed us to expand in different service areas.” —LOREN VIERE

Miller Architects & Builders

CentraCare Health System - Clara’s House LOCATION St. Cloud, MN GENERAL CONTRACTOR Miller Architects & Builders ARCHITECT Miller Architects & Builders PROJECT COMPLETION Addition completed July 2012, remodeling ongoing WEBSITE www.millerab.com DESCRIPTION 9,200 sf addition offering age-specific programming and therapy for children and adolescents with mental health or chemical dependency.

business opportunities arose,” said Bob Neitzke, company president. “Our business expansion was an opportunity for all of our employees to grow.” Although these four businesses have had successful expansions, growth was not without challenges. Central Landscape Supply expanded in 2006, right before the recession. Not knowing what the economy was going to do was a risk the company took. “Looking back, I probably wouldn’t have expanded,” Roerick said. “But we have been able to serve customers we couldn’t before.” Without a doubt, business would have been better in a stronger economy, he added. When expansion goals are met, great things can happen. “In the last 10 years, KDV has grown five-fold, which has

allowed us to expand in different service areas,” said Viere. “Because of our significant growth in Central Minnesota, Central McGowan is currently finalizing yet another facility expansion at our St. Cloud location,” Skumautz said. Business expansion may be appealing, but don’t expand just to grow, caution those who have done it successfully. Establish the reasons you want to expand, make sure they make sense with your business plan, then with a little luck and a lot of work you can enjoy the resulting business opportunities and outcomes. BC Whitney Bina is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

BC-Sept/Oct 2012 Ad_Layout 1 7/25/12 11:54 AM Page 1

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For more information call Wendy Hendricks at 320.656.3808

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

whendricks@BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Deadline: Sept. 21, 2012 www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com


SMART BUSINESS: St. Cloud Hospital/CentraCare Health System

Units move into new addition at St. Cloud Hospital

The new Family Birthing Center has 26 postpartum rooms where moms and their infants stay until they go home. These rooms have warmer lights over the baby bathing sinks. The expansion on the east side of St. Cloud Hospital and south parking lot glow during the early morning dawn.

THE ST. CLOUD HOSPITAL EXPANSION IS NOW COMPLETE AND HOME TO NEW OR ENHANCED UNITS WHICH INCLUDE: –––––––––– The Center for Surgical Care, on Floor A, added 10 new operating rooms for a total of 24. –––––––––– The CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center expanded its services on Floor 2 with a 14-bed Cardiac Care Unit and a new nine-bed Cardiovascular Thoracic Unit, which provides care for post-open heart surgery patients after they leave the Intensive Care Unit. –––––––––– The Family Birthing Center, on Floor 3, includes two operating rooms, 12 labor/delivery rooms, six antepartum rooms (for pregnant women who are experiencing complications such as

ST. CLOUD HOSPITAL 1406 Sixth Avenue North St. Cloud, MN 56303 www.centracare.com

SPONSORED PROFILE

premature labor or high blood pressure and need a higher level of care) and 26 postpartum rooms. All are private rooms with their own bathroom. –––––––––– The Intensive Care Unit, on Floor 4, expanded from 19 to 28 beds. –––––––––– Also on Floor 4 are 23 private surgical care rooms, nine of which are Surgical Progressive Care. –––––––––– Floor 5 became home to 15 new Medical Progressive Care rooms and eight Medical Unit 2 patient rooms, which adjoin 19 rooms in the original hospital. –––––––––– On Floor 6, eight Neuroscience patient rooms were added. The next phase of the construction project will include adding 29 private Medicine Care Center patient rooms on Floor 5 and remodeling the old Family Birthing Center into a new 28-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with private rooms. This phase is expected to be finished in spring 2013.

An Endovascular operating room, the first in Central Minnesota, uses advanced imaging to perform vascular procedures such as aneurism repairs.

CAPITAL CAMPAIGN UPDATE The CentraCare Health Foundation’s Caring for Generations Campaign is raising funds for the addition to St. Cloud Hospital’s southeast side. Gifts received from local benefactors, employees and medical staff during the campaign total $22 million to date. The campaign aims to raise $3.5 million more by December 2012 to help fund the $223-million addition. •• To learn about the CentraCare Health Foundation and how you can make a donation, call (320) 240-2810 or visit www.centracare.com/foundation.

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CENTRAL MINN. GROWTH GUIDE

WELCOME BACK, STUDENTS!

McGough Construction

St. Cloud State University - Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF) MCGOUGH OFFICE 3900 Roosevelt Rd., Suite 115, St. Cloud, MN 56301 PROJECT ADDRESS 801 2nd Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301 GENERAL CONTRACTOR McGough Construction ARCHITECT Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke Architects PROJECT COMPLETION August 2013

McGough is a PROUD PARTNER of ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY and the construction of the new Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISELF) Project.

COST Approximate Construction Cost = $38,000,000 Approximate Total Project Cost = $45,000,000

www.mcgough.com

WEBSITE www.mcgough.com

Rice Building Systems

Save-A-Lot/Payless Liquor - Coborn’s, Inc. LOCATION St. Cloud, Minnesota GENERAL CONTRACTOR Rice Building Systems, Inc.

A Tradition of Building Success for Almost 60 Years You can depend on Rice Building Systems to handle everything from concept and design all the way through the completion of your project. When you choose Rice Building Systems, you also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your project is guaranteed for years to come. We call it The Rice Difference. Building Relationships Since 1953 1019 Industrial Drive South, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379 • 320.252.0404 www.ricebuildingsystems.com BB-9836_Rice_Marco_BusCent_Ad_km_SQ.indd 1

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Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

12/5/11 1:40:00 PM

ARCHITECT Rice Building Systems, Inc. PROJECT COMPLETION June 2012 WEBSITE www.ricebuildingsystems.com DESCRIPTION This 21,000 SF remodel of the old Circuit City Building off Division Street includes a 15,900 SF grocery store and a 5,100 SF liquor store.


SMART BUSINESS: Cloud Coworking

Cloud Coworking

Where Businesses Go to Grow

“Cloud Coworking is more than an office or meeting space. It’s where businesses go to grow.” — DAWN ZIMMERMAN, FOUNDER & CEO

Jon Ruprecht of nock Design Group and Dawn Zimmerman of The Write Advantage create a community of business sharing, brainstorming and collaboration at Cloud Coworking.

A

s a young entrepreneur, it was not long before Dawn Zimmerman realized her spare bedroom did not suffice as corporate headquarters and there were only so many times she could meet clients at the local coffee shop. She needed an office. “I didn’t want to be by myself, and I wanted it to be affordable,” said Zimmerman, founder and CEO of The Write Advantage, a writing and communications firm. But what Zimmerman and others have found at Cloud Coworking is a community. “It is great to network with our

Cloud Coworking 113 Fifth Avenue S Downtown St. Cloud Phone: (320) 493-0041 Email: members@ cloudcowork.com

SPONSORED PROFILE

business leaders, bounce ideas off one another and even collaborate on projects,” said Jon Ruprecht, owner of nock Design Group and co-founder of Cloud Coworking. A desire to create an affordable, collaborative work space for businesses led Zimmerman and Ruprecht to start Cloud Coworking. The St. Cloud entrepreneurs transformed the three floors of the historic Davidson Opera House at Fifth Avenue Live! this year into a progressive office environment. Cloud Coworking is the first of its kind in Central Minnesota, but among a growing trend worldwide. “Cloud Coworking is more than an office or meeting space,” Zimmerman said. “It’s where businesses go to grow.” The coworking community yields high returns for members. At least 42 percent of coworkers report earning a higher income since joining a coworking space, according to the 2010 Global Coworking Survey. Members pay $200 a month for an office space, Internet, access to conference rooms, printing services, networking events and all the coffee they can drink. Membership starts as low as $35 a month. “Every big business starts as a small business and we are very fortunate to have Cloud Coworking facilitating small business development in our community and region,” said Brian Schoenborn, managing partner of Leonard Street & Deinard and leader of the Five Avenue Live! Development. “They are driving the next generation of entrepreneurs and businesses that will power or local and regional economy for years to come.”

Business Description: Cloud Coworking is a collaborative place where independent workers, small businesses and corporate workgroups gather to share ideas, team up on projects and get work done. Learn more at CloudCowork.com

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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

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PROFIT

Russ Portele, Coldwell Banker Burnet. Portele, a pilot, received the novelty plane that hangs in his office from his wife who picked it up at a trade show in Las Vegas.

Better & Better PERSONAL PROFILE Russ Portele, 66 Title: Branch vice president, Coldwell Banker/Burnet Hometown: Grew up on a farm near Glencoe, Minn. Family: wife, Pam Weber, is a territory rep for Hallmark Cards Industry involvement: President of the Minn. Association of Realtors in 2011, president-elect in 2010, treasurer in 2009; has served on the Professional Standards Committee for 21-14 years. Past president of the St. Cloud Association of Realtors and its subsidiary, the Multiple Listing Service Hobbies: Airplane pilot, civic air patrol; sailor – he has sailed on Lake Superior and the Caribbean many times; some gardening and reading.

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BUSINESS PROFILE

After 36 years in the real estate business, Russ Portele is still having fun. By Gail Ivers

Business Central: You’ve worked for four different companies and yet you’ve never changed jobs. How have they been different from each other? Russ Portele: Betty Lou was high energy and flamboyant. She owned the first Century 21 office located outside of the Twin Cities – that’s something most people don’t know. TCF was staid and conservative. Ralph Burnet was a risk-taker. It kept getting better and better with each buy out. BC: Housing was hit hard in the recession. How are things now? Portele: I can’t predict the future, but November-December 2011 was much more active than we would have expected. Since the first of the year, year-to-date sales are up 30-35 percent over last year – that’s market-wide, not just our office. I’d say we’re not seeing the number of foreclosures and short sales that we were seeing – they’re still there, but not like it was. We’re seeing some upward pressure on price because inventory

Business Central Magazine  ••  SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

has decreased. It’s not bad now, but people still think it is. It was common during the last four or five years for a buyer to make a really low offer. You can’t do that today or you won’t get the property. BC: What has been your biggest challenge? Portele: Definitely the last several years. Trying to maintain a focus and direction…staying positive with buyers and sellers. Working with agents to make sure they have an acceptable level of business. We have 40 percent fewer agents in the St. Cloud area now than we did five or six years ago. BC: What do you like best about the real estate business? Portele: It’s fun – it’s all fun. Meeting with you is fun! Meeting with people who are making important life decisions for themselves and their families. I like seeing agents be successful and knowing I play a role in helping them. Part of our business policy is having fun. BC

Coldwell Banker Burnet 3701 12th St N Ste 203 St. Cloud, MN 56303-2253 (320) 253-7373 Fax: (320) 253-7185 Business description: Residential real estate sales, home loans, title and closing services Number of employees: 6 Number of agents: 45 Number of homes sold: 500-700 annually sold out of the St. Cloud office Chamber member since 1975

TIMELINE 1976 Russ Portele (pronounced PORT-lee) joins the Betty Lou Berg Century 21 Granite City Real Estate Agency. 1986 Realty World TCF purchased the St. Cloud agency from Betty Lou Berg; Russ Portele moves into full time agency management 1990 Realty World sold the agency to Burnet Realty, owned by Ralph Burnet who was based in the Twin Cities 1998 Ralph Burnet sold his agency, including the St. Cloud office, to Coldwell Banker


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First our dedicated business bankers get to know you and your business. Then, they help you get the financing you need. We have lending options to help, including: • Commercial real estate loans • Construction loans • Equipment financing

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Financing your business may be one of the most important steps you’ll take. Talk to a Wells Fargo business banker today to see how we can help. Eric Albrecht • 320-259-3141 wellsfargo.com

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September/October 2012