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Sara Lommel, HR Manager, Marco, Jeff Gau, CEO, Marco, St. Cloud MN

My Plan by Medica helps employers control health insurance costs while offering employees more choices. Your employees are able to pick a plan that best fits their healthcare needs. This is important for acquiring and keeping good people. Employees see My Plan as a better option when compared to traditional plans. Just ask Sara. She’ll tell you all about Marco’s experience with My Plan at medica.com/privateexchange. For more information about My Plan call your broker or Medica at 952-992-3055.

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7/30/15 3:24 PM


stronger communities A strong community is the power behind any successful business. Marco has had the great fortune of being supported by dozens of great communities across the Midwest. To show our gratitude, Marco gives back up to 5% of our annual proďŹ ts to the communities we serve. We also sponsor events, participate in fundraisers and encourage employees to volunteer on and off company time. Giving back empowers our communities to grow stronger, dream bigger and go further. And, that’s good for all of us. Learn more and get empowered at marconet.com.

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taking technology further


SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2015

6 President’s Letter 8 Editor’s Note 22 Business Calendar 26 Network Central

CONTENTS

GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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u

C E L E B R AT I N G 1 5 Y E A R S I N B U S I N E S S

PROFIT

42 Cover Story THE REAL THING

Viking Coke’s Michael Faber swept the parking lot for $1 an hour his first day at work. Today he’s inventing new products, expanding the company’s territory, and providing national leadership in the beverage industry.

48 Feature

THE GREAT COVER UP When opportunity, pressure, and ability collide, any business can be subject to fraud. If you think your business is too small for someone to commit fraud, think again.

42

52 Special Focus

REGIONAL ROUND-UP Area community planners provide insight on city projects.

Special Sections 56

CENTRAL MINNESOTA GROWTH GUIDE

10 UPFRONT Valuable and important information designed to guide and educate.

28 BUSINESS TOOLS Marketplace intelligence and useful tips on how to continue to grow your business.

58 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Janelle Von Pinnon of the Newsleaders

Only Online // www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com

© Copyright 2015 Business Central, LLC

• Estimating healthcare credits and payments

by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce,

• 12 Billing Pitfalls

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101,

• Social media marketing mistakes • Keeping data safe

Business Central is published six times a year

P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 • Fax (320) 251-0081 Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.


Employee Health and Wellness Get your employees on the right track to meet goals and live healthy. By improving the health of your employees, you’ll increase productivity and reduce overall medical benefit costs.

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For more information, contact Danielle Berg Health and Wellness Coach 320-203-2099 worksitehealth@hpcmc.com hpcmc.com/worksitehealth

This service is available to all companies. HealthPartners insurance is not needed.


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President’s Letter MAIN PHONE

|

320-251-2940

AUTOMATED RESERVATION LINE 320-656-3826 PROGRAM HOTLINE 320-656-3825 information@StCloudAreaChamber.com WWW.STCLOUDAREACHAMBER.COM ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF PRESIDENT Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 VICE PRESIDENT Gail Ivers, ext. 109

Like Riding a Bike

I

n September Doug Loon became president of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the most influential business organization in our state. I believe he is one of the only people who will be able to successfully follow the legacy of David Olson, who died of cancer last summer. Doug has worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a variety of roles for most of his career. He is strategic and thoughtful, yet he is action oriented and moves quickly. He motivates people easily and gets things done effectively through others. He came home to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., in 1998 as vice president of the U.S. Chamber for the Upper Midwest. Coincidentally, I started my career with the St. Cloud Area Chamber at the same time. When Doug showed up in St. Cloud, we hit it off immediately, launching a great friendship. In the early 2000s we both attended the U.S. Chamber’s professional education conference in Colorado Springs for a week to learn how to run effective chambers of commerce. One afternoon was left open to experience Colorado Springs. We decided to bike down Pike’s Peak with a small group. “It’ll be fun,” we agreed. After all, it’s all downhill. All the other cyclists were testosterone crazed males who were out to beat one another down the mountain.

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Being who I am, I felt the need to keep up. We ran into a thunderstorm and the tour guides made us all get into the van to avoid being struck by lightning. Then we hit the one uphill patch. It was difficult and exhausting. I was the last person entering a road construction area, and I hit a clump of unstable dirt and gravel. As I crashed in slow motion, I clearly recall thinking, ‘I’m going down and it’s not gonna feel good.’ Nothing broke, but most of the skin on my right thigh was left on the hill that day. I brag that my DNA is a permanent part of Pike’s Peak. I got up, got back on the bike, and continued. Those boys weren’t going to see me quit. When we got to the bottom it was raining. Blood dripped down my leg into my sock, but I was smiling for the photos. Doug smiled, hugged me and said, “You’re pretty tough.” Doug’s new experience may be a bit like our bike ride was for me. There will be a lot of testosterone-crazed people trying to beat him. There will be storms and he may have to dodge lightning. There will definitely be uphill patches that are difficult and exhausting. He may even crash and leave some skin. But I know he’ll get up to continue the ride, because he, too, is pretty tough. And most of all, it’ll be fun.

DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR Virginia Kroll, ext. 105 COMMUNICATIONS & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR Whitney Bina, ext.130

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Sharon Henry, ext. 124 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF MAIN PHONE | 320-251-4170 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Julie Lunning, ext. 111 DIRECTOR OF CONVENTION SALES Lori Cates, ext. 113 DIRECTOR OF SPORTS & SPECIAL EVENTS Dana Randt, ext. 110

DIRECTOR OF VISITOR SERVICES Jean Robbins, ext. 129 SALES MANAGER Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Carrie Zwack, ext. 100

2015-16 BOARD MEMBERS Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, Board Chair

Diane Mendel, Playhouse Child Care

Dan Bittman, Sauk Rapids-Rice School District

Dolora Musech, Batteries Plus Bulbs

David Borgert, CentraCare Health Neil Franz, Franz Hultgren Evenson, Professional Association Jim Gruenke, Mark J. Traut Wells, Inc. Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning John Herges, Falcon National Bank

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

MEMBERSHIP SALES SPECIALIST Jaime Buley, ext. 134

Dennis Host, Coborn’s, Inc.

Kris Nelson, Custom Accents, Inc., Past Board Chair Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University Mark Osendorf, Xcel Energy Roger Schleper, Premier Real Estate Services, Board Vice Chair Melinda Vonderahe, Times Media Dr. Bea Winkler, retired business owner Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St.Cloud


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Editor’s Note Viking Coca-Cola CEO Michael Faber explains the nuances of carbonation to Business Central Editor Gail Ivers. Gail is holding the last 6.5 ounce glass

PUBLISHER Teresa Bohnen

returnable bottle of Coca-Cola filled and capped

MANAGING EDITOR Gail Ivers

in the U.S. Michael was in Winona for the bottling

ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dawn Zimmerman

in 2012, and bought the prized bottle in an auction

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Fred E. Hill, King Banaian, St. Cloud State St. Cloud State University University

shortly after it cleared the line.

W

hen I was a little girl, pop was a luxury food. There were only two occasions on which we were allowed to drink pop: If we were sick, or if my parents had bridge club. My parents belonged to two different bridge clubs, both of which were hosted at our house two or three times a year. My brother and I would hide out in the den with the door closed until Mom would call us to help serve coffee. This was an acceptable task because she didn’t mean coffee. She meant pop. Our job was to offer pop to the guests who didn’t want coffee, then pour the pop into nice glasses with ice and deliver it. Any opened bottles that still had pop in them were ours to drink. This turned pop into a luxury food reserved for special occasions. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I found out you could drink pop anytime you wanted. He was a Diet Coke man and had it on-hand all the time. He preferred his Coke in a glass bottle. For many years after you couldn’t buy glass bottles in the grocery stores, Tom would drive to

IN MEMORIAM

PS: For the record, I’m an equal opportunity beverage consumer. Diet Mountain Dew takes up almost as much space in my refrigerator as Diet Coke!

Remembering James and Marcy Gammell

Long time Chamber member and community volunteer, James Gammell, passed away in August at age 97. James and his wife Marcy, who passed away earlier this year, were featured on the cover of Business Central in January 2014. Active to the end, James joined us for our 15th birthday party in June. We will miss his sense of humor and his commitment to making the St. Cloud Area the best it can possibly be.

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Whitney Bina, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Tracy Knofla, High Impact Training

Heidi L. Everett, Watab Communications Julie Fisk and Melinda Sanders, Quinlivan & Hughes Sharon Henry, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Josh Longnecker, Northwestern Mutual Greg Vandal, Vox Liberi Kelly Vinson-Taylor, Insperity 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 Photo by Joel Butkowski, Butkowski Digital Imaging

Glass Rules!

Viking Coca-Cola and pick up wooden crates of Diet Coke in returnable bottles for us to have at home. Long after Viking discontinued that product, Tom and I would mourn the change in taste from a glass bottle of Diet Coke to a can of Diet Coke. Most people who hear this comment think it’s all in my head, but I recently had a chance to ask an expert. I shared my flavor observations with Michael Faber, CEO of Viking Coca-Cola, (see the story on page 42). He told me there certainly is a difference in flavor. It’s the bottle. Or, more precisely, it’s the carbonation. Carbonation doesn’t escape from a glass bottle as easily as it does from a can. Apparently aluminum is somehow permeable, but glass can, well, hold its gas. For those of us who care about such things, the carbonation changes the flavor and you really can taste a difference. Validation at last! Until next time,

ACCOUNTING Judy Zetterlund WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman CORPORATE SPONSOR

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 Fax (320) 251-0081 www.BusinessCentralMagazine.com FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION CONTACT Wendy Hendricks, (320) 656-3808 EDITORIAL SUGGESTIONS CAN BE MADE IN WRITING TO: Editor, Business Central, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Submission of materials does not guarantee publication. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.


GROWTH

SPACE

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W. Gohman Construction can build the space you need, from new construction to renovating an existing structure. We build environments that work for your employees and your budget. 65 YEARS | info@wgohman.com St. Joseph, MN | 320.363.7781CELEBRATING GENERAL CONTRACTOR

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UPFRONT

12 Getting Going 18 New at the Top

14 People to Know 16 Your Voice in Government 22 Business Calendar 24 The Trouble with Business

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GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

BOOK REVIEW

The decisions you make and the actions you take will define your success.

Sound Advice By Dr. Fred Hill

NEWS & PEOPLE THAT MAKE UP THE CHAMBER NETWORK

T

ory Johnson is a college dropout, yet she has built two multimilliondollar businesses. She states that her counsel is not a substitute for legal or financial advice from professionals who can address your specific needs. Even so, she gives sound advice. Her book consists of 11 chapters. They are 1. Spark & Hustle. 2. Discovering Your Spark. 3. Ask the Right Questions. 4. Master the Money Matters. 5. Embrace the Power of One. 6. Go from Product to Profit. 7. Market with Muscle. 8. Go Social. 9. Sold is the Best FourLetter Word. 10. Set Up Shop. 11. Hustle Every Day. I especially like her ten closing thoughts. They are: 1. Keep your “why” top of mind always. Remember your personal rationale for starting this business. 2. Set “smart” goals. Skip pie-in-the-sky generic targets. Go for specific, measurable and timesensitive goals.

DID YOU KNOW?

Spark & Hustle; Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now, by Tory Johnson, Berkley Books, Inc., New York, 2012, ISBN 978-0-425-24746-4

3. Make BBFs. Cultivate a core group of Best Business Friends – other entrepreneurs you can depend on. 4. Know when to pounce and when to pause. Don’t be distracted by every bright shiny object that comes your way. 5. Get social. It is not enough to be “on” Facebook and other networks; you must be actively engaged in daily communication with your target market.

6. Value your time and talent. Hours slip away in small business. 7. Ask, don’t hint. Instead of waiting for the moment to be perfect, speak up when the moment is good enough. 8. Mistakes are teachable moments. Baseball players make millions, even though they have more misses than hits. If you mess up, learn from it and keep swinging. 9. Hustle trumps all. Your success is not defined by where (or if) you went to school, who you know, or how much money lines your bank account. Success will be determined by your hustle – the decisions you make and the actions you take each and every day. 10 Action is the antidote to fear. Few things are easy and you won’t be immune to fear. But smart hustle is the only way. Launch into this book – it is excellent! Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus professor from St. Cloud State University

Microbiologics launches new division

Microbiologics launched a business solutions division dedicated to partnering with diagnostic and life science technology manufacturers. Mark Ellingson, senior business development manager, leads the division which works to design, develop and deliver customized controls specifically for Microbiologics’ customers.

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NEWS REEL INITIATIVE FOUNDATION AWARDS $700,000 IN GRANTS The Initiative Foundation awarded 56 grants totaling over $710,000 in the first quarter of 2015. The grants support organizations and projects within the 14-county region considered Central Minnesota. Recipients include the St. Cloud Area School District 742 Inside Out Connections and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Dental Education for Head Start projects.

CENTRACARE RECEIVES AWARDS, NAMES NEW LEADER The American Heart Association named CentraCare Health a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite for helping employees eat better and move more. Anthony Gardner joined CentraCare Health as vice president, marketing and communications. Gardner previously served as vice president, marketing and communications for Allegiance Health in Jackson, Mich. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Yale University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. CentraCare Family Health Center earned UCare’s Excellence in Culturally Competent Care Award in June. The organization received recognition for making changes to improve culturally appropriate care and communication with patients from other cultures.


Reaching the TOP

so you can too

Deb Bemboom, 44 s, 44 Sauk Rapids, MN Boston Marathon Qualifier

At St. Cloud Hospital, we help set national benchmarks for quality care and patient satisfaction — to better serve you!

The 100 Top HospitalsÂŽ program is a registered trademark of Truven Health Analytics.TM

centracare.com


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UpFront GETTING GOING

NEWS REEL MARCO EXPANDS, HIRES Marco, Inc. expanded in Nebraska and Wisconsin. The company purchased Better Business Equipment (BBE) in Omaha, Neb., and the copier and sales services division of Hadley Office Products in Wausau, Wis. Marco now has 42 locations nationwide. Penton Technology named Marco Inc. a 2015 MSPmentor 501 Top Managed Services company. This global recognition gathers information from an annual survey for managed and IT service providers. Marco ranked 20th overall. Marco hired the following people:

(L-R) Loni Dow, marketing

coordinator; Reece Hemmesch, leasing coordinator assistant; Randy Kight, internal IS SQL developer II; Kelly Klein, leasing coordinator

(L-R) Sara Nentl, contracts

coordinator assistant; Lauren Neumann, accounts payable I; Eric Oehrlein, business analyst III; Craig Roering, continuous improvement assistant

(L-R) Brooke Rundell,

returns & warranty assistant; Deanna Scherber, client support coordinator; Jay Schulzetenberg, AV field engineer; Alyse Siemers, proposal coordinator

Solitary Work

“Entrepreneur” doesn’t necessarily mean loner but, when combined with “sole proprietor,” it does involve a measure of solitude. By Greg Vandal

“S

ole Proprietor” is what it says on my corporate registration with the state. It felt good five years ago to file such a document. After a 35-year career in a very social business – the public schools – I moved into a private enterprise consulting for education institutions, nonprofits, and businesses. For the bulk of my career, I was a school administrator, an occupation filled with many positive relationships with kids, families, and coworkers. I was the “boss” for the last two decades of that experience, and I always felt like I was a part of a great team. While those interactions were certainly fulfilling, I was eager to venture out on my own, to be more entrepreneurial. Now, the term “entrepreneur” does

not mean loner but, when combined with the business category of “sole proprietor,” it does involve a measure of solitude. I’m typing this article in an office filled only with the gentle sound of music in the background. There are no phones ringing and no persons wandering by who might just pop in for a quick conversation about work or family. Sometimes the quiet can be boring, even gloomy. I get a semblance of the old professional “social fix” by taking on planning projects or executive searches, but I know that I’m a consultant to someone else’s organization rather than a real member of that team. It is more difficult to relish in the success or languish in the near miss with others when the project is over. I’m simply not emotionally invested in the same way I was. The quiet or the emotional disconnection may be precisely why some folks crave the role of working a solo gig. Others, though, may miss the interpersonal intensity. Certainly, it’s easier to avoid

workplace conflicts when one is a sole proprietor. But there is a sacrifice made in the absence of the exchange of stories with colleagues who share the same interests, who experience similar hopes and dreams for work as you do. If one is wired, as I have been through my adult life, for the social interaction that comes most naturally from the job, where else can these connections be made? For me, the answer lies in volunteer service. Involvement on a board for groups near to my heart helps. Packing food for the hungry or tossing sandbags to hold back rising waters – especially when done with a spirited team – has always given me a charge. More important than the business contacts that occur at a board table or on a service project are the personal connections these opportunities provide. Anyone who needs to remain closely engaged with people, but who wants to work alone, might consider finding a healthy outlet to get a regular “social fix.” Then, solitary won’t translate to lonely.

(L-R) Jamie Stegura, billing

inquiry coordinator; Greg Steil, printer service technician; Tyler Zehrer, cabling technician I

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


POINT OF VIEW

Business Central asks readers:

“What has been your biggest accomplishment so far this year?”

Growing our business and adding new staff members.”

Laurie Humphrey • Granite Financial

I realized this: One’s happiness is answering one’s calling.”

Jim McAlister • Tell-A-Vision Productions

“I had a goal of five things I wanted to accomplish professionally and I have already accomplished all of them!” Kat Harrison • Fostering LLC

Making it to 10 years in business!”

Rachael Sogge • Eyecon Graphics

Expanding into videos on social media and implementing email and text notifications for clients.” Jeff Udy • Infinite Eye Care

Top 10 Spot USA Today cited the College of Saint Benedict as one of the nation’s top ten best Catholic colleges and universities in the country, as ranked by College Factual. CSB earned the No. 8 ranking among schools that recorded their religious affiliation as Roman Catholic. The overall ranking is based on 11 factors including average test scores, student to faculty ratio and firstyear retention rate.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

13


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UpFront PEOPLE TO KNOW

NEWS REEL CENTRACARE NAMES NEW LEADERS, EXPANDS CentraCare Health named four new directors:

(L-R) Bryan Bauck, BA, MHA,

care center director for St. Cloud Hospital Women & Children’s Center; Phil Martin, RN, BSN, MBA, care center director for the CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center; Kirsten Skillings, MA, APRN, CCRN, CCNA, director of inpatient cardiology at CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center; Ken Benning, director of Surgical Services Support The organization also expanded its wellness team:

(L-R) Jodi Gertken was

appointed director of wellness for CentraCare Health; John Inkster was named BLEND (Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily) coordinator; and Mackensey Stang joined BLEND as a specialist. The CentraCare Wellness team works toward helping individuals make healthy choices every day through eating healthy, exercising, and living tobacco-free.

WILSON, ELLINGSON JOIN SMARTSEARCH Mallory Wilson joined SmartSearch, an Arvig Company, as a web designer. Wilson holds a graphic design technology AAS degree from Dakota County Technical College. Maria Ellingson joined the company as digital marketing coordinator for social media and text marketing. She earned a communications study degree from Luther College and is Google AdWords Certified.

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Change and Engagement New Chamber Board chair hopes his tenure will see a revised dues structure and increased participation in government affairs programming.

J

ason Bernick, Bernick’s, has been participating in the Chamber in different roles and different ways for several years. “I’ve been observing, watching and learning,” he said. Now, as the 2015-2016 chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, he believes he has something to contribute. “I was interested in being chair of the board because I want to be part of an organization that has brought our region together and helps make it a good place to live and a great place to do business.” His involvement in government affairs, both at Bernick’s and in the Chamber, makes his interest in building participation in the Chamber’s Washington, D.C., fly-in a natural. But even more important to Bernick is taking a hard look at the Chamber’s membership dues structure. “We need to seek a sustainable solution to small annual dues increases,” he said. “We need to look hard at dues increases so when our members ask what’s driving the change, we have an answer.” A dues evaluation committee will investigate dues structures at other chambers of commerce throughout the United States and is expected to report to the Board by

second quarter of 2016. “We need to be sure that whatever we decide that it’s right for the St. Cloud area. We can’t just take someone else’s model and plug it into our Chamber,” Bernick said. “We need a plan and we need to be sure that it’s something that everyone is committed to. These kinds of changes need broad organizational support in order to succeed.” An equally serious topic, but far more fun than dues, is the Chamber’s annual trip to Washington, D.C. Typical participation is six to ten people. Bernick hopes to break the attendance record from a few years back of 18 participants. “I can’t stress enough,” he said, “that if members of Congress don’t hear from you, they’ll assume you approve of what they’re doing. The Chamber’s fly-in is a way to get your voice heard and traveling with the Chamber makes it easy and fun.” Each year the Chamber schedules appointments with all members of the

Minnesota delegation. Individuals can do that on their own, according to Bernick, but it is much harder and you can rarely see everyone in just a few days. “The Chamber provides access,” he said. “When I go to Washington for Pepsi, I have one kind of access. When I go there for our beer products, I have another kind of access. When I go with the Chamber, it gives me broader access. In my case, the Chamber’s trip to Washington enhances what I’m already doing, but in lots of cases it’s the only access a business will get.” Be prepared, Bernick said, you’ll hear a lot more about this trip in the next 12 months. Wary of too many goals, Bernick says he has two more items on his list that he is hoping to address: A higher level of partnership between the Chamber and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, and increased engagement with our larger businesses. “The GSDC is making great progress in bringing workplace well-being to our community,” he said. “Our Chamber can help broaden that effort, as well as efforts on transportation needs. Together GSDC and the Chamber can help strengthen our community.– GMI


IT HAPPENED WHEN?

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. SUMMER 2002

(Above): Members of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. host a kick-off event in May 2002. (Left): F.R.I.E.N.D.S. at a St. Cloud Riverbats (now Rox) game.

I July 2002- F.R.I.E.N.D.S. participants enjoy the paddle boats on Lake George.

n May 2002, the Chamber’s F.R.I.E.N.D.S. program (Fun, Recreational, Interactive, and Networking Designed for Singles) held its first event at the St. Cloud Hospital, which featured a BBQ bash. On July 18, 2002, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. hosted a paddle

boating event at Lake George followed by appetizers at D.B. Searles. Although only the second meeting, nearly 50 people signed up to participate in the event. For just $3 per person, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. provided opportunities to meet and

mingle with other single Chamber members. Other meeting events included: •• Luau at Jimmy’s Pour House •• Halloween Costume Party •• Blues night at Legends, Holiday Inn •• Game night at D.B. Searles •• Riverbats baseball game at the MAC •• Irish dance performance at the College of Saint Benedict The program, created as a young professionals group, was discontinued in 2004 and replaced with NEXT-St. Cloud. For details about NEXT, contact Whitney Bina at 320-656-3830

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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UpFront YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

Be Informed

PINECONE VISION CENTER EXPANDS PineCone Vision Center recently relocated. The newly expanded building tripled the size of its current practice and houses all departments and staff under one roof. The facility offers ten examination rooms, newer equipment, and more advanced medical technology.

CRANE, DULLINGER JOIN WSB Jamie Crane joined WSB & Associates, Inc. as a survey technician. Crane has over two years of surveying experience and 17 years of construction experience. Gina Dullinger, PE, joined the company as a project engineer. She brings over 15 years of experience as a project engineer and manager.

LOCAL COMPANIES NAMED TOP WORKPLACE The Star Tribune named Brenny Transportation, Inc. as one of the Top 150 Workplaces in Minnesota. Brenny ranked No.16 on the small company list. Marco Inc. also earned a spot on the list for the sixth consecutive year. Microbiologics, Pro Staff and Reliable Medical Supply were also included. The Top Workplace list recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinion measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. Nearly 70,000 surveys are analyzed statewide every year.

O

n November 3, 2015, the St. Cloud Area School District will ask voters to decide on a proposed bond referendum. Take time to educate yourself before you cast your ballot. THE HISTORY Technical High School is nearly 100 years old and faces endless repair and accessibility issues. For years, athletics and other activities have been outsourced off-site because of space and condition issues. Apollo High School is 45 years old and also faces the deterioration of time. The average age of schools in the district is 40, and the reality is that they were built for another era. School entrances and offices in most of the facilities are not adequately secure. Technology needs far exceed the district’s present capacity, and staff, students and community members agree that in order for students to be prepared for tomorrow’s work world, they must be digitally skilled.

THE QUESTION The referendum question requests authority to issue general obligation school building bonds in an amount not to exceed $167 million to provide funds for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities throughout the school district. The funds would pay the cost for: Land and construction of the new Technical High School

$113.8 million

The repair and renovation of the existing Apollo High School site and facility

$46.5 million

The construction of secure, controlled entries and safety and security upgrades to various school sites and facilities throughout the district

$2.5 million

The acquisition, installation, replacement and maintenance of software, computers, mobile devices, and technology systems for schools throughout the district

$4.2 million

Total

$167 million

THE PAYMENT

TORGERSON PROMOTED Heartland Glass Company promoted Ryan Torgerson to general manager. Torgerson started at Heartland Glass in 2001. He has served in various roles including sales, estimator, project manager and operations manager.

Estimated Tax Impact: RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD

Est. Mkt Value

Est. Impact of First Yr

$125,000

$159.57

COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL Est. Mkt Value

Est. Impact of First Yr

$250,000

$713.85

$200,000

$302.34

$500,000

$1,553.67

$275,000

$445.11

$1 million

$3,233.32

$400,000

$671.86

$2 million

$6,592.60

For additional referendum information, including the tax impact for individual homeowners, visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com 16

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Source: St. Cloud Independent School District 742

NEWS REEL


TOP HATS : NEW MEMBERS

Solid Rock Family Church, a family friendly, nondenominational church, 1533 Frontage Road N, Waite Park. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Ryan Conrad, Krystal Conrad and Shawn Brannan.

Spa Nala, laser skin rejuvenation and hair removal, massage, botox, microderm, esthetician facials, 1101 2nd St. S, Suite 102, Sartell. Pictured: Rick Poganski, Kristine Brugh and Kris Hellickson.

St. Cloud Business Center, providing a full range of office spaces at a budget price, including month-tomonth leases, free high-speed Wi-Fi, receptionist service, and more, 14 7th Ave. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Kim Dahlberg and Roger Schleper.

Ken Bellicot State Farm Insurance, 2904 Roosevelt Road, St. Cloud. Pictured: Tauna Quimby, Ken Bellicot and Brenda Eisenschenk.

Fostering, LLC, CRM (customer relationship management) specialist, 505 W St. Germain St., St. Cloud. Pictured: Jordan Junkermeier, Matt Foster and Sheri Moran.

St. Cloud Renters Warehouse, helping property owners rent and manage their residential real estate, 3700 W Division St., Suite 105, St. Cloud. Pictured: Tauna Quimby, Ayron Stellmach, Barry Kurowski, Kady Woody and Shawn Brannan.

Mark’s Wallcoating, Inc., 12564 County Road 160, St. Joseph. Pictured: Mark Krebsbach and Brenda Eisenschenk.

Braun Intertec Corporation, providing geotechnical, environmental and testing solutions in the private and public sectors, 3900 Roosevelt Road, Suite 113, St. Cloud. Pictured: Peg Imholte, Matt Balster, Andrea Maher and Sheri Moran.

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UpFront DID YOU KNOW?

Poser named Quilter of the Year Minnesota Quilters name Sue Poser, owner, Gruber’s

NEWS REEL

Quilt Shop, the 2015 Quilter of the Year at their annual

GASLIGHT EXPANDS

convention. For over 30 years, Gruber’s has been

Gaslight Creative expanded its offices in downtown St. Cloud. In March 2014, Gaslight moved into the 200 suite and in July, the company took over the first floor of the same building. The expansion adds new offices, a conference room and a client reception area.

recognized as a mainstay in Minnesota quilt fabric business. Poser brought Gruber’s to St. Cloud in 1998 and has since expanded to a larger shop in Waite Park. She was featured on the cover of Business Central Magazine in July 2006.

NEW AT THE TOP

Randy Trimm, 54 COBORN’S PROMOTES Coborn’s, Inc. promoted two executives: Becky Estby, senior vice president of human resources and organizational development, and Lisa Ellis, vice president of real estate. Estby joined Coborn’s in 2011 and has over 20 years of experience in HR leadership. Ellis joined Coborn’s last year with over 25 years of real estate experience.

WEAVER JOINS IIW Jessica Weaver joined IIW Minnesota as an architect. She will work on a variety of K-12 school projects.

PROCESSPRO MAKES TOP 20 LIST ProcessPro was included on the annual list of CIO Review’s 20 Most Promising Food and Beverage Technology Solution Providers of 2015. The company was recognized for its in-depth experience working with a wide variety of process manufacturers in the food and beverage industry. The annual list of companies is selected by a panel of experts and members of CIO Review’s editorial board to recognize and promote technology entrepreneurship. Continued on page 22.

President/Chief Executive Officer Great River Federal Credit Union Previous Employer: CU*Answers Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to this employer, I served for 4+ years as CEO for the largest faith-based/Catholic Credit Union in the State of Ohio. What will you miss most about your previous position? The interaction, support, and consulting provided to the 238 member Credit Unions that furthered my knowledge, growth, and insight of the credit union industry. In addition, the innovative environment that fostered evaluation, development and implementation of member-based solutions. When did you start your current position?

November 18, 2014. I arrived at Great River October 6th and worked with the retiring CEO to ensure a smooth and seamless transition for employees, members, and the organization. What are you looking forward to most in your new position? I’m excited about the opportunity to develop the skills and abilities of our most important resource: our employees. Products and services are homogenous, the real difference is people. People maximization is something that I am passionate about. Where did you grow up? A rural environment in a farming-based community in

Northeast Ohio. Baling hay, doing chores, and milking cows provided a valuable foundation that I draw on every day. What are your hobbies? I enjoy listening to music, particularly Classic Rock and the Blues. Blues artist Joe Bonamassa is a current favorite. I also enjoy reading, historical topics are a favorite.

Fun fact: I’m an NFL owner. As a Green Bay Packer shareholder, lifelong fan, and believer in the Lombardi way, I support the Packers. Maybe not the best facts to share here in Vikings’ Country… .

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TOP HATS : NEW MEMBERS

Riverside Realty of Little Falls, 58 E Broadway, Little Falls. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Randy Warzecha and Peg Imholte.

YuppyPhoto, 701 W St. Germain St., Suite 301, St. Cloud. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Jeff Yapuncich, Rochelle Yapuncich and Roger Schleper.

Blueprint Fundraising, over two decades of nonprofit experience and fundraising goals. Solutions include program assessment, grant writing, board and staff training, and annual and capital campaign counsel, 18453 17th Ave. E, Clearwater. Pictured: Shawn Brannan, Jill Dalager Brunner and Peg Imholte.

AmericInn Sartell, 119 LeSauk Drive, Sartell. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Roshan Patel, Jason Peterson, Ravin Patel and Beth Putz.

The Club Total Fitness and Racquetball, offering yoga, group fitness classes, personal training, racquetball, massage, and much more, 10081 County Road 138, St. Cloud. Pictured: Shawn Brannan, Gus Penz and Jason Krantz.

Royal Renovations, specializing in the restoration of commercial and residential properties that have had fire, water, mold, and sewer damage in Central Minnesota, 8523 1st Ave. E, Clear Lake. Pictured: Dave Borgert, Kyle Gay and Peg Imholte.

Detailed Services, providing specialty project cleaning to restaurants, hotels and commercial properties, 16965 Rabbit St. NW, Anoka. Pictured: Jill Magelssen, Tony Rumreich and Brian Jarl.

AMG Promotions, a certified full service provider of promotional products, corporate apparel, employee recognition awards, and fulfillment, 2229 26th St. S, St. Cloud. Pictured: Tauna Quimby, Suzanne Stenseth, Nancy Avery, Shari An Buell, Shannon Tietz, April Mae Good, Dave VanderLinden, and Matthew VanderLinden.

Profile: Family Medicine It has been 87 years since the first physician at St. Cloud Medical Group took the blood pressure of a patient with the intention of keeping that record and routinely checking in on that number. Why did that first doctor do that— to keep the patient’s wellness in check, to ensure longevity, and to be the provider they’d want their own family to see. That’s what we still do today. It’s the genuine care and respect we have for our patients that makes all the difference.

South Campus

Northwest Campus

320-251-8181

320-202-8949

Clearwater Clinic

Cold Spring Clinic

320-558-2293

320-685-8641

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

StCloudMedical.com S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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UpFront TOP HATS : NEW MEMBERS

Klein Electric, 24763 Lake Road, St. Cloud. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Dan Klein and Dave Borgert.

Lenny’s Crossroads Automotive, professional auto repair services, 349 2nd Ave. NE, Waite Park. Pictured: Brian Jarl, Chris Wolf and Kris Hellickson.

Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival, four day annual music and camping festival featuring national and regional performers of bluegrass, old-time string band and related forms of acoustic music, held at El Rancho Manana the second weekend of August, PO Box 16408, Minneapolis. Pictured: Jill Magelssen, Ross Vaughan and Beth Putz.

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The Pickled Loon, a fresh and unique food menu for both lunch and dinner, 715 West St. Germain, St. Cloud. Pictured: Peg Imholte, Buddy Jost, Michael Ahrens, Michael Illies and Sheri Moran.

Seal King, residential and commercial asphalt seal coating and crack repair, 1745 Quebecor Road NE, Suite 100, St. Cloud. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Timothy John Hoefer and Tauna Quimby.

Polished Concrete, a concrete polishing and decorative concrete company, including concrete countertops and patio pavers, 905 35th Ave. NE, Sauk Rapids. Pictured: Inese Mehr, Kevin Johnson, Josh Theis, Matt Helfenstein and Kris Hellickson.

Farmers Insurance – Steve Nusbaum/Osgood Agency, home, auto, life, and business insurance, 3335 W St. Germain, Suite 105, St. Cloud. Pictured: Roger Schleper, Steve Nusbaum and Brenda Eisenschenk.

STRIDE Academy, an individualized learning environment that breaks down barriers and gives all students the tools to be successful, 1025 18th St. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Jamie Goebel, Sarah Salmela, Brett Fechner and Beth Putz.


TOP HATS : NEW LOCATIONS, OWNERSHIP & EXPANSIONS

ABC Seamless Siding, Windows & Gutters, 301 4th Ave. S, Sartell. Pictured: Sheri Moran, Josh Stahlecker, Tim Boecker and Roger Schleper.

Quinlivan & Hughes, P. A., law firm, 1740 W St. Germain, St. Cloud. Pictured: Luke Cesnik, Dyan Ebert, Ron Brandenburg and Julie Forsberg.

The Village Family Service Center, a nonprofit, financial resource center, financial and credit review, housing counseling, debt management, bankruptcy education, mental health, 4140 Thielman Lane, Suite 304, St. Cloud. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Amber Morrighan, Signe Miller, Waneta Perkins and Inese Mehr.

Quarry Title & Closing, LLC, closing and title company, 3312 3rd St. N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Brenda Eisenschenk, Julie Griffin, Lori Steinhofer and Roger Schleper.

Emerald Companies, Inc., a service provider offering grounds maintenance, snow plowing, and professional holiday lighting, 8046 Old Highway Road N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Inese Mehr, David Brix, Joel Wollum and Greg Theis.

Think Tourism, USA, LLC, produces visitor guides for cities in the upper Midwest, 2233 Roosevelt Road, Suite N, St. Cloud. Pictured: Julie Forsberg, Gary Webber, Pat Webber, Penny Goetz, Cathy Hennen and Luke Cesnik.

Woods Farmer Seed & Nursery, year round garden center with Minnesota grown plants of nursery stock, annuals, perennials, roses, 2801 1st St. S, Waite Park. Pictured: Diane Diego Ohmann, Tom Woods, Ellen Woods and Beth Putz.

Convention & Visitors Bureau, promoting St. Cloud as a tourist and convention destination, 1411 W St. Germain St, Suite 104, St. Cloud. Pictured: Lori Cates, Nikki Fisher, Jean Robbins, Carrie Zwack, Dana Randt, Kelly Sayre, Julie Lunning, and top hatters Julie Forsberg and Luke Cesnik.

M A N U FAC T U R E R OF P R E M I UM C ONC R E T E PAV I NG S TON E S , SL A B S & WA L L S

D

REAM

about your next project and let Borgert take you there with our wide variety of premium pavers, slabs and walls. Experience a lifetime of enjoyment as you relax in your newly created space.

Enjoy Life Outdoors Visit our showroom at: 8646 Ridgewood Rd., St. Joseph, MN 56374

For more information or for a free Borgert catalog call 320.363.4671 W W W. B O R G E R T P R O D U C T S . CO M

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UpFront

NEWS REEL PLEASURELAND OPENS SIXTH LOCATION PleasureLand RV Center opened a new store in Brainerd, MN, the sixth PleasureLand RV location. The new location offers a 14-acre sales display lot, a large indoor showroom and 50-foot service bays to allow for complete body repair, service needs and accessory installation. The company also opened the PleasureLand RV Budget Lot and Surplus Store of Brainerd.

KRAMER RECOGNIZED AS TOP FINANCIAL ADVISOR James Kramer, III, an independent financial advisor with LPL Financial at Kramer Financial, was recognized as a top advisor and named to the LPL Chairman’s Club. This award honors less than 6 percent of LPL Financial’s approximately 14,000 advisors nationwide. Honorees are selected based on the financial advisors’ annual production ranked among all registered advisors supported by LPL.

SPIRIT 92.9 NAMED FINALIST Christian Music Broadcasters (CMB) named Spirit 92.9, a station of Gabriel Media, a finalist for the CMB Small Market Station of the Year.

SENTRY BANK EARNS RECOGNITION DepositAccounts recognized Sentry Bank as one of the Top 200 Healthiest Banks in America for 2015. DepositAccounts uses a formula that measures deposit growth, capitalization and Texas ratio to determine the annual list. Compiled by Whitney Bina. For consideration in News Reel send your news release to givers@ BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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BCCalendar GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

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S E PT/O CT 2 0 1 5

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

OCTOBER 1

Star Celebration This formal celebration honors the many contributions of Chamber volunteers who make the St. Cloud area a better place to live and work. 5-7:30 p.m at The Grands at Mulligans, 601 Pinecone Rd. N, Sartell. The event is open to all Chamber members and their guests. Cost is $25 and registration is required at StCloudAreaChamber.com.

SEPT. 2 & OCT. 7

Lunchtime Learning Educational networking events that give busy professionals a chance to stay on the cutting edge. Meets the first Wednesday of the month, noon-1 p.m. at the Chamber office. Registration is required: $15 for Chamber members, $22 for the general public. September 2: Sponsored by Grand Casino with Brad Goskowicz, CEO of Microbiologics, discussing “Developing a Culture of Innovation and Employee Engagement.”

October 7: Sponsored by riteSOFT with Lisa Gambrino, St. Cloud Small Business Development Center, presenting “When to Pivot and When to Persevere – Building Your Budget.”

September 8

SEPT. 8 & OCT. 13

A complimentary open house for Chamber members and guests. Bring lots of business cards and prepare to grow your network! 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

NEXT-St. Cloud Programming for the NEXT generation of business leaders. Meets the second Tuesday of the month, noon-1 p.m. at different locations throughout St. Cloud. Registration required: $195 for one year or $20 for first meeting.

October 13

SEPT. 10 & 24; OCT. 8 & 15

Business After Hours

September 10: Hosted by Indigo Signworks, Boser Construction and Inventure Properties, at 501 W St. Germain St., St. Cloud.


September 24: Hosted by Waite Park Chamber and sponsored by Liberty Insurance Agency, 818 2nd St. S, Waite Park.

October 21: Open

SEPT. 24 & OCT. 22

October 15: Hosted by the Sauk Rapids Chamber and sponsored by Gypsy Lea’s at 115 Division St., Sauk Rapids

SEPT. 11 & OCT. 9

Government Affairs A discussion of local government issues on the second Friday of the month, 7:30 - 9 a.m. at the Chamber office.

OCT. 27

October 9

SEPT. 16 & OCT. 21 October 8: Hosted by BankVista, on-site 125 Twin Rivers Court, Sartell

Turner and Linda Snowburg, Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools.

September 11

Waite Park Chamber For businesses interested in Waite Park issues. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. September 16: Hosted by The Legends at Heritage Place at the Minnesota School of Business, 1201 2nd St. S, Waite Park, with a presentation on “Innovation in the Workplace,” by Brad Goskowicz, Microbiologics.

Sauk Rapids Chamber For businesses interested in Sauk Rapids issues. Meetings are at the Sauk Rapids Government Center, 250 Summit Ave. N, Sauk Rapids. Lunch is provided by the host when you register at least two days in advance. 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. September 24: Hosted by Old Capital Tavern with a presentation on “Keep It or Shred It” by Schlenner Wenner. October 22: Hosted by the Legends at Heritage Place with a presentation on “District Diversity Planning” by James

Business, Education, & Technology (BET) Conference and Expo Annual conference featuring training in business, education and technology areas. There is no cost to attend. 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. October 27, Holiday Inn & Suites, 75 37th Ave. S, St. Cloud For information on these or other business events, call 320-251-2940. The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 1411 W St. Germain Street, suite 101 in St. Cloud

Stand Tall We’ve Got Your Back Whatever your orthopedic need, St. Cloud Orthopedics strives to bring you the very best solution. That’s why we have recently expanded our spine and back care offerings with additional specialists in this essential area of care. For 60 years, we have continued to support our community by providing advanced orthopedic treatment and therapy options, and spinal care is no exception. So, to get your back on track, you can stay right here at home.

StCloudOrthopedics.com 320.259.4100 1901 Connecticut Ave S, Sartell

Knee & Shoulder • Joint Replacement • Sports Medicine • Hand Center • Trauma • Spine Center • Foot & Ankle • Physical & Occupational Therapy S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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UpFront THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

What Matters Most?

When it comes to employee success, soft skills matter. By Tracy Knafla

Q

uick, think of all of the employees in your company that interact with no other people. Are you stumped? You have just made the case for the importance of “soft skills” in the workplace. No one will argue that your employees must have the necessary technical expertise in order to be successful in their positions. However, today’s workplace is built on employee interdependence. This model makes human relations skills as important as technical proficiency. In fact, Measuring Soft Skills, a

survey of human resources professionals conducted by Prevue HR Systems, indicated employers would rather hire someone adept in soft skills and train the technical ones, rather than vice versa. Think of all the co-workers you interact with during an average day. Are there some you enjoy working with more than others? Ever wonder why? It’s likely that the reason appears in the “soft skills” descriptors below. Perhaps they have an engaging personality. If so, they are easy to talk with. They listen to what you say without

interruption, are inquisitive without being intrusive, and actively participate in meetings or company events. Maybe they are problem solvers. When an issue arises, they do not complain about problems, rather they solve them and move on to the next challenge. They are ready with several possible solutions, a willingness to take risks, and an interest in increased efficiency and effectiveness. Have they displayed organizational, self management, and project management skills? If so, they are contributing to a positive work environment by being

contributor Tracy Knofla is the co-owner and featured consultant of High Impact Training. She has been presenting to audiences across the country for more than 25 years.

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accountable for their work, meeting important deadlines, being self-motivated, and working effectively through other people. Speaking of other people, perhaps they exhibit leadership qualities, including: motivating others to work for common goals, setting a positive example, seeking the opinions of others, and confidently and clearly expressing themselves. In addition to leadership skills, your favorite co-worker may be adept at collaboration and creating strong teams. The ability to reach across departmental lines to foster cooperation and coach unrelated individuals into a cohesive and high-performing team adds significant value to the workplace. It’s a good bet that this employee has a high emotional maturity level. He or she handles adversity with grace, is able to set aside personal feelings to focus on work, does not engage in gossip, and provides critical feedback in a timely and productive manner. If you recognize some of your favorite co-workers, or even yourself in these descriptions, you can completely understand the value they (and you) add to the workplace. Now imagine your workplace without coworkers who possess these characteristics. In fact, what if they were the complete opposite of those listed above. How long would you work in that place?


HIRING FOR SOFT SKILLS How do you hire employees with excellent soft skills? It can be a difficult task for two important reasons. First, most applicants can be pleasant, charming and good

communicators for 30-60 minutes, the average length of most interviews. Second, an assessment of technical skills seems to be the focus of most interviews. In order to accurately assess a candidate’s

expertise in the non-technical skills arena, the interview should focus more on an applicant’s answers to openended questions about prior experiences in the workplace. For instance: Tell me about a time you took a leadership role on a work project. Or, tell me what you did last time a co-worker came up to you to gossip about another co-worker. Or, tell me how you plan your work day. The answers to these questions will give you some insight into how applicants think, and how they approach their work. You can also create case studies that describe

actual situations applicants would encounter at your company. Ask them to describe several different ways to resolve those issues. Of course, before you begin the hiring process, you need to make sure that your position descriptions include soft skills, that these skills are given equal weight in the employee’s annual evaluation process, and that they are rewarded in the same manner that technical skills are. After all, a technically proficient workplace, that also emphasizes the importance of soft skills, will be a highly desirable workplace indeed!

Proviant Group A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Approach retirement confidently. When you plan ahead for your financial future, you’re better prepared to live the life you want. That’s why we’re here.

The Proviant Group. We’ll help you define your financial journey. 320.654.6715 | ProviantGroup.com | 1765 Roosevelt Rd., St. Cloud, MN Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. The Compass is a trademark of Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2015 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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UpFront

NetworkCentral GROW | NETWORK | PROFIT

u

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

NETWORK

It’s all about … GROW … NETWORK … PROFIT

Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto

as the Chamber celebrates a new location and the 15th Anniversary of Business Central Magazine.

Jim McAlister, Tell-A-Vision Productions, puts together a video celebrating the 15th anniversary of Business Central Magazine. Wendy Hendricks, Hendricks Marketing and Jason Bernick, Bernick’s, are just a few of the stars.

To watch the video, visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com

Chris LeDuc (L) and Bobbi Jo Mueller, Leighton Enterprises. Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto

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The Business Central team of Wendy The Business Central team of Wendy Hendricks, Hendricks, Hendricks Marketing (L); Hendricks Marketing (L); Gail Ivers and Teresa Bohnen, Gail Ivers and Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce; and Yola Hartmann, Area Chamber of Commerce; and Yola Hazel Tree Media. It took 15 years, but they finally Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media. It took 15 made the cover! years, but they finally made the cover!

Diane Hageman, Hageman Communications (L); Tiffany Clements and Nicole Clements, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto

Jake Bauerly, Benton County commisioner (L) and Jennifer Bauerly; LuAnn Popp, Coldwell Banker Burnet; and Bill Popp, Coldwell Banker Commercial-Orion Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto


David Miller, Minnwest Bank

Deanna Boone (L); Joe & Mary Bauer, Quiet Oaks; and Loren Boone, SCSU

Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto

John Koshiol, Now IT Connects (L) and Tim Schmidt, Rejuv Medical

Rachel Lolmasteymaugh, FaceTime Business Resources and St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson

Janelle Kendall, Stearns County Attorney and Greg Theis, GET Home Inspections Credit: Jeff Yapuncich, YuppyPhoto

Mary Kerber and Ronn Paulson, Thelen

Brad Hanson, Quinlivan & Hughes (L) and Ennis Arntson Midsota Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons

Mike and Cheryl Nies, Nies Electric

Wendy Franzwa, Bernick’s (L) and Melinda Sanders, Quinlivan & Hughes

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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30 34 38

Tech Strategies Doing Good

32 36

Entreprenuerism Management Toolkit

Economy Central by Falcon Bank

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RESOURCES THAT HELP YOUR BUSINESS GROW

MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Rewarding Employees

Recognizing employees – with or without money – is necessary to maintain a productive work environment. By Kelly Vinson-Taylor 2. Bonus vacation time. Extra paid time off throughout the year is a benefit that most employees appreciate. Time away from work helps promote work-life balance and can help develop a happier and more productive workforce. 3. A party. Organize an off-site party or a small get together onsite that includes spouses and a nice meal with appetizers and desserts. A personal invitation or thankyou note from an executive is an extra special touch.

R

ewarding employees for their performance and loyalty is not only a morale boost, it can also benefit a company’s bottom line with increased productivity. While some employers may not be able to offer pay raises due to current circumstances, research suggests that nonmonetary recognition is just as valued and appreciated by employees. Following are seven ways to reward employees without a pay raise:

1.Public praise. Individual recognition presents an opportunity for the person behind the scenes to receive special kudos for an outstanding contribution. Many companies accomplish this through a monthly employee awards program. Special perks such as designated parking, an award plaque, or lunch with an executive, can make this even more enticing to employees.

4. More time at home. Telecommuting is a luxury and privilege many workers want to enjoy. Rewarding workers with this perk can also serve as a litmus test for this much sought-after benefit. 5. Gift cards. Show employees a small token of your appreciation by presenting them with gift cards, which allow them to enjoy something they might not typically buy or do for themselves. Employers can choose from a variety of

national retailers, restaurant chains and regional specialty services. 6. Casual attire. Employees will be more than happy to come to work dressed comfortably in casual attire. Promote pride in your organization by providing them with corporate apparel that can be worn on designated days. This is a nice change of pace to consider for future incentives. 7. Thank their better half. Many companies send a small token of appreciation to spouses, such as flowers or a gift basket. A handwritten note or card signed by all of the executives thanking the spouse for supporting the employee throughout the year adds a nice finishing touch. Whether or not a company rewards employees with more money or another type of incentive, recognizing employees for their efforts and dedication is necessary to maintain a productive and positive work environment.

contributor Kelly Vinson-Taylor is a Minneapolis-area manager of HR services for Insperity, a trusted advisor to America’s best businesses for more than 29 years. To learn more about Insperity’s human resources and business solutions, call 800-465-3800 or visit http://www.insperity.com.

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WORKING WELL

FAST BUSINESS & EQUIPMENT FINANCING

Approvals in Hours!

Workplace Design Small businesses are slow to take advantage of new work space designs. A recent survey on ergonomics in small business workplaces found:

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29% say that their employees typically remain seated for more than an hour at a time

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55% do not encourage employees who primarily work on computers to take routine breaks to rest their eyes. Source: EMPLOYERS

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BusinessTools TECH STRATEGIES

Metrics Matter

There are plenty of ways to analyze your social media, but what will help you make the best business decisions?

By Dawn Zimmerman

you’re trying to reach as an organization. The majority of your followers should be your targeted profile. The 80-20 rule is a good rule of thumb; 80 percent of your followers should reflect your desired audience.

O

ne of the best parts about using social media to achieve your business goals is that the tools provide a series of analytics that help you measure progress and see results. The challenge is that there are so many metrics. I am often asked, which ones really matter? Here’s a rundown of three metrics to watch: 1. Number of Followers How many people are following you? They’re called page likes on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and connections on LinkedIn. The terms vary by platform, but the focus is the same. How many people are following you (or your business page)? This number should grow month over month simply because of your presence and the value you’re bringing.

If you’re not growing in this area, step back and consider why. A “fan campaign” or different content plan may be in order. A well-thought out campaign can generate a 10 percent increase in a matter of a few days to 25 percent increase in a month. 2. Quality of Followers Are the right people following you? Your followers need to reach a pivotal level (usually at least 500), but quantity is not as important as quality. You may have 1,000 followers, but if only a few reflect your target market, your efforts become valueless. Through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you can dig into the data and dissect the demographics of your followers by gender, geography, age, interest, etc. Take the time to compare your followers to who

3. Engagement Ratio How many people are you engaging? It’s easier to gain followers than to get them engaged. You can have a lot of followers and only be engaging a very small number. That’s a red flag. Engagement is a key way to measure your content’s value – and achieve your organizational goals. The monetary value of a follower increases ten-fold – or more – with engagement. Some posts will generate more interest than others (and you may be surprised what soars and what fizzles). Overall, you should see strong engagement on your top posts. Tracking the most comments, likes, retweets, etc. you receive on your top posts can help you create a baseline at which to grow. It’s common for posts to engage about 20 percent of followers, depending on the social media tool and how it’s used. Organizations with strong content plans can see upwards of 50 percent engagement over the month. The total number

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

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Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

of engaged users can even be higher than your followers, thanks to the power of networks and social sharing. These metrics are just the baseline to measure general performance. I also recommend honing in on three specific metrics that best match the goals you are trying to reach. Metrics matter. They can keep you focused, on track, and lead to some significant bottom line results for your organization.

CHECKLIST

Top Metrics by Top Tools Here’s a look at what to watch monthly. Facebook m Total Page Likes m New Page Likes m People Reached m Engaged Users

Twitter m Followers m Retweets m Favorites m Mentions

LinkedIn m Total Connections m Percent of Connections Who Could Be Customers m Top 5-7 Skills m Number of Endorsements By Skills


TECH NEWS

Workplace Wearables

Retailers are piloting wearables to help associates optimize their time and improve customer experience. For example, the technology can help managers prioritize tasks by notifying employees that something in the store requires their attention. Manufacturers are also part of the wearable revolution, in part because the form suits an industry in which workers need to keep their hands free. But don’t expect to see a grocery stocker using a wearable to help you locate your favorite out-of-season veggie. Experts say wearable technology will need to be less expensive before it enjoys broader use. Source: CNBC

NUMBERS

Data Dump

The modern business is bursting at the seams with data, but making sense of it all can feel like the job of a master mathematician. Now, business intelligence reporting apps and dashboards, like Cyfe, BIME, and Looker bring all company data together, helping you focus on company objectives and react quickly to opportunities. Best of all, these tools can be used by anyone, meaning you don’t need an IT team — or even have to be technically savvy — to help you make sense of all that data. Source: Small Business Trends

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BusinessTools ENTREPRENUERISM

Top of Mind

Don’t let day-to-day operations distract you from planning for the future.

By Josh Longnecker

planning. Providing health care and additional benefits to employees is a key way to attract and retain talent. Keeping employees engaged while offering an attractive company culture is a big priority. For most valuable employees — those you cannot imagine your business without — special benefits and unique rewards can demonstrate your appreciation for them, and their important role in the company’s success. A nonqualified benefit plan allows you to offer attractive supplemental benefits only to the employees you select. Millennials witnessed the financial crisis and the disruption that volatility can cause. They want a plan. As a business owner, you’re in the unique position to offer them one. Make it one you’re proud of.

W

orkdays can feel like a whirlwind of emails, meetings and calls. So believe me when I say that, as a business owner, I understand the difficulty of planning for tomorrow when you’re busy tackling today. As the St. Cloud and U.S. economy continue to gain

steam, business owners have a lot to be thankful for, and plenty more to prepare for. Here are three issues that are top of mind for my businessowner clients. Engaging employees Many St. Cloud business owners want to discuss benefits

Transitioning well St. Cloud is home to many multigenerational family-run small businesses. Passing on a business – and creating an exit strategy for yourself – requires careful, custom planning. For example, one St. Cloud area client of mine is a father of four. His children and business are his legacy – a legacy he’s tremendously proud of. He’s built a small company into a successful multi-million dollar organization – and now retirement is on his horizon.

Interestingly, two of his children want to run the business; the other two do not. For him, it was important to build a plan that fairly passed his business and other assets to his children. He even shared the plan – which clearly depicts how each child will be treated – with his kids to give them clarity. Whether it’s a few years from now or decades away, you will leave your business someday. To ensure that it passes successfully to its next owner, it’s important to begin succession planning now. Funding retirement The livelihood of many small business owners is tied directly to their companies – but some owners struggle to understand how to create a steady income stream in retirement. After all, passing a business on to a child doesn’t generate any cash for a retiree. I meet with many business owners who want to understand their options to fund retirement. Transitioning emotionally and financially into retirement can be exciting and challenging. There’s a lot to think about. It’s important for business owners to work with a financial expert to build a comprehensive financial plan to help them build and protect their wealth today – and carefully distribute it during retirement.

contributor Josh Longnecker is a managing director with Northwestern Mutual in St. Cloud. Contact him at (320) 223-6639. Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI and its subsidiaries.

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DID YOU KNOW?

America’s Top 5 States for Business:

Best for Business

1 Minnesota

Here’s something we already knew – Minnesota has a great education system. Here’s something we didn’t – Minnesota is the best state for business.

C

NBC, First in Business Worldwide, earlier this year announced the results of its ninth annual list of America’s Top States for Business. Minnesota, which took sixth place last year, came out on top, scoring 1,584 out of 2,500 points. Education was our best category followed by Quality of Life. However, we ranked 35th in Cost of Doing Business with one of the highest top individual income tax rates in the nation at 9.85 percent. Even so, Minnesota’s economy is among the healthiest in the nation with unemployment well below the national average.

Minnesota shows that there are multiple paths states can follow to be competitive, according to CNBC. And so far “it appears that businesses were willing to stay put in order to take advantage of the state’s excellent workforce, top-notch education system, and superb quality of life.” The worst state for business according to CNBC? Hawaii.

For more information, visit BusinessCentralMagazine.com

(Highest Rank - No. 2 in Education; Lowest Rank No. 35 in Cost of Doing Business)

2.Texas (Highest Rank - No.1 in Infrastructure; Lowest Rank - No. 33 in Quality of Life) 3.Utah (Highest Rank No.1 in Economy; Lowest Rank - No. 31 in Education) 4.Colorado (Highest Rank - No. 3 in Economy; Lowest Rank No. 36 in Cost of Doing Business)

5.Georgia (Highest Rank - No. 2 in Infrastructure; Lowest Rank - No. 36 in Quality of Life)

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BusinessTools DOING GOOD

Plus It Forward Affinity Plus makes giving back fun for employees.

>>

A

Affinity Plus Credit Union employees deliver a giant Thank You card to the St. Joe Police Department

ffinity Plus Federal Credit Union believes in “Plus”ing it Forward. Their Plus It Forward program, established in 2013, aims to make a difference in the lives of local community members. The program also demonstrates the credit union’s core values: caring, integrity, and excellence. Employees and members from the credit union’s branches throughout Minnesota participate in the program each year. Although closed for Columbus Day, employees at the St. Cloud Affinity Plus

locations spend the annual federal holiday giving back to the community in some way. In 2014, employees made giant thank you cards for local police and fire departments and emergency response teams. Credit union members signed the cards and on Columbus Day, the staff hand-delivered them along with boxes of donuts to each public service team, thanking them for their service. Employees at Affinity Plus also donated laundry soap, fabric softener and quarters to local laundromats; spent time

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>>

Employees make postage-paid cards to send to loved ones with students at SCSU

bowling and talking with students at St. Cloud State University; and visited and played games with residents at the VA and local senior care centers.

The program continues to grow! Plus it Forward received the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award Benefitting Local Communities at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony in June 2014 after receiving the statewide Jefferson Award for Corporate Giving from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal in December 2013. Earlier this year, the credit union was again recognized for its program when it received the Best in Class for Community Impact for a large company by Minnesota Business Magazine. The Plus It Forward program is not limited to Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union members

and employees. Anyone can participate. “We like to partner with other organizations in the area and across Minnesota to make an even larger impact,” Kate Austad, branch manager, said. “Through our partnership with one of our official Charities of Choice, the American Red Cross, we’ve been able to make a difference in our communities on a local, national, and global level.”

For more information, visit PlusItForward.org or call the local Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union office at (320) 203-1765.

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BusinessTools MANAGEMENT TOOL KIT

Employers Beware!

Your employment application may be illegal. Here are four traps that could catch the unwary employer.

H

andbook updated? Check. Job descriptions updated? Check. Before you pat yourself on the back and move on to the next task on your HR to-do list, let’s talk about your employment application. With so much focus on policies pertaining to current employees, employers often overlook their employment applications. As the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) continues to focus on discrimination during the hiring

Continuing to Make a Difference!

By Julie Fisk and Melinda Sanders

process, it has become more important than ever for employers to periodically review their employment applications. Here are four ways your employment application may be violating the law or creating unnecessary legal risk: 1 Ban the Box. Beginning January of 2014, Minnesota law prohibits asking applicants whether or not they have been convicted of a crime on an employment application. Recommendation: Employers may inquire

about criminal convictions during the interview stage of the hiring process, but not before an interview has been offered. 2 Social Security numbers and other unnecessary personal information. With identity theft on the rise, we advise clients to avoid requesting Social Security numbers on employment applications. Applications often pass through a number of hands during the hiring process, and

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Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5


this can lead to an unauthorized person accessing and stealing an applicant’s personal information. Removing this information from an employment application is an easy way to minimize this risk. Recommendation: Request Social Security numbers and other personal information after offering a position, contingent upon passing any required background screenings (criminal history check, drug test, etc.).

contributors

3 Protected Class Information. Avoid questions on employment applications that reveal information about gender, race, age, disability, marital status, etc.... For example, asking for a date of birth, or for the year someone graduated from high school, reveals someone’s age, asking about birth place reveals information related to national origin, maiden names reveal marital status. Recommendation: The employment application should seek open-ended information about

schedule availability, a list of previous employers and duties, dates and reasons for leaving, and for a list of professional references. Always include a statement for the applicant’s signature verifying the truthfulness of information they have provided and the consequences of providing false information. 4 Consideration Period/ Record Keeping. Let applicants know, in writing, how long their applications will be automatically

considered for any new openings. Employers should retain all applications for at least one year under Minnesota law, and should retain applications for hired employees for at least one year after their termination date. Recommendation: If there is a document retention policy, retain documents consistent with the timelines in that policy. If there is a concern or threat of litigation, seek legal advice about retaining applications prior to destruction.

Melinda Sanders and Julie Fisk, attorneys at Quinlivan & Hughes, advise organizations on a variety of complex workplace and employment law matters. The information presented here is for educational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice or legal opinions. Readers should seek legal counsel for specific questions.

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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BusinessTools

Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

Language and Labor

How our workers speak at home impacts employers’ ability to hire. By King Banaian

HIGHEST DEGREE

LANGUAGE AT HOME

other English language only

Total

less than high school

96

690

786

high school degree

122

2663

2785

some college

124

2266

2390

associate

52

1044

1096

bachelor’s

80

1455

1535

graduate

42

528

570

Total

516 8646 9162

Source: Public Use Microdata Set, U.S. Census Bureau, and author’s calculations.

I

n the last St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report we asked local businesses about immigration as a possible solution to area worker shortage problems. We wondered if businesses had successful strategies to employ these workers. Results showed that most businesses found barriers to hiring immigrants. “Language” and “Education/Skills” were the two most often cited barriers encountered by local companies. Almost 30 percent of firms had “not attempted to employ” immigrants, which could indicate they find the barriers insurmountable.

Only one in four respondents showed some level of agreement with a statement that suggested the local labor shortage “…is reduced by the availability of new immigrants in the work force.” This led me to consider a dataset produced by the Census Bureau that is directed to 14,442 persons living in Benton, Sherburne and Stearns counties. This sample represents about five percent of the public. I reduced the sample to 9,162 persons who were between the 16 and 64 years old, which corresponds to the definition of those available to work. Of these,

362 persons (3.95 percent) are foreign-born. (This is a slight oversampling of the St. Cloud MSA, which has about 3.1 percent of persons foreign-born in the relevant age group. There are also many more under age 18 and perhaps 600 over age 65.) The data set reveals that there are 516 persons ages 16-64 who speak a language other than English in the home. Of that group, 434 are in the labor force, implying a labor force participation rate for this population cohort of 84.1 percent. For those who speak only English at home, the participation rate is 92.7 percent. This is a significant difference. It is also worth noting that of the 516 persons who report speaking a language other than English at home, 227 were born in the United States. Just 73 foreign born

contributor King Banaian is a professor of economics and dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University.

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persons (20 percent) speak only English at home. The table above tells the story of education. There are a fair number of people who speak languages other than English who also hold graduate degrees (attracted perhaps by our health care and higher education institutions.) But there are also higher proportions of foreign language speakers who are not college attenders. Thus there seems to be some overlap between the education and language barriers reported in our local business survey. (I can also draw this table with place of birth rather than language and get a similar result.) One might wonder which languages these are. Spanish was the language for 195 of the 516 in the sample; no other group had as many as 100 persons in the sample. Local issues related to employment and language are therefore quite varied, and strategies to deal with these issues will be more complex than having a single interpreter or providing bilingual manuals.


Sauk Rapids

80

St. Augusta

March

St. Joseph

February

600

$600k

Sartell

174 November $3,531,780 May

30 $3,600,047

Waite Park

90 October $4,377,148 Apr

84 $7,151,019

St. Augusta

11 September $6,945,494 Mar

7 $202,027

St. Joseph

78 August Feb $3,102,294

TOTAL: 791*

409 $7,465,381

TOTAL: 1429

December $12,027,944 June

59 $734,295 41 $2,792,697

2013

77 $1,300,751

300

Food and Be ST. CLOUD

82 $3,783,078

257

2015 $47,034,758 297 $9,237,440

Food and Bev

12

$3,139,972 2014 ST. CLOUD 61 $4,110,155 1 $12,000

2013

57 $6,250,601

2015

July $0 Total as of 8/10/15. *2015 Jan totals are cumulative up-to-the-month data.

1500

$100M

48

Sauk Rapids

1200

$80M

397 $57,715,070

TOTAL: 1411

TOTAL: $610,573.09*

$1.5M

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

$1.2M

TOTAL: $69,784,925.00*

425

$87,075,891 July

900

$900k

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

$60M

September

St. Cloud

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

$40M

173 $9,710,579

2014

Commercial 2013 2014 2015* #/$ #/$ #/$ August

Commercial Building Permits

$20M

176 $1,353,832

BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

$0M

128 $1,702,322

October

TOTAL: $69,784,925.00*

2013

100 $4,437,367

November

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

2014

99 $3,327,830

300

160 $6,413,150

January December 0 Total as of 8/10/15. *2015 totals are cumulative up-to-the-month data.

Commercial Building Permits

2015

116 $1,803,560

537

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

April $879,943

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

$12,385,377 2015 0

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

Waite Park

2015

$80M

291 $8,129,708

2014

$70M

438

May $11,560,121

2013

$60M

447 $19,206,069

300

$50M

382

June $18,539,531

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$40M

1209 $26,145,498

December

$80M

1227

July $18,425,316 January

November

$70M

February

St. Cloud

October

$60M

TOTAL: $54,435,063

$30M

September

$50M

2015

2014

2013

$300k

$20M

August

$40M

$0 $10M

July

March

2013

$0M

June

Residential 2013 2014 2015 2013 August #/$ #/$ #/$

October April

May

TOTAL:$33,336,848*

Sartell

2014

April

March

$30M

February

September BUILDING PERMITS BY COMMUNITY

TOTAL: $54,435,063

TOTAL: $62,358,547

2015

January

$20M

Home Sales C

2014

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

$10M

2015

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

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

$0M

July December June

November May

2013 2015

36,848*

$80M

$120M

COLOR KEY:

TOTAL: $62,358,547 2014

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

Economy Central presented by August

Compiled by Sharon Henry, data current as of 8/10/15

Residential Building Permits

Home Sales C

September

TOTAL:$33,336,848*

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

358,547

October

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

2015

435,063

925.00*

,621.69

,554.11

0M

Residential Building Permits

$120M

$300k

June

$79,916,621.69 Sources: Building departments for the following cities:TOTAL: St. Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Sartell, Waite Park, St. Augusta, and St. Joseph. 2014

May

2014

Non FarmMarJobs

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com

2014-2015

2013

Apr

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

Unemployment Rates

August

September

October

D

J

F

M

1.0%

December

July

N

Jan

November

June

1.5%

May

$120M

Feb

April

$100M

March

$80M

December

November

$60M

October

$40M

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

$20M

February

2.0%

January

8%

$0M 7%

Source: www.positivelyminnesota.com 2013

2014-2015 % CHANGE

$300k

A

M

J

$0

0.5%

6%

0.0%

5%

-0.5% -1.0%

4%

-1.5%

3% A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

-2.0% J

J

A

S

O

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

39


6,848*

58,547

35,063

$80M

BusinessTools

COLOR KEY: December

ECONOMIC INDICATORS & TRENDS

November

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

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

December

October

December

November

October

August

September

August

July

June

TOTAL: 791*

May

September

ST. CLOUD

October

April

March

February

January

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

lding Permits

May

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

D, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

September

2015

August July

TOTAL: 1429

TOTAL: 1411

2013

January

$0

sources:$120M St. Cloud Area AssociationJan of Realtors, $60M Housing/Real $80M Estate $100M http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics

$300k

$600k

$900k

$1.2M

300

$300k

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

COST OF LIVING 600

$600k

TOTAL: 114*

2015

November

ST. CLOUD’S HOUSING COSTS ARE THE LOWEST IN THE REGION.

TOTAL: 221

October The St. Cloud area experienced a below average cost of living during the first quarter of 2015. The “all items” index for St. Cloud was 95.1, September 4.9 percent below the national average (100.0) for the quarter.

TOTAL: $610,573.09* TOTAL: 316

300

350

Residential 2013 2014 2015* TOTAL: $1,326,730.36 246 70

168

86

53

28

Total as of 8/10/15. *2015 totals are cumulative up-to-the-month data.

Lodging Tax Dollars

100.8

102.9

109.8

91.1

101.6

103.1

109.1 104.1

104.8

84.2

75.9

97.6

110.7

Cedar Rapids, IA 92.7 January

94.1

85.9

107.0

91.7

102.1

92.6

Eau Claire, WI

98.9

107.4

78.4

92.4

104.3

110.4

111.8

Pierre, SD

101.3

105.3

117.9

87.0

90.6

93.2

94.8

December

November

October

September

$1.5M

August

July

The Cost of Living index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing any measurable difference, according to ACCRA.

Among the 265 urban areas participating in the first quarter of 2015, the after-tax cost for professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan) NY to just over 20 percent below the national average in McAllen, TX.

Least Expensive U.S. Cities in Which to Live

Most Expensive U.S. Cities in Which to Live New York (Manhattan), NY

223.7

Idaho Falls ID (tie)

82.4

Honolulu, HI

190.4

Pueblo CO (tie)

82.4

New York (Brooklyn), NY

175.3

Youngstown-Warren OH

82.0

San Francisco, CA

173.2

Harlingen TX

79.7

Truckee-Nevada County, CA

157.5

McAllen TX

77.2

Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

92.6

111.8

June

Total as of 8/10/15. *2015 totals are cumulative up-to-the-month data.

113.8

February 95.3 Mankato, MN

May

2013

Sources: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud

104.8

April

TOTAL: $1,336,559.26

$1.2M

105.3

106.2

March

2014

$900k

March

Accra Index

TOTAL: $1,454,373.86

$600k

Grocery Housing Utilities Transpo- Health Misc. Goods Items rtation Care & Services

95.1 113.7 76.4 89.4 92.2 114.3 103.6

February

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

TOTAL: $592,625.01*

$1.5M

All Items

Minneapolis, MN 107.1

January

ST. CLOUD

$300k

May

St. Paul, MN

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office; $0 $300k $600k $900k $1.2M http://thething.mplsrealtor.com/

$0

June

St. Cloud, MN 1st Quarter April

1500

$1.5M

Stearns Co. 2013 Benton Co.

CITY

TOTAL: 791*

2014 SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

250

TOTAL: 1429

200

COST OF LIVING INDEX

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

TOTAL: 1411

150

August

MINNESOTA AND OTHER UPPER MIDWEST CITIES OF COMPARABLE SIZE TO ST. CLOUD July 1200

100

TOTAL: $610,573.09*

50

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

$1.2M

0

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

2015 2013

900

$900k

2014

December

Time to Buy

Food and Beverage Tax Collection ST. CLOUD

$1.5M

Total as of 8/10/15. *2015 totals are cumulative up-to-the-month data.

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

Home Sales Closed in St.Cloud

1500

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

1200

Feb

TOTAL: $1,326,730.36

0

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

900

ST. CLOUD

600

2015

2014

2013

February Mar

300

2014

Apr

TOTAL: $117,060,554.11

0

April March

2015

2014

2013

2013

TOTAL: $1,333,423.25

June

TOTAL: $79,916,621.69

May

40

June

2015

May

2014

2015

TOTAL: $610,573.09*

July

TOTAL: $69,784,925.00*

$0

M

M

5.00*

21.69

54.11

$120M

uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu

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Business Profile Viking Coca-Cola Bottling Co. 4610 Rusan St N, PO Box 806 St. Cloud, MN 56302-0806 (320) 251-4602 Fax: (320) 251-1217 vikingcocacola.com Ownership: Privately owned and operated by the Faber family Business Description: Bottler/canner and distributor of Coca-Cola products; in addition to Viking Coca-Cola, the family owns and operates two other companies: Viking Beverages, a beer distributor of Coors, Blue Moon, Molson, and many other brands; and First Choice Food and Beverage Solutions, a food and beverage service provider Proprietary Product Lines:  Armada Coffee; Warrior Energy Drink; Avalanche Ice Slushie Chair of the Board: Rose Ann Faber Leadership team: Michael Faber, CEO;  Dave Yantes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing; Dennis Patrick, Chief Operating Officer; Eric Sweerin, Chief Financial Officer; Don Popowski, Vice President of Finance; Lisa Zolin, Director of Human Resources Headquarters: St. Cloud Branch locations:   Fergus Falls; Alexandria; Brainerd; Willmar; Marshall; Hutchinson; North Branch; River Falls, WI; Rice Lake, WI Number of employees in St. Cloud: 250 Number of employees company-wide: 500 Number of cans filled in St. Cloud annually: 225 million Number of bottles filled in St. Cloud annually: 75 million Vital Stats:  Viking Coca-Cola produces over 70 percent of its products and serves over 1.5 million people annually

42

Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5


the

REAL

THING

O

VIKING COKE’S MICHAEL FABER SWEPT THE PARKING LOT FOR $1 AN HOUR HIS FIRST DAY AT WORK. TODAY HE’S INVENTING NEW PRODUCTS, EXPANDING THE COMPANY’S TERRITORY, AND PROVIDING NATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN THE BEVERAGE INDUSTRY.

ne day Michael Faber walked into a convenience store and there in front of him was a large coffee bar. “Hmm,” he thought. “That’s interesting. Maybe we should look into something like that.” CEO and part of the Faber Family ownership of Viking Coca-Cola in St. Cloud, Michael was not looking for a new product to offer consumers. But when he sees a good idea, he moves. That’s a family trait. Joe Faber, Michael’s father, was good at spotting opportunities as well. Joe grew up on a farm in rural Stearns County. He didn’t have a dime to his name, according to Michael, but he had ambition. Joe joined Viking Coca-Cola in 1966 as a route driver, which included both sales and delivery.

By Gail Ivers / Photos by Joel Butkowski, Butkowski Digital Imaging

When offered a promotion to focus strictly on sales, Joe accepted. “From sales he got into management,” according to Michael. “And as the company grew they offered my father a portion of the business. There were multiple partners at the time and because of some estate tax planning issues it created an opportunity for my father to buy into the business.” Clearly a great opportunity, but an expensive one. It was 1976 and Joe Faber needed $400,000. He started meeting with bankers, but with no collateral and no history of business success, there wasn’t a banker in the area who would commit to that kind of loan. “The very last one he went to,” Michael said, “the banker said to him, ‘I’m going to bet on you. I know you and I’m going to give you the money to acquire part of this company.’ And that’s how he got started in the business.” Joe Faber became general manger and started a strategy of growth. From their first 7,500-square-foot building in St. Cloud

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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Each year 225 million cans and 75 million bottles are filled in Viking Coke’s St. Cloud plant.

fun fact THE ICONIC COKE BOTTLE WAS THE PRODUCT OF A 1915 DESIGN COMPETITION WON BY THE ROOT GLASS COMPANY OF TERRE HAUTE, IND. THE COMPANY’S DESIGN WAS UNIQUE IN THAT IT PRODUCED A PRACTICAL CONTAINER THAT COULD BE INSTANTLY IDENTIFIED, EVEN IN PITCH DARKNESS, SOLELY BY FEEL. IT WAS AVAILABLE ONLY IN 6.5 OUNCE BOTTLES UNTIL 1955.

the business grew to 52,000-square-feet and eventually to its current 250,000-squarefoot facility. Joe also facilitated a number of acquisitions, including Coca-Cola operations in Alexandria, Willmar, Pine City, Marshall, Hutchinson, and Rice Lake, Wisc. In the meantime, Michael was growing up, both in and out of the company. “I worked a lot on my grandparents’ farm in the summer,” Michael said. “I really liked it, but it was hot, hard work. So one day I asked my father if I could join the company. He said, ‘Sure. How much do you think you should be paid?’ I was a kid, I didn’t know, so I said, ‘Whatever you think is fair.’ He said ‘How about $1 an hour?’ Now, minimum wage was $3.80-$4 an hour, but I said Ok.” The first day on the job his father told Michael to grab a broom and they would meet in the parking lot. “It was really hot – 87 degrees,” Michael recalls. The

44

Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

parking lot was partially paved. Where the gravel met the pavement there was dirt and debris. Joe pointed to the parking lot and told Michael “Sweep it.” “I said, ‘Are you serious?’” “I thought you wanted to work here,” Joe replied. “At that point I actually thought about going back to the farm,” Michael said. “But I swept the parking lot. The whole thing. And it was really big. I’m pretty sure the people in the company were watching. Someone felt bad for me and brought me a Coca-Cola.” Today Michael believes the point of that exercise was to show the employees – and Michael – that he was not the owner’s son. He was an employee. “My father made me work hard my whole life,” Michael said. “He wanted to develop me as an individual, not someone with a silver spoon in his mouth, but someone who has self worth

through hard work, and who had a good work ethic.” Over the years Michael worked as a route driver, warehouse worker, and salesman. In 1992 Joe Faber was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer. None of his partners were interested in taking over the daily operations of the business and none were interested in sole ownership, so they agreed to sell the company. No buyers came forward. One day Michael found his father pacing around the house, deep in thought and agitated. Michael asked him what was wrong. “He told me he had a decision to make. Either sell the company for less than it was worth, cash in what he’d worked so hard to build, or buy out the other shareholders and become the sole owner.” Joe asked Michael if he had any interest in joining, and eventually running, the family business. Michael was in college, studying to be an accountant. Joining Viking Coke was on his radar, but not until he had the chance to establish his own place in business. “I told


him I thought I might, but I just wasn’t ready to commit. I had to be honest. I said he needed to make the decision that was right for him, and not worry about me. “So he made the unlikely choice, which was to buy out the other shareholders,” Michael said. “That was reflective of who he was. The ultimate optimist. He bought out the other shareholders, completing the process in 1994 and enjoyed one year of sole ownership before he passed away. A rags to riches story. Started out without a dime, ended up owning a business that was solid with a bright future.” Rose Ann Faber, Michael’s mother, took over as president of the company and Michael headed to Denver to work for a public accounting firm. “I wanted some outside experience,” Michael said. “I didn’t want to be the owner’s son or receive special treatment. I needed to establish myself as an individual, an employee, a professional who could make it in the work world.” But after three years of traveling home on weekends to help in the business, he realized his heart belonged to Viking Coca-Cola. “As they

say, it gets in your blood,” Michael said. “I loved it that much. I love the people. It was fun, energizing, constantly changing, and I could see so much opportunity.” “I worked with Michael’s father for almost 25 years and with Michael for 15,” said Marv Soldner, retired president of Viking Coca-Cola said. “They’re both entrepreneurs. Joe Faber built the business from the ground up. He expanded the size of the business. Michael has done that as well, but in addition he’s created an innovation company that has allowed us to expand into different beverage categories.” Like coffee. As Michael gazed at that convenience store coffee bar, he didn’t see coffee, he saw opportunity. It was the genesis of the innovation arm of the family business. “Our home grown, or entrepreneurial products, originated out of gaps in our beverage portfolio,” he said. That first gap was coffee. Since Coca-Cola did not carry a coffee line, there was no conflict for the Fabers to add it to

Personal Profile Michael Faber Age: 42 Position: CEO, Viking Coca-Cola Affiliated businesses owned by the Faber family:  Viking Beverages, a Molson Coors distributor serving St. Cloud, Willmar, Hutchinson and the surrounding communities; First Choice Food and Beverage Solutions, a food and beverages service provider servicing Minnesota and Wisconsin; Replenishment Solutions, an innovative beverage company that launched and markets the regional brands: Armada Coffee, Warrior Energy drink, and Avalanche Ice Slushie. One of the 12 founding families of Granite Equity Partners private equity fund. Hometown: St. Cloud Education: Apollo High School and St. John’s University

Work History: YMCA, Herberger’s, Deloitte & Touche, and within the family business portfolio of companies                                       Family: Stacy (wife), Alexa (daughter) and Grayson (son) Hobbies: Mountain biking, fishing, golf and any activity outdoors Advice to a would-be entrepreneur:  Live your life with minimal regrets and take risks, you don’t want to reflect on your life and be haunted by the things you should have done. Best advice you’ve received and who gave it to you: You can either start at the bottom and work your way up or start at the top and work your way down. – Advice from my father. Michael Faber’s innovation company, Replenishment Solutions, develops products that fill gaps in the Viking beverage portfolio. The first product to launch was Armada Coffee.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

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Viking Coca-Cola is named 2015 St. Cloud Area Family Owned Business of the Year

M

ichael Faber hadn’t decided if he wanted to be in the family business when his father, Joe, died of cancer in 1995. Just out of college, Michael wanted to try his hand as a CPA in Colorado, but in 1998 he returned to Minnesota and joined the management team at Viking Coca-Cola, the business his father helped found and eventually owned. Michael identifies his strength as finding gaps in the market and working to fill those gaps. In 2004 he began working with a local coffee bean roaster to develop Armada coffee, a proprietary product owned by Viking that is now distributed in 10 states. In 2010 he went through a similar process to develop and launch Warrior energy drink, and in 2011 the company launched Avalanche Ice Slushie. These last two products are currently available in five states, primarily in convenience stores. Faber expects all three products to experience exponential growth based on the initial response. Viking Coca-Cola has expanded steadily since 2000. Always a bottling operation, the company added canning in 2003. In 2005 Michael acquired distributorships in Red Wing, MN and River Falls, WI, as well as a Coors distributorship. The company has grown from 375 employees to just under 500 employees in the last 15 years. Also a generous member of the community, Michael and Viking Coca-Cola regularly support the United Way, Boys and Girls Club, the Coborn Cancer Center, and a wide range of community organizations and events. Michael is also active nationally and is past chairman of the national Coca-Cola Bottlers Association. The Family Owned Business of the Year Award is presented by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. It recognizes a business that has been passed from one generation to another and operated successfully under the new leadership for at least 15 years. Michael Faber was honored at the Chamber’s Business Awards Luncheon in May.

46

Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

their product mix. The result is Armada Coffee, made from what Michael says are the best beans. “In coffee, it’s all about the beans,” he said. Next came Warrior Energy Drink. “We did have Rock Star Energy drink for awhile,” Michael said. But Coca-Cola made a deal with Monster Energy drink, Rock Star aligned with Pepsi, Viking didn’t get Monster as part of the deal and ended up without THE FIRST COKE WAS an energy drink. SOLD IN 1886 AT A This time there was no ‘ahha’ moment, just a clear need DRUGSTORE SODA for action. “I said we have a gap FOUNTAIN IN ATLANTA. and we need to address this COKE WAS STRICTLY gap. We had been successful A SODA FOUNTAIN with Armada Coffee, so I thought, why not try it with an PRODUCT UNTIL 1894. energy drink. The whole team went to work on branding, positioning, flavors…and the result is Warrior Energy – great tasting from the first ounce to the last ounce.” The most recent addition to their product mix is Avalanche Ice Slushie, a frozen, flavored drink. Since introducing Armada Coffee in 2004, Viking’s proprietary products are now available collectively in 15 states and on the Internet. Adding new product lines is only one thing that has changed under Michael’s leadership. When he took over in 2000 the company

fun fact

Timeline 1952 – Howard Hamilton founds Viking CocaCola in Brainerd, MN.  The company bottles and distributes Coca-Cola products 1962 – Viking Coca-Cola purchases CocaCola Bottling of St. Cloud and relocates the headquarters to St. Cloud, but maintains a branch office in Brainerd 1966 – Hamilton hires routedriving salesmen, Joe Faber 1976 – Joe Faber becomes a partner; Viking establishes Versa Vend Vending

1978 – Viking Coke moves into a 52,000 square foot building 1984 – Viking Coke acquires wholesale CocaCola operations in Alexandria and Willmar; the company adds 25,000 square feet of production space and begins bottling the entire portfolio of Coca-Cola products 1986 – Viking acquires wholesale CocaCola operations in Pine City, MN and Rice Lake, WI. 1988 – Viking adds on 32,000 square feet

1990 – Viking acquires wholesale CocaCola operations in Marshall and Hutchinson 1994 – Joe Faber purchases the Sherman & Hamilton family stock and becomes sole owner of Viking Coca-Cola 1995 – Michael Faber graduates from college, passes the CPA exam, and relocates to Denver to join Deloitte & Touche, one of the big four accounting firms


Viking Coke’s new product lines include Warrior Energy Drink.

was half the size it is now. “We had about half the employees and half the revenue, and just the flagship brands,” Michael said. “Michael has done a good job of staying focused on expanding our company for Coca-Cola,” Soldner said. “He’s done a good job of transitioning – keeping longterm employees focused, yet modernizing the company. Like I said, he’s created the innovation company, but he also

1995 – Joe Faber passes away from lung cancer; Rose Ann Faber, Joe’s wife, takes over as president becoming the nation’s only female president and chief executive officer of a CocaCola bottling company 1998 – Michael Faber returns from Colorado and joins Viking Coca-Cola full time; the company puts on a 43,000 square foot addition 1999 – Viking acquires the Fergus Falls CocaCola wholesaler

2000 – At age 27 Michael Faber becomes president of Viking Coca-Cola; Rose Ann Faber becomes chairwoman of the board; the Versa Vend Vending name changes to First Choice Food and Beverage Solutions, representing its expanded product offering. 2001 – First Choice acquires Hermel Vending in Marshall, MN 2003 – Viking Coca-Cola augments its production capabilities through the addition of a canning line.

purchased the Coors franchise, and expanded production – now we’re canning as well as bottling.” But growth has its challenges. “As we’ve grown, my challenge now is to balance the needs and demands of the growth with being as involved as I like to be,” Michael said. “I need to evolve as a leader and structure the organization differently so I can still stay involved, but that I don’t

A 58,000 square foot addition is built to accommodate the can line. Viking becomes the only family owned distributor in Minnesota to produce its own bottles and cans. 2004 – Michael Faber creates innovation companies, such as Replenishment Solutions and Armada Beverages, developing products that fill gaps in the Viking product offering.  The first product to launch is Armada Coffee.

2005 – Viking acquires Coca-Cola operations in River Falls, WI and Red Wing, MN; two months later, the Faber family enters the beer business by acquiring Lenneman Beverage, a Coors distributorship serving St Cloud, Willmar and Hutchinson; Viking sells their Pine City building and relocates their operation to a new facility in North Branch. 2010 – Replenishment Solutions launches Warrior Energy drink

spread myself so thin that I freeze the organization.” “Michael is a great owner-manager,” according to Bernie Perryman, central region business manager at Viking CocaCola. “He gives us autonomy to do the job we have to do without micromanaging. He has the confidence in his management team that we can make the right decisions and get the right things done without looking over our shoulders.” “The most valuable professional gift that I have in my life has been the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderful people,” Michael said. “It is about the journey we share, about creating memories and creating real wealth – not measured by the value of the dollar, but measured by the value of the friendships we create.” Gail Ivers is the vice president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce and managing editor of Business Central Magazine.

2011 – Replenishment Solutions launches Avalanche Ice Slushie 2013 – Michael Faber is elected to a two-year term as president and chairman of the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association; he was first elected to the association’s board in 2004 and served as chair of the Industry Issues Committee, treasurer and vice president of the association. Michael was the youngest board member and president/chairman to lead The CocaCola Bottlers’

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

Association. The Red Wing operations are consolidated into the River Falls facility. 2014 Viking Coca-Cola receives ISO 9001:2008 and FSSC 22000:2010 quality management and food safety certifications 2015 – Michael Faber and Viking Coca-Cola are named the 2015 Family Owned Business of the Year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

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47


uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu uuuuuuu

Feature

The Great Cover Up

I

t started as a one-time fix. Coming off the holidays, Riley knew she couldn’t make next month’s rent . . . but not by much. As bookkeeper at work, Riley thought she could borrow a little cash and pay it back before anyone noticed. Rent would be covered, and work wouldn’t miss the money temporarily. The monthly payroll taxes she processed seemed the easiest route. With all the government red tape, she thought, it would be months before anything was flagged. By then she would have returned the money, paid the taxes, and claimed the

48

government made an error that she would remedy. As the weeks went on, Riley discovered she could skim a little money here and there from the company to offset her personal bills. She over-ordered inventory, returned the excess, and pocketed the reimbursement. She processed fake returns, entered disbursements on the books, and pocketed the cash. After awhile, she told herself if the company paid better she wouldn’t need to be doing this to make ends meet. By year’s end, Riley realized her actions added up. She’d taken just over $10,000. There

Business Central Magazine // S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5

was no way to pay it back, and the company would find out when the books were handed over to the accounting firm for annual review. She stopped showing up for work. Riley’s actions are not uncommon. According to a 2014 study from the University of Cincinnati, 64 percent of small businesses surveyed reported they’d experienced employee theft. Many researchers believe the number of incidents is much higher. Why? In the UC study, only 16 percent of small businesses reported it.

Reasons for silence are many, said Susan Kadlec, partner and attorney with Jovanovich, Kadlec & Athmann, PA. “They might not have a paper trail to follow,” she said. “Or, the business will do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if they want this information out in the public. Sometimes that’s a deterrent. They don’t want this to become public information. That makes it a little easier for people to get away with it.” Subtle ways to do big damage Employee theft is part of a much larger problem known as occupational fraud.

Source: Ameriprise Financial 2014 study: Women and Financial Power

When opportunity, pressure, and ability collide, any business can be subject to fraud.  If you think your business is too small for someone to commit fraud, think again. By Heidi L. Everett


Protect Your Business The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) tracks occupational fraud and defines it as “using one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization’s resources or assets.” The ACFE splits occupational fraud into three categories: • Corruption includes bribery, Ponzi schemes, kick-backs, bid rigging, and extortion. • Financial statement fraud includes overstating or understating assets and revenues. • Asset misappropriation -- the most common -- includes any number of actions like theft

of cash, fake voids or returns, fictitious disbursements or billing, and skimming payroll taxes. Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are not immune to fraud. In fact, payroll and cash theft occur twice as often in small businesses than large businesses. Check tampering occurs more than three times as often. Even worse, small businesses suffer disproportionately to larger organizations. The median loss to small businesses in 2014 was $154,000 compared to $160,000 for organizations with more than 10,000 employees. And, it’s easily 18 months from when theft starts to when it’s detected.

Brian Bastian, partner and CPA at Schlenner, Wenner, & Co, offers eight strategies small businesses can follow to protect themselves from fraud. 1. Check candidate identification, background and credentials – Verify identity, resume content, and background to ensure candidates do not have a history of theft or fraud.

2. Create a positive work environment – Fair employment practices, written job descriptions, clear organizational structure, comprehensive policies and procedures, open lines of communication between management and employees, and positive recognition help reduce the likelihood of internal fraud and theft.

3. Set a strong ethical tone at the top – Make it clear that operating in an ethical manner is the only way the company does business and any other behavior will not be tolerated. Proactively communicate processes and policies. 4. Provide ethics training – Annual or semiannual training on business ethics supports maintaining a high ethical standard. Continued on next page >>

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Feature

Protect Your Business continued from last page >> Segregate duties – An effective system of internal control separates authoritative, accounting, and custodial functions. For example, one employee opens incoming mail, a second employee prepares deposit slips for daily receipts, while a third employee deposits receipts in the bank. “This example eliminates the opportunity for one employee to commit fraud related to incoming funds,” Bastian said.

5. Ensure safeguards – Safeguards prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing company assets. Safeguards are physical, such as locks on doors, or intangible, such as computer software passwords. “Many business owners instinctively protect inventory, cash and supplies,” Bastian said. “However, blank checks, company letterhead, and signature stamps are items commonly overlooked.” 6. Integrate systems – All accounting and resource planning programs should be electronic and integrated. Eliminate off-line calculations and spreadsheets. 7. Reconcile often and complete regular and surprise internal audits – Have strong internal controls. Many perpetrators seize opportunity where weak internal controls exist. Reconcile statements on a monthly basis. Identify high-risk areas in your business and audit for violations regularly and without notice. These may include business expense reports, cash and sales reconciliations, vacation and sick day reports, and so on. Treat unusual transactions with suspicion. 8. Finally, Bastian encourages business owners to recognize the signs. “Studies show that perpetrators of workplace crime or fraud do so because they are either under pressure, feel under-appreciated, or perceive that management behavior is unethical or unfair,” he said. “They rationalize their behavior based on the fact that they feel they are owed something or deserve it.” He said to look out for these red flags. Employees: • Not taking vacations • Being overly-protective or exclusive about workspace • Preferring to be unsupervised by working after hours or taking work home • Having unexplained debt • Showing unexpected changes in behavior • Living beyond their means • Gambling, alcohol, and drug issues To stay connected with employees, Bastian recommends holding regular one-on-one reviews and offering assistance to employees who are experiencing difficult times. He also encourages business owners to communicate open-door policies that give employees the opportunity to share their concerns about potential violations. Bastian’s final word of advice: “Trust your instincts.” —HLE

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DID YOU KNOW?

Asset Misappropriation: The most common form of fraud The following are types of asset misappropriation: - Bogus refunds or voids - Falsified wages - Fake expense reimbursements - Payroll tax skimming - Personal purchases billed to the company - Theft of cash on hand - Unrecorded or understated receivables - Unrecorded or understated sales - Write-off schemes

“I know you have trusted employees, but you have to be aware. Keep on top of your own business.” Susan Kadlec, partner and attorney with Jovanovich, Kadlec & Athmann, PA.

Case in point: stealing payroll taxes is hard to detect quickly, depending on how skilled the employee is at covering it up. “The employee may intercept the notices from the IRS that taxes were not paid,” Kadlec explained. “Or, they’ll come up with some explanation of why the government screwed up and commit to following up with the IRS. It can take months to sort out.” Businesses that deal with large sums of cash are also

vulnerable, Kadlec said. “It’s a lot easier for money to go missing here and there without being noticed.” The hand in the cookie jar The sad reality is occupational fraud is committed by individuals you see and work with every day. “It’s committed by someone in a position to handle funds,” Kadlec said. “When you have access to the funds, you are not stealing from a stranger, but from the organization you are a part of.”

Kadlec also cautions that theft can happen at every level of a company with people at every income level. “Somebody may be short $100 bucks on their rent,” she said. “Or somebody may just see an opportunity and get greedy. I know you have trusted employees, but you have to be aware. Keep on top of your own business.” Heidi L. Everett is owner of Watab Communications in St. Cloud.

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Special Focus GROWTH GUIDE

REGIONAL ROUND-UP

Area community planners provide insight on city projects. By Whitney Bina

ST. CLOUD The Lofts offer 46 units: 2 studios, 37 one bedroom and 7 two bedrooms. HMA Architects anticipates completion in summer 2016.

T

raveling around greater St. Cloud poses some challenges. As area cities pave the way for new residential, commercial and road construction projects, roads close, detours prevail and traffic backs up. The commotion of new and remodeled buildings, plus road closures and traffic reroutes leads one to wonder, what exactly are they working on? Community development directors from Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud and Waite Park provide some insight on what’s in store for Central Minnesota in the coming months.

Anita Rasmussen, community development director/assistant city administrator, City of Sartell Chateau Waters, a new, upscale, senior resort-style living community, holds a top spot on Sartell’s project list. CentraCare Health and St. Benedict Senior Community partnered to develop a distinctive senior campus. Chateau Waters rests on nine acres of land and offers nearly 100 residential units for the growing senior population. Anticipated to open in the summer of 2016, amenities of the facility include: a putting green; garden; wellness center;

contributor Whitney Bina is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

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chapel; fine dining restaurant; and community gathering room. Sartell plans to expand the public amenities in this area as well. The city hopes to add a walking path, fishing docks, a playground, an amphitheater and several sitting areas to Lake Francis, located adjacent to Chateau Waters. Other Sartell projects include: • Arbor Trails residential plat will offering 68 single family homes • Providence single family plat development with approximately 80 lots • A fourth Grandview Estates apartment complex • New 48 unit apartment complex • Re-development of the paper mill site and property


SARTELL The city hopes to add a walking path, fishing docks, a playground, an amphitheater and several sitting areas to Lake Francis, adjacent to Chateau Waters.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

DamonFarber Associates

Todd Schultz, community development director, City of Sauk Rapids The reconstruction of 2nd Street serves as the City of Sauk Rapids’ number one project in 2016. Proving no easy task, the City purchased 20 homes in order to move forward with the project. “It’s really our last large infrastructure project in the city,” Schultz said. The final phase of the multi-year city transportation reconstruction kicks off in April 2016 with plans to complete the project in October 2016. The 2nd Street expansion project increases traffic lanes from two to four beginning at Hwy 10 off of Golden Spike Road and continuing to downtown Sauk Rapids. “We are excited that the project will open the door for development on Golden Spike Road,” Schultz said. A new sidewalk and bike lane are included in the reconstruction. “It will be a great asset to our city and help us create a built in roadblock for our pedestrians and bicyclists.” In addition to the four roundabouts already in place, the project adds two additional roundabouts, allowing traffic to flow faster through town. One stoplight is planned for the Stearns Drive intersection.

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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Special Focus Other Sauk Rapids projects include: • A 60-unit apartment building with rooftop balcony and views of the Mississippi River • New KwikTrip on 18th St. and Hwy 15 -• New apartment building on the Fairview Farms Plat offering 30 units • Internal expansions for local manufacturers Cathy Mehelich, economic development director, City of St. Cloud St. Cloud continues to see plans for growth and expansion. The most notable project happening in the city is the The Lofts project in downtown St. Cloud. The Lofts offer 46 units: 2 studios, 37 one bedroom and 7 two bedrooms. All but three lofts have balconies while the remaining three will have private rooftop access. HMA Architects began the project in summer 2015 and anticipate completion in summer 2016. Another large development area to watch in St. Cloud is the Hwy 15 and 33rd St. S interchange. At the time of this article,

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the City of St. Cloud was in discussion with potential business prospects, but no new development plans had been submitted for approval. This site offers 100 acres for development and includes the proposed location for the new Tech High School. Other St. Cloud projects include: • Athlos Academies, a K-8 charter school, plans to build an 87,000 square foot facility with capacity for 1,200 students and employment potential for 97 people • A 21,000 square foot expansion at Dubow Textile, Inc. will create at least 20 new jobs • Creation of a new engine assembly line at Arctic Cat will create 10 new positions • New Coborn’s Inc. headquarters • Emergency trauma and imaging center addition to St. Cloud Hospital Jon Noerenberg, planning & community development director, City of Waite Park Hotel development proves popular in Waite Park. Two developers plan to construct two new hotels each in the next few years: • Silver Leaf Hotel Development plans to build in the Tri-County Mobile Home Park on 6th Ave. S and Division Street, with an Extended Stay Hotel and a higher-end hotel. Construction will begin in spring of 2016 and result in 27,000 square feet of event space. • Miller Properties on Parkway Drive near Menards is building a Staybridge-Extended Stay this fall, followed by a Holiday Inn, which includes a sports bar restaurant.

Other Waite Park projects: • Development of the former K-Mart building includes plans to split the current space into three separate units, with a nationally known retailer set to move in • KwikTrip plans to occupy the former Tesoro gas station located at 658 Great Oak Drive • Former Space Aliens restaurant site has had many inquiries by both restaurants and retail outlets, however, there are no development plans yet • Potential new apartment complex • Discussion about forthcoming new park and amenities in former quarry area that the city recently acquired S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 //

www.businesscentralmagazine.com

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Central MN Growth Guide:

Central MN is expanding. Here is a snapshot of some of the area businesses upcoming projects:

W GOHMAN CONSTRUCTION CO.

GLTArchitects

The Waterford - Distinctive Senior Apartment Homes LOCATION Country Manor - Sartell, MN ARCHITECT GLTArchitects

Becker High School Pool and Diving Becker High School LOCATION Becker, MN

Sacred Heart Parish Campus Expansion LOCATION Sauk Rapids, MN

OWNER Becker High School SIZE OF LOCATION - SQFT 57,000 SF Addition

MILLER ARCHITECTS & BUILDERS

GENERAL CONTRACTOR & ARCHITECT Miller Architects & Builders COST 12.2 Million

COMPLETION DATE March 2016

PROJECT COMPLETION Spring 2014

WEBSITE www.wgohman.com

WEBSITE www.gltarchitects.com

EMAIL telness@wgohman.com

WEBSITE www.millerab.com

PROJECT DESCRIPTION This new upscale facility features 45 senior apartment units with a variety of floor plan options. Amenities include tuck-under garages, decks/balconies and a restaurant/bar to serve the Country Manor campus.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION New 57,000 SF addition to Becker High School which includes a pool and auditorium with new building entries. The pool addition includes an 8 lane – 195,000 gallon, lap pool and a 128,000 gallon dive pool.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION 16,330 sf. addition features 250 seat fellowship hall with commercial kitchen, meeting rooms, administrative offices, new entrance, updated existing finishes.

CITY OF ST. CLOUD Economic Development Authority LOCATION City Hall - St. Cloud, MN

RICE BUILDING SYSTEMS, INC. Coborn’s Support Center -Coborn’s, Inc. LOCATION St. Cloud, Minnesota CONTRACTOR & ARCHITECT Rice Building Systems, Inc. COMPLETION DATE October 2015 WEBSITE ricebuildingsystems.com SUMMARY New 85,000 SF, 3-story support center for Coborn’s, Inc. will be completed October of 2015.

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STRACK COMPANIES Granite Logistics, LLC ARCHITECT Negan Architects COMPLETION DATE June 2015 SUMMARY This stunning and unique 13,200 square foot facility is the new home of Granite Logistics, LLC of Sartell. Granite Logistics is an agent for the Trinity Logistics, a national company. The building is packed with employee amenities for its nearly 50 employees including an employee lounge and dining area with outdoor patio all set on the south shore of Sartell’s Pine Lake development.

CONTACT US FOR: • Site selection for large or small business • Business start-up, expansion & relocation resources & financing • City development & permit assistance WEBSITE www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/economicdevelopment DESCRIPTION The St. Cloud Economic Development Authority (EDA) stands ready to work with you as your first-stop for business development assistance.


Mayor Dave Kleis, Director Cathy Mehelich and the EDA team stand ready to support your business development needs.

Funding and other resources available to local business (maybe yours!) When the City of St. Cloud Economic Development Authority (EDA) helps attract new businesses and more jobs to our community, it’s exciting, front page news. Understandably so. The EDA has been part of many such announcements in its short, four-year history. But what might be bigger news to you is the wealth of support the EDA provides to help existing local businesses grow. In fact, there may be services you are unaware of from which your business can benefit right now. “We want the business community to think of us as their first stop for business development,” says EDA Director Cathy Mehelich. “If you’re looking for where to start with your business expansion or start-up idea, we can point you in the right direction with connections to resources to make the process easier.” Since the EDA’s inception in 2011, $5.6 million in combined public investment has led to over $54

GREATER Revitalization Builder: Boser Construction / Quinlivan & Hughes Location: West St. Germain St in St. Cloud.

Before

After

million in private development and more than 300,000 square feet of new construction. Projects include smaller businesses like Arctic Cold Storage, Friesz Dentistry, Executive Express and Dubow Textile - in addition to larger businesses like New Flyer and Park Industries.

Among the services provided by the EDA are: Assisting with site selection for large or small business Administering business expansion and redevelopment financing resources Serving as a referral source for business start-up and job skill training Guiding businesses through the city permitting process

The resources are based on the type of development project and needs. “We realize each business is unique, and can quickly match resources and make connections without wasting precious time.” The EDA also assists with redevelopment of high profile vacant locations. When Boser Construction invested over $400,000 to redevelop the former Granite Bowl on Hwy 23/Division Street, the EDA facilitated financing from the state and city to support the extraordinary costs. The new 13,000sf Class-A office building provided much needed space for Quinlivan & Hughes Law Firm. “We started looking at different locations and there is just something about being a part of downtown and continuing the redevelopment and expansion of St. Cloud,” says Quinlivan & Hughes CEO Steve Schwegman. “We’re fortunate in this community to have an abundance of business development resources and partners,” adds Mehelich. “That’s why we exist – to serve as one centralized location for doing business with the City and improve services to businesses who want to prosper here.”

Contact: cathy.mehelich@ci.stcloud.mn.us Direct: 320.650.3111 Url: ci.stcloud.mn.us/economicdevelopment


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Business Spotlight THE NEWSLEADERS

A POSITIVE FORCE

It’s been a rocky road for the owner of the Newsleaders, but she still believes in her product and the power of doing good. By Gail Ivers Janelle Von Pinnon, 51 Owner/Publisher of the Newsleaders – St. Joseph, Sartell-St. Stephen, and Sauk Rapids-Rice

if I wanted it. The new owner of the Sauk Centre paper encouraged me to turn the newsletter into a St. Joe newspaper. He was a good mentor for me.

Education: 1986 graduate of Moorhead State University with degrees in biology and mass communications

BC: What has been your biggest challenge? ______________

PERSONAL PROFILE

Family: Husband, Bruce, retired from the MN State Correctional Facility; two daughters and a son Hobbies: Pets galore – “Love my animals.” Gardening, reading, walking, traveling, baking, collecting coins. “I’m a cemetery freak with my dad.”

______________

Business Central: How did you get into this business? ______________ Von Pinnon: I moved to Sauk Centre after college to write for the paper. After six months I wrote a scathing editorial about underage drinking and got fired. While I was out of work the First State Bank of St. Joe hired me to write a community newsletter. Then the owner of the Sauk Centre paper sold the newspaper, and the new editor hired me back. Meanwhile, people started asking to advertise in the newsletter and the bank didn’t want to be part of that so they asked

TIMELINE 1986-87 Janelle Von Pinnon graduates from college and moves to Sauk Centre to work for the local newspaper 1989 Von Pinnon establishes the Newsleader, a weekly community

58

Von Pinnon: I trust too easily. In 2004 I hired a general manager who embezzled $30,000 over 18 months. It was a two-year court battle to get it straightened out. Because she ruined my credit, I couldn’t borrow money for the business. I had to reorganize the company. I’ve been in debt up to my ears three times in my business and I’ve gotten out of it each time. You have to move on. It just eats you up if you hold on to it. BC: What do you like best about this business? ______________ Von Pinnon: Journalists provide education. We need an informed populace in order to move our society forward. Yes, you have to cover bad news, but you can also be a positive force.

AT A GLANCE Von Meyer Publishing, Inc./The Newsleaders 32 1st Ave NW, PO Box 324, St. Joseph, MN 56374 (320) 363-7741 • Fax: (320) 363-4195 • www.thenewsleaders.com Email: news@thenewsleaders.com Owner: Janelle Von Pinnon • Established: 1989 Number of employees: Five full time, two part time; also four photographers and four writers who contribute regularly but are not paid staff Business Description: Publish weekly community newspapers called the Newsleaders, for St. Joseph, Sartell and Sauk Rapids, distributed through the mail to 19,250 households. Joined the Chamber: 1995

newspaper for residents of the City of St. Joseph, MN. She runs the business out of a rented room in the local hardware store.

1999 At the request of the City of Waite Park, Von Pinnon establishes the Waite Park Newsleader. It is subsidized by the city.

1995 Von Pinnon starts the Sartell Newsleader

1998 Von Pinnon starts the Sauk Rapids Newsleader

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Janelle Von Pinnon

2000 Von Pinnon discontinues the Sauk Rapids Newsleader 2003 Von Meyer Publishing, purchases a house in St. Joseph, relocating their offices there

2007 The City of Waite Park discontinues its subsidy of the Waite Park Newsleader; the paper ceases publication. May 1, 2015 Von Pinnon expands a second time into Sauk Rapids


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