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Help put the home back in senior care

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Join us in supporting our seniors. Through Dec. 31, your gift will double thanks to a $100,000 matching gift from Granite Logistics. Give at give.CentraCare.com/donation or call 320-240-2810.


CONTENTS GROW

|

NETWORK |

PROFIT

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

PROFIT

Cover Story

32

DEFYING COVID

Brandon Testa, House of Pizza, faced the challenges of a pandemic by expanding his pizza enterprise.

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

Taking care of customers, staff, and community is a common theme for businesses in 2021.

42 FINANCIAL LITERACY

NETWORK 12 UPFRONT Valuable information designed to guide and educate

38 FINDING CALM IN THE CHAOS

50 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT David Werschay, Werschay Homes

Not every business owner is good with numbers. But when it comes to the money generated by your company, you should be at the forefront and not the sidelines.

GROW

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 : 8 Pr e s i d e n t ’ s Le t t e r / 1 0 Ed i t o r ’ s N o t e / 2 0 N e t w o r k Ce n t ra l

ONLYONLINE BUSINESSCENTRAL MAGAZINE.COM

• Multitasking Videos • Lease or Buy? • Remote Reviews • Stop Second-Guessing

Celebrating 2000-2020 YEARS

47 FINANCIAL SERVICES © Copyright 2020 Business Central, LLC. Business Central is published six times a year by the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Phone (320) 251-2940 / Fax (320) 251-0081. Subscription rate: $18 for 1 year.


business banking that just works. Veronica, Amy, and Colleen Owners of Ruby Buckle, New Deerwood Bank Business Customers

Likes the ease of logging in from her phone between meetings

deerwoodbank.com 320.252.4200

Loves that her bank and banker care about their mission and their story Loves the personal relationship with the bankers


Am I meeting my fiduciary obligations as a plan sponsor? We can help with a plan consultation As a retirement plan sponsor, you’re faced with constant change and complexity in managing your fiduciary responsibilities as well as helping employees maximize their retirement savings. An experienced Retirement Plan Consultant at UBS can help with a consultation and review of best practices. We can help you: – Enhance your plan without changing providers – Select and review investments – Evaluate plan expenses – Review and establish new plan features – Educate and help prepare employees for retirement UBS has delivered retirement plan consulting services for more than 30 years as a fiduciary* and as one of the world’s leading wealth managers.** Your employees may benefit from education based on our keen financial insights. Let’s start a conversation. Contact Karl Nikodym Wealth Management Group or visit ubs.com/team/knwm. Michael K. Karl, CFP®, CIMA® Senior Vice President–Wealth Management Branch Manager Senior Retirement Plan Consultant 320-203-6572 michael.k.karl@ubs.com

Matthew R. Nikodym, AAMS®, CRPS® Senior Vice President–Wealth Management Senior Retirement Plan Consultant 320-203-6579 matthew.r.nikodym@ubs.com Karl Nikodym Wealth Management Group UBS Financial Services Inc. 4150 South Second Street, Suite 500 Saint Cloud, MN 56301 320-252-6909 800-444-3809 toll free

ubs.com/team/knwm

For broker-dealer and plan sponsor use only * UBS Financial Services Inc. has provided fiduciary advice to retirement plans for over 30 years. To check the background of a UBS Retirement Plan Consultant, please see brokercheck.finra.org. ** Scorpio Partnership’s Global Private Banking Benchmark 2018 rank of global wealth managers by assets under management. For more information, please visit www.scorpiopartnership.com/press/2018-benchmark. UBS Retirement Plan Consulting Services is an investment advisory program. Details regarding the program including fees, services, features and suitability are provided in the ADV Disclosure. UBS Financial Services Inc., its affiliates and its employees are not in the business of providing tax or legal advice. Clients should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. As a firm providing wealth management services to clients, UBS Financial Services Inc. offers investment advisory services in its capacity as an SEC-registered investment adviser and brokerage services in its capacity as an SEC-registered broker-dealer. Investment advisory services and brokerage services are separate and distinct, differ in material ways and are governed by different laws and separate arrangements. It is important that clients understand the ways in which we conduct business, that they carefully read the agreements and disclosures that we provide to them about the products or services we offer. For more information, please review the PDF document at ubs.com/relationshipsummary. CIMA® is a registered certification mark of the Investments & Wealth Institute™ in the United States of America and worldwide. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified finanCial PlannerTM in the US. For designation disclosures, visit ubs.com/us/en/designation-disclosures. © UBS 2020. All rights reserved. The key symbol and UBS are among the registered and unregistered trademarks of UBS. UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC. CJ-UBS-1054007840 Exp.: 09/30/2021


—Larry Logeman, owner, Executive Express.


PRESIDENT’S LETTER

Respect for All

D

iversity, equality and racial justice seem to be on the minds of people nationwide. In fact, it's probably the second most reported and talked about issue of 2020. As we watched Minneapolis hold the attention of the world after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, I found myself wondering, ‘What can the Chamber do?’ All of us must examine how we work with and treat all people in our community. We need to take a hard look at our systems and structures to ensure everyone in our community has fair and equal opportunity to find and keep employment, do business with our organizations, and find respect from those who fulfill their needs for goods and services. Our Chamber’s Board chair and vice chair came forward with me to send the following information to our members in the days following the discouraging events of late May: The Chamber of Commerce exists to promote and support for-profit and non-profit member organizations and their employees that operate in our region and we MUST value diversity, inclusivity and equal opportunity for the sake of promoting strong communities. It is our desire to be a vehicle for positive change. The Chamber is in a unique position to be a resource for bringing people and issues together, by facilitating the needed conversations and promoting changes through

our programming. In so doing the Chamber will continue to seek the commitment of businesses to join us and other community partners in advocating, enhancing, and promoting equal opportunity in everything we do. Our commitment includes encouraging all of our volunteer committees to recruit and welcome members who come from diverse backgrounds and, with the help of those new members, to explore and adopt new ways to become inclusive. We welcome your feedback on how we can continue to build a business community free from racial injustice and inequality of all kinds. A healthy, thriving community is represented by a healthy, thriving Chamber of Commerce and visa-versa. It is our duty to represent our values by the programming we offer and promote our values across Chamber members and throughout the community. Ultimately our goal is to provide a safe and inclusive organization that provides opportunities to all area businesses and residents. We encourage you to join us in this effort.

Teresa Bohnen Publisher

2020-21 BOARD MEMBERS ____________________________ Marilyn Birkland, LocaliQ Ron Brandenburg, Quinlivan & Hughes, Chair John Bryant, Geo-Comm Christy Gilleland, Gilleland Chevrolet Cadillac Tanja Goering Jason Hallonquist, AIS Planning, Past Board Chair Main Phone: 320-251-2940 • Automated Reservation Line: 320-656-3826 • Program Hotline: 320-656-3825 information@StCloudAreaChamber.com • StCloudAreaChamber.com ST. CLOUD AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF ____________________________ Special Events Coordinator: President: Teresa Bohnen, ext. 104 Laura Wagner, ext. 131 Vice President: Gail Ivers, ext. 109 Director of Administration: Judy Zetterlund, ext. 106 Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator: Kelti Lorence, ext. 130

8

CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF ____________________________ Main Phone: 320-251-4170 Executive Director: Julie Lunning, ext. 111

Ray Harrington, Pioneer Place on Fifth Joe Hellie, CentraCare Patrick Hollermann, InteleCONNECT Willie Jett, St. Cloud School District Kevin Johnson, K. Johnson Construction Bernie Omann, St. Cloud State University Bernie Perryman, Batteries Plus Bulbs, Board Vice Chair

Membership Specialist: Antoinette Valenzuela, ext. 134

Director of Sports & Special Events: Dana Randt, ext. 110

Administrative Assistant: Vicki Lenneman, ext. 122

Sales Manager: Nikki Fisher, ext. 112 Sales Manager: Rachel Thompson, ext. 128

Allison Waggoner, DCI, Inc.

Administrative Assistant: Shelly Imdieke, ext. 100

Social Media & Marketing Specialist: Emily Bertram, ext. 129

Colleen Zoffka, GB & Company

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Brenda Sickler, Theisen Dental Chriss Wohlleber, Courtyard by Marriott-St. Cloud


Our business is helping your business. Dedicated business banking partner. At CMCU, every account has a dedicated Commercial Banking Officer; an expert financial partner you can count on to answer your questions, help provide solutions, and cheer for your success. Our loyal business team is ready to help you take on your next venture. MYCMCU.ORG INSURED BY NCUA


EDITOR’S NOTE

Silver Linings

I

n January 2020 I was sitting in an airport waiting for a flight to Israel. I texted my brother to let him know I

was leaving as I had neglected to mention it to him when I saw him at Christmas. "Good thing you're not going to China!" he texted back. I had no idea what he was referring to so I went online and Googled "What's up in China?" He was right, I was glad I was not going to China.

There’s nothing better than fresh pizza from t h e o v e n … e v e n a t 10 i n t h e m o r n i n g .

Two weeks later, I had a lay-over in Frankfurt, Germany on my way home. Here I was greeted by airport staff with

I am totally aware that my plans, and their subsequent

questions like "How long have you been traveling?" "Have

cancellation, are nothing compared to what many people

you been to China?" "Have you had a fever or cough?" The

and businesses have faced. Brandon Testa (see the story

rumors in the airport were that anyone arriving from China,

on page 32) was well on his way to opening a new House

or who had visited China at all during their travels, were

of Pizza location when COVID-19 arrived. It's one thing for

not being allowed in the airport. What do you do if you’re

me to try and recoup my pre-paid flight to England and

not allowed in the airport and you’re not allowed back on a

something quite different to face a mountain of financial

plane? Again, I was glad I had not traveled to China.

commitments when revenue is drying up daily.

Looking back, I'm shocked at how naive I was...and so

I'm a believer in 'silver linings' and Brandon must be,

grateful that Aunt Nancy and I were able to make our trip

too. He forged ahead by negotiating new contracts,

to the Middle East (and back!) with a few weeks to spare

finding vendors who supported his vision, and

before COVID-19 started to ravage the world. That was

consolidating operations.

the last of my 2020 plans that actually happened. In March all visitors were banned from my mom's

Meanwhile, I FaceTime with my mom, enjoy Zoom happy hours and dinners with family and friends, and

nursing home in Willmar. Instead of regular personal visits

pour over brochures eagerly awaiting the green light for

we were on the phone where she regularly asked "Why do

travel. An added bonus…my flower gardens have never

you keep calling me? Why don't you ever visit me anymore?"

looked better!

In May the Chamber's trip to Alnwick, England, in cooperation with St. Cloud State University was cancelled. In June, fledgling plans to travel to Norway and

Until next issue,

Iceland with a friend were scrapped before we could even start looking at dates. In August, Aunt Nancy and I sadly looked at our calendars, which told us we were supposed to be in Mongolia.

.

Gail Ivers Editor

Celebrating 2000-2020 YEARS

Publisher Teresa Bohnen • Managing Editor Gail Ivers • Associate Editor Dawn Zimmerman CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Allison Bily and Lynn MacDonald, St. Cloud State University

Chris Panek, Christine R. Panek, CPA

Teresa Bohnen, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

Jessie Storlien, Stearns History Museum

Boz Bostrom, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Dr. Fred E. Hill, St. Cloud State University Gail Ivers, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Mitchell Kuhl, D.O., St. Cloud Orthopedics Kelti Lorence, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce 10

Jeanine Nistler, Freelance Writer

Dr. Beth Triplett, High Impact Training Consultant Dawn Zimmerman, The Write Advantage ADVERTISING Associate Publisher/Sales Melinda Vonderahe Ad Traffic & Circulation Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media

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ART Design & Production Yola Hartmann, Hazel Tree Media Cover Story Photography Joel Butkowski, BDI Photography ACCOUNTING Judy Zetterlund

1411 West St. Germain Street, Suite 101, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 Phone (320) 251-2940 • Fax (320) 251-0081 BusinessCentralMagazine.com

WEBSITE Vicki Lenneman

For advertising information contact Melinda Vonderahe, (320) 656-3808 Editorial suggestions can be made in writing to: Editor, Business Central, P.O. Box 487, St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487. Submission of materials does not guarantee publication. Unsolicited materials will not be returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.


We help transform financial advice into financial confidence. A Proviant Group client recently remarked to their advisor that they hoped their advisor was planning for his retirement as well as he planned for theirs. The clients went on to state that they were enjoying retirement more than they dreamed they would; doing more and having more fun than ever!

advice along with insurance, tax and estate planning strategies. “We meet in person, by phone and increasingly, web conferencing,” said Pat Kruchten, Private Wealth Advisor. “And now Ameriprise has enhanced their ‘Online Client Experience’ allowing clients to not only access their accounts and communicate securely and remotely with their advisor online, but also to access and simulate different scenarios with their financial plan,” says Kruchten.

Unfortunately, not everyone plans for retirement or other financial goals – something advisors at Proviant Group, now in its 27th year of service to clients, hopes to change. “We provide personalized “Retirement financial may be the planning for primary goal everyone which for many is now more clients, but important than everyone has ever,” says their own idea April of how that Diederich, looks. We’ll Financial help you turn Advisor. “We your dreams have long into reality. It L to R: Financial Advisors Regan Johnson, Patrick Kruchten, Private Wealth Advisor; Jill helped clients Bruno, April Diederich, Zach McBroom, David Hall, Jamie O’Rourke, Joshua Nelson, takes planning Barclay Carriar, Private Wealth Advisor; Renee Volk plan for the and follow-up uncertainty of the financial markets – which and we will be there for you every step of the shows no signs of changing anytime soon – and way,” according to Jamie O’Rourke, Financial now life has gotten more uncertain in the face of Advisor. the pandemic. We help clients plan for uncertainty so as not to disrupt their future Proviant Group dreams and goals,” says Diederich. Financial Advisors at Proviant Group offer financial and retirement planning and investment

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This is a paid advertisement. Ameriprise Financial, Inc. does not offer tax or legal advice. Consult with a tax advisor or attorney. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2020 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

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UPFRONT GROW

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NETWORK |

PROFIT

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

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : You r Voice in Gover nment / Dig g in g H is to ry / T h e Tro u b le w it h Bu s in e ss BOOK REVIEW

NEWS REEL

Think Strategically Theory and practice, combined with actionable steps can help anyone become a better strategic thinker.

S

Leighton Interactive was founded in 2009 in response to a growing number of Leighton Broadcasting

Reviewed by Dr. Fred Hill

trategic thinking is an individual’s capacity for, and practice of, using cognition to identify and organize factors that increase the probability of success in the future. Author Greg Githens in his recent book, How to Think Strategically provides readers with a step by step process to help readers become more competent strategic thinkers. Using well-researched content, Githens offers in-depth case studies, along with charts and tables to help explain his strategic principles. Githens writes, “A proficient automobile driver uses microskills such as accelerating, braking, changing lanes, turning, passing, and parking. Similarly, strategic thinking is a macro ability composed of several distinctive, developable micro skills.” Chapter 4, Twelve Microskills of Strategic Thinking, teaches that microskills are

Leighton Interactive rebrands as Vye

the key feature of this book. These microskills are curiosity, pragmatism, ambition, sharpness, analogous reasoning, storytelling, open mental stance, skepticism, reflection, empathy, personal resilience, and conceptual mapping. Chapter 4 (pp 59 – 78) alone, is worth the cost of the book. There are two parts and 13 chapters to this work. Part I: The Nature, Purpose, and Scope of Strategic Thinking includes the following chapters: A Are you Strategic? B Cleverness C Big Ideas D Twelve Microskills of Strategic Thinking E Why Strategic Thinking is Rare F The Fuzzy Front End of Strategy G Pockets of the Future H Strategic Decisions I The Spark of Insight

J Perspective K Shoulder Angels L Dialogue and Deliberation M Being an Extra-ordinary Leader There are six noteworthy appendices, as well. They are: Appendix A: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Appendix B: Microskills of Strategic Thinking. Appendix C: Manifesto for Strategic Thinking. Appendix D: Landmarks on the map of Strategic Thinking. Appendix E: Useful Terms. Appendix F: Personal Branding as a Strategic Thinker. Jeroen De Flander, bestselling author of Strategy Execution Heroes and The Execution Shortcut, says "Githens provides all the necessary tools and insight to help you become an influential thinker. A great read!” I completely agree!

In Part II: Personal and Interpersonal Mastery the chapters are:

Dr. Fred E. Hill is an emeritus

clients who sought to expand their radio advertising to include web and digital solutions. The word “interactive” was a fitting word for the market need and the solutions the company provided at the time. The name Vye originates from the word “vie,” which means “to compete eagerly in order to do or achieve something.” Vye’s team has grown to 24 members and their portfolio includes mainly B2B companies from 24 states.

St. Cloud Hospital recognized CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital was ranked as one of the top hospitals in the nation for Cardiology & Heart surgery and Pulmonology & Lung surgery by the U.S. News & World Report.

Brenny Transportation named to top list Redefining the Road, the

professor at St. Cloud State University.

official magazine of the Women In Trucking Association named Brenny Transportation, owned by Joyce Brenny, to the 2020 “Top Woman-Owned Businesses” list.

How to Think Strategically: Sharpen Your Mind. Develop Your Competency. Contribute to Success,By Greg Githens, Maven House Press, Palmyra, VA , 2 01 9 • IS B N 9 78 19 3 8 548 9 0 1

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Send News Reel items to Gail Ivers, givers@businesscentralmagazine.com for possible inclusion. News Reel is compiled by Kelti Lorence.


POINT OF VIEW

What is one thing you do over the weekend to prepare for your work week? Joe Francis, Central McGowan

–––––––

Rachel Templin, Finken

Hailey Everson, NetVPro

–––––––

–––––––

I never approach Monday without having created a family-wide schedule. This includes all my work appointments, school schedules, extracurricular activities, haircuts, and more!

I sit down on Sunday and plan out my week, from meetings to projects to complete. This really helps me to understand what to expect for my upcoming week.

I try to be fully disengaged from everything work-related by the end of day Friday. I do something meaningful and personal over the weekend, then try to fully re-engage my mind for work by Sunday night.

David Henkel, riteSOFT

–––––––

When I was growing up, a mentor of mine often said that the key to achieving results is to “Plan, Organize, and Execute.” This really stuck with me. On Sundays, I typically spend time planning and organizing my upcoming week by creating a prioritized to-do list. This helps me to start the week off strong—with clear objectives and a plan to accomplish them.

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Educating your team on phishing attacks

Identifying holes in your policy and procedure

Protecting your end users

Start by reaching out to a cybersecurity expert at Network Center, Inc. 800.723.5353

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netcenter.net

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

NEWS REEL

YOUR VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

BerganKDV elects Board, promotes staff

Assessing Northstar

BerganKDV shareholders recently elected Earl Edeburn and Adam Tillman to their Board of Directors to serve three-year terms.

S

ince the Northstar commuter rail was first conceived several years ago, people have talked about bringing it to St. Cloud. During the 2019 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature provided money and directed MnDOT and Metro Transit to assess the feasibility of extending Northstar service to St. Cloud. The study included evaluation of capital and service costs. The following table illustrates the number of weekday trains for each of four scenarios operating between Minneapolis and St. Cloud.

Other members on the board are

BETWEEN MINNEAPOLIS AND ST. CLOUD Morning

Russ Sand, Becky Morgan, Gene Garrelts, Matt Mayer and Dan

Afternoon

Evening

OPERATING SCENARIO

SB NB SB NB SB NB

Existing Service

0

0

0

0

0

0

are Becky Morgan, board chair;

Minimum Service Alternative

1

0

0

1

0

0

Earl Edeburn, vice chair; Matt

Minimum Bi-Directional Alternative

1

1

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Roling. The selected slate of officers for the coming fiscal year

Mayer, secretary; and Dan Roling, treasurer. BerganKDV recently promoted 33 staff members

Express Service Alternative Bi-Directional Service Alternative

1 Exp 1 Exp 2

1

1 Exp 1 Exp 2

3

SB=Southbound; NB=Northbound

across the company. Promotions in St. Cloud include Ashley Hackett to accounting services specialist II – NE; Caroline Stutsman to audit director; and Thomas Traeger to tax senior.

A range of estimated capital costs to implement each service alternative is shown in the following table. The minimum investment represents the cost to implement each service alternative in the near term (2025). Adjusting for inflation and based on existing service, Metro Transit’s annual budget for Northstar operations would increase from $22 million to approximately $26.4 $36.5 million in 2025. operating between Minneapolis and St. Cloud.

Operation Round Up achieves milestone

ESTIMATED CAPITAL AND OPERATING COSTS FOR EACH SERVICE ALTERNATIVE

Stearns Electric Association’s

All costs are adjusted for inflation to the year 2025

Operation Round Up Program

Estimated Capital Cost

Incremental Annual Operating Cost

achieved the milestone of over

Minimum Service Alternative $36 -$139 Million $4.7 Million

$2.5 million in awarded grants to

Minimum Bi-Directional Alternative $96 -$207 Million $7.7 Million

Central Minnesota organizations in the past 27 years.

Express Service Alternative $141 -$190 Million $10.1 Million Bi-Directional Service Alternative $188 -$257 Million $14.7 Million

Stearns History Museum receives grant The Stearns History Museum

A two-page summary of the study, and the full study can be found at BusinessCentralMagazine.com

received an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for over $21,000 to update its archival catalog system.

Engelmeier & Umanah attorney named Super Lawyer Attorney Jacqueline Schuh, Engelmeier & Umanah, P.A., was named to the 2020 Minnesota Super Lawyer list.

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IN THE NEWS

2020 ATHENA Award recipient announced

T

he Women’s Fund of the Central Minnesota Community Foundation selected Dorraine (Dorrie) Larison as the 2020 ATHENA Award recipient for her leadership and dedication to strengthening area communities.


Celebrating 2000-2020 YEARS

LO O K I N G BAC K

The 2000 Business Showcase

I

n October 2000 Chamber members filled the St. Cloud Civic Center for the annual Business Showcase. In addition to booths, we hosted cooking demonstrations, a business style show, and even brought in a regional celebrity entertainer.

The October 2000 show filled the St. Cloud Civic Center.

Ruth Koscielak, WCCO Radio personality

• • • • •

A business fashion show, with emcee Konie Slipy Jestus, Mary Kay (above), featured several noted business leaders including Chamber President Teresa Bohnen (L) and then Chair of the Chamber Board David Leapaldt, now with JLG Architects (above).

Mark Larson, Creative Catering, provided a cooking demonstration.

Preparing & Drafting Loan Documents Collections Replevin/Foreclosures Work-Out or Restructuring Negotiations Creditors Rights

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NEWS REEL

DIGGING HISTORY

St. Cloud receives $40 million in project funding

Skating By

The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA) awarded $122 million in loans and grants in the first half of 2020 for water and infrastructure projects in 24 communities throughout Minnesota. St. Cloud received over $40 million for advanced modifications to the drinking water treatment plant.

Gaslight Creative opens third location Gaslight Creative recently opened an office in Bozeman, Montana. This is their third location in addition to St. Cloud and Minneapolis.

Stearns Bank announces retirement Steve Domine has retired as president of Minnesota community banking and senior vice president of national lending for Stearns Bank. He has been with Stearns Bank for 33 years. With Domine’s retirement, David Feriancek was promoted to senior vice president of national lending and Derrick Meyer was promoted to vice president and community banking manager.

Bills joins Midsota Plastic Surgery Katie Bills, PA-C, recently joined CentraCare’s Midsota Plastic Surgery as a physician assistant specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

CMCU introduces banking officers

Jim Hermanson and his Great Christmas Giveaway By Jessie Storlien

M

ost of us don’t reach adulthood believing in Santa Claus. However, we may meet people along the way who embody the spirit of generosity and gift giving upon which Kris Kringle was inspired. Jim Hermanson was such a person for many Stearns County residents. Jim was born and raised in Watertown, South Dakota. On October 18, 1920 he married Inga Vick. After losing his position at the Great Northern Railway, Jim and Inga set out to start their own bicycle shop in St. Cloud. It was August 1925 when the couple opened Jim’s Bicycle Shop at 21 6th Avenue N in St. Cloud. Jim and Inga sold Schwinn, Packard, Colombia, and Iver Johnson bicycles out of this shop for two years before moving to a larger building. After relocating to 30 5th Avenue N in 1927, they added ice skates to their inventory. The shop’s proximity to Lake George created a natural market for winter

Families line up outside Jim's Bicycle Shop for the annual ice skate give away, St. Cloud, December 1955

accessories. After a few years the store had built up its stock, and Jim’s Bicycle Shop started their annual skate giveaway. “A lot of kids would come in the shop and they would look at other kids having skates, and they was too poor to buy skates,” Inga explained in a 1978 interview with Stearns History Museum. “Jim said, ‘There’s a lot of skates in town. We should at least have a Christmas party at Christmastime

that advertises all poor children that can’t afford skates, come and get them at Jim’s.’” The event was held the day after Christmas, and the store gave the children free popcorn, soda pop, and candy bars as well as their own pair of refurbished skates. The skate promotion became wildly popular. In 1961, Jim and Inga gave away 171 pairs of ice skates, and went through 547 sacks of popcorn, 281 candy bars, and 8 cases of soda pop, as reported in the St. Cloud Times. Jim noted, that the count did not include the rural youngsters, who he expected to come in during the week. The event was not created by the Hermansons alone. As told to the St. Cloud Times, the skates were repaired and readied for their new owners at the

Mike Heen and Leslie Lane, Central Minnesota Credit Union, are the commercial banking officers at the bank’s new location in Sartell.

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Jim’s Bicycle Shop, Dec. 24, 1961

Photos courtesy of the Stearns History Museum.

NETWORK

UPFRONT


Jim and Inga Hermanson ride bikes in the 1957 Moose Parade in St. Cloud

Reformatory. “They did a lot of hard work,” Jim said. Then there was the help needed to fit skates and handout treats. “We never have trouble getting

volunteers. They like to assist in this charity,” he said. Santa Claus was a role Jim enjoyed playing. During the holiday season, he was often called on to dress up as Santa Claus and deliver a new bicycle or tricycle. He frequently found himself distributing the entire family’s gifts before leaving. Jim was a generous man in many ways. He told the St. Cloud Times in January 1953, “I always trust the kids who say they’ll bring their money in the next day to pay for an unexpected broken chain guard repair job – and they seldom disappoint me. The kids get a

kick out of it when I add ‘there goes another honest boy.’” In 1962, Jim passed away unexpectedly. Inga continued running the shop and organizing the annual Christmas event with the help of Ray Super and Herbie Bares. However, in 1971 the building was purchased by the City of St. Cloud, and a year later Jim’s Bicycle Shop was closed. “Jim loved all of them. All of the children that came in there. And he never forgot them,” Inga said. Jessie Storlien is an archivist at the Stearns History Museum.

Improving Lives

ONE SCREENING AT A TIME

Colonoscopy screenings significantly decrease colon cancer mortality rates, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Manuel R. Moran, MD, who performs these minimally invasive procedures at St. Cloud Surgical Center, urges everyone age 50 or older to have a colonoscopy.

It is not necessary to wait months for a colonoscopy appointment, and it’s never a good idea to wait until you have symptoms,” says Dr. Moran. “Most of the time, colorectal cancers are preventable with colonoscopy screenings, early detection, and removal of growths.” Call 320-229-3201 to schedule your screening colonoscopy. We accept most insurance plans.

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NETWORK

UPFRONT

THE TROUBLE WITH BUSINESS

Video Etiquette Are you using video conferencing tools effectively? TECH TEST

By Dawn Zimmerman

Clear the clutter from anything behind you or consider placing a table, lamp and piece of artwork as your backdrop. If you have books or other items behind you, review the titles. Avoid anything controversial, questionable or confidential. Do not use the fake backgrounds available in some platforms. They are not considered professional and often are distracting to viewers. It’s important to look behind you before starting a video call to ensure you’re setting the right image.

Know Your Speed

Y

our upload speed matters when using video. You

will want an upload speed of at least 5 Mbps. You can check out speed online with tools such as speedtest.net. Keep in mind that your speed can change. Having multiple devices on a network at the same time will impact bandwidth. If you are having connection issues, turn off your video. You also may need to call in, instead, to ensure your audio.

B Close down and

T

he global pandemic shifted our organizations to remote workers and virtual communications in a matter of hours. What we once did face-toface, we needed to reimagine in a virtual environment. Video calls quickly became a go-to resource and many professionals found themselves quarantined with one video meeting after another. Even as the in-person restrictions lift for workplaces, video conferencing through WebEx, Zoom and Microsoft Teams will remain a top tool for how we communicate and

collaborate. So, what does it look like to use video calls effectively in business? Here are some best practices and etiquette tips: 1 Stage your background. People will naturally look at what’s in your background. This may mean you rearrange your desk or when doing video calls, you move your computer and camera to a set position. While focusing on keeping it clean and not distracting, consider what you can place behind you to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

power in. Shut down all unnecessary programs and minimize and turn off notifications for any that need to remain open. This will help with bandwidth and maintaining your focus. Go beyond your computer to limit other distractions in your workspace. Silence your phone. Set aside papers. Do not multitask during video meetings. Yes, we’ve all done it. But it’s not a best practice. This includes eating, unless it is part of the meeting. C Keep adjusting

your lighting. Good lighting is essential when communicating over video. While natural light is preferred, it will

Contributor ________ Dawn Zimmerman is CEO of The Write Advantage, a St. Cloud-based strategic communications company that specializes in social media. She can be reached at dawn@writeadv.com.

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require your attention because it changes throughout the day, based on the angle of the sun and clouds. Determine your lighting plans for morning and afternoon meetings. Then, be ready to adjust before a meeting. This may include turning on a lamp or pulling down the shades. D Elevate and frame your

camera for better viewing. Your camera should be just above eye-level to capture you at the best angle. You can use books or small boxes to prop up your computer to achieve a higher angle shot. Keep in mind that video conferencing tools display differently. When joining, frame the camera correctly to focus on you and your desired background. E Show your video. When you’re invited to a video call, share your video.


It communicates respect to attendees. If you are not planning to share your video, communicate that to the host prior to the meeting. Not showing your video can communicate that you are not listening or engaged in the meeting. If you need to shut it off, communicate that to the participants before doing so. F Maintain eye contact. Focus on maintaining eye contact with the camera rather than looking off. Place notes that you want to reference during the meeting directly under the camera. Limit your time looking at another screen during a meeting, even if it is related.

G Hone in on non-verbal communication. Pay attention to the facial expressions of people on the call and your own. You may want to be more expressive (smile more) to connect with and engage attendees. Our non-verbals often set the tone. This is challenging and does lead to more mental fatigue. Our brains take in, assess and adapt to significantly more non-verbals during a video call than if we were in-person with the same group. H Be on time – or early. Begin connecting to the meeting at least five minutes prior if you are an attendee and earlier

if you are the host. This may require you to add more margin in between your meetings so you have time to go from one meeting to another. Just like when driving, assume it may take longer than expected to connect. You never know when a technology issue will arise. I Present a professional image. During the pandemic, attire became more relaxed, sometimes too informal. Treat the video meeting just like you would an in-person meeting in your organization. This shows respect and communicates a professional image. You may

choose more carefully what you wear, considering colors that appear well on camera and do not wash you out. Remove any accessories that may create unnecessary noise and distraction, such as bracelets or watches. We have all experienced some good practices and some that aren’t so good. In some cases, professional boundaries were pushed – and accepted because of the nature of the pandemic. Let’s hit reset and focus on using these tools in a way that promotes respect, professionalism and results.

REPAIR. MAINTAIN. REMODEL. As your full-service construction partner, Rice Companies can also help you maintain, repair and remodel your facility through our Rice Service Group. Whether you need a new roof, a small addition, or something as simple as a door replaced, we can help.

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NETWORKCENTRAL GROW

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NETWORK |

PROFIT!

PROFIT

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

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

A September reception honored the 2020 St. Cloud Area Business Award recipients.

Brian Hart, Stokeswood Enterprises (L) and Chris Jacques, Premier Real Estate Services

Christy Gilleland and Bill Knoblach, Gilleland Chevrolet

Richard Hobbs, Simonson Lumber, the 2020 Entrepreneurial Success Award recipient

Derek and Melinda Tamm, Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio. Melinda Tamm was selected as the 2020 Woman in Business Champion

GROW!

Brian Bastien, Schlenner Wenner, (L); and Russ Sand and Paul Radeke, BerganKDV

Bruce Hagberg, riteSOFT, (L), the 2020 Small Business Owner of the Year and Jason Hallonquist AIS Planning, past chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors

The Chamber’s internship program rose above COVID-19 and put four students into internships this summer.

Mentor Michelle Swenson, the Kid Zone/ birthday party coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Family Y (L) with intern Marisa Bayerl, Rocori. 20

Michelle Dalton, (L) Eastside Boys & Girls Club meets with intern Aubrey Nistler, Tech High School

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Mentor Jake Hutt (L), client manager and regenerative specialist at Rejuv Medical worked with two interns, Ethan Kramer, Cathedral (R) and Vinh Nguyen (not pictured) currently a freshman at the University of Minn.


NETWORK!

A beautiful day for golf and social distancing at the 2020 Chamber Open.

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NETWORK

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PROFIT

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

I N S I D E T H I S I S S U E : M a n a g e m e n t To o l k i t / E n t r e p r e n e u r i s m / Ec o n o m y Ce n t ra l b y Fa l c o n B a n k

MANAGEMENT TOOLKIT

Retaining New Employees Orientation is over. Now what? By Beth Triplett

Some strategies to do this include: Provide meaningful work right away. You may be tempted to give new staff members easy tasks or have them observe for an extended period before they do the job, but the sooner you can give them a meaty project to work on, the faster they will become engaged. ––––––

Y

ou released the “pause” button and moved forward with hiring new staff. You helped them through the initial orientation. But there's still more to do to ensure they become productive, engaged members of your team. If you’re looking to retain your employees, especially your new hires, look to their supervisor’s behavior as much as the employees themselves. A Gallup study found that 70

percent of employee engagement can be attributed to the manager – Gallup's most profound and distinct finding ever. With increasing mobility and job fluidity among the younger generation, the hiring and onboarding process takes on added importance. And once someone is on the job, a manager needs to be intentional about engaging that new staff person and quickly helping them connect with the organization.

Gallup found that employees want their manager to function as a coach more than a boss, encouraging their strengths and helping the employee develop as a person. Consider your project team composition. Committees or task groups should include those who can both “give” and “get” on project teams. Those who give are contributors by way of their position, experience or expertise. The organization will benefit if it also routinely includes one or two who can get – junior members who gain from learning the complexity

Contributor ________ Dr. Beth Triplett is represented by High Impact Training in St. Cloud (HighImpactTraining.net). She brings over 30 years of consulting and training experience, focusing on supervision, strategic planning, change, and organizational development. She also writes a daily column at leadershipdots.com.

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of the organization, seeing the bigger picture and building relationships with those who have greater stature in the organization. –––––– Capitalize on their newness. Employees who have just seen your organization from the outside have a fresh perspective that will soon fade as they become immersed in

your culture. Ask them for observations about strengths and weaknesses. Allow them to share their opinions and have a voice. –––––– Acknowledge more than their tasks. Make the time for small talk and really getting to know new employees as people. Researcher Nancy Schlossberg reports that people need to feel they matter – that someone would notice if they weren’t there or that their contribution makes a difference. Show new employees that they matter as a person, not just because of the work they do.


–––––– Foster connections. Cultivating opportunities for new employees to engage with other employees helps develop those connections that will create a sense of belonging. Acquaint them with employees in other divisions or create cross-department teams to expand their relationships outside their immediate team. –––––– Encourage personal development. Gallup found that employees want their manager to function as a coach more than a boss, encouraging their strengths and helping the employee develop as a person. From the start, provide regular feedback and give attention to growth, self-understanding and professional development. –––––– Infuse some levity. Work can be challenging for everyone, especially new hires. Find ways for a little informal interaction that brings spontaneity and laughter into the office setting. Don’t allow the workplace to become monotonous or routine. When anyone who is relatively new to your business or organization chooses to leave, do everything in your power to learn from them before they walk out the door. How were their expectations not met? What should change in the interviewing and onboarding process? What would have made a difference that would have caused them to stay? Hiring someone new is a big investment in time and resources – and it is an even greater opportunity to shape your organization for years to come. Consider your onboarding experience to last a full year as you intentionally and strategically help your new employees become long-term ambassadors for your organization.

THE IDEAL CHOICE

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ENTREPRENEURISM

Ethics Matter

Perhaps more than ever, Americans are making business and financial decisions based on their perception of a company’s ethics. By Boz Bostrom

O

rganizations viewed as ethical often attract more customers and enjoy the long-term benefits of increased business. Costco is a prime example – the big-box retailer has long been lauded for paying its employees high wages and for being friendly to customers when they return items. Some of their competitors, on the other hand, have been criticized for poor relations with employees and vendors. One such company recently paid $282 million to settle a bribery scandal in Mexico. Customers are taking notice - over the past five years, Costco has trounced their leading competitor in revenue and

income growth, providing nearly 2.5 times the returns to their shareholders. On the other hand, companies and individuals who are not viewed as ethical have fallen from grace. Due to ethical violations, Travis Kalanick was ousted as CEO from Uber, the company he co-founded. More customers are giving their business to the fastergrowing Lyft, often viewed as the more ethical of the ride-sharing companies. Given the benefits of being viewed as ethical, we need to understand how companies may earn that reputation. First, we need to understand the attitudes of others on ethical issues.

There are often no statutes or regulations to consult when facing ethical dilemmas, so we need to understand how others will react not only if they learn

There are often no statutes or regulations to consult when facing ethical dilemmas, so we need to understand how others will react not only if they learn of our decisions, but when they learn of our decisions. of our decisions, but when they learn of our decisions. Next, we need to discuss our decisions with others. We often are too close to a situation to properly assess the ethics of our decisions, leading to blind spots.

Contributor ________ Boz Bostrom is a professor of accounting and finance at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University. His primary research interest is in the area of ethical leadership and he speaks nationally on ethical issues at major conferences and for accounting firms, corporations, governmental agencies, and not-for profit agencies.

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Find someone you trust who is knowledgeable yet does not have a stake in the outcome of your decision. Third, we need to brainstorm potential solutions. When facing an ethical dilemma, one solution will often appear to be more ethical while the other will appear to be better for business. Finding creative solutions that are good from both an ethical and business perspective is key. For example, let’s say your largest customer is abrasive and treats your employees poorly. How you address this issue is an ethical dilemma - there may be no legal obligation to address the issue, but there is a moral obligation to do so. One option would be to terminate your relationship with the customer. On the surface,

this may appear to be the most ethical thing to do, and some stakeholders may demand it. Employees would likely see this as their employer sticking up for its people. This could increase employee satisfaction and productivity. However, losing your biggest customer could put your overall business at risk. You may have to lay off employees or reduce vendor purchases. Perhaps you would have to


decrease contributions to your community. Another option would be to ignore the customer’s behavior – the all-too-common “do nothing” approach. In the short run, this may continue to generate high revenues and thus have cash to pay employees, purchase from vendors, and contribute to the community. However, employees could become discouraged and quit. Is one customer worth more than several good employees? Quite possibly not. This is the time to find creative, alternative solutions. Perhaps you could schedule a time to talk with the customer

about the behavior. If done with openness and without assuming poor intent, the conversation may easily go well. You may retain the customer, and they may begin to treat your employees better. However, there is a chance the conversation wouldn’t go well. In that case, you may need to walk away from that customer, which leads to a final point. Create a financial margin so that when you must make a tough ethical decision, you can withstand a negative outcome. Although you may take a hit in the short run, customers and others will notice your actions and reward you in the end.

BY THE NUMBERS

Employees Notice 80%

93%

Employees who say the ethical environment of the companies where they work impacts how hard they work

Employees who say the ethical environment impacts how much they love their jobs

89% Employees who say the ethical environment impacts how long they plan to stay at their companies

93% Employees who indicate that the ethics of a co-worker factors into whether they recommend that co-worker for promotion Source: 2018 survey conducted by Boz Bostrom of his personal network of business professionals

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BUSINESSTOOLS

WORKING WELL

Oh, My Aching Back! Back pain continues to be one of the most common reasons for missed work days. A little attention to ergonomics may fix that. By Dr. Mitchell Kuhl

this applies to standing desks as well. Standing on a cushioned mat is also a good idea.

D

id you know back pain continues to be one of the most common reasons for missed days of work? In fact, a fair amount of that pain comes from sitting and standing incorrectly while on the job. This is just one example of how poor ergonomics can really impact the business world, and those who work in it each day. That said, there are many good things we can do from an orthopedic perspective to help prevent and correct what has become all too common in the workplace. What is ergonomics? Ergonomics is a way of doing things as close as possible to

the way our body naturally intended—comfortably, safely, and efficiently. We hear the phrase “ergonomically correct” used in reference to products and how they’re designed, such as chairs and keyboards. Proper ergonomics is the key to preventing injuries from repeatedly sitting, standing, or clicking incorrectly, day after day. Orthopedics and ergonomics Orthopedics has to do with how our body feels, based on muscles, joints and our bones. For example, when a person’s back hurts from sitting in the wrong position all day, it can become an

orthopedic issue that potentially could have been avoided. Orthopedic care can help correct pain and injury—most of the time without the use of surgery. Ergonomics in the office Proper setup of work stations sets everyone up for success. When sitting at a desk, your chair should be adjustable, and you should actually be sitting with your “seat” close to the edge, with both feet flat on the floor. If you're looking at a computer screen, make sure your monitor is at a comfortable eye level. Your keyboard should be on a flat, level surface, and so should your mouse. All of

Contributor ________ Mitchell Kuhl, D.O., is the president of St. Cloud Orthopedics, a nationally-recognized, independent orthopedic specialty provider, offering care for all bones, muscles, and joints in the body.

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Preventing Pain Beyond the work station, it’s important to be active. This is something we all know, but it takes following through on a consistent basis to receive the benefits. During the workday, take a few minutes each hour to stand up and stretch. Take a walk on your lunch break to increase circulation, and keep your core slightly engaged when sitting. Be mindful of tense shoulders, crossed legs, hunched-over posture, standing with your knees buckled, neck strain, and poor posture. For pain that continues or worsens, it’s important to be seen by a medical professional to prevent further damage. TRY THESE OUT!

SIMPLE STRETCHES Open and close your fists –––––– Flex your wrists up and down –––––– Stand and stretch your arms overhead, then out to –––––– Roll your shoulders back to stretch out the chest –––––– While sitting, lean down and pull up one knee to your chest while arching your upper back; repeat on the other side


TECH NEWS

Not-So-Tiny Printed Houses

A

20-foot-high printer recently 3D-printed the shell of a tiny house. Not a doll house, but an actual home. The tiny house took 24 hours to print and included walls, floor, ceiling, roof and overhangs. Start-up Mighty Buildings says that compared to an average house in California, the 3D printed new homes cost as much as 45 percent less. Source: Fast Company Online; photo Mighty Buildings

Uncle Sam wants YOU! So many small businesses overlook the opportunity of doing business with the U.S. government. And yet the fact is that the government wants the help of small businesses to provide technologies for many uses, including space exploration and defense. More importantly, there are many government agencies – like NASA and the Department of Defense – who have millions in grant money to provide. Source: Forbes

Website Design Trends

W

e all know that one way to improve customer engagement is with a great online experience. So start your website redesign by adding white space – or it’s converse, dark mode, geometric shapes, grids, and bold fonts…though maybe not all at the same time. Source: Accrisoft

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BUSINESSTOOLS

Economy Central presented by

ECONOMY CENTRAL

Covid-19 Infects Consumer Confidence Like any good virus, the coronavirus spreads rapidly infecting both people and business. By Allison Bily and Lynn MacDonald

W

e find ourselves in the midst of a recession borne from a public health crisis without past experience to serve as a guide. So, let’s begin with what we know so far, as we work to find a way forward for business. In the U.S. alone, we’ve seen widespread reduced economic activity, though impacts have varied by sector. As in-person activities dramatically declined in mid-March, many who lost their jobs were those whose work was dependent on face-to-face contact. By April 21, national unemployment had reached 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression. However, lowwage workers have experienced unemployment at much higher

rates than high-wage workers. This is largely due to the prevalence of low wages in service-oriented industries that are not easily able to convert to virtual operations. In addition to rising unemployment, public health concerns surrounding closecontact interactions have also affected consumer confidence. This waning confidence is evident by a steep decline in consumer spending. According to aggregate credit and debit card data, national consumer spending on items excluding housing, healthcare, and motor vehicles has fallen by $138 billion. Importantly, this decline is driven by distinctly different responses across earner types. On average, low-income earners have

Contributors ________ By Allison Bily, Graduate Student, University of Illinois, SCSU Economics grad ‘19; and Lynn MacDonald, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, SCSU

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altered their spending patterns significantly less than highincome earners. There are highincome earners who have not lost money, who are working from home, but who have cut back their spending by 30-35 percent. In the U.S., total consumer spending to date, hit its lowest point on March 29 with total consumer spending down 33.5 percent relative to spending in January 2020. This reflects a reduction of 30.5 percent by lowincome earners and a reduction of 36.9 percent by high-income earners, again relative to the January 2020 benchmark. We have seen a somewhat bumpy rebound since then with total spending down by 2.3 percent compared to January 2020. This reflects a 6.5 percent increase by low-income earners and a 7.3 percent reduction by high-income earners, for the week ending September 26, 2020. Time will tell if this new higher spending by low-income earners represents an upward trend or a blip. In Minnesota, the lowest point in consumer spending hit on April 2, 2020 with total consumer spending down by 38.8 percent, with low-income earners reducing spending by 35.5 percent and high-income earners reducing spending by 40.2 percent, relative to January 2020 expenditures. Since April 2, spending in Minnesota has been slowly recovering with total current spending down by 3.3 percent with low-income spending up by 3.8 percent and high-income spending down

by 5.5 percent for the week ending September 26, 2020. This suggests, as health and safety concerns continue to persist, high-income earners are still staying home and saving money. The causes of poor performance in key economic indicators are unique. In this case, employment and spending fell due to health concerns, not a lack of purchasing power. This helps to explain why the U.S. Rescue Program was not wildly effective at reversing the employment decline. This was a recession by design—health concerns require less close-contact interactions with others. In the U.S., consumers have lost confidence. High income earners are still spending less than they did in January 2020. As consumers continue to stay home, business revenues are hurting. which results in low-wage workers losing jobs. According to economist Raj Chetty, the primary driver here is health concerns, so if we can find a path to address the health and safety concerns, we could experience a faster recovery.

For the sources used in this article, visit BusinessCentral Magazine.com Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the following SCSU economic reading group members for their input: Abdullahi Bedel, Hannah Mayhew, and Laurie Robles Ramirez.


July 2020 Jan Feb December Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

2020

December

November

TOTAL: $67,855,801*

2020

St. Cloud

383 338 154 $231,596,447 $116,566,743 $39,735,742

July December

Sartell

TOTAL: $178,724,272

50

36

287

June $13,856,200 $12,784,000 $3,495,549 November

2019

Sauk Rapids 34 May $16,509,793 October

55 $24,841,483

Food and Beverage 21 $7,154,756 ST. CLOUD

Waite Park 83 136 102 Apr September $7,260,629 $15,234,330 $4,469,101

TOTAL: 1184*

2018

TOTAL: 1823

1500

St. Augusta 7 7 8 Mar August $1,587,313 $271,600 2020 $6,230,700 St. Joseph Feb July Jan

70 61 $18,129,160 $9,026,116

June *Total as of 10/7/2020

2000

$2M

$200M $250M $300M TOTAL: $178,724,272

TOTAL:1815

TOTAL: $718,157*

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

ST. CLOUD

September

38 $0

$500k

$6,769,953

2019

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

2019-2020

2019-20 % CHANGE

Source: positivelyminnesota.com

December

November

October

3%

September

August

July

June

May

Jan

April

6%

March

$300M

February

January

December

$250M

November

October

$200M

September

$150M August

July

June

$100M

May

April

March

February

January

$50M

Source: positivelyminnesota.com $0 $500k

Feb 9%

$0M

2018

Non FarmMarJobs

Unemployment Rates

12%

Food and Beverage

Commercial 2018 2019 2020* August #/$ #/$ #/$

TOTAL: $288,822,542

15%

500

B U I L D I N G P E R M I T S BY C O M M U N I T Y

TOTAL: $67,855,801*

$150M

93 $1,761,652

0

November

1000

$1M $100M

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

500

$500k

$50M

58 $5,188,862

2018

98 73 $6,043,519 $3,304,271

February

October

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $288,822,542

$0M

73 $5,979,717

December

Commercial Building Permits

2020

500

164 $4,527,238

2019

January *Total as of 10/7/2020

$80M

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

2018

165 $8,585,270

St. Augusta 72 March $6,469,120

Commercial Building Permits

2020

526

Waite Park 46 39 18 April $1,509,887 $1,084,477 $956,717

St. Joseph

$70M

October

Sauk Rapids 174 May $8,409,293

TOTAL: $66,467,193

$60M

September

$50M

August

$40M

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

Sartell 380 309 344 January$20,426,812 $18,954,216 0$10,265,755.00 June

2020

$30M

2018

607

2019

$20M

597

2018

$10M

Home Sales Closed

$25,555,950 $25,977,770 $25,648,156.94 February July 2020

0

$0M

August

St. Cloud

$60M $70M $80M TOTAL: $63,885,721

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$0 2018

July

$50M

June

$40M

May

September

2020

2019

2018

2019

$30M

April

$20M

March

$10M

2019

Residential 2018 2019 2020* March #/$ #/$ #/$

2020 $0M

May October

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

TOTAL: $48,348,381 *

2018

June November

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

Residential Building Permits

TOTAL: $63,885,721

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK, ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH TOTAL: $66,467,193

2018

6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD

Central presented by ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH

COLOR KEY:August

TOTAL: $48,348,381 * Compiled by Shelly Imdieke, data current as of 10/7/2020

2019

8,381 *

Economy September

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

2019

Home Sales Closed

October

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

2019

885,721

$300M

Residential Building Permits

November

E PARK,

467,193

$80M

E PARK,

5,801*

24,272

22,542

0M

December

0%

9%

-3% 6%

-6% -9%

3%

-12% 0%

J

A

S

O

*Total as of 10/7/2020

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

St. Cloud Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota United States

-15%

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

St. Cloud, MN MetroSA Minnesota United States

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

29


$300M

GROW

1000

E PARK,

500

8,381 *

0

885,721

January

1500

COLOR KEY:

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

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

December

September

TOTAL: 1184*

December

ST. CLOUD

November

Food and Beverage Tax Collection October

TOTAL: $718,157*

September

TOTAL: $67,855,801*

October

September

August

July

June

November

May

April

March

February

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

Apr

Mar

Feb

Jan

November

ST. AUGUSTA, ST. JOSEPH UD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, WAITE PARK,

August

August

2020 July

2020

July

1500

2000

COVID-19 and Central Minnesota December

TOTAL: $718,157*

2019 Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 10/7/2020

$2M

$2M

2000

TOTAL: $1,566,952

Sheriff’s Foreclosure Auctions

2018

February

STEARNS AND BENTON COUNTIES

$0

$500k

TOTAL: 32* $1.5M

$1M

$2M

2020 TOTAL: 123

26

Benton Co.

31

21

6

Benton County Sheriff’s Civil Process; Stearn’s County Sheriff’s Office *Total as of 10/7/2020; There were no reported auctions in April & May 2020.

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0

953 Total Minn.UI claims in health care and social assistance in 2019

18.4%

December

102

November

84

October

Stearns Co.

Total Minn. UI claims from manufacturing in 2019

15.2% Manufacturing's share of Central Minn.'s 2020 employment ________

September

2020

August

2019

July

Residential 2018

1,400

June

SHERIFF’S FORECLOSURE AUCTIONS

150

May

120

April

Total Minn. UI claims in August 2020 ________

TOTAL: 115

90

Total Minn.UI claims in health care and social assistance in 2020 ________

March

60

6,758

Total Minn. UI claims from manufacturing in 2020 ________

February

30

6,167

Total Minn. UI claims in August 2019 ________

46,632

2018

0

9,627 January

January

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January

2019

TOTAL: 1184*

TOTAL:1815

TOTAL: $1,604,677 $1.5M

TOTAL: 1823

1500

$1M

November

$2M

Now more than six months into the COVD-19 pandemic, October businesses and organizations in Central Minnesota – and across the United States – have attempted to mitigate September risk in many different ways. Unfortunately, cases of August COVID-19 continue to happen, but the good news is that weekly July Unemployment Insurance (UI) applications for nearly all industries are a fraction of what they were June in mid- to- late March. Still, the cumulative scale of the layoffs isMay unprecedented. A few industries of concern in Central Minnesota are health care and social assistance, April accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and March administrative support and waste management services.

TOTAL: $1,748,626

TOTAL: $718,157*

$500k

TOTAL: $1,604,677

TOTAL: $1,566,952

$1.5M

$0

$1.5M

Source: Tax Collections – City of St. Cloud *Total as of 10/7/2020

1000

$1M

2020

2018

$1M

BY THE NUMBERS

TOTAL: $1,599,444 Food and Beverage Tax Collection

ST. CLOUD

$500k

January

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area

Jan

$0

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

February

Feb

TOTAL: $547,212*

2020

2020

ST. CLOUD

March

500

$500k

Lodging Tax Dollars

0

$300M

Food and Beverage Tax Collection

1000

2018

TOTAL: $1,566,952

Mar

Housing/Real Estate sources: St. Cloud Area Association of Realtors, http://stcloudrealtors.com/pages/statistics. *Total as of 10/7/2020

2019

2019

April

ST. CLOUD

$200M

2018

2020

2019

2018

$0

$150M

May

TOTAL:1815

Apr

TOTAL: $288,822,542

500 $250M

2019

May

2018

0

TOTAL: $1,604,677

June

TOTAL: 1823

June

TOTAL: $178,724,272 2019

30

2000

BUSINESSTOOLS

Home Sales Closed in St. Cloud Area ing Permits 6 COMMUNITIES - ST. CLOUD, SAUK RAPIDS, SARTELL, October WAITE PARK,

M

467,193

$80M

$80M

$70M

E PARK,

$60M

5,801*

$50M

24,272

22,542

0M

$40M

Health care and human services' share of Central Minn.'s 2020 employment Source: MN DEED


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COVER STORY

Y F E D

V O C tude, i t t a e iv A posit with creative and a g topped n i v l m so proble ar helped e little f esta, T n o d Bran se of u o H f o pite owner s e d , d expan fa o Pizza, s e g n lle the cha ic. pandem istler N ki, anine ko w s By Je l But e o J o s b y P h ot o P h ot BDI

32

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0


G N I Y

D I V

BUSINESS PROFILE

Who opens a new restaurant during a pandemic? One that forced some 16,000 eateries nationwide to close?

A guy who says he kept his worries to himself, “but behind the scenes I was scared.” A guy who says, “I kept my head up and barreled through it.” A guy named Brandon Testa. The local restauranteur in September opened a new House of Pizza in the former Old Chicago location, just west of the Highway 15/Second Street South intersection. (Old Chicago closed in January.)

HOPWOK&EAT, INC. is the company that owns and operates House of Pizza and Pacific Wok. Owner/President: Brandon Testa

Business Description: House of Pizza is known for its thin-crust gourmet pizzas baked in signature revolving ovens. Pacific Wok provides fresh, healthy food – fast. Total number of employees: 150, many of them part time and first-time jobs for high school students

“Has it been scary? Oh my god, yes!” Testa said just two weeks before the scheduled opening. “I was approached about the opportunity before Old Chicago was even closed,” Testa said. That also was before anyone had heard of the novel coronavirus that caused COVID-19. Something about the potential project piqued Testa’s curiosity even though he “didn’t really understand how it would affect the St. Cloud and Sartell House of Pizza locations.” He figured it couldn’t hurt to meet with the property owners, who also own the adjoining Quality Inn. “I could tell these people were Minnesota Nice people,” Testa said. “I know they felt the same about me.” That made his decision easier.

Testa secured financing to remodel the restaurant. He signed the lease. And within a couple of weeks, he said, “COVID hit.” The bank backed out and Testa thought, “This is gonna break me. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I was scared.” But the building owners were willing to work with Testa. And a different bank, Falcon National Bank in St. Cloud, “really came to the table for me.” Before long, work was under way and Testa’s excitement started to build. Due to some construction “holdups and hiccups” primarily due to COVID-related materials delays, the original target of a mid-June opening gave way to mid-September. Despite the bumpy road to opening, Testa said, “I can see how my investment is going to pay off.”

_______

_______

_______

_______

House of Pizza, original location: 19 Fifth Avenue South, St. Cloud _______

House of Pizza, Sartell: 1733 Pinecone Road South _______

House of Pizza West new location: 4040 Second Street South _______

Pacific Wok: 1733 Pinecone Road South info@pacificwok.com 320-258-7200 _______

info@houseofpizzamn.com // 320-252-9300

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COVER STORY

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UNMANAGEABLE

T

esta, 46, is the son of original House of Pizza owner Bob Testa, who opened the iconic restaurant in downtown St. Cloud in 1964. Unlike many offspring of business owners, Brandon Testa didn’t grow up working in pop’s shop and had no designs on someday owning the place. He studied business and art at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and assumed he would continue living in the West. But he moved back to St. Cloud in 1999 because “my Dad needed some help at the restaurant.” Testa made pizza, waited tables, and tended bar, all the while planning to move on. In fact, after working for his dad for about a year, Testa accepted a district manager position with Chipotle. He had gone through three months of training when his father called and asked him to buy House of Pizza. Testa told his dad, “If this is going to work, you’d have to go.” “It was not a threat,” Testa said. “I just knew that it wouldn’t work otherwise. … I love my Dad. We both have very strong personalities.” And Testa knows himself well. He recognizes that he needs to be the boss, no matter where he works. “I joke about being unmanageable,” he said. “I have always felt that I am unemployable. I knew I wanted to be the leader and that's what I am drawn to.” Testa bought the House of Pizza from his dad in the Spring of 2001. Unlike some businesses

PERSONAL PROFILE Brandon Testa, 46, Owner/President Hometown: St. Cloud Education: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, business and art Work History: “I’ve always had a job.” Family: Two sons, Marcel (18) and Elliot (15) Hobbies: Anything soccer, random adventures, always up for a unique dining experience

House of Pizza, circa 1965

that are passed more or less as a gift from parent to child, “this was not handed down to the second generation,” Testa said. “I bought it.” He did note, however, that the transition was smoother than a transaction between strangers. “Easier for him and easier for me.” His father has been supportive, Testa said. “He’s a walking billboard for House of Pizza and he has been since I bought it.”

IF ONE IS GOOD, IS THREE BETTER?

I

t wasn’t long before Testa started thinking about how to grow the business. About a year and a half after buying House of Pizza,

There is a lot more to school than academics. It’s a time to learn about yourself and to gain experience.”

BEST ADVICE: BOB TESTA, BRANDON'S FATHER, WHEN BRANDON WANTED TO DROP OUT OF COLLEGE.

he was driving on Sartell’s Pinecone Road, which at that time was flanked by farm fields. “It was just this road of nothing,” Testa recalled. Then a sign caught his eye. The sign marked the site of a future Coborn’s store – and announced development opportunities. Testa knew next to nothing about Sartell, but he called the developer anyway. They met – in a booth at the House of Pizza – and soon reached an agreement. The developer, who Testa declined to name, played a key role in making Testa’s entry into the Sartell business community a reality. In May 2004, Testa opened the new House of Pizza at 1733 Pinecone Road South, in a strip mall near Coborn’s Marketplace. A month later, he opened Pacific Wok next door. “A lot of people think Pacific Wok is a franchise," he said. "That’s not the case. Sartell was the original location.” Testa borrowed the Pacific Wok concept from a Colorado restaurant where he had worked

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

35


COVER STORY

TIMELINE as a college student. “That’s where I got the idea,” he said. “I had this idea in my head that I’d love to bring a healthier idea in fast food service to the St. Cloud area." Nothing on the Pacific Wok menu is fried. “It’s just grilled chicken, steamed rice and vegetables,” Testa said. “We make all of our own sauces in house.” Testa envisioned Pacific Wok as a place where “a soccer mom comes through to get a healthy alternative to take home to the family.” That vision has been realized. He says parents have told him “little Johnny actually eats his broccoli now.” Originally Testa didn’t plan to offer catering or delivery service for Pacific Wok, but that changed when it turned out that there was a market demand for it. Pacific Wok started catering in 2008. Twelve years later, the landscape changed. “When COVID hit, dining rooms were shut and we lost all daytime catering to businesses because people weren’t in the workplace,” Testa said. It quickly became evident during Minnesota’s stay-athome order that people wanted Pacific Wok meals delivered to their homes, a service that was relatively easy for Testa and his team to implement by using House of Pizza delivery drivers. COVID-19 also impacted Pacific Wok’s drive-through business. Volume almost doubled. “We had to become a lot more efficient with our drivethrough,” Testa said. Despite the uptick in drive-through and the addition of delivery, COVID still took a toll. “Overall, our sales are still down.” Testa isn’t interested in sharing the details of his restaurants’ financial performance, but he will

36

1964 Bob Testa opens the original House of Pizza in downtown St. Cloud

1999 Bob asks his son Brandon to return from Colorado to help at the restaurant

May 2001 Brandon purchases the restaurant from his father

May 2004 House of Pizza opens in Sartell

June 2004 Pacific Wok opens in Sartell

May 2005 St. Cloud House of Pizza entryway and dining room are remodeled

August 2007 Pacific Wok opens in Kenosha, Wis.

St. Cloud House of Pizza main floor dining room, circa 1968

say “we were very fortunate in 2019. I wouldn’t have considered another venture if 2019 hadn’t been successful.”

SARTELL SUCCESS

B

usiness was booming in the early years of the sideby-side restaurants in Sartell – and at the original House of Pizza in St. Cloud. In 2005, Testa remodeled the entryway and dining room of the downtown St. Cloud House. He opened a Pacific Wok in Kenosha, Wis., in August 2007, and a Pacific Wok in downtown St. Cloud along Division Street near GrandStay Residential Suites in 2009. Unfortunately, the Kenosha restaurant closed in December 2008, just a little over a year after

its opening. But the downtown St. Cloud site thrived. “We built a very loyal customer following there and we were very sad, upset and frustrated when we had to leave,” he said. Testa closed the downtown Pacific Wok in November 2018 when the building owner did not renew the lease. “I’m over it,” Testa said. “I’ve moved on.” With the Sartell Pacific Wok, Testa and his team have been able to “maintain a good percentage of the downtown clientele.” He says he would love to open a new Pacific Wok downtown and would consider other additional locations, if not for the pandemic and the time and attention the new House of Pizza requires. He once had envisioned a “recognizable statewide brand”

I was a mediocre student and was always drawn to work rather than books. I knew the value of education; however, my path was more about job experiences, adventure, the vision of what I wanted to do.” — BRANDON TESTA

BusinessCentral Magazine.com // N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0


ADVICE TO OTHER SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS:

Take care of your community, your staff, and your customers. They will take care of you.

TIMELINE December 2008 Kenosha Pacific Wok closes

for Pacific Wok. Now, he says, “the dream would be that somebody comes and buys it out.” Testa is devoting a lot of energy and hours to “creating another great, exceptional experience for the community” at the new House of Pizza location – even as he acknowledges that “I’m the only guy applying for a liquor license and opening a new restaurant” in the age of COVID. He is proud of a mural inside the new restaurant that references House of Pizza’s 56-year history. And he’s proud that the new bar features 36 taps, consisting of 31 beers and five exclusive beverages, including a signature draft craft cocktail, a house red wine, Minnesota nitro-brewed coffee and kombucha, and a local root beer “for the kiddos.” Testa is quick to credit friends, family, his management team, and employees with his restaurants’ success. “We’re in the worst industry. Hotels and restaurants are getting killed” by COVID, he said, adding that he challenged his team to innovate and pull to-

gether. “What are we good at?” he asked them. “Let’s get creative with what we can do rather than bitching and complaining about what we can’t do. “I am very fortunate to have a close circle of friends and family who have been supportive over the years. What a lot of people outside of the hospitality industry don’t know is that we also have our ‘work family’ and we take care of each other. It doesn’t mean that we are best friends, but we always know we can count on each other.” Testa is passionate about positivity and creativity in his operations. And he is proud of House of Pizza’s watch words: quality, consistency, customer service, cleanliness, and community. It is easy to see how quality, consistency, customer service and cleanliness apply to the restaurant business. But what’s the community element? It’s about being involved, about donating and volunteering, Testa said. “You don’t go into it thinking about, ‘How is this going to benefit me?’” But there is no denying that what goes around,

2009 Pacific Wok opens in downtown St. Cloud

June 2011 Testa adds a bar to the Sartell House of Pizza

August 2013 Sartell House of Pizza adds a party room and patio

November 2018 Downtown St. Cloud Pacific Wok closes

September 2020 House of Pizza West opens in St. Cloud

comes around. “Take care of your guests,” he said. “Take care of your staff. Take care of your community. You do that and it’s going to pay off.” When COVID-19 started wreaking havoc with the restaurant business this past spring, Testa pulled together donations from friends and other small business owners so House of Pizza and Pacific Wok could offer complimentary kids’ meals for three weeks. They also provided free lunches for the Sartell school district for a week, starting at about 300 lunches per day and hitting 500 by week’s end. “All of that was super cool,” Testa said. “Our staff got really excited about it.” Testa said he intends to remain active in the Sartell community and to re-engage in that way in St. Cloud. “Every day I challenge myself to motivate the team and set a positive example of what we can do to make a difference, have fun and, hopefully, be successful.” The restaurant business, Testa said, is all about people. The “secret ingredient” in his restaurants is his staff. The clientele deserves all that the team can give. “Everyone is a customer – and if not, we need to find out why.” Jeanine Nistler is a former St. Cloud communications professional who now lives and works in the Twin Cities.

Signature Ovens Brandon Testa is particular about his ovens. Not just any pizza oven will do for his restaurants. House of Pizza only uses custom built revolving deck ovens at all of their locations, according to Testa. "The oven downtown was built in 1955. My father bought it as a used oven in 1964 and modified it for pizza. My father came from Chicago where they used revolving ovens for pizza so it’s what he was familiar with." It takes about an hour for the revolving oven to become hot enough to bake a pizza.

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

37


F E AT U R E

Finding Calm in the Chaos Taking care of customers, staff, and community is a common theme for businesses in 2021. By Kelti Lorence

EDITOR'S NOTE

Business Central visited with leaders from four different industries to learn their plans for 2021. For some, the COVID-19 pandemic carried unexpected positive breaks. For others, 2020 has been a test of strategy and strength to stay afloat. For all, attitude, planning and communication will be vital for survival in the coming year.

38

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Laramie project photo by Bonnie Bologna.

T

welve months ago, you were likely thinking about the upcoming year in terms of growth, profits, and overall success. Suddenly, four months later, those goals most likely became obsolete as the world changed in what felt like a matter of hours. Like many restaurants, The Olde Brick House was enjoying a growing downtown boom in the months leading up to the statewide stay-at-home order. General Manager Jolene Chatfield plans to keep that vision in the forefront of her leadership as they turn the calendar to 2021. “We want to get back to that focus of growth. We can still offer everything we have before, just in a new way,” Chatfield said. “‘Different’ doesn’t have to mean a diminished experience.” During October the restaurant is introducing updates to its Irish tavern-style menu, working to be proactive and current with taste trends. “We are still listening to what people want, and changing to stay fresh and relevant,” Chatfield said. The pub will review their 2021 event planning after their annual Saint Patrick’s Day tent party in March was cancelled. “Customers still want fun, trendy, and safe events to attend,” Chatfield said, “and the Olde Brick House wants to help provide that community service. Community support gives back.” Taking care of the customers and community is top priority among leadership at the Olde Brick House. The restaurant maintains local and family owned relationships to fill their kitchen and continues to support community partnerships such as United Way of Central Minnesota and the Paramount Theater with fundraisers and food donations.

KEY ADVICE

“The question next year will be how can we continue to turn unpredictability into a strength." —Dennis Whipple, Executive Director for GREAT The Laramie Project at the Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre.

“It’s time we think outside of the box,” Chatfield said. “We can maintain our services within the new guidelines, but we have to get a little creative.” Part of that creativity will be capitalizing on opportunities that help maintain an uplifting, positive environment for their employees. A solid core management team backs the restaurant, charged with the important role of creating a space that allows employees to take a break from outside life stressors they may be facing. “No matter what is happening, we are the positive provider of yummy food,” Chatfield said. From across town in Waite Park, the Great River Educational Arts Theatre (GREAT) echoes these themes as they plan for 2021. The number one priority for Executive Director Dennis Whipple is how to care for the people: staff, customers, sponsors, clients, and the community. “Work-life balance is key,” Whipple said, “and I strongly believe there is value in time.” To allow more family support, the staff transitioned to a 32-hour, four-day work week in midSeptember. The additional savings from this shift also allow the organization to allot more dollars

into health plans for their team. While GREAT, like many others, underwent furloughs and lay-offs, they have since resumed a number of their services virtually. Within one week of working from home, classes were being offered online, and their first ever livestreamed full production play was held the end of September. “The question next year will be how can we continue to turn unpredictability into a strength,” Whipple said. Part of the solution is adjusting their marketing to allow faster transitions in response to the fluid environment expected in 2021. Typically tickets for shows were sold up to eight months in advance. Now, each event will be announced individually a few weeks before the show date. The theater also plans to focus heavily on how technology can help their mission. The transition to online services came with silver linings: staff learned new skills and enhanced their leadership abilities as they taught in the new environment, and for the first time ever video rights to plays are available for sale. “Being able to film and virtually produce plays is huge for the future of theater,” Whipple said. “We now

have the rights to live stream The Sound of Music in 2021, and the most exciting part of that to me is the access it gives us to new audiences.” GREAT has partnered with organizations in the metro area and around the state to bring their live streamed performances to those who previously may not have been able to attend their events, including elementary schools, nursing homes and homeless shelters. “Whatever the reason, maybe they couldn’t drive or couldn’t afford a ticket, those boundaries don’t have to exist,” Whipple said. GREAT staff continue to operate their programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs Kidstop locations and with the United Way. The ability to video performances also allows them to hold their summer camps in 2021 and broadcast the final performances. Like the restaurant and entertainment industries, the main goal of professional services such as Consumer Directions is to care for their staff and meet all new guidelines, while preparing for overall growth. “More people are moving towards our model versus traditional services, because we provide self-directed options that allow more control

N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0 // BusinessCentralMagazine.com

39


F E AT U R E

“People can handle chaos in their personal lives. Life is messy. But they tend to find peace and calm in their jobs. .... There has been no sanity in jobs this year.”

As a result, the company plans to hire in the new year. As team members are added, special attention will be paid that each person is a good culture fit. The goal is to ensure everyone works well together and enjoys their jobs. “We need to be fully staffed and ready to take on new clients as they come in,” Draxler-Gainsforth said. At the same time, staff hours remain flexible to allow working from home should changes arise in school or other schedules. For those who do need to use their home offices, all tools needed to perform their assigned tasks are provided.

— Joe Francis, president and CEO of Central McGowan

over the people they hire to help them meet their needs and allow them to stay in their homes,” Sara DraxlerGainsforth said. DraxlerGainsforth is the Executive Director of FMS and Quality Assurance for Consumer Directions. “As a financial management company acting as the middleman between our clients and the state, we have actually seen an uptick in our client base in 2020.”

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Communication with clients, especially new accounts, continues to be a hurdle for the staff at Consumer Directions. While in-home visits were the most efficient way of on-boarding a new customer, all these steps are now completed online, either by email or video calls. As this often slows down the paperwork process, solutions to improve the flow of communication will be a focus of 2021. The excitement of getting to a new year that could be pandemic free has the leadership at Central McGowan optimistic and planning early. “We need to be the calm in the storm,” Joe Francis, president and CEO of Central McGowan,

said. “People can handle chaos in their personal lives. Life is messy. But they tend to find peace and calm in their jobs. They go to work, and they don’t have to deal with kids, or life, or outside issues. They get to leave the chaos behind and find some sanity. There has been no sanity in jobs this year. Many of us are wondering if we still have a job, or we’re working from home, bringing the chaos to us.” While the company was fortunate to not suffer heavily on their bottom line due to COVID-19, they also were unable to meet their growth goals for 2020, Francis said, and will look to pack two years of organic expansion into 2021.

Themes for the manufacturing company include acquisitions, geographical growth, and the addition of products and services that improve customer experience. “Technology is always developing,” Francis said. “This year we want to focus on taking advantage of that.” Improved services through tech updates will include a full evaluation and upgrade of their current customer relationship management (CRM) software, with the goal of making online payments smooth and simple for customers. To meet their goals and increase retention, the organization will allocate more funds to staff development and

improving career-pathing for employees. For Central McGowan, community involvement remains a core value that supports their mission. “We want to be in front of kids, helping educate the future workforce on great careers available to them right here in the St. Cloud area,” Francis said. In addition to their partnership with Vex Robotics, company staff also work closely with programs at the St. Cloud Technical & Community College. Kelti Lorence is the communications and workforce development coordinator at the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce.

GROWING COMPANIES, ENHANCING COMMUNITIES

Granite Partners is a mission-driven private investment holding company focused on growing companies while enhancing local communities. The Granite Companies are owned, headquartered, and rooted in Minnesota. This is our local focus. We source, market, service, and develop business around the world. This is our global reach.

320.251.1800 | Granite.com

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SPECIAL FOCUS

FINANCIAL SERVICES

Financial Literacy Not every business owner is good with numbers. But when it comes to the money generated by your company, you should be at the forefront and not the sidelines. By Chris Panek

M

ost small businesses do their own finances, but many of them feel they are inadequate when it comes to financial literacy. So, what exactly is financial literacy you ask? Financial literacy is simply having the appropriate skills which allow you to make smart decisions with your money. This could be in your personal life or in your business. Financial aspects of a business can be stressful for business owners, but if you take the time to learn the basics, you will

feel more confident and comfortable with your finances. In your business, there are three main reports that make up your financial statements. They are the Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss, and Cash Flow Report. These reports will summarize your financial information and give you a clear financial picture of your business. If you are doing your own finances in your business, there are many options to generate

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


these financial statements. Most business owners decide to use an accounting software. Doing this will help streamline the preparation of your reports by automatically taking the transactions you enter into the software and link them to the appropriate financial report. Once you have all your data entered and reconciled, you should be able to just click a button to compile the financial report you want to view. Balance Sheet Your balance sheet is a snapshot of how your assets, liabilities and equity look at a certain point in time. Your assets consist of items you own such as bank

A business owner will often only look at the total gross sales they are making, but if your expenses are greater than your sales, you could be in big trouble because you are showing a net loss.

accounts, equipment, buildings and receivables. Liabilities show you how much money or debt you owe to others such as loans, credit cards, taxes and other payables. Equity is the value that is remaining after you subtract your liabilities from your assets. You will also see your net income or loss from your profit and loss report in your equity section. A positive equity number shows that you have enough assets to

cover all of your liabilities. The equity section is also where any personal funds taken out of the business are recorded. Profit and Loss Report (Income Statement) The profit and loss report shows your gross sales or income minus your expenses which will give you your total net profit or loss. This is reflected for a specified period of time. A business owner

will often only look at the total gross sales they are making, but if your expenses are greater than your sales, you could be in big trouble because you are showing a net loss. The profit and loss report will also show you your gross profit. This will be the total of your gross sales minus any cost of goods sold. Cost of goods sold includes any cost you incur that is directly related to the item you are selling. If you don’t have

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SPECIAL FOCUS

It is important to make sure you are paying your bills on time so you are not incurring any additional finance charges for paying late. In fact, if your cash flow allows, you may be able to make payments early and take advantage of any discounts your vendors might be offering.

a positive gross profit, you will not have enough money left over for your other expenses and will show a net loss. The net profit or loss shown at the bottom of the report takes into consideration the total gross sales minus your cost of goods sold and all other expenses. This tells you how profitable your business is during a specific time frame. Your profit and loss report will also help

you determine how much your taxable income might be and is a great report to compare to prior years giving you a heads up on how your business is doing year after year. Cash Flow Statement Just like it sounds, the cash flow statement tells you how much cash flows in and out of your business during a certain period of time. This statement

Bank

can help you predict how much additional cash you may need in your business and help you plan for when you may need these additional finances. It will also show you if you have a surplus of cash to help you make any decisions on how to best handle those funds. Accounts Receivable Accounts receivable includes money that your customers

owe you for goods or services they purchased from you and is recorded in the asset section of your balance sheet. The rate that your customer pays you these funds is determined by the terms you set up with them when they make the purchase. The shorter the terms, the quicker they will pay you over time. It is important to make sure you stay on top of your accounts receivable list to ensure your customers are not

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For a small-town feel with big-bank options, jump all in with Farmers & Merchants State Bank and feel the joy. Mud puddles optional.

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delinquent. If you see a customer falling behind on a payment, you should contact them quickly to arrange for payment. If you have a lot of receivables outstanding this will start to affect your cash flow and you may start to have issues. Receivables are normally the first place a business owner can go if they start to see cash flow problems. You may need to revisit your terms if you feel you need to improve your cash flow. Accounts Payable Accounts payable includes money that you owe to others and is recorded in the liability section of your balance sheet. It is normally considered a current liability since the debt is normally

payable in a short amount of time. It is important to make sure you are paying your bills on time so you are not incurring any additional finance charges for paying late. In fact, if your cash flow allows, you may be able to make payments early and take advantage of any discounts your vendors might be offering. If you know your cash flow is short, it may also be advantageous to contact your vendor and try to set up a payment plan. If they know you are making an effort to pay the debt, they may forgo any additional finance charges. Now that you are more familiar with the important aspects of the financial statements for your business, it

is extremely important to make sure you are reviewing them regularly. Many business owners have their accountants create reports, but never really look at them. Make sure you schedule time to review these reports and most importantly, if you have questions about them, be sure to ask your accountant. Good accountants are not only there to do the work and create your financial statements for you, but they are also available to answer any questions you might have – and yes, this includes helping you understand the story behind what your financial reports are actually telling you. By increasing your financial literacy, you will significantly

affect the success of your business. You will have a much better understanding of how your business is performing. With this knowledge, you will feel confident about making major decisions that will impact your business. You will feel good about whether or not to make a large purchase. You can also decide if you want to extend payment terms to your customers, and so much more. Your reports will be up to date and will allow you to prepare and file your taxes on a timely basis, and you will surely sleep much better at night!

More on financial services on the next page.

Wealth management solutions for the future you’re building You know what you want and where you want to go. We know how to get you there. From day-to-day banking1 to investing and estate planning2, our wealth advisors will help you get the most out of your money so you can enjoy the kind of life you’ve worked so hard to create. bremer.com 1

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FINANCIAL SERVICES

Create Opportunities

Everyone has different financial and estate planning goals. You have questions to consider — and a lot on your plate. Whether you’re at the starting line or well underway to achieving your dreams, we’re here to help you discover new opportunities. WEALTH ADVISORY | OUTSOURCING | AUDIT, TAX, AND CONSULTING

Home Work If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home.

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OVID-19 has caused many of us to turn our homes, or at least a room or two, into an office. The good news is that you may qualify for a home office deduction. This rule applies to individuals, and is available for homeowners and renters. It applies to all types of homes, as long as you meet the qualifications. Regular Method

320-203-5500 | CLAconnect.com Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. ©2020 CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

Taxpayers using the regular method must determine the actual expenses of the home office. These expenses may include mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation. Generally, if you use a whole room or part of a room for conducting your business, you need to figure out the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities. Simplified Option

The standard method has substantiation requirements that are complex and burdensome for small business owners. The simplified option can significantly reduce the burden of recordkeeping by allowing a qualified taxpayer to multiply a prescribed rate by the allowable square footage of the office in lieu of determining actual expenses. Qualifications

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| 800-320-7262 | Member FDIC

In order to qualify for the home office deduction, you must show that you use your home as your principal place of business and that the home office portion of your residence is used exclusively for conducting business. Deduction for the home office use of a portion of a residence is allowed only if that portion is exclusively used on a regular basis for business purposes. If the use of the home office is merely appropriate and helpful, you cannot deduct expenses for the business use of Source: IRS.gov your home.


Meet the

AIS Planning Team

Financial & Professional Services Central Minnesota is constantly expanding and your company should too. Check out the next few pages for resources to help make change possible.

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FINANCIAL & PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Deerwood Bank

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Partner

Creating a better way of life for 97 years. With our newest locations inside Coborn’s in Sauk Rapids and inside Cash Wise Foods in St. Cloud and Waite Park, we’re continuing to find new ways to better serve you.

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When you need a financial partner to lean on, Farmers & Merchants State Bank is here to keep you balanced.

Our no minimum balance, no hidden fees Business Plus Checking is perfect for the start-up and growing business. Bill Pay, Cash Management, and Merchant Source Capture are available to help your business run efficiently and grow. Learn more at FalconNational.com 866.439.4363 St. Cloud | Foley | Ham Lake | Isanti | Richmond

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and Sartell!

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Because friendly still counts.

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As a nationally recognized, top performing we are As a nationallybank, recognized, top performing bank, we are driven by our passion to help driven by our passion to help others achieve their greatest others achieve theirstrong, greatest ambitions. From ambitions. From strong, hardworking roots to a forwardhardworking roots to a forwardthinking outlook, customer thinking outlook, customer success guides all we do. success guides all we do.

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Michael K. Karl Senior Vice President– Wealth Management Branch Manager Matthew R. Nikodym Senior Vice President– Wealth Management UBS Financial Services Inc. 4150 South Second Street St. Cloud, MN 56301 320-252-6909

© UBS 2020. All rights reserved. UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. Member FINRA/SIPC. CJ-UBS-868306309 Exp.: 09/30/2021

A strong

relationship you can bank on. Having a strong relationship with your bank is an important asset to any company. West Bank in St. Cloud has proven why our approach to business banking is so successful. As a local business bank, we simply focus on the things that are important to anyone running a business.

622 Roosevelt Road, Suite 150 • St. Cloud, MN 56301 westbankstrong.com • Member FDIC

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PROFIT

BUSINESSSPOTLIGHT TIMELINE

W E RS C H AY H OM ES

1992

Build Differently In high school David Werschay hated construction. Today, the owner of Werschay Homes says "I love this stuff."

David Werschay graduates from college with a degree in computer programming and no interest in pursuing it as a career

By Gail Ivers

1992 PERSONAL PROFILE

David Werschay, 52 Hometown: St. Cloud Education: Apollo High School; two years at St. Cloud State University; three years at Ferris University, Michigan, graduating with a degree in computer programming

Business Central: How did you become a builder? Werschay: When I was in high school I needed a summer job. I said I would do anything but construction. Except no one would hire me -- not even Landy Packing. So I called a guy I knew in construction. He asked if I had ever roofed a house. I lied and said yes. I learned everything over those next two years. The best part was that I learned what I was not going to do, which was construction. Then I graduated from college with a degree in computer programming and learned lesson number two -- I hated computer programming. Ken Croat called and asked if I wanted to work for

him again. I said no, I hate construction. He said “You weren’t any good at it either.” But he was looking for someone to help in the office not the field, so I agreed. Turned out I liked it. When I started we were doing 12 homes a year. Twelve years later we were doing 100 homes a year. BC: How did you get started on your own? Werschay: After I left Croat Kerfeld I spent about three months trying different things. Finally Molly said, “Can we go build houses now?” We both had a passion to build differently. Molly is great at the interior design, working with clients and helping them meet deadlines.

Family: Wife Molly; a 16-year-old son and a 15-year-old-daughter Hobbies: Fitness and nutrition; outdoor activities, including snowboarding; family time

I like to design and problem solve. We set up business and it’s been a blast ever since. BC: What's been your biggest challenge? Werschay: The Recession wasn’t fun for anyone. At one point I didn’t know how I was going to make payroll. I had this patio home for sale and out of the blue I got a call from a woman who needed a home. She bought the patio home with cash and the deal was done in two weeks.

Werschay joins Croat Kerfeld Homes, teaches himself CAD (computer aided design) and begins designing homes

August 14, 2003 Werschay resigns from Croat Kerfeld and he and his wife Molly start Werschay Homes, Werschay Real Estate Services, and Renovate

2004 Werschay establishes Werschay Land Development and begins working on his first neighborhood with other developers

2009 Werschay begins development of the Eagles Landing neighborhood in St. Augusta

2012 Werschay begins development of the DayBreak Neighborhood in Sartell; he moves from his original office space on County Road 74 to an office in downtown St. Cloud

2017 Werschay Homes moves from downtown St. Cloud to their current location on Roosevelt Road

September 15, 2020 Werschay begins development of The Gates at Blackberry in Sartell

FUN FACT AT A G L A N C E

Werschay Homes 3333 Roosevelt Road Saint Cloud, MN 56301-9673 (320) 230-9909 info@werschayhomes.com werschayhomes.com

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Business Description: Builder of custom homes, major remodeling and renovation projects, design/build services Owners: David and Molly Werschay

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Opened: August 2003 Number of Employees: 8, including David and Molly Joined the Chamber: September 2003

Werschay played competitive racquetball starting at age 14. He received a scholarship to play racquetball at Ferris University in Michigan.


A strong

relationship you can bank on. West Bank Team (from left to right): Todd Mather, Chief Credit Officer; Curt Gainsforth, Vice President; Lisa Koster, Second Vice President; Melissa Muehlbauer, Principal Banker, NMLS ID: 1166383; Matt Laubach, Market President; and Aaron Meester, Vice President.

Having a strong relationship with your bank is an important asset to any company, and the growth of West Bank in St. Cloud has proven why our approach to business banking is so successful. As a local business bank, we simply focus on the things that are important to anyone running a business. We attribute our success to valuable, long-standing business relationships based upon mutual respect and enduring connections.

622 Roosevelt Road, Suite 150 • St. Cloud, MN 56301 • 320-342-2400 • westbankstrong.com • Member FDIC


Profile for St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce

November/December 2020  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

November/December 2020  

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Central Magazine

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