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4 • May 2013 •

F E A T U R E S May 2013 • Volume 5, Issue 8

14

Airport is hopping

The Mankato Airport is buzzing with activity from hundreds of MSU flight students and a host of business and private plane traffic, but officials hope to draw more businesses to base at the airport.

20

Corner bait shop

22

Since the old red Victorian in Madison Lake was converted to a bait shop in the 1950s, the shop has seen its share of owners. The newest owner is 35-year-old Ryan White, a fisherman and hometown guy.

Special Focus: Building a better website

About 55 percent of adult cellphone users used their phones to access the Internet in 2012; double from three years ago. Meanwhile, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop usage in 2014. Your website needs to be mobile friendly.

24

Mocol’s Grocery

Mid-morning Joe Mocol is climbing into the cab of his truck, Tom is inside behind the meat counter, Greg is ready to take a stint at the front counter while George visits with a visitor — a typical part of the brothers’ 88-hour work weeks.

About the Cover

Photo by The Free Press Media photographer John Cross.

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 5

■ May 2013 • VOLUME 5, ISSUE 8 PUBLISHER James P. Santori EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tim Krohn CONTRIBUTING Tim Krohn WRITERS Pete Steiner John F. Considine III Kent Thiesse Marie Wood PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman John Cross COVER PHOTO John Cross GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jenny Malmanger PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING David Habrat MANAGER ADVERTISING sales Karla Marshall ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey CIRCULATION Denise Zernechel DIRECTOR For editorial inquiries, call Tim Krohn at 507-344-6383. For advertising, call 344-6336, or e-mail kmarshall@mankatofreepress.com. MN Valley Business is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South 2nd Street., Mankato MN 56001.

■ Local Business memos/ Company news................................7 ■ Business and Industry trends.........9 ■ Minnesota Business updates....... 10 ■ Business Commentary................. 12 ■ Agriculture Outlook...................... 32 ■ Agribusiness trends..................... 33 ■ Job trends..................................... 34 ■ Construction, real estate trends.. 35 ■ Retail trends................................. 36 ■ Greater Mankato Growth.............. 38 ■ Greater Mankato Growth Member Activities ....................... 40

6 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

From the editor

By Joe Spear

In many ways, Mankato takes off

T

his month’s story on Mankato airport and air transportation developments top off a series of news events this year that once again push the Mankato region to the forefront of economic growth in the state. The biggest announcement this year has been the definitive plans to begin construction on the Wal-Mart distribution center in Mankato, the only such facility in the state. About 8 years since first being announced, the center is scheduled to open in 2015. The national economy and presumably Wal-Mart’s economy make it the right time to begin work. While the company has said construction will either start late this year or early next year, the surrounding development has already begun, as earlier predicted. Other businesses are looking to locate near the new distribution center. Developers are seeing interest in land sales. The company says it will hire about 300 full-time employees. That will mark one of the single biggest expansions of jobs in Mankato in decades. Wal-Mart was drawn to the area by the ease in working with the city in development and a solid, educated work force. The five colleges in the Mankato area continue to be important to the growth of the local economy. Minnesota State University is also figuring to be important in the growth of Mankato’s regional airport as our cover story this month suggests. The MSU aviation program is making a comeback of sorts. It is the only program now in the Minnesota State Colleges and University system as St. Cloud State University cut its aviation program a few years ago. MSU is working with airport managers North Star Aviation to develop a partnership and pathway to employment for students with American Eagle airlines. MSU flight program enrollment is growing at a pace of 15-20 percent per year and many of those students will be coming into a market where pilot

retirements will be soaring. Mankato officials are hoping for other businesses to consider the Mankato airport. While the city is no longer really in the running for commercial passenger service, there may be businesses who find the Mankato location close enough to the Twin Cities airport but cheaper in terms of doing business and hangar rentals. The airport has developed in the last 15 years or so into a regional facility with a runway long enough to handle large jets. There is a solid base of financial support with part of the city’s local sales tax going to the airport and its infrastructure. There is some hope for possible passenger charter services with companies such as Allegiant Air. The company books large charter jets, with hotel packages included, for trips to Las Vegas, Orlando or other tourist destinations. Transportation, whether it be air or ground, remains key to developing a regional center. In that respect, the new Highway 14 four lane from Mankato to Owatonna and Interstate 35W is likely to have a huge impact on business and commerce in the Mankato region. Some have speculated that WalMart was waiting for the completion of that project before announcing their construction date. Clearly, that road makes the trip to the interstate much faster. And even shaving a few minutes off transportation time for a company moving hundreds of trucks a day makes a big difference financially. Large economic drivers like new plants, better roads and airports drive smaller economic impacts like housing and retail. MV Joe Spear is executive editor of Minnesota Valley Business. Contact him at 344-6382 or jspear@mankatofreepress.com

Local Business People/Company News

Judy Ringler Mountain

Ringler Mountain honored Judy Ringler Mountain, from Mountain Financial Group is the recipient of the 2013 Yellow Rose Award from the Mankato Business and Professional Women organization. The Yellow Rose award recipients are women who make a difference in the lives of other women in the community. Ringler Mountain joined New York Life in 1992 and is a member of Cavilers, Zonta, Twilight Garden Club, YWCA, and Mayo Ladies Auxiliary.

Renee C. Rubish

Rubish named managing partner Maschka, Riedy & Ries Law Firm named Renee C. Rubish as managing partner. Rubish has been with the firm since its inception. Her practice emphasis is personal injury and medical malpractice. She is a registered nurse who has worked in both hospital and clinic settings, dealing with a variety of medical conditions. The firm has 11 lawyers. ■■■

■■■ United Prairie announces promotions Two credit analysts have been promoted recently in the Mankato office of United Prairie Bank. Spenser Bradley has been promoted to an assistant vice president/business banker for the hilltop location and Clay Sharkey has been promoted to senior credit specialist for the company. ■■■ Brown & Brown honored Auto-Owners Insurance announced that Brown & Brown Insurance Agency has been named one of the top 10 growth agencies in Minnesota. Brown & Brown has represented Auto-Owners since 1971.

Trisha Rosenfeld

■■■

■■■ Fleming “Attorney of the Year” Jim Fleming was named Attorney of the Year 2012 by Minnesota Lawyer. In 2012, Fleming handled two noteworthy cases. He defended Todd Meyer was accused of intentionally harming his infant daughter. Meyer said he had been changing her diaper, when he became distracted by his other children when the child fell off the couch. After a four day trial Meyer was Jim Fleming acquitted. Fleming also represented Minnesota State University football coach Todd Hoffner who was accused of child pornography. A judge dismissed all charges after ruling the family videos violated no law.

Rosenfeld hired at Xcel Xcel Energy has named Trisha Rosenfeld manager of community relations and economic development. Rosenfeld will serve cities south and southwest of the Twin Cities, including Mankato. Rosenfeld, of Mankato, will support utility operations, manage relationships with local governments and promote economic development in areas served by Xcel Energy.

Scott Wojcik

Wojcik honored for Holiday Lights HickoryTech sales consultant Scott Wojcik received the Minnesota Telecom Alliance’s Excellence in Service Award. The public service award was in recognition of his work with the Kiwanis Holiday Light. He served as president of the inaugural holiday lights event, a project which drew more than 100,000 visitors. ■■■

Maschka, Riedy & Ries gets Best Firm ranking Maschka, Riedy & Ries Law Firm received a Tier 1 ranking for “plaintiffs personal Injury litigation” in the 2013 edition of U.S. News — Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms. Best Lawyers is the oldest peer-review publication in the legal profession. Three years ago, Best Lawyers partnered with U.S.News & World Report to rank law firms in the United States.

■■■ ■■■ Dowty promoted at GreenCare GreenCare promoted Julie Dowty to customer service manager. Dowty has worked at GreenCare since 2004. She joins the management team of Jason Hacker, irrigation manager, Jeremy Tweten, lawn care manager and Tom & June Rieff, owners.

Kragh earns designation at Thrivent Ruthann Kragh, of Mankato, financial representative with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, recently earned the Fraternal Insurance Counselor designation granted by the Fraternal Field Managers’ Association.

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 7

The FIC designation is given to those who complete basic, intermediate and advanced training courses in fraternal life insurance and pass four comprehensive exams. ■■■

Jerry Maschka

Maschka named “Best Lawyer” Jerry Maschka was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2013 in the field of “personal injury litigation.” It’s the 19th consecutive year Maschka has been included on the list. Best Lawyers is based on a peerreview survey in which more than 25,000 attorneys cast almost 2 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their specialties.

Danberry honored by Toyota Laurie Danberry of Heintz Toyota has been recognized with the 2012 Silver Level Sales Society Award for the fifth year from Toyota Motor Sales USA. This honor recognizes sales consultants that have sold over 190 new Toyotas and demonstrated outstanding customer satisfaction performance. She has also been recognized for the Toyota S.T.A.R.S. Award, which means Laurie Danberry she is in the top 11 sales consultants in the Chicago region. ■■■ Lurken earns designation Jeremiah J. Lurken, a Modern Woodmen of America representative in Mankato, has earned the designation of Fellow, Life Underwriters Training Council. The designation is conferred jointly by the American College and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

■■■ Pfeffer named to national board Jennifer Pfeffer, of Mankato’s Pathstone Living, has been selected to serve on the national Professional Practice Analysis Task Force, the Minnesota Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators announced. The group of 15 members is comprised of national leaders and administrators in long term care representing nursing facilities, assisted living and home and community based services. ■■■ Schmitz honored for volunteerism Sharon Schmitz, office manager for CPA Jim Barta of North Mankato, has been named volunteer of the year at the annual convention of the Minnesota Association of Farm Mutual Insurance Companies. ■■■ Homestead Realty opens Mankato office Homestead Realty has opened its newest office at 1600 Madison Avenue Suite 112, Mankato. They also have offices in Winnebago and Mapleton and have been in business for 30 years.

Jeremiah Lurken

■■■

I&S Group celebrates 40 years I&S Group is celebrating its 40th year in business. They started in the basement of the founder’s home, to now have 125 employees in six offices in three states. I&S Group was formed in 1973 by Ken Surprenant and Gene Isakson to provide engineering services to southern Minnesota. After Isakson moved on to other opportunities, Suprenant and his wife, Mary Jo, grew the business to provide a full range of design services. ■■■ HickoryTech honored for women in leadership HickoryTech was named an Honor Roll company in the 2012 Minnesota Census of Women in Corporate Leadership compiled by St. Catherine University in St. Paul. The distinction recognizes companies in Minnesota with 20 percent or more gender diversity in the executive ranks and on the board of directors.

■■■ ■■■ National pork group names board Paul FitzSimmons of Good Thunder, represented the Minnesota Pork Producers Association as a delegate to the National Pork Producers Council annual meeting in Florida. FitzSimmons was among 130 farmers from 44 states who elected four pork producers to the NPPC board of directors, including Jim Compart of Nicollet.

8 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

To submit your company or employee news. e-mail to tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com Put “Business memo” in the subject line. Call or e-mail Associate Editor Tim Krohn at tkrohn@mankatofreepress.com or 344-6383 for questions.

Business and Industry Trends

Employment

Energy

After shedding local manufacturing jobs the past few months, first time unemployment claims in March finally fell dramatically compared to a year earlier. Claims in the manufacturing sector in the nine-county region fell 50 percent compared to the same month of 2012. The stability is likely do to the fact recent months have seen big gains in manufacturing unemployment claims locally, even when the statewide number of claims in manufacturing were down. In February, first-time claims in manufacturing locally jumped 22 percent year-over-year. There were 196 first time claims in manufacturing locally compared to 396 in March of 2012.

Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels declined by 3.9 percent in 2012, and is projected to increase 1.9 percent in 2013 and 0.7 percent in 2014. The increase in emissions over the forecast primarily reflects the projected increase in coal use for electricity generation, especially in 2013.

Manufacturing stabilizes locally

Unemployment claims down

First-time claims for unemployment fell in March in most categories locally and statewide. In the nine-county area, claims fell among manufacturing, retail and services workers while rising slightly (5 percent) in the construction trade. Statewide, claims fell in most categories except for manufacturing where there were 14 percent more claims than a year ago.

■■■

Agriculture

Crop prices dipping

Local cash corn prices fell to $6.56 per bushel in April compared to $7.30 in March but were still about 60 cents higher than a year ago. Soybean prices dropped from $14.33 per bushel to $14.12 in April.

Hogs rebounding

Prices for a 185-pound hog carcass had a monthly rise of $7 to $81.84 in April.

■■■

CO2 emissions fall

Gas to average $3.63

During the April-through-September summer driving season this year, regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $3.63 per gallon. The projected monthly average regular retail gasoline price falls from $3.69 per gallon in May to $3.57 per gallon in September. Regular gasoline retail prices should average $3.56 per gallon in 2013 and $3.39 per gallon in 2014, compared with $3.63 per gallon in 2012. The July 2013 New York harbor reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending futures contract averaged $2.97 per gallon for the five trading days ending April 4, 2013. Based on the market value of futures and options contracts, there is a 12 percent probability that its price at expiration will exceed $3.35 per gallon, consistent with a monthly average regular-grade gasoline retail price exceeding $4 per gallon in July 2013.

Brent crude $108 this year

It’s expected that the Brent crude oil spot price, which averaged $112 per barrel in 2012 and rose to $119 per barrel in early February 2013, will average $108 per barrel in 2013 and $101 per barrel in 2014. The projected discount of West Texas Intermediate crude oil to Brent, which increased to a monthly average of more than $20 per barrel in February 2013, is forecast to average $14 per barrel in 2013 and $9 per barrel in 2014, as planned new pipeline capacity lowers the cost of moving mid-continent crude oil to the Gulf Coast refining centers.

Natural gas stocks down some

Natural gas working inventories ended March 2013 at an estimated 1.69 trillion cubic feet, about 0.79 Tcf below the level at the same time a year ago and 0.41 Tcf below the five-year average (2008-12). The Henry Hub natural gas spot price, which averaged $2.75 per million British thermal units in 2012, will average $3.52 in 2013 and $3.60 per in 2014. With actual and forecast natural gas prices in the first 9 months of 2013 well above those during the comparable 2012 period, electricity generators using natural gas are expected to lose some of the market share gained from coal generation in 2012.

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 9

Minnesota Business Updates

■ Target ends Best Buy experiment One of the things electronics retailer Best Buy Co. had hoped to use to set itself off from the competition and thwart the effects of “showrooming” from online rival Amazon, was its tech support staff that could set up, install, and repair the electronic gadgets and products it sold. Providing service through its Geek Squad instead of just offering product and price would be a key differentiator for it. It hasn’t quite worked out that way, but seeking out opportunities to expand the brand has led it to partnerships in some unlikely places, like at eBay, where it offers tech support on gadgets won at auction or bought at the site, but also at more traditional retailers such as Target. The branding opportunities seem to be hit or miss. Target announced it was severing its relationship with the tech guys in the black-and-white Volkswagen Beetles, saying the six-month experiment had run its course and it was not renewing the partnership. The discount retailer has been in an identity crisis of its own lately, throwing a lot of options at the wall to see what sticks in an effort to jump-start sales. When it comes to electronics, however, not much has clung as it also recently ended its failed store-within-a-store kiosk concept it had with Radio Shack Corporation.

■ IRS seeks 3M royalty payments Technology company, 3M joins the IRS in tax court over a tax dispute involving royalty payments Despite the high volume of international trade between the United States and Brazil, the two countries have yet to establish a tax agreement, which has caused issues between U.S companies and the IRS. 3M is now dealing with the IRS regarding royalty payments from 2006, which includes trademarks for Post-it notes and Nexcare bandages from the company’s Brazilian unit. The IRS wants to tax the royalty payments, and claims that the company is not bringing enough of them to the U.S. MMM claims that laws in Brazil prevent it from sending the payments abroad.

■ AMPI reports $1.7 billion in sales Associated Milk Producers Inc. delivered sales of $1.7 billion and earnings of $9.3 million in 2012. AMPI’s core products were the cooperative’s top performers in 2012. Cheese production, which represents 57 percent of total sales, grew by more than 11 million pounds as compared to a year earlier. Butter production continued to grow steadily, increasing 5 million pounds. Consumer-packaged cheese and butter represented nearly half of the cooperative’s sales.

10 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

■ Hedge funds not hot on General Growth General Growth Properties was in 21 hedge funds’ portfolio at the end of December. GGP has seen a decrease in support from the world’s most elite money managers in recent months. There were 27 hedge funds in our database with GGP positions at the end of the previous quarter. Heading into 2013, a total of 21 of hedge funds tracked were bullish on GGP stock, a decline of 22 percent from one quarter earlier.

■ Mayo: Other states want us In blunt words aimed squarely at the Minnesota Legislature, the president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic warned that the hallowed medical institution has “49 states” eager to have Mayo’s planned multibillion-dollar expansion if the state is unwilling to pitch in. “We’re never going to leave Minnesota, and we don’t want to leave Minnesota,” Dr. John Noseworthy said in an interview at the National Press Club, where the CEO made a pitch for federal investment in health care and medical research. “But we’ve got to decide where we’re going to put the next $3 billion.” That money would be part of a $5 billion, 20-year expansion in Rochester dubbed “Destination Medical Center,” which would require a half-billion dollars from state officials for infrastructure improvements.

■ Crystal Sugar workers return Locked-out American Crystal Sugar union members headed back to work after the union voted at the end of April to accept the company’s contract offer. Union members, who have been locked out at five factories in the Red River Valley since Aug. 1, 2011, expect a bumpy return to their old jobs. Just enough union members changed their vote to ratify the same contract they had rejected four times. Employees last voted on it in December, when 55 percent voted to reject the offer. The new contract means more money for workers, but they will pay more for health insurance and union officials say they will lose some job security. In the latest ballot, the union says 55 percent of workers who voted agreed to accept the company’s contract offer.

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MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 11

Business Commentary

By John F. Considine III

Grow Minnesota! visits let local businesses give input

I

t’s a classic quote from a movie littered with other great one-liners. “Help me ... help you. Help me, help you.” However, that’s what the “Grow Minnesota!” program is all about. Yes, the exclamation mark is part of the title. Grow Minnesota! is the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s business assistance program. Communities across Minnesota follow this model for conducting face-to-face conversations with business owners/CEOs. The primary purpose of the visit is to ask what we can do to help them thrive and grow in the community. Each Grow Minnesota! visit involves some st andard questions. Any critical business information shared is kept confidential. In order to ensure each business has an opportunity to discuss a comprehensive list of topics (ex: workforce, community strengths, or public policy) some standardization must be incorporated. However, as the conversation evolves, the subject matter is dictated by the business. So if the business wants to dive deeper into “workforce” — then “workforce” it is. First and foremost this program is designed to be sure the lines of communication are open. The program consists of a conversation between a business owner, a representative of Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) and in some cases local officials. ÊIn the case of a larger business, it may also include other staff from the company. Some businesses may want others in the company to participate in the conversation. GMG has been actively conducting these Grow Minnesota! visits for 10 years and is looking to increase the number of visits even more. Tom Riley, New Business Development Director at GMG, and I will be reaching out to area businesses individually and through a newly trained contingent of volunteers.

12 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

These volunteers need to have executive level experience, participate in training, and complete a commitment form prior to conducting a Grow Minnesota! visit. The program has already proven to be successful. According to Riley, “Multiple opportunities have arisen where a company has identified difficulties obtaining a resource or service that they need for their business and we’ve been able to connect them to a regional supplier.ÊIn the process we help the business and help grow the regional economy.” How does a Grow Minnesota! visit assist in supply chain development? Riley outlines, “In addition to connecting companies to companies, we’ve had the opportunity to connect companies to various public resources such as Enterprise Minnesota, the Small Business Development Center or the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute, or the many great educational resources available in the area that many companies are just not aware of. In many cases these resources have been instrumental in helping areas companies improve their efficiency and profitability, obtain a loan or financing to start or expand their business or discover prior research that might be helpful to them.” GMG wants to be sure to address barriers facing a business. The conversation needs to be productive and it must be recognized that some barriers may require long range policy resolutions. However, if a barrier is brought forward enough by multiple businesses, the right partners can be brought to the table to address it. The Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), made up of Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties, is now nearly matching its all-time high for the number of jobs (53,704 as of February 2013 according to the Minnesota Department of

Employment and Economic Development). With this type of ground breaking (excuse the pun) growth, it is important to understand from which industries it is coming. The Grow Minnesota! program not only confirms which industries are growing but provides insight into why they are growing. The reason could vary from local market conditions to an international trend. With this documented information, local economic development organizations like GMG can present the marketplace as a prosperous location for business. In addition to helping businesses, Grow Minnesota! provides us with an opportunity to thank businesses. As Riley put it, “Area businesses do not have to be here and we owe them our thanks for investing in our communities, providing work for our local talent, and supporting the rest of the community through their volunteerism and charitable giving. We really do have a lot of unique and very exciting businesses that have chosen the Greater Mankato area as their home, and we hope with their success, others will follow by investing in the community too!” The right people are noticing the success of the Mankato/ North Mankato MSA too. Over the last month we have been visited by major site selectors, the Minnesota House minority leader, the governor of Minnesota, and the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development ... twice. If you’re interested in vo l u n t e e r i n g fo r Grow Minnesota! visit: greatermankato. com/grow-minnesota. MV John F. Considine III is the Business Development Resource Manager for Greater Mankato Growth, where he is responsible for providing information and services that are useful to area businesses and in efforts to position the Greater Mankato marketplace.

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Flying high

Airport fuels local commerce, MSU flight program City seeking new aviation-related businesses, jobs By Tim Krohn | Photos by John Cross 14 â&#x20AC;˘ May 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ MN Valley Business

O

n any given day, the Mankato Regional Airport is teeming with college students practicing on flight simulators or in planes, company executives from businesses such as Hy-Vee, ADM or Wal-Mart arriving or taking off, and private pilots tinkering with their planes inside hangars. The airport offers critical support for Minnesota State University’s flight training program and for a wide array of area businesses. While the recession kept business travel relatively flat and a rebuilding MSU flight program slowed student use, airport supporters say business is rebounding and believe the city is poised to attract new businesses and jobs because of it. “We have 85,000 operations a year, a takeoff or landing. At one time we were over 100,000. We’ll be back to that number in a couple of years,” said Mark Smith, owner of North Star Aviation, which serves MSU flight students and is also the fixed-base operator at the airport, running the day-to-day operations. While student pilots have long been a staple of business at the airport, Mankato Public Works Director Mark Knoff said the city wants to attract new aviation-related businesses that will bring new jobs. Knoff envisions businesses that refurbish or build aircraft, air cargo services, crop-spraying operations or other flight-related companies. “There’s a plethora of possibilities.” Smith said large national corporations that have a business in Mankato use the airport extensively.

“Emerson Electric comes out of St. Louis and takes care of Kato Electric. A lot of our big industry is owned by corporate America, so we see a lot of that traffic,” Smith said. “Then you have Target, Wal-Mart, Pioneer, Hy-Vee — there’s a lot of them that fly in and out of here.” And unlikely events can make the airport busy. “There was a big skeet-shooting in Le Sueur last year and we had jets all over the place, from all over the country and Canada here.”

Cover Story

Pilot demand soaring North Star Aviation provides all the services pilots need at the airport from a corporate pilot lounge to fuel, hangar space and plane maintenance. A big part of their business is the flight school at MSU. While the number of aviation students fell in the 1990s, it’s been on a steady rise recently. Total enrollment is at 150 and growing, said Tom Peterson, head of the aviation program for the past four years. The program went through turmoil more than a decade ago when the then aviation department chair and the university became involved in a bitter, protracted fight as MSU attempted to force him out. Then, four years ago, the university announced it was going to close the aviation program, but community support, including donations from local business leaders, kept the program going. “Things have really turned around. Our enrollment has

Mankato Area Regional Airport By the Numbers • Covers an area of 1,000 acres • Two runways: 6,600 feet by 100 feet and 4,000 feet by 75 feet • Can accommodate aircraft up to a 757 • Base for 100 aircraft, from small single engines to large corporate jets • More than 100 different companies travel to Mankato via airplanes • Thousands of federal aviation pilot licenses have been earned at the airport

History • 910-1920s aviation slowly developed in southern Minnesota • Early aviators used cow pastures for runways • 1927 Lawrence Joseph Sohler advocated for investment in a Mankato Airport • Charles Lindbergh occasionally flew into Mankato as airmail pilot • 1920s air mail was utilized to connect southern Minnesota with the Twin Cities • Original airport located near the current MSU campus • 1970 airport moved to current location • 1991 runways expanded to current size and navigation systems were added • 1997 airport terminal expanded • 2013 new hanger just completed • Has hosted Navy Blue Angels, Air Force Thunderbirds, Canadian Snowbirds¬¬

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 15

Flight instructor Nick Teschendorf in one of the flight simulators at the airport. increased 15 to 20 percent each year, and we’re hoping to continue that trend for the next few years,” Peterson said. At its peak, enrollment was at about 300. The MSU program is benefiting from St. Cloud State closing its flight program a couple of years ago, leaving MSU as the only school in the Minnesota State College and University system with a flight program. The program also is helped by the high retirement rate hitting the airline industry. “Nationally, there will be about 20,000 retirements over the next eight to 10 years, and that’s not including Fed Ex, UPS and all the regional carriers,” said Peterson, who was in the Air Force for 20 years and then flew for an airline for 14 years. The airport also has added technology and partnerships that make the MSU program more attractive. North Star added some Red Bird simulators a couple of years ago, which give students a simulation of flying a small aircraft. There are plans for a jet simulator to be added. “It would be an exact replica of a regional jet, everything is identical,” said Smith of North Star Aviation. Peterson said the jet simulator will help students get to airline jobs sooner. Congress changed rules for getting hired as an airline pilot, including requiring more flight time. “It created a real mess,” Peterson said. “We’re hoping the FAA will change some rules to say that if you went through jet simulator training and a four-year degree, it will reduce some of the hours required to be an airline pilot.” “The airlines are really excited about us getting the jet simulator.” The university and North Star are also close to an agreement with American Eagle that would give MSU

graduates a leg up on jobs upon graduation. “We’ll be one of the first in the nation to have a pipeline program,” Smith said. Under the program, students at the end of their sophomore year would be identified for inclusion in the pipeline program. Once the students Tom Peterson graduate, they would become employees of American Eagle with full benefits, but they would continue to serve as flight trainers at North Star Aviation for other MSU students. Once they have their 1,500 required hours of flight time in, they would interview and are nearly guaranteed a regional pilot job with American Eagle. “For the most part, they’ll look at all the students who are interested and they’ll put them through their screening and personality tests. And if they like them, they’ll make them an employee when they graduate,” Peterson said. After two years with American Eagle, the students are guaranteed an interview with American Airlines, the parent company. “The airlines are seeing that they have to come to the big flight schools to get pilots,” Smith said. “American Eagle is one of the largest regional carriers in the nation,

Jason Ceminsky trains jet pilots across the country through his Mankato-based Pro Train business.

so it’s a great opportunity.” Peterson said Delta and ExpressJet also expressed interest in a similar partnership. Ready for business In the past 15 years the airport has been transformed into a regional airport with a runway to handle large jets and hangars and facility space for aviation-related businesses. Hoping to capitalize on its assets and its location near the Twin Cities, Mankato officials are focusing on attracting new business and jobs. “I’d like to identify a business or industry to come in and build to their needs and get state or federal participation,” Knoff said. “I’d like to create a business plan to go after that kind of growth.” Knoff said the airport has advantages to draw new businesses and jobs. “The Twin Cities air space isn’t fun to fly in. Our rents aren’t as high and it’s usually cheaper to do business in Mankato.” But Knoff said the city has some disadvantage in that flight-related businesses still need to truck in materials. “In the Twin Cities you have access to more things in general. But Mankato

Mankato based; country-wide service City seeking new aviation-related businesses, jobs

By Tim Krohn

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hen Jason Ceminsky was growing up on the north side of Mankato, he loved gazing up in the air toward the airport. “I always had a passion for aviation growing up and seeing the planes fly over. A friend’s dad had an airplane and took us up and I was hooked.” After learning to fly in high school, Ceminsky went to the Air Force Academy and spent 10 years on active duty, training others to fly jets and B2 bombers, and has since been in the Air National Guard. Today he owns Mankato-based Pro Train, providing jet training for pilots. Pro Train was a part of Mark Smith’s Northstar Aviation, but the business was shelved when Smith’s partner retired. Ceminsky, who also serves on the Mankato Airport Commission, resurrected the business with Smith three years ago and then bought it about a year later. Pro Train provide the annual training the FAA requires for all jet pilots “I travel all over the country to wherever they are. The majority is ground training, classroom for two days then a day of flying training,” Ceminsky said. “A quite a bit is refreshers, emergency training, the aircraft system. Then we go through any FAA changes, any different procedures that may have come out.” About 90 percent of his work is for pilots who fly for small- to medium-size companies that own a jet. Most airline pilots get their training from in-house trainers. “A lot of my work is done at regional airports, but it can be anywhere from New York and L.A. to little airports in Iowa. “I sell the convenience and the tailor-made training.” So how many miles does he log each year? “I see a lot of airports. It’s a lot of travel. I should probably figure out how much, but I’m not sure I want my wife to see how much I’m gone.”

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 17

continues to grow and provide opportunities. And with the improved highway system in the region, it makes it easier for people to bring raw materials in.” Forget passenger service One thing the airport is no longer trying to snag is regional carrier service — those subsidiaries of large airlines that use smaller planes to fly people from a regional airport to the main hub in the Twin Cities where the passengers transfer to a large jet. While there was a big push decades ago for a regional carrier, both Smith and Knoff say it’s highly unlikely to happen now. Mark Knoff “We’re just too close to the Twin Cities (airport),”Smith said. “And the highway system is a lot better now — people can just drive to the Twin Cities easily rather than fly from here.” Knoff concurs. “Sometimes it costs more to fly out of Mankato to the Twin Cities than to drive. And now the

Flight nurse Brenda Richardson with Mayo’s Life Flight helicopter.

18 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

airline industry is cutting services that aren’t creating a profit for them, so if you can’t guarantee 80 percent filled flights, they’re not going to look at you.” But both say a charter service — such as Allegiant Air — that books large charter jets full of passengers, with hotel packages included, for trips to Las Vegas, Orlando or other tourist destinations is more likely. “I could see that, where they’d maybe leave on Thursday to Vegas and come back on Tuesdays,” Knoff said. The longer, upgraded landing strip in Mankato could easily handle the large charter jets. Big improvements The airport has undergone significant expansion and improvement in the past 15 years. In 1997 the terminal was expanded and renovated and in 2007 the runway was upgraded. Most of the cost was born by the federal and state governments. Any federal project at an airport comes with 90 percent funding and a 10 percent local match. State-funded projects vary from 50 percent to 70 percent state aid depending on the project. Other recent big projects include a new hangar for Mayo’s Life Flight helicopter service and the city just completed a new hangar, which Knoff hopes will attract those new flight-related businesses. “We’re working with GMG and EDA on advertising and hopefully bringing some additional business and jobs to the airport.” MV

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Ryan White averages 80 hours a week at his White’s Corner Bait shop in Madison Lake and loves every minute of it.

Reeling them in

Customers appreciate bait shop owner’s dedication By Marie Wood | Photos by John Cross

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ince the old red Victorian in Madison Lake was converted to a bait shop in the 1950s, the shop has seen its share of owners. The newest owner is 35-year-old Ryan White, a fisherman and hometown guy, who purchased the bait shop in 2011 and renamed it White’s Corner Bait. White works 70 to 90 hours a week, 363 days a year at the shop. He’s consistent and his customers know they’ll see him whenever they come in for live bait, tackle, gear and the local fishing report. “That’s what it takes for a small business like us, especially when you’re starting out,” White said. John Anton, a regular from rural Madison Lake, agrees and said he believes White can make a success of the bait shop because he puts in the hours and works hard. “You gotta ring your own till,” Anton said. “We try to patronize him. Without a bait shop in Madison Lake, it would be like Christmas without Santa.” White spent his summers at his Dad’s lake place on East Jefferson, where he learned to fish. Now that he lives on Madison Lake, he’s passing on the sport to his own two

children. “I’ve been a fisherman since I can remember. I have pictures from when I was 3, 4 years old. Guys appreciate that,” White said. For 10 years, White sold furniture in Owatonna and Medford, where he worked a third fewer hours and made three times more money. In 2009, he began running the bait shop for the former owner before buying the business. “I’m much happier working at something I enjoy doing every day,” he said.

Profile

20 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

Gearing up White is ready for fishing opener on May 11. He’ll be open almost around the clock Friday to Saturday and back at it early Sunday. He has a touch screen point of sale terminal to sell fishing licenses and will be well stocked with live bait and a full line of gear and tackle. “I concentrate on local favorites — bobbers, sinkers, line, rod and reel combos and a huge amount of jigs. I can get you out of here in two minutes.” The live bait comes directly from a private trapper,

Ryan White Owner, White’s Corner Bait Member, Madison Lake Watershed & Lake Association Member, Greater Jefferson-German Lakes Association Graduated from St. Peter High School, 1996 which makes it fresh. Customers often comment on how long the minnows last. White can also hook you up with a guided fishing trip from Chris Roemhildt, who operates CCR Guide Service from the bait shop. White walks a fine line in inventory to ensure he has enough, but not too much, of high-end merchandise to accommodate his customers. This year he carried 24 electronic fish finders, 25 augers and four models of clam fish houses, two deep. In October, White attends the sports show in Wisconsin to place his order for summer and winter. Plus every week, he can put in an order. “When a lure gets hot, us small stores can reorder.” Some customers put in special orders for the latest electronics, which White can get from a dealer in two to three days and sell at a competitive price. Fish on When White refers to fishermen, where the guys are getting them or calls a customer “bud,” he’s not being sexist. Almost all of his customers are men. Wives and girlfriends usually wait in the truck. White’s Corner Bait is known for an accurate fishing report. White keeps an eye on Madison Lake year-round. He knows where the guys are fishing, what they’re catching, and what they’re using. He keeps tabs on other area lakes too: Washington, Elysian, German, Duck, Francis and others. On his white board behind the register, he puts up the lakes, hot spots, and bite. Because he grew up in the area, he knows the back roads and how to get to the public accesses. White will tell you if they’re hitting on waxies, spikes, night crawlers, leeches, creek chubs, shiners, crappie or fathead minnows. Some fishermen joke that they won’t tell White where they’re getting them because they want to keep their spot a secret. “It’s fun. I sit and B.S. with the guys every day.” With many repeat and loyal customers, White can see 500 customers on a summer day and 300 to 400 customers on a busy ice-fishing day. He knows that word of mouth is his best advertising and that includes Facebook. In addition to a website, White has a Facebook page with more than 1,100 friends, where he posts Madison Lake sunrises and sunsets to entice enthusiasts. He takes photos of customers holding walleyes, crappies and northerns and names the lake and bait. While many customers are local guys, White sees a number of fishermen from Iowa. White surmises that as gas prices have risen, Iowans fish here instead of driving

f u r t h e r n o r t h . Sometimes White helps customers find lodging, tent and camper sites around town or around the 12 lakes within 10 miles of Madison Lake. All-Weather W h i t e knew that weather would have a big impact on his business. With the late ice out this year, March was hopping w i t h fishermen enjoying the s p r i n g sunshine to get the last bite. White rents out three permanent fish houses for ice fishing. While rentals were a flop in 2012, winter 2013 gave him a two-month run where all three of his fish houses were booked on the weekends. White drills the holes and provides propane and bait. Customers bring their own gear. The rentals are good for families to introduce their kids to the sport and for older couples who can’t drill the holes, set up a portable house and heater. After a short jaunt on the lake, they can be fishing. Good days or bad days, White is happy to be his own boss, sell you a scoop of minnows, and talk fishing. “You really get back what you put into it. Owning a business isn’t everything’s it’s cracked up to be, but it’s rewarding.” MV

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 21

Special Focus: Building a better

Websites need to be mobile

By Marie Wood

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ccording to Pew Research Center, 55 percent of adult cellphone users used their phones to access the Internet in 2012; nearly double from three years ago. Meanwhile Microsoft Tag predicts that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage in 2014 and already in 2011, more than 50 percent of all “local” searches were done from a Yvonne Cariveau of mobile device. VoyageurWeb Since the first Apple iPhone was released in 2007, smartphones have become an invaluable tool of everyday life. If your website is not mobile friendly, you are missing an opportunity to effectively reach current and potential customers. “The answer to ‘Should I be mobile?” is to look at society. If your audience is using mobile tools, there’s not much choice,” said Yvonne Cariveau, owner and president of VoyageurWeb in Mankato. Since 1994, Cariveau and her VoyageurWeb staff have been creating, hosting and updating websites. In the last two years, they have adapted several dozen websites for mobile use.

When adapting websites to smartphones and tablet computers, the view must fit both the screen size and the user experience. “On a phone, you have one thumb, one eye and 10 percent of their brain. Your users are doing something else. You cannot give paragraphs of information,” explained Cariveau. Rules of thumb Big buttons make sites easy to use. Highlight information people need when mobile. Place phone number and contact info in an easy-to-see location near the top of the screen According to usability studies, 40-50 percent of searches are looking up phone numbers in web directories, noted Cariveau. “Designing well for mobile is about thinking what people will do with it in a mobile situation,” said Cariveau. For many businesses, the purpose of a website is to generate active leads. Usually, the action users should take is to contact you or request you to contact them. When your website goes mobile, it should offer better access to your information while still identifying a clear action. “The Holy Grail is when someone new to town is walking down the street and using their phone to find a restaurant in the area. They discover your restaurant is a half block down the street and come in,” said Cariveau.

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Mobile application

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obile apps are software products that users download with their Apple iTunes or Android Market accounts. Mobile apps are most frequently created by larger organizations and retail businesses with a social component to their marketing. Mobile apps are built specifically for mobile use and can take full advantage of the phone or tablet’s capabilities. Users can swipe to turn pages or press a phone number to make a call. “These are the most expensive of all three mobile options and for most organizations they don’t provide the best return on your investment,” explained Cariveau. Be wary of DIY mobile websites & special offers, Cariveau warns. Do a Google search for mobile websites and you’ll receive a list of sites, where you can build your own m-dot site in minutes. The advertised fee can be as lows as $50. You may receive emails or calls from salespeople touting these offers. “People should be cautious about inexpensive solutions, because they don’t consider the full user experience. An inexpensive option that doesn’t accomplish your goals is a waste of time and money.” said Cariveau. MV

22 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

website

Three ways to get mobile and get noticed The responsive website

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he responsive website is a mobilefriendly approach in which the site responds to the size of the screen it’s viewed on. The screen size impacts how the page looks. “Whatever device — desktop or smartphone — the website behaves how it should behave on that device,” said Cariveau. For Echo Food Shelf, VoyageurWeb took the website’s horizontal home page and created a vertical mobile view with the menu in the middle of the screen. Now the site is easy for smart phone users to access and get the information they need. Responsive websites are VoyageurWeb’s favored approach for many clients, because they are the least expensive option while offering many benefits. Your site works well on smartphones and you do not need a separate mobile address so it reduces marketing costs. “You get a lot of bang for your buck,” said Cariveau

The mobile website

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mobile website is a separate site with its own m-dot address. The best, and sometimes the only, option for a website with a large infrastructure, graphics, databases and e-commerce is a mobile website. VoyageurWeb built an e-commerce mobile site for C&A Pro Skis, a manufacturer and seller of snowmobile skis. VoyageurWeb redirects smartphone users seamlessly to the C&A Pro Skis mobile website. “We only want them to promote one address,” said Cariveau.

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“We only want them to promote one address,”

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C&A Pro Skis’ customers attend snowmobile races and expos, where they use their phones to access the mobile site and buy skis and accessories for their snowmobiles. Users can choose from six buttons to view and purchase products. A major benefit of mobile websites is they are built exclusively for the mobile browser and can take advantage of some of the phone’s functions. It is generally designed to load much faster than a responsive site would, which is helpful to phone users on slower connections or with limited data plans. MV

MV

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 23

George Mocol helps a customer at Mocol’s Grocery.

Down on the corner with the Mocols Grocery the last of its kind By Pete Steiner Photos by Pat Christman

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id-morning the Thursday before Easter, and Joe Mocol is climbing into the cab of his truck, about to make a delivery to Winnebago. Tom is inside, at his usual spot behind the meat counter, putting out some beautiful hams. Greg is ready to take a stint at the front counter so

George, the designated “PR guy,” can talk to a reporter. The brothers are about halfway through their typical 88-hour week. Going up against Goliaths like Wal-Mart and Target, which have entered the grocery business in a big way, these Davids, the Mocols, don’t mind working

Spotlight

24 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

seven days a week to keep their corner grocery going. “It can still be done,” George says, “but not with a 9-to-5 lifestyle.” Same spot for nearly a century A stylish college student — “a regular” — stops in for some soup and canned goods and marker pens for her project. A young man in a North Face jacket needs a Red Bull and a pack of cigarettes. All the while, two of the brothers keep up a steady stream of animated conversation, about people you know in common, about the history of Mankato, and, of course, given their heritage, about politics, if you want to go there. Sons of the late loquacious Mayor Herb Mocol, George, Joe, Tom and Greg are four of eleven siblings — eight boys and three girls. On any given day, you’ll find at least two, and often all four of the partners in their northside family grocery store that has carried the Mocol name for nearly 100 years. Grandpa Joe, who had emigrated from Lebanon, founded the store at the corner of North Broad and Lafayette streets in 1917. That’s where it still stands, right across from Franklin School, also approaching 100 years of its founding. The four are the only employees, aside from an occasional niece or nephew in the summer. All are Loyola High School graduates, all are college graduates. “Education teaches you discipline,” George says. “We kind of fell into (the grocery business). It’s a good business. You just work hard and see what you do.”

to focus on the still successful northside store, and to expand the wholesale trucking business. Eventually, Madsen’s (now Cub West) was the only downtown store left until Hy-Vee came in 1983. “Edge of town” “This was the edge of town when Grandpa came. They just had three-digit phone numbers.” In his office, George offers a historical and philosophical perspective. “We figured there’s a neighborhood niche. One thing that bothers me about the mass merchants: There’s no local connection.” But that’s hardly a philosophy to compete with Wal-Mart. “No, we’re not in competition; you compete with the overall market. We’re in competition with everyone who sells food. We have to be reasonable, take our little corner of the world. This corner’s been good for us.” Of course there have been modern upgrades — computerized ordering and bookkeeping, electronic payments. And a quick survey of prices offers some interesting buys. Right up front in the store, there are bargain battery bins — tripleA’s, just a dollar for four. George found a distributor who picks up busted packs from the giant retailers and resells them cheaply. Same for some high-quality potato chips they could get because they’re close to the expiration date. And then there’s always the popular dollar-bread Fridays. Cigarette prices are competitive, but Greg says tobacco sales overall are declining — plus “it’s only a 10 percent margin or less.” A newer trend with soaring cigarette prices: sell bags of tobacco with fill-your-own cigarette “tubes,” complete with a gadget that’ll pack your tobacco for you. Tom’s meat counter is a big draw. One customer comes in most Friday afternoons for custom-cut steaks or pork chops. Tom says he sells “a ton of ground beef,” which he grinds fresh three or four times a day. Some local restaurants also order special cuts from him. Another specialized market: church dinners. A downtown church that hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner insists on ordering their corned beef and cabbage and parsnips and rutabagas from Mocol’s. “Quirky requests” are a specialty, Tom says, especially because they deliver: “We get it there on time!” Mocols’ business-to-business trucking operation is also profitable. They do at least one roundtrip to the Twin Cities each weekday, supplying themselves and other businesses in a roughly triangular area bounded by Highways 169 and I35.

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“Quirky requests” are a specialty, Tom says, especially because they deliver: “We get it there on time!”

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Last of its kind They used to be everywhere in Mankato and North Mankato, these neighborhood groceries — places like Hoki’s and Nitzi’s, Harvey’s, Farho’s and Fandre’s. Then that retail genius, Earl Madsen, decided to make his Super Valu across from the high school on Park Lane into something much more than a grocery store, a place where you could get hardware and fertilizer with your cereal and meat. Over five decades, that trend would only accelerate. Today the choice is mostly between mega-groceries and convenience stores. Even Menards sells groceries. Yet, out on North Broad, Mocol’s survives, the last of its kind. There was a time when Mocol’s entered the larger store market. Just as it is today, the grocery business was changing rapidly in the 1950s. The push for bigger stores was on, and in 1952, the Mocol family opened a store at 915 South Front: It even had automatic doors! At the same time, chains such as Piggly Wiggly and Red Owl and National Tea also opened bigger stores, along with Earl Madsen. All were within a rather concentrated area downtown. In 1962, with a crowded marketplace, Mocols closed the South Front store (they still own and lease that building)

“We have fun” Working from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. nearly every day, George, Tom, Greg and Joe have found little time to play golf, and

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 25

Tom (left), who can usually be found behind the meat counter, gets a hand from brother Joe. vacations are rare. No one’s even 62; yet, someday, somebody might think about retiring. With Joe the only one who’s married, a reporter asks about succession. George is philosophical: “The future’s never certain. If you go away, you go away. We’ve had a great run. We’re not gonna get wealthy. But we have fun. Time goes fast. We pay the bills. And we have no debt.” None of them is leaving soon: “It’s kind of addictive. What else would you do?” Neutral ground In an age where recession-stressed “value customers” search for every bargain they can find, Mocol’s still has its advantages. For example, on a blustery March day, you can park 30 feet away instead of hiking the length of a football field to get your quart of milk and carton of cottage cheese. But there’s something else none of the big-box stores can offer. This reporter ran into professor Dave Engen at Mocol’s recently. Mocol’s is one of those intensely local places Engen, the creator of the website, Voices of the Valley calls “third places” — a neutral-ground gathering

26 • May 2013 • MN Valley Business

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place away from home and work. So if all you need is a human pick-me-up, the cheery Mocol boys gladly engage you in animated conversation.

“It’s fun,” he smiles. “If you like your job, it’s not work.” Customers come and go throughout the day. An older woman who has filled a large canvas shopping bag pays George. Greg asks if she’d like him to carry the bag for her. He takes the bag out to her car and puts in on the seat. He closes the door and then, as any Mocol would, he stands there for a while, chatting with the woman. “It’s fun,” he smiles. “If you like your job, it’s not work.” MV (right) Mocol’s corner store has been a gathering place for nearly a century

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 27

Brothers Jim (left) and Bob Freyberg run Mankato Oil & Tire while brother Lynn Freyberg runs Mankato Oil Truck Shop.

Rolling along

Business evolves from oil and farm to cars and tires By Marie Wood Photos by Pat Christman

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ob and Jim Freyberg, two of three brothers who own Mankato Oil & Tire, can show you Free Press ads from 1958 when tires were one-sizefits-all and cost $11.95 each. Today, on average a tire costs $100 and comes in roughly 1,000 sizes. When Bob started in the business, they carried 16 sizes. In 1919, Mankato Oil & Tire was established to supply heating and lubricant oils to homes and farms. While Ford Model T’s, Buicks, Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles were on the streets, automotive was a minimal part of the business. Mankato Oil & Tire has been a Goodyear dealer since 1938 when it was downtown on

Front Street. In 1965, Bob, along with their brother Lynn Freyberg, opened a second location on Highway 169. Lynn served the truckers and Bob served agriculture and automotive customers. Meanwhile Jim ran the downtown location. In 1998, Jim and Bob closed the downtown shop and moved up to Mankato’s hilltop. Lynn still runs the Mankato Oil Truck Shop on Highway 169. While still a Goodyear dealer, Mankato Oil & Tire now carries 70 brands of tires, but the two top sellers are Goodyear and Michelin. “Our expertise with many brands helps us suggest the right tire, price range and quality

All In The Family

28 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

for a customer,” Jim said. MVB: What is the history of Mankato Oil & Tire? Bob: The company was established in 1919. Our grandfather bought the business in 1938. He had two boys. Our father and uncle were in the business until 1980. Then Jim, I and our brother Lynn bought the company in 1980. In six more years, we’ll have a 100-year-old company. MVB: Did you grow up working in the family business? Bob: We started sweeping warehouses at 12-13 years old. It was a family business, so we went down and helped out. We both went to college to get our degrees in business at Mankato State. Jim: We changed semi tires in the summer they were building the dike after the big flood. It seems like all that summer we fixed dump truck tires that were hauling clay. That was 1972. Bob: We had a lot of agriculture business. We did a lot of farm tires. We still rely on farmers, but our demographics have flipped. MVB: Who is your average customer today? Bob: Families with kids with cars, mom and dads’ cars. We’re in a college town so we have a lot of that. MVB: What did you learn from your dad? Jim: There’s no shortage for hours. Bob: It’s hard work. He was very ethical business-wise. Jim: The work keeps changing, but it’s most fun getting to

know your customers. Bob: He taught us honesty and integrity. That’s why so many of our customers are families. MVB: How do you divide your roles? Bob: Jim is the master technician. He’s far more mechanically adept than I am. I work more on sales. Nowadays we do the same thing. We make all the decisions. Jim: I’m mostly supervising and helping the techs with the diagnostics. The vehicles keep changing drastically. Now I try to keep up with the techs. It takes constant training and everyday learning with the computer systems in cars. It still takes a good background and knowledge of how systems of cars interact. I have a better grasp of all the systems, but the younger techs are so good with computers. MVB: What have been the biggest changes in the business? Jim: Moving up to this side of town and closing up our old location; that was risky. Bob: In 1965, the majority of our business was rural — farm tires, the delivery of fuel on the farm. Then our demographics became very different. We needed to get in the automotive end because that was consistent with the future, so we decided to move by the dealers. MVB: What is your business philosophy? Bob: Honesty and integrity. We try not to sell just to sell. We try to determine people’s needs. We provide honest

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 29

M VB: What environmental technologies are impacting your business? Jim: We’re seeing more and more hybrids. We’re not seeing electric vehicles. The emissions today are so tight. We used to breathe so much exhaust in the shop. We used to go home smelling like exhaust. Bob: The industry is changing gradually but continuously. That makes them more expensive to maintain.

Jim Wade mounts a tire at Mankato Oil & Tire. preventive maintenance. Jim: People comment all the time that we don’t sell anything they don’t need. They tell people they can trust us. That’s the overriding thing for every job that comes in. Bob: We teach every tech to treat every car as if it’s their family’s car. What would you do if this car were your mother’s? We have good employees. They’re doing the work. Jim works closely with them. They look at him as a father. Jim’s philosophy is “Chances are it’s something simple, but broke. Let’s start there.” We missed the boat when we didn’t install a mike under the counter, because every customer comes in and imitates the sound their car is making. It would be fun to record and listen. Jim: That “Car Talk” show, we live that all day.

30 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

MVB: How have tire technologies advanced? Jim: Tires used to last 14-17,000 miles. That 17,000 miles was a selling point. Now we’re selling 90,000-mile tires. Bob: The technology is incredible: fuelefficient radials, less rolling resistance for improved fuel efficiency. Flat tires can run without air for 500 miles at 50 mph. In the ‘70s, everybody had snow tires because we didn’t have front-wheel drive. Then we thought there was no more need for snow tires. Now people are starting to find out that’s no longer the

case. Jim: Tire pressure management systems. That’s really changing the industry. The car can tell you if the tire is losing air. Since 2008, that’s been a huge safety feature. Bob: It’s saved thousands of lives and fuel. It takes a lot more energy to roll a tire that’s half-flat. MVB: Do you get along? Jim: We spend more time with each other all day than we do with our spouses. Bob: When we first merged, we had different ways of doing business. It wasn’t extreme differences. We have the same philosophy. MV

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507-625-4606 121 E. Main St. Ste 311 Mankato, MN 56001

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 31

Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

Farm incomes soared in 2012

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ow profitable was farming in 2012? The answer depends on who you ask, where they live, whether they raise primarily crops or livestock, and on their farm management decisions. The S outh Central, S outhwest , Southeast Minnesota Farm Business Management Summary was recently released. It includes an analysis of nearly 1,200 farm business records from farms of all types and sizes in southern Minnesota. Average farm 686 acres • The average farm size was 686 acres. The top 20 percent net income farms averaged 1,571 acres, while the bottom 20 percent net income farms averaged only 247 acres.

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“61 percent of the farm operations were cash crop farms, 15 percent were total livestock operations.”

s

• 21 percent of the farm operators were over 60 years old, 33 percent were between 51 and 60 years old, 22 percent were between 41 and 50 years old, and 24 percent were 40 years old and under. • 61 percent of the farm operations were cash crop farms, 15 percent were total livestock operations, and the balance were combinations of crop and livestock enterprises. • 19 percent were under $250,000 in gross farm sales, 32 percent were between $500,000 and $1 million, and 28 percent were above $1 million. • The average farm business received 5 percent of net farm income from government farm program payments. This percentage was 55 percent as

recently as 2005.

Top net incomes average $764,464 • The average farm business had $900,988 in gross farm income, which was an increase of about 7 percent from 2011, and was the highest ever gross income per farm. • The average farm operating expenses were $665,873, which were up 5 percent from 2011. • The average net farm income for 2012 was at a record level of $272,544. That’s 36 percent above the previous record. • The top 20 percent of farms averaged a net income of $764,464, and the bottom 20 percent $14,456. • The debt-to-asset ratio, which measures the solvency of the farm business, has dropped from 56 percent in 2002 to near 40 percent in 2012. Crop farmers ride high • The average corn yield was 177 bushels per acre, which was slightly above the 2011 average corn yield but below the record yield of 191 bushels in 2009.

s

“The average corn yield was 177 bushels per acre. The average soybean yield was 50 bushels per acre.”

s

• The average soybean yield was 50 bushels per acre, which was well above the average yield of 44 in 2011. • The average price of the corn sold was $6.13 per bushel, compared to $5.68 in 2011. The average price for soybeans sold was $13.26 per bushel, compared to $11.47 in 2011. • The average costs for corn production on cash rented land was $4.80 per bushel, compared to $4.45 in 2011. The average

32 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

costs for soybean production on cash rented land was $10.13 per bushel, compared to $9.88 in 2011. • The average net return from corn production on cash rented land was $343.33 per acre, which is well above the 2211.81 in 2011. The average net return from soybeans was $205.20 per acre, which is also well above the $70.07 in 2011. Livestock producers hit • There was a positive average net return from farrow-tofinish hog production of $2.28 per carcass sold, which compared to $7.62 per cwt. in 2011 and $2.90 in 2010. • Producers finishing feeder pigs showed a negative net return of ($1.05) per carcass, down considerably from the $7.57 profit margin in 2011, and $8.07 in 2010. • The average net return in dairy operations was $290 per cow, which is down significantly from $524 in 2011. • The average net return from beef cattle finishing was $59.97 per head, down from 2011. The average net return from beef cow/calf operations was $88.27 per cow, down from $127.61 in 2011. Weather played a role Overall, crop operations were very profitable in 2012, however, profitability was much more variable than in previous years, due to late season dry weather conditions in some areas and very volatile crop prices. Profits in the livestock sector were either negative or barely breakeven in 2012, due to very high feed costs. MV Kent Thiesse is farm management analyst and vice president, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal. 507- 381-7960; kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com

Corn prices — southern Minnesota 2013

2012

$8.00

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

$6.56 $5.97

$12.00

$4.00

$13.74

$8.00

$2.00

$4.00 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: USDA

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

$20.00

$80.00

$18.00

$70.00 M

A

M

J

J

2013 $19.60

$16.00

$80.65 F

Minimum prices, class I milk Dollars per hundredweight

$22.00

$90.00

J

F

2012

$24.00

$81.84

$100.00

Source: USDA

J

Milk prices

185 pound carcass, negotiated price, weighted average

2013

2012

$110.00

$0

Source: USDA

Iowa-Minnesota hog prices

$60.00

$14.12

$16.00

$6.00

$0

2013

2012

$20.00

(dollars per bushel)

A

S

O

N

D

$14.00

$17.85 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: USDA. Based on federal milk orders.

Corn and soybean prices are for rail delivery points in Southern Minnesota. Milk prices are for Upper Midwest points.

J. Malmanger

MN Valley Business • May 2013 • 33

Initial unemployment claims

Minnesota initial unemployment claims

Nine-county Mankato region

Major industry

March

Construction Manufacturing Retail Services Total*

’12

’13

Percent change ’12-’13

194 396 71 904 1,565

204 196 64 661 1,125

+5.2% -50.5% -9.9% -26.9% -21.7%

2012

2013

(in thousands)

120,000

2,000

110,000

1,000

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

Local number of unemployed

S

O

N

2012

D

2013

Nine-county Mankato region 8,560 7,761 10,000

Percent change ’12-’13

4,029 2,519 1,657 6,359 14,564

3,823 2,881 1,463 5,932 14,099

-5.1% +14.4% -11.7% -6.7% -3.2%

0

J

F

2012

2013

2,766.7 2,787.7

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Minnesota number of unemployed 2012

193,355 172,040

200,000

8,000

2013

150,000

6,000

100,000

4,000

50,000

2,000 0

’13

Minnesota non-farm jobs 3,000

J

’12

Services consist of administration, educational, health care and social assistance, food and other miscellaneous services. *Categories don't equal total because some categories not listed.

Nine-county Mankato region 124,812 123,416 130,000

100,000

March

Construction Manufacturing Retail Services Total*

Services consist of administration, educational, health care and social assistance, food and other miscellaneous services. *Categories don't equal total because some categories not listed.

Local non-farm jobs

Major industry

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

March

2012

Unemployment rate

5.1%

4.6%

55,226

55,557

2,951

2,681

2013

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

34 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

J

F

M

County/area

(includes all of Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties)

Number of unemployed

0

A

Unemployment rates

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

Number of non-farm jobs

D

Blue Earth Brown Faribault Le Sueur Martin Nicollet Sibley Waseca Watonwan Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota U.S.

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Counties, state, nation March 2012 March 2013 5.1% 7.1% 7.1% 8.9% 5.8% 5.1% 6.1% 7.0% 7.1% 6.0% 6.4% 8.4%

4.8% 6.7% 7.1% 8.9% 5.9% 4.3% 5.9% 6.8% 6.9% 5.3% 5.8% 7.6% J. Malmanger

Residential building permits Mankato $673.2 $1,611.2

$8,000

(in thousands)

2012

2013

$6,000

Residential building permits North Mankato $520.7 $159.9

$3,000

2012

(in thousands)

2013

$2,000

$4,000 $1,000

$2,000 $0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato

2012

Information based on Multiple Listing Service and may not reflect all sales

2013

59 112

200

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Housing starts: Mankato/North Mankato 2012 40

Includes single family homes attached and detached, and townhomes and condos

2013 2 1

10

50 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Commercial building permits Mankato $1,662.1 $537.5

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato

Source: Realtors Association of Southern Minnesota

(in thousands)

2012

2013

Commercial building permits North Mankato $333.5 $39.6

$2,000

2013 (in thousands)

2012

$1,500 $1,000 $500 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

2012

County

2013 3.9%

5.0 4.5 4.0

3.4%

3.5 J

F

M

Source: Freddie Mac

J

F

Foreclosures:

Interest rates: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage 5.5

$0

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of North Mankato

Source: City of Mankato

3.0

M

20

100

$7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0

F

30

150

0

J

Source: City of North Mankato

Existing home sales: Mankato region 250

$0

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Blue Earth Brown Faribault Le Sueur Martin Nicollet Sibley Waseca Watonwan

Year End report 2011 2012 174 67 32 129 43 59 57 50 24

126 37 46 98 42 49 58 57 17

Percent change -28% -45% -44% -24% -2% -17% +2% +14% -29%

Source: Minnesota Foreclosure Partners Council J. Malmanger

MN Valley Business â&#x20AC;˘ May 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ 35

Vehicle sales

Mankato — Number of vehicles sold 430 2012 2013 684

1,200 1,000

Sales tax collections $500

$300

600 400

$200

200

$100

0

Includes restaurants, bars, telecommunications and general merchandise store sales. Excludes most clothing, grocery store sales.

$358 $332.2

$400

800

Mankato 2012 2013

(In thousands)

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

$0

D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Lodging tax collections $27,669 $27,514

$50,000

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Mankato/North Mankato 2012 2013

Mankato food and beverage tax $45,920 $48,903

$75,000

2012

2013

$40,000 $50,000

$30,000 $20,000

$25,000

$10,000 $0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

Source: City of Mankato

D

$0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato J. Malmanger

Stocks of local interest

Gas prices-Mankato 2013

2012

$4.00

$3.79

$3.00

$3.48

$2.00 $1.00 $0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Archer Daniels

$33.00

$32.12

-2.7%

Ameriprise

$74.35

$73.74

-0.8%

Best Buy

$21.42

$23.96

+11.9%

Crown Cork & Seal

$40.48

$40.40

-0.2%

Fastenal

$50.81

$48.99

-3.6%

General Growth

$19.87

$21.01

+5.7%

General Mills

$46.32

$49.28

+6.4%

HickoryTech

$10.06

$10.12

+0.6%

$2.92

$2.88

-1.4%

$45.36

$45.79

+0.9%

Johnson Outdoors

$3.00 $2.00

$23.06

$23.28

+1.0%

$106.30

$107.03

+0.7%

Target

$66.85

$69.19

+3.5%

U.S. Bancorp

$34.28

$33.77

-1.5%

Wells Financial

$18.65

$19.65

+5.4%

$0.81

$0.66

-18.5%

$29.14

$30.63

+4.2%

$3.76

3M

$3.48

$1.00 $0

Percent change

Itron

2013

2012

April 12

Hutchinson Technology

Gas prices-Minnesota $4.00

March 14

Winland J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Source: GasBuddy.com

36 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

O

N

D

J. Malmanger

Xcel

J. Malmanger

keep them healthy and happy. occupational medicine services Mankato Clinic Urgent Care @ Adams Street is your provider of Occupational Medicine Services. Our staff will collaborate with you to help manage risk factors, keep your employees healthy and happy and get them back to work quickly and safely after an injury. No appointment is necessary for most examinations. Just walk in for prompt, professional service. For additional information call 507-385-4075 or visit www.mankatoclinic.com

Urgent Care Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Advancing Business for a Stronger Community

Greater Mankato Growth

Leveraging our Excess Talent According to the results of a survey released in March by Area Development Online, 89.4% of corporate executives involved in site selection decisions indicated “Availability of Skilled Labor” as “Important” or “Very Important,” putting it third just behind Labor Costs and Highway Accessibility. With the goal of capitalizing on this trend, Greater Mankato Growth and members of the business community have embarked on a plan to let employers from within and outside the marketplace know about areas where we have a talent surplus. Greater Mankato’s five higher education institutions graduate 5,000 students, with approximately 20% able to be utilized in the marketplace, leaving a surplus of 4,000 students annually. Approximately 3,000 of these graduates have degrees in areas businesses could find valuable (detailed to the right). While some of these fields may not seem directly business related, they may be just what certain industries need. For example, publishers may need individuals with education degrees, insurance companies might like healthcare degrees and security firms could employ public safety graduates. In addition to promoting the livability aspects of our community that make these graduates want to stay here, the campaign will also focus on Greater Mankato’s strategic location and cost of doing business, as well as other factors that make it a great place for business. Area developers, architects, commercial realtors, investors, cities and others are also well positioned to meet the needs of a business looking to build or expand in Greater Mankato. To get the word out about the talent and other assets this region has to offer businesses, Greater Mankato Growth is reaching out with targeted messaging to businesses in specific industries that correspond with our surplus. Many of these businesses have support functions that can be located anywhere. The key is finding the talent to fill these specialized positions and recruit new employees. With graduates coming out of our higher education institutions each year, there is a continuing supply of talent available to these businesses to grow in Greater Mankato. If you know of a business that might benefit from having all or part of their operations in Greater Mankato, contact Tom Riley at 507.385.6650 or John Considine at 507.385.6649.

Greater Mankato’s Talent Surplus Business Management/ Finance/Admin. 702 Excess Graduates Annually Accountants/Auditors Office/Admin. Managers Market Research Analysts Financial Specialists/Analysts Marketing Management

Health Science Technology 265 Excess Graduates Annually Licensed Practical Nurses Registered Nurses Other healthcare practitioners Athletic/Fitness Trainers Other Personal Care & Services Health Information Technologists

Human Services 1,585 Excess Graduates Annually Education Community and Social Services Protective Services (Corrections, Law Enforcement)

Engineering & Manufacturing 238 Excess Graduates Annually Construction Management Electrical Engineers Civil Engineers Mechanical Engineers Industrial Engineers Automotive Engineers Chemists Physicists

Source: 2012 Greater Mankato Talent Supply & Demand Study conducted by Greater Mankato Growth, together with the South Central Workforce Council and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which utilized workforce and employment data, as well as student data from our region’s five higher education institutions: Bethany Lutheran College, Gustavus Adolphus College, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Rasmussen College and South Central College.

Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development

507.385.6640 • greatermankato.com 38 • MAY January 2013 2013 • MN • Valley MN Valley Business Business

Congratulations to the 2012 – 13 Leadership Institute Graduates

Leadership Training with a Community Focus The 2012 – 13 Greater Mankato Leadership Institute class will graduate this month. During the program, they participated in a variety of activities designed for learning and putting into practice leadership skills that will help them throughout their lives and careers. For three decades, the Greater Mankato Leadership Institute has provided comprehensive leadership training with a community focus. In that time, the program has graduated more than 700 community leaders.

The nine-month program consists of 11 day-long sessions between September and May. Each year the curriculum is updated to ensure graduates are well prepared to serve as leaders in their workplace and community. The program not only benefits participants, but their employers as well. Employees who participate in the program develop new leadership skills and insight, with exposure to the latest leadership development tools and information that they can then bring back to their workplace!

Applications for the next session running September 2013 – May 2014 are due on May 31. Qualified applicants will be interviewed by a selection committee in early July, and candidates will be notified of their acceptance in early August and begin in September. To apply, learn more about the program

or find sponsorship opportunities visit greatermankato.com/leadership-institute

Thank you 2012 - 13 Sponsors

Presented by: Diana Gabriel Professional Certified Coach

MN Valley Business • MAY • 39

Greater Mankato Growth

Apply to be part of the next Greater Mankato Leadership Institute!

Debra Addis, Mankato Clinic @ Main Street Brittany Anderson, Harry Meyering Center Inc. Michael Atherley, Wells Fargo Bank, NA- Business Banking Toby Begnaud, Jones Metal Products John Branstad, AgStar Financial Services, ACA Joe Brennan, Brennan Construction Deb Caldwell, Laurels Edge Assisted Living Alan Cole, University Square Mall & Village Apartments Shelly Cornish, Ecumen Pathstone Living Lana Eccles, HickoryTech Brad Embacher, Buffalo Wild Wings - Hilltop Carrie Flanagan, Bethany Lutheran College Julie Foster, HickoryTech Eric Harriman, City Center Partnership Tonya Hobbie, Fine Impressions & Catalog Sean Jamison, LifePlan Financial Jeffery Johnson, City of Mankato Mary Kaisershot, U.S. Bank - Raintree Wendy Keenan, Abdo, Eick & Meyers, LLP Scott Kleven, Labelworks Patti Kramlinger, Minnesota State University, Mankato Todd Miller, City of Mankato Mark Mitzel, Wells Fargo Bank Kyle Mrozek, Mankato MoonDogs Jill Mueller, Mankato Area Public Schools - District 77 Eric Plath, Eide Bailly Jeff Pribyl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Jason Quint, Kato Engineering Tom Rivers, MRCI WorkSource Matt Schindle, Dotson Iron Castings Benjamin Suker, Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union Jennifer Thon, Jones and Magnus, Attorneys at Law Karen Toft, Greater Mankato Growth, Inc. Chuck Vermeersch, Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH) Kelsie Wagner, Minnesota State University, Mankato Jolene Wall, Bremer Bank Anne Willaert, South Central College Shanna Willaert, Minnstar Bank NA- Lake Crystal Kari Young, HickoryTech Lisa Hoffman Wojcik, Gustavus Adolphus College

Member Activities Business After & Before Hours

5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Greater Mankato Growth

May 7 June 4 July 2

AAA Minnesota and Jersey Mike’s Subs Mayo Clinic Health System Abdo, Eick and Meyers, LLP

7:30 - 9:00 a.m. May 15 June 19

Alliance Insurance Agency Corporate Graphics Commercial

2013 Business After Hours Sponsored by

2013 Business Before Hours Sponsored by

March Business After Hours at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

March Business Before Hours at Primrose Retirement Community

Business After and Business Before Hours gives representatives from GMG member businesses at the Engaged Level or higher an opportunity to get together with one another to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s businesses. For more information on these and other member events, visit greatermankato.com/events.

40 • MAy 2013 • MN Valley Business

Welcome John Considine Business Development Resource Manager John F. Considine III began serving as Greater Mankato Growth’s Business Development Resource Manager in late February, bringing with him an in-depth knowledge and mastery accessing, compiling and analyzing key business information and data. John’s background provides a powerful enhancement to Greater Mankato Growth’s economic development work and will help further the organization’s efforts to position the marketplace. His previous program administration and coordination experience will also be valuable to Greater Mankato Growth’s continued efforts to support and deliver programs and services to the Greater Mankato business community. Prior to joining the Greater Mankato Growth team, John spent six years as Community & Economic Development Coordinator for Region Nine Development Commission, providing information to cities and businesses in a nine county region. He also served on the south central Minnesota Workforce Council as the economic development representative. Born and raised in Mankato, Considine holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he also received his Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Studies/Geography. “I am excited to play a role in the development of the community I grew up in,” said Considine. “I am looking forward to meeting with businesses and learning about their industries and how I can be of assistance.”

growth

in Greater Mankato

New Business Amber Pietan Travel Agency, LLC 340 Pierce Avenue, North Mankato

New Business Kato Crossfit 1522 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

New Business Mom & Pop’s 629 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

Presented by:

New Business Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine 1802 Commerce Drive, North Mankato

New Location – Inspired Aging, LLC Integrative Therapies 604 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

MN Valley Business • MAY 2013 • 41

Greater Mankato Growth

Each year Greater Mankato on the Green, our member golf tournament, sells out. To accommodate the growing demand for this popular event, we have added a new morning 9-hole tournament, to go along with the traditional 18-hole tournament in the afternoon. This year’s event will take place on July 8 at the Mankato Golf Club. The morning 9-hole tournament will begin with breakfast at 8 a.m., with play starting at 9 a.m., followed by lunch, awards and a silent auction at 11 a.m. The afternoon 18-hole tournament will kick off with lunch at 11 a.m., followed by a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start, with dinner, awards and a silent auction at 6:30 p.m. Take your key clients, best employees or ask to be put on a team with other business representatives you would like to get to know better. For more information, to sign up yourself or your team or to find details on sponsorships available for this event, visit greatermankato.com/greater-mankatogreen.

Greater Mankato Growth

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s Greater Mankato at the Capitol a success. The event went a long way towards advancing the new and purposeful effort that Greater Mankato is undertaking to increase awareness of our growing and vibrant economy and demonstrate the positive and significant impact that our region has on the state. Day 1 featured a rally in the Capitol Rotunda, meetings with legislators, and the Greater Mankato Reception & Expo. Highlights of Day 2 included presentations by Governor Mark Dayton and Commissioners Katie Clark Sieben (MN Department of Employment and Economic Development), Brenda Cassellius (MN Department of Education) and Larry Pogemiller (MN Office of Higher Education). Thank you to our event sponsors: Minnesota State University, Mankato, HickoryTech, Paulsen Architects, Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc., I&S

Group, Mayo Clinic Health System, Dupont Pioneer, Mankato Clinic, MTU Onsite Energy, Radio Mankato, Unimin, Courtyard by Marriott, Mankato, South Central College and The Free Press. Your recognition of the importance of this event and generous contribution is greatly appreciated.

On April 9, members of the business community gathered at the Greater Mankato Business Showcase, where they learned about one another’s products and services, sampled food from a variety of area restaurants and registered for fabulous prizes from area businesses. Thank you to the 81 businesses and organizations that exhibited and 500+ professionals who attended this year’s event! To see more photos, visit greatermankato. com/business-showcase.

42 • may 2013 • MN Valley Business

National Travel & Tourism Week Focuses on Family Vacations By Maxime Kot, Visit Mankato Intern U.S Travel presents National Travel and Tourism week, which falls on the first full week of May every year with this year being May 4 – 12. During this special week, destinations around the world recognize and celebrate the importance of tourism. A theme of this year’s National Travel and Tourism (NTT) week is a focus on family vacations. According to infographic statistics, 62% of adults remember travels within the ages of 5 – 10, while 64% of children in that age range say they will most likely remember their travels for a long time to come. These statistics allow us to solidify that family vacations provide long lasting memories that more than likely turn into traditions.

If Greater Mankato represents anything else it would be enrichment as the community offers many engaging and stimulating learning activities that help add richness and broaden the lives of our visitors. A perfect family vacation includes the ability to learn and experience different lifestyles. A trip to Greater Mankato can open a visitor’s eyes to history, art and cultural diversity. A combination of all three lies in

To celebrate this amazing week of recognition, Visit Mankato will continue the new tradition of honoring and presenting the Travel and Hospitality Awards to those in Greater Mankato who have gone above and beyond in servicing our community as a tourism destination. Visit Mankato will always be appreciative to partners who have helped us showcase the amazing assets Greater Mankato possess and will continue to celebrate NTT week every year.

A Family of four on a tandem bike

Visit Mankato, LLC, the local Convention & Visitors Bureau, is a Limited Liability Corporation of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.Visit Mankato leads the development of the visitor economy in Mankato by actively promoting Mankato as a premier destination for conventions, tournaments and tourism.These activities bring a steady flow of visitors and business activity to Mankato that benefits local residents and future visitors.The work of Visit Mankato helps strengthen the hospitality industry which provides jobs, a diverse tax base and amenities for everyone to enjoy. visitmankatomn.com

MN Valley Business • may 2013 • 43

Greater Mankato Growth

Providing a variety of activities and events suitable for all ages, Greater Mankato constantly offers more than expected, making it a great destination to start that tradition of family vacations. In our rebranding process, Visit Mankato acknowledged a few emotional relationships people may form while visiting Greater Mankato. With the popular and growing wellness aspect of our community through multiple trail or sport activities and events, it is hard for people not to develop a sense of connection, excitement and wellbeing. The majority of these activities and events cater to enforcing exciting wholesome family fun by implementing children’s activities. The Mankato Marathon has a Kids K. Other major annual events such as the Mankato River Ramble and Mud Run allow for all ages children, teens, adults and seniors - to enjoy feeling a part of a friendly and exciting community.

Mankato’s annual International Festival where people of all ages get to experience a little bit of multiple countries around the world. The CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour is an ongoing outdoor walking tour centered on more than thirty artistic sculptures by artists from around the world. Each artistic piece has its own unique story, making the art tour a great way to introduce various art forms to children. Sibley Park offers a unique opportunity for children to get up close to farm animals and the river is right there to offer an excursion and opportunity for an education on our natural surroundings.

44 • MAY 2013 • MN Valley Business

The Best of Both Worlds

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EL

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SI

NCE

YEARS 40

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Beautiful and affordable. Sibley Park Apartments, located on Sibley Parkway along the Minnesota River in Mankato, offers views of the river valley and quick access to parks, trails, and downtown. As on each project, I&S Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s architecture and engineering teams worked closely with the Owner to create a cost effective design that defines a new standard in the Mankato rental market. The project was recently approved as a Green Communities Certified Development. Find out more about the advantages of I&S at www.is-grp.com.

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MN Valley Business