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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley August 2017

Marsha Danielson, VP of economic development at South Central College. Photo by Pat Christman

Teaming up Higher ed, businesses help each other Also in this issue • LOLA’S FOOD TRUCK • MOODY’S BEES OF MADELIA • SCOOPS ICE CREAM IN ELYSIAN

The Free Press MEDIA


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DEVELOPING LOCAL TALENT : BUILDING COMMUNITIES AND BUSINESSES TOGETHER As we at Eide Bailly reflect on our 100 years of business, we recognize that it’s the people within these walls that have built our solid foundation. We understand the importance of investing and building a great team, which allows us the ability to provide great services to our clients. One way we accomplish this is through our partnership with the College of Business at Minnesota State University Mankato. This relationship provides real-world opportunities and experience to our local students, while allowing us to stay connected to top students.

Strong Roots Almost half of the staff in the Mankato office are Minnesota State Mankato alumni. Many of us started at Eide Bailly as interns and have been hired full time after graduation. Because of this, we take an active role in developing our future employees by participating in their education. Eide Bailly hosts back-to-school socials for students, participates in the annual Meet the Firms day, hosts a booth at career fairs on campus, and invites students to our offices for Meet Eide Bailly Day during busy season and our Summer Leadership Program.

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Growing Together As a top 25 accounting firm with 29 offices in 13 states, Eide Bailly has a reputation for being a caring, compassionate firm that encourages its 1,600 accountants to get involved in their communities. The relationship between Eide Bailly and Minnesota State University Mankato gives students the up-to-date education that they need and the real world experience that helps launch their career. All while keeping valuable talented students in the Mankato community. Nurturing a strong, talented staff has been the foundation of Eide Bailly’s growth over the past 100 years and will be for the next 100 years to come.

Preparing the Next Generation Here are three ways businesses can help prepare students for the workforce:

By: Jenn Faust, Marketing Manager Jenn Faust is a marketing manager at Eide Bailly. She works with Eide Bailly’s dealership industry group, helps organize office events and makes friends wherever she goes.

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F E A T U R E S August 2017 • Volume 9, Issue 11

10

Higher education institutions are increasingly partnering with area businesses, particularly in the healthcare sector, benefiting students and the businesses.

14

Joe Meixl needed a change after 28 years as an administrator for Mankato Public Schools. He and his wife Nancy found it when they bought Scoops ice cream shop.

16

Lacey Lueth found that adding a food truck to her Lola – An American Bistro restaurant business was not only a hit with the public but added fun to her business.

18

Kaylee Carnahan and Jason Moody have been producing a lot of honey and also a lot of educational opportunities in the area after starting their Moody Bees business.

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 3


AUGUST 2017 • VOLUME 9, ISSUE 11 PUBLISHER Steve Jameson EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tim Krohn CONTRIBUTING Tim Krohn WRITERS Kent Thiesse Doug Loon Dan Greenwood Amanda Dyslin PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman Jackson Forderer COVER PHOTO Pat Christman PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING Phil Seibel MANAGER ADVERTISING Jordan Greer Sales Josh Zimmerman Marianne Carlson Theresa Haefner Thomas Frank ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey CIRCULATION Justin Niles DIRECTOR For editorial inquiries, call Tim Krohn at 507-344-6383. For advertising, call 344-6364, or e-mail advertising@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.....................................5 ■ Business Commentary.........................8 ■ Business and Industry trends..........20 ■ Retail trends.....................................21 ■ Agriculture Outlook..........................22 ■ Agribusiness trends..........................23 ■ Construction, real estate trends.....24 ■ Gas trends........................................25 ■ Stocks...............................................25 ■ Minnesota Business updates............26 ■ Job trends.........................................27 ■ Schmidt Foundation.........................28 ■ Greater Mankato Growth..................30 ■ Greater Mankato Growth Member Activities ............................32

From the editor

By Joe Spear

Entrepreneurship is alive and well

Mankato partnerships leverage assets

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community meeting that gave participants a chance to win $20,000 for a new nonprofit business idea drew about 100 people in Mankato recently. Seventeen out of the 100 stood up for a minute and pitched their business idea. That’s not really a scientific measure of the state of entrepreneurship in Mankato, but it was impressive nonetheless. The Dream Big, Learn Big, Go Big event was sponsored by the Minnesota State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. After these hopeful entrepreneurs made their oneminute pitch, they were then asked to get together and collaborate on combining some of their ideas into a “merged” idea. The 17 ideas emerged into about eight. The groups then made three minute presentations about their new merged ideas. Everyone in the room could then vote on which ideas they liked best by placing one of three colored dots on the project outline. This program has been implemented by SMIF in 30 communities around the state and has resulted in some innovative projects. Austin, Pine Island, Waseca and Faribault had projects involving bio-businesses, while Lake Crystal, Montgomery and Le Sueur had projects to create community identity. Rushford and St. Charles developed community revitalization projects. It’s a fascinating process to watch: people presenting a number of interesting ideas and then collaborating. The Core Leadership Team on the project (of which I am a

4 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

member), then met and discussed the top point getters, picking four projects for the next level of development. Now, those project leaders will prepare a more detailed business plan to present to a meeting of the core team in September. Once projects are chosen for funding, participants will have six months to complete them. Mankato has a lot of enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, SMIF facilitator Pam Bishop told The Free Press. The 100-person turnout was impressive, she said, and comparable to other locations. The projects contemplate ever ything from fur ther developing a coalition of churches to serve the homeless population to community gardens grown hydroponically in shipping containers around town. Other finalists include a plan to create a “makerspace” in Mankato where artisans and builders can come and produce products while sharing space and tools. The Center for Innovation will be the community coordinator on the project. It’s one of the many ways the new MSU center can accelerate entrepreneurship in the Mankato region. The new center in the former Hubbard and Ridley office building on Riverfront Drive has pooled business and MSU resources in one location with a space that has been creatively design to spur collaboration. It’s becoming a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs looking to start a business or grow an existing business. The space was donated by Mankato developer Curt Fisher. The center will also make a conscious effort to connect the university’s knowledge base of students, staff and faculty with


the projects and businesses. It’s a deliberate effort to put MSU in the heart of local business with a location in the city’s Old Town district that is becoming a vibrant center of commerce. The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is just one of the hundreds of collaborations between area colleges and business. This month’s cover stor y details many of the programs from health-care to agriculture. The amount of collaboration going on is impressive and somewhat surprising. South Central College has been a big force in business partnerships for decades and it is developing innovative new partnerships all the time. Students work in many businesses in apprentice-like programs and nearly every program has a business advisory committee at the college. Those par tnerships help leverage the knowledge and talent of area higher education institutions in ways that help local businesses compete in an everchanging world where there are monumental structural shifts in everything from marketing to technology. These partnerships can only help Mankato grow as a community and as a center for business and entrepreneurship.

Joe Spear is executive editor of Minnesota Valley Business. Contact him at jspear@mankatofreepress.com or 344-6382. Follow on Twitter @jfspear.

Local Business People/ Company News

Edina Realty opens in Mankato

Edina Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and the largest residential real estate company in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, announced it is expanding into the Mankato market with an office located at 313 North Riverfront Drive. Edina Realty president and CEO Greg Mason said the company has been looking for the right opportunity to open an office in the Mankato area for more than a year. Vonda Herding, who is managing broker of the location, and her agents, were formerly with Real Living Home to Home Realty. Herding has 25 years of real estate experience with 16 of them as a franchise broker/owner. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato in business administration and speech communications. ■■■

such as those for increased sales, productivity and growth. He has more than 25 years of experience in different industries with configuring and maintaining networks and servers, along with pc setup and user support. ■■■

Finley joins bankers’ board

The Minnesota Bankers Association appointed Mike Finley, president of Janesville State Bank, to its board of directors. The board is the policymaking and governing body of the Minnesota Bankers Association. Finley will serve a three-year term as District 2 director. The MBA is the state’s largest trade association devoted exclusively to the representation of commercial banks. The MBA was founded in 1889 and represents 95 percent of Minnesota’s chartered banks ■■■

ISG a top workplace

Lauseng joins Thriveon

Thriveon, an IT strategy and management company, based in New Ulm, has hired David Lauseng as project engineer. As part of the project team he collaborates with clients and their Thriveon vCIO to design and implement technology systems to help companies meet their goals

ISG, a multi-disciplinar y architecture, engineering, environmental, and planning firm, landed its first spot on the Star Tribune’s 2017 Top Workplace list. Ranking #33 in the mid-size company categor y, the firm, which started in Mankato 43 years ago and is now 100 percent owned by employees, has grown

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Business Commentary

By Doug Loon

Minnesota Chamber delivers results for all Minnesotans T he Minnesota Chamber works every day to strengthen the state’s business environment. Our premise is simple: As businesses flourish, so do the lives of Minnesotans. On that note, Minnesotans should be pleased with the outcomes of the 2017 Legislature. This past session was one of the most productive and results driven we’ve seen in many years. The actions on a variety of fronts will strengthen Minnesota’s position to be ready for the future – ready for change and ready to grow. Ready for more reasonable tax rates? The Legislature passed the biggest tax relief package for all Minnesotans since 2001. All businesses will see reductions in the statewide business property tax – representing significant dollars in many cases, freeing up money to invest in their operations and people. Overall, more than 70 percent of the tax relief went directly to individuals including exempting more Social Security income from taxation, increasing dependent care credit and helping with college costs. Ready for better roads, safer bridges and efficient mobility? Infrastructure improvements will

“Ready for more reasonable tax rates? The Legislature passed the biggest tax relief package for all Minnesotans since 2001.”

soon be under way. The Legislature delivered the largest investment in transportation since 2008 – and without an increase in taxes or fees. The legislation also protects transit to ensure mobility options. Ready for relief when buying individual health insurance for yourself or your family? Steps were taken to slow rising premiums. Qualifying Minnesotans are receiving a 25-percent reduction in premiums this year, and programs are in place to help stabilize insurance premiums in 2018 and beyond. Small employers will have expanded options to help provide insurance for employees. Ready to take a flight, visit family on a military base or enter a federal building? Your Minnesota driver’s license won’t be a barrier. The state‘s finally compliant with federal Real ID. Ready for Minnesota’s teacher licensing and retention system to allow for our most effective teachers to be in the front of classrooms? Progress was made on that front, too. School districts facing budget shortfalls and unfortunate layoffs can now consider teacher performance, not just seniority, when making

8 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

decisions. Midcareer professionals who want to share their experience in the classroom, or teachers moving into Minnesota from another state, will be able to navigate the process easier. We succeeded on other initiatives, too. For example, reasonable and responsible improvements to state environmental review and permitting before state agencies will help economic development projects move in a more timely process while still protecting the environment that we all value. New laws governing technical accessibility violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act will go a long way toward curtailing the abusive lawsuits that have been plaguing small businesses across Minnesota. We have unfinished business, though, in one key area. Despite Governor Dayton’s veto, we continue to advocate for the Uniform State Labor Standards Act, which would explicitly prevent local governments from mandating wage and benefit packages on private employers. We support local control where it traditionally exists such as school board decisions and zoning approvals. In other areas, though, Minnesota has realized the benefits of statewide uniformity as reflected in our criminal code, consumer protection laws, banking and insurance regulation, and occupational licensing. Local government mandates will especially suffocate the ability of small companies to customize employee wages and benefits. These legislative results are important for both individuals and businesses. Though our


“We continue to advocate for the Uniform State Labor Standards Act, which would explicitly prevent local governments from mandating wage and benefit packages on private employers.” work at the Minnesota Chamber focuses on the state’s business climate and economy, the purpose is to improve the lives of all Minnesotans by creating economic opportunity and growing jobs. Our advocacy on behalf of employers, their employees and communities strengthens the foundation to both keep existing businesses and to encourage them to expand in Minnesota.

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MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 9


Kris Retherford, dean of the college of allied health and nursing at Minnesota State University, in the newly opened Clinical Sciences building.

Hand in hand

Collaborations increasing between business, schools By Tim Krohn | Photos by Pat Christman

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n area rich in higher education institutions, businesses and healthcare offers plenty of opportunity for collaboration. While straight-for ward internships have always been a staple, colleges and universities are increasingly involved in mutually beneficial partnerships with healthcare groups and business and industry. “Every single program in the college has a number of partnerships,” said Kris Retherford, dean of the College of Allied Health & Nursing at Minnesota State University. Marsha Danielson, vice president of economic development at South Central College, said businesses are eager to get students involved and that helps students financially and in preparing for their careers. “On-the-job opportunities have increased. With the low unemployment rate the businesses are trying to be as creative as possible in getting talent in the door,” 10 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

she said. Brenda Flanner y, dean of Minnesota State University’s College of Business, said creating and nurturing partnerships was one of the top things to come from a strategic plan the college did a few years ago. “We have been really intentional about building mutually beneficial relationships. This is definitely part of the university’s vision,” she said. “For the business school this is how we have to operate to be able to offer extraordinary education to students.”

Cover Story

Rich in healthcare

The presence of Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato Clinic and a variety of other clinics and specialists along with robust healthcare programs at colleges and universities has always provided natural


partnerships. Retherford said those ties are only growing stronger, benefiting students who get the hands-on training they need and healthcare professionals who can access resources at MSU. “Our most significant, ongoing partnership has been between our dental hygiene program and Open Door Clinic,” she said. The two groups were last year honored with Greater Mankato Growth’s Fazio Business Par tnership Award. The partnership of more than a decade includes a program in which in which dental students visit area schools to clean children’s teeth and do a cursory exam. Students, along with professional dentists and hygiene faculty, also operate an active clinic at MSU that serves the public. The dental hygiene program, along with all of the other health programs at MSU, got a big boost from the recently finished, long sought clinical sciences building. Retherford said one of her first goals set by the president when she started six years was to secure the funding and see the new building constructed. “The new building gives that hands-on experiences for students to make them more successful. The facilities supporting our three departments were really in sad shape before. Dental hygiene was in the basement of Morris for 40 years. Communications Disorders students were in four little rooms and their technology was more like bad surveillance video than high tech video.” The new building also offers a variety of simulation rooms used by nursing students and others. “We have six simulation hospital rooms, a technology control rooms, home-healthcare rooms and multi-skills labs,” she said. Those simulation rooms provide high tech mannequins that mimic a wide variety of conditions. The university recently received a state Workforce Development grant that will have employees of regional medical facilities using the simulation labs to hone their skills. This month, Mayo staff will be

Top: Minnesota State University students practice putting in fillings in the simulation lab in the new Clinical Sciences building. Bottom: A class meets in the new dental hygene area in the new Clinical Sciences building. using the labs. “It offers training on low frequency, high risk situations. A clot during delivery is rare and we have a simulator to simulate that kind of high-risk delivery,” Retherford said. “We have high-fidelity mannequins for seizures, strokes and other things.” A new bank of video screens in the building’s atrium will have announcements for students and staff and also public health announcements provided by Mayo. “It helps not just our students but the community. Family members sitting in a chair in the atrium waiting for someone who is in a dental chair will see them.” The college’s alcohol and drug studies program partners with treatment facilities in the area, with students contributing to help lines at various locations. Not all of the college’s par tnerships are strictly healthcare. The Recreation, Parks and Leisure department is in the college and many students focus on resource management and becoming planners. “They can take a cruise course. They go on a cruise and learn how to plan events on a cruise ship,” Retherford said. “I always

thought I should check one of those cruises out,” she joked. Students in the college’s Sports Management program recently took part in a high profile professional sports event – the Ryder Cup golf tournament in the Twin Cities. “We had 22 students there every day before, during and after. They really became the goto people at the Ryder Cup.” Besides working with professional health organizations, MSU also partners with Mankato Public Schools. They joined with Health Force to offer a scrubs camp for 50 high school students who spent a day learning about health careers. And they partner in the schools’ ACES and middleschool after school programs.

Boots on the ground

Danielson notes that South Central’s focus has always been attuned with the needs of business as it prepares students for the workforce. “Each of our programs has advisory boards made up of industry people. We’ve always been the boots on the ground, proactive group for business leaders,” she said. The college has been the state’s lead institution in a 2014 program announced by the Obama Administration that aims to give businesses an incentive to mentor and train students while helping with their academic costs. SCC leads the Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Pilot in which community colleges and companies work together to create apprentice programs. The statewide program received a four-year $15 million grant. The state Legislature also provided help through the Pipeline Grant Program. The apprenticeships most always lead to well-paying, fulltime jobs in those companies. “You have instruction for some time at the college, two or three days a week, and the rest of the time the student is in the workforce,’ Danielson said. The state pays participating businesses $6,000 per year for each student and the business helps pay the student’s tuition

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 11


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while giving them hands-on training and a future job prospect. “It’s really a win-win situation.” So far 17 students have gone through the program at seven different companies. Five new businesses have signed up in the latest round, providing apprenticeships to eight more students.” SCC also works with many companies in the area that aren’t in the program but offer apprenticeships and other training opportunities. The college’s Center for Business and Industry works with companies to provide training for there employees. “They serve over 350 businesses clients who come to us for education and training for 10,000 of their employees annually,” Danielson said. SCC’s healthcare programs partner with Mayo Clinic Health System and Mankato Clinic. “We have our students in clinical experiences. We do wellness clinics with (the partners), help with things like flu shots. It’s a great partnership because we provide the student learners when they need a number of people.” SCC has also long been a leader in emergency preparedness programs, working with healthcare, counties and cities. “It prepares for the epidemic type of stuff. When the bird flu came out we were lauded for already having a plan in the area. A lot of the disaster relief, like the St. Peter tornado years ago, people marveled about how well we handled that and we feel we were part of that.” Agriculture is the third main area of focus at SCC, which host the Southern Minnesota Center for Agriculture. The Center partners with ag businesses and groups across the state. SCC has been involved in CASE - Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education – for several years. SCC partners with the Davis Family Dairies and ag educators from across the country. “Educators go to the Davis Education Center for a week and then they’re here for a week.


Those educators take that knowledge back with them.” More than 200 educators from across the country, including 75 from Minnesota, have participated in the program. The college also partnered with the M i n n e s o t a AgriGr owth Council, which represents 180 agribusinesses from Cargill to small operations, and others to create the Ag Exchange Jobs Portal. The online resource is a centralized entr y Marcia Danileson with Jeff McCabe, director of the Center for Business and Industry and Anne Willaert, point for agricultural grant director for SCC. job seekers and employers. A partnership with United semester get a real-world problem Prairie Bank has groups of in healthcare and get together MSU Business College students pitch business ideas to and create a tech solution,” Linde Flannery said that besides the the bank, with the bank providing said. university pushing for more startup funds to the top ideas. One of their ideas – to improve par tnerships, the business “That’s been a four-year preventative dental care for school’s accreditation body also partnership,” she said. pregnant women – got funding to wants the college to do more of They’ve long had partnerships be further developed. the collaborations. with Taylor Corp., placing interns Linde said the college will also “It’s even part of how we hire there and working with the Taylor be unveiling a new Business faculty – more Innovation Analytics certificate. “It was faculty are coming Center. directly in response to the right from “ W e ’ v e business community. We worked industry.” enjoyed a with IBM and our advisor y Last year the g r o w i n g council to put that together. business college relationship There’s a lot of potential jobs in was involved in with Fun.com analytics, there’s so much big more than 400 the past year. data now.” partnerships. Several of their Flannery said another big move “We’re getting a executives have by the university and business lot of attention been evaluators college is the just opened from large, large on student Innovation Center in Old Town, in companies, but projects.” the former Hubbard office we’re also proud of Flannery said building. our partnerships many of the It hasn’t been fully up and with local par tnerships running yet, but 300 people came companies.” begin with through the center last month. On the major a l u m n i “There will be some continuing Brenda Flannery side, MSU is reaching out to community ed there. There are a developing a MSU. “Those number of spaces for companies relationship with Microsoft in are very fruitful. There’s a lot of to do labor negotiations. We’re Fargo, which has a massive office pride and desire to give back.” working with the city on strategic there. Amy Linde, communications planning. And there’s some “We’ve placed students there. director for the business school, student startups down there,” she And it allows us to use Microsoft said another unique partnership said. tools for free that are available to has been with United Healthcare. “The center is really an exciting all of our students.” “We’re partners with them on space because it’s so accessible.” Locally, they work with a wide an IT class. Students each MV number of businesses.

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 13


After 28 years in school administration, Joe Meixl, along with his wife Nancy, bought Scoops ice cream shop in Elysian.

A new path School administrator buys ice cream shop By Dan Greenwood Photos by Pat Christman

J

oe Meixl needed a change. After 28 years as an administrator for Mankato Public Schools, he and his wife Nancy built a lakefront cabin and purchased an ice cream shop along the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail in Elysian. “I was looking for a change of pace. As a school district administrator, we full-time put out fires. The only attention we get is usually, fix this fix that. It was time to do something else,” Meixl explained. “I had the choice to wait until I am 65 or bite the bullet and go after it.” The couple knew the area from taking their children on waterskiing trips on Lake Francis and loved the region’s “up north” feel. Towns like Elysian and Madison Lake thrive off of summer tourism when the local population swells to accommodate visitors from Iowa and beyond. Meixl says that many people don’t realize

that there are more than 100 lakes in the Mankato and Faribault region. “Really this is a best kept secret,” Meixl said. “If you look at the number of lakes concentrated here; and the depths of some of these little lakes are 70 feet deep.” Scoops in Elysian has been around for years as an ice cream parlor and Meixl discovered the owners were looking to sell the establishment last year. Raised in a small town in Wisconsin, Meixl said the local Dairy queen was the favorite hang-out for locals and he saw the potential here in Elysian. He pondered his previous job and saw the new business as the opposite of what he’d been doing for decades. They purchased Scoops last year and hit the ground running. “I thought how nice would it be,” Meixl

Cover Spotlight

14 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business


Rediscover

Your

Yard Tyler and Haley Michaud enjoy ice cream cones at Scoops. said. “People come in happy and you make them happier when they leave. So it’s a 180.”

A destination point

When Meixel bought the establishment, they decided to diversify with a new gourmet hot dog menu along with bike and kayak rentals. “After talking with the local banker, we knew that this place needed to become more of a destination for folks and offer more services. That’s how we got into the bikes and kayaks. That’s where we changed the menu.” A partnership with Bent River Outfitters in Mankato will eventually lead to eco guided trips along the lesser known upper Cannon River, which flows through several lakes before winding east through Sakatah Lake and eventually into the Mississippi River near Red Wing. The partnership would mark the first Cannon River outfitter west of Faribault. “The northern loop of the river is clear, clean and shallow,” Meixel said, adding that the upper stretch of the river is ideal for paddle boards. He says that mode of transpor tation will allow passengers to view wildlife above the cattails that blanket the shorelines. Bike rentals are also new to Scoops, as is an expanded gourmet hot dog menu. With some of the experimental recipes being the Hound Dog, smothered with bacon, banana and peanut butter, the Slaw Dog with Carolina pulled pork, and the Taco Dog. But Meixl says the Chili Cheese

dog is the most popular for customers. “Nancy and I have 13 kids between the two of us,” Meixl said. “We talked about these gourmet hotdog places down in Nashville and other places. We started to look on the websites and see what they’re offering.” To those familiar with the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail, the paved bike path covers 41 miles between Mankato and Faribault. The trail between Madison Lake and Mankato, as well as between Waterville and Faribault has been repaved, but the stretch in between can be a tough ride without a mountain bike. Elysian is smack in the middle of the unrepaired section. “Right now with the poor condition of the trail our bike population is way down,” Meixl said. “But if you look at all the lakes there are lots campgrounds within a ten mile radius.” Ice Cream, hot dogs, bicycle and kayak rentals are strictly a seasonal affair. Scoops typically opens for the warmer months starting Mother’s day and then they close up around the beginning of October. Even in the summer, he says how busy they are depends on the weather. “It’s a summertime community,” Meixl said. “The lakes are the wealth of the area, and everybody knows that.” As for the future, Meixl says they will continue to immerse themselves in community and the surrounding lakes region. “We love Elysian, there are some great people here who have been ver y welcoming and encouraging.” MV

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MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 15


Lola’s namesake, Lacey’s 9-year-old daughter Lola, hands drinks out to customers.

Trucking

good food Lola food truck rolls into Mankato

S

By Amanda Dyslin | Photos by Pat Christman

am Klein has had a taco or two in his day. He’d never had one banh mi style before, though, with hoisin pork, Asian slaw, cucumber, cilantro and Saigon aioli. “Damn,” he said. “Really good.” That pretty much sums up the reviews on the Lola – An American Bistro food truck, whose tag line is “Forking Good Food!” Klein said the hardest part is choosing what to eat. Should he get the Hot Mess (rosemary fries, beef gravy, cheese blend and cheese sauce) or the Veggie Dagwood (roasted red peppers, tomatoes and veggies, cheese blend, tomato chutney and chipotle mayo)? And then when he’s found a favorite, the truck rolls in again with a whole different menu, and the hard decisions begin again. “It doesn’t matter, really, what you pick. Everything’s good,” he said. The food truck is one of several progressions in

Lacey Lueth’s brick and mortar business, Lola – An American Bistro in downtown New Ulm. For the past two summers the sleek black truck has been a staple of Old Town at lunch time on Wednesdays and Fridays, parked from 11 to 2 p.m. in the lot next to the former Hubbard office building, now MSU Innovation Center, on Riverfront Drive. The Lola truck has also been serving food at all Vetter Stone Amphitheater events at Riverfront Park, including Ribfest this month. But Lola won’t be serving ribs. “That’s kind of why we’re going to be there, to serve things that are not ribs to give people other options,” Lueth said.

Profile

16 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

Diverse offerings

Giving people other options is a succinct way to sum up Lueth’s successful business model since opening


Lola in 2009. There wasn’t much diversity in food offerings in downtown New Ulm, and she wanted to shake things up and challenge those palates. There were some skeptics, of course. Sometimes people are afraid to taste what they can’t pronounce. But Lueth encouraged customers to just try offerings such as Fritto Misto (fried calamari, zucchini, red onion, pickled peppers, lemon and a trio of sauces), and if they didn’t like it, she would make them something else. What she found was that customers were totally on board with her creating a cool and comfortable environment that she would want to hang out in, and cooking food with flavors that she herself would want to eat. Now people drive in from all over the region to relax with a latte on a Saturday morning, eat a flaky, made-from-scratch pot pie, or indulge in a praline torte. Lueth said the success of the restaurant led to the catering side of the business, and the catering success led to the food truck. That and one nightmarish Mother’s Day a couple of years ago. “Mother’s Day was so busy, and the staff went up to the Cities the next day, just to have a day away, and we ate at food trucks,” Lueth said. “It was so fun, and so we decided we should get a fun food truck.” Chameleon Concessions built Lola a truck, and the business has been off and running since 2015. The first summer the truck was at mostly private events and around New Ulm a little bit, Lueth said. But after Lueth and the Lola crew went on a Bent River Outfitter kayak trip and got to know Dain Fisher, he encouraged Lueth to grow more of a routine presence in Mankato and park in the Hubbard parking lot. (His dad, Curt Fisher, owns the building and land.) “He thought it would be good for the community and a good draw to Old Town,” Lueth said. “He’s such a huge supporter of the downtown community. It’s been a good working, back-andforth relationship.” Fisher said he had eaten at Lola

in New Ulm, and when he found out the restaurant had a truck, he thought the food would draw Mankatoans from other parts of town into Old Town. It has. On Facebook, especially, people post reminders to each other about when the truck is in the lot and what’s on that day’s menu. “That’s what I was excited about was getting a little bit more options in Old Town and creating a little bit more of a buzz,” Fisher said. “Lola food truck helps promote that idea that Old Town is emerging and becoming a district where people want to come and find something new, find some local flavor. No pun intended.” The spot where Lola has been parking may soon be frequented by other food trucks. The Mankato City Council last month approved a plan by Fisher to create a food truck and entertainment hub on the site that could host up to seven food trucks on a regular basis. Lueth had also connected with Brian Sather, hospitality manager at the Verizon Center, about vending at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater events, which Lueth said has been a lot of fun. “We are parked front and center with the truck at the events,” she said. “I’m looking forward to Pat Benatar.”

Changing things up

Diversity keeps the customers interested, too. On a hot June day, Lola rolled into Mankato making Sashimi grade tuna tacos, chorizo tacos, buf falo quesadillas, rosemary fries, sloppy joe sliders, beef po’ boys and dessert. And the same thing happened that had been happening quite a bit this summer. “We sold out,” Lueth said. “We are just getting so busy.” Lueth is excited about the truck’s success, but she warns it’s not for the faint of heart. There’s no air conditioning in the truck, which got up to 120 degrees inside one day. Three people are crammed inside a small work space. Then there’s the logistics involved – the prep work needed to be done in advance at the restaurant, the loading of the food and supplies, the filling up of the water and the propane, and tons of cleaning. “It’s a lot of hard work,” she said. “That’s why the truck also has to be a fun thing. I don’t want it to stress me out and make me crazy. We got it because we needed something exciting.” Fisher says people can taste the fun in the food. “I think that’s the whole food truck culture. It’s super cool, and it’s inspiring to see the food that comes out of that and how passionate they are about their food,” he said. “You can taste it. You really can.” To keep up with the Lola food truck menu and special events, search for Lolafoodtruck (all one word) on Facebook. To book the truck at your event, call Lola – An American Bistro at (507) 359-2500. MV

While the truck’s presence in Mankato has become routine, what it serves will never be. Lueth said what she serves is influenced by all kinds of things – what ingredients are in season, what she’s personally in the mood for, even what fresh veggies she might see for sale at a farm along the road and decide to pull over and buy. “It’s just kind of what we’re feeling for the week,” said Lueth, who recently sold a portion of the restaurant/catering/food truck business to Jordan Kuelbs. “Sometimes people will even come in and say, ‘I just had this really good blah, blah, blah, and then that will sound good, and we’ll make that. “I like changing it. It keeps me interested in what I’m doing,” she Jordan Kuelbs puts the finishing touches on a said. food truck favorite, the Hot Mess.

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 17


Jason Moody and Kaylee Carnahan started Moddy Bees three years ago after Carnahan studied beekeeping. Bottom: Worker bees make honey on a frame pulled out from one of the hives at a bee yard run by Moody Bees Honey. Jason Moody said that each hive contains 50,00060,000 bees.

All about

the BEES

Moody Bees stresses education, community By Dan Greenwood Photo by Jackson Forderer

T

hink of bees and the first thought that comes to mind is probably honey. But Kaylee Carnahan and Jason Moody want you to know that’s just a small fraction of the contribution the species makes to our food supply. The couple formed Moody Bees in 2014 after Carnahan studied beekeeping as an apprentice. They began with four hives on their property near Madelia, but being surrounded by corn and soybean fields meant the bees would have limited access to the wildflowers, fruits and vegetables that help them thrive. Then they had an idea. What if they brought hives to fruit orchards and native prairie lands to help them expand? Look closely on a country drive around the Minnesota River Valley and you’ll spot a few

white boxes stacked on top of each other in a clearing. Unlike the large commercial businesses that can have hundreds of hives sprawled out over the landscape, Moody and Carnahan have found that spreading those hives out in separate areas ensures a strong colony. Moody suggested they go to the Farm Ser vice Agency, an organization that specializes in microloans to small scale farmers. Now they have 200 hives divided into 14 different locations. Each hive has up to 60,000 bees during mid-summer when the insects are the most active. All those bees produce a lot of honey. The couple says that bees will keep producing honey as long as they’re given the space and means to produce it.

Feature

18 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business


Kaylee Carnahan walks with a frame from a hive at one of the 15 bee yards run by Moody Bees Honey. Carnahan worked with another beekeeper before joining Moody Bees Honey and has six years of experience in beekeeping.

“They’re like little pack rats or hoarders,” explains Carnahan. “This year we expect to come out with at least 20 55-gallon drums.” While there was quite a lot of hype when they started, Carnahan and Moody think that their focus on educating kids at libraries and schools is their best source for getting the word out. “It might be because of all the public education and outreach that we do. We do a lot of bee talks,” Carnahan said. “I really love talking to people and trying to get the word out about how important they are.” They also say that there is a growing local foods movement in the Mankato area. Selling their honey and teaming up with local bakeries and restaurants who have the same mission to produce local and sustainable food helps exposure. Friesen’s bakery in Mankato was one of the first local businesses they began networking with. “That was the biggest one for us. They’re really out in the community and push for local (sourced food),” Moody said. Since then they have supplied honey to the Coffee Hag and Curiosi-Tea House in Mankato along with Ellie Gail’s Bakery in Elysian and Lola’s Bistro in New Ulm. It’s that sense of community and sustainability that Carnahan says she wants to convey to school and community groups. She says teaching kids about bee behavior and environmental threats comes with the territory. “The quality of life for the honey bee is going down,” she said. With a fast paced economy the larger beekeeping businesses go through a queen every one to two

years. But a queen normally lives up to six years if kept healthy. Carnahan points to the need to keep checking on the different hives every week to make sure the bees are not threatened by a parasite or environmental factors. One parasite that can wipe out entire hives if left unchecked is the Varroa Destructor Mite. “It’s like a tick the size of your hand running around your body if you’re the bee. It sucks their blood,” Carnahan explains. “Bees have exoskeletons. When it punctures the exoskeletons to suck their blood that’s permanent. So other diseases can get in.” Ironically, it’s not uncommon for some beekeepers to use pesticides to kill the mite. But Carnahan and Moody use Thymol, derived from the oils of plants like Thyme and Rosemary. It drives the mites out without hurting the bees. “If we weren’t checking on our hives as often as we do, we would have lost 12 hives to pesticides being sprayed on peas. If you don’t check your bees often enough you’ll miss little subtle things like that and you’ll lose your hives,” Carnahan said. Carnahan says they plan to continue focusing on the educational aspect of their business. “I think this year with the business and the amount of hives we have we’re pretty happy and we’ll hang out at this level,” she said. “My biggest goal next year is really pushing the community education. I want to do on-farm classes, junior bee camps, and getting kids involved with beekeeping, nature and sustainable agriculture.” MV

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MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 19


Business and Industry Trends

Economy GDP growth slows

U.S. real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the recent estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The slowdown in real GDP in the first quarter primarily reflected a downturn in private inventor y investment and a deceleration in personal consumption expenditures that were partly offset by an upturn in exports and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment. Real GDP is projected to increase 2.3 percent in 2017 and 2.6 percent in 2018 compared with the 1.6 percent increase in 2016.

Disposable income slower

Real disposable income is projected to grow by 2.1 percent in 2017 and by 3.6 percent in 2018 compared with a 2.6 percent increase in 2016.

Industries stronger

Total industrial production is projected to increase by 2.2 percent in 2017 and by 2.8 percent in 2018, compared with a 1.2 percent decline in 2016.

Job growth slower

Projected growth in nonfarm employment averages 1.4 percent in 2017 and 1.1 percent in 2018, compared with growth of 1.8 percent in 2016.

Investments stronger

Private real fixed investment is projected to grow by 5.2 percent in 2017 and by 4.3 percent in 2018, compared with 0.7 percent

growth in 2016. Real consumption expenditures are projected to grow by 2.5 percent in 2017 and by 3 percent in 2018, compared with a 2.7 percent increase in 2016.

Exports, imports up

Exports are projected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2017 and by 2.1 percent in 2018, compared with 0.4 percent growth in 2016. Imports are projected to grow by 3.8 percent in 2017 and by 5.5 percent in 2018, compared with 1.1 percent growth in 2016.

Energy

Renewable growth: 11%

The federal Energy Information Administration expects total generation from renewables in the electric power sector to increase by 11 percent in 2017 and then remain relatively unchanged in 2018. Forecast electricity generation

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20 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

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from hydropower increases by 13 percent in 2017 and decreases by 9 percent in 2018. This change in hydropower generation is the driver for the absence of overall renewable generation growth in 2018. Generation from renewable energy other than hydropower in the electric power sector is forecast to grow by 10 percent in 2017 and by 6 percent in 2018.

Solar capacity expands

U.S. small-scale solar capacity was 13 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2016. EIA expects that capacity to be 17 GW at the end of 2017 and to be 22 GW at the end of 2018. U.S. large-scale solar capacity totaled almost 22 GW at the end of 2016 and forecasts that by the end of 2018 that capacity is projected to rise to 32 GW. States leading in large-scale solar capacity additions are California, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas. Large-scale solar generation averages 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2018.

Wind: 6.4% of power

U.S. large-scale wind capacity totaled 81 GW at the end of 2016, and by the end of 2018 that capacity is expected to rise to 102 GW. Forecast wind generation accounts for 6.4 percent of total generation in 2018.

Biodiesel stronger

Biodiesel production averaged 101,000 barrels per day in 2016, and it is forecast to increase to an average of 105,000 b/d in 2017 and to 109,000 b/d in 2018. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are expected to fall from 54,000 b/d in 2016 to 53,000 b/d in 2017 and then rise to 59,000 b/d in 2018.

Ethanol stays steady

Ethanol production averaged 1.0 million b/d in 2016 and is forecast to average slightly above 1.0 million b/d in 2017, which would be a record, before declining slightly in 2018. Ethanol consumption averaged about 940,000 b/d in 2016 and is forecast to increase slightly in both 2017 and 2018.

Crude prices slow

North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $46 per barrel in June, a $4 decrease from the May average and the lowest monthly average since November of last year when prices averaged $45. Crude oil prices are forecast to average $51 in 2017 and $52 in 2018, both lower than earlier projections. Average West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices are forecast to be $2 lower than the Brent price in both 2017 and 2018.

Gas prices a bit higher

During the April-through-September summer driving season of 2017, U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.38/gal, 15 cents higher than last summer. U.S. regular gasoline retail prices are forecast to average $2.32/gal in 2017 and $2.33/gal in 2018.

Retail/Consumer Spending Vehicle Sales Mankato — Number of vehicles sold - 2015 - 2016 701 874

1500 1200 900 600 300 0

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D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Sales tax collections Mankato (In thousands)

- 2015 - 2016

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

$427 $425

600 500 400 300 200 100 0

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F

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A

M

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N

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Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Lodging tax collections Mankato/North Mankato - 2015 - 2016 70000

$56,559 $52,400

52500 35000 17500 0

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A

M

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J

A

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O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato

Mankato food and beverage tax - 2015 - 2016 175000 140000

$58,935

105000

$57,100

70000 35000 0

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Source: City of Mankato

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N

D

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 21


Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

Federal crop insurance cuts gaining more support

A

few weeks ago, the Trump Administration released their 10-year proposed federal budget, which is targeted to reduce federal expenditures on crop insurance by $58.7 billion over the next 10 years, or approximately a reduction of approximately $6 billion per year for the next decade. Many similar cuts have also been proposed as measures to reduce the federal budget deficit by some members of Congress in recent years. In the past, there has been enough bipartisan support from members of Congress representing areas with significant agriculture production to prevent the passage of legislation with drastic cutbacks to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The current Administration budget would achieve the crop insurance reductions by limiting the maximum federal premium subsidy to $40,000 per farm operation. Currently, there is no limit on the maximum premium subsidy. The Administration proposal would also eliminate the popular Harvest Price Option (HPO) for crop insurance that is utilized as a risk management tool by most Midwest corn and soybean producers. In addition, the Administration revisions would eliminate federal crop insurance coverage to any farm operation that exceeds $500,000 in adjusted gross income. If all of these changes were implemented, it could drastically change the federal crop insurance program for many crop producers, as we know it today. The average federal subsidy for most common levels of crop insurance coverage for corn, soybeans and wheat is about 60 percent. In other words, if the gross cost of the crop insurance premium is $40 per acre, the farmer would pay $16 per acre (40 percent) and the federal subsidy would $24 per acre (60 percent). Under the Administration proposal, once a farm operator hits the $40,000 limit, the farmer would be required to pay 100 percent of the crop insurance premium, which would be a significant increase in the cost of insurance coverage. The Crop Insurance Title of the Farm Bill provides crop insurance availability for over 100 different crops, including many high value fruit and vegetable crops. There is a wide variation in the level of crop acres required to hit the proposed $40,000 premium subsidy limit. Producers with very high value crops could hit the subsidy limit with just a few hundred acres, while producers in some other areas may require 6,000 or more acres to reach the limit. Corn and soybean producers in many Upper Midwestern States that typically utilize 80 percent revenue protection crop insurance coverage with HPO would likely hit the $40,000 limit at approximately 22 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

1,500 to 2,000 acres, which is not a large farm operation by today’s standards. Farm operators that raise some acres of canning crops or specialty crops with higher crop insurance premiums may hit the insurance subsidy limit with even fewer acres. Producers that utilize higher coverage levels of crop insurance coverage (such as 85 percent RP) or other special crop insurance options that may be subsidized could also reach the subsidy limit with fewer acres. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the federal government offered increased premium subsidies and developed new products in order to encourage greater participation in the insurance program. The concept was to have a self-selected risk management program that allowed farm operators to make individual decisions on crop insurance coverage for their various farm units. The federal government also wanted to eliminate the need for ad-hoc disaster programs that were enacted on annual basis several times prior to that, as a result of natural disasters in varying crop producing areas of the U.S. There have been very limited ad-hoc federal disaster programs related to crop production in recent years, even though we have experienced some major natural disasters, such as the 2012 drought in widespread crop producing areas of the U.S. Most corn and soybean producers in Minnesota and other Midwestern States buy Revenue Protection crop insurance policies, which protect against the combination of yield losses and price reductions during the growing season. A base revenue level is established on a farm unit using the historic average crop yield times the national average crop price on March 1, at the beginning of the insurance coverage period. With RP policies, the insurance coverage level purchased by farm operators is a percentage of that base revenue, ranging from 50 percent up to 85 percent. Insurance coverage levels of 75 percent to 85 percent are the most common for Midwest corn and soybean producers in recent years. The final crop revenue on the insured farm unit is the actual crop yield times the crop price at harvest time. If the actual crop revenue is lower than the guaranteed insurance coverage, a crop insurance indemnity payment is made for that crop on that farm unit. Most of the corn and soybean producers in the Midwest utilize Harvest-Price Option that is available with RP insurance policies. The HPO permits producers that incur yield reductions greater than their coverage level (ex. – 80 percent of average yield) to have added crop insurance protection if crop prices are higher at harvest time than the base price on March 1. This option allows farm operators to forward price a higher


percentage of their crop production at profitable prices, while still having insurance protection against the possibility of very low crop yields at harvest time. Without the HPO option, using hedging or other forward pricing tools for grain prior to harvest becomes much more risky. This could lead to some agricultural lenders being unwilling to extend credit to finance grain hedging positions for some farm operators. What is often overlooked with the HPO insurance option is that it only comes into play when the crop insurance harvest price is higher than the March 1 base price for a given crop. At that point, a RP insurance policy functions the same as a Yield Protection (YP) insurance policy, which pays insurance indemnity payments on yield losses only. As a result, the only producers that are able to collect crop insurance indemnity payments for a given crop in those years are those with a yield reduction due to a natural disaster. For example, a corn producer with an APH yield of 180 bushels per acre, with an 80 percent RP policy in place, would need an actual corn yield below 144 bushels per acre to collect an indemnity payment for the year. So, the HPO option does not a windfall profit for producers with higher yield levels, as some critics have portrayed. The8federal crop insurance program is the main risk management program that is utilized by crop farmers across6 the United States, including in Minnesota and the surrounding states. If Congress were to enact 4 legislation that included the administration crop insurance proposals, it would certainly impact most crop producers in the Midwest. The premium subsidy 2 limit and elimination the HPO option could make it more difficult for some highly leveraged farm operators 0 J F M A M crop J input J A costs, S Oespecially N D to get financed for their younger farmers with limited assets and mostly rented crop acres. The changes could also result in private companies developing alternative crop insurance coverage 8 for larger producers that are impacted by the $40,000 subsidy limit. This could change the overall 100 participation levels and loss ratio dynamics for the 6 insurance 85 program in the future. In recent years, there have been other proposals to 4 reduce 70 or restrict crop insurance benefits; however, these proposals have never gotten too far in Congress. 2 There55now seems to a bit more momentum behind the current proposals to change crop insurance, with 40 0 from the Trump Administration, as well as support J F M A M J J A S O N D from 25 some budget conservatives in Congress. Many F M Ahave M pledged J J toAmake S reductions O N D members Jof Congress in the federal budget deficit, and the crop insurance program seems like the “low hanging fruit” when looking at reductions in ag-related programs. At the same100 time, other members of Congress and agricultural leaders are stressing the need to maintain a strong 85 crop insurance program as the centerpiece of a risk protection program for U.S. crop producers. Many 70 farm operators also question the timing of making major 55 changes to a Federal Crop Insurance Program, given the current projected low commodity prices and 40 farm profitability. reduced 25

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Kent Thiesse is farm management analyst and vice president, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal. 507- 381-7960; kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com

D

Agriculture/ Agribusiness Corn prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2016 — 2017

8

20

$3.74

6

16 12

4

8

2 0

4

$3.26

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A

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A

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N

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0

J

Source: USDA

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota — 2016 — 2017 208 100 166 85 12 4 70

(dollars per bushel)

$10.89

8 55 2 $9.40 4 40 0 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D 25 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D Source: USDA

Iowa-Minnesota hog prices

20 100 $86.85 25 16 85 22 12 70 19 8 $78.63 55 16 4 40 13 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D 25 10 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D Source: USDA

Milk prices

Minimum prices, class 1 milk Dollars per hundredweight

— 2016 — 2017 25 22 19

$16.70

16

$15.50

13

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185 pound carcass, negotiated price, weighted average

— 2016 — 2017

10

20 25 16 22 12 19 8 16 4 13 0 J 10

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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.

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 23

25 22 19 16 13 10

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Construction/Real Estate Residential building permits Mankato

Commercial building permits Mankato

18000

12000

- 2016 - 2017 (in thousands)

- 2016 - 2017 (in thousands)

10000

13500

$5,579 $1,943

9000

4000 2000

0

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A

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O

N

0

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Source: City of Mankato

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Source: City of Mankato Information based on Multiple Listing Service and may not reflect all sales

Existing home sales: Mankato region - 2016 - 2017 (in thousands)

Median home sale price: Mankato region - 2016 - 2017 (in thousands)

250

300

240 204

240

$159,450

$189,500

200 150

180

2017

100

120

2016

50

60

0 J

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A

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N

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Source: Realtors Association of Southern Minnesota

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Source: Realtor Association of Southern Minnesota

Interest Rates: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

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

Housing starts: Mankato/North Mankato

— 2016 — 2017

- 2015 - 2016

5.5

40

5.0

15

30

4.5

11

3.9% 20

4.0 3.5 3.0

$1,222

6000

4500

0

$1,928

8000

10

3.6% J

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A

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J

A

S

O

Source: Freddie Mac

D

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato

Thank You for voting us #1 Auto Repair and Best Auto Mechanic 6 years in a Row!

507-387-1315 1620 Commerce Drive North Mankato www.AustinsAutoRepairCenter.com

N

AUSTIN’S AUTO

REPAIR CENTER INC.

24 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

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Gas Prices

5

Gas prices-Mankato

— 2016 — 2017

54 43 $2.14

32 21 10 0

J

F

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A

M

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J $2.09 A S

O

N

D

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F

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A

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A

S

Gas prices-Minnesota

— 2016 — 2017

5 54 43

$2.24

32 21 10

$2.18

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A

M

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J

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A

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C. Sankey

Source: GasBuddy.com

0

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F

Stocks of local interest Archer Daniels Ameriprise Best Buy Crown Cork & Seal Consolidated Comm. Fastenal General Growth General Mills Hutchinson Technology Itron Johnson Outdoors 3M Target U.S. Bancorp Wells Financial Winland Xcel

June 14

July 18

$42.13 $128.83 $56.06 $57.10 $21.20

$41.31

$43.63 $24.16 $58.65 $4.00 $69.20 $43.97 $209.74 $56.97 $52.47 $50.00 $1.30 $47.23

$135.78 $56.43 $60.49 $17.99 $42.60 $23.49 $53.79 $4.00 $72.70 $49.36 $211.61 $53.69 $52.50 $50.00 $1.28 $46.47

Percent change -1.9% -5.4% +0.7% +6.0% -15.1% -2.4% -2.8% -8.3% 0.0% +5.0% +12.3% +0.9% -5.8% +0.1% -1.5% -1.5%

DRIVE

IT’S WHAT SEPARATES US FROM THE PACK When it comes to commercial real estate, nothing is given. Our agents have what it takes to get the job done.

/COMMERCIAL TO THE CORE/ CBCFISHERGROUP.COM

-1.6% C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 25


Minnesota Business Updates

pennies per hour. Retailers spent millions of dollars fighting legislative efforts to help the drivers, who worked for subcontractors hired by retailers to move goods, USA Today reported. In a statement, Target did not comment on the allegations but said the mistreatment of workers by anyone that does business with Target is unacceptable.

■ Holiday stations sold Bloomington-based Holiday Stationstores Inc. will be sold to Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. of Laval, Quebec, in a deal announced Monday. The sale price was not disclosed. Couche-Tard’s agreement with Holiday Cos. includes all of the issued and outstanding shares of Holiday Stationstores and certain affiliated companies. The assets include more than 500 company-operated and franchised store locations, a food commissary and a fuel terminal. Founded by the Erickson family in 1928, Holiday has 522 stores — 374 operated by Holiday and 148 by franchisees — in 10 states and has 5,963 employees. It owns and operates a fuel terminal in Newport that supplies one-third of the stations. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Couche-Tard’s 2018 fiscal year.

■ Sun Country ousts CEO Sun Country Airlines chairman Marty Davis fired CEO Zarir Erani, who has led the company since 2015. The Davis family, which owns a number of companies including Cambria and Davis Family Dairies, bought the airline in 2011. The next week they named Jude Bricker as the new CEO Davis emailed employees about his decision about firing Erani. The family had spent several months reviewing the airline’s activities. Sun Country has failed to meet financial expectations for more than a year but Davis said the decision to fire Zarir was not tied to financial results. Bricker was most recently chief operating officer at Las Vegas-based Allegiant Airlines. As the Star Tribune noted, Allegiant and Sun Country both target similar markets — generally vacation destinations. But they operate on very different business models: Allegiant is

■ Report: Target exploits truckers A USA Today investigative report says Target and other big importers contracted with California trucking companies that exploited drivers. Drivers were forced into debt to buy rigs, worked up to 20 hours a day and sometimes earned just

Employment/Unemployment Initial unemployment claims Nine-county Mankato region Major May Industry 2016 2017 Construction Manufacturing Retail Services Total*

196 255 52 151 654

Local non-farm jobs Percent change ‘16-’17

144 144 49 184 521

127,826

122,033

133000 122000

2100 1400

111000

700 100000

Minnesota initial unemployment claims

J

F

M

A

M

J

Minnesota Local non-farm jobs

Major Industry 133000 133000

2016

2017

Percent change ‘16-’17

Construction 122000 122000 Manufacturing Retail 111000 Services 111000 Total*

3,287 2,754 959 4,521 10,539

3,305 1,697 949 4,588 11,521

-38% -38.4% -1.0% +1.5% +8.5%

Services consist of administration, educational, health care and social 100000 assistance, food andJ otherF miscellaneous services. M A M J J A S O 100000 J don’t F equal M total A because M Jsome Jcategories A not S listed. O N *Categories

26 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

3500 2800

-26.5% -43.5% -5.8% +21.8% -20.3%

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.

May

- 2016 - 2017

Nine-county Mankato region

(in thousands)

8000 3500 3500 6000 2800 2800 4000 2100 2100

2,941

J

A

S

O

N

D

D

N

D

0

J

- 2016 - 2017

3,027

2000 1400 1400

700

0

700 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D

200000 150000 100000 50000 0

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O

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built on bare-bones services, charging fees for carry-on bags and seat assignments, while Sun Country has generally kept traditional airline services for carry-on luggage, complimentary drinks and so on.

Project 62, all of which are expected to hit stores later this fall. Earlier this year, Target had already made it clear that it planned to roll out 12 additional, private-label brands in the coming months. The first, Cloud Island, launched in May and features home decor, bedding and bath items. In creating more of its own, exclusive nameplates, Target is hoping to see some of the same success it’s had with Cat & Jack children’s clothing. In the months after the label’s launch, the company said spending on kid’s apparel at Target stores increased more than 50 percent.

■ Spam turns 80 Spam is celebrating its 80th birthday. Americans were first introduced to Spam on July 5, 1937. Unable to come up with a name for the canned meat, its maker, Hormel Foods, held a contest to solicit suggestions. The $100 price went to actor Kenneth Daigneau. The name is supposed to be a contraction for spiced ham. Despite its presentation, Spam is no mystery meat, the company insists on its website. Its six ingredients are: Pork with ham, salt, water, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrite. To make Spam, Hormel processes almost 20,000 pigs a day. Spam comes in 15 different varieties and is sold in 44 countries. Over 8 billion cans of Spam have been sold so far.

133000

■ Best Buy tries renting 122000 111000 100000

J

F

M

A

2800

Berst Buy has partnered with a startup to let shoppers rent some of its gadgets. The Richfield-based is offering the try-before-you-buy option for products like cameras and M

J

J

A

3500

S

O

N

2100 1400 700 0

D

fitness trackers. Best Buy is offering the option through a partnership ■ Target makes a move with San Francisco-based Lumoid, which rents gadgets Big box retailer Target made a ranging from the Apple Watch to drones. move that many investors and fans Best Buy sends shoppers to Lumoid’s site, where they 133000 3500 had long hoped for. then line up a rental. 8000 200000 133000 3500 can According to Seeking Alpha, 2800 Target has finally revealed where it’s 2800 6000 150000 122000 been investing quietly in reinventing 2100 122000 2100 itself — in two key categories: 4000 100000 Apparel111000 and home goods. Target will launch four new 1400 1400 111000 A New Day, Goodfellow & Co., JoyLab and brands: 700 2000

700

100000

100000 J F

F M A A M J

M J

J A

J S

Local number of unemployed

4000 2100 1400 2000

N

D

A O

S N

O D

8000 6000

4,383

4,277

J F M A M M A M J J M A M J J

J A A

J S S

A S O N O N D O N D

- 2016 - 2017

200000

101,456

150000

102,100

100000 50000 D

0

J

F

F M A M AJ FA M

M MJ

J JA

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J JS

A AO

S N S

O D O

N N

D D

(includes all of Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties) 200000 150000

May

2016

2017

100000

2.6% 58,124 1,570

2.9% 58,293 1,713

Unemployment rate Number of non-farm jobs 50000 50000 Number of unemployed

100000

2000 0 F F

0 0 J F JM

J

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

150000

4000

700 0 J 0 J

D 0

200000

Minnesota number of unemployed

N

N

- 2016 - 2017

Nine-county Mankato region 8000 3500 6000 2800

50000

Employment/Unemployment

J M

D

0

J

0 F

J

J M

F M A A M J

M J

J A

J S

A O

S N

O D

N

D

Unemployment rates Counties, state, nation County/area Blue Earth Brown Faribault Le Sueur Martin Nicollet Sibley Waseca Watonwan Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota U.S.

May 2016 2.7% 3.7% 3.7% 3.7% 4.0% 2.4% 3.4% 3.6% 4.1% 3.3% 3.7% 4.1%

May 2017 3.0% 3.5% 4.0% 3.8% 3.3% 2.6% 3.1% 3.6% 3.8% 3.3% 3.4% 4.1%

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development C. Sankey

Minnesota initial unemployment MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 claims • 27

0

J


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Begin teaching kids money management skills early By Alex Veiga | AP Business Writer

A

part-time summer job can teach teens the value of earning a paycheck, but not necessarily how to manage their money wisely. That’s a job parents should take on, and the earlier the better, experts say. Teaching teens the basics of saving, following a budget and the principles behind responsibly managing checking and credit accounts can instill healthy financial habits that will serve them well as adults. But many U.S. teens aren’t being taught these skills, according to a report released last month by the Programme for International Student Assessment. The organization, which evaluated financial literacy among thousands of 15-year-olds in 14 countries, concluded that one in five American teens lack basiclevel skills, more than in Russia, China or Poland. “Financial literacy is a key component to understanding general money management and credit basics, but a majority of American teens are not financially literate,” said Heather Battison, vice president at credit reporting company TransUnion. “This is why it’s imperative for parents to have conversations with their teens about money in order to start a good foundation for financial literacy and help prepare teens for financial independence.” Here are some ways parents can begin teaching their children money management skills, even from a very young age:

START EARLY

Teaching kids good financial habits can begin when children are around 5 years old, or when they typically begin asking for an allowance, according to a guide for parents published by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), a nonprofit focused on financial literacy. Parents can expect their child to spend their allowance all at once, but should use that as an opportunity to discuss how to treat the next week’s allowance, for example. “There are many things at actually quite a young age that children will understand,” said Ted Beck, the NEFE’s president and CEO. As children hit their preteen years, NEFE’s guide also suggests parents explain how budgets work, as well as the basic principles of investing. The lesson could include playing at being an investor by identifying a company their child knows and encourage them to track the stock’s gains or losses.

28 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

FOCUS ON SAVINGS

Encourage kids to set aside money they get for doing chores or presents in their own savings account. This will help show them the importance of saving up for a big purchase, and how bank savings accounts work. “Putting some money away reinforces that they have to make decisions and be responsible,” Beck said. When a child is between 5 and 10 years old, it’s an ideal time to set them up with a savings account, which can help them learn the value of saving and compounding interest, even at today’s low interest rates. Many banks offer savings accounts tailored for young children as well as teens. Ally Bank has an online savings account that doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement and currently offers a 1.05 percent annual percentage yield. Capital One Financial offers a savings account for kids with no fees or minimum balance and currently offers a 0.75 percent annual percentage yield.

SHARE YOUR OWN FINANCIAL MISSTEPS

Parents should be open to discussing their own financial mistakes with their kids, as long as the concepts in the lesson would be something their children are old enough to understand, Beck said. “It’s OK to show you’ve made some mistakes and what you learned, but do it as a discussion, not a lecture,” he said.

ENCOURAGE CAREFUL CREDIT USE

Kids under 18 are not allowed to open a credit card account on their own. Use of prepaid gift cards in high school can help establish good credit use habits. Parents with kids going away to college may want to add the student to their card to cover books or emergency expenses. A shared card account also can help parents keep tabs on their kids’ spending and payment habits. Either way, parents should make sure their teen knows that credit cards are loans and that there is a cost to not paying off balances right away. “Explain to them the importance of responsible credit management like paying bills on time and using a small portion of their available credit to maintain a low credit utilization,” Battison said. “We hear from consumers often that have low credit scores because of some misstep that they made when they were younger.” MV


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Fund manager Q&A:

Global infrastructure funds By Alex Veiga | AP

T

he prospect of a big federal government ramp-up in infrastructure spending has helped lift shares in companies that may play a role in overhauling the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, and airports. President Donald Trump recently announced initiatives aimed at speeding the approval process for such projects. But the centerpiece of his plan would use $200 billion in government money to attract enough private investment to raise $1 trillion for infrastructure projects. How much of that plan ends up making it into law remains to be seen. Regardless, investors looking to bet on such an increase in infrastructure spending should also consider companies outside the U.S., says Josh Duitz, portfolio manager of the Alpine Global Infrastructure Fund (AIAFX). His fund focuses on companies worldwide that win contracts to modernize and operate infrastructure projects in publicprivate partnerships. It is up 14.9 percent this year, according to FactSet. Duitz spoke with the AP about how companies in Europe and elsewhere stand to benefit from increased spending oninfrastructure projects in the U.S. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Why do you see companies overseas benefiting from increased U.S. infrastructure spending?

If the Trump administration actually does what it says, they talk about really using the private sector to invest in infrastructure. In the private sector we’re talking

about privatization and using public-private partnerships. Europe is way ahead of the United States in terms of privatizing infrastructure, in terms of the private sector owning the toll roads, airports and roads. So we do think European companies will benefit from that, even though it’s a U.S. plan.

Are there some examples of this?

Ferrovial. They started out as a Spanish company and now own part of Heathrow airport in the U.K. In the United States, they expanded the North Town Expressway and the LBJ Expressway in Texas. And over the past couple of years they built two to three additional lanes on that existing highway. They also just won a project in Virginia this past November, a 50-year concession on Interstate 66, and that includes a $500 million upfront payment to the State of Virginia so they can use that money to build new infrastructure. And the road itself is going to become a five-lane highway instead of a three-lane highway, and Ferrovial is going to invest $3.3 billion in that.

How do you go about selecting companies for the fund?

The core of the fund is in owning the actual infrastructure so this way we can benefit from steady, predictable cash flows, from the stability of it, from the nice dividend. The fund has about a 4 percent yield. Pure construction companies make up a very small part of the fund. We find them much more cyclical and much more risky. In the U.S., the best examples are the rails as well as the wireless tower companies. Utilities are another example. In our transportation sector, there you have the roads, airports, rails and ports globally. We think there’s a great tail wind for tower companies and they’ll also benefit when the telcos start investing in 5G, which should happen in the next couple of years. MV

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 29


MINNESOTA LEGISLATIVE SESSION RECAP By Patrick Baker, Director of Government & Institutional Affairs, Greater Mankato Growth

T

hough a brief Special Session was needed to finish its work, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned at the end of May passing several pieces of major legislation after a handful of years of gridlock. Governor Mark Dayton signed all the budget bills, the tax bill and a bonding bill into law to conclude the work of the 2017 Minnesota Legislature — almost. Displeased with a number of provisions in the budget bills that he signed, the Governor line item vetoed funding for the Legislature in an attempt to get them to agree to changes in the budget prior to him calling them back for a Special Session to reinstate their funding. Instead, the Legislature sued the Governor for violating separation of powers and that case is now pending.

• •

• •

Greater Mankato Growth

• All that said, the bills that the Governor did sign have gone into law – and Greater Mankato Growth saw some significant victories in advancing our legislative agenda. Highlights of the legislative session for businesses and our region follow. In addition, the Greater Mankato Growth blog contains more detailed posts on all of these topics – I invite you to check them out at greatermankatoblog.com.

Sales Tax Extension: the extension of the 0.5% sales tax passed for both Mankato ($47 million) and North Mankato ($9 million). Business Property tax: The bill exempts the first $100,000 of commercial industrial property value from the state general levy and eliminates the automatic inflation of the tax. This measure will save businesses roughly $96 million in FY 2018-2019 and $196 in FY 20202021. Research-and-development credit: The tax credit will be enhanced by increasing the second-tier percent from 2.5% to 4%. Estate tax: The threshold for this tax will be increased from the current $2 million to $3 million by 2020. The federal level is $5.49 million. Social Security: Allows a portion of Social Security income to be subtracted from state taxes. Farm Property Taxes: 40% credit on levies for school district bonding projects.

TAX The Legislature delivered the biggest tax relief bill for Minnesotans since 2001 – totaling approximately $660 million dollars. Significant measures in the tax bill include: Legislative Session Recap Breakfast held on June 2, 2017

30 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business


TRANSPORTATION

passed legislation allowing small employers to use Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) to help employees purchase individual health insurance with pre-tax dollars. The Minnesota Legislature took action so small employers in Minnesota can now take advantage of this new change in federal law.

The Legislature and Governor came to an agreement this year on a transportation bill that injects much needed funding into our state’s transportation network. The final bill does not raise new revenues for transportation. Instead, it utilizes the state’s budget surplus by shifting $300 million in auto-related sales tax revenues from the general fund towards the road and bridge construction funding. The bill also calls for $940 million in borrowing over four years — $640 million for general state road construction and $300 million for the Corridors of Commerce program. The bottom line for Highway 14: there is funding to keep working on the four-lane expansion from Rochester to New Ulm, but not enough to finish all of the remaining two-lane segments.

ADA

OTHER ISSUES •

• •

SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH INSURANCE Early in the Legislative session, a bill was passed that attempts to stabilize the individual insurance market. That bill also included important health insurance provisions for small employers. • Increased access to self-insuring for small employers: Small businesses now have access to improved stop-loss insurance, which will make it easier for those small employers who’d like to consider using stop-loss coverage to self-insure. • Pre-Tax Defined Contribution Arrangements: In December 2016, Congress

Real ID: Legislation that would make Minnesota compliant with the federal Real ID law passed — meaning Minnesotans will not have to use a passport to board domestic flights or gain entrance to federal and military buildings next year. Sunday Sales: Minnesota joined 38 other states in the country allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Broadband: The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, which helps connect rural regions connect to high-speed internet, will get $20 million. Bonding: The legislature passed a nearly $1 billion bonding bill which contains $9.6 million to renovate South Central College’s North Mankato campus. Preemption: A bill that would have preempted local governments from setting ordinances dictating minimum wage rates, paid leave and other labor standards for private employers was vetoed by the Governor.

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 31

Greater Mankato Growth

More than 70 businesses in our area over the past three years have been targeted with abusive lawsuits alleging accessibility violations. This year, new legislation was passed that provides new protections for businesses and builds upon legislation passed last year. Specifically, the legislation signed into law this year changes the Minnesota Human Rights Act by requiring that a person seeking to sue a business for removal of an accessibility barrier first give notice of the barrier and allow 60 days for the business to respond before filing suit.


Greater Mankato Growth

Growth in Greater Mankato RIBBON CUTTING

100TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

RIBBON CUTTING

BankVista 1501 Adams Street, Mankato

Eide Bailly LLP 1911 Excel Drive, Mankato

Harbor Freight Tools 1740 Madison Avenue, Mankato

RIBBON CUTTING

NEW LOCATION

NEW LOCATION

Inspire Health & Wellness 1615 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

Pond Road Market 19949 Hwy 22 South, Mankato

Small Business Development Center 424 North Riverfront Drive, Suite 210, Mankato

NEW LOCATION

RIBBON CUTTING

RIBBON CUTTING

World Wide Expense Reduction Advisors 100 Warren Street, Suite 303, Mankato

Burrito Express 410 South Front Street, Mankato

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 424 North Riverfront Drive, Suite 210, Mankato

Cavaliers

Cavalier Calls on the Newest Greater Mankato Growth Members

Connect the Grey 1515 North Board Street, Mankato connectthegrey.com

Julee’s Jewelry 520 South Front Street, Mankato juleesjewelry.com

32 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

Bluebird Cakery 607 South Front Street, Mankato bluebirdcakerymn.com

Woodfellas Lawn & Landscaping 630 West 5th Street, Mankato woodfellaslandscaping.com


5:00 - 7:00 pm August 1 September 5 October 3 November 7 December 5

Snell Motors Cambria MRCI - East Park Mayo Clinic Heath System Courtyard by Marriott Hotel & Event Center

7:30 - 9:00 am August 16 September 20 October 18 November 15 December 20

Blethen, Gage & Krause Ecumen Pathstone Living True Facade Pictures Old Main Village City of Eagle Lake

2017 Business Before Hours Sponsored by:

May Business After Hours hosted by KEYC News 12 & Fox 12 Mankato

May Business Before Hours hosted by Advanced Pain Management

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.

THANK YOU FOR COMING OUT AND GOLFING WITH US. THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: PRESENTING SPONSOR

BEVERAGE CART SPONSOR

PRINTING SPONSOR

More pictures are available on our website at greatermankato.com/golf

GIFT SPONSOR

FLAG SPONSOR

TARGET SPONSOR

Visit our website for a complete list of Tee Sponsors & Donations: greatermankato.com/golf

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 33

Greater Mankato Growth

Our golf tournament wouldn’t have been as successful without your participation. Your contribution is very much appreciated.


G

HER T A

IN TH

E

Visit Mankato Presents Gather in the GreenSeam By Katie Adelman, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

WHAT IS GATHER IN THE GREENSEAM?

THEME WEEKENDS

G

Each weekend of Gather in the GreenSeam will follow a fun promotional theme such as Lift Your Spirits, This is How We Farm It or Hop, Stomp and Roll. Many partners have been secured and are ready to provide fun activities for participants including family favorite fall festivities such as hay bale mazes, corn pits, tractor shows to some of the more nontraditional agri-tourism activities featured at local wineries and breweries.

Greater Mankato Growth

ather in the GreenSeam is a celebration of the entire spectrum of people, organizations and businesses that make this area the agribusiness and innovations epicenter of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. Visit Mankato’s goal is to increase awareness of the GreenSeam and drive visitors to services, activities and businesses related to food, harvest and natural resources. This new annual event is a promotional campaign to drive visitors to the GreenSeam region, primarily Greater Mankato, September 8 through October 29. Community partners providing an ag-related special, activity, service or educational component are invited to become a “Gather in the GreenSeam Partner” and share what they are doing with Visit Mankato, which will serve as the promotional powerhouse for the event. Visitors can expect an array of experiences from farm tours to wine tasting with a bunch of entertainment in between. This event is possible in part through a grant from Explore Minnesota Tourism’s new event grant program. It is the first grant Get up close and personal with farm animals. of its kind to be given in the Mankato community with the hopes of driving visitor traffic to the state.

34 • AUGUST 2017 • MN Valley Business

Enjoy stops at local wineries and breweries during Lift Your Spirits theme weekend.

PASSPORT TO THE GREENSEAM The Gather in the GreenSeam passport program is a unique offering of special deals and incentives at any of the GreenSeam participating businesses over the course of the eight-week promotional campaign. Gather in the GreenSeam goers will download and print partner coupons/incentives for the weekend events they wish to attend. Specific hashtags used on social media will allow people to check in to designated locations for a chance to win prizes. Visitors can keep coming back to the community and to visit as many businesses and events as possible.


JOINING GATHER IN THE GREENSEAM We are looking for more businesses and organizations to be included in the weekend event promotions. Gather in the GreenSeam will be promoted through a robust marketing campaign to get people to the website where partners and sponsors will be featured. Anyone interested in being a partner should contact Joelle Baumann by August 11 at jbaumann@visitmankatomn. com or 507-385-6679.

For more details about Gather in the GreenSeam visit

gatherinthegreenseam.com

Experience life on the farm first-hand with Gather in the GreenSeam farm tours.

Alive After 5 returns to Greater Mankato each Thursday starting on August 10! August 10 - 31 5 – 7:30 pm Civic Center Plaza

CHECK OUT THE ARTISAN & CRAFT POP-UP MARKET! Learn more at: citycentermankato.com/alive

An event of:

FREE ADMISSION FREE parking available in the US Bank parking ramp and Cherry Street Plaza parking ramp.

Sponsored by:

2017 Music Line Up: August 10 August 17 August 24 August 31

New Primitives DW3 Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders Hicktown Mafia Band Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsor: MinnStar Bank | Media Sponsors: KEYC News 12 and FOX 12 Mankato and Radio Mankato Additional Support provided by: Tailwind Group

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 35

Greater Mankato Growth

Grab your lawn chairs and blankets, coworkers or family and join us for live music, local food and beverages in a relaxed outdoor setting.


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The Butterfly Effect Marketing student turns class project into dream business

F

our years ago, Brandon Poliszuk was like many other freshman starting their college career, anxious to earn a degree and graduate so he could start pursuing his dreams. But that’s not what happened. Instead, surrounded by the knowledge, mentorship and encouragement of faculty, along with discovering his own passions in life, Poliszuk completely transformed during his first two years at Minnesota State Mankato and was able to spread his wings long before he donned his cap and gown. While still a student, he formed his own company dubbed Social Butterfly.

Poliszuk says Social Butterfly’s mission is to give a business wings, establish an identity/personality for every company they work with. He refers to it as the Butterfly Effect, transforming companies. We spoke with Poliszuk about the role the College of Business played

Q: Do you have advices for fellow student entrepreneurs?

A: Keep your life balanced. By that I mean take time to disconnect and step Q: How did the College of away from all the stress. I’m a big Business help as you got going? believer in ‘work hard-play hard’, but Were there any particular classes or only when it’s earned. I found that faculty that stand out to you? when I made time in my week to disconnect, I was more productive for A: The company really started to gain the times that I was working (which some attention when I introduced was the majority of my time). I think myself to the instructor in my BUS you have to accept and understand 295 class and told him what I had that you’re going to miss out on going and where I wanted to take things and make sacrifices as an the company. He got my foot in the entrepreneur but you don’t want to door with the university and that was work just to stay busy, work to stay enough for people to start taking us productive. Another tip I might add is more serious. to work with a sense of urgency and never give up. I’m not saying to rush things, but the faster you can produce quality work and move onto the next, the more opportunity will arise. Always be thinking and asking questions like: What can I do now? What can we do better? What if we did this? Brandon Poliszuk

Q: What can you say to “inspire” other students who might be reading this?

Q: What were some of your challenges in juggling being both a student and business owner? A: Don’t give up! I learned this from a first-hand experience last year when A: Patience was one of my biggest I applied for the Big Ideas Challenge challenges. I often found myself and didn’t make it as a finalist. I was caught up in the moment and not down on myself and took a step back taking it all in and enjoying the journey. and asked myself why I didn’t make It wasn’t until the end of my senior it. I worked on my weaknesses, I was year that I really realized how perfect persistent with my idea and I kept the timing is to start something while in pushing for more. This year we were college. Being so young, was the best fortunate enough to be hired for a time to take big risks. Now as I look promotional video and professional back at some of our earlier ideas and photography for the Big Ideas projects, I can’t help but smile because Challenge. This taught me to never we have come such a long way. I give up and everything happens for think the reason for that is because a reason, you just have to find out we are always wanting to improve what the reason is. Remember that ourselves, and that can amount to new everything you go through, good and milestones. Just as the college did for bad, grows you. me, I like to push people I believe in to see them reach their full potential.

To learn more about the Minnesota State Mankato College of Business visit cob.mnsu.edu. MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 •

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Minnesota State University, Mankato College of Business

“I was a sophomore taking MGMT 200 at the time and one of our big projects was to come up with a business idea and create a website, a business plan, and some of the other basic tasks for starting a company,” says Poliszuk. “The majority of the class came up with clothing companies, but I believe that is a saturated market. However, I knew there was opportunity in social media marketing. So I decided to start a social media marketing company, managing social media accounts for businesses. It wasn’t until the following year that the team and I realized we needed a way to create compelling content to give these accounts a twist, so we decided to invest into professional grade camera equipment and started learning videography and photography. From there we transformed into the creative agency we are today. “

in his success and what advice he has for other students fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.


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MN Valley Business August 2017

MN Valley Business • AUGUST 2017 • 38

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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley

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