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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley

Kaylee Phelps is a financial advisor at Edward Jones. Photo by Pat Christman

Roadmap

Januar y 2021

Starting a financial plan Also in this issue • CALA CONTEMPORARY WOODWORK IN NEW ULM • LUSH CAKES IN WASECA • FUNCTIONAL CHIROPRACTIC REHAB IN MANKATO

The Free Press MEDIA


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Blethen Berens is pleased to welcome Macy Anderson to our legal team. Macy concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, business formation, landlord/tenant, alongside general practice. A native of Eagle Lake, Macy now resides in Mankato and is excited to return to the area and begin her career serving clients aII over Southern Minnesota. Contact Macy at our Mankato office by calling 507-345-1166 or visiting blethenberens.com today.

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F E A T U R E S Januar y 2021 • Volume 13, Issue 4

8

Creating a path to saving money for retirement is challenging for people at any age, but for those just starting out it can seem overwhelming.

12

Jessica Freitag is an experienced baker who never planned to start her own business, but her Lush Cakes in Waseca has proven to be a winner.

14

Ben and Sara Hansen opened Functional Chiropractic Rehab in Mankato this year, offering the McKenzie method to help people manage their pain.

16

Harold Enamorado’s Cala Contemporary Woodwork in New Ulm is a unique business located in a unique spot – an old water treatment plant.

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 3


JANUARY 2021 • VOLUME 13, ISSUE 4

By Joe Spear

PUBLISHER Steve Jameson EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tim Krohn CONTRIBUTING Tim Krohn WRITERS Kent Thiesse Dan Greenwood Harvey Mackay Katie Roiger PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman COVER PHOTO Pat Christman PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING Danny Creel Sales Jordan Greer-Friesz Josh Zimmerman Theresa Haefner ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Christina Sankey DESIGNERS 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........................7 ■ 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 ...........................31

From the editor

The market for business news will grow into a bright future

A

s we head into the New Year, it’s always worth taking a moment to consider the milestones. For 13 years, we’ve brought you Minnesota Valley Business magazine. It seems we hatched the idea just yesterday. Other magazines have come and gone, and some take a paymentfor-article approach, where your business gets covered if you pay. We don’t do it that way here, as we believe many business stories have merit on their own. We believe in the model of growing readership, developing an attentive readership by providing interesting content, thereby providing a strong audience with buying power to consider fantasticlooking advertising. If you’re a regular reader, you know how much work goes into this magazine. It’s the only magazine that provides a comprehensive look at the regional economy through the reporting on 25 local economic indicators every month. The stories of the interesting entrepreneurs and innovative business leaders get a wider audience when they are also published in the print and online editions of The Free Press. We started Minnesota Valley Business because we believed at the time that there was a market for business news. Since then, the market has only grown. Business people and their customers need to stay in touch and keep up on what’s happening in each other’s businesses and their competitors when their busy lives don’t allow the kind in-person social interaction. The data Minnesota Valley Business offers can inform business leaders. It’s always good to know, for example, if the market for home building is on the rise if you’re going to start a new

4 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

construction business. Or it’s helpful to know the current price trends for things you might buy like gasoline. Our tracking of farm commodity prices gives you an idea how the farm economy might be doing. That’s a significant driver of the overall Mankato economy. Employment and unemployment trends give you insights into the labor market and how that might influence your hiring decisions or wages. Sometimes that data is good to have just to challenge the conventional wisdom. It’s interesting to note that even during the pandemic, unemployment isn’t as bad as it might seem in area counties. For example, unemployment in Martin, Brown and Watonwan counties is around 3.5 percent, only slightly higher than the 2.5 percent rates of a year ago prepandemic. And finally, we continue to offer business advice from experts like Dean Swanson, longtime volunteer and certified SCORE mentor. SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) has been around since 1964 and has some 10,000 mentors who provide guidance and advice at no cost. And longtime agriculture expert and banker Kent Thiesse continues to provide insights into everything from crop yields to prices and the nuances of USDA farm programs. When we started Minnesota Valley Business we, of course, had the backing of The Free Press that invested startup costs and provided the advertising staff and production staff to put the magazine out. But you might say we created synergy and created efficiencies by using Free Press resources. We’re also fortunate to have a good crew of freelance writers who we hire on a contract basis. Almost from the beginning, a facsimile of the magazine has been


online that can be accessed through our website at mankatofreepress.com. Very few news organizations in a 100,000 person market have separate business magazines. Even fewer have business magazines that come out monthly. But we’ll be here for the long haul with the support of our loyal readers and advertisers. And we’re always open to hearing your story ideas and feedback. We’ve long had support from the business community and from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation who sponsor our financial education section on personal finance. The pandemic has hit our bottom line like it has hit the bottom line of our advertisers and other businesses, but we expect to persevere into a new year with all the energy and innovation we’ve brought to you for the last 13 years. 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 ■

Ruch photo honored

A photograph created by Lori Ruch of Lori M a r i e Photography in Mankato has recently been accepted into the Loan Collection of Lori Ruch Professional Photographers of America’s 2 0 2 0 Inter national Photographic Competition. Ruch’s work is on display at the Imaging USA. Imaging USA is one of the largest annual conventions and expos for professional photographers. A panel of 36 jurors from across

the United States selected the top photographs from over 5,000 submitted entries. Ruch’s photo is titled “Not guilty.” ■■■

Runck joins True

Tiana Runck has joined True Real Estate as the newest real estate agent. Runck is a member of the Zoet Group at Tr ue Real Estate. She is a Minnesota State Tiana Runck University alum, where she competed for the Maverick volleyball team for four years and received a bachelor of fine arts degree, summa cum laude, in graphic design with a minor in communication studies.

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 5


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Business Commentary

By Harvey Mackay

Take your attitude on a positive spin O

ne day a professor announced a surprise test. He distributed a paper to each student with the front side face down. Then he asked the class to turn over the page and start the test, but there were no questions on the paper – just a black dot in the center of the page. “I want you to write a few lines about what you see on the paper,” the professor said. Puzzled, the students started the test. Once everyone finished, the professor collected all the tests and started reading the answers out loud. Without exception, all the students had written about the black dot, mentioning its position, size and so on. The teacher told the students: “None of you will be graded on this test. I just wanted you to ponder over something. All of you wrote about the black dot. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. The same thing happens in our lives. We all have a white paper to observe and learn from, yet we always focus on the dark spots. We have so many reasons to celebrate, our parents, co-workers, friends, good health, a good job, the miracles we witness every day, for example. “However, we often limit our horizons by focusing on just the dark spots – our disappointments, our frustrations, our fears and anxieties. In our day-to-day lives, we tend to take so many good things for granted and focus our energy on insignificant failure and disappointments. “Take your eyes away from the black dots of your life. Try and focus on the brighter side of life and let positivity govern your thoughts.” I consider Norman Vincent Peale’s book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” one of the best motivational books ever written. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and success. Whatever the mind expects, it finds. I frequently promote this book in my speeches and writings, because even though it was published in 1952, the advice is timeless. Positivity is one of those attitudes that never changes. One of my favorite aphorisms goes like this: Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. If you think positively, you will be more inclined to speak positively. Your positive words will spur you to

positive actions. If you get used to behaving in a positive way, you will form good habits. And your habits will help define the kind of person you are. That will lead you to your destiny: what you will eventually become as a person. Positive thinking has no negatives. Both personal and professional relationships benefit from a positive approach. By all means, surround yourself with positive people; support each other when the urge to be negative threatens. Sometimes that’s not so easy to do in a professional setting. Difficult customers or co-workers can drag you down. Direct your efforts toward diffusing difficult situations or refusing to fall into their trap. Successful businesses thrive on customer satisfaction, not hostility. Would you rather do business with a positive person or someone who finds fault at every turn? Conversely, do your customers find your dealings rewarding or tedious? Nothing chases business out the door faster than a contentious encounter. If you can’t say yes to a deal, find a positive way to say no. “I’m sorry we can’t accommodate your request, but I’m going to call a friend who may be able to help.” You aren’t turning away business; you are leaving a future customer with positive thoughts about your practices. And they appreciate being treated with that kind of respect. Here’s an extra benefit: Treating others well does wonders for your own self-respect. Sounds like a winning formula all around. Let’s circle back to the black dot story. I am fascinated with the ingenuity of the professor. Such a simple exercise is easily translated to so many life situations. We all have challenges that tempt us to focus on our own “black dots.” Try hard not to let them pepper your outlook. Consider this age-old story about finding the positive in the face of adversity. Everyone advised David to forget about confronting the enormous giant Goliath, saying, “He’s so big, there’s no way you can win.” David replied, “He’s so big, there’s no way I can miss.”

Mackay’s Moral: A positive approach rises above reproach

Harvey Mackay is a Minnesota businessman, author and syndicated columnist. He has authored seven New York Times bestselling books

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 7


Kaylee Phelps, financial advisor at Edward Jones in Mankato, has 10 tips she gives to clients to build wealth and savings.

Learning curve Financial advice for younger workers

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By Tim Krohn | Photos by Pat Christman

avigating the array of financial choices to maintain a comfortable living while ensuring a secure retirement is difficult for people at any age or income level. But for younger people entering their careers and perhaps starting a family, those decisions can be particularly confusing. Beyond educating yourself on what financial tools make sense, local financial planners say creating a plan — even if that plan changes as you go along — and saving early on are the first places to start. “I always encourage young people to start saving as

8 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

early as possible as the later they start saving for retirement the more they’ll need to save on a monthly basis,” said Kaylee Phelps, a financial adviser with Edward Jones in Mankato. Bryan Pratt, of Pratt Weatlh Management in North Mankato, said that while many people starting out may not have sizable incomes or a lot of discretionary money, they still need to have the discipline to sock away what they can. “Above all else, pay yourself first. No matter how much you are making, find a way to live below your means and consistently save.”

Cover Story


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Get a strategy

Phelps has 10 steps she gives clients at any stage in life: 1. Develop your strategy. 2. Understand risk. 3. Diversify for a solid foundation. 4. Stick with quality investments. 5. Invest for the long term. 6. Have realistic expectations. 7. Maintain your balance. 8. Prepare for the unexpected. 9. Focus on what you can control. 10. Review your strategy regularly.

Pratt offers similar advice and said people should set a budget and stick to it and work to avoid or eliminate debt when possible. “Dedicate a few minutes each week to reviewing your finances and spending,” Pratt advises. “Find what works best for you, be it a basic budget spreadsheet, a website like mint.com or software like YNAB. The knowledge and awareness gained can be extremely beneficial.”

Use the 401(k)

Phelps said an easy and valuable step in beginning retirement savings is to take advantage of a 401(k) plan if it is offered by your employer. The plans allow an employee to have a set amount of their pay taken out of their check each month and invested in a plan that is administered by a third-party investment firm. And most businesses offer some kind of match in

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 9


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which your employer will add a certain amount to your 401(k), effectively giving you bonus investment funds. According to the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America, an industry trade group, about 78% of 401(k) plans include some kind of employer match for employee contributions. “It is important to take advantage of an employer match if one is available and to take advantage of the power of compounding,” Phelps said. Even if the employer doesn’t match, putting money in a 401(k) is a good idea, she says, as it creates an ongoing retirement savings account that the employee doesn’t have to think about. Compounding refers to the interest you earn on your 401(k) or other investments. The interest is calculated on both the initial amount of a deposit and on any interest previously accumulated on that amount. In other words, it’s interest you gain on interest you’ve already gained.

Rebalancing

Phelps’ No. 7 rule — maintain balance — means adjusting the balance in your investments to ensure a balance between the goals of growing your wealth and preserving what you have as different investments fluctuate in value. “In recent years we’ve seen much more growth in stocks than in bonds, so if an account isn’t rebalanced, it can take on more risk,” Phelps said. For example, if you have a strategy where you want 60% of your investments in higher growth funds such as the stock market and 40% in less volatile bond funds, but your stocks have grown significantly while your bonds have had slower growth, you will find that you suddenly have a larger share of your investments in stocks and you may want to move more of your investments into bonds.

Emergency fund

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10 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

Financial advisers also put an emergency fund high on the list of things anyone should have. “It is important to have money set aside for unexpected events and emergencies,” Phelps said.


“Generally for pre-retirees we recommend three to six months of living expenses.” Pratt said that while it can be difficult to save or build up an emergency fund, people need to save whatever they can. Knowing where you’re spending money is a good first step to finding places to save. “Make an intentional effort to know where your money is going. It is too easy to be passive about money — we can easily check balances on a phone and no longer rely on manual tracking and entries in check registers. Unfortunately, that can cause people to be disconnected and not realize exactly where their money is going or how much they are spending,” Pratt said.

When a baby arrives

If a baby becomes part of your life, planners say you need to make some decisions. “While saving and investing are important, it’s also important not to neglect what’s most important, which is to provide for your family if something happens to you,” Phelps said. “It’s so important to plan for the unexpected, which includes life insurance,” she said. Some families also utilize a “529 account” to help fund their children’s or grandchildren’s education. They are often aimed at saving for college, but there are also plans that can help fund K-12 tuition. Putting money in a 529 has tax benefits. “Setting aside a small amount occasionally can go a long way,” Phelps said. Pratt said planning for “whatifs” is the priority once you become responsible for another person. “That means having sufficient life and disability insurance, legal documents and emergency savings. A college fund is a great goal but should be secondary to those other items and to personal retirement savings,” he said. “Insurance can often be obtained through your employer or by purchasing a term life policy. The key legal document is a will to direct assets and name a guardian for the kid(s) in the event something happens,” Pratt

Bryan Pratt of Pratt Wealth Management in North Mankato says sticking to a budget is the first step to building savings. said.

Avoid pitfalls

Beyond what people should do, there are also things they should avoid doing when making investment decisions. “It’s really important to manage emotions,” Phelps said. “Invest for the long term with quality investments and frequently review your strategy,” Phelps said. “The best strategy in the world is no good if you don’t put it into action.” That strategy includes what’s important to you, what your goals are and to make a road map to get to the end goal.” Pratt said people need to watch out for lifestyle creep. “As careers advance and income increases, there is a natural tendency to increase lifestyle spending at a similar pace. We work with a large number of retirees and have found that those who are most successful financially are typically

people whose lifestyle spending increased at a much lower rate than their income, resulting in consistent and increasing savings over the years,” he said. And, Pratt said, avoid looking at things in terms of a monthly payment and always consider the total cost, and do not misuse credit cards. “Carrying a balance of any size can be financially devastating.” Phelps, who is a second generation financial adviser, said she enjoys being able to work alongside her dad, Paul Hoffman. She said she enjoys helping people through transitions in their lives, from marriage or divorce to job changes or retirement. “The most fulfilling part of my career is helping my clients reach their long-term financial goals by finding out what is important to them, utilizing our process to develop a strategy and reviewing the strategy regularly. MV

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 11


Jessica Freitag operates the popular Lush Cakes in downtown Waseca. Below: The wide assortment of sweets at Lush Cakes have a broad fan base.

Luscious sweets

Lush Cakes has a strong following By Katie Roiger Photos by Pat Christman

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family members, complete with frosting essica Freitag didn’t start out with a and embellishments. burning desire to own a small Freitag inherited her mother’s business. She just felt drawn to enjoyment of baking creating beauty. and enrolled in “I like to make things Mendota Heights’ Le pretty,” Freitag said Cordon Bleu right out with a laugh. A longof high school, but the time pastr y chef, LUSH CAKES path to opening her Freitag’s favorite 930 S State St, Waseca own baker y and childhood memories 507-201-3245 coffeehouse wasn’t a are of her mother lushcakesmn.com making special straightforward one. birthday cakes for “I remember saying

Spotlight

12 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business


that I’d never open my own restaurant,” said Freitag. After graduating Le Cordon Bleu, she worked in food ser vice and hospitality positions, clocking experience in roles from hotel chef to bartender. After 10 years in the industry, she found herself questioning whether she wanted to keep working in kitchens for the rest of her life. “At that point, I hadn’t found what I really enjoyed,” said Freitag. Fortunately, around that time, she landed a position as assistant pastr y chef at Campiello Italian Restaurant in Eden Prairie. It felt like a revelation. Under the guidance of the head pastry chef, she honed her talents and added new skills to her culinar y repertoire. The most fascinating thing she learned was flavor pairing. Most people know that peanut butter and chocolate are natural matches, but others, like caramel maple bacon, aren’t so intuitive. Mixing and matching pairings and creating beautiful desserts took Freitag back to the fun and creativity of her mother’s kitchen.

A side business

Even after she left Campiello for a Mankato pastr y chef position, Freitag found that her enthusiasm for creating new and exciting treats was stronger than ever. Often she’d bake for a full day, then come home and spend the night whipping up desserts for family and friends. Her loved ones were so appreciative that it gave her the idea of starting a side baking business. “I didn’t think anything would come of it,” Freitag admitted. “It started as a side hobby.” She named her company Lush Cakes and registered as a vendor with a local wedding show. Her samples were an instant hit with fellow vendors, caterers, venues, and brides alike, and she was shocked to find herself with almost more business than she could handle. “It grew crazy fast!” said Freitag. “Within a year, I was hitting the maximum of what I was allowed to make out of my

home. My house was bursting with cake ingredients and there were supplies everywhere – it was taking over our house.” Baking nearly around the clock to accommodate both her day job and her burgeoning catering business was also taking a toll on her energy. Freitag said she quickly realized that she would have to choose between working for someone else and striking out on her own. In the summer of 2019, Freitag bought a former Dairy Queen in Waseca and was ready to open Lush Cake’s permanent location that same September. The location off of Highway 13 was ideal for traffic flow and the locals were thrilled. When Freitag had hosted popup events in Waseca during previous years, her products sold out in hours. In addition to wedding catering, Freitag wanted the business to be a cof feehouse and lunch destination. She planned a menu with fresh-ground Dogwood Coffee from Minneapolis, rolls, Danish pastries, muffins, scones, sandwiches and soups, and of course, lots of desserts. “Anytime during the day, you can get cupcakes, macarons, cookies, bars, bread pudding, and sometimes cake by the slice,” Freitag said. She has two other chefs help her with the daily baking: Mairaid Breitbarth arrives at 3:00 a.m. to handle breakfast preparation, and Tammy Bogue creates all the macarons and runs the kitchen. Freitag, of course, likes to handle the decorating when she can. She frosts most of Lush’s cupcakes and still oversees the booming wedding catering side of the business. “It’s the finishing that I enjoy,” said Freitag. “It’s funny, because

I can’t draw a picture for the life of me, but I can draw on a cake with frosting. In high school, I took ever y home economics class there was and not a single art class if I didn’t have to!” While she may not consider herself an artistic person, there’s no doubt that Freitag’s cake creations are master fully decorated. She especially enjoys out of the ordinar y custom requests like all-black cakes and gold leaf. “I like things to be fabulous,” Freitag said. “We’re always open to fun and exciting cakes.” Fun and exciting are two words that describe Freitag’s flavor pairings as well. Lush has started to gain recognition as a purveyor of unique and delicious cake and cupcake flavors, from Citrus Strawberry Rhubarb and Mississippi Mud to French Toast and Freitag’s personal favorite, Snickerdoodle. “That one came out of nowhere,” Freitag said. “I wanted a new fall flavor for a wedding show that I was doing. I had some cinnamon and brown sugar sitting there, and I thought, ‘Snickerdoodle!’” Of all of the flavors, salted caramel is the fan favorite by far. Lush Cakes bakers make their own caramel from scratch and add it to anything from cupcakes to cakes to macarons. Customers who want to sample Lush’s creations can rest assured that recent shutdowns have not shut off the flow of goodies. Lush’s drive-through has been open as long as restaurants have been allowed to operate, and J Longs of Mankato has recently begun carrying its macarons. Besides the thrill of invention and the satisfaction of creating beauty, Freitag said that bringing joy to a customer’s day through baked goods is what makes her business so rewarding. “When I was working in restaurants, even if people weren’t a hundred percent satisfied with something during the night, if you gave them a dessert, they would walk out happy,” she said. “Dessert makes people smile.” MV

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 13


Ben and Sara Hansen opened Functional Chiropractic Rehab in Mankato in May of 2020

A different approach Chiropractor used McKenzie method By Dan Greenwood | Photos by Pat Christman

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hen husband and wife duo Ben and Sara Hansen Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, spending 120 hours opened Functional Chiropractic Rehab in outside the required curriculum focusing specifically on Mankato in May of 2020, they knew there would that method as a student doctor at a free clinic for be plenty of competition, with over a underserved clients. dozen chiropractors in town. “I really like that it gave people What makes their business stand that control over their pain out is the McKenzie method, a blend themselves, so they weren’t reliant FUNCTIONAL of physical therapy and traditional on me to be constantly administering chiropractic medicine that gives a a treatment to just make them feel a CHIROPRACTIC patient ownership over managing little bit better,” he said. REHAB their pain through exercises they can Like other chiropractors, they 1901 Madison Ave., Suite 120, do at home. Ben Hansen is one of only have elevation tables to give Mankato two chiropractors in Minnesota that’s adjustments that are used to rework 507-720-0302 certified in this form of treatment. the spine, but also an exercise area fcrmankato.com “The McKenzie method is really for different weights and stretches popular with physical therapists and medical doctors,” that patients can do at home to reduce their need for Ben Hansen said. “One of the things we’re hoping for office visits. business wise is that we can get referrals from other “We recommend all kinds of exercises, but we try to medical doctors and chiropractors in the area sending keep it pretty simple,” Ben Hansen said. “I find that gets patients to us.” a better result, where people have a chance to try just Ben Hansen became interested in the McKenzie that one thing and see the outcome of it rather than being method while earning his degree at Palmer College of confused about all the different variables.”

Profile

14 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business


Ben Hansen aims to give people the tools to manage pain with home exercises. About half of his patients have never seen a chiropractor before. The word “functional” stems from the couple’s philosophy of trouble shooting the cause of pain from ever yday activities, like the workplace. “If you work on an assembly line, you might have to consistently pick up things over and over – lifting a certain pattern,” Ben Hansen said. “We’ll grab some weights that represent those things and we’ll do that same pattern of lifting.” The use of those weights and exercises can help diagnose the source of the pain, which is often related to pinched nerves caused by posture or repetitive movement. Ben Hansen said that so many people working from home due to the pandemic has led to an increase in back and neck pain for clients hunched over a computer for hours at a time. “They’re all jumbled up and their desk is either too low or too high and so their neck is hurting,” he said. “A couple weeks into that they think they should go get help and not just suffer through this. That’s the kind of issue that we see all the time.”

Chronic pain help

Diagnosing the source of pain comes down to troubleshooting what exercises and stretches

aggravate the issue or provide some relief. Sometimes, patients will recover after a couple visits, but chronic pain can complicate the process, especially when the source of the pain comes from multiple factors, called comorbidities. “If you have back pain and also have diabetes and Lyme disease, I might potentially work with your medical doctor on the treatment for the diabetes and the Lyme disease,” he said. “You may have a massage therapist that you go to for the body aches. Those things tend to drag treatment out a bit. It’s a lot of back and forth as we go.” Office manager Sara Hansen said most doctors and physical therapists are familiar with the McKenzie method. Recent studies published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions and the Journal of Athletic Training have found the method to be effective in reducing back pain. “A lot of people are surprised to hear that medical doctors don’t typically refer to a chiropractor unless they know them because there’s so many different techniques out there,” she said. “Having that evidence-based technique opens up another door for referrals even without us having personal experience with them.” That’s helped them secure

referrals from doctors, physical therapists and massage therapists whose patients may not be responding entirely to those other treatments. Word of mouth has been the best advertising, along with social media like Facebook. Sara Hansen said their ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution to a client’s pain, so they can manage the symptoms on their own without having to get adjustments indefinitely. “The biggest thing that sets us apart is that rehab and releasing our patients,” she said. “A lot of offices tend to keep their patients under care, but since we give them those tools to do at home, they feel confident caring for themselves and calling if they feel like that can’t. That’s definitely what we pride ourselves on.” That, said Ben Hansen, is the most rewarding part of the job, especially when a patient comes to the clinic as a last resort when other treatments haven’t worked. “My absolute favorite day is when we discharge patients and they’re done with treatment,” he said. “Two weeks ago, you thought you were destined to end up on a surgery table, and now you’re feeling great and can move great. That’s what I wake up for every morning.” MV

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 15


From left, Chuck Kilmer, Alessandro Enamorado, Nick Reinhart and Harold Enamorado.

Cala Woodwork Unique furniture from a unique shop By Dan Greenwood Photos by Pat Christman

H

arold Enamorado – owner of Cala Enamorado said. Contemporary Woodwork in New “Another plan we’ve got is Dudes and Ulm – may be one of the only people Doughnuts,” he said. “(Seniors) will come to whose custom furniture the shop and make a business is located in an project or finish a project old water treatment plant. that they have at their He’s got big ideas as he homes that they cannot renovates the sprawling finish because they don’t CALA building into a wood have the special tools. CONTEMPORARY furniture shop and They can bring their stuff WOODWORK showroom, outdoor and use the tools here.” 1200 Water St, New Ulm sawmill and a potential Enamorado is the kind 952-463-5371 community gathering of person who sees Calamn.com place in the future. opportunity everywhere, “We’re planning to have kids come here to and he’s willing to take risks, even big ones. build birdhouses and we’re going to donate It’s an approach to life his father instilled in some wood to the woodworking program at him from a young age when he was growing the high school here in New Ulm,” up in Honduras in the late 1990s.

Feature

16 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business


Harold Enamorado puts a finish on a table. He began working at his father’s metal furniture factory in the city of San Pedro Sula as a welder at the age of 10. When the international commodities boom around the turn of the millennium caused the price of industrial metals to skyrocket, his father had to reinvent his business or close his doors. His father chose the latter – a risk that paid off. “With the metal, everybody would have probably just closed their business,” Enamorado said. “He said, ‘no, we’re just going to go a different way.’ The wood is his main production now. Every little step that I do here I think, what would my dad think about it? Then I call him, and he’ll say, ‘just go for it.’” On a weeklong vacation with his parents to neighboring Costa Rica, Enamorado decided right then and there to stay, transferring his college credits to an architecture school there. He met his wife to be, an international student from Minnesota, while

Cala Woodwork creates one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. the two were both earning their degrees. After graduation, she suggested they move back to Minnesota, first landing in the Twin Cities suburb of Mound, where Enamorado ran a drywalling business. About four years ago, their son,

Alessandro – who was eight years old at the time – found some old wooden railroad ties in the woods near their home. He asked Enamorado to make something with it. “I put it in my garage and spent days trying to remove the oil that

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 17


they put in those pieces of wood,” Enamorado said. “I didn’t have any tools other than a handsaw and a hand planer from my garage. It took a month to make a table.” When Enamorado posted a picture of the table on Facebook, it literally sold within an hour. That was the seed that sprouted Cala Contemporary Woodwork, named after the first flower Enamorado gave to his wife, which he founded the following year. When the couple gave birth to twin daughters, they relocated to New Ulm to be closer to family. An architecture firm hired Enamorado, and in his spare time, he continued to build furniture out of his garage.

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Meanwhile, the City of New Ulm was deliberating on what to do with their old water treatment plant along the Minnesota River. It had been dormant for years, and the cost of upkeep and heating the building was becoming a headache for the City. “They were planning on demolishing this building because they weren’t using it,” Enamorado said. “We told them we are looking for a building and we’re growing in the area.” The City sold him the building for $1 in exchange for taking charge of the costly renovation and upkeep. Enamorado’s son remembers the day they walked through the front door when they acquired the building in September. “I remember looking around and going, ‘holy cow,’ said Allesandro Enamorado. Like his father before him, Allesandro Enamorado is learning the trade, driving the forklift, helping with the sawmill outside and sanding wood inside. He said he knows he’s done sanding: “When you don’t get splinters on your hand.” Today Enamorado spends his mornings as an architect and his afternoons building handcrafted furniture made from reclaimed wood, or from old tree branches otherwise destined to be burned at the city’s tree disposal site. It’s essentially become two


businesses, the sawmill outside and the furniture making business inside. Enamorado’s goal is to ensure that the right piece of furniture fits with the needs of each customer. That begins by asking lots of questions to determine what kind of wood to use, and what texture and color will be most suitable. “We build what’s best for the client,” Enamorado said. “I don’t want to give them something that at the end of the day might not work for them. That’s why I always ask questions and for pictures of their space.” Those questions can range from the size, colors and lighting in the room to the customer’s own interests and the furniture’s purpose, which determines what wood to use and the dimensions. When Enamorado saw a customer’s Harley Davidson sign in the background of a picture sent to him, he proposed a piece of furniture with those colors. “We sold it right away, just because we are always trying to find something extra in the client that is going to tell me what they want. It’s the same with the wood.” He makes a point of not forcing the wood into something it’s not, instead working with what he’s got. If a piece of wood has cracks, he fills those with resin or epoxy to fill in the gaps. The end result is a creative and intentional looking marble-like surface with brown and black tones that swirl together, a trend that’s become increasingly popular in recent years. Enamorado’s style is just as much historical preservation as it is creative, like the coffee table he builds out of old barn beams, or a console table made from reclaimed wood. Other creations are made from black walnut to black locust and red cedar. He currently has two employees but has plans to hire more in the future. “It’s not a big production, but everything we make is unique, and we use every piece of wood,” he said. “Every little step led to the right decision. I’m not afraid. I just do it.” MV

Chuck Kilmer works in the Cala Woodwork shop in New Ulm.

Boards are drawn out before a tree is sawed to get the most out of the log.

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 19


Business and Industry Trends ■

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Energy Natural gas costs up

In November, the Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $2.61 per million British thermal units, up from the October average of $2.39/MMBtu. Price increases were moderated by significantly warmer-thannormal temperatures, which reduced residential space heating demand for natural gas despite many remaining at home in response to the pandemic. EIA expects Henry Hub spot prices to reach a monthly average of $3.10/MMBtu in January 2021. Although EIA still expects prices to increase in the coming months

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because of rising space heating demand and rising U.S. liquefied natural gas exports amid declining U.S. natural gas production, the lower January price forecast reflects higher forecast storage levels this winter EIA expects that monthly average spot prices will average $3.01/MMBtu in 2021, which is up from the forecast average of $2.07/MMBtu for 2020.

Electric use to fall

EIA forecasts that consumption of electricity in the United States will decrease by 3.9% in 2020. EIA expects retail sales of electricity in the commercial sector to fall this year by 5.9% and by 8.8% in the industrial sector. EIA forecasts residential sector retail sales will rise by 1.5% in 2020.

OPEC cuts output

The front-month futures price for Brent crude oil settled at $48.71 per barrel on December 3, 2020, an increase of $9.74/b from November. The meeting on Dec. 3 between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) resulted in a change to their production cuts beginning in January 2021. The group had initially planned to raise production by 2.0 million barrels per day in January 2021 but will instead raise production by 0.5 million b/d. In addition, the group will assess the state of global oil markets and petroleum demand monthly, adjusting production targets based on prevailing oil market conditions.

U.S. energy-related CO2 fall 11%

In 2020, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the U.S. energy sector could be 11% lower than in 2019, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data through August and EIA estimates for September through December. EIA expects CO2 emissions in 2020 to fall by 19% for coal, by 13% for petroleum, and by 2% for natural gas. Many of this year’s changes in energy-related CO2 emissions are attributable to the economic and behavioral effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on energy consumption. U.S. energy consumption was heavily affected by responses to COVID-19, including working from home and other stay-at-home measures, closed or limited operating hours for several types of businesses, and travel restrictions. In April, when many parts of the country instituted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, monthly energy consumption fell to a 30-year low. Petroleum accounted for an estimated 45% of U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020, and most of those emissions were from the transportation sector. CO2 emissions from petroleum in the transportation sector fell to 102 million metric tons in April 2020, the lowest since 1983.

Retail/Consumer Spending Vehicle Sales Mankato — Number of vehicles sold - 2019 - 2020 1500

912 1,033

1200 900 600 300 0

J

F

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A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato Includes restaurants, bars, telecommunications and general merchandise store sales. Excludes most clothing, grocery store sales. $350,000

Sales tax collections Mankato (In thousands)

- 2019 - 2020

600

$468,804

500 400 300 200 100 0

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A

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A

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Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Lodging tax collections Mankato/North Mankato

- 2019 - 2020 $67,724 $26,656

70000 52500 35000 17500 0

J

F

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A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato

Mankato food and beverage tax - 2019 - 2020 175000 140000

$64,329 $59,202

105000 70000 35000 0

J

F

M

Source: City of Mankato

A

M

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O

N

D

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 21


Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

2020 U.S. farm income projected to increase B

ased on the data in the latest “2020 Farm Income Forecast” that was released by the USDA Economic Research Service in early December, U.S. net farm income is expected to increase by $36 billion or 43 percent above 2019 levels. The 2020 net farm income is now estimated at $119 billion, which would be the highest inflation adjusted net farm income since 2013 and is 32 percent above the 20-year (2000-2019) average net farm income of $90.6 billion. In the recent farm income report, USDA estimated 2020 total U.S. net cash income for 2020 at $134.1 billion, which is an increase of 24.7 billion or 22.6 percent from a year earlier. Net cash income includes cash receipts from all farm-related income, including government payments, minus cash expenses for the year. Net farm income is accrual-based, which includes adjustments in the cash income for changes in inventories, depreciation, and rental income. Generally, net farm income is a truer measure of overall profitability in the farm sector.

Following are some highlights from the latest USDA 2020 Farm Income Report: • Overall, 2020 cash receipts for all commodities on U.S. farms are estimated at $366.5 billion, which is a decline of $3.2 billion or 0.9 percent compared to 2019. • Total 2020 crop receipts are expected to increase by $3.3 billion or 3.3 percent over 2019 levels, primarily due to an estimated increase of $2.6 billion in cash receipts for soybeans, as well as higher receipts from sugar beets, potatoes, fruit and nuts from a year earlier. Receipts from corn sales are expected to decline by $2.5 billion, primarily due to reduced corn inventories following the 2019 crop year. Receipts from 2020 wheat and cotton production also declined from 2019 levels. • Total cash receipts from livestock production in 2020 are expected to decline by $9.7 billion or 5.5 percent, reflecting the market disruptions and price declines that resulted from the COVID outbreak in 2020. As compared to a year earlier, 2020 receipts from cattle sales dropped by $4 billion, hog sales declined by $1.1 billion, and broiler sales fell by $6.7 billion. Sales from turkey production and egg production increased in 2020. • The biggest factor in the sharp increase in 2020

22 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

net farm income and net cash income levels was the major increase in the level of government payments to the farm sector during 2020. Direct government payments to farmers in 2020 was listed at $46.5 billion in 2020, which was an increase of $24 billion or 107 percent from 2019 levels. Ad hoc or one-time government program payments accounted for $35.7 billion of the total payments to farmers. This included $11 billion in CFAP1 payments, $13.3 billion in CFAP2 payments, $5.9 billion in PPP payments, and $2.4 billion in other ad hoc payments. There was another $3.7 billion from the final 2019 market facilitation program payment, which was paid in 2020. 2019 farm program payments, which were paid during 2020, increased by $3.1 billion for the “price loss coverage” (PLC) program and only $0.4 billion for the “ag risk coverage” (ARC) farm program. This was primarily due to a large number of corn base acres being switched from the ARC-CO to the PLC program option in 2019, which was the first year of the new Farm Bill. Total farm production expenses in 2020 are estimated at $343.6 billion, which is a decline of $5.2 billion or 1.5 percent from a year earlier. The 2020 total farm expenses are at the lowest level since 2011. Major factors in the decline of farmlevel expenses are lower interest rates, lower fuel costs, and reduced livestock purchase costs. On the other hand, land rent expenses increased by $1.3 billion, fertilizer costs increased by $1.1 billion, and taxes and fees increased by just over $1 billion in 2020. “Working Capital”, which measures the cash available after all farm expenses have been paid and all annual debt payments have been made is expected to increase by 6 percent by the end of 2020. Deterioration of working capital has been a major concern in many farm businesses in recent years. The nominal value of U.S. farm assets is expected to increase by 1.5 percent or $45.5 billion in 2020, raising the total value of U.S. farm assets to approximately $3.12 trillion. This increase comes primarily from higher farm real estate values in some portions of the U.S.; however, when adjusted for inflation, the value of farm assets and the equity level of farm operations is almost unchanged from 2019 levels. Even though net farm income is expected to


increase in 2020, total U.S. farm debt is also expected to increase by year-end. Total farm debt is projected to increase by 4 percent or about $16.6 billion in 2020, raising the total U.S. farm debt to $435.2 billion. • The overall farm sector debt-to-asset ratio remains relatively low at 13.95 percent at the end of 2020; however, The nominal value of U.S. is farma assets is expected to increase by 1.5 percent or13.65 $45.5 billion in 2020, this small increase from raising the total value of U.S. farm assets to approximately $3.12 trillion. This increase comes primarily from higher farm real estate values in some portions of the U.S.; however, when adjusted for inflation, percent a year earlier. The debt-to-equity ratio the value of farm assets and the equity level of farm operations is almost unchanged from 2019 levels. toincome 16.2 percent 2020, which theto increased Even though net farm is expected to increasein in 2020, total U.S. farm debt isis alsoat expected increase by year-end. Total farm debt is projected to increase by 4 percent or about $16.6 billion in highest level since it$435.2 wasbillion. 17.6 percent in 2002; 2020, raising the total U.S. farm debt to  The overall farm sector debt-to-asset ratio remains relatively low at 13.95 percent at the end of 2020; however, 2020 is astill well below the however, this is athe small increase fromratio 13.65 percent year earlier. The debt-to-equity ratio increased to 16.2 percent in 2020, which is at the highest level since it was 17.6 percent in 2002; however, the 2020 record high ratio of ratio 22.2 percent ratio is still well below the record high of 22.2 percent in 1985.in 1985. ****** U.S. NET FARM INCOME (NFI) 2011–2020 ****** NFI NFI % NFI from Net Crop & from Government from Federal Livestock Receipts Farm Payments Program Payments (Billion $$$) (Billion $$$) (Billion $$$) $119 B. $73 B. $46 B. 2020 39% $84 B. $62 B. $22 B. 2019 26% $81 B. $68 B. $13 B. 2018 16% $75 B. $64 B. $11 B. 2017 15% $62 B. $49 B. $13 B. 2016 21% $82 B. $71 B. $11 B. 2015 13% $92 B. $82 B. $10 B. 2014 11% $124 B. $113 B. $11 B. 2013 9% $96 B. $85 B. $11 B. 2012 11% $114 B. $104 B. $10 B. 2011 9% NOTE --- This data is based on USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) annual U.S farm income estimates. YEAR

Total NFI

While the 2020 U.S. net farm income projections do show 8some dramatic improvement in 2020 as compared to the previous six years (2014-2019), a 6 does have to take a pause and “dig a little person Just over $46 billion of the estimated $119 billion in projected 2020 net farm income was due the farm program payments from the Federal government, ad hoc or one-time payments accounting for over 75 deeper” into the datawithbehind thatprogram increase. The net percent of that total. Federal farm program payments had an annual total of $11 to $13 billion from 2011 to 4 2018, before increasing to $22 billion in 2019, which was the result of the market facilitation payments farm income that resulted from crop and livestock that were paid to farmers to offset losses from the trade war with China and other countries. Government farm program payments for 39 percent the net farmwhich income in 2020, which was an increase from 26 sales was accounted $73 billion inof 2020, was the highest percent in 2019, and compared to 9-16 percent in most other years from 2011 to 2018. in recent 2 years, primarily due to the increase in crop There are some certainly some reasons for optimism in net farm income and profitability levels revealed in the prices of the year. The 2020 the latest USDAin farmthe incomefinal report forfour the U.S. months farm sector; however, it will be interesting how sustainable improved farm income levels are in 2021 and beyond. Obviously, it is likely not realistic to expect the same net farm receipts level of government farm programfrom paymentscrop in 2021 asand existedlivestock in 2020. A big key going forward was will be 0 income J to M livestock A prices Mthat resulted J late J inhowever, A due toSthe improved Oit was N export D maintaining the strength inFcrop and 2020 U.S. comparable 2015 markets to China and other countries. Ofincome course, weatherlevels; is always a big “wild card” in final U.S. net farm income figures from year-to-year. still well below net income levels achieved from 20112014. Just over $46 billion of the estimated $119 billion in projected 8 2020 net farm income was due the farm program payments from the Federal government, with 100 ad6 hoc or one-time program payments accounting for over 75 percent of that total. Federal 85 farm program payments had an annual total of $11 to 4 $13 billion from 2011 to 2018, before increasing to 70 $22 billion in 2019, which was the result of the 2 55 market facilitation payments that were paid to farmers to offset losses from the trade war with 40 China 0andJ other F countries. M A M Government J J A SfarmO N D program 25 payments accounted for 39 percent of the J F in M 2020, A M J was J an A increase S O from N D net farm income which 26 percent in 2019, and compared to 9-16 percent in most other years from 2011 to 2018. There are certainly some reasons for optimism in net farm 100 income and profitability levels revealed in the latest USDA farm income report for the U.S. farm sector;85however, it will be interesting how sustainable the improved farm income levels are in 2021 and 70 beyond. Obviously, it is likely not realistic to expect the same 55 level of government farm program payments in 2021 as existed in 2020. A big key going 40 will be maintaining the strength in crop and forward livestock prices that resulted late in 2020 due to the 25 J Fexport M Amarkets M J to China J A and S other O N D improved U.S. countries. Of course, weather is always a big “wild card” in final U.S. net farm income figures from yearto-year. While the 2020 U.S. net farm income projections do show some dramatic improvement in 2020 as compared to the previous six years (2014-2019), a person does have to take a pause and “dig a little deeper” into the data behind that increase. The net farm income that resulted from crop and livestock sales was $73 billion in 2020, which was the highest in recent years, primarily due to the increase in crop prices in the final four months of the year. The 2020 net farm income from crop and livestock receipts was comparable to 2015 income levels; however, it was still well below net income levels achieved from 2011-2014.

Agriculture/ Agribusiness Corn prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2019 — 2020

20

8 6

16

$3.99

12

4

8

2 0

$3.76

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A

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N

4

D

0

J

Source: USDA

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota — 2019 — 2020 8 20 100 16 6 85 12 4 70

(dollars per bushel)

$10.83

8 55 2 $8.84 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

185 pound carcass, negotiated price, weighted average

— 2019 — 2020

20 100 25 16 85 22 12 70 19 8 55 16 4 40 13 0 J F M A M J 25 10 J F M A M J J F M A M J Source: USDA

Milk prices

25 22

$56.65

19 16

$50.65 J A S O N D J A S O N D J A S O N D Minimum prices, class 1 milk Dollars per hundredweight

— 2019 — 2020 25 22

$16.81

19 16 13 10

$13.86 J

F

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A

M

J

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

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N

D

Source: USDA. Based on federal milk orders. Corn and soybean prices are for rail delivery points in Southern Minnesota. Milk prices are for Upper Midwest points.

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 23

13 10

J

J


Construction/Real Estate Residential building permits Mankato - 2019 - 2020 (in millions)

8000000 7000000 6000000 5000000 4000000 3000000 2000000 1000000 0

Commercial building permits Mankato - 2019 - 2020 (in millions)

$1,684,958 $1,867.2

10000000 5000000 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

0

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A

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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 - 2019 - 2020 (in thousands)

166

300

262

Median home sale price: Mankato region - 2019 - 2020 (in thousands)

$212,475 $177,500

250 200

240

150

180

100

120

50

60

0 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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

— 2019 — 2020

- 2019 - 2020

5.5

40

4.9

10

32

3.6%

4.3

2

24

3.7

16

2.7%

3.1 2.5

$5,824

15000000

Source: City of Mankato

0

$1,416,247

20000000

8 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

Source: Freddie Mac

Read us online! 24 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

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0

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Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato

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M A S C H K A , R I E D Y, R I E S & F R E N T Z L A W F I R M Abbie Olson and Joe Bromeland are experienced lawyers who are here to help with all your business and personal needs. Business Formations Business Disputes Estate Planning Probate Real Estate Matters Land Use/Zoning Issues

Business Transactions Municipal Law Trusts & Trust Litigation Estate Litigation Real Estate Litigation Construction Litigation

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Mankato, MN I mrr-law.com Complex problems. Resolved.

Gas Prices 5

Gas prices-Mankato

— 2019 — 2020

54 43

$2.39

32 21 10 0

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Gas prices-Minnesota

$1.85

$50.04

+4.4%

Ameriprise

$172.97

$194.44

+12.2%

Best Buy

$122.98

$102.73

-16.5%

Brookfield Property

$14.95

$14.85

-0.7%

Crown Cork & Seal

$96.79

$98.26

+1.5% +8.9%

N

D

Fastenal

$47.17

$48.68

+3.2%

General Mills

$61.25

$59.74

-2.5%

Itron

$67.67

$89.93

+24.0%

Johnson Outdoors

$92.12

$88.69

-3.7%

3M

$163.21

$170.15

+4.2%

Target

$158.13

$172.91

+9.3%

U.S. Bancorp

$40.36

$44.80

+11.0%

Winland

$1.82

$2.45

+34.6%

Xcel

$74.10

$66.61

-10.1%

$1.79

M

$48.04

$5.36

32

F

Archer Daniels

$4.92

2.35

J

Percent change

Consolidated Comm.

54

10

Dec. 7

D

5

21

Nov. 5

N

— 2019 — 2020

43

Stocks of local interest

A

M

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0Source: GasBuddy.com J F M A

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C. Sankey

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C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 25


Minnesota Business Updates

■ Cargill slips from top

The maker of fasteners and tools for industrial use said the dividend will be payable Dec. 22 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 2.

Koch Industries has supplanted Cargill Inc. as the largest private company in the U.S. for the first time in 13 years. It’s only the third time in Forbes’ 35-year history of ranking U.S. private companies that Minnetonka-based Cargill wasn’t the largest. Forbes ranks companies by their annual sales and the gap between Koch and Cargill is relatively narrow — just $400 million. Koch Industries, a Wichita, Kan.-based conglomerate with interests in energy, chemicals and many other industries, had an estimated revenue of $115 billion in 2019, representing a 4.5% growth over the previous year. Cargill reported fiscal year 2020 revenue of $114.6 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion over the year prior.

■ More sue ADM Six more ethanol companies are suing Archer Daniels Midland, alleging one of the nation’s largest ethanol producers manipulated the market. Wisconsin producers United Wisconsin Grain Producers, Didion Ethanol, Ace Ethanol, Fox River Valley Ethanol, Badger State Ethanol and Iowa producer Pine Lake Corn, filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. There are three other similar lawsuits pending in the same court, including a complaint filed by Omaha-based Green Plains Inc. The new lawsuit alleges ADM violated a number of state and federal laws, including monopoly provisions of the Sherman Act, and violations of the Illinois AntiTrust Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Wisconsin Deceptive Practices Act.

■ Fastenal issues dividend Fastenal Co. has declared a special one-time dividend of 40 cents a share.

Employment/Unemployment Initial unemployment claims Nine-county Mankato region Major October Industry 2019 2020 Construction Manufacturing Retail Services Total*

156 108 36 108 333

Local non-farm jobs Percent change ‘19-’20

426 349 133 508 1,202

+173.1% +233.1% +269.4% +370.4% +261%

Construction

126000 126000 Manufacturing

Retail 113000 Services 113000 Total*

4,159 1,594 918 3,530 10,201

8,496 6,333 3,515 15,911 34,255

1400

113000

700 100000

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

12000 3500 3500 10000

+104.3% +297.3% +282.9% +350.7% +235.8%

8000 2800 2800 6000 2100 2100 4000 1400 1400 2000

700 D

N

D

0

J

N

D

0

J

300000

2,901 3,046

240000 180000 120000 60000

700 0 0

O

- 2019 - 2020

(in thousands)

Percent change ‘19-’20

26 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

2800 2100

Minnesota Local non-farm jobs

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

3500

132,062

126000

Minnesota initial unemployment claims October 2019 2020

129,222

139000

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.

Major Industry 139000 139000

- 2019 - 2020

Nine-county Mankato region

J

F

J

F

F M

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

M A A M

M J

J J

J A

A S

S O

O N

N D

D

0

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F


O

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growing beauty business with new, exciting brands, an immersive experience, and loyalty benefits to transform how our guests shop for all their beauty needs,” Target chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said in a statement.

■ Brookfield posts loss Brookfield Property Partners reported a $135 million net loss for the third quarter. That marked a sharp fall from the $870 million profit it reported during the same period last year. But the July through September earnings were also an improvement from Q2, when the company — whose holdings include offices and malls across the country, including River Hills Mall in Mankato — reported a net loss of $1.5 billion. After the third quarter ended, the company recorded two large deals: It sold a London office building, One London Wall Place, for $620 million, and it sold the Simply Self Storage brand for $1.23 billion. Brookfield said it would generate $235 million in proceeds from the two deals.

■ Itron has record registration Itron, Inc., which is innovating the way utilities and cities manage energy and water, announced that its flagship event, Itron Utility Week, concluded with record registration of more than 1,500 registrants from across the globe, representing 375 utilities and more than 70 139000Held virtually with the theme of Empowering cities. Innovation, the event brought together customers, partners and influencers to search for new ways to solve 126000 problems, improve operations, and redefine the utility and smart city landscape. 113000

■ Target, Ulta team up Target and Ulta Beauty are teaming up to bring small beauty shops to more than 100 Target stores and Target.com in 2021. The two retailers announced a new partnership saying that it will 139000 “redefine beauty experiences, 139000 creating new opportunities for guests 126000 and brand partners and to strategically and 126000 collaboratively lead the retail industry forward.” “In partnership with Ulta Beauty, a company that 113000 shares our deep guest focus, we are able to expand our 113000

100000

3500 2800 2100 1400 700

100000 100000 J F

J M

M J

J A

J S

D

A O

S N

O D

240000

120000 60000 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

180000 120000 60000 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

2100 1400

AMAZED A

M

J

J

A

S

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700 0

D

D

0

300000 240000

2100 8000

180000

6000 1400 4000 700 2000 0 0 J F M A J F JM FA M M AJ

120000 60000

M MJ

J JA

J JS

A AO

S N S

O D O

N N

D D

(includes all of Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties) 300000 240000

October 180000 Unemployment rate 120000 Number of non-farm jobs Number of unemployed

60000 J

0 F

J

Call 507.344.6364

advertising@mankatofreepress.com

3500 12000 2800 10000

J M

F M A A M J

M J

J A

2019

2020

2.0% 63,203 1,293

3.0% 58,839 1,023

J S

A O

S N

O D

N

D

Unemployment rates Counties, state, nation County/area

- 2019 - 2020

117,689 77,052

240000

0

M

2800

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

180000

300000

D

D 0

300000

4,217 3,221

Minnesota number of unemployed

N

N

- 2019 - 2020

Nine-county Mankato region

N

F

Employment/Unemployment

F M A A M J

Local number of unemployed 12000 12000 3500 10000 10000 8000 2800 8000 6000 6000 2100 4000 4000 1400 2000 2000 700 0 0 J F 0 J F

J

3500

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

October 2019

October 2020

2.1% 2.4% 2.8% 2.6% 2.6% 1.8% 2.5% 3.0% 2.9% 2.5% 2.6% 3.3%

3.0% 2.7% 3.8% 3.4% 4.1% 2.8% 3.1% 3.7% 2.8% 4.2% 3.9% 6.6%

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

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 27

0

J


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Credit counseling CEO discusses aid in the time of pandemic

R

By Sarah Skiidmore Sell | AP Personal Finance Writer

ebecca Steele is the president and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the largest nonprofit financial counseling organization in the U.S. NFCC aims to help Americans lead financially healthy lives. It offers services such as debt management planning, foreclosure prevention and home ownership counseling through its network of 600 offices nationwide. No one is turned away and its services are provided either free or for a modest fee. Q: What is credit counseling? A: Nonprofit credit counseling has been around for a while, but we have been working on updating it and providing more types of counseling services in the last few years, especially as it relates to the pandemic. We really think of ourselves as financial counseling for all the masses. Q: What can someone expect? A: One thing that really sets us apart are the counseling sessions. Anyone can reach out, either by phone or by an e-mail, and get assigned to one person to help you. It starts with really listening to their situation and educating people on what their options are. Going through their budget: What is your income? What is your loss in income? What are your expenses? What is your housing situation? How do you get by and put food on the table? We’ll work with them to really try to make their income balance their expenses and maybe even provide a little bit of savings. Now, that’s real challenging at this time, so sometimes we can’t do that. When we can’t, we go through their options and what to expect. If they can’t pay a credit card bill, for example, we let them know what happens next. We want them to be aware of who’s going to be calling, what alternatives they have and how to talk to lenders, creditors and collectors. Because, you know, that’s really a big, scary thing. And you want to understand your rights and how you can get back on track. Q: How many people does NFCC serve? A: We expect to see anywhere from 1.2 million to 1.5 million this year through our network. We expect next year to be much larger than that; our forecast is over 2.5 million, maybe upward of 5 million. Q: Has there been a change in demand because of the pandemic? A: At the beginning of the crisis, we saw a spike in concerns and fear. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people calling to find out, ‘Hey, what do I

28 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

do if I can’t make my payments?’ Very quickly, the government turned around with the CARES Act and provided really needed stimulus, especially for this lower income band. That helped them get through their rent payments. Their mortgages were able to go on a forbearance and there was a deferment on eviction. So, all of that served to really help, as well as the additional payments from the federal government and some of the supplemental state payments. Now what we see is that has leveled off and some of that (pressure) has begun to climb back up. We’re really, really concerned, especially with the fact that there’s just not a safety net. Q: So how does a counselor help? A: One of the things credit counseling does is really serve as your trusted advisor. And that’s really a smart thing. There’s no judgment. And we’re not collectors, so we’re not working on behalf of any lender. Trying to do it on your own, it’s really complex by virtue of how many credit cards you have, how many lenders, the housing situation. The credit counselor works with the lenders, too. It’s about partnering with the lenders to have that open line of communication that is important. Q: If you had to give one piece of advice to people, what would it be? A: If folks are struggling, I would say: Hey, just pick up the phone or contact a nonprofit credit counselor immediately. Don’t be afraid. Just do it. Have an initial conversation. Even if it’s just 10 minutes to introduce yourself, get to know a little bit about what the counseling agency does, their background, the person you’re talking to. Do your homework, but act now, because even though you might be able to pay all your bills today, something might happen as a result of this pandemic, whether it’s a second shut down or slow down or something else. MV


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Are You Still Planning to Retire Early?

H

By Edward Jones

ave your retirement plans changed because of COVID-19? If so, you have plenty of company. Nearly 40% of those planning to retire say the pandemic has disrupted their intentions, according to the Edward Jones/Age Wave Four Pillars of the New Retirement study. You might have been thinking about retiring early – can you still do so? Even without a crisis, it’s not a bad idea to review your important life goals from time to time. So, in thinking about the possibility of early retirement, consider these factors: n Your retirement lifestyle – Your ability to retire early depends somewhat on what sort of lifestyle you’re anticipating during your retirement years. If you think you’ll be traveling extensively or pursuing expensive activities, you might not be able to afford to retire as early as someone with more modest ambitions. Of course, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of living in retirement – we all have our own dreams and preferences. But be aware that different lifestyles do carry different price tags – and have different effects on when you can retire securely. n Sources of retirement income – Obviously, a key factor in knowing whether you can retire early is the amount of retirement income you can rely on. So, you’ll have to assess all your sources: Social Security, any other pensions you might receive, and your investment portfolio, including your 401(k) and IRA. The amounts you receive from these sources will depend on a variety of factors. For Social Security, the longer you wait until collecting, the larger your monthly payments (although they will “top out” when you reach 70, excluding cost-ofliving adjustments). In regard to your investments and retirement accounts, you’ll need to establish a withdrawal rate that’s appropriate for the length of time you expect to be retired. So, by adjusting these variables – taking Social Security earlier or later, taking more or less money from

your retirement accounts – you can help determine if the retirement date you had in mind is viable. n Your feelings about work – Your goals are not static – they can change in response to any number of reasons, both external and personal. When you first decided you wanted to retire early, you might have been motivated by, among other things, a weariness of your current job. But has that changed over time? Have you found new challenges that interest you at work? Or, if you were forced by the pandemic to work remotely, did you actually enjoy the arrangement and want to continue it? After all, many employers have found that their workers can be just as productive working at home, so, even when we’ve gotten past COVID-19, we might see a sizable shift in the geography of the workplace. In any case, if your feelings about work have changed in some way, leading you to think you could work longer than originally planned, you’d likely gain some financial advantages. You’d make more money, for starters, but you’d also keep building your 401(k) and IRA, and you could even possibly delay taking Social Security. The pandemic may lead to a reevaluation of many financial goals – and taking early retirement might be one of them. By thinking carefully about your situation and your options, you can come up with a course of action that’s right for you. MV

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 29


NEW BUSINESS

NEW OWNERSHIP

5th Grant Boutique 1850 Adams Street, Mankato

Bounce Town 1860 Adams Street, Mankato

NEW LOCATION

NEW LOCATION

NEW BUSINESS

Caribou Coffee 1841 Premier Drive, Mankato

Christian Family Solutions 44 Good Counsel Drive, Mankato

God's Little Angels 1660 Tullamore Street, Mankato

Welcome, New Greater Mankato Growth Members

Sandler Training salespro.sandler.com

Midwest Art Catalyst midwestartcatalyst.org

The Salvation Army salvationarmyusa.org

2021 UPDATE: Stay tuned to our social media and website for up-to-date Business After Hours events, including rescheduled dates from 2020 due to COVID-19. Thank you for your patience and understanding! Please visit greatermankato.com to learn more about additional programming and events offered.

30 • JANUARY 2021 • MN Valley Business

2021 SPONSOR:


THANK YOU! Thank you to all of the City Center businesses who participated in City Center Partnership’s first annual Let It Glow, Kato! window display contest. It was a wonderful success! To see which window displays won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes, go to

WHY JOIN LetItGlowKato.com.

A sampling of the displays:

EXPOSURE

Build your Brand; grow your business. Stand out and get noticed!

GREATER MANKATO GROWTH?

NETWORKING TW WORKING ORKING It’s not just st WHO WHO you ou know, it’s who knows k YOU. Networking IS Powerful.

BE IN THE KNOW

LEARNING

Gain access cces to Member Exclusive Content to help grow your business.

Bellissimo Paint & Coatings

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS

WYSIWYG

TALENT RETENTION

Keep your employees engaged and retained with access to our member only events and programs.

Receive our member only emails making you the first to know the latest Wooden Spoonnews.

REFERRALS We only refer member THWord of mouth businesses. INK come and direct referrals L from being a valuedOCA L member of GMG.

Continuing to Support Local

O

FIR ST!

SHAPE YOUR ur local business community needs our continued CREDIBILITY support after the holiday season. The ongoing Raise your pandemic and restrictionsCOMMUNITY that come with it have made timesreputation tough forby our local businesses and belonging. Research shows

Your investment they need our help! Did you know that for helps everyus dollar spent at a smallwho business that businesses belongin the U.S., approximately continue to build the best 67 cents stays in the local environment community? for So,your when you support local all long — you can help create a to a chamber ofyear commerce are more successful. BIG IMPACT. Local businesses are WHY we all really love it here and where we create memories with our business and its employees.

families and friends. Here are a few ways you can continue to support local, especially after the holidays:

DINE IN, TAKE-OUT, DELIVERY

ONLINE SHOPPING OPTIONS

Social distancing can still be delicious! Make it a goal to try a new local restaurant every week, or pre-purchase meals for your employees to pick up for meetings.

Many local businesses have online stores, so you don't even have to leave your home to show your support!

GIFT CARDS Purchasing gift cards makes a difference now and allows you to treat yourself in the future. They're a perfect way to show your thanks to someone too!

VOICE YOUR SPREAD KINDNESS SUPPORTgreatermankato.com/join Leave a positive review of a local business online and share your recommendations with friends, family and on social media.

April 2018 This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and businesses are learning to adapt. Practice patience and be understanding.

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 31 greatermankato.com/join


READY FOR YOUR ARRIVAL Gathering with loved ones means more than ever. Laugh, hug, play and relax. The eight hotels and resorts along Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail offer legendary locations to safely reconnect. From the shores of the Tennessee River to Mobile Bay, come experience world-class hospitality in picturesque settings. Plunge into resort pools. Relax in luxury spas. Play RTJ golf. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. We are open and will be here waiting for you. Visit rtjresorts.com.


New Business Leadership Graduate Certificate Earn in as little as two-semesters – 100% online The College of Business MBA program has designed the new Business Leadership Graduate Certificate to help build your leadership skills and help meet the goals of the organization. This two-semester program provides you with an advantage in the workforce that can stand alone as a valuable credential or earn credits toward your MBA degree. » » » » »

Learn effective communication strategies. Apply techniques that effectively manage group and individual dynamics. Learn how to practice and promote innovation. Develop successful negotiation tactics to meet the organizations’ goals. 2-credit classes

Program Highlights

» Students completing the certificate may continue in the MBA program providing entrance requirements are met. » Opportunities to network and interact with presidents, CEOs, and CFOs in the region. » Opportunities to conduct research on leadership.

Our Graduate Business Leadership Certificate is designed for professionals who have completed an undergraduate degree in any area and want to learn techniques for effectively leading, managing, and motivating people based on theory, research, best practices and networking with presidents and CEOs in the region.” – Dr. Marilyn Fox

For more Information: https://link.mnsu.edu/busld

Graduate Director Contact

Dr. Marilyn Fox marilyn.fox@mnsu.edu 507-389-6496

An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity University. This document is available in alternative format to individuals with disabilities by calling the College of Business at 507-389-5420 (V), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTY). BUSC594AD_11-2020

Follow the COB

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 33


GET MOVING WITH LESS HIP PAIN.

You have discomfort and mobility issues associated with joint pain or an injury. Mayo Clinic Health System provides innovative orthopedic care that uses greater precision for a quicker recovery. Learn how you can leave the hospital sooner and heal faster — with expert care in Orthopedics. Every day, for life.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato Call 507-479-5326 to schedule an appointment. mayoclinichealthsystem.org

MN Valley Business • JANUARY 2021 • 34 8x10.5” River Valley Woman

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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley - Jan. 21

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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley - Jan. 21

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