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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley Februar y 2020

Bryan Stading of the RCEF. Photo by Jackson Forderer

On their own Entrepreneurs need backup Also in this issue • BLUE SUN DESIGNS • THiNQ SUCCESS • WISTE’S MEAT MARKET

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Key provisions affecting individuals and IRA’s: By Kaitlin M. Pals Repeal of the maximum age for traditional IRA contributions.

Before 2020, traditional IRA contributions were not allowed once the individual attained age 70½. Starting in 2020, the new rules allow an individual of any age to make contributions to a traditional IRA, as long as the individual has compensation, which generally means earned income from wages or selfemployment.

Required minimum distribution age raised from 70½ to 72.

Before 2020, retirement plan participants and IRA owners were generally required to begin taking required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from their plan by April 1 of the year following the year they reached age 70½. The age 70½ requirement was first applied in the retirement plan context in the early 1960s and, until recently, had

not been adjusted to account for increases in life expectancy. For distributions required to be made after Dec. 31, 2019, for individuals who attain age 70½ after that date, the age at which individuals must begin taking distributions from their retirement plan or IRA is increased from 70½ to 72.

Partial elimination of stretch IRAs. For deaths of plan participants or IRA owners occurring before 2020, beneficiaries (both spousal and nonspousal) were generally allowed to stretch out the tax-deferral advantages of the plan or IRA by taking distributions over the beneficiary’s life or life expectancy (in the IRA context, this is sometimes referred to as a “stretch IRA”). However, for deaths of plan participants or IRA owners beginning in 2020 (later for some participants in

collectively bargained plans and governmental plans), distributions to most non-spouse beneficiaries are generally required to be distributed within ten years following the plan participant’s or IRA owner’s death. So, for those beneficiaries, the “stretching” strategy is no longer allowed. Exceptions to the 10-year rule are allowed for distributions to (1) the surviving spouse of the plan participant or IRA owner; (2) a child of the plan participant or IRA owner who has not reached majority; (3) a chronically ill individual; and (4) any other individual who is not more than ten years younger than the plan participant or IRA owner. Those beneficiaries who qualify under this exception may generally still take their distributions over their life expectancy (as allowed under the rules in effect for deaths occurring before 2020).

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MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 1


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F E A T U R E S Febuar y 2020 • Volume 12, Issue 5

8

Entrepreneurs hoping to start their own business have plenty of help available from groups like the SBDC and should find a trusted mentor to help guide them.

12

Kate Hansen started her career as a police officer outside of Chicago, but after settling in Mankato she eventually found her passion in design and opened Blue Sun Designs.

14

Through their business, THiNQ Success, Ashley and Matt Kuemper help individuals and businesses to improve performance and manage stress and find ways to grow.

16

Megan and Ryan Landkammer reopened Wiste’s Meat Market in Janesville in late 2018 after a fire destroyed the business. Now they’ve opened a second location in Waterville

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 3


FEBRUARY 2020 • VOLUME 12, ISSUE 5

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 Leibel PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman Jackson Forderer COVER PHOTO Jackson Forderer PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING Danny Creel Sales Joan Streit Jordan Greer-Friesz Josh Zimmerman Marianne Carlson Theresa Haefner 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.........................6 ■ Business and Industry trends..........18 ■ Retail trends.....................................19 ■ Agriculture Outlook..........................20 ■ Agribusiness trends..........................21 ■ Construction, real estate trends.....22 ■ Gas trends........................................23 ■ Stocks...............................................23 ■ Minnesota Business updates............24 ■ Job trends.........................................24 ■ Schmidt Foundation.........................26 ■ Greater Mankato Growth..................28 ■ Greater Mankato Growth Member Activities ............................29

From the editor

Of hotels and ice rinks; Recreation facilities and tourism

T

here’s a lot on the economic plate for the Mankato region going into 2020 and there will be a lot of exciting developments to watch. Consider the projects in the works: * A $5 million plus proposed Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel overlooking Front Street plaza downtown. It will be interesting to see how this 117-room project is constructed over the current Cherry Street parking ramp. Spring construction is planned, contingent on acceptable development agreement. The unique use of the parking ramp has businesses like The Free Press concerned as the alley way between the parking lot and the Free Press building is the only way we can get multi-ton rolls of newsprint and hundreds of gallons of ink into our building. The Free Press takes a lot of deliveries from semi-trucks unloading pallets of those sales flyers from everyone from Menard’s to Kohls. The hotel will be unique in some way as a restaurant or bar is not planned. Developer Gordon Awsumb said he doesn’t want to take business away from downtown restaurants. There will be complimentary breakfast as the hotel aims for the business customer. Some wondered if the raucous late-night Front Street crowds mike keep hotel patrons awake. City and hotel officials note the rooms will be on the upper floors of the hotel with swimming pool and parking on the ground floor. Besides, said one city official, people like to be “near the action.” * A possible $15 million to $26 million ice arena to meet the growing demand for ice time among youth hockey groups. This one remains quite uncertain, but a lot of resources were poured into a thick ring binder of several possible plans and locations.

4 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business

One intriguing idea has the facility being built on the site of the old Sears building at the River Hills Mall, which said it would provide the land for free. # There remains talk about some kind of recreational facility near Caswell Park and soccer fields near Dakota Meadows school. And there’s likely to be more activity this year at Caswell as the Aussie Peppers are back for another season. You may recall this is the professional women’s softball team, many of whom will play for the Australian Olympic team. They’ll be prepping for the Olympics by playing professional games at Caswell starting in April with the Olympics happening in late July. The team drew fans from around the state last year and likely helped fill hotel rooms. * And downtown North Mankato will also get a facelift with the Rooftop Bar and Kitchen making up part of a larger development with a new Frandsen Bank & Trust building. Completion is expected sometime before summer as of the latest report. The new buildings will bring a modern architectural look to Belgrade Avenue and likely draw lots of traffic from across the river and elsewhere. Frandsen will build next to the Circle Inn while the Rooftop Bar will be next to the American Legion. Both will occupy space that has been blighted for a few years after a convenience store/ gas station closed down. * Adding to the community recreational space is the newly opened Minnesota State University sports bubble. It opened in the fall to rave reviews and even allowed the MSU women’s soccer team to hold a playoff game indoors instead of in the cold on the icecrusted Pitch field at MSU. The bubble will provide open community times allowing those


with cabin fever to go inside a warm facility and throw Frisbees or play catch. The new hotel and the new restaurants will likely serve the growing base of people coming to Mankato for recreation and athletics. There’s also a plan in the works to get trails designated around Mankato as state recreational trails to access more state funding for improvement and expansion while being “put on the map” of great trails. So one can imagine a travel magazine recommending a “day trip” to Mankato/North Mankato. It might go something like this: Visit these beautiful cities on the river dotted with public art in their downtowns including a 400-foot mural of the Minnesota River, and a replica lighted sculpture of the river’s path through Minnesota. Take in a number of impressive amateur sports events including the college wood-bat league Mankato MoonDogs, or the women’s fast-pitch team the Aussie Peppers , who are part of the Australian Olympic team. Ride or bike through miles of trails traversing woods, plains and river valleys. Experience the rich Native American and agricultural history of the area in museums and history centers. It’s going to be another big year for new development in the Mankato region. 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 ■

Eide Bailly honors Thaemlitz

Brock Thaemlitz was awarded the Rising Star award from Eide Bailly, a regional certified public accounting and business advisory firm. The award recognizes top performers who demonstrate behaviors beyond what is expected of them in their position and who uphold Eide Bailly culture. In addition to office recognition, recipients are also invited to attend the annual Eide Bailly Partner Meeting, which is held in Minneapolis, to receive special recognition and attend portions of the meeting. Thaemlitz is a Tax Manager at Eide Bailly and an alumnus of Minnesota State University. He is a certified public accountant and has over five years of experience providing tax planning and tax compliance ser vices with a concentration in financial institutions. He is also knowledgeable in preparing regulatory applications and accompanying forecasted financial statements, along with performing agreed-upon procedure engagements. ■■■

Berg joins Primrose

Ashley Berg is the new director of nursing at Primrose Retirement Community of Mankato. She will guide and oversee the overall care of residents and, in conjunction with Executive Director Lori Pietsch, manage the nursing staff. Berg will also ensure compliance

Real Knowledge. Real Experience. Real Dedication. Real Results.

with all necessary regulations. Berg came to Primrose in 2015 as a CNA. Primrose, located at 1360 Adams Street, consists of 34 independent living apartments and 23 assisted-living apartments. ■■■

RCEF starts collaboration

RCEF has started a new collaboration in Brown County. The office of RCEF (Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation) located in Mankato, is a non-profit organization that provides free and confidential one-on-one business consulting, training and mentoring for small business owners and start-up businesses. RCEF has oversight and is funded by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and encompasses all counties in Region Nine. Br yan Stading, executive director, announced a new collaboration between RCEF and the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce known as RCEF: Brown County Catalyst. The New Ulm Chamber is providing free office space in their building located at 1 N Minnesota St. Jim Jensen, long time businessman and entrepreneur will be the main point of contact at the New Ulm Area Chamber of Commerce. He has been serving clients for RCEF for several years in other communities on a limited time basis. ■■■

Therapists join LSS

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Two new mental health professionals have joint Lutheran Social Service in Mankato. Kaylie Erickson and Jackie Wood provide individual, child, family and couples therapy. Erickson is a licensed independent clinical social worker. Wood is a licensed professional clinical counselor.

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 5


Business Commentary

By Harvey Mackay

P

Get the fire and passion back again

ractically every team in professional sports has one or perhaps more players who were not high draft choices, but have excelled. Look at the National Football League. Quarterback Tom Brady was drafted 199th in the 2000 NFL draft and has led New England to six Super Bowl titles. Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories, yet was only a third round pick. John Randle from my Minnesota Vikings wasn’t even drafted, yet the defensive tackle is in the NFL Hall of Fame. How can draft experts and team executives be so wrong? Easy. You can’t always gauge passion, desire, effort or heart. As author T. S. Eliot put it, “It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.” You can detect passion in someone, but trying to predict how far it will carry or what will result are more intangible. But without real passion, a job is just a place to go. Passion is at the top of the list of the skills you need to excel at whether you’re in sports, sales or any other occupation. If you’re in sales, you can have a great product, a tremendous territory and a fabulous marketing campaign, but if you don’t have passion, it’s hard to make a sale. When you have passion, you speak with conviction, act with authority and present with zeal. When you are excited and passionate about a product – or anything for that matter – people notice. They want in on the action. They want to know what can be so good. In my decades of experience, I can attest to this simple fact: A salesperson without passion is just an order taker. There is no substitute for passion. If you don’t have a deep-down, intense, burning desire for what you are doing, there’s no way you’ll be able to work the long, hard hours it takes to become successful. The subtitle to one of my books is, “Love what you do and do what you love.” That pretty much sums up passion. However, I will offer one caveat about passion. If you’re not good at what you are passionate about, it doesn’t matter. I was passionate about becoming a professional golfer at one time, but my mother helped me realize that because I lived in Minnesota where you can only play golf about half the year, it would be difficult for me to catch up with young golfers from warmer climates. Now I’m passionate about golf as a hobby. Fortunately, I discovered that I was pretty good at selling also, and had been developing that skill since I was a kid. I loved being able to make customers happy

6 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business

Mackay’s Moral: Passion never goes out of fashion. and reaping the benefits. I loved spending time with the old pros that taught me, inspired me and challenged me to get better. I was passionate. And I still am. When you start to discover your own passion, my advice is to surround yourself with people who are passionate about their jobs. You’ll catch their passion. And remember that you can’t be passionate when you feel like it. You have to be passionate about your job, product or cause all the time. There’s no off switch on a tiger. I have always admired the passion demonstrated by the late Steve Jobs, who said, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” But what do you do when you lose the fire and passion that fueled your ambitions when you were younger? You can regain your enthusiasm by doing a little introspection. • Reflect on the past. Draw up a timeline from the very beginning of your childhood and figure out when you were happiest and what got you the most down. • Find your guideposts. List five or six principles that guide you in life, and decide whether they are values you truly live by or ideas you merely talk about. • Make it real. Write down your thoughts, feelings and hopes and share them with your family, or tell them to a trusted friend. That way, there’s someone to witness and hear you out, and you’ll feel responsible for making some changes. • Don’t panic. You may discover you have developed a new passion for a career change. Follow your dream! Harvey Mackay is a Minnesota businessman, author and syndicated columnist. He has authored seven New York Times bestselling books


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MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 7


Greg Bednar said finding a trusted mentor when he was starting out was a big step toward success.

Entrepreneurial spirit Finding a mentor early on a key

By Tim Krohn | Photos by Jackson Forderer and Pat Christman

S

tarting a small business is a dream of many a n d those w h o have done it or assist startups say there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid. The good news is there is a variety of support for those going it on their own. “The advice I’d give is

find someone in the same industry and seek them out as a mentor and advisor,” said Greg Bednar of Greg’s Champion Auto in Mankato. “You need someone who’s not in your marketplace, in your competitive area. It’s someone you can bounce things off of.” Bryan Stading, executive director of the Regional Center for Entrepreneurial Facilitation said RCEF provides free assistance to those looking to start a business and to existing businesses. Established business – usually with fewer than 20 employees – make up about 40% of their clientele. “We cover all the costs of all the business coaches. Everything is free to the entrepreneur,” Stading said.

Cover Story

Bryan Stading of the RCEF

8 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business


Those hoping to start a business or already in business but seeking some help have access to services from the Small Business Development Center in the Hubbard Building in Mankato’s Old Town. And SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, has a southcentral Minnesota chapter, with offices based in Owatonna.

RCEF expanding The RCEF was formed more than 20 years ago when 13 counties in western and southern Minnesota, including Blue Earth County, came together to create a rural business facilitation group. “They wanted a place where there was no criteria to walk through the door and everything was free and confidential,” Stading said. Each county that participates helps fund the centers but get a dollar-for-dollar match in funding from the state. Until recently, Stading’s office covered Blue Earth, Martin and Watonwan counties, but they are now poised to serve the entire nine-county area covered by Region 9 Development Commission. The expansion comes after lawmakers, including Rep. Bob Gunther and Sen. Julie Rosen, voted to expand the reach of the RCEF. RCEF just opened its fourth office in the nine-county area, inside the New Ulm Chamber. Stading said they’d already been working with New Ulm for several years, a relationship that started when Walmart built a store there. “They brought us in to deal with the anxiety felt by the current businesses there,” Stading said. He said people at the chamber and inside the county and city are strong proponents of assisting small business, including county Administrator Sam Hansen and Chamber Director Michael Looft. “They are incredibly pro-business, proentrepreneurs,” Stading said. “They understand the need to not just get things started but to keep it year after and amid changing markets.” The point man in the new New Ulm office is Jim Jensen, a long-time businessman who long ran a clothing store. Stading said he expects to open other offices in area counties that don’t have one. RCEF coaches spend time with entrepreneurs helping them write a solid business plan and providing other advice and assistance. “It’s very relationship based, not transactional,” Stading said of the coaches’ work with clients. He said they often tell those starting businesses that getting to success is a marathon not a race. Stading said one of the first things a new business owner must figure out is who will be selling their product or idea. “You can do amazing social media and have the best product but eventually someone has to sell the product, sell the idea.” When first starting out, the person selling may well be the owner of the new business, until enough growth comes to hire employees. “We often tell people that the first year you don’t do any payroll or marketing. You need to focus on the core. If you’re working 70 or 80 hours a week because you’re doing all the social media and all this stuff you’ll

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 9


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lose focus on the core.” Stading said they also highlight the importance of finding good employees, training them well and allowing them to grow.

Been there, done that

On his way to creating his successful business, Bednar did many things rights, some things wrong and knows what entrepreneurs face when starting a business or, as in his case, taking over an existing business. Bednar said the biggest thing he did right – although he wished he’d had done sooner - was seeking out someone in the industry who was successful and willing to serve as an advisor. For Bednar that was the owner of an auto shop in the Twin Cities who was regarded as one of the best in the industry. “I called him a couple of years after I started the business. I wish I’d of done that from day one,” he said. “It’s someone you can say, ‘I’m planning to do this’ and they can say ‘no don’t go down that road.’ ” Bednar also believes entrepreneurs should spend the money to join a good industry trade group or best practices group within their industry. “I found one a couple of years after I started and it was expensive to join and I didn’t have much money yet. But I learned some terrific practices and procedures that work and made my business much better right away.” But Bednar warned people need to do their homework to find respected trade groups. “There are charlatan ones so you have to be careful.” In his case, the group he joined had he and 20 others visit shops around the country, learning everything about their practices and finances. They came to Bednar’s shop, spending four days auditing his business. “You have to bare your soul and hide nothing.” Bednar said He said the hardest challenge facing most startups is to find successful marketing. “There’s such a gamut of things you can do and how do you know what is going to work and what will get traction? I spent a lot of


money with minimal return and that was hurtful. Again getting advice from people who’ve done it helps.” Finally, Bednar said, would be business owners need to be honest with themselves about whether what they’re selling has a market. “If you’re going to strike out on your own make sure it’s something the market wants. I see so many things where the owner has a passion for it but it’s a niche and they’re soon out of business.” Bednar also got help early on from the Small Business Development Center. “We have such a gem with the SBDC here. It’s free and they have a wealth of people and information to get things rolling. People need to seek them out.” MV

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MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 11


Kate Hansen recently went full-time into her design and editing business, Blue Sun Designs.

Circuitous journey From the blue uniform to Blue Sun By Katie Leibel Photos by Pat Christman

K

of Blue Sun Designs, she is her own boss, ate Hansen’s career journey isn’t a but it wasn’t a straight-shot journey. With traditional one. family, expenses and not knowing exactly “I started my career as a police where she wanted to be, of ficer outside of Hansen wore many hats. Chicago,” Hansen said. After the security “My husband and I position on campus she moved back here to worked for two years in Mankato so I worked as a security officer at MSU’s admissions BLUE SUN DESIGN of fice, received a Minnesota State Bluesundesigns.com promotion, and then University, but I knew (507) 382-5521 that wasn’t what I decided it was time to go kate@bluesundesigns.com wanted to do.” back to grad school. Now, the sole owner This would be for her

Cover Spotlight

12 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business


second Master’s degree. “I went back to school for technical communication. I had two-year-old twins at the time and I realized this was too much for me to be doing,” Hansen said. Despite the inability to continue with her education it sparked an interest in what she does now: graphic design and editing Still trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, she began work at FX Fusion in North Mankato, but shortly after she started their graphic designer left. Hansen was originally hired for a different position there, but offered to help in graphic design until they hired someone. “It turned into, ‘Well can you do this?’ ‘sure!’ and then I’d Google how to do it that night,” Hansen said. Helping to create the best design and layout to appeal to audiences, families and friends became a passion for Hansen. “My husband looked at me and said you love this. This is what you should do,” Hansen said. And it wasn’t much of a surprise to her. After all, even in high school everyone thought Hansen was going to go to college for art. She took many classes and it was a passion of hers. “I think what is unique about the way I’m approaching it is the art and design of things. I’m tapping back into a passion I had when I was a lot younger,” Hansen said. Her passion for art also inspired the name of the business. Blue

Sun Designs refers to a song Hansen was listening to in an art class one day that inspired her to paint a yellow sky with a blue sun. After working part-time until late last year creating her own full time business.

A personal touch

When viewing Hansen’s website two things are obvious: her expertise and her personality. Her website walks potential customers through how everything will work. It also includes her core values. “I have a lot of them. Commitment to quality, personal connection, honesty and integrity and environmental responsibility,” Hansen said. “I don’t ever want to give a client something that isn’t a 100% effort,” Hansen said. “I’m taking content and not just fitting it into the design, but thinking how to target your audience. It is very individualized,” Hansen said. She said she works to get to know the companies and people she works with to ensure that what she creates is truly them. Outside of that, authenticity and genuine connections are important to Hansen. “That is so important to me that my company reflects who I am as a person. I’m the kind of person that when you meet me, you don’t have to guess what I’m thinking because it’s all over my face. When you work with me you get

me,” Hansen said. One of the things that Hansen says makes her business unique is this particular value and that it is all done by one person. “I’m kind of combining this design thing with my editing and writing skills. When they bring me their content it doesn’t have to be polished and perfect. I think that is kind of unique,” Hansen said. “I have a strong moral and ethical compass. When a client hires me they know I won’t charge them for work I didn’t do. They know what they’re getting,” Hansen said. She creates estimates to be transparent about costs. Since she started full-time it has mainly been word of mouth getting her customers. Lastly she said she values environmental responsibility, both personally and professionally. In her own life she identifies as a nature enthusiast and tries to reduce the use of single plastics, drinks out of a reusable water bottle, but she also implements this value into her business, choosing any shipping materials she can find that are recyclable.

Not just a business

Blue Sun Designs doesn’t just do design work for businesses in the area but also creates designs for families. “One of the biggest sellers I have on Etsy are baseball cards. That all started because my son plays baseball and it was an end of the year gift to everyone,” Hansen said. The design includes pictures of kids posing or playing in their sport and is printed on cardstock paper so it looks and feels just like an actual baseball card. She also designs Christmas cards and “Responsibility cards” for parents to give to kids on noschool days with lists of chores to complete before screen time. “I feel like I’ve been working a lot with organizations that work with kids. When I get excited it’s because I know I’m helping to create a richer community for our kids,” MV

Besides doing design work for businesses Kate Hanson sells design work on Etsy.

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 13


Ashley and Matt Kuemper of THiNQ Success.

Mind(set) over matter

THiNQ Success offers success coaching

W

By Katie Leibel | Photos by Pat Christman

improving performance. Everything we do is a mental hat’s holding you back? focus. We do this in a couple of ways.” For many, it’s their own mindset. Whether The organization can meet with groups or that means stress, unhealthy mental cycles or individuals, and they have different patterns or how people talk to approaches with everyone they themselves. meet with. THiNQ Success helps teach For individuals, they meet one people to train their brain to become on one to discuss plans, the future their optimal self, wherever they THINQ SUCCESS and see where they want to grow. are in their journey. Thinqsuccess.com For businesses they come in and “We are performance coaches,” Also on Facebook look at the business and employee said Ashley Kuemper, a coach at (507) 344 -1907 THiNQ. “We help people look at success as a whole and work to things like managing stress and establish or alter company culture.

Profile

14 • FEBRUARY 20209 • MN Valley Business


“There’s just something gratifying about being able to help other people,” Matt said. They do everything from coaching teachers, to individuals, to parents and more. “Everything is tailored to what you need. It’s not like one size fits all,” Ashley said. She said they find out what people’s minds are doing and how their mind is running the show. “We really focus on teaching people the resilience mindset,” said Matt Kuemper, a fellow life coach and Ashley’s husband. “I think it really helps people find their purpose in life and find the resiliency to go after it,” he said. “People feel like they don’t have control of their life and we empower them to take back control,” Ashley said. “People could always use stress management. There are some very simple things we can get them to work on. It’s just an improvement in quality of life. We’re really interested in helping the community. Everyone could use a bit of mental tuning,” she said.

Individual inspiration

The couple are both inspired to help people find and use the mental skills they teach people about, but they were inspired in very different ways. For Ashley it was more of a health journey. “I had been sick for quite a while and it turned out to be something super easy to fix, but we did not know that so I ended up hospitalized. The tipping point was one time I sat down on the couch and my pants ripped. It was kind of an eye-opening moment,” Ashley said. Ashley pushed herself to run a 10k and then a half marathon. Along the way they found out the culprit of her weight gain: a food sensitivity to gluten and dairy. It all made sense. Those foods caused her pain so she avoided them with less healthy alternatives before. Now she had more information and better skills to help take her life back. But this journey wasn’t over. Ashley wanted to help people find the mental strength to help themselves in situations similar to hers. “I’ve always liked helping people. I’m a fixer. I like helping people get to a better place. Once I got into grad school I realized these skills are a part of everyone,” she said. Matt’s story is different in that his own quest to find these same mental skills started out with a trip to Iraq. “When I was 17 I joined the Army reserves, and immediately after high school went to basic training,” he said. Then he was shipped off to the Middle East. “While I was in Iraq I was a fueler. There was a point where I was doing day-to-day operations for an 800,000 gallon fuel farm,” Matt said. Then he came home and things changed. “When I got home I had a lot of trouble finding

Daily mindfullness logs and tubes filled with water and glitter help provide focus and clear thinking. purpose and kind of reintegrating into society. I landed a job at a bookstore and slowly started reading a lot. I decided to use my GI Bill to go back to school and I fell in love with teaching,” Matt was able to find purpose in his life again using the skills he developed in school and through learning. He went from the military where every day everyone has a purpose and a mission to everyday life, where that can sometimes be more of a gray area. He wanted to help people who struggle the same way he did. “I found by living more mindfully and living that way I was able to increase my own happiness and quality of life. I wanted to help veterans with that,” Matt said. .

Helping veterans

After creating a relatively successful business, the couple realized they wanted to do something big. “Our goal is to help create a more mindful community. This year we really want to focus on the veteran and military group,” Ashley said. “I think it’s because my transition back was so difficult that I want to help. I felt very isolated,” Matt said. “It took me a while to want to get back into that veteran community, but I see a lot of veterans who had a hard time getting back in, too. With military personnel there’s still a little bit of stigma around mental health,” Matt said. Together they work on helping veterans get active and also conquer stress. “There’s just something gratifying about being able to help other people,” Matt said. MV

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 15


Megan and Ryan Landkammer, owners of Wiste’s Meat Market, recently opened a second site in Wateville.

From the ashes Wiste’s opens second location in Waterville By Dan Greenwood Photos by Pat Christman

A

fter damage from a fire at a neighboring renovations. business spread next door to Wiste’s “After the fire happened it was a long year Meat Market in Janesville on of questions of what we were going to do,” December 27, 2017, Megan Landkammer Megan and Ryan said. “It finally worked out Landkammer – who had a better for us just to buy it young daughter with right away from them.” another child on the way WISTE’S MEAT MARKET Almost exactly a year – were unsure of what the after they reopened in 208 N. Main, Janesville future held. 2018, the couple opened a 116 Third Street South, Megan Landkammer’s second location in Waterville parents bought the Waterville on December wistesmeats.com business in 2011 with the 7, 2019 – the same intention of gradually downtown location that turning over ownership to their daughter housed Nusbaum’s Meats at 116 3rd Street and son-in-law, who was managing the store South, which closed over a year ago. at the time. They say strong community “We’ve had people from Waterville say support in Janesville helped them to reopen they missed their meat market and Faribault near the end of 2018 after several months of just lost their meat market in the last few

Feature

16 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business


years, so a lot of those people have come over,” Megan Landkammer said. “So far the support has been great.” The couple had already gotten their feet wet in the Waterville area this past summer, when they connected with the owners of Kamp Dells, a resort with 400 campsites on the northern shore of Sakatah Lake – supplying the resort of steaks, brats, burgers and chicken during peak season. Opening a second location had always been in the back of their minds, and the vacant storefront in Waterville led them to seize on the oppor tunity. R yan Landkammer said opening the second store would have been impossible without the flexibility and support of their roughly 20 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees. “Two meat markets in one year was a lot, but in the same sense we knew this was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down,” Ryan Landkammer said.

Old and new

The Water ville retail store carries all of the products they have at their Janesville location – from cheeses, deli and fresh meats to jerky and summer sausage – although the larger Janesville store will continue to be where they process the meat for both locations. It’s a technique the Landkammers acquired thanks to good mentorship by experts who have passed on heritage skills like German sausage making onto the younger generation. “When my parents bought it, we knew absolutely nothing,” Megan Landkammer said. “We had a couple employees from the previous owner of Wiste’s that stayed on and helped, and then Ron Wiste – when he was alive when my parents bought it – he helped out and taught Ryan a lot.” At both stores, some of the more popular items for sale are a mix of the old and the new. They carry Ron Wiste’s recipe for tri-tip steaks, and they expand and experiment with a growing variety of flavored and stuffed bratwurst for the summer. One of those – the macaroni and cheese bratwurst – has been a new hit

Top: Megan Landkammer at the Wiste’s Meat Market second location in Waterville. Bottom: The newly remodeled Wiste’s Meat Market in Janesville reopened in late 2018 after a fire in 2017 heavily damaged the business. with customers, along with their award winning Colorado jerky. The Landkammers and their staff also process venison during the deer hunting season. “We do full carcass deer processing,” Ryan Landkammer said. “So we skin and debone them basically for the whole month of November. Then from there it switches over to Christmas time – making sausage and stuff like that for the holidays. Basically January, February and March is strictly deer processing. We also do custom beef and hog processing for local farmers. Year round we basically try to do as much of that as we can.” They held a soft opening on the first day the Waterville location was open, and reached out to a couple media outlets, along with spreading the message on social media and through word of

mouth. Since then, business has been booming, and that will likely grow when the Waterville area swells with tourists drawn to the nearby lake resor ts and campgrounds. “We’re excited to see what summer is going to be like here with all the campers,” Megan Landkammer said. Along with the backing of their employees and new customers in Water ville, they credit the over whelming support they received by the community in Janesville following the 2017 fire as a big reason behind their success. “The Janesville community after the fire supported us a lot to open back up, and everybody in Waterville has been really great since we opened, so we’re very blessed,” Megan Landkammer said. MV

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 17


Business and Industry Trends ■

Energy Crude oil prices lower in 2019 than 2018

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from those countries.

Business Benchmarks released

The price of Brent crude oil, the international benchmark, averaged $64 per barrel in 2019, $7 per barrel lower than its 2018 average. The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, averaged $57 in 2019, $7 lower than in 2018. Compared with recent years, both crude oil prices traded within relatively narrow price ranges throughout the year. Brent prices reached an annual daily low of $55/b in early January, rising to a daily high of $75/b in late April. The resulting range of $20/b is the narrowest since 2003. WTI prices ranged from $47/b to $66/b. More recently, crude oil prices have increased following the Jan. 3 U.S. military operation in Iraq, likely reflecting an increase in geopolitical risk. Throughout 2019, increases in U.S. petroleum production put downward pressure on crude oil prices. In addition, the production increases likely limited the effect on prices from the attack on Saudi Arabia, production cut announcements from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela that limited crude oil exports

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2020 Business Benchmarks report. According to President Doug Loon, the annual report analyzes the data around the multitude of available economic indicators and illustrate the impact on real businesses throughout the state. Among this year’s findings: • Minnesota’s economy is still growing slower than the national average. • Tax reforms in other states and federal reform have widened the tax competitiveness gap. • Innovation continues to be a bright spot for our economy. • Long-term transpor tation investment helped support global business connections. • Solutions to workforce challenges will come from private-sector innovation and systemic changes in education and immigration. • In the current labor market, the cost of doing business is inextricably tied to the cost of living for workers. The report also looked at data results from the past five years to identify key trends and takeaways: • Positive trends include improved highway

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18 • FEBRUARY 2020 • MN Valley Business


performance, lower workers’ compensation costs and more talent coming into our state through stateto-state and international migration. • More troubling trends include rising tax burdens and health care costs, and an overall economic performance that lags behind the national average. • Some results are more mixed. Exports are up, but subject to uncertainty in this political environment. Workforce is one of the state’s top strengths, but facing critical labor shortages, education outcomes and achievement gaps that impede worker preparedness.

Forbes: Minn. 15th best for business

The Forbes list of “Best States for Business” ranked Minnesota 15th. Gross State Product $381 BAs of December 2019 At a Glance • Population: 5,611,200 • Governor: Tim Walz • Median Household Income: $70,655 • Job Growth (2019): 0.3% • Cost of Doing Business: 3% above national average • College Attainment: 36.1% • Net Migration (2018): 15,600 • Moody’s Bond Rating: Aa1 #15 Best States for Business • #40 in Business Costs • #7 in Labor Supply • #16 in Regulatory Environment • #16 in Economic Climate • #27 in Growth Prospects • #3 in Quality of Life

Kiplinger outlook for Minn. 2020

Kiplinger recently published its economic outlooks for all 50 states: Minnesota boasts the strongest inmigration rate of the entire region, as folks are drawn to the Minneapolis metro area. As a result, labor-force growth is one of the healthiest. However, job growth downshifted to 0.7% last year after seven years of strong growth, and the unemployment rate has bumped up from a very low 2.9% to 3.3% so far this year. Job growth in 2019 was a modest 0.4%, but should pick up some in 2020. The need for housing and other expansion has kept construction strong, but other sectors have weakened, such as the food manufacturing sector (Cargill) and nondurable manufacturing (3M). Transportation and warehousing is no longer a growth sector. Hiring has slowed in health care, a major industry, though the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester continues mostly unaffected. In December, Minneapolis became the first U.S. city to ban new single-family houses in an attempt to spur multifamily housing development and bring down housing costs.

Retail/Consumer Spending Vehicle Sales Mankato — Number of vehicles sold - 2018 - 2019 929 1,065

1500 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.

Sales tax collections Mankato (In thousands)

- 2018 - 2019

600

$505,100

500

$475,675

400 300 200 100 0

J

F

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A

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D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Lodging tax collections Mankato/North Mankato $67,134

70000

- 2018 - 2019

$42,911

52500 35000 17500 0

J

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A

M

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A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato

Mankato food and beverage tax - 2018 - 2019 175000 140000

$65,100 $68,804

105000 70000 35000 0

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Source: City of Mankato

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C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 19


Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

Reflecting on the past decade in agriculture

A

s we conclude the decade of the 2010’s and enter the decade of the 2020’s, it is a good time to reflect back on some things that have occurred in the past decade. Many times, there can be dramatic change over the course of a decade, which certainly has been no different in the decade from 2010-2019. In 2010, I-phones were just beginning to get used by large numbers of people, while today the I-phone is an essential tool in the lives of many in the U.S. population. On-line purchasing of goods and services was just developing at the beginning of the decade, while today, online shopping has forced the closure of many traditional merchandize stores and has changed the entire dynamics of the consumer retail business model. Most businesses or individuals could come up with many examples how things have changed in the past decade from 2010 to 2019. There have also been some interesting developments in the agriculture industry in the past decade. Following are just a few examples of things that have occurred related to agriculture ……. • There has been a rapid growth of technology in agriculture in the past decade, which has affected everything from farm machinery to farm business management. In 2010, “auto-steer” technology in farm machinery was in its developmental stage and today it has become quite common in crop production. Robotic milking equipment has been initiated during the past decade, and while it is still quite expensive, it is definitely a “wave of the future”. • The growth of “precision farming” methods was enhanced greatly during the most recent decade, allowing crop producers to more precisely apply crop fertilizer and chemicals, which is both more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. • In the past decade, we have seen significant genetic improvement in corn hybrids and soybean varieties, which has resulted more weather tolerance and greater yield potential. Some of these corn hybrids and soybean varieties have been bred to allow for alternate chemicals for weed control, as well as for more natural control of diseases and insects, without the use of as many chemicals. While there can be both economic and environmental benefits from the development of advanced seed genetics, there are many groups and individuals opposed to the growth and use of the so-called “GMO” seed hybrids and varieties.

20 • FEBRUARY 20209 • MN Valley Business

• The livestock industry has also continued to see both genetic and meat quality improvement in the past decade. The industry continues to offer high quality and safe meat and dairy products to consumers in the U.S. and around the world. • The ethanol industry grew immensely in the decade from 2000-2009, growing from under 50 production facilities to 185 ethanol plants, and production increasing from just over billion gallons per year to over 15 billion gallons per year. In the past decade the U.S. ethanol industry has been more stable, with approximately 200 operating ethanol plants producing over 16.5 billion gallons per year. The capacity to use ethanol in the U.S. has also “flatlined” in recent years at a total usage of just over 15 billion gallons per year, despite efforts by industry groups and States such as Minnesota to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline fuel blends. The soybean-based biodiesel industry has also continued to grow and develop during the past decade, and Minnesota has also been a leader in this industry. • Land values increased sharply during the first few years of the past decade before declining toward the end of the decade. Based on the Iowa State University land value survey, which released in December each year, average Iowa land values were $4,371 per tillable acre at the end of 2009, then reached a high of $8,716 per acre by the end of 2013, before declining to an average of $7,183 by the end of 2016. In the most recent survey, the average land value in Iowa was $7,432 per acre at the end of 2019. Land values in Southern Minnesota have followed similar trends in the past decade. • Farm income levels from 2010-2013 were among the highest in several decades; however, farm income levels from 2014-2019 were consistently below long-term averages. As we end the last decade, there has been an increase in farm bankruptcies and stress levels on the farm, especially with dairy farmers and in areas with low crop production from weather challenges. • Government farm programs also changed considerably during the past decade. The 2008 Farm Bill governed farm programs from 2010-2013, which included guaranteed annual direct payments of $25-$30 per corn base acre and $10-$15 per


soybean base acre in Southern Minnesota. These direct payments were eliminated in the 2014 Farm Bill (2014-2018) and replaced by a farm program that gave eligible producers a choice between the price-only, price loss coverage (PLC) program, and the ag risk coverage (ARC) program, which was revenue-based factoring in both crop prices and yields. The 2018 Farm Bill has continued a choice between the PLC and ARC programs for 2019-2023. • The importance of ag trade and exports of grain and livestock products has been growing in importance for several decades and continued to increase in the most recent decade. China, Mexico and Canada account for over 40 percent of all U.S. ag exports, So, when normal ag trading was stymied by tariffs and an ongoing “trade war” between the U.S. and these three countries in the past two years, it reduced the U.S. exports and lowered farm income levels in both 2018 and 2019. The “trade war” also resulted in USDA making significant “market facilitation program” (MFP) payments to crop and livestock producers in those two years to offset the reduced income levels. As we ended 2019, there appeared to be some hope to end8the “trade war” with China and to implement a new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. 6

• “Climate change” and “global warming” were just 4 beginning to be discussed at great length by U.S. and World leaders, as well as by the agriculture industry, 2 beginning of the decade. As we enter 2020, at the ways to address these issues are being discussed by every 0 major industry and by all levels of government. J F M A M J J A S O N D Many of our political leaders at the National and State levels are considering measures that could drastically impact farm operations in the future, as well as affect the entire U.S. population. 8

• During the past decade, there has been a desire by an 100 increasing number of consumers to know more about 6 the85 original source of their food and how it was raised. This4has resulted in the growth of “niche marketing” 70 opportunities for farm families to raise organic crops, to sell products through farmers markets, and to sell 552 “natural” or “source identified” meat and dairy products. This growth of this trend is likely to 400 J in FtheMcoming A Myears, J especially J A S closer O N to D continue urban 25 areas of the U.S. J

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• The winery and craft brewery industries are quite related to agriculture, with both industries being in their infancy in 2010 in States such as Minnesota. 100 However, both industries are now mainstays in many Midwestern communities as we enter the next 85 decade. 70

• Up until a few years ago, hemp was only associated with55marijuana; however, the production of industrial hemp for fiber and CBD oil has really taken off in the past40 couple of years, including in south Central Minnesota. This was further enhanced when hemp 25 J F in Mthe A2018 M Farm J Bill J Aas aSviable O crop, N D was included making hemp eligible for crop insurance in 2020. Over 30 States, including Minnesota, now have licensing procedures for raising hemp. In 2016, Minnesota

Agriculture/ Agribusiness Corn prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2018 — 2019

20

8 6

16

$3.76

12

4

8

2 0

$3.35

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0

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Source: USDA

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2018 — 2019 8 20 100 16 6 85 $8.84 12 470 8 255 $8.26 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

— 2018 — 2019

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

25 22

$50.65

19 16

M M M

A M J A M J A M J

Milk prices

J J J

$48.85 A S O N D A S O N D A S O N D

Minimum prices, class 1 milk Dollars per hundredweight

— 2018 — 2019 25 22

$16.81

19 16 13 10

$15.62 J

F

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 • FEBRUARY 2020 • 21

13 10

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J


Construction/Real Estate Residential building permits Mankato

Commercial building permits Mankato

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

$8,968

5000000

$2,938

4000000

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

9000000

2000000

6000000

1000000

3000000 J

F

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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 - 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

187

300

168

Median home sale price: Mankato region - 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

250

$182,000 $169,000

200

240

150

180

100

120

50

60

0 J

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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

— 2018 — 2019

- 2018 - 2019

5.5

4.8%

5.0

30 24

4.5

18

3.6%

4.0

1

12

3.5 3.0

0

D

Source: City of Mankato

0

$2,835

12000000

3000000

0

$3,181

15000000

8

6 J

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Source: Freddie Mac

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2019 Attorney of the Year

congratulations!

patrick casey 22 • FEBRUARY 20209 • MN Valley Business

N

Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato


issued 6 grower licenses totaling 38 acres under a hemp pilot program, which had grown to over 300 growers and over 8,000 acres by 2019. There are still many unanswered questions related to hemp production, grower contracts, and the potential for the hemp industry, as we head into the next decade. There have been many changes in the agriculture industry and in the daily lives for everyone during the decade of from 2010-2019. We are likely to see many more changes and advancements during the next decade …… several that at are positive, as well as some that may be negative. Whether in the agriculture industry or just being a citizen, we all need to be prepared to adjust and adapt to change in the coming years, because change will happen.

I’D LIKE TO UNLOCK THE VALUE IN MY DATA The future economy is all about data. Stay a step ahead and discover what your data is really trying to tell you with the help of our team of certified data analysts. Contact us to learn how you can turn chaos into clarity and become a data-driven business.

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

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Gas Prices 5

Gas prices-Mankato

— 2019 — 2020

54 43 $2.40

32 21 10 0

J J

$1.99

Archer Daniels

$43.51

$42.84

-1.5%

Ameriprise

$158.15

$161.93

+2.4%

Best Buy

$75.47

$80.01

+6.0%

Brookfield Property

$18.99

$19.35

+1.9%

Crown Cork & Seal

$75.97

$76.19

+0.3%

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Consolidated Comm.

$4.10

$3.80

-7.3%

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Fastenal

$37.44

$35.37

-5.5%

General Mills

$51.43

$53.48

+4.0%

Itron

$78.39

$80.71

+3.0%

Johnson Outdoors

$61.83

$64.96

+5.0%

3M

$174.37

$163.81

-6.0%

Target

$109.95

$124.28

+13.0%

U.S. Bancorp

$58.64

$59.34

+1.2%

Winland

$1.16

$1.16

0.0%

Xcel

$61.07

$61.78

+1.6%

— 2019 — 2020

$2.42

32 $2.05

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Percent change

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54

10

Dec. 5

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5

21

Nov. 5

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Gas prices-Minnesota

43

Stocks of local interest

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C. Sankey

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C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 23


Minnesota Business Updates

“Building upon our history of leadership in agricultural transportation and processing, our exponential growth in human and animal nutrition, and our leading-edge innovation and customer-focused solutions – with an ever-present foundation of nature – we are delivering on a noble purpose that is powerful, modern and aspirational. We unlock the power of nature to enrich the quality of life,” Juan Luciano, ADM Chairman and CEO said in a statement.

■ 3M sells armor business 3M Co. has finalized a sale of its military armor business to Avon Rubber for $91 million. Nearly 300 3M employees will join U.K.-based Avon as part of

the deal. The military armor unit was part of 3M’s Advanced Materials Division, which creates products for industries like aerospace, nuclear power and oil and gas. Maplewood-based 3M has had a several major sales and acquisitions, including its biggest acquisition ever when it bought San Antonio-based wound-care treatment manufacturer Acelity Inc. for $6.7 billion last year. It also sold its gas detection businesses for $230 million and a drug delivery business for $650 million. CEO Mike Roman said more deal-making will be part of the company’s growth strategy this year.

■ ADM updates brand ADM unveiled an updated logo and corporate identity, incljuding their new tagline “ADM: Unlocking Nature. Enriching Life. The company has made number changes for growth in recent years, including divestitures, acquisitions and investment.

■ Fastenal releases product locator Fastenal is rolling out its new Product Locator application it said will save customers money. The Winona-based fastener, industrial products and

Employment/Unemployment Initial unemployment claims Nine-county Mankato region Major November Industry 2018 2019 Construction Manufacturing Retail Services Total*

767 186 50 194 1,197

Local non-farm jobs Percent change ‘18-’19

688 214 34 162 1,098

Construction 126000 126000 Manufacturing Retail 113000 Services 113000 Total*

12,774 2,426 1,160 5,808 22,168

12,350 2,905 1,033 5,025 21,313

126000

2100 1400

113000

700 100000

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Minnesota Local non-farm jobs

24 • FEBRUARY 20209 • MN Valley Business

D

D

D

0

150000 100000

2000 1400 1400

50000

0

700 0

J

0

J

200000

4000 2100 2100

700 N

N

3,041 3,009

8000 3500 3500 6000 2800 2800

-3.3% +19.7% -10.9% -13.5% -3.9%

O

- 2018 - 2019

(in thousands)

Percent change ‘18-’19

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 2800

-10.3% +15.1% -32.0% -16.5% -8.3%

Minnesota initial unemployment claims November 2018 2019

131,687

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

- 2018 - 2019 133,238

Nine-county Mankato region

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S

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vending solutions distributor said the locator allows for simple or refined product searched based on either location or part. The company said anyone in a shop can walk up to a touchscreen, do a search and know exactly where to find what they need. “Every minute spent hunting through drawers and bins is time you can’t use to finish your work,” James Self, Fastenal’s director of sales for metalworking, said in a statement.

makers, have found new success in transforming breakfast food into a sugary sweet, permissible indulgence. The new Hershey candy cereals aren’t the only recent super-sweet innovations to come from General Mills’ cereal division. In the last year, the company launched cereals including Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros, Fruity Lucky Charms and Chocolate Toast Crunch.

■ Target looks strong Target has struggled with flat 3500 revenue growth and margin compression in recent years, but 2800 financial results in 2019 were 126000 2100 encouraging and 2020 looks strong for the Minnesota-based retailer. The 1400 113000 company grew more than 4% on the top line for the fiscal year ending in January 2020, with 700 earnings expected to rise over 18%. 100000 0 Analysts J are F forecasting M A M continued J J A modest S O revenue N D J growth and roughly 10% earnings growth moving forward, both of which compare favorably to peers. The company is benefiting from more profitable small-format stores, a growing online channel, and same-day fulfillment services, according to Motley Fool. 3500 8000 trends are catalyzing investor confidence and 200000 3500 These has2800 been driving shares higher. 2800 139000

■ Kisses for breakfast? General Mills is launching five new varieties of cereal with sugar as the main feature. General Mills partnered with The Hershey Co., which 139000 139000 they have collaborated with in the past. Fewer Americans are eating cold cereal for breakfast 126000 are looking for healthier alternatives. and consumers 126000 General Mills has seen sales slip for several years and has offered healthier alternatives. 113000 But at the same time the company, and other cereal 113000

2100 1400 700

100000

100000 J F

J M

M J

J A

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1400 2000

N

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A O

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8000 6000

3,693

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

J A A

J S S

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89,398 67,695

100000 50000 0

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

November

100000

D

0

J

0 F

J M

F M A A M J

M J

J A

2018

2019

1.6% 62,030 1,034

2.0% 63,017 1,298

J S

A O

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Unemployment rates Counties, state, nation County/area

- 2018 - 2019

200000

D

100000

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

100000

2000 0 F F

4000 1400

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

150000

2,829

4000

700 0 J 0 J

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200000

Minnesota number of unemployed

N

N

- 2018 - 2019

Nine-county Mankato region

4000 2100

150000

Employment/Unemployment

F M A A M J

Local number of unemployed 8000 3500 6000 2800

6000 2100

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

November 2018

November 2019

1.8% 2.3% 2.1% 2.4% 2.4% 1.7% 2.1% 2.7% 2.7% 2.3% 2.3% 3.5%

2.1% 2.9% 4.1% 3.6% 2.7% 1.9% 3.1% 3.6% 3.4% 2.8% 2.9% 3.3%

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

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 25

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Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Tips to get control over your finances, build confidence By Kelsey Sheehy | NerdWallet

R

aise your hand if you feel confident about your finances. Not feeling it? That’s OK. Perhaps you’re among the 60% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, or one of the 81.6 million paying off student loan debt. It’s hard to feel confident when your loan balance doesn’t seem to budge and you’re fishing through the couch cushions for spare change to put gas in your car. But you can gain some control over your finances, bit by bit, until that confidence comes. These empowering money moves will help you build momentum with small gains.

Track your spending for one month

Knowledge is power when it comes to finances. Still, most people don’t know exactly where their money goes. Tracking your spending for one month will help you identify habits and spot excess expenses, says Colin Walsh, CEO of Varo, an online bank. “By keeping track of each and every purchase you make … you can more easily start to see how small purchases here and there add up,” Walsh says. Once you know where your money is going, you can make informed decisions about where you want it to go, giving you a sense of purpose with your spending. You might even decide to keep on tracking.

Switch to high-yield accounts

If you’re already doing the hard work of saving, why not make money on your money? Most savings accounts earn minimal interest — the average annual percentage yield is just 0.09% — but several offer close to 2% interest. Here’s the difference that can make: If you have $1,000 in a savings account with an APY of 0.09%, you’ll earn a measly $4.51 over five years. In a 2% APY account, that same $1,000 would earn about $105.

Increase your credit score

First things first: If you don’t know your credit score, start there. Several credit card issuers and personal finance websites offer free credit scores, so you can monitor it regularly and keep tabs on your progress. You can get your full credit report for free every year from each of the three credit bureaus using AnnualCreditReport.com. (Note: Checking your credit report does not hurt your credit score.)

26 • FEBRUARY 20209 • MN Valley Business

Now, look for ways to increase your score. A few ideas: • Check for errors on your report and dispute any you find with the credit bureau. • Lower your credit utilization (the percentage of your credit card limit that you use) by paying down cards or increasing your credit limits. • Become an authorized user on a partner’s or parent’s credit card. You can use a credit score simulator to learn ways to boost your credit score, as well as see the negative impact certain moves could have, like missing payments or increasing your credit utilization.

Pay off one loan or card

Ever feel like you’re throwing money at your debt, but the balances never seem to go down? Instead of trying to pay them all off at once, direct your energy (and extra money) at one debt, while making the minimum payments on the rest. You can tackle your debt in order from the smallest to largest balance to net some quick wins, or get rid of your most expensive debt first by focusing on the account with the highest interest rate. Tackling debt in a disciplined way will put you back in the driver’s seat with your money.

Plan for expected expenses

You can’t plan for every expense, but there are some you can see coming. Homeowners, for example, can anticipate things like property taxes and certain repairs. “If you have an old roof, you’re going to eventually need to replace it, so start setting money aside for that,” says David Carlson, founder of Young Adult Money, a personal finance blog. The financial hit won’t sting so much if you’ve set a little aside each month, and you’ll feel more confident knowing you can cover the cost without rearranging your budget or going into debt. MV


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Make your financial brain weaknesses a strength

T

Liz Weston | NerdWallet

he way our brains work can cost us a lot of money. But some of our mental quirks can be turned to our advantage. Cognitive biases are the faulty ways of thinking that can persuade us to run up debt, save too little and make stupid investment decisions. The bandwagon effect, for example, entices us to buy the hot stock everyone’s talking about, rather than the mutual fund that makes more sense for our long-term goals. Or we sign up for a too-large mortgage because of optimism bias (“I’ll figure out a way to make the payments, somehow!”). We can try to be more rational, but sometimes it makes sense to exploit our faulty wiring instead.

Mental Accounting

Money is fungible, which means every dollar has the same value regardless of how we get it or store it. But our brains didn’t get that memo, so we treat different types of money differently. We’re tempted to splurge with windfalls, for example, or to be more careful spending cash than using credit. You can turn this mental accounting to good use by creating multiple savings accounts, each labeled with your goal for the money. For example, you could create accounts called “vacation,” “car repair fund,” “home down payment” and so on. Online banks and credit unions typically make this easy by allowing you to create and name numerous subaccounts without minimum balance requirements or fees. Labeling and segregating money could help you keep your hands off of it.

End-Of-Histor y Illusion

Think of the person you were a decade ago — what you thought was important, what you liked and disliked, how you behaved. If you’re like most people, you’ve changed, but you also probably think that the person you are today is pretty much who you’ll be from now on. Regardless of their age, adults consistently underestimate how much they’ll change in the future, according to research by psychologists Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel T. Gilbert and Timothy D. Wilson, who dubbed this phenomenon the “end of history illusion.”

This illusion leads to the tattoo, mortgage or marriage you later regret. But the end-of-history illusion could be beneficial if you use it to give your future self more, rather than fewer, options. Here’s an example: People who save for retirement often anticipate the freedom and leisure they’ll enjoy one day when they can quit work. They can’t imagine they’ll feel differently later. As they get closer to retirement, though, some realize they want to keep working at least part time for the extra money or the social benefits. With sufficient savings, you typically have more options: You could quit, work part time, work full time, take a break and return to work or start your own business. If you haven’t saved, you may have little choice but to keep working.

Hyperbolic Discounting

Our hard-wired preference for short-term payoffs, even when we would get more by waiting, is known as “hyperbolic discounting.” We know we need to save more for retirement, or pay down debt, or build an emergency fund. In the moment, though, we want to spend our money in other ways. But hyperbolic discounting can be leveraged to create good outcomes, as well. Behavioral economists Richard H. Thaler and Shlomo Benartzi designed a “Save More Tomorrow” intervention where people committed to saving a portion of future raises. The economists figured opportunities to save future income would be considered more attractive than giving up current income. They were right: Retirement plan participation and contribution rates rose at the companies that tried this approach. Saving future income is also the idea behind automatic escalation. Many 401(k) plans allow you to sign up now to increase your contribution in the future by, say, 1 percentage point a year, and some plans have automatic escalation as the default. The IRS also offers a kind of “save more tomorrow” plan: You can split the direct deposit of your next tax refund, sending part to your savings account and the rest to checking. It would be great if we were always rational and could count on ourselves to make smart decisions. Since we aren’t and we can’t, using these workarounds can help us get better results with our money. MV

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 27


A N N I V E R SA R I E S

Kathy Depuydt

Victoria Vogel

Celebrating

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20 years

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Jennifer Wanderscheid Celebrating

5 years

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Cate DeBates

Celebrating

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10 years

5 years

5 years

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2020

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We only refer member businesses. Word of mouth Keep your employees NOTE: Calendar magnets are available at the check in table at each Business After Hoursand event and they are available direct referrals come at our office engaged retained with at 3 Civic Center and Plaza, Suite 100. Also, a downloadable version is available at greatermankato.com/business-after-hours. from being a valued access to our member only of GMG. events and programs. from Greater Mankato Growth member businesses at allmember Business After Hours gives representatives membership levels an opportunity to get together with one another to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s businesses. greatermankato.com/events

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Your investment helps us continue to build the best environment for your business and its employees.

The Greater Mankato Community Navigators is our newest program meant to connect newcomers in our community with residents who possess a great knowledge of the area to help them feel acclimated and welcome. You can learn more at greatermankato.com/navigators.

that businesses who belong to a chamber of commerce are more successful.

greatermankato.com/join April 2018

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 29 greatermankato.com/join


Greater Mankato Growth. Inc.

Annual Meeting MARCH 10 The community's premire business event. Open to the public.

This event brings together the business community and our four business units to share the accomplishments of the current year, celebrate the vision for the future and honor our esteemed “Volunteer of the Year” recipients!

Learn more at

greatermankato.com/annual-meeting

Reminder for Members! Keep your business information up to date! New address? New logo? Staff changes? Login to the Greater Mankato Growth member portal to update your information at greatermankato.com/portal. If you have trouble logging in, please call us at 507.385.6640.

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PARTNERSHIP PROVIDES HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS by, Lucy Sanford, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

J GREATER MANKATO WHY JOIN GROWTH? erry Johnson, founder and CEO of Aglytix, an agriculture and food technology company, presented Vincent Winstead, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, with five fixed-wing drones for student training and projects. A number of years ago, Johnson provided Winstead three drones, which they are still using today and they are redesigning them with updated camera and battery technology EXPOSURE with an open sourced system. Build your Brand;

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grow your business. "They have made such great use of the drones by get providing It’s not just Stand out and st WHO WHO you ou hands-on teaching of students aboutnoticed! drone technologies know, it’s who knows k including GPS, sensors, autopilots and batteries," Johnson said. YOU. Networking IS Powerful.

GreenSeam and Minnesota State University, Mankato have been partnering to build the capacity of the University surrounding agriculture and food. This is a great example of how the ag LEARNING industry is responding to the new program offerings the Gain access cces to Member University is constructing.

BE IN THE KNOW

Pictured: Vincent Winstead (Left) and Jerry Johnson (Right)

Receive our member only Exclusive Content to help emails making you the first to grow your business. for agriculture. Basically a drone is a flying sensor "Drones will be a key technology can capture know that the latest news. very detailed

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE "We hope that our partnership with Aglytix remains strong in the future and that we can deliver expertise and drone TALENT REFERRALS resources to other projects as well in agriculture and other aerial imaging applications," Winstead said. BENEFITS We only refer member RETENTION data, all across a field, whenever you want to capture it," said Johnson.

Sam Ziegler, Director of employees GreenSeam, applauds Keep your Aglytix for donating these engaged and drones retainedand with accessfor to our member Professor Winstead stepping uponly to the events andhands-on programs. challenge of providing experiences for students with ag technology.

businesses. Word of mouth and direct referrals come from being a valued member of GMG.

SHAPE YOUR CREDIBILITY Raise your reputation by COMMUNITY belonging. Research shows

Learn more about GreenSeam at greenseam.org.

Your investment helps us continue to build the best environment for your business and its employees.

Regional Collaboration in Action By working regionally, the cities of Eagle Lake, Lake Crystal, Mankato, North Mankato, and Saint Peter, along with Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties, leverage each other’s collective strengths. With one of the strongest pipelines of talent in the country, the region has had over half a billion dollars of investment in the last three years. Watch our "Invest With Confidence" video on Facebook, LinkedIn or greatermankato.com/invest.

that businesses who belong to a chamber of commerce are more successful.

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Christine Lantinen 1998 Marketing and Mass Communications

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ALUMNA’S PERSEVERANCE LEADS HER TO A SWEET DEAL Owner of Maud Borup, Christine Lantinen, mixes history and innovation to grow her business

C

hristine Lantinen knows the true meaning of “when one door closes, another opens.” In this case, though, Christine figured out quickly which door to open. Lantinen went to work at a food gift company and was let go due to budget cuts on a Friday. That following Monday, over coffee, she made a handshake deal to buy the Maud Borup brand and promptly sold over $2 million in candy orders. Maud herself started Maud Borup in 1907. She sold her homemade chocolates in retail shops, direct to consumer. Christine saw its potential and transformed the business into a wholesale business-to-business model with production out of Le Center, MN. The company now specializes in every day and seasonal gourmet candy, beverage mixes and savory food gifts. They partner with Hy-Vee, Target, Whole Foods, Cost Plus and Barnes & Noble. The numbers speak loudly that Christine made the right decision to refocus the company. That first year (2005), Maud Borup went from $100,000 to $2 million in sales with just four employees. Fast forward to 2018, and they saw $20 million in sales with 150 employees. Two College of Business marketing students, Kayla Rogeberg and Lauren Kaufman, spoke with Christine Lantinen about her company.

Tell us about the products that Maud Borup is known for. Christine: Two of our most popular products are cotton candy and gummies. We also do a high volume of cocoa mix gifts.

What makes your candy unique?

CL: We look at ways that our products can have a “better for you” spin. For example, the fizzy drink bombs have been fortified with vitamins and we are producing organic cotton candy with inclusions, no nuts or dyes, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

We also are proud to have produced the first 100% renewable, plant-based plastic Easter eggs made in Minnesota- Eco Eggs®

What is your focus on sustainability?

CL: We are always working to keep our business focused on caring for our environment. A few examples include: • A wind turbine that provides power for our manufacturing facility • A patent for renewable, plant-based plastic Easter eggs • Biodegradable plastic wrap used to secure shipments • Tables, counters & desktops are from recycled & upcycled material, i.e. shredded money & coffee beans

Where is the business headed?

CL: A few months ago, we broke ground on our 66,000 square foot expansion. We will be able to offer 35 more jobs in our Le Center location, and it will house a new enrobing machine (think chocolate covered potato chips). In the very near future we will have a presence on Amazon for consumers. Our 10-year plan is to hit 100 million in sales; continuing with our 20% growth rate each year.

Advice to young entrepreneurs?

CL: Every real-world experience you take is a stepping stone. Surround yourself with influential people to constantly inspire you.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, what are the biggest sellers?

CL: Believe it or not, the gummy bears are the biggest seller for Valentines! Watch for the new Avo-Cuddles in your local Target. ................................................................................................................

To learn more about the College of Business,

visit cob.mnsu.edu

MN Valley Business • FEBRUARY 2020 • 33


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