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The Definitive Business Journal for the Greater Minnesota River Valley June 2019

Bill Byrne, owner of Lakeview Resort in Waterville. Photo by Jackson Forderer

The Great Outdoors Businesses cater to recreational enthusiasts Also in this issue • OZ FAMILY DENTISTRY IN MANKATO • BLACKHAWK FIBERWERX OF ST. JAMES • OLD TOWN GARAGE

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Cohabitation Agreements By Andrew M. Tatge

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n modern society, more people are living together in romantic relationships without getting married. Particularly before comingling finances with a romantic partner, consider obtaining a cohabitation agreement. In Minnesota, a cohabitation agreement allows you to contractually determine your rights and responsibilities and is enforceable as to property and financial matters if (1) the contract is written and signed by the parties; and (2) enforcement is sought after termination of the relationship. Unless the individuals have executed a valid cohabitation agreement, Minnesota courts are without jurisdiction to hear and must dismiss as contrary to public policy any claim by an individual to the earnings or property of another individual if the claim is based on the fact that the individuals lived

together in contemplation of sexual relations and out of wedlock within or without this state. A cohabitation agreement is very important for parties who have lived together for a long time and desire to continue living together but do not wish to get married. There are provisions that can be drafted into a cohabitation agreement that allow for a “safety net” to the less financially secure party if the relationship sours and ends. If you do comingle finances with a romantic partner, be very careful and deliberate with your finances. Even without a cohabitation agreement, there are other ways to protect you financially, such as making sure that both parties’ names are on deeds to any jointly owned real estate, titling vehicles in both parties’ names, etc. Under Minnesota law, without a cohabitation agreement, parties living together who are not married run the risk of unintended

consequences if the relationship ends. For example, if the parties agree that one party will pay for the mortgage on the homestead which is in her name alone and the other party will pay all of the bills related to electricity, heat, telephone expenses, television, etc., at the end of the relationship, the person who paid for those personal expenses has nothing to show for it, where the person who paid money towards the mortgage has equity in a homestead that is of some value. That creates an “inequitable” result, but a result that is required under the law without a properly executed cohabitation agreement to the contrary.

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MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 1


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F E A T U R E S June 2019 • Volume 11, Issue 9

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As summer arrives campers are heading to area resorts and angler and boaters are fanning out across the many lakes and rivers to enjoy the great outdoors.

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There is plenty of family in Oz Family Dentistry and the longtime business that started in downtown Mankato in 1956 is the SBDC Family-Owned Small Business of the Year.

18

Brothers Tony and Tyler Baumann renovated a former Texaco station in Old Town and provide plenty of homage to the old business after they opened Old Town Garage.

20

As kids, Tyler Deike and his brother launched a lawn care service in Mankato and Tyler later used his business experience to buy and revitalize Blackhawk Fiberwerx.

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 3


JUNE 2019 • VOLUME 11, ISSUE 9

By Joe Spear

PUBLISHER Steve Jameson EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tim Krohn CONTRIBUTING Tim Krohn WRITERS Kent Thiesse Harvey Mackay Dan Greenwood Dan Linehan PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman Jackson Forderer COVER PHOTO Pat Christman 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.........................7 ■ Business and Industry trends..........22 ■ Retail trends.....................................23 ■ Agriculture Outlook..........................24 ■ Agribusiness trends..........................25 ■ Construction, real estate trends.....26 ■ Gas trends........................................27 ■ Stocks...............................................27 ■ Minnesota Business updates............28 ■ Job trends.........................................28 ■ Schmidt Foundation.........................30 ■ Greater Mankato Growth..................32 ■ Greater Mankato Growth Member Activities ............................34

From the editor

Will Trump’s China gambit pay off ?

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ast month we urged the elimination of tariffs to take the burden of them off the backs of area farmers. President Donald Trump wasn’t listening. He doubled down and raised tariffs on nearly all Chinese goods imported to the U.S. The new tariffs are set to take effect in about a month after a public hearing and comment period. China took retaliatory action and put more tariffs on an additional $60 billion of U.S. goods. The new tariffs are really going to help farmers much. Trump did push for the U.S. buying $15 billion of farm goods to “give” to poor countries. That’s all well and good, but it sounds like a farm policy like we had in the 1980s regarding surplus cheese. Experts say even if we could give away that much food, many of these countries have no infrastructure to take it, and much of it might just sit rotting in a foreign port. Reasonable opponents of Trump have been granting him an argument that the Chinese needed to be punished for their de facto stealing of U.S. technology as they made trade deals with U.S. companies. In the old days, that used to be called dealing with the devil. U.S. companies always had the option of saying no, but they didn’t because the Chinese market was just too lucrative for whatever U.S. companies wanted to sell. The largest and fastest growing population in the world was a market U.S. businesses fought to get into for years and finally, around the turn of the century, got China admitted to the World Trade Organization. This was an important step in that it set up a system of world trading rules where participants could be punished via a World Trade court for things like unfair trade practices. The system was cumbersome no doubt and disputes could take years to resolve but it was better for

4 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

business the world over to have some regulatory structure for world trade. Agriculture, in particular, has much to gain in China. As a country moves from Second World status to First World status, it comes with an enormous boosting of a people’s diet -- a diet for more protein. And soybeans and beef and other U.S. commodities are the perfect products to meet those needs for more protein. But an acre of New York real estate is more valuable than an acre of Midwest farm land and maybe that’s where Mr. Trump’s thinking comes in. Some suggest he figures cracking the Chinese market will help Silicon Valley more than the Minnesota River Valley, and that the U.S. economy will be boosted by the technology business that requires more workers than farming. But it’s hard to know if Trump or his advisors think that deeply about this. The other conundrum comes with enforcement of any kind of Chinese agreement to refrain from stealing our technology. How could this be enforced? How could we monitor that the Chinese didn’t steal the new working of an Apple Iphone? We might need a regulatory body for that – like the World Trade Organization for example. I’m skeptical Trump’s gambit will pay off, but when we were in economics class we learned the mantra of “what if”: ceteris paribus. It means “all other things being equal.” If one wants to correlate, for example, the tariffs to an improving U.S. economy, you can run regression correlation equations until you’re blue in the face, but if other things are not relatively equal or the same, your guess is as good as a Vegas gambler’s. We also learned, that there is almost never a situation where all other things in a large complex economy are “being equal.” There are many factors that


influence the U.S. economy, with tariffs being just one. In fact, the willingness of U.S. consumers to pay a slightly higher price for imported Chinese goods may be more key. Will someone who buys a $250 leather jacket made in China still buy it if it’s $289? Probably, especially if it has one’s favorite sports team’s logo on it. Will a U.S. consumer buy a $10 Chinese-made Duck Dynasty T-shirt at Walmart if it’s $11? Will a U.S. teenager’s parents buy a $1,000 iPhone, if it’s $1,150? Trump’s advisors may be proven right if we don’t flinch at these higher prices. But we must remember, all other things are almost never equal. Joe Spear is executive editor of Minnesota Valley Business. Contact him at jspear@mankatofreepress.com or 344-6382. Follow on Twitter @jfspear.

CORRECTION

A story in the May issue about Wendy June and her Mankato Pet Cremation, LLC business contained an incorrect phone number for the business. The number is 507-995-7126.

Local Business People/Company News ■

Crown earns award

Crown Beverage Packaging in Mankato was recognized for excellence in workplace safety and health during the Governor’s Safety Awards ceremony in May. Crown is one of 294 employers to be honored through the awards program, coordinated by the Minnesota Safety Council. Crown received a Meritorious Achievement Award for exemplar y workplace safety efforts in 2018, the second year in a row they have received the honor.

The ENR Top 500 Design Firm list is used to directly rank and outline the largest United States based design firms, both publicly and privately held, based on design-specific revenue; by most estimations, the industry includes nearly 50,000 firms. ■■■

Banks merging

Midwest Family Mutual Insurance Company of Minneapolis named Kato Insurance Agency to its President’s Club. The award recognizes outstanding continued service to customers and community. Kato Insurance has been a President’s Club agent for 11 years.

Pioneer Bank announced the purchase of Nicollet County Bank in St. Peter has been finalized with approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Citizens Bank Group Inc., parent company of Pioneer Bank, is now operating Nicollet County Bank. Nicollet County Bank named Nathan S. Newhouse as its new President. A merger of Nicollet County Bank and Pioneer Bank is planned for August 2019. Newhouse was formerly president of Pioneer Bank in Mankato.

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Kato Insurance honored

Pioneer promotes Jeppson

Pioneer Bank has promoted Lance Jeppson to president at their Mankato location. Jeppson, previously vice president, will continue in his role as a business banker at the Mankato location in addition to his new role. Jeppson, a St. James native, has more than 16 years of banking experience. ■■■

ISG named top firm

ISG, an architecture, engineering, environmental, and planning firm, was recently recognized as one of the country’s leading design firms by the Engineering News-Record magazine’s annual industr y rankings. ISG broke through the 300 mark, continuing on an upward trajectory that builds upon 2018’s ranking of 324 and jumps 195 spots from positions held over the past four years.

Blue Earth utility honored

Blue Earth Light and Water was recognized as a Reliable Public Power Provider, a designation given by the American Public Power Association to topperforming utilities based on the delivery of safe and reliable electricity. In earning the distinction they also attained top-level diamond status. Of 2,000 public power utilities, BELW joins 107 public power utilities in the United States and five in Minnesota, who have earned diamond status. ■■■

Kottschade honored

Laura A. Kottschade of Jerry’s ABRA Auto Body and Glass has been appointed to the WIN Board of Directors. She is assistant general manager of Jerry’s. She follows her mother Geralynn who served as the First Chair of WIN and founding Mother.

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 5


WIN is a not-for Profit organization, driving the future of collision repair by attracting, developing and advancing women. ■■■

Providers join Mankato Clinic

Mankato Clinic announced new providers who have joined the practice. Katie Thompson, DO, joins Mankato Clinic Family Medicine at Main Street. She attended medical school at Des Moines University and completed her residency at the University of Minnesota Family Practice Residency Program in Mankato. Her clinical interests include women’s health, anxiety, depression and pediatrics. Season Hoffman, APRN, CNP, joins Bluestone Vista at Mankato Clinic. Through Bluestone Vista, Mankato Clinic provider teams visit seniors in residential living facilities. She earned a bachelor of science in community health and nursing from Minnesota State University. She completed her

master of science in nursingfamily nurse practitioner at Walden University, Minneapolis. She has worked at Mayo Clinic Health System-Mankato as a cardiac RN. Erin Ness, PA-C, RD, joins Mankato Clinic Urgent Care department. She earned a BS in nutrition and dietetics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She earned her master of science in physician assistant studies from Augsburg University, Minneapolis. Her clinical interests include acute care, mental health, diabetes, preventive medicine and wellness. Travis Mattson, PT, DPT, joins Mankato Clinic Physical Therapy department. He earned his doctorate of physical therapy at Concordia University, St. Paul. He earned his certification as a certified athletic trainer at Gustavus Adolphus College. His clinical interests include orthopedics, sports medicine, concussion management, injury screening and prevention.

6 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

Willaert opens office

Farmers Insurance agent Chris Willaert has opened a new office at 1901 Madison Avenue, Suite 130 (behind Panera and next door to Subway and Caribou Coffee). ■■■

Thoen honored

Gregor y Thoen, a private wealth advisor with Ameriprise Financial in Mankato, was named to the list of “400 Top Financial Advisers” published by the Financial Times. The annual list recognizes the top financial advisors who represent the highest levels of ethical standards, professionalism and success in the business. To receive the award, a wealth manager must meet six criteria associated with quality client ser vice, client assets under management, professional designations, favorable regulatory history, online accessibility and a minimum of 10 years in the industry.


Business Commentary

By Harvey Mackay

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Believe in yourself even when no one else does

ife is not a parabolic curve. It doesn’t go straight up. There are a lot of lumps, a lot of bumps. I have never yet met a successful person that hasn’t had to overcome either a little or a lot of adversity in his or her life. Overnight success is much more of a myth than reality. Remember the four-minute mile? Humans had been trying to do it for centuries, since the days of the ancient Greeks. They found the old records, how the Greeks tried to accomplish this. They had wild animals chase the runners, hoping that would make them run faster. They tried tiger’s milk, not the stuff you get down at the supermarket. I’m talking about the real thing. Nothing worked. So, the experts decided it was physiologically impossible for a human being to run a mile in four minutes. Our bone structure is all wrong. Our wind resistance is too great. Humans have inadequate lung power. There were a million reasons – until one day when one human being proved the doctors, the trainers and the athletes all wrong. In 1954, Roger Bannister showed the world that it could be done. Over the next few years, more and more people broke the four-minute mile once they realized that yes, it was possible. When Bannister passed away in early March of this year, it brought back a lot of memories from that time in history that I remember so well. The world was changing a great deal. People around the world were overcoming the long-perceived physical boundaries of nature. American pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947. And who can forget Sir Edmond Hillary and his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay conquering Mount Everest in 1953. Many famous people have overcome tremendous adversity to triumph: · Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the richest people in the world, dropped out of school and had his first business fail. · Oprah Winfrey overcame terrible poverty growing up in rural Mississippi to become a billionaire media mogul who has inspired millions around the world. · Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four years old and couldn’t get a job in physics for two years after graduation. · Richard Branson didn’t let his dyslexia stop him

from founding Virgin Group and controlling more than 400 companies. · Popular recording star Jay-Z came from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood but couldn’t get signed to any record labels as a rapper. In 2013, “Time Magazine,” ranked him as one of the most influential people in the world. · Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the greatest painters of all time, yet he only sold one painting during his lifetime. · Simon Cowell, star judge from “American Idol” and “The X Factor” had a record company fail. Botanists say trees need the powerful March winds to flex their trunks and main branches, so that the sap is drawn up to nourish the budding leaves. Perhaps people need to meet the stresses of life in the same way, though we dislike enduring them. A stormy period in our lives can be a prelude to a new spring of life and health, success and happiness. That is if we keep our self-confidence and faith in the future. Everyone faces adversity, pain, loss and suffering in life. When you go through those periods, it’s hard to remember that the emotions you’re feeling are only temporary. The best thing to do is to develop a plan for what you will do when these times hit and find your way to the silver lining – the place where you can feel hopeful again. You need a personal sense of commitment, the ability to let go when appropriate, and strong values. Take charge of the things you can control, such as your treatment of others, the way you spend your time outside of work, how you think about yourself, how often you exercise, when and how to share your feelings, how to let others know you’re stressed and how mature you act. Who says that you can’t accomplish your goals? Who says that you’re not tougher and better and smarter and harder working and more able than your competition? It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it. So, we all know, if we believe in ourselves, there’s hardly anything that we can’t accomplish.

Mackay’s Moral: How you handle adversity says a lot about how you will handle success.

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

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 7


Walt Hohn has owned Walt’s Hook, Line & Sinker for 12 years in rural St. Peter. Photo by Jackson Forderer

Enjoying nature Southern Minn. a growing destination for recreation By Tim Krohn | Photos by Pat Christman and Jackson Forderer

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ast September, a tornado tore through Bill Byrne’s Waterville resort, toppling trees across the Lakeview Resort property. “By 7 o’clock the tornado went through and by 8 people who’ve stayed at the resort and from town were showing up with chainsaws to help clean up the whole property,” Byrne said. “That kind of atmosphere is why it’s so great to be around campers and in a small town.” Byrne, who bought the resort nine years ago, is one of many businesses in the region that cater to area

residents and visitors who enjoy the outdoors. Walt Hohn built Walt’s Hook Line & Sinker, just east of St. Peter, 12 years ago after working for dozens of years in manufacturing plants. “I’m here 13 hours a day but those 13 hours are nothing compared to the eight hours I worked there. People come in here and they’re happy because they’re going fishing. It’s really nice.” Brady Kuiper, owner of Pontoon1 in Mankato, has seen the business transform over the years as pontoons get bigger, more luxurious and more popular.

Cover Story

8 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


Top: Walt Hohn (left) takes cash for Joe Lindgren’s purchase at his bait shop in rural St. Peter. The shop is dotted with fishing humor signs such as, There is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot. Bottom: An RV campsite at Lakeview Resort in Waterville. Bill Byrne, owner of the campsite, said that people come from all over Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities to the resort because there is so much to do there. Photo by Jackson Forderer “Pontoons are the largest market share of boats out there. And it’s growing 5 to 10% a year.”

Hooked on fishing

Hohn sells bait, tackle and licenses, but doesn’t carry any hunting gear. “With the river and trout ponds here and all the lakes close by it’s been pretty good,” Hohn said of his business. Hohn carries mid- to low-priced tackle. “People looking for real expensive stuff go to Scheel’s or Cabela’s. People who come here just need a rod or reel for their kids or something. About the highest cost reel I have is $50.” He buys his inventory from smaller companies such as Snyder’s Lures out of Dodge Center or Shearwater out of Fridley. “So I do have stuff that’s not in the big stores,” Hohn said “There’s always new gear that pops up. You have to decide if it will work in this area compared to Up North or other states.” He also gets business from angling clubs, such as the New

Ulm Area Sport Fishermen, and he said clubs are teaching classes on fishing and tying knots to get young kids out fishing more as fishing participation has fallen off a bit. “The German-Jefferson (lakes) sports club is working on getting kids fishing. We have organizations who see the need for that. “Now schools are making

fishing part of their offerings, too, just like trap shooting. Schools are realizing it’s a sport like anything else.” Bait dealers have had a tougher time sourcing bait because of restrictions on bringing minnows into the state to prevent the spread of a virus. “We used to get shiners out of Missouri and Arkansas where their growing season is a lot MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 9


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longer. Our minnows, shiners, suckers in our weather up here where it’s colder grow slower. So if there’s a tough winter here, supplies can go down.” Hohn gets his bait from Ken’s Bait Service in Chaska. “They do a super job. They come once a week. If I run out earlier I call them at 7 in the morning and they’re here by noon.” He’s open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. “I’m even open on Christmas, but I close early on some holidays.” He tries to keep up on where the fish are biting to pass on information to customers. But he also knows fishermen. “Sometimes you get some false information. You never know exactly where they’re biting but you see people going to the same place,” Hohn said. “How do you tell when a fisherman’s lying?” Hohn asks. “Their lips are moving.”

Big and luxurious

Kuiper has watched as pontoons have evolved from the basic models of years ago to higher performance, luxury crafts. “They run from $18,000 to $125,000. The average in this area is around $30,000.” The biggest pontoons they sell are 30 feet long, with the 22-footer the most popular. “That’s a sweet spot in southern Minnesota. The bigger ones are usually on the big lakes up north or like Minnetonka.” They sell the No. 1 selling brand, Bennington and sell waverunners, as well as preowned boats. Pontoon1 has about 95 pontoons on hand and they store pontoons for people over the winter at a site near Third Avenue. “The boats are so big, they’re not like a fishing boat so people don’t have a place to store them,” Kuiper said. He said pontoon manufacturers have transitioned from carpeted floors to vinyl floors and they mount 4-stroke engines on them. “They’re easy to run, you don’t need to be a mechanic anymore. There’s no tune ups. They’re a lot simpler now.” Kuiper said the new tri-hulls have changed pontooning. “You


Top: Brady Kuiper, owner of Pontoon1 on Riverfront Drive in Mankato. Bottom: Jan Hommerding from Otsego sweeps in her RV at Lakeview Resort. Hommerding said that she and her husband have been coming to the resort for 11 years and they like to go pontooning and listen to cowboy music. Photo by Jackson Forderer can put larger motors on them, they’re performance boats,” he said. “And pontoons have evolved into fishing a lot more now. Humminbird depth finders and trolling motors are huge now.”

“They’re easy to run, you don’t need to be a mechanic anymore. There’s no tune ups. They’re a lot simpler now.” MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 11


Resort with a view

Byrne’s Lakeview Resort dates to the 1930s, with the cabins originally built as Civilian Conser vation Corps housing while CCC workers were building bridges in the Waterville area. “My home was originally the dining hall, which had an addition added that became a bar.” Previous to Byrne taking over there hadn’t been a lot of improvements at the resort. “I added a pool, cleaned up the shoreline, updated all the cabins and did a lot of upkeep on the grounds.” He worked with the DNR to add an aeration system in the lake. “It’s attracting a lot of fish and the DNR does a fantastic job of stocking fish here. Our campers come in with a lot of nice walleyes and other fish.” When he was looking to buy a resort his impulse was to buy one in northern Minnesota. “People think of going north to the lakes and even I was thinking that.” He thinks southern Minnesota is increasingly recognized as a great camping and fishing spot.

“I was at a camp show and the guy said he has to have the sound of loons in the morning and needed to be Up North. His wife said ‘I can drive 6 hours to a cabin or one hour. I’ll buy you a loon CD,’ “ Byrne said. “They bring the loon CD every year they come back.”

“It’s attracting a lot of fish and the DNR does a fantastic job of stocking fish here. Our campers come in with a lot of nice walleyes and other fish.” He said Waterville is a great location for resorts. “We have great places to eat at reasonable prices, a great grocery store that

1 7 11 P r e m i e r D r i v e Mankato, MN 56001 (507) 720-6053 info@cabinetlab.net 12 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

makes their own brats and sausages, a great bakery. There are seven resorts right in this area.” One of those is the sprawling Kamp Dels, located next to Lakeview. “The nice thing is we’re not in competition. People think of Kamp Dels as the Twin Cities of camping with a great waterslide and horse riding and lots of amenities. I’m more the small town. We work great together and refer people to each other if we’re full.” Lakeview has four, twobedroom cabins and 95 camp sites. Eighty nine of those sites have become seasonal, where people park their RV and leave it year around. “People love it, they come out all summer and fall. When I came there were 35 seasonal sites, it really took off. You can have the dream of a cabin with a camper that’s set up all year.” MV


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Daniel Osdoba (left) and Eric Page of Oz Family Dentistry.

A growing family

Oz Family Dentistry honored by SBDC By Dan Greenwood Photos by Jackson Forderer

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hen David Osdoba started his State University, Daniel Osdoba realized dental practice on Walnut Street in dentistry fit his skills and would be a way to 1956, he had no hygienists, no help people. receptionists. He did So he attended dental have something of an school and, in 1984 assistant in young joined his father’s Daniel, one of six practice, which had by children, who would then moved to an office OZ FAMILY hand instruments to his building at the corner of DENTISTRY father. Main and Second 1550 East Adams St., The boy became streets. Mankato intrigued by the Even as the profession profession, though he continued to change — (507) 387-2603 grew up undecided tooth implants began to ozfamilydentistry.com about his future. While replace bridges and attending Minnesota dentures, and the

Cover Spotlight

14 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


Daniel Osdoba works on patient Connor Ward, 6, at Oz Family Dentistry. Submitted photo pursuit of whiter teeth intensified — the practice held onto some traditions. Daniel Osdoba’s wife, Kris, became an accountant and helped balance the business’s books. And just as he handed instruments to his father, Osdoba was joined in the practice by one of his four daughters, Gretchen. “She used to come with me to the office after hours for emergencies and I would say even as a young kid, she was fascinated,” he says. “She was one of those kids who, when they had a loose tooth they always got it out.” When she joins the practice in July, Gretchen Osdoba will become its third dentist. Eric Page joined in 2013. Daniel Osdoba says the “family”

in Oz Family Dentistry refers not just to his family, but to their 14 employees and their thousands of patients. The company was recently named the FamilyOwned Small Business of the Year by the South Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center. The award recognizes a business that’s been in operation for 15 years, represents the region well and is run by multiple generations. Even as the business has retained its family focus over the decades, it has joined in dentistry’s modernization.

A Changing Landscape

New drills, X-rays and other technology have revolutionized the everyday work performed by

dentists and dental hygienists. Previous generations of drills, which Page described as like a “jackhammer in a patient’s mouth” have been replaced by tools that efficiently carve away plaque and decay. X-rays, once limited to 1-by-2inch images developed from film can now be put up on a flat-screen TV and shown to a patient. Demand continues to be strong for cosmetic tools, including teeth whitening and tooth-colored fillings, though there is a limit to how pearly one’s whites can be. “Sometimes, certain patients you need to talk down,” Page says. Digital technology has also replaced sometimes indecipherable handwritten charts, making it much easier to find and understand a patient’s records. New tools are on the horizon that are likely to change practice further. It can take two weeks to design and build a dental crown, which is a custom-made restoration that fits over each tooth. More dentists’ offices are buying machines that allow them to design and build crowns and other dental restorations on site. Taking digital impressions and using them to custom-build tooth prosthesis will become the norm in dentistry over the next decade, Osdoba said. And our teeth are getting cleaner. Decades of water fluoridation, education about dental hygiene and widespread use of braces (straight teeth are easier to clean) have made dentists’ jobs a lot easier, Osdoba says. Page adds that the expectations for children today, especially that they’ll see a dentist every six months, were not common decades ago, when children might see their first dentist as an older teen. The result has been that more adults are keeping their natural teeth longer and dentures are no longer as common. “We see 60-, 70-, 80-year-old patients with full sets of teeth,” Osdoba says. The expectations for dentists themselves are different today,

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 15


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too, Page adds. Sometimes, older adults with the most anxiety about the dentist say they were yelled at or treated roughly when they were younger. Even considering gentler dentists, better technology and cleaner teeth, not all the changes wrought by modernity have been positive.

New challenges

Billing and otherwise dealing with insurance companies has become much more complicated. “The impact of dental insurance has probably not been great overall for both sides,” dentist and patient, Osdoba says. Page explains: While most health insurance pays for most or all of a person’s cost above a deductible, dental insurance is the reverse. It generally covers costs up to a certain point, with everything above that level the patient’s responsibility to pay. This leads many patients to base decisions about their teeth on what the insurance will pay for, he says. Meanwhile, payments from public insurance programs like Medical Assistance, which covers low-income Minnesotans, sometimes don’t cover the dentist’s costs. The result is that many dental offices in Minnesota do not accept patients covered by Medical Assistance. A cleaning, for example, “might reimburse $20 less than you have to pay your hygienists for that hour,” Page says. He says their practice accepts patients with this coverage, but puts a limit on how many it will see. “You save it for when you can see a need,” Page says. Finding dental hygienists can also be difficult, especially in a tight job market. The dentists are thankful that two local programs — Minnesota State University’s dental hygiene program and South Central College’s dental assisting program — create a solid pool of applicants. “If we don’t find one in the current class, you have to steal from another office, which you don’t want to do,” Osdoba says. “It’s a bit of a juggling act.” Dentists aren’t trained to run a business, so operating one can be


another challenge. The practice has also changed with Mankato itself.

Staying Independent

When Osdoba finished dental school in the mid-80s, he and Kris moved to Owatonna for about a year. Though the opportunity at his father’s practice helped bring them to Mankato, they were both natives and wanted to raise their kids here. “It was still kind of just a small town then,” Osdoba says. In 1993, they adopted their current business name and moved to a new location on Navaho Avenue a few blocks east of Madison Avenue. It was nearly the eastern edge of the town at the time. A decade later, they built their present location across the street. In 2018, they expanded with four more “operatories,” or rooms to conduct cleanings and procedures, for a total of 10. That expansion alone, was larger than David Osdoba’s first two-room office. The practice sees itself as staying independent for years to come, but they are facing headwinds. As more dentists try to avoid the headaches of running their own business and negotiating with suppliers and insurance companies, more are working for corporate providers like Aspen Dental. In 1999, about two thirds of dentists were solo practitioners, compared with about half in 2017, according to a report from the American Dental Association. This suggests that dentists are moving to small groups or into chains. Page says family-owned companies like this one have a strong future. Mergers have been a “growing trend,” but he says dentistry is the sort of relationship-centered business that “anytime you have someone running a clinic who isn’t the one seeing the patients, I think you struggle to compete.” Osdoba says dentists have been talking about corporatization and mergers for decades, and he sees a strong future in family-owned, independent practices like his. MV

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Brothers Tony (left) and Tyler Baumann own Old Town Garage.

Reclaiming histor y Brothers resurrect old Texaco station as auto shop By Dan Greenwood | Photos by Pat Christman

W

hen Mankato mechanic Tony Baumann drove by the building that he would later house his automotive OLD TOWN GARAGE repair business, he didn’t think 502 North Second St., much of it, let alone its historical significance. Mankato “I drove by it so much without 507-514-7343 even really acknowledging it,” he oldtownmankato.com said. 18 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

Profile

Then the building —at the time an appraisal office —went on the market for sale last year. Baumann, who had spent the past decade working for automotive repair businesses and later out of his own garage, kept returning to the property for another look, but wasn’t convinced. But his brother Tyler — who had


a construction background — saw the potential. Then they discovered that the historic building, located at 502 N. 2nd Street in Mankato and erected in 1930, was originally designed to be a Texaco station. That piece of information, combined with the ideal downtown location on a busy thoroughfare, led the two to begin the painstaking process of converting the structure back to its original purpose. “To keep the Old Town feel of the building, we went through a lot of work just to keep it as original or close to what it was,” Tyler Baumann said. “There were probably a couple hundred hours just in the office here fixing windows and doors.” The neighbors took notice of the new owners as they were busy spending 2018 preparing the new shop for opening. The Washington Park Neighborhood Association gave them their “yard of the week” award last summer. After a long summer day spent clearing out five trailers worth of old boxes and furniture, a neighbor stopped by for a visit. It turns out his grandfather ran the Texaco station at that location back in the 1930’s, and he had some old photos and memorabilia from back then to share with them. “Since then I’ve gained a lot of interest in vintage gas pumps,” Tony Baumann said. “The logo spiraled into that. It’s obviously based off of the Texaco logo they used in that era.” They named the business Old Town Garage in homage of the historic preservation in Old Town Mankato, renovating with the aim of preserving that element of service station history. The sign, which stands in front of the building, was heavily influenced from the old 1930’s Texaco logo with the help of a family friend. Along with the sign based off of the old logo outside, historic memorabilia from the 1930’s decorates the front office of the building. The business, which officially opened earlier this year, contains three auto bays for three cars, including one of the original hoists from the original service station. “We’re getting it functioning again,” Tony Baumann said. “It dates back to 1932. It works really good for SUVs.”

Hooked early on

The brothers, who come from a large family, say they began tinkering with bikes and go-carts at a young age. Some of the basic nuts and bolts of working on smaller engines transferred to full-size cars, which the brothers began working on before they could legally drive. “We both had cars before we had our license, cheap little beaters that had broken several times before even being able to legally drive,” Tony Baumann said. “So it’s pretty much been wrenching on stuff since we were kids. There’s a lot of knowledge you can tie between the nuts and bolts aspect of it, the engine, the brake system.” That exposure at a young age, learning through trial and error with their dad’s tools led both to pursue work in that field. Tyler Baumann, who has a degree in automotive service from South Central College, specialized in trucks and worked at a marine shop for the past couple years. Tony Baumann honed his skills at a couple of the automotive shops and dealerships

around town for over a decade. Friends and family would ask for help with their own vehicles, and Tony Baumann was eager to help. “As long as I worked at other shops, you usually end up working on their cars on the weekend or on the side,” he said. “Then I quit my other job and that just spiraled into doing it full-time out of a place that I rented out of North Mankato.” After eight years, it became apparent that finding a central location was paramount. Many of Tony Baumann’s customers became the foundation of his new venture. Meanwhile the vintage sign, activity seen from the street and word of mouth led curious neighbors to call. “It’s really kind of amazing,” Tyler Baumann said. “Since we’ve been here just working on cars and stuff, a lot of the neighbors have had an issue and will come up; ‘I see you guys are working on cars here, can you help me or I have a question.’” Old Town Auto is unique in that the brothers are the sole staff. That — they say — is an asset. “That really sets us apart; more one-on-one communication,” Tony Baumann said. “One thing I’ve noticed working at other shops is information gets skewed. You’re communicating with your boss and then hear him talking with the customer, exaggerating what you just told him. You’ll hear him talking and going ‘this wheel bearing is going to fall off,’ and I just got telling him the wheel bearing was a little bit loose. Whatever the situation is, they magnify it to get a sale.” Both say they place an importance on catering to the needs of the customer, whatever their budget may be. They say their mission is to diagnose potential problems and then let the customers decide, diagnosing what things need immediate attention and what things can wait. That includes physically showing customers the old parts that were replaced. Tony Baumann said while some people don’t care either way, others are fascinated to see the evidence first-hand and are appreciative. Whether it’s topping off oil or fixing a key battery, they say they strive to go above and beyond what is expected, understanding the customer’s needs and providing an honest diagnosis. “When you’re the one doing the work and diagnosing, you’re more accountable for everything from the work being done to making the customer happy,” Tony Baumann said. MV

Old Town Garage was a former Texaco station.

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 19


Tyler Deike purchased Blackhawk Fiberwerx, a fiberglass fabrication and repair business, ten months ago in rural St. James. The business makes various fiberglass products, such as power sports roofs (shown here) for Polaris.

The restless entrepreneur After buying fiberglass business, Tyler Deike stays hungry By Dan Linehan Photos by Jackson Forderer he was eager for the opportunities. Tyler Deike was mowing lawns before he But even as he grew his roster of a few was old enough to drive and cleaning hotels dozen lawn clients, Deike felt the pressure to before he could book a room. hew more closely to the As a 14- and 15-yearwell-trodden career path. old, Tyler and his siblings “You’re growing up and would load a mower onto ever yone says ‘Go to a trailer and get rides to college, get a good job, customers from their BLACKHAWK father. At other times, the contribute to your FIBERWERX 401(k),’” he said. So he teen would clean rooms at 35119 746th Ave. did. Though he maintained a hotel owned by a family St. James friend. the lawn business in 507-375-5544 “It wasn’t the most college, he graduated with Facebook glamorous,” he said, but a degree in industrial

Feature

20 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


engineering in 2010. He got a job at Kato Engineering, a North Mankato company that makes electric generators. He tried out a variety of roles, from quality engineer to continuous improvement to sales, but after eight years decided he couldn’t reach his career goals at the company. So he tapped into his inner entrepreneur.

Buying a head start

Aaron Cotton with Blackhawk Fiberwerx puts a gel Most entrepreneurs start their coating on a mold that will be used to make an own business, but it’s not the only outdoor fire pit at the business in rural St. James path. Buying an existing business comes with advantages like a going through all the financials,” customer base, employees and a he said. reputation, says Wendy Anderson, The deal closed on June 1, 2018, senior finance consultant at the and Deike left his job at Kato South Central Minnesota Small Engineering. When Deike took Business Development Center. its helm, Blackhawk Fiberwerx It’s not unusual for a business had one full-time and a few partowner to turn to an outside buyer time employees. as they retire, she said. The company’s premier product “There are plenty of options out is called a “cab back.” It’s a piece there,” Anderson says. She works of fiberglass placed on the back of with entrepreneurs, including a vehicle’s cab. For example, Deike, to evaluate the financial when the frame, or “chassis,” of health and purchase price of a an ambulance is ready to be potential business acquisition. retired, the box can be put on a In early 2018, Deike learned of new frame. The cab back is the a small St. James-based fiberglass boundary between the re-used manufacturing firm called box and the cab. Blackhawk Fiberwerx up for sale. “We’re the only ones that make But he was skeptical. them in the country for smaller Born and raised in Mankato, trucks” he said. The company where a commute meant driving also makes roofs for Polaris offfrom Hilltop Mankato to Upper road vehicles. North, Deike didn’t like the idea of a 30-minute drive. And he knew Branching out nothing about fiberglass. After scaling the learning Still, he figured he was bound curve, Deike began brainstorming to learn something from a visit, so new products. Fiberglass has he went. properties similar to metal; it’s “I walked in the door, and I was strong and can be molded into like, ‘Whoa, I can see through all almost any shape. But it’s lighter of it,’” he said. Though he didn’t than metal and doesn’t rust or know fiberglass, he knew conduct electricity. manufacturing, and he saw plenty As he added potential new of places to improve, including products to his list — he’s got his the production process and eye on making motorcycle riding pricing. bags, for example — Deike Manufacturing, Deike said, is a realized he had to take it slow. little like baking a cake; it’s about Making molds into which assembling quality ingredients at fiberglass is poured is a long, a good price, getting the timing expensive process, so creating a right and refining the process. new product line is a major The company’s owner was investment. ready to sell, and Deike had Product development is like a overcome his initial skepticism. funnel, with ideas coming in the Meanwhile, he and his wife were top, getting refined and emerging taking care of a newborn baby. as finished products. Cramming “I would be up all night taking the funnel at the top with plenty of care of the baby and finish up ideas, even good ones, can ensure

nothing makes it through. “You want to not get in over your head,” he says. He’s looking to expand the company’s production of outdoor fire tables, which are tables with a propanefired, ornamental flame in the middle. The company had previously made only the base, but he’d like to make the entire table and sell directly to retailers or customers. The employee count has fluctuated, at one point going as high as 10 full-time workers before settling at six people by May. Even though he didn’t start the business from scratch, Deike shares the anxieties and pleasures of a business owner. “It’s stressful in that it’s all up to you, and at the end of the day it’s not as if there’s a company there to support you,” he says. At the same time, getting a big contract and shipping it out can provide an adrenaline rush, not totally unlike the feeling he gets riding motocross. “It’s a gas, it’s fun,” he says. You’re going fast, it’s kind of dangerous.” Meanwhile, he’s still balancing it all with keeping his wife and three children happy. When the kids come home, he becomes Dad, but when it’s lights out he may return to the grindstone. Something about Deike’s mindset craves variety, and he’s still on the hunt for other acquisitions. “I think the market is ripe with companies r unning conservatively, not taking risks and not investing in newer technologies,” he says. Deike believes relatively minor tweaks, like selling ads on Facebook, could make many existing companies more profitable. And through it all, he’s still been managing the landscaping business and has been dabbling in real estate and vehicle sales. Still, he’s managing to focus on refining a handful of fiberglass products. “Trust me, as much as I want to start on those Harley saddlebags, it’s not time yet.” MV

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 21


Business and Industry Trends ■

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Energy Uranium production down

Expenditures for uranium drilling in the United States were $4 million in 2017, an 82% decrease compared with 2016, according to a report by the Energy Information Administration. U.S. uranium mines produced 1.2 million pounds of uranium concentrate, in 2017, 55% less than in 2016. The production of uranium concentrate is the first step in the nuclear fuel production process, preceding the conversion of U3O8 into UF6, to enable uranium enrichment, then fuel pellet fabrication, and finally fuel assembly fabrication. Total production of U.S. uranium concentrate in 2017 was 2.4 million pounds U3O8, 16% less than in 2016, from seven facilities.

Brent crude price up

Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $71 per barrel in April, up $5 from March 2019 and just below the price in April of last year. EIA forecasts Brent spot prices will average $70/b in 2019 and $67/b in 2020, compared with an average of $71/b in 2018.

OPEC exports down

EIA forecasts that crude oil production in the Organization of the Petroleum Expor ting Countries (OPEC) will average 30.3 million barrels per day in 2019, down by 1.7 million b/d from 2018. In 2020, EIA expects OPEC crude oil production to fall by 0.4 million b/d to an average of 29.8 million b/d. Production in Venezuela and Iran account for most of the OPEC output declines in 2019 and in 2020. Architecture + Engineering + Environmental + Planning

22 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

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Avg. gas price: $2.92

For the 2019 summer driving season, which runs from April through September, EIA forecasts that U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.92 per gallon (gal), up from an average of $2.85/gal last summer. The higher forecast gasoline prices primarily reflect EIA’s expectation of higher gasoline refining margins this summer, despite slightly lower crude oil prices.

Natural gas use up

Retail/Consumer Spending Vehicle Sales Mankato — Number of vehicles sold - 2018 - 2019

1,347 833

1500 1200

The share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas-fired power plants to rise from 35% in 2018 to 37% in 2019 and to 38% in 2020. EIA forecasts that the share of electricity generation from coal will average 24% in 2019 and 22% in 2020, down from 27% in 2018. The generation share of hydropower averages 7% of total generation in EIA’s forecast for 2019 and 2020, similar to 2018. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables together provided about 10% of electricity generation in 2018. EIA expects they will provide 11% in 2019 and 13% in 2020.

Sales tax collections Mankato

CO2 to decline

600

After rising by 2.7% in 2018, EIA forecasts that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 2.1% in 2019 and by 0.8% in 2020. EIA expects emissions to fall in 2019 and in 2020 as forecast temperatures return to near normal after a warm summer and cold winter in 2018 and because the forecast share of electricity generated from natural gas and renewables increases while the forecast share generated from coal, which produces more CO2 emissions, decreases. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix.

Natural gas prices down

The Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $2.64/million British thermal units (MMBtu) in April, down 31 cents/MMBtu from March. Prices fell as a result of warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the United States, which reduced the use of natural gas for space heating and contributed to aboveaverage inventory injections during the month. EIA expects strong growth in U.S. natural gas production to put downward pressure on prices in 2019 and in 2020. EIA expects Henry Hub natural gas spot prices will average $2.79/MMBtu in 2019, down 36 cents/ MMBtu from 2018. The forecasted 2020 average Henry Hub spot price is $2.78/MMBtu.

Coal production down

EIA estimates that U.S. coal production in the first quarter of 2019 was 170 million short tons (MMst), 22 MMst (12%) lower than the previous quarter and 17 MMst (9%) lower than production in the first quarter of 2018. EIA expects that coal production will fall during the forecast period as demand for coal (domestic consumption and exports) declines. EIA forecasts that coal production will total 700 MMst in 2019 and 638 MMst in 2020 (declining by 7% and 9%, respectively).

900 600 300 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

(In thousands)

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

- 2018 - 2019 $350 $348

500 400 300 200 100 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Sales tax figures, City of Mankato

Lodging tax collections Mankato/North Mankato

- 2018 - 2019

$32,300

70000

$45,188

52500 35000 17500 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: City of Mankato

Mankato food and beverage tax - 2018 - 2019 175000 140000

$57,200 $53,101

105000 70000 35000 0

J

F

M

Source: City of Mankato

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 23


Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

All out trade war with China rippling through ag economy

I

t seems hard to believe that it has been less than a year since China first imposed increased tariffs on U.S. agricultural products in July of 2018. The Chinese government imposed those tariffs in retaliation to new tariffs imposed on numerous products being imported from China into the U.S. It now appears that the stalled trade negotiations between the U.S. and China has developed into an allout trade-war. Some experts have called it the largest economic trade war in global history, and there does not appear to be any solutions on the horizon anytime soon. It is having a significant economic impact on both the U.S. and China. On May 10, the U.S. increased tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. President Trump later threatened to add a 25 percent tariff on an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese imports, which would encompass most consumer goods in the U.S. that originate from China. In response, China has announced retaliatory tariffs of 10 percent to 25 percent on $60 billion worth U.S. goods being imported into China, with many of the increased tariffs likely being related to agricultural products. In 2018, China imposed tariffs that ranged from 5 percent to 25 percent on $110 billion of U.S. imports, representing over 70 percent of total U.S. imports. The 25 percent tariff was imposed on $50 billion worth of U.S. imports, which impacted soybeans and other agricultural products quite dramatically. Many economists have pointed out for years that a serious trade imbalance existed between the U.S. and China, and that some point it needed to be addressed. While not everyone agrees on the best way to address the trade issues with China, some members of Congress in both parties, some economic experts, and even some ag leaders feel that Trump Administration is on the right track with tough trade sanctions against China in order to renegotiate a more equitable trade agreement. However, now that this trade-war has extended into its second year, with it likely being escalated even more, it is very difficult to deny the financial impacts that it is already having on the U.S. agriculture industry and on farm family businesses. Based on USDA ag export data, the total value of U.S. ag exports to China was in a range from approximately $20 to $25 billion per year from 2012 to 2017. In 2018, the total value of U.S. ag exports fell by over 50 percent to an estimated $9.2 billion, which was at the lowest level since 2007. To put this in perspective, from the year 2000 to 2017, the average annual rate of

24 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

increase in U.S. ag exports to China was nearly 15 percent per year. Profitability in soybean production was probably hit the hardest by the trade war with China. Prior to the implementation of the tariffs in 2018, approximately one-third of annual U.S. soybean production was exported to China. U.S. soybean exports to China totaled nearly $14 billion in 2017. Local soybean harvest price quotes for the fall of 2018 in Southern Minnesota were $9.50 to near $10 per bushel in late May of 2018. Following the implementation of the Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans in 2018, the local soybean price dropped over 20 percent down to $7.50 to $8 per bushel by September of 2018. In 2018, USDA issued direct payments of $1.65 per bushel to soybean producers under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) to help offset the rapid drop in soybean prices. This certainly helped stabilize the situation for Midwest cop producers and improved 2018 net farm income levels. The 2019 fall soybean price in southern Minnesota was between $7 to $7.50 per bushel in mid-May this year, which is well below breakeven levels for most producers. Based on this situation, some members of Congress and ag leaders are pushing for another round of MFP payments in 2019.

Potential Assistance to Farm Operators affected by the “Trade-War”: • USDA could initiate another round of Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments in 2019. In 2018, USDA authorized up to $12 billion in trade assistance to producers that were impacted negatively by the increased tariffs deterioration of trade agreements with China, Canada and Mexico. Just over $9.5 billion of that was paid out as direct MFP payments to farmers, based on their 2018 production levels, with the biggest MFP payments going to producers of soybeans, hogs, and sorghum, and smaller payments going to dairy, wheat, cotton, and corn producers (the corn MFP payment was only $.01 per bushel). The 2018 MFP payments, especially for soybeans and hogs, did help stabilize low farm income levels for Midwest farmers in 2018. If USDA does establish another round of MFP payments in 2019, some farmers and others have suggested that the MFP formula needs to be revised to be more equitable and to cover more products. In 2018, the MFP payments were based on the actual production levels. This proved to be an issue in areas that had reduced crop production levels due to drought or excessive rainfall, thus reducing MFP


payment levels. It also possibly created a windfall profit for farm operators that were in areas fortunate to have above average soybean yields in 2018. Some would like to see the MFP payments based on historic crop insurance APH yields to make the payments more equitable. • Purchase a higher level of agricultural commodities for distribution as food aide. In 2018, USDA authorized over $1.2 billion to purchase commodities to be re-distributed as food aid, with the commodities primarily being pork, dairy products, fruit and rice. There is no data to show whether the commodity purchases had any impact on stabilizing commodity prices of those commodities. It has now been suggested to greatly increase the commodity purchases for 2019, possibly including corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum. However, with the exception of wheat, many of those products are used for livestock feed and processing rather than for human consumption. There are also some other concerns with logistics as far distribution of larger amounts of agricultural products in a timely manner. 8

• Implement a grain supply management strategy 6 similar to the farmer-owned reser ve (FOR) program that existed a couple of decades ago 4 to address the large U.S. grain supplies. The FOR program was initiated in the 1980’s to address 2 grain supplies and continually low grain prices. large The FOR program paid farmers annual storage payments to store the grain and keep it off the 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D market until the U.S. grain ending stocks were at a level to justify the release the grain that was in the FOR program. The FOR program was phased out in the late 1990’s as part of the “Freedom-to-Farm” Farm 8 Bill, which lead to an era of increased ethanol production and larger export markets to utilize the 100 excess 6 grain being produced in the U.S. The concern with 85FOR-type programs is that the ongoing grain supply 4 tends to keep grain market prices from 70 significant improvement. making 2

55 a trade agreement to end the current • Reach trade 400 war between the U.S. and China. This is J the F preferred M A M solution J J that A most S O farmers N D definitely and25others involved in the ag industry would like to J F M A M J J A S O N D see, and not just between the U.S. and China, but also with Canada and Mexico. Fortunately, trade talks between the U.S. and China are continuing, as well as with Canada and Mexico, even as tariff levels are100 being increased. Hopefully, there are some “winwin” trade solutions out there that all countries 85 involved can agree to, which is ultimately the best solution for farm operators. 70

Agriculture/ Agribusiness Corn prices — southern Minnesota

6

0

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

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

D

$3.28

J

F

M

A

M

4

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

0

J

Source: USDA

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2018 — 2019 8 20 100 16 6 85 $9.46 12 470 8 255 $7.18 4 40 0 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D 25 J F M A M J J A S O N D J F M A M J J A S O N D Source: USDA

Iowa-Minnesota hog prices 20 100 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

$82.89

22 19 16

$61.56 A M J J A M J J A M J J

M M M

Milk prices

13

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

$16.38

19

10

$14.03 J

F

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

185 pound carcass, negotiated price, weighted average

— 2018 — 2019

13

M

12 8

2

40

F

16

$3.54

4

16

J

20

8

55

25

(dollars per bushel)

— 2018 — 2019

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 25

10

J

J


Construction/Real Estate Residential building permits Mankato

Commercial building permits Mankato

1500000

1300000

1200000

1040000

900000

780000

600000

520000

300000

260000

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands) $16,705 $1,427,718

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands) $25,556 $1,277,939

A

S

O

N

0

D

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

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

104

145

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

$175,000 $164,900

200

240 180

M

Median home sale price: Mankato region 250

300

150 100

120

50

60

0 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

J

D

Source: Realtors Association of Southern Minnesota

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

N

D

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

Housing starts: Mankato/North Mankato

— 2018 — 2019

- 2018 - 2019

5.5

50

4.6%

5.0

O

Source: Realtor Association of Southern Minnesota

Interest Rates: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

40

4.5

30

4.0

18

5

20

4.1%

3.5 3.0

F

Source: City of Mankato

Existing home sales: Mankato region

0

J

10 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

Source: Freddie Mac

N

D

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

We Know Commercial Real Estate.

Adams Street Lot FOR SALE: 1.73 ACRE LOT

Read us online!

N

D

Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato

NEW!

Well located along new extension of Adams Street to County Road 12. Adjacent to Holiday Inn Express and near shopping, restaurants & more!

Tim Lidstrom CCIM, Broker

Karla Jo Olson Broker

US HWY 14

ADAM ST

SITE

www.lidcomm.com • 507-625-4606 100 Warren Street, Suite 708, Mankato, MN

26 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


Gas Prices 5

Gas prices-Mankato

— 2018 — 2019

54 43 $2.62

32 21 10 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

F

M

A

M

$2.58

$42.56

-1.7%

Ameriprise

$139.65

$142.83

+2.3%

Best Buy

$73.98

$72.29

-2.3%

Brookfield Property

$21.15

$19.93

-5.8%

Crown Cork & Seal

$56.67

$59.05

+4.2%

N

D

Consolidated Comm. $11.62

$4.97

-57.2%

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Fastenal

$68.48

$66.01

-3.6%

General Mills

$51.56

$51.41

-0.3%

Itron

$47.59

$61.01

+28.2%

Johnson Outdoors

$73.25

$82.55

+12.7%

3M

$213.53

$175.28

-18.0%

Target

$80.45

$75.11

-6.6%

U.S. Bancorp

$49.61

$52.12

+5.0%

Winland

$0.85

$1.05

+23.5%

Xcel

$55.67

$56.06

+0.7%

— 2018 — 2019

21 M

$43.29

O

$2.65

F

Archer Daniels

S

$2.69

J

Percent change

A

54

10

May 10

J

5

32

April 10

J

Gas prices-Minnesota

43

Stocks of local interest

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

0Source: GasBuddy.com J F M A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

C. Sankey

D

C. Sankey

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 27


Minnesota Business Updates

company sought to improve and streamline its business. ADM is one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers. Recent financial losses as a result of persistent inclement weather in the Midwest. ADM has faced recent loses due to extreme weather in the Midwest.

■ 3M cutting jobs, reduces forecast 3M will cut 2,000 jobs globally in a restructuring after the company posted a grim first quarter and slashed its profit forecast for the rest of the year. Maplewood-based 3M reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.23 per share, down 11% from a year ago and well below the $2.49 per share expected by stock analysts. The company’s first-quarter sales tallied $7.9 billion, down 5% from a year ago. “The first quarter was a disappointing start to the year for 3M,” Mike Roman, the company’s CEO said in a press statement. “We continue to face slowing conditions in key end markets which impacted both organic growth and margins, and our operational execution also fell short of the expectations we have for ourselves.”

■ U.S. Bank closing branches U.S. Bank will close more than 300 branches over the next two years as it adapts to the changing ways that people get services from it and other financial companies, executives said. The nation’s fifth-largest bank was constrained for several years from making changes to its 3,000 branches by a regulatory review of anti-money laundering practices. That constraint ended late last year and executives have since developed more detailed plans to optimize the branch network, which stretches across 25 states in the Midwest and West. Like many banks, they are seeing both business and consumer customers use digital tools, including computers and smartphones, more and more for banking services.

■ ADM offering buyouts Archer Daniels Midland is offering buyouts to an unspecified number of employees, an offer that expires on June 30. A spokesperson for the company also stated that some positions would be eliminated as the

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

183 190 45 151 569

Local non-farm jobs Percent change ‘17-’18

176 149 39 132 496

3500 2800

-3.8% -21.6% -13.3% -12.6% -12.8%

126000

2100 1400

113000

700 100000

Minnesota initial unemployment claims

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Minnesota Local non-farm jobs

Major Industry 139000 139000

2018

2019

Percent change ‘17-’18

Construction 126000 126000 Manufacturing Retail 113000 Services 113000 Total*

4,134 1,669 964 3,805 10,572

3,688 1,575 867 3,604 9,734

-10.8% -5.6% -10.1% -5.3% -7.9%

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

28 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

130,442 17,384

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.

March

- 2018 - 2019

Nine-county Mankato region

(in thousands)

O

N

D

200000 150000 100000

2000 1400 1400

700 D

N

D

0

50000

700 0

J

0

J

- 2018 - 2019

2,984 2,963

8000 3500 3500 6000 2800 2800 4000 2100 2100

0

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

J

F


O

O

ranchers filed a class action lawsuit against major U.S. meatpackers — including Tyson Foods, Cargill, JBS USA CenterPoint Energy, and National Beef Packing Co. — accusing them of a Minnesota’s largest conspiracy to minimize prices paid to ranchers for cattle natural gas utility, in order to inflate their own margins and profits. bungled a recent rateAccording to the complaint, the “Big Four” beef hike refund, leaving some companies started their scheme in 2015, when beef of its customers with prices reached a record high. They worked together to bounced checks or late-payment fees. keep the price of fed cattle low, artificially reducing CenterPoint said it has made whole all consumers supply while boosting their own profits. According to a dinged by unnecessary fees except for a small amount of release from the law firms representing R-CALF, these interest still due. practices depressed cattle prices by an average of 7.9% 139000 3500 The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved during the last four years. the interest refunds, admonishing Center¬Point for the These four beef-packing companies hold big influence 2800 mistake. over the industry since they buy and process more than 126000 “As far as I am concerned, you are in the doghouse,” 2100 80% of fed cattle in the U.S. Commissioner John Tuma told CenterPoint These accusations aren’t rare in the food industry. 1400 representatives at a PUC meeting in St. Paul, the Star 113000 Price-fixing lawsuits have also been filed about dairy, Tribune reports. tuna, pork and chicken. Tyson and JBS could be 700 Last November CenterPoint implemented a $47 especially feeling the pressure, since they have also been million refund to all ratepayers via bill credits. The 100000 of conspiring to fix prices of chickens and pork. 0 accused J F M A M J J A S O N D J refund was the difference between an interim rate hike Some of those cases are still pending, but others have granted to CenterPoint and a considerably smaller final settled. Fieldale Farms, a chicken producer in Georgia, rate increase approved by the PUC last year. agreed to fork over $2.2 million last year to release itself from a class-action lawsuit for its role in a price fixing scandal 139000 3500 in the broiler chicken industry. ■ Cargill accused of price fixing 8000 fixing, however, can be difficult to definitively 200000 139000 3500 Price The Rancher s 2800 prove. Cattlemen Action Legal 2800 6000 150000 126000 126000 Fund U n i t e d 2100 2100 Stockgrowers of America 4000 100000 1400 113000 (R-CALF) and other cattle 1400

■ CenterPoint bungles refunds

113000

700 2000

700

100000

100000 J F

J M

Employment/Unemployment

F M A A M J

M J

J A

J S

Local number of unemployed

4000 2100 1400 2000

N

D

8000 6000

A O

S N

O D

5,733 6,066

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

200000

J A A

J S S

A S O N O N D O N D

100000 50000 0

J

F

M MJ

J JA

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

J JS

A AO

S N S

O D O

N N

D D

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

March

100000

D

0

J

0 F

J M

F M A A M J

M J

J A

2018

2019

3.0% 60,976 1,888

3.4% 59,811 2,077

J S

A O

S N

O D

N

D

Unemployment rates Counties, state, nation County/area

- 2018 - 2019

117,059 127,114

150000

D

F M A M AJ FA M

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

100000

2000 0 F F

0 0 J F JM

J

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

150000

4000

700 0 J 0 J

D 0

200000

Minnesota number of unemployed

N

N

- 2018 - 2019

Nine-county Mankato region 8000 3500 6000 2800

50000

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

March 2018

March 2019

3.1% 4.8% 4.8% 6.2% 3.7% 2.6% 4.4% 5.8% 4.7% 3.3% 3.6% 4.1%

3.4% 5.2% 5.3% 7.0% 4.1% 3.2% 5.4% 5.3% 5.5% 3.6% 4.1% 3.9%

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

Minnesota unemployment MN Valley initial Business • JUNE 2019 claims • 29

0

J


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Are socially conscious funds a good bet for retail investors?

I

By Janet Kidd Stewart of Tribune News Service

nvestors are throwing more money into funds with a social mission, but do these funds belong in your retirement account? Emboldened by a surge in assets among so-called socially responsible mutual funds and pensions - now about $12 trillion - advocates for these investments say, emphatically yes. “There’s a growing awareness that ESG” - investment screens for environmental, social and corporate governance-friendliness - “doesn’t hurt performance and actually may help” companies’ long-term returns, said Meg Voorhes, research director for US SIF, The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, citing industry data showing several examples of financial outperformance among companies with high ESG ratings. These funds are still typically more expensive than plain vanilla index funds or ETFs, though fees have come down. And they have a long way to go to penetrate the workplace 401(k) plan market, though the tide could be turning. Robo adviser Betterment for Business began offering socially screened funds in its workplace savings plans a couple of years ago, and Pentegra, a White Plains, N.Y., provider of retirement plans to companies, said in March it will offer recordkeeping and fiduciary services for ESG-based 401(k) plans with two other partners. Retirement savers can certainly find plenty of socially conscious funds in their IRAs and taxable accounts, or through their 401(k) plans’ brokerage windows if they have them. “Clients are definitely asking about them, and performance has gotten better,” said Steve Lear, founder of Affiance Financial, an investment firm in Saint Louis Park, Minn. His firm offers clients a wide array of socially conscious mutual funds through a diversified discount brokerage, but he’s not convinced they are the best way for savers to inject a sense of purpose into their financial lives. “Personally, I like clean, simple and cheap portfolios,” he said. Instead, he urges clients to support important causes through philanthropy. “Is that an advisor’s role? I believe it is. Who is supposed to have that conversation if I don’t?” he said.

30 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business

Not discussing charity with clients robs them of knowledge about tax strategies associated with charitable giving, not to mention the softer discussion of purpose and legacy in the retirement years, he said. “I had a physician client with no kids who saved $15,000 a year for several years into a donor-advised fund, plus more when she was getting ready to retire,” he said. The fund eventually reached well into six figures. “A development officer asked her if she wanted to establish a scholarship fund and you should have seen her face later as she talked about what she was able to do for that school.” Investment giant and benefits record keeper Fidelity, meanwhile, recently launched a workplace charitable giving program for its corporate clients that will allow workers to make donations to any charity through their benefits department. The donations will then automatically be submitted for eligible matching funds from the employer, saving donors that step, said Tom Ryan, a leader in Fidelity’s emerging businesses area. Officials are betting the streamlined process will boost overall giving. Waters Corp., a Milford, Mass.-based maker of scientific analytical tools, has signed onto the program because of its ease of use for employees, said Mark McAuliffe, director of global philanthropy. The matching program will help set the company apart when recruiting workers, he said. Another way to put your money where your heart is: estate planning. Designate a charity to receive a portion of your funds after your death, or write a legacy letter to your heirs reaffirming family values and favorite causes and suggest they donate a portion of their inheritance. Of course, there’s no need to pick just one of these options. “When investing or thinking about the future or leaving money for the next generation, you’re thinking 10, 20 maybe 30 years into the future. It’s natural to think, What kind of world will this be by then? Am I investing in things that support my vision for my family’s future?” said Voorhes. “If you support philanthropy, keep doing that, but it shouldn’t be an excuse for not pursuing sustainable investing. There’s no reason you have to choose.” MV


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Millennials should ask parents about their financial plans By Kelsey Sheehy of NerdWallet

P

arents are often more than happy to offer financial advice to their kids. They like to feel needed and want to make sure you’re on solid financial ground. But it’s important to turn the tables and ask about their financial plans, too. Are they saving for retirement? Have they updated their will? What’s their plan for long-term care, should they need it? It doesn’t matter if you’re living on ramen or running your own business, asking your parents about their financial future can feel odd. But life moves fast. And your parents’ financial plans can and will affect your own, eventually. So it’s important to talk early and often about how they’re planning for retirement and the often high cost of aging. “It’s never too soon to have this conversation,” says Greg Young, owner of Ahead Full Wealth Management LLC in Rhode Island. “If something happens to your parents, not only there goes your safety net and a key part of your support network, but their affairs will likely pile onto you.” Tact is everything when talking about money. Show them you want to learn and you want to help. Use your own life events, like a new job, a new house or an expanding family, as an opening to talk about their plans.

THE TOPIC: RETIREMENT

It’s important to know if your parents are saving, but this conversation isn’t just about money. It’s also about their dreams for retirement.

THE TALK

Your first real job (or any new job) is a good chance to ease into the conversation. Ask your parents for advice as you navigate 401(k) contributions. A simple “What did you do?” gives you insight without being invasive. House hunting? That’s another opportunity to check in with your folks about their retirement plans. You know, in case you need to add “in-law suite” to your wish list.

THE TOPIC: LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

The cost of extended care is staggering — assisted living carries a median price tag of $48,000 per year, while the annual median cost for a nursing home is nearly $90,000 for a semi-private room, according to an annual survey by Genworth, an insurance company. In-home care can be just as costly, depending on the services needed. Long-term care insurance helps offset the cost of nursing care and help with routine activities like

eating, bathing and dressing, whether at home or in an assisted living or nursing home.

THE TALK

Long-term care insurance gets more expensive with age, so most people who buy it do so in their 50s or 60s. It’s good to start the conversation early to have the topic on your family’s radar. “’Do you have long-term health care insurance?’ That’s a specific question that is pretty palatable,” says Thayer Willis, a wealth counselor. “If they say yes, the follow-up question is: ‘How does it work exactly?’” If the direct approach doesn’t jibe, try backing into the conversation. Use someone else’s experience as an example and ask whether your parents have considered assisted living in the future and how they would pay for it.

THE TOPIC: ESTATE PLANNING

Sorting through an estate without clear directives can tear families apart. That’s the last thing your parents want. Talking openly about things like wills and trusts, life insurance and advance medical directives can help you understand what they have in place, and give you insight into their intentions, Young says. “Knowing what to expect from them, or that they’ve done some planning, will certainly make an emotional eventuality a little easier,” he says.

THE TALK

Starting your own family, and setting up your own estate plan, is a great opportunity to ask your parents what they have in place. You can also use someone else’s experience to start the conversation. “Ask questions like: ‘A friend from work had a parent pass and they could not find any paperwork. ... Do you and Mom have all your paperwork together in one place? If you were to pass, who has access to it?’” says Mark Struthers, owner of Sona Financial, a wealth management firm. Your folks might not be comfortable talking about their finances. That’s OK. Don’t push them. Instead, make it clear that you’re ready and willing to talk another time, Willis says. “You might need to take the approach of planting a seed, and that’s all you do in the first discussion,” she says. “Which is another reason for beginning early.”

MV

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 31


FOCUS

SSENISU SUCOF

USINESS

FOCUS BUSINESS BUSINESS FOCUS

BUSINESS

FOCUS

SHOWCASING OUR MEMBERS

Have you seen our new Business Focus video campaign? Watch and learn more about some of our member businesses like Optivus Physical Therapy, LLC and Ecumen Pathstone Living by visiting greatermankato.com/videos.

18-Hole Golf Tournament • Rain or Shine

JULY 8, 2019

Register @ greatermankato.com/golf Providing interactive opportunities to engage with talented business & community leaders. This is a Greater Mankato Growth members only event.

32 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


2019

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

TALENT RETENTION

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

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NOTE: Calendar magnets are available at the check in table at each Business After Hours event and they are available at our office at 3 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 100. Also, a downloadable version is available at greatermankato.com/business-after-hours.

We only refer member businesses. Word of mouth Keep gives yourrepresentatives employees from Greater Mankato Growth member businesses at the Business After Hours Engaged Level or higher an opportunity and direct referrals come and retained with to get togetherengaged with one another to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s businesses. For more information on these and other member from being a valued events, visit greatermankato.com/events. access to our member only member of GMG. events and programs.

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MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 33 greatermankato.com/join


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34 • JUNE 2019 • MN Valley Business


Greater Mankato to Host National Pro Fastpitch League

S

outhern Minnesota is a highly competitive arena for women’s fastpitch softball. So it should come as no surprise that Softball Australia would select the Greater Mankato region as their home host. Yet our community is humbled at the chance for young athletes to connect with professional athletes right in our own backyard. Spectators and visitors to our region will have the “incredible and unique opportunity” (as Aussie Peppers’ General Manager Matt Mangulis puts it) to get up close to witness first-hand these incredible players as they prepare to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

WHY JOIN EXPOSURE

GREATER MANKATO GROWTH?

A welcome banquet is scheduled for June 9 at Caswell Park in North Mankato to kick off the first game of the season as the Aussie Peppers take on the Beijing Eagles. Home games are scheduled throughout the summer with the regular season wrapping up on August 7.

Build your Brand; grow your business. Stand out and get Don’t It’s notthis just stopportunity WHO WHO you ou to introduce your family to these miss noticed! know,players it’s who knows k inspire young athletes to achieve their influential that YOU. of Networking aspirations competingISat a professional level. More information Powerful. can be found online at pepperspro.com

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TALENT RETENTION

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n May 11, the 2019 CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour was installed in the City Center. This year’s exhibit features 26 sculptures of various styles, subjects and materials. Everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite for the People’s Choice Award at cityartmankato.com. The winning sculpture will be purchased by CityArt and added to the permanent collection.

REFERRALS

We only refer member CityArt is a joint initiative of the City Center Partnership and Twin Word Rivers of Council for the Arts businesses. mouth Keep your employees to bring free and accessible public art to the City Center. In eight years, the program has and direct referrals come engaged and retained with displayed more than $2 million in rotating public artfrom and added pieces to the community’s being 18 a valued access to our member only permanent collection. member of GMG. events and programs.

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

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

that businesses who belong to a chamber of commerce are more successful. Tres Caballos by Terry Meyer

Fawned Memories by Christine Knapp

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In collaboration with student: Michaela Reidell

The College of Business provides students a number of study away opportuni-

The Business provides study away opportunitiesCollege that are of business focused. One students such touraisnumber the Fairof Trade Study Abroad in ties that are focused. One was suchdesigned tour is the Fair Trade Study Abroad Belize. Thisbusiness real-world experience to provide opportunities wherein Belize. This was designed to provide where students willreal-world apply theirexperience classroom knowledge to the conceptsopportunities of marketing and students will apply their classroom knowledge to the concepts of marketing business. They have the opportunity to interact with a new culture and businessand business. havecountry. the opportunity interact with a new culture business owners inThey a foreign College oftoBusiness Management student,and Michaela owners in a foreign country. College of Business Management student, Michaela Reidell, shares her experience below. Reidell, shares her experience below. At the beginning of spring semester, Fair Trade Study Atour theMarketing beginningclass: of spring semester, Abroad Belize, learned about the our Marketing class: Fair Trade Study conceptBelize, of fair learned trade andabout the Belizean Abroad the culture. concept of fair trade and the Belizean

culture.

During spring break, we traveled to Belize for a 9 day educational stay. During spring break, we traveled to When I was on the plane to Belize, I Belize a 9what day to educational had nofor idea expect, butstay. as we When I was ontropical the plane to Belize,my I landed in the wonderland, had no idea what to expect, but as we doubts quickly vanished.

landed in the tropical wonderland, my doubts quickly vanished. We made our way through southern

don’t see at our MN Zoo and had a close up interaction with a Jaguar. In San Pedro, we were able to snorkel

of acknowledging cultures and needs

I didn’t anything about Belize of a know community. or fair trade prior to this class, but I wasI excited to learn. Reflecting back, didn’t know anything about Belize I expanded my knowledge on many or fair trade prior to this class, but I topics grew tremendously from back, wasand excited to learn. Reflecting thisIreal-world experience. expanded my knowledge on many

topics and grew tremendously from this real-world experience.

To learn more about the College of Business visit cob.mnsu.edu.

MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 37 To learn more about the College of

Minnesota State University, Mankato College of Business

factory—to experience all the ways

The last fewcan days the trip were chocolate beofmanufactured. spent in Belize City and then San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. While in The last few days of the trip were Belize City, we stopped at the Belize spent in Belize City and then San Zoo, where we saw animals we in Pedro on Ambergris Caye.that While don’t see at our MN Zoo and had a Belize City, we stopped at the Belize close up interaction with a Jaguar. In Zoo, where we saw animals that we San Pedro, we were able to snorkel

Minnesota State University, Mankato College of Business

Belize to a small village called San

We madeThe ourfirst wayfour through southern Felipe. days of our trip were spent participating in a combiBelize to a small village called San nationThe of educational and recreational Felipe. first four days of our trip activities. educational were spent The participating in experiences a combiincluded a trip to Eladio Pop’s farm, nation of educational and recreational where we learned about how cacao activities. The educational experiences was grown as well as other regional included a trip to Eladio Pop’s farm, foods. We visited the Lubaantun ruins, where we learned about how cacao to learn about Mayan history, and was grown as well as other regional browsed the market in Punta Gorda, foods. We visited the Lubaantun ruins, to learn about Mayan history, and browsed the market in Punta Gorda,

where the locals shopped. We traveled and go swimming with the sharks. towhere another andWe wit-traveled We and had go the swimming opportunitywith to visit local theasharks. theMayan locals village shopped. nessed their way of life which includschool and learn about how education We had the opportunity to visit a local to another Mayan village and wited tastingtheir the various of food on the island as well school and learn about how as education nessed way of types life which includ- is provided that were typical for this region. We the history of forming this non-profit is provided on the island as well as ed tasting the various types of food had the opportunity to hear from two the history of forming this non-profit that were typical for this region. We school. local speakers, and how their work school. had the opportunity to hear from two benefits the Belizean communities. The focus of this trip was to experilocal speakers, and how their work ence another culture. We accomplished focus of thisabout trip was experiBelizean communities. Abenefits definitethe highlight of this trip was thisThe through learning fair to trade, ence another accomplished the emphasize on chocolate! We got to farming, chocolateculture. and of We course, havthis through learning about A definite highlight of this trip was visit three separate chocolate making some fun along the way. Onefair of trade, chocolate and of course, thefacilities—Ixcacao, emphasize on chocolate! We got tothe farming, ing Eladio Pop’s most important things I learned as having some fun along the way. One visit three separate chocolate makhouse, and Cotton Tree Chocolate a business student, was the importance of the most important things learned as ing facilities—Ixcacao, Pop’s of acknowledging factory—to experience all Eladio the ways cultures and Ineeds business student, was the importance house, and Tree Chocolate chocolate canCotton be manufactured. of aacommunity.


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MN Valley Business • JUNE 2019 • 38

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