{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

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

Realtor Shannon Beal says the stock of houses for sale has finally started to rise. Photo by Jackson Forderer

Build, build, build Commercial, apartment, patio homes strong Also in this issue • MANKATO ESCAPE IN DOWNTOWN MANKATO • OUREN INSTRUMENTS OF NORTH MANKATO • BODY CONCEPTS OF MANKATO

The Free Press MEDIA


2019 Minnesota SBA Lender of the Year 4 Years in a Row ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, ‘19

Online Banking, Bill Pay, and Remote Deposit

Wire Manager Mobile Banking with Mobile Deposit

ACH Manager Merchant Card Services, Debit Cards, and Credit Cards

bankvista.com

1501 Adams Street | Mankato | 507-387-2265


MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 1


Small or large, simple or complex, we have the facilities, equipment & know-how to produce your project on time, on budget & to your specifications.

Leaving you time to enjoy the beauty of the season!

DESIGN FOR EVERY

Architecture + Engineering + Environmental + Planning

1750 Northway Drive North Mankato, MN 56003 800-729-7575 www.corpgraph.com

ISGInc.com

The Eide Bailly Tower, located in the heart of downtown Mankato, will open this December. Join us for a tour of our new building and heavy hors’d’oeuvres as we host Business After Hours on Tuesday, January 7 from 4 – 6 p.m. We look forward to seeing you!

507.387.6031 | eidebailly.com


F E A T U R E S November 2019 • Volume 12, Issue 2

8

Local commercial construction has remained strong, existing home sales have been helped by a larger stock of homes for sale and patio homes are being built rapidly.

12

Elizbaeth Hanke opened Kato Escape in March of 2016, and has been adding more escape room themes and mobile games to her downtown venue.

16

Eric Ouren started making musical instruments for himself and then for other musicians and began repairing instruments which led to his Ouren Instruments business.

18

Gari Jo Jordan, owner of Body Concepts in Mankato, has replicated environmental conditions found in natural salt caves at her spa on Riverfront Drive.

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 3


NOVEMBER 2019 • VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2

By Joe Spear

PUBLISHER Steve Jameson EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE EDITOR Tim Krohn CONTRIBUTING Tim Krohn WRITERS Kent Thiesse Grace Brandt Dean Swanson Dan Greenwood 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.........................................29 ■ Schmidt Foundation.........................30 ■ Greater Mankato Growth..................32 ■ Greater Mankato Growth Member Activities ............................33

From the editor

Real estate, land values support economy Values rise 4.6% per year

T

he good news about the Mankato regional economy as seen through the lens of real estate and land values can be summed up as “pretty darn good” in Minnesota speak. But as true Minnesotans, we don’t get too crazy about good news and in our understated way often describe great news as “not too bad.” So what’s “not too bad” about the local economy? By a number of measures, the value of property in Blue Earth County, residential, commercial and agricultural seems to be keeping up with the rest of the state and doing better in some cases. The average growth in the value of Blue Earth and Nicollet county property has been about 4.4 to 4.6 percent from 2006 to 2015, a pretty solid number. Comparing the average overall property value gains to statewide growth in value, Blue Earth County still comes out pretty well. The county has annual average growth of about 4.5 percent from 2012 to 2020, according to the county assessor. Statewide growth in overall property value was 3.1 percent in 2015-16, 4.6 percent for 201617 and 5.6 percent from 20172018. And while, according to state report, property value growth in Blue Earth County was only 0.9 percent from 2017-2018, overall value growth is estimated at 6 percent for the 2019-20. The county estimates growth of 4.7 percent in net tax capacity (a measure different than overall market value) for 2019, with a nearly 21 percent jump in new

4 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

construction value to $111 million, according to county estimates. New of fice buildings, apartments and residential buildings contribute to that new construction. According to Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges, if we build it, they may stay. The city manager says new building especially newer apartments may be causing local college students to stay in Mankato. Multi-family remains strong, Hentges said. “The change I’ve seen in the market in the last decade is that multi-family housing boom.” He believes that’s keeping the college talent pool more in Mankato than in the past. “I think multi-units have helped retain college students when they graduate.” Says Realtor Shannon Beal with JBeal Real Estate: “It’s great to be in Mankato where it’s growing so much. There are a lot of new people moving to town and nobody seems to be leaving.” Hentges sees a $100 million plus annual building permit trend developing for Mankato alone. “We’ve always had over $120 million dollars (in permits pulled) in the last few years and I expect we’ll see that this year.” The single family home market has been a tale of two cities. While Mankato landed three $1 million home sales on Lake Washington in the last year, the market for $150,000 to $250,000 homes remains tight as demand is high and supply is low. And agricultural land values are also on the rise. While ag land had decreased in value the


last few years, it is set for a rebound with Blue Earth County estimating it will rise 6.9 percent on average. Ag land values in Blue Earth County were pegged at $7,700 per acre in 2018, according to the last statewide report. And while property values may be going up, some of that new revenue taken in by the county will be consumed by higher expenses. Many are pegging their levy increases from 4 percent to 6 percent to pay for things like human service expense increases and health insurance costs. Still, given the proposed levy increases in Blue Earth County, a homeowner with an average value house of $195,000 would pay only about $60 more in county taxes. While the empty big box stores may stay empty for a while, strip malls with smaller retailers and specialty stores seem to be holding up well, according to Tim Lidstrom of Lidstrom Commercial Realtors. The strip malls and industrial properties have can lure investors, Lidstrom said. “Whether it’s retail or industrial, if they’re occupied and have a good profit flow they’re popular. Investors get better cash flows buying those, especially with the low interest rates.” And finally, it’s hard to miss the gleaming new of fice buildings making their marks on Mankato’s downtown. “For everyone the interest in downtown remains very strong, the construction of new office towers, four of them, with the fifth one being (Mike) Brennan’s (Bridge Plaza),” Lidstrom said. “And the vacancy rates are fairly low. The buildings filled up pretty much right away.” All in all, it seems the underlying strength of real estate values will support the Mankato economy for some time.

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

Local Business People/Company News ■

A R Fitness grand opening

Woman’s Fitness Center, A R Fitness is celebrating its grand opening in November. Located at 2124 Hoffman Road in Mankato, they feature circuit and inter val training. Also available is boot camp style classes incorporating, pilates, kick boxing, kettlebell, step and balance. Additional offerings include one-on-one training and accountability challenges. A R Fitness honors all insurance and fitness discount programs, including Silver Sneakers and Silver Fit. The club specializes in women’s fitness and is locally owned and managed by certified trainer Amy Rykhus.

2019. Prat specialzes in finac l planning and wealth management for individuals and families, as well as retirement plan design and services for small businesses. He works primarily with retirees and those nearing retirement and has over 15 years of experience guiding his clients to and through retirement. The ranking recognizes advisors born in 1980 or later with a minimum of four years of experience. Advisors were rated based on a proprietary algorithm of qualitative and quantitative criteria: assets under management, revenues generated for their firms, client retention, industry experience, credentials and compliance records.

■■■ ■■■

Grabianowski leads builders group

The MN River Builders Association’s board of directors has appointed Kaaren Grabianowski as executive director of the organization. Grabianowski’s hiring comes as the board implements a plan of strategic growth, development and outreach within the industry. She replaces Amy Kolb who resigned in July. Grabianowski has a background in leading nonprofit organizations and is CEO and owner of Events and Expos. She previously served as the director of external relations for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota. She has been a member of MRBA for the past 4 years. ■■■

Pratt honored in Forbes

Bryan Pratt of Pratt, Kutzke & Associates, a financial planning and investment management firm in North Mankato, has been named to the Forbes Best-In-State Next-Gen Wealth Advisors list for

Fromm’s gets NAPA Gold Certification

Fromm’s Auto Repair & Rentals, a Mankato NAPA Auto Care Center, has received NAPA Gold Certification status. They met the standards of quality and professionalism to attain the certification. The status allows them to offer additional benefits such as 36 month or 36,000 mile warranty on all repairs done with NAPA Auto parts and six month 0% financing. ■■■

Swanson joins CTS

Holly Swanson has joined C o m p u t e r Technology Solutions as an IT suppor t specialist II. Swanson comes from Elk River and brings Holly Swanson experience from Sherburne County and St Jude Medical.

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 5


Trio complete gem recertification

Pioneer Bank honored

Sarah Person, Maria Brown and Brooke Melius of Exclusively Diamonds have successfully completed the annual American Gem Society recertification exam. The mandator y exam was developed to maintain professional credentials, which demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the society’s mission of consumer protection through continued education and upholding the highest ethical standards. Person earned her CG, Brown earned her CSA and Melius earned her CSA following the completion of a course of study and examination. Every year they are required to pass an exam encompassing the latest industr y developments, including topics on gemology, business, technology, legal regulations, and more. ■■■

Pioneer Bank, with eight locations in southern Minnesota, was named among the top three extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking. Pioneer was recognized with the institute’s overall excellence Banky Award for exemplar y performance in five areas of banking: philanthropy, customer ser vice, thought leadership, workplace culture and financial literacy education.

District 77 high school JA Company Program courses. She also served 5th grade students with JA Our Nation at a local Mankato school. Femrite serves on the Advisory Board in Greater Mankato and just started her first term as cochair. She also serves as the chair of the JA Mankato Program Committee. She has helped in fundraising efforts with volunteering her time at the JA Golf Marathon and participating JA bigBowl.

■■■

Femrite honored by JA

Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest has named April Femrite, with Coldwell Banker Commercial Fisher Group, the 2018-19 Junior Achievement MN/ ND/WI Volunteer Lead of the Year. Femrite’s efforts helped Junior Achievement prepare 10,526 greater Mankato children for the 2018-19 school year. She led numerous classes including all of

It's better with a Broker! 6 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


Business Commentary

By Dean Swanson

A

Developing your idea into a business start-up

reader of this column asked me this week “what should I do to prepare myself for a mentoring session? I have this idea, but now what?” That is a super question! In business as in life, you should always crawl before you walk and walk before you run. And so it goes when developing the idea for your new startup. You owe it to your future business to think through some valuable pieces of the process. In the early stages of your business’s development, you’ll hear from plenty of experts and prognosticators who will emphasize the need to create a sound, air-tight business plan. While it’s true that a business plan is an important tool for defining your strategy, detailing deliverables for stakeholders and developing cashflow forecasts for investors, it’s important to first crystallize the idea behind the business by putting together what our SCORE CEO calls a “business concept statement”. Bridget Weston is the Acting CEO of the SCORE Association, where she provides executive leadership and works directly and collaboratively with the Board of Directors to establish the vision and direction of SCORE. I will share some of her ideas about this valuable exercise. Think of your Business Concept Statement as a tool that distills your voluminous business plan into a handy one- or two-page document. Not only does it lay the groundwork for the business plan to come, it also refines your idea, outlines the consumer problem it aims to solve, and discusses how the idea will fit into the overall market. It’s a snackable snapshot you can share with investors, lenders, and/or future partners. What Should a Business Concept Statement Include? While brevity is the hallmark of a solid Business Concepts Statement, it should still encompass some key elements and provide a thoughtful analysis of your idea, a glimpse of the existing market, and a value proposition that distinguishes you from the rest of the market. 1. A Brief Description of the Business Concept. This doesn’t have to be more than a sentence or two that captures the essence of your product or service. 2. The Market Need. Identify the void in the marketplace that your business idea is going to fill. This could be a problem your product or service will solve, an emerging market your product will help to define, or the absence of a product or service that people don’t even know they need. 3. Your Solution. This is a more in-depth discussion of how your business idea is going to fill the void, solve the problem, or create a new market. It’s also your chance to discuss why your product or service is the answer and, more specifically, why YOU are the perfect person to bring the idea to market. 4. Your Proposed Business Model. This is a critical component for every stakeholder involved because

this is the element of the Business Concept Statement that details how you are going to make money. You’ll want to discuss how you’re going to charge for your product or service, the business processes you plan to implement, and the resources you’ll need to make it a success. 5. Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP). Explain how your product or service is different from others in the marketplace. Identify why someone would want to buy your product instead of one that’s already on the market. Your UVP is your differentiator—the reason your business will exist. Will it be your unparalleled customer service? A new technology? A higher-quality product? Better price points? Faster delivery? Or a combination of those things? Even something as simple as more attractive packaging can make all the difference for many consumers. 6. A Succinct Competitive Analysis. To be absolutely sure your new business idea will fill a hole in the market, you’ll need to look at your potential competition. Who else is currently providing products or services to your prospective customers? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Examine the competition’s annual revenue (or estimate it if you have to) and identify their market share. This will help you determine both the size of the market and its potential for disruption, innovation, or new products or services. 7. A Quick Overview of Your Marketing Plan. How you market your business will be critical to its success. In some cases, your marketing plan may actually be your UVP. Establish buyer personas, develop a target audience, and assess and prioritize your ideal marketing verticals. Then, discuss how you plan to promote your business idea in a way that’s different from your competitors. Once you’ve finished developing your Business Concept Statement, you’ll have a useful tool to pursue business partners, investors, lenders, advisors, mentors, peers and even future employees. One important endnote: make sure your Business Concept Statement isn’t a sales pitch! Stakeholders aren’t looking for catchy slogans, guarantees or pushy sales copy. They want to see a well-thought-out business idea that’s supported by an actionable analysis of the existing market. If you’re thinking about bringing a new business idea to market, but aren’t sure where to start, reach out to a SCORE mentor, who can help guide you through the process of developing a compelling Business Concept Statement. Sorenson is a volunteer Certified SCORE Mentor and former Regional Vice President for the North West Region. seminnesota.score.org

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 7


A fireplace is featured in a home being shown by Realtor Shannon Beal.

Building on success Boomers boost patio home construction By Tim Krohn | Photos by Jackson Forderer & Pat Christman

F

or longtime residents in the area, Mankato looks little like it did even 15 or 20 years ago. The population has continued to grow while the amount of new construction and renovation has exploded exponentially. Mankato commercial Realtor Tim Lidstrom has witnessed those changes since he started selling land and buildings and leasing commercial space 40 years ago. “It’s a different community. There’s more going on in Mankato than ever before. You see all these construction companies from the Twin Cities coming down.” Shannon Beal, a Realtor with JBeal Real Estate, sees a residential sector that has expanded ever further out, and up, as more and more apartment complexes are built. “It’s great to be in Mankato where it’s growing so much. There are a lot of new people moving to town and nobody seems to be leaving.”

Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said the city has for several years seen a level of building construction permit values that would have been unthinkable not long ago. “We’ve always had over $120 million dollars (in permits pulled) in the last few years and I expect we’ll see that this year.

Cover Story

8 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

More housing stock

Beal said they’ve been busy showing homes at the end of the year as buyers get anxious to make a move before winter hits. While recent years have seen a low number of houses on the market, those looking to buy now have a better choice. “The inventory has not been as much of a problem this year as it was last year. In upper North Mankato, it would have been tough to find many in $350,000 to $550,000 last year. This year there are 12 to 15 in that range on the market at any time.” She said the improvement in availability isn’t across


the board. “For first-time homebuyers there is more demand. In lower North Mankato and West Mankato, in the $150,000 to $250,000 range, there’s been a shortage.” She suspects more people are putting their homes on the market because they can take advantage of the lower inventor y and command good prices for their homes. The median home sales price in Mankato and North Mankato reached $235,200 this fall. Beal said high-end homes also sell well. “We’ve sold some million dollar listings this year. We had three $1 million sales on Lake Washington this year, which is nice to see.” She said Washington and Madison lakes and Lake Francis are highly desirable. Beal said the historically low mortgage interest rates help keep the housing market hot. “I keep feeling the interest rates have to creep up, but everyone I talk to thinks they’ll stay for at least a year.”

Apartments, patio homes

Hentges witnessed the yearslong change from new construction focusing almost entirely on traditional single family homes to apartments. “The change I’ve seen in the market in the last decade is that multi-family housing boom. “And we had a large boom in off campus housing that we didn’t have before. That’s slowed since they’ve put a lot of that in.” He thinks all the new multihousing construction, from working class to market rate to high end, helps the community. “I think multi-units have helped retain college students when they graduate. And he said the greater availability of apartments and mid-range and upper-end single family homes has helped fuel the city’s large and growing medical sector. “You have the housing for the staff and the higher-end for doctors.” There have been market rate apartment complexes built off of

Top: After 10 years in the planning construction work has begun at the Bridge Plaza site in Mankato. Middle: The new Prairie Care building next to the library in Mankato. Bottom: Workers put the finishing touches on the Eide Bailly building at the corner of Main and Second streets in Mankato. Stadium Road, near Prairie Winds and near the Wow Zone. That’s kind of fulfilling our workforce need,” Hentges said. Hentges said one big recent change is a booming industry in patio homes — one level homes

with no basements targeted at baby boomers. “I think a lot of people were amazed when the single-family patio home craze started. People thought, you’re going to build a home for $250,000 and it doesn’t

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 9


alluring... It’s not a shade and it’s not a sheer; yet it raises, lowers and offers an almost endless variety of light control and viewing options. Allure® Transitional Shades...something all together different!

RICKWAY CARPET

1107 Cross St., North Mankato 507.625.3089 • www.rickwaycarpet.net Call or stop by Today!

Delivering CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION, one project at a time. TH 14/15, New Ulm 2019 MNDOT Environmental Stewardship Award for Innovation in Public Engagement Bolton-Menk.com

Heating & Cooling

Providing public infrastructure solutions since 1949.

Building Automation

Security

TOTAL

BUILDING CONTROL SOLUTIONS

Exceeding expectations & gaining trust through exceptional value and performance!

Partners of SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC®

Mankato: 507-345-4828 | Rochester: 507-289-4874

www.paape.com

10 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

have a basement? Now when those units turn over they sell almost immediately.” Beal attests to the phenomena. “There’s a huge demand for patio homes and one-level living. The cost of patio homes have risen exponentially as that demographic is increasing.” She said that jump in prices, however, makes it harder for some people who want to sell their larger twostory house to get into a patio home as they near or are in retirement. “It’s hard when they want to downsize but have to pay the same amount for something as they sold,” Beal said. Hentges said the patio homes being built are higher-end. “What I’ve been noticing is there are some interesting market trends. We seem to be building more higher-end single-family but now we’re starting to see more higher-end patio and townhomes. That may be a good thing because it’s loosening up existing housing stock.” But he said even more people would sell their homes to move to patio homes if lower cost options were available. “We’re not seeing mid-range affordable patio homes, twin homes. That would open a lot of housing stock up. I think there are a lot of empty-nesters holding onto their homes in that $200,000 to $300,000 range.” Single-family construction has been strong in parts of Mankato, particularly in the northeast, behind Home Depot and across Highway 22. Still, rising construction costs and the ability of contractors to easily fill apartment complexes has slowed single-family construction some. “It’s slowed, but we’re still on track,” Hentges said. Hentges said the Eagle Lake, Mankato and North Mankato area is expected to see an annual population of growth of about 2% for the decade. “That’s very good. We have more single-family and now more multi-family that helps drive that growth.”

Big offices, no big boxes

While the commercial real estate market remains hot, it’s


changed significantly in recent years. “We came off a good year last year in the industrial area with larger projects like Johnson Worldwide. We have Bridge Plaza starting and Eide Bailly started last year. “We’re keeping pace, but obviously the years of putting up Fleet Farms or Lowe’s has changed dramatically,” Hentges said. Lidstrom said the halt in new big box developments has hurt land sales. “They’re down from what they have been in past years.” “Clicks versus bricks is the continuing battle for retail.” Lidstrom said most strip malls still do well, depending on who is occupying them. “People always want to step out for a bite to eat and the better-positioned retailers should be OK.” He said commercial strip malls or other buildings that have good tenants in them have been hot commodities for investors looking for a place to put their money without the risk of the stock market. “Whether it’s retail or industrial, if they’re occupied and have a good profit flow they’re popular. Investors get better cash flows buying those, especially with the low interest rates.” “Who would have thought we’d be in this situation five years ago when the mall was the king?” While new big boxes may be few and far between, Lidstrom hopes someone comes up with ideas to fill all the empty ones in town. “Those buildings need to get filled up using some awfully creative ideas.” Lidstrom said the addition of high-end office buildings has been amazing. “For everyone the interest in downtown remains very strong, the construction of new office towers four of them, with the fifth one being (Mike) Brennan’s (Bridge Plaza). “And the vacancy rates are fairly low. The buildings filled up pretty much right away.” MV

Construction Management General Contracting Design-Build Mount Olive Church and School

WEB CONSTRUCTION, INC. 507.387.1667 | 300 St. Andrews Dr. St. 200 | Mankato

www.webconmankato.com

ope

n in eag le l ake

Cole Skow

We’re not just your bank Community Bank has a long history of serving the communities that we call home and we are committed to being your very best neighbor. We’re pleased to call Greater Mankato home.

We’re your neighbor

Cassandra Sack

Locally and family owned since 1974 Mankato | Amboy | Eagle Lake | Vernon Center | cbfg.net

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 11


Elizabeth Hanke, in one of the rooms of the Mayan escape room at Kato Escape. Hanke said the experience is supposed to be team building, and each team gets one hour to solve the room.

Escape the ordinary

Kato Escape offers a variety of challenges By Grace Brandt Photos by Jackson Forderer

T

he situation is grim: A hemotoxic here are clues that could lead you to the poison has been unleashed and is vaccine — but will you find them in time? quickly spreading The scenario might around the world. sound like something Scientists are frantically out of a science fiction scrambling to discover blockbuster, but it’s an anti-toxin, but people actually run by Kato are already succumbing KATO ESCAPE ROOM Escape, Mankato’s only to the disease. escape room company. 619 S Front Street, Mankato Luckily for you and There, clients pay for 507-327-4045 your small group of the privilege of getting katoescape@gmail.com friends, you’ve locked in a room for an Katoescape.com miraculously stumbled hour, pitting themselves into the underground against clues and riddles lab of one scientist who has come up with a to see if they can find the key and escape. vaccine. She’s nowhere to be found — and neither is the antidote. Instead, all you see A unique opportunity is a room full of tubes, beakers, microscopes Elizbaeth Hanke opened Kato Escape in and other lab equipment. Somewhere in March of 2016, saying she got the idea

Cover Spotlight

12 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


from escape rooms in the cities that she and her husband, Jason, enjoyed visiting. The couple owned a building on Front Street but couldn’t find consistent leaseholders, so Hanke decided to just open her own business there instead. “We just thought it would be something that would fit really well in this particular area,” she said. “(We thought) we might as well give it a shot. We’ve been in business for almost four years now, so it seems to have worked out very well.” For Hanke, one of the most important factors she considered when planning her business was making it family friendly. While she and her family always enjoyed the escape rooms they visited in the cities and in other locations, it could be expensive when they had to pay for every family member. In addition, since most escape rooms just reserved spots and not rooms, you never knew who else would be in the room or if the group would be a good fit for younger kids. Because of this, Hanke offers people the ability to rent out entire rooms for one flat rate. “When you’re mixed in with other people, that’s harder for families,” she said. “We specifically wanted to cater more to families and friends, amongst themselves.” Hanke started with one room, “Ivan’s Room,” which revolved around finding the will of a greedy, disappeared uncle. Throughout the years, they added three other rooms — Mayan Escape, Tubes Lab and Directive 42—and they’re working on another one, The Oracle, which she hopes she open by Halloween.

New ideas

When it comes to how she dreams up her rooms, Hanke said she takes inspiration from all sorts of things. For the Tubes Lab, she was inspired by her husband’s work burying fiber and her own experience with planning and zoning buildings. Meanwhile, one of her rooms had a skylight in it that reminded her of the top of a pyramid, so she built the entire room around that, coming up with the Mayan Escape story. For that one, she recruited her Spanish

foreign exchange student, who helped her come up with the story and also acted as the archeologist in the game’s introductory video. Hanke also offers three mobile escape rooms: Solve the Case (a table game for up to eight people at each table, with the ability to serve about 300 people total), Noodlin Island (which can be played by up to 60 people) and The Oracle’s Tent (which is good for smaller groups, such as 10 people). The first two take about an hour to solve, while the tent takes only about 10-15 minutes. Each one comes with everything players need to figure out a solution. Hanke said these mobile games are often used by companies for team building exercises, as well as events such as wedding receptions and after-prom parties. “They’re a lot of fun,” she said. “We’ll take them to different events that have either a larger number of people than what our building can accommodate or businesses that are simply on a time crunch, so they can’t have every single employee come here and then go back. Each game is very diverse, so it takes a very diverse set of minds to figure it out, so hopefully it really encourages teamwork and group discussion about how they think something can be solved.”

Growing success

Throughout the years, Hanke has expanded to five part-time employees (plus herself), with plans to add another seasonal position for the holidays. She also hopes to hire a few more parttime employees to run the mobile games while she’s at the main location. Her “busy” season is October-March, but she’s open year-round and still does brisk business in the summer. Hanke credits part of her success to where her building is situated — right in Mankato’s entertainment district. Because there are so many restaurants in the area, many parents drop off their kids at the Escape Room and then head someone for an appetizer or drinks while they wait. Another draw is how

A detail of a door in the Mayan room at Kato Escape. Owner Elizabeth Hanke said the success rate of escaping the room is about 60%. inexpensive Mankato is compared to the Twin Cities or other areas. Hanke said 80 percent of her customers come from out of town, driving from Minneapolis, St. Paul, Owatonna, Rochester, Albert Lea, Blue Earth, Fairmont and other locations. “We find a lot of people will come down from the Cities and make a day of it here, since it’s so much less expensive to do everything in Mankato than it is to actually do something in the cities,” Hanke said. “Being down by the restaurants has been very beneficial to us, so that people can make an entire day of it when they’re coming from out of town.”

Staying relevant

This wide client base is especially helpful, Hanke said, since people don’t tend to revisit rooms. Once they’ve solved the riddles, it’s not as entertaining to repeat the steps. Originally, Hanke thought the key to continuing to stay relevant with customers was working to add something new as often as possible, such as creating new rooms. She said she estimated Ivan’s Office would have an 18-month lifespan before it became stale and needed an update. However, because of her diverse client base, this hasn’t happened. “We don’t see a slowdown in

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 13


Ivan’s Office at all,” she said. “It’s already doing just as well as the other rooms.” She added that MSU-Mankato and other area colleges have been instrumental in bringing fresh customers — both students and their visiting families — to her business. In fact, the majority of her clients are in their teens or early 20s, which is a lot different than she expected. “MSU has new people coming in all of the time, so I get fresh blood from MSU constantly,” she said. “We get a lot of families, (because) it’s something all ages can do. We see a lot of people with grandparents, parents and kids. It’s hard to find something that an 80-year-old can do with a 6-yearold. Most of our rooms are diverse enough to fit most age groups.”

Business challenges

Hanke purchased the mobile “Solve the Case” game and “The Oracle” room from Old Town Escape, which recently closed. (She said she tweaked them a little to give them her own spin.) As for her former competition,

Hanke stressed how hard it is to start a business and added that she hopes they are able to find success in the future. “For me, being able to run my business full time and having professionals readily available made doing business easier,” she said, pointing out that she and her husband have run several businesses in the past. “I think other businesses may also not realize are the cost of build-outs, the amount of time it takes to get permits, and that authorization can be longer and holding costs higher (than expected). There are lots of costs that were hard for me to calculate. I have had a lot of failures to work on. It’s just hard to succeed in business, especially the first time around.” Hanke has had her share of failures, including efforts about two years ago to create a portable electronic escape box. Her hope was to cut down on reset costs by doing everything electronically, but she admitted she never could make it work. “It was a project out of my

scope and electronics ability,” she said. “I spent a ton of money and just failed to get it going… One thing would work and another wouldn’t. I put a lot of money into something that did not end up working at all.” Hanke added that her experiences help her run an even better business, but that doesn’t mean it’s always smooth sailing. “There’s always challenges,” she said. “You’re always trying to guess what’s next. The economy has been quite good for some time, so I always wonder, ‘Is there going to be a downturn?’ Would I have more business because of that, since I’m less expensive (than the Twin Cities)? Or if there’s a gas war, will people not want to travel to me? A lot of it is just completely out of my control. You just learn to live not knowing—preparing the best you can and always having a cushion to help through the bad times.” MV

I’D LIKE TO STAY A STEP AHEAD Tax planning has always been an important financial tool, but it’s crucial now that tax reform is a reality. The right strategies can help you save money, both now and in the future.

507.387.6031 | eidebailly.com

14 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


RENOWNED AND RENEWED: RTJ TURNS 25

Acclaimed as one of the world's great golf destinations, Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail invites you to celebrate its 25th year by offering fantastic deals. Unlimited golf packages are easy on your wallet. All of the original RTJ Golf Trail sites have been renovated and are ready for your arrival. Celebrate our silver anniversary while saving some silver yourself.

» Plan your visit to the RTJ Golf Trail by calling 1.800.949.4444 or visiting rtjgolf.com.

facebook.com/rtjgolf

twitter.com/rtjgolf «

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 15


Eric Ouren of Ouren Instruments at his newly opened shop. He said his business will mainly repair guitars and banjos, but he also builds banjos and refurbishes older guitars.

Music man

Ouren builds, repairs musical instruments By Dan Greenwood | Photos by Jackson Forderer

A

bout 15 years ago, Eric Ouren wanted to buy a violin, but it wasn’t affordable at the time. So the Kasota-based sculptor came up with another

“That’s when I started getting into the lumberjack instruments, which are basically putting a neck on any kind of box that can make noise.” idea. Acoustic stringed instruments “That idea sort of shifted to, ‘I all share one thing in common – a should be able to make a violin,’” hallow body. Ouren began Ouren said. experimenting with more This was in 2004, when there unconventional ways to build OUREN weren’t a lot of “how to” instructional instruments, connecting the neck INSTRUMENTS videos that in recent years have of the instrument with wooden 231 Belgrade Ave, become so common on the internet boxes and water jugs to form the North Mankato A homemade fiddle he had body of the instrument. Facebook.com/ previously bought at a garage sale “A friend of mine calls them oureninstruments came in handy as a model to work Frankenstein instruments because 507-351-1403 off of. they got nuttier and nuttier,” Ouren As a sculpture instructor at said. “I made a cello-like instrument; Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Ouren’s the neck was a plow handle and it stood up on a experience with woodworking came in handy. While crutch. Then I used weed whip for its strings.” not perfect, his new homemade violin did function as He’s made everything from banjos and dulcimers to an instrument. He was so intrigued that he decided to stringed orchestra instruments, sometimes working make his own mandolin. out of his shop on campus at Bethany. With more “Those two instruments rolled into 30,” Ouren said. practice, he taught his own students how to make tin-

Profile

16 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


Left: A handmade carving at the end of the neck of a banjo in the Ouren Instruments shop. Right: A wall of guitars and banjos at Ouren Instruments. The shop operated by Eric Ouren has opened in the Y Barbers building in North Mankato. dulcimers and lumberjack fiddles as part of the curriculum.

have just gotten better and better.”

Starting to repair

After a layoff from Bethany due to budget cuts in 2018, Ouren had to think about what the next chapter of his life would look like. After getting a routine haircut at Y Barbers in North Mankato, Ouren was chatting with owner Ellen Koenigs about his plans to open a shop. “I was telling her what I was doing; originally I thought about doing this in St. Peter,” Ouren said. “She said, ‘why don’t you do this back here? I’ve got this space. You’d have a lot more traffic that’s built into this whole thing.’ I thought about it for a while and then came back to her and said ‘yeah, I’d like to do that.’” He opened up Ouren Instruments, located at 231 Belgrade Avenue, in North Mankato, right behind Y Barbers in October. The showroom features instruments he’s made and refurbished, including a cello made from a water jug, along with a variety of guitars, fiddles, mandolins, dulcimers and banjos. With Y Barbers drawing a wide variety of customers, Ouren said having the shop in the back will create more opportunities to connect with local musicians. “I think it will open up conversations with people that I have not had a chance to have,” Ouren said. Now I have a point of contact where they know where to come and find me rather than an art fair or festival that happens once a year.” Looking back, Ouren never anticipated he’s have his own music store and repair shop, but once he got immersed in repairing and making stringed instruments, he never looked back. “It’s sort of like getting in a slip and slide,” Ouren said. “Once you’re in it your in it. It was one of these things that just happened and I kept going with it.” MV

He set up a little repair shop out of his Kasota home and also sold his instruments on consignment at a couple music stores in the Twin Cities. The proceeds from those sales went directly into making more instruments. Ouren also developed an interest in purchasing old guitars and refurbishing them. Many are from the 1950s and ‘60s; although he has one guitar from the 1910s that he purchased from a couple in St James. Over time, he acquired 100 used guitars from area thrift stores, antique stores and garage sales. “After they’ve been around for 50-60 years they suffer from needing neck adjustments and things like that,” Ouren said. “So many of them end up in the garbage because people think they’re not worth doing anything with. So I’m trying to make it a point to pull these things in, fix them, and give them a new life.” As he honed his skills, he invited Dick Kimmel, a New-Ulm based professional musician who has toured North America and Europe, over to his shop to check out his work. “I saw some of the first banjos he built and showed him the banjos that I was using, and compared notes about how they were constructed and what I looked for in a banjo,” Kimmel said. Ouren began showcasing his instruments at art fairs and music festivals, and he established a following among area musicians. Quillan Roe, of the Roe Family Singers, is one of them. He bought one of Ouren’s banjos a few years back, and performs live using that instrument. Kimmel said it’s been fun to watch Ouren’s work evolve and expand. “He has a lot of ingenuity; making banjos out of old oil cans,” Kimmel said. “We refer to that whole line of banjos as cigar box banjos, and I thought those were rather neat. His standard banjos with the wooden rim

Retail shop

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 17


Gari Jo Jordan, owner of Body Concepts in Mankato, has sought to replicate environmental conditions found in natural salt caves at her spa.

Salt therapy Body Concepts offers a variety of relaxation therapies By Dan Greenwood Photos by Pat Christman

I

n the early 1800s, a polish researcher and Prior to opening Body Concepts, Jordan doctor sought to understand why miners was a stay-at-home mom who discovered the in salt caves in Eastern Europe were not benefits of body rejuvenation during a time suf fering from the of transition in her own common respirator y life. ailments associated with “These were all things other forms of mining. that helped me through That particular study my healing, to get my BODY CONCEPTS determined those miners body and emotional state 1615 N. Riverfront Drive, – who were inhaling back on track,” she said. Mankato microscopic salt particles Some of the services 507-381-5467 from chiseling and she offered in the past – Bodyconceptsmankato.com hammering – were like hiring a nutritionist actually benefiting from and personal trainer to her inhaling those airborne molecules. staff – didn’t pan out, but she said taking a Gari Jo Jordan, owner of Body Concepts in “learn and grow” attitude has been Mankato, has sought to replicate instrumental in her successful growth as a environmental conditions found in those local business. natural salt caves at her spa on Riverfront “There’s a lot of trial and error,” Jordan Drive. It’s one of several body rejuvenation said. “It’s never a failure, it’s always a step to services she has expanded into since she grow and move forward.” opened the business in 2013. Since then, she’s developed a niche of

Feature

18 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


treatments that she first experimented personally, later offering services in Mankato typically found only in bigger cities, like Minneapolis or St. Paul. She paid a visit to a salt room in the Twin Cities and found it effective in reducing her cough; so she created her own salt room in Mankato in early 2018. It’s the more recent of a number of therapeutic and relaxation treatments she offers there. “The halo generator pumps that therapeutic salt air into the room, so that’s what makes it a salt room,” Jordan said. “It grinds the salt into tiny, little particles that go in and act like little scrubbrushes, detox those lungs and open up those airwaves.” The salt room in many ways resembles a beach on a warm, summer day. The heated floor is blanketed with 2,000 pounds of pure, Himalayan salt, and the walls are made up of 600 illuminated salt tiles. Clients lay back in a zero-gravity chair and have the option of listening to meditative, calming music. Jordan said business picks up in December, right when people are dealing with respirator y illness or are looking for a remedy for getting through the cold and limited light during the long, winter months in Minnesota.

Easing winter blues

Body Concepts offers a variety of relaxation therapies geared towards the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder. Along with the salt room, foot soaks, facial massages and all-body rejuvenation therapy, clients can soak and float in salt-infused pods and warm up in sauna pods. “Rather than being enclosed in a sauna, you get to lay down; we keep your head cool with offsets the work your body is doing,” Jordan said. “It’s not quite as hot because your head is out, but your body is getting all the great benefits of the sauna.” She also added a float tank, with plans to add a second one early next year. While most of her clients are women of all ages, men are particularly attracted to the float tank. The water temperature mimics the surface

The infrared dry heat sauna pod at Body Concepts in Mankato. temperature of the human body, But after trying out the salt set to 94.7 degrees. About 1,000 room a couple times her coughing pounds of Epson salt infused with stopped, and she’s been using the the warm water causes the body salt room ever since. to float; and clients control the “I was surprised that it worked; lighting and music. I was amazed by how quickly it “When you get in, the water is helped me,” Grabianowski said. completely still,” she said. “If you Jordan said the main reason want the whole sensor y she opened Body Concepts is to deprivation, you can turn off the share how the different therapies lights and the music. The number have helped her over the years, one reason why people float is and there are a great deal of stress relief; it puts you in such a people in Mankato who are deep state of relaxation.” looking for more options when it Jordan said everybody who comes to body rejuvenation. walks through Body Concepts “I’ve been very fortunate that does so for different reasons, and the community has been very that everybody has a different receptive to these types of experience; what works for one services,” Jordan said. “We’re in a may not work for another. She great area for that; so it’s been encourages clients to keep an really good and has grown every open-mind; most people are year.” unfamiliar with salt therapy, but After several expansions at her Jordan said many clients have 1615 N. Riverfront Drive location reported a noticeable difference over the past few years, Jordan after trying it a couple times. said visitors to Body Concepts Kaaren Grabianowski, of will have even more options to Mankato, has tried all of the choose from starting in early amenities there with the exception 2020. The next expansion will add of the floatation therapy. She met another float tank and two hot Jordan a few years ago through a yoga sauna boxes, which are mutual friend, and has been a small sauna rooms that regular customer. When Jordan accommodate up to three people, opened the salt room in January, along with a yoga studio and 2018, Grabianowski was one of classes. the first to try it. It’s now her “Everybody walks through the favorite treatment at Body door with a need, they’re here for Concepts. a reason,” Jordan said. “It’s just “Every winter I get a bad chest trying to help them find that cold and it lasts for months,” reason and get what they’re Grabianowski said. “I hadn’t looking for out of their experience heard of salt therapy before; I had here. For the most part I’m here been to doctors, I had tried all the time, but it doesn’t seem medications and over-the-counter like work and I enjoy it stuff and I couldn’t get rid of it.” immensely.” MV

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 19


UNIQUE solutions proven DESIGN

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

20 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


We love what we do,

WE WANT YOU TO LOVE WHERE YOU LIVE.

FEATURED LISTINGS NEW LISTING

NEW LISTING

325 OAK MARSH DRIVE, MANKATO

MLS# 7022539

$419,000

717 WARREN STREET, MANKATO MLS# 7022536 $154,900

1036 SHADY OAK DR, NORTH MANKATO MLS# 7022421 $309,900

PRICE REDUCED

2.78 ACRES

54349 207TH MILITARY RD, MANKATO MLS# 7022413 $439,500

315 DILLON AVENUE, MANKATO MLS# 7022410 $189,900

47900 WOODCOCK DRIVE, KASOTA

201 WOODHAVEN CIRCLE, MANKATO MLS# 7022345 $409,900

304 WOODSHIRE DRIVE, MANKATO MLS# 7022253 $289,900

673 TOMAHAWK COURT, MADISON LAKE MLS# 7022220 $222,000

PRICE REDUCED

22 N GOLF COURT, MANKATO

MLS# 7022203

$349,900

1032 OAK TERRACE DR, NORTH MANKATO MLS# 7022134 $404,900

MLS# 7022351

$289,900

FOLLOW US ONLINE!

OR VISIT OUR WEBSITE: WWW.JBEALHOMES.COM

GRAIF BUILDING | 507.385.1313 | VISIT WWW.JBEALHOMES.COM TO VIEW ALL CURRENT LISTINGS MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019! • 21


Business and Industry Trends ■

Energy Record U.S. crude exports continue

L I T I G AT I O N • B U S I N E S S • F A R M • P E R S O N A L

BLETHEN TITLE SERVICES & EXCHANGE LLC Trust us to manage your residential or commercial real estate transactions. We act as a Qualified Intermediary when an investor wishes to sell and replace assets with like-kind property.

Mankato

507-345-1166

Heating costs to fall

New Ulm

507-233-3900

blethenberens.com 22 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

U.S. exports of crude oil rose to average 2.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first half of 2019, an increase of 966,000 b/d from the first half of 2018. U.S. crude oil exports also set a record-high monthly average in June 2019 at 3.2 million b/d. The United States is still one of the world’s largest importers of crude oil: in the first half of 2019, U.S. imports of crude oil less exports (net imports) averaged 4.2 million b/d compared with 6.1 million b/d in the first half of 2018. Increases in U.S. domestic crude oil production have resulted in reduced imports and increased exports. Canada remained the top destination for U.S. crude oil exports, but volumes exported to Canada did not change much between the first halves of 2018 and 2019. By contrast, U.S. crude oil exports to most other major destinations have increased. The top regional destination for U.S. crude oil exports was Asia and Oceania at 1.3 million b/d. U.S. crude oil exports to these countries collectively increased by 472,000 b/d (58%) compared with the same period in 2018, and exports to countries such as South Korea, India, and Taiwan more than doubled. China has been an exception to this regional trend: U.S. crude oil exports to China in the first half of 2019 averaged 248,000 b/d, or 64% less than the same period last year.

237295-1001

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that average household expenditures for all major home heating fuels will decrease this winter


compared with last. This forecast largely reflects warmer expected winter temperatures compared with last winter. Decreases vary by fuel and region, with average U.S. propane expenditures forecast to fall by 15%, home heating oil expenditures by 4%, natural gas expenditures by 1%, and electricity expenditures by 1%.

Crude prices up

Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $63 per barrel in September, up $4/b from August and down $16/b from the September 2018 average. Brent spot prices began September at $61/b and increased to $68/b after attacks on major Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure disrupted the country’s crude oil production. However, Brent spot prices have subsequently fallen, reaching $58/b on October 4 as Saudi Arabia restored the shutin production and concerns about oil demand based on the condition of the global economy

Natural gas to fall

The Henry Hub natural gas spot price averaged $2.56 per million British thermal units in September, up 34 cents from August, which was the first monthly price increase since March. But EIA forecasts Henry Hub prices to average $2.43/MMBtu in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of more than $1/MMBtu from the fourth quarter of 2018, subsequently increasing to an average of $2.52/MMBtu in 2020. U.S. natural gas prices have fallen in 2019 because of strong supply growth that has enabled natural gas inventories to build more than average during the April through October injection season.

Less coal power

EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gasfired power plants will rise from 34% in 2018 to 37% in 2019 and 2020. EIA forecasts that the share of U.S. electric generation from coal will average 25% in 2019 and 22% in 2020, down from 28% in 2018. The nuclear share of U.S. generation will remain at about 20% in 2019 and in 2020. Hydropower averages a 7% share of total U.S. generation in the forecast for 2019 and 2020, similar to 2018. Wind, solar, and other nonhydropower renewables provided almost 10% of U.S. total utility-scale generation in 2018. They will provide more than 10% in 2019 and 12% in 2020.

Coal production down

U.S. coal production will decrease to 159 million short tons in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decline of 17% from the same period in 2018. Estimates are for U.S. production of 679 MMst in 2019, which would be a 10% decline from the 2018 level. Declining coal demand and related bankruptcies, ownership changes, and sudden mine closures have contributed to a fluctuating production environment in the Western region (largely the Powder River Basin), which produces more than half of the U.S. coal supply.

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

1,022 1,168

1500 1200 900 600 300 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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

Sales tax collections Mankato (In thousands)

- 2018 - 2019

600

$460,600

500

$451,079

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 $67,134

70000

- 2018 - 2019

$42,911

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

$60,700 $65,684

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 • NOVEMBER 2019 • 23


Agricultural Outlook

By Kent Thiesse

Refiner y waivers cut into ethanol, farmer profitability

T

he granting of “small refinery exemptions” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has garnered considerable attention by ethanol and biodiesel plants, farm organizations, and political leaders in recent months. In the past couple of years, the EPA has granted an unusually high number of SREs, which has impacted demand for renewable fuels and has negatively impacted the profitability of the ethanol and biodiesel industries. The Trump Administration has now proposed some changes to the procedures for the Renewable Fuels Standard that will hopefully address some of the issues related to the granting of the SREs.

RFS part of 2005 law

The Renewable Fuels Standard was originally established as part of the “Energy Policy Act of 2005” in order to guide the development of the biofuels industry. The RFS was greatly expanded under the “Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.” As it was originally designed, this legislation was supposed to continue to increase in volume from 2008 to 2022, eventually reaching a total 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel. The volume of corn-based ethanol was supposed to increase to 15 billion gallons by 2015, and then be held steady, which it has. Most of the increases beyond 2015 were slated to occur from development of the production of advanced biofuels, primarily from cellulosic ethanol. The production of most advanced biofuels, other than soybean-based biodiesel, have lagged far behind the expectations that were established in 2007. The 2007 legislation granted EPA the authority to set the mandated renewable fuel blending requirement each year for the various categories of renewable fuel, based on production capacity and renewable fuel

blending needs. Due to inadequate production capacity, the volume requirements for most categories of biofuels except for biodiesel and “conventional,” which is primarily corn-based ethanol, have been set below the original volumes that were established in the 2007 legislation. Refer to the following table for the biofuels volumes being proposed by EPA for 2020, compared to the original statutor y biofuels volumes in the 2007 legislation and the 2019 volumes: The 2007 RFS legislation basically mandated that most U.S. gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol. The 15 billion gallon statutory volume for corn-based ethanol was based on an anticipated total gasoline usage in the U.S. of approximately 150 billion gallons. However, due to more energy efficient vehicles and some challenges in the U.S. economy at various times since 2007, the total gasoline usage has not reached that level. As a result, the 15 gallon per year production level of corn-based ethanol has exceeded the amount needed for the 10 percent ethanol blend, which is commonly called the “blend wall”. Under RFS requirements, refiners are required to purchase the excess biofuel through a complicated system of “renewable identification numbers” (RINs), which EPA has established to track the use and trading of renewable fuel volumes.

Evolution of exemptions

A seemingly obscure portion of the RFS legislation grants EPA the authority to grant exemptions to small refineries from complying with the required biofuel blending requirements. The so-called “small refinery exemptions” were used very sparingly in the early years of the 2007 legislation; however, EPA has chosen the grant rather large numbers of SRE’s in recent years, which has caused considerable concern. The

Biofuel Type

2020 Proposed EPA Volume (billion gallons)

Cellulosic Fuel

0.54

10.5

0.42

2.43 (2021)

Greater than 1.0

2.1

Advanced Biofuel

5.04

15.0

4.92

Conventional (Corn Ethanol)

15.0

15.0

15.0

Total Renewable Fuel Allocation

20.04

30.0

19.92

Biodiesel

24 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

Original 2020 Statutor y Volume (billion gallons)

2019 Final Volume (billion gallons)


SREs are intended to be given to smaller refineries to reduce excessive economic hardship that is caused by the renewable fuel blending requirements. During the most recent round of announced SREs in August of 2019, EPA granted 31 SREs, waiving requirements for ethanol and biodiesel under the RFS for the 2018 year. Since the 2016, the EPA has granted 85 SREs, representing 38.3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel consumed in the U.S. during that time period. Prior to 2016, very few SREs were granted by EPA, and less than 10 SRE requests have been denied by EPA since 2016. The 2018 SRE exemption amounts to 1.43 billion gallons of renewable fuel no longer being required under the RFS law, which followed 1.8 billion gallons being removed by the SRE’s in 2017. Since 2016, over 4 billion gallons have been removed from the RFA requirements. The more frequent granting of SREs by EPA in recent years has had a very negative impact on the profitability for the ethanol and biodiesel industry. The reduction in the amount renewable fuels to comply with RFS requirements has slowed demand for biofuels at a time when production levels were already exceeding domestic needs. In addition, EPA has been slow 8to adopt enhanced fuel blends such as E-15 gasoline or expanded grades of biodiesel, similar to 6 the trend that has been set in Minnesota. Since EPA increased the use of SREs, 19 ethanol plants4in the U.S. have either closed or idled production, including the Corn Plus ethanol plant at Winnebago, 2 with additional plants reducing their production levels. It is estimated that the 2.5 billion gallon per year biodiesel industry in the U.S. has lost nearly 10 0 J F M A M J J A S O N D percent of the total demand due to the SREs granted by EPA in the past three years. The U.S. biodiesel industry has had nine processing plants close and other plants reduce production levels. In addition to having8an impact on the profitability of the ethanol and biodiesel plants, the increased use of SREs is resulting 100 in reduced farm-level grain prices and is affecting 6 rural 85 economies. 4

70 announces agreement EPA

On Oct. 4 EPA announced a plan to maintain the 552 mandated 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel or corn-based ethanol that is mandated by the RFS 400 J F Starting M A inM2020, J any J gallons A S ofOrequired N D requirements. renewable ethanol that are lost due to the granting of 25 J F M A M J J A S O N D SRE’s will compensated for by EPA through the RIN system. There were also provisions included to enhance the use of E-15 and reforms to the RIN system. However, there was not specific mention of 100 addressing the gallons of biodiesel that have been lost by the SREs, or any provisions to address the 4.1 billion85gallons of renewable biofuels that were lost to SREs 70 from 2016-2018. The announcement by EPA helps put some stability in the RFS requirements 55 in 2020; however, the announcement was starting rather short on details for addressing future SREs and 40 the economic challenges facing the renewable energy industry. 25 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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

Agriculture/ Agribusiness Corn prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

— 2018 — 2019

20

8 6

16

$3.74

12

4

8

2 0

$3.09

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

4

N

D

0

J

Source: USDA

Soybean prices — southern Minnesota

(dollars per bushel)

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

Iowa-Minnesota hog prices

$7.49 O N D O N D O N D

185 pound carcass, negotiated price, weighted average

— 2018 — 2019

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

$8.36

25

$50.86

22 19 16

M M M

A M J A M J A M J

Milk prices

J J J

A S $37.89 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

$16.93

19 16 13 10

$15.07 J

F

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

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 • NOVEMBER 2019 • 25

13 10

J

J


Construction/Real Estate Residential building permits Mankato

Commercial building permits Mankato

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

- 2018 - 2019 (in thousands)

$4,090

5000000

$2,852,430

8000000

3000000

6000000

2000000

4000000

1000000

2000000 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

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)

198

186

300

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

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

250

$179,500 $183,044

200

240

150

180

100

120

50

60

0 J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Realtors Association of Southern Minnesota

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Realtor Association of Southern Minnesota

Interest Rates: 30-year fixed-rate mortgage

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

Housing starts: Mankato/North Mankato

— 2018 — 2019

- 2018 - 2019

5.5

50

4.5%

5.0

40

4.5

12

30

4.0

6

20

3.5 3.0

J

Source: City of Mankato

Existing home sales: Mankato region

0

$6,332,562

10000000

4000000

0

$4,357

12000000

3.6% J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

10 N

Source: Freddie Mac

D

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

Source: Cities of Mankato/North Mankato

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

We Know Commercial Real Estate.

Read us online!

Tim Lidstrom CCIM/Broker

100 Warren Street, Suite 708, Mankato, MN 56001

507-625-4606

www.lidcomm.com Karla Jo Olson Broker

26 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


one company. endless solutions. Roofing | Architectural Sheet Metal | Specialty Metal Fabrication | Electrical Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration | Plumbing | Pipe Fitting | Crane Service 24/7 Emergency Service Response | Preventative Maintenance Facilities Asset Management | Roof Top Safety Solutions

...and so much more.

Pursuing a higher level of excellence every day. www.schwickerts.com | 507-387-3101 | 330 Poplar St. Mankato, MN

Gas Prices 5

Gas prices-Mankato

— 2018 — 2019

54 43 $2.78

32 21 10 0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

Gas prices-Minnesota

$2.42

$40.20

-0.2%

Ameriprise

$144.63

$138.82

-4.0%

Best Buy

$69.02

$68.72

-0.4%

Brookfield Property

$18.45

$19.13

+3.7%

Crown Cork & Seal

$63.30

$64.02

+1.1% -34.3%

N

D

Fastenal

$32.79

$35.42

+8.0%

General Mills

$54.53

$54.01

-1.0%

Itron

$72.38

$74.16

+2.5%

Johnson Outdoors

$57.97

$59.70

+3.0%

3M

$168.86

$160.51

-5.0%

Target

$108.83

$111.15

+2.1%

U.S. Bancorp

$55.86

$53.26

-4.7%

Winland

$1.11

$1.15

+3.6%

Xcel

$62.99

$63.28

+0.5%

21 M

$40.29

$3.33

$2.57

F

Archer Daniels

$5.07

$2.82

J

Percent change

Consolidated Comm.

54

10

Oct. 14

D

5

32

Sept. 10

N

— 2018 — 2019

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 • NOVEMBER 2019 • 27


Minnesota Business Updates

■ CHS to Upgrade Soybean Processing Plant

■ Best Buy bets on health care The nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, known for selling TV sets, cellphones and laptops, is looking to health care as a big source of its future growth. Best Buy Co. said that in five years it hopes to provide 5 million seniors with health monitoring services, which can range from sensors placed throughout a home to a pendant worn around the neck. It currently provides the service to 1 million. It’s part of the chain’s deeper push into the $3.5 trillion U.S. health care market and essential to its goal of reaching $50 billion in annual revenue by 2025. The Minneapolis-based chain is tapping into an aging U.S. population, noting that two out of three seniors live with two or more chronic conditions and many want to stay at home.

Moving to boost production of soy-based food and feed ingredients, CHS has plans to expand its soybean processing facility in Fairmont. In addition to the added capacity, the company said the project will improve market access for soybean producers in the region. “CHS is always looking for ways to expand market access for farmers’ crops and improve operational efficiencies. This renovation project will deliver value on several fronts,” Scott Erdal, director of risk management and business development at CHS, said in a company press release. The renovation of the facility will include an expansion of the site’s soybean crush and oil production capacity. Oil produced at the Fairmont site is refined at a CHS facility in Mankato. “Regional livestock expansion has created new demand for quality soybean meal. This project will increase crush capacity at Fairmont and help us optimize our Mankato soy crush and refining platform,” Erdal said. The project is slated to reach completion by the fall of 2021.

■ Fastenal meets milestones In June, Fastenal celebrated its 100,000th active vending machine. In July, it announced its 1,000th Onsite location. And September brought 25 years as an international company.

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

56 123 33 101 313

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

62 96 39 102 299

Construction 126000 126000 Manufacturing Retail 113000 Services 113000 Total*

2,018 1,374 909 2,168 6,469

1,768 1,400 767 2,890 6,825

126000

2100 1400

113000

700 100000

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

Minnesota Local non-farm jobs

28 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

N

D

3,010 3,036

8000 3500 3500 6000 2800 2800 4000 2100 2100

-12.4% +1.9% -15.6% +33.3% +5.5%

O

150000 100000

D

N

D

0

50000

700 0

J

0

J

200000

2000 1400 1400

700

0

- 2018 - 2019

(in thousands)

Percent change ‘18-’19

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

3500 2800

+10.7% -22.0% +18.2% +1.0% -4.5%

Minnesota initial unemployment claims August 2018 2019

132,458 129,698

139000

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

Major Industry 139000 139000

- 2018 - 2019

Nine-county Mankato region

J

F

J

F

F M

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

M A A M

M J

J J

J A

A S

S O

O N

N D

D

0

J

F


O

O

For much of its history, Winona-based Fastenal was only in the U.S., known primarily as a Midwest fastener distributor, with fewer than 350 locations and $162 million in annual sales. The company branched into Canada and then into Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, Brazil and elsewhere. Today, Fastenal’s international business includes 24 countries, four continents, 3,613 employees, 477 inmarket locations, and revenues generated from markets outside of the U.S. accounting for about 14% of Fastenal’s total.

■ Tariff exemption aids Johnson Racine-based Johnson Outdoors was recently granted exemptions from the Section 301 tariffs that the Trump administration levied against Chinese imports. As a result, the company said it now expects tariffs to cut its profit by about $3 million this year, down from the previous estimate of $5 million to $7 million. The company reported operating profits of $63 million last year and $61.9 million through the first 139000 three quarters this year. The company has reported a loss or small operating profit in its fourth quarter in recent years, so $2 million 126000 to $4 million stands to be a 3% to 6% boost from previous expectations. The exemptions Johnson Outdoors received included 113000 two types of LCD screens and two types of injectionmolded plastic casing assemblies used in Humminbird fish finders. 100000 J F M A M J J A S O N D

■ ADM eyes biobased acid Archer Daniels Midland and South Korea-based LG Chem, are joining forces to create biobased acrylic acid, a key element needed in the manufacture of superabsorbent polymers used in diapers and other hygiene products. “The acrylic acid project is another effort from ADM to create new sustainable materials from renewable resources and demonstrates our strong commitment to support customer demand through innovation,” Todd Werpy 139000 vice-president and chief technology officer at 139000said in a statement. ADM ADM and LG Chem will work jointly toward 126000 viable commercial production of a 100% economically 126000 biobased acrylic acid using ingredients from ADM corn processing. Acrylic acid currently is produced almost 113000 exclusively from petrochemicals. 113000

3500 8000 2800 6000 2100

3500 2800 2100 1400 700

100000

100000 J F

J M

M J

J A

J S

Local number of unemployed

4000 2100 1400 2000

N

D

S N

O D

8000

4,013

0 F F

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

J A A

J S S

A S O N O N D O N D

200000

77,958 93,837

150000 100000 50000 D

0

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

700 0

4000 1400

100000

700 2000

50000

0 0 J F JM

J

F M A M AJ FA M

M MJ

J JA

J JS

A AO

S N S

O D O

N N

D D

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

August

100000

D

0

J

0 F

J M

F M A A M J

M J

J A

2018

2019

2.1% 59,613 1,280

2.8% 59,400 1,696

J S

A O

S N

O D

N

D

Unemployment rates Counties, state, nation County/area

- 2018 - 2019

1400

J

150000

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

100000

2000

2100

Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan statistical area

150000

4000

700 0 J 0 J

D 0

200000

3,188

6000

Minnesota number of unemployed

N

N

- 2018 - 2019

Nine-county Mankato region 8000 3500 6000 2800

A O

2800

200000

Employment/Unemployment

F M A A M J

3500

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

August 2018

August 2019

2.3% 2.5% 2.7% 2.7% 3.0% 2.0% 2.3% 3.1% 2.9% 2.3% 2.5% 3.9%

2.9% 2.9% 3.3% 3.0% 3.5% 2.5% 2.5% 3.4% 3.7% 3.1% 2.9% 3.8%

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

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 29

0

J


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

The one 401(k) decision that will wreck your retirement

W

By Carla Fried | Rate.com

hen you move on to a new job, you have an important retirement decision to make. If you had a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), at your old job, you must decide what to do with that account. About one-third of job hoppers in their 20s, 30s and 40s make a decision that can wreck their retirement: They cash out the money. When you leave a job, you typically have a few options for what to do with your 401(k) savings: Leave it behind. If your account value is at least $5,000, you can leave the account with your old employer. You won’t be able to make any new contributions, but your savings can stay put and continue to grow. Move the account to your new employer’s plan. Some employers will let you bring your 401(k) assets with you, which is called a 401(k) rollover, transferring your money into their plan. Move the money to a rollover IRA. You can make a tax-free transfer that sends your 401(k) money to an IRA account you have at a discount brokerage. Cash out the money. This is indeed an option. You can cash out all of the money or just a portion of it. The high opportunity cost of a 401(k) cash-out There are plenty of reasons _ and temptations _ that can make cashing out seem compelling. Maybe you’re determined to wipe out some high-rate credit card debt, or take a much-needed vacation before you start your new job, or buy a new car to go with the new gig. The first problem with this move is the tax hit. If you cash out a traditional 401(k), you will owe income tax on the withdrawal. And if you are younger than 55 when you cash out, there will also be a 10% early withdrawal penalty. 30 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business

But the bigger issue is that you’ve reduced your retirement savings. By a lot more than the amount you withdraw. An academic study estimated that cashing out can reduce eventual retirement wealth by around 20%. That’s because when you cash out today, you’re giving up years when that money could continue to grow tax-deferred. For example, let’s say you are 30 and land a great new job. You have $50,000 saved up in the 401(k) at your old employer. You decide to cash out $10,000, but feel good that you are leaving the other $40,000 to keep growing. That’s going to be a very costly decision. The $40,000 will grow to $427,000 by age 65 assuming an annualized return of 7%. But if you had kept all $50,000 working for you, it would be worth nearly $535,000. That’s not a typo. Your seemingly “small” cash-out of $10,000 ends up costing you more than $100,000 in retirement wealth. And remember, if you cash out $10,000, you’re not going to pocket $10,000. The 10% early withdrawal penalty cuts it to $9,000 and then you’ve got the income tax to contend with. Let’s assume that eats up another 20%, so you’re left with $7,000 on a $10,000 cash-out. The next time you job hop and are considering a cash-out, slow down and consider the potential sixfigure opportunity cost of making that move. Keep the money growing for your retirement, and your future self will be very grateful. MV


Sponsored by the Carl & Verna Schmidt Foundation

Vanguard trying out a new robo-only adviser that is even cheaper

V

By Erin Arvedlund | The Philadelphia Inquirer

anguard is testing a pure robo adviser that is pushing costs down even further for that automated investing service. Vanguard filed a brochure for a trial service called Vanguard Digital Advisor, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Initially, the trial robo adviser is available only to those with Vanguard brokerage accounts, who would hand over control of their money for a 0.15% fee. But if and when the robo launches on a retail basis _ and that’s unknown _ Vanguard Digital Advisor could one day be available to America’s workplace retirement plans and employees. In that scenario, Vanguard Digital Advisor would likely cost 0.20% annually and require at least $3,000 in assets, according to the filing. What’s interesting about this new offering? “We’re seeing the commoditization of financial planning tools,” said Adam Holt, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based Asset-Map.com, which makes software for financial advisers. Financial planners believe this could also be Vanguard’s way of luring back independent money managers and advisers as customers, a market that the Malvern giant has largely avoided until now. Charles Schwab, a competitor, has long sought financial advisers as clients, which then keep assets in custody at Schwab. In turn, Schwab markets low-cost Schwab funds and ETFs. “Vanguard is in the early stages of a pilot for a new advice service. We’re not providing further details at this time,” according to spokesperson Charles Kurtz. Another nugget within last week’s filing shows how Vanguard will gain useful financial profile insights into these Vanguard Digital Advisor clients: “You’ll create a profile within the DA Website and Interface that provides us with information relating to your family,

age, risk tolerance, specific financial goals, investment time horizon, current investments, tax filing status, other assets and sources of income, investment preferences, planned spending, and existing financial/ investment accounts,” the filing said. This Vanguard pure robo strategy is very much in line with the “goals-based” investing trend popular among advisers, Holt said. “Vanguard now has a formula-based system that aligns a person’s goals with their investment allocation, which makes absolute sense. We’re seeing that being built by several companies now,” Holt said, including Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, Iowa. In some cases, robo advisers are beginning to waive fees altogether just to get the assets in-house, he added. Behavioral finance language describing your tolerance for risk also shows up in the new Vanguard offering: In Digital Advisor, “you will be asked to respond to customized scenarios with varying risk/ reward calculations that are designed to tell us about your willingness to tolerate risk in connection with your financial goals. Based on your scenario responses, we will provide you with a risk attitude assessment derived from an assessment tool based on behavioral economics and decision science,” the filing said. Not surprisingly, investors using Vanguard Digital Advisor will choose from a menu of Vanguard ETFs for their portfolios. Equity portions of an investor’s portfolio are invested in Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF and Vanguard Total International Stock Market ETF, while bond portions are invested in Vanguard Total Bond Market Index ETF and Vanguard Total International Bond Index ETF. When cash is recommended as part of the asset allocation, the Vanguard Prime Money Market MV Fund will be the fund of choice.

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 31


NEW BUSINESS

AMBASSADOR VISIT

EXPANSION & RENOVATION

Archie’s Diner Civic Center Plaza Suite 1605, Mankato

Fun.com 2080 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

Live Active Apartments 200 Briargate Road, Mankato

50TH ANNIVERSARY

NEW COLLABORATION

NEW MURAL

Pagliais Pizza 524 South Front Street, Mankato

Rexius Nutrition, Bodikey Physical Therapy, & Kato Crossfit | 1522 North Riverfront Drive

South Central Minnesota Pride 321 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

NEW BUSINESS

NEW LOCATION

25TH ANNIVERSARY

Travelooza 100 Warren Street, Suite 300-123, Mankato

Partners for Affordable Housing 221 Union Street, Saint Peter

Buffalo Wild Wings 301 St Andrews Drive, Mankato

125TH ANNIVERSARY

10TH ANNIVERSARY

RE-BRANDING

Consolidated Communications 221 East Hickory Street, Mankato

Mayo Clinic Health System - Andreas Cancer Center | 1025 Marsh Street, Mankato

CareerForce 12 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 1600A, Mankato

Celebrating the community and promoting expansive development. 32 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


2019

2019 SPONSOR:

5 - 7 PM

JAN 8

AmericInn Hotel & Conference Center

JUL 9

Laurels Edge Assisted Living

AUG 6

240 Stadium Road, Mankato

WHY JOIN FEB 5

MAR 5 APR 2

77 Stadium Road, Mankato

BankVista

1501 Adams Street, Mankato

Carlson-Tillisch Eye Clinic

120 North Broad Street, Mankato

EXPOSURE

U.S. Bank

115 East Hickory Street, Suite 200, Mankato

Pantheon Computers

GREATER MANKATO GROWTH? LOCATION 1 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato

SEPT 3

Mankato Clinic - North Mankato Family Medicine

OCT 1

Hilton Garden Inn

1575 Lookout Drive, North Mankato

*

20 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato

Mayo Clinic Health System Courtyard by Marriott Hotel & Event Center NOV 5 CHANGE! MAY 7 101 Martin Luther King Jr Drive, Mankato 901 Raintree Road, Mankato Build your Brand; Dotson Iron Castings grow your business. Exclusively Diamonds DEC 3 JUN 4 200 West Rock Street, Mankato Adams Stand out and get It’s not just st1601 WHO WHO you ouStreet, Mankato noticed! know, it’s who knows k 2019 September Business After Hours hosted by Mankato Clinic - North Mankato Family Medicine YOU. Networking IS Powerful.

NETWORKING TW WORKING ORKING

BE IN THE KNOW

LEARNING

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

TALENT RETENTION

MEMBER EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS

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

REFERRALS

NOTE: Calendar magnets are available at the check in table at each Business After HoursWe event and theymember are available at our office only refer at 3 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 100. Also, a downloadable version is available at greatermankato.com/business-after-hours. businesses. Word of mouth

Keep your employees

and direct referrals come

engaged and retained with Business After Hours gives representatives from Greater Mankato Growth member businesses at the Engaged or higher an opportunity to from beingLevel a valued to our get together withaccess one another to member exchange only ideas and learn about each other’s businesses. greatermankato.com/events 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.

Allstate Insurance allstate.com

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

Bosphorus Gyros & Kebabs bosphorusmn.com

greatermankato.com/join April 2018

Midwest IT Systems itsystemsinc.net

S.S. Boutique ssboutique.co

Summit Power Sweeping facebook.com/SPSmankato

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


THANK YOU SPONSORS! PRESENTING SPONSOR

THE VOICE OF THE MANKATO MARATHON - PLATINUM SPONSORS -

PLATINUM SPONSORS

PLATINUM IN-KIND SPONSORS

GOLD SPONSORS

SILVER SPONSORS

BRONZE SPONSORS

IN-KIND SPONSORS

CITY OF MANKATO CITY OF NORTH MANKATO FLEXIBLE PLASTICS GOGO SQUEEZE KEEPERS RV CENTER KIWANIS

MANKATO BREWERY MSU, MANKATO CENTER FROM SPORT PERFORMANCE & TECHNOLOGY NORTH LINKS GOLF COURSE PIZZA RANCH GOMACRO

FRIENDS OF THE MANKATO MARATHON KNUTSON + CASEY

MAYBA

Gather in the GreenSeam is a celebration that highlights the heart of the harvest season that incorporates Southern Minnesota’s Wineries & Breweries, Sports & Recreation and Family Adventures!

Thank you to all the businesses that participated to make this another successful year and THANK YOU to our sponsor:

Get Involved!

SnowKato Days is structured to be open and inclusive to community organizations and businesses with three ways our community partners can become involved:

1. Become a Sponsor 2. Participate in the Button Program 3. Host an Event January 17-26

Learn more at snowkatodays.com

34 • NOVEMBER 2019 • MN Valley Business


OUR RECENT PUBLICATIONS

THANK WHY YOU!JOIN EXPOSURE Thank you to the Build your Brand; participating businesses, grow your business. students, and members of and get Stand out noticed! the public for making this year’s Tour of Manufacturing so informative and fun! See you next year! LEARNING Gain access cces to Member Exclusive Content to help grow your business.

GREATER MANKATO GROWTH? NETWORKING TW WORKING ORKING It’s not just st WHO WHO you ou know, it’s who knows k YOU. Networking IS iew 9 Rev 1 0 2 Powerful. .2

Q

BE IN Find them on greatermankato.com/publications THE KNOW

MEMBER are now LIVE! MEMBERS! 2020 Marketing Opportunities TALENT RETENTION

EXCLUSIVE THE BENEFITS

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

Tourism Digital Marketing Workshop SHAPE YOUR Featuring Brian V. COMMUNITY Matson Your investment helps us

November 19 to build the best continue

Learn more andenvironment register atfor your visitmankatomn.com/workshop business and its employees. Sponsored by

City C e Marke nter tpla Analy ce sis

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

greatermankato.com/marketing

REFERRALS We only refer member businesses. Word of mouth and direct referrals come from being a valued member of GMG.

CHAMPION’S CODE featuring

ROSS BERNSTEIN

CREDIBILITY

Raise your reputation by belonging. Research shows that businesses who belong 13 |of8:30 am - Noon to December a chamber commerce are more successful.

greatermankato.com/champions

SAVE THE DATE! 37TH ANNUAL

RURAL FORUM

greatermankato.com/join DECEMBER 5, 2019

“Navigating Perspectives”

April 2018

Featuring MN Gov. Tim Walz, keynote speaker Rick Berman, MN FFA and key MN legislators

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 35 greatermankato.com/join


» G R E AT G OL F,

great meetings.

GOLF DIGEST EXECUTIVES KNOW GREAT GOLF and have named Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort

»» Play where the champions play

& Spa and Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel at Grand National two of their newest Editors' Choice Winners, along

on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones

with Pebble Beach, The Greenbrier, Pinehurst and 65 other North American locations. When you need to step

Golf Trail. To book your next outing,

away from the office for a great golf getaway or an off-site meeting, plan your visit to Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The best part about the Trail is you don’t have to break the bank to play world-class golf. »»

call 800.949.4444 today and visit rtjgolf.com to learn more.


The College of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship hosts

Entrepreneurial Events in November GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK November 19-26, 2019 The College of Business’ Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship coordinates and hosts events, open to the public, in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. This year’s line up includes: • Screening of the award-winning film “The Biggest Little Farm” followed by an ag innovation panel • Startup Smart by the Small Business Development Center • Customer Service workshop by the Better Business Bureau • Show Me the Money funding workshop and 5 minutes for $500 Pitch Competition • Kick-off for the Big Ideas Challenge, a student venture competition open to Minnesota State University students and recent alumni For more information on the national GEW: genglobal.org/gew For more information on local events: cob.mnsu.edu/gew

SHOP SMALL SATURDAY STUDENT POP UP STORE November 30, from 10am-4pm A showcase of college, high school and elementary student businesses selling and promoting their products. The Hubbard Building is a Welcome Center for Shop Small Saturday so shoppers can stop by to get their passports, have hot cider and cookies and shop for pottery, jewelry, 3d printed items and more made by young entrepreneurs. Both events are FREE and held at the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, 424 North Riverfront Drive, Mankato

Follow the COB

badv

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 37


SAY GOODBYE TO NERVE PAIN.

Live more comfortably with expert carpal tunnel and nerve care from Mayo Clinic Health System. You’ll say goodbye to frustrating nerve pain, tingling and numbness that keep you from living your best life. From your first appointment, our team of experts evaluate you as a whole person, not just your injury. That allows us to personalize care to your exact needs and focus on your total recovery. Don’t wait to return to an active, healthy, happy life filled with your favorite activities.

Call 507-246-1295 for an appointment. mayoclinichealthsystem.org/peripheralnerve

MN Valley Business • NOVEMBER 2019 • 38

Profile for Free Press Media

Minnesota Valley Business  

November 2019

Minnesota Valley Business  

November 2019

Profile for dhabrat
Advertisement