Page 1


How this Fargo brand went global by tackling an allergy epidemic

september 2016 Volume 1 Issue 9

Fargo INC! is published 12 times a year and is available at area businesses and online at fargoinc.com

Publisher Mike Dragosavich



Editorial Director Andrew Jason


Editor Nate Mickelberg


Graphic Designers Sarah Geiger, Ryan Koehler, Brittney Richter

Head Photographer J. Alan Paul Photography jesse@jalanpaul.com

Contributors Marisa Jackels, Nate Copy Editors

Mickelberg, Craig Whitney, Mike Allmendinger Erica Rapp, Sam Stark


Senior Account Tracy Nicholson Manager tracy@spotlightmediafargo.com

Marketing/Sales Paul Hoefer


Paul Bougie


Tank McNamara


Jenny Johnson


Business Operations Manager Heather Hemingway Administrative Nicole Houseal


Delivery Mitch Rapp

Fargo INC! is published by Spotlight Media LLC. Copyright 2016 Fargo INC! & fargoinc.com. All rights reserved. No parts of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission of Fargo INC! Fargo INC! & spotlightmediafargo.com will not be held responsible for any errors or omissions found in the magazine or on fargoinc.com. Spotlight Media LLC., accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.





Spotlight Media September 2016

Take a look at what Fargo Monthly, Design & Living, and Bison Illustrated have in store this month.


Letters to the Editor 19

New overtime laws 22

Office Vibes: Enclave Development 30

Notable Nonprofit: Dakota Certified Development Corporation

A Fargo nonprofit hybrid that could be the solution to your capital woes



Meet the team behind SunButter, a local sunflower spread that's gone from a local niche product to a global brand in a little more than a decade. How have they done it? By providing a safe, reliable peanut-butter alternative to the 3 million peanut allergy sufferers nationwide.


Former SunButter Vice President Dan Hofland and SunButter Sales and Marketing Director Justin Lagosh pose with Haley Deibert, one of the millions of children affected by peanut allergies.




Great streets make great places

Kilbourne Group General Manager Mike Allmendinger writes about the impact that pedestrianfriendly streets can have on local retail.


Startup Spotlight: Webblen 60

First Annual Cart Summit Preview

Emerging Prairie's Marisa Jackels gives you a look at what to expect at this year's first annual Cart Summit and how it eventually hopes to be the biggest e-commerce conference in the Midwest.


A club for creatives

AAF-ND's Missy Keney and Katie Elenberger give you five great reasons to join one of the biggest

communications clubs in the country.


We're behind Bresciani FMWF Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Craig Whitney on the impact NDSU President Dean Bresciani has had on the metro's largest university


How far does your salary go in other cities?

Whether it's Manhattan or Des Moines, we break down exactly what you'd need to make to live and work somewhere else.


Flint Group: the 70-year-old startup

Flint PR Specialist Kris Bevill talks about what has changed and what has stayed the same in business since Harold Flint founded his namesake company seven decades ago.


Business Events Calendar

Tech Tailgate, Big Iron, Cart Summit and many more great business events that you can't miss in September!


FM Career Finder 86

Rick Berg on why it's great to be a job-seeker in Fargo-Moorhead


Fargo-Moorhead economic indicators: why the FM area is a beacon for the rest of the country


Job listings

Meet the Team MIKE




















To learn more about Spotlight Media, go to spotlightmediafargo.com

Meet Spotlight Media's Other Magazines Spotlight Media is a publishing company out of Fargo. Learn more at spotlightmediafargo.com

Design & Living Magazine September brings us Design & Living's second annual Historic Home Issue. We take you through four local homes that have forged the foundation of our city and eclipsed modern day trends.

Bison Illustrated Football is back and September's Bison Illustrated has everything you need while you watch the Bison from your couch, the bar or inside the Fargodome. Nick DeLuca, Easton Stick and Greg Menard are featured in the magazine and are definitely three players you should keep your eye on this season.

Fargo Monthly 5 colleges, 35,000 students and one great community. This month, Fargo Monthly sat down with five local college and university presidents to talk about why their institutions are an important piece of our community and how everyone from students to average citizens can benefit from them.


Letters to the Editor We figured you were sick of hearing what the media and pundits had to say about it, though, so we're passing the mic. To get a more ground-level view of some of the changes happening in the workplace, we wanted to hear from the oldest and the youngest generations currently in it. So we found two Millennials and two Baby Boomers, gave them a handful of topics and let them take it from there. They dispelled a few myths, cleared up some misunderstandings and found a lot more common ground than they were probably expecting to. PAUL RICHARD Sanford Fargo

TYLER FISCHBACH FMWF Chamber of Commerce **All statistics from PricewaterhouseCoopers report, "Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace" MAY 2016




I just returned to Phoenix after my yearly Fargo visit to see my kids. I picked up Fargo INC! to read your article about Millennials and I was struck by the narrowness of the issues and the field that was covered. First off, the topic was "Millennials in the workplace" and you chose the "white collar" sector. Second, the topic seemed to center around their position (as they view it) in the workplace, as well as workplace ethics as may be required by our culture at large and the industry that they work for. Every year, tens of thousands of kids graduate from high school and, if not smart enough, they go into the "service sector" of employment. The "smart" ones go to college for the "better" jobs. At the same time, an



*The following is a collection of emails and letters we've received since the release of Fargo INC!'s inaugural issue in January 2016. They have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

equal number graduate from college with degrees that unfortunately are of no use in today's ever-shifting job market AND they are stuck with big student loans to pay off and scant job prospects. Time to move BACK in with mom and dad!

A roundtable on how Millennials are changing the workplace


At Fargo INC!, we love all feedback: positive, negative and everything in between. That's why this month we're running our first-ever "Letters to the Editor" segment and letting you, the reader, sound off.*

I work around a lot of the "service sector" Millennials and their concerns are somewhat different than the "white collars." I, like most Boomers, thought that these kids were only interested in getting the money, playing video games and partying (Hmm, sounds like me at that age!). But I have come to learn that they ARE aware of the present state of the world, the political circus now unfolding and the world-reaching spread of of war. For many of them, they fear that another recession may be in the making and that their job may disappear due to corporate buyout, bankruptcy or collapse. These kids are a lot smarter and more savvy than we give them credit for. Your young panel discussed the desire to tap into that wisdom and tenacity gained from decades of life. Didn't I also as a young man. Now I'm the "old dude" and I'm passing things on to the young. The Millennials need to understand—as all generations have— that in most environments, there must be an appointed leader. Someone has to be in charge to see that goals are accomplished, rules are followed, assignments given and that there is accountability for failures along the way. Jonathan B. Books PHOENIX, ARIZ.

ISSUE m a g a z i n e

2 0 1 6

FargoBusinessOwner @FargoBusinessOwner

Hey @FargoINC! marketing is a headache. Help me!!!



Fargo INC!


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Want Want Free Free Money? Money? North Dakota’s North Dakota’s got your got back. your back.

The Marketing Issue



@FargoBusinessOwner read the magazine and hear what @Absolute @Flint @Sundog @H2M & @InHouse have to say on page 21!



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Tonya Tonya Stende Stende

Chuck Chuck HogeHoge

How much is a 'like' worth? Should my media mix be split evenly between traditional and digital? Should I be staffing a full-time social media person? How should I be measuring the effectiveness of my billboard advertising? What's the next big thing in marketing?

Jim Gartin Jim Gartin

If you're a business owner, you've probably asked yourself at least one of these questions.

CraigCraig Whitney Whitney FOLKWAYS FOLKWAYS

Fortunately, we have answers to those and many more questions – straight from the mouths of some of the most respected marketing and advertising minds in the area. We sat down with five FM area agencies and asked them how they approach marketing in 2016, with each focusing on one of their own clients.

Joe Burgum Joe Burgum

10 | JANUARY 10 | JANUARY 2016 2016



From how they identify audiences to how they select the media to deliver a company's message, it was a fascinating look at just how much thought goes into the advertising we're surrounded by every day. 20

I love that Spotlight has created a magazine focused on entrepreneurship. It's a fun way to see all the innovators of our community share their stories. I was disappointed, however, in the lack of diversity represented in the inaugural issue of Fargo INC! I realize that the racial makeup of the city is: 1.4% Native American 2.2% Hispanic or Latino 2.7% African-American 3.0% Asian

0.6% from other races 2.1% from two or more races

90.2% White

(According to Wikipedia, which gets its information from the 2010 census) While I am not expecting a magazine that has the number of women and minorities featured outnumber the number of white men featured, it would be beneficial to see the women and minorities who don't get ample publicity to be featured in the magazine so that we may learn more from them—how they got their start, what they see is their business's role in the market, and advice for future entrepreneurs who lack the privilege they may see as essential for starting businesses or projects. Seeing a diverse group of folks in the media is incredibly positive for our quality of life/people attraction to the area. It also might be worthwhile to mention that it's not doing the diverse population of the FM area justice to only see stereotypical pieces on immigrant entrepreneurs who started a restaurant







I just wanted to send my congrats along on a great new publication in the area with Fargo INC! The magazine looks and reads great, stories are nicely covered and that cover paper is like candy for my fingertips! Love it! I wanted to mention a couple thoughts as you continue the magazine in the future. Could you do a future article on freelancers? Maybe a feature story? I just picked up issue two and saw you give some love to the bigger agencies in town, which is awesome, or grocery store. While I love these businesses, I don't like it when that's all that people expect immigrants can do and I know of a number of people who moved to Fargo from other countries (who are) active in the tech and community development industries and who could be a good fit for your magazine. I'd be happy to help research entrepreneurial stories and/or businesses for the next issue because I understand that criticism is easy and the process takes work. I'm connected in the community to a number of different groups, including Red River Market, Ugly Food of the North, Silver Goat Media, etc. Again, thanks so much for starting the magazine and best of luck! Cheers, Jodi Regan Creative Consultant Founder, Winnie + Charles FARGO, N.D.

but it would be nice to see coverage on the smaller talent in town that struggles to break through the budgets of larger firms for attention. As a freelance graphic designer, it would be nice to have a local publication give a little press to the number of freelancers working in Fargo-Moorhead. I think that a recurring graphic design article could be an interesting component to Fargo INC! for future publications since design is driving the visual presence of the city right now and all the major events taking place in it. It would be a great platform to make sure the standards for designs stay high and relevant. Your publication is a perfect fit for that discussion to happen. Last little point I'd like to bring up—actually a bit of criticism—is the lack of coverage of women in leadership roles and any diverse leadership. I understand the current state of the FM area in its lower numbers of diversity, but when you page through your first two issues, the lack of photos featuring any diversity and women is pretty staggering. Please consider how vital the visual presence of a diverse community is to the area in the future. Thanks for hearing me out on these ideas/ issues. Congrats on an awesome publication! Jeff Knight Assistant Professor, Concordia College Freelance Graphic Designer MOORHEAD, MINN.




ADMIRAL of the SWEET A conversation with American Crystal Sugar Company President & CEO David Berg

T By Nate Mickelberg | Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

he first time David Berg set foot in the American Crystal Sugar building in North Moorhead, it wasn’t as an ambitious MBA grad but rather a broadcast reporter for WDAY TV. It was 1978, and he was set to interview an American Crystal executive about the effects of Coca-Cola replacing some of its sugar with corn syrup. And while the conversation itself may have been brief, its effect on him was not.


Berg points to that interview as the spark for his interest in agribusiness and one of the reasons he chose to go back to school to earn a masters in agricultural economics. After a three-year stint at Minneapolis-based General Mills, the circle was complete as he was recruited back to American Crystal as an economist. Thirty years later, he’s still there, though not for much longer, as he’ll step down at the end of the summer as the company’s president and CEO. We sat down with Berg to talk about a variety of topics, including how NAFTA continues to affect the regional sugar beet industry, the ongoing debate over GMOs and what his role will be as chair of the FMWF Chamber of Commerce’s new agribusiness committee. 51

MAY 2016



I have read the conversation you had with David Berg, CEO of American Crystal Sugar, and feel as though the information given out about GMOs was rather short and misleading. Growing up in Moorhead, I know American Crystal Sugar has had a great impact on the town and employs plenty of people. However, as we are in a great farming area, I think the community should have a proper understanding of GMOs. I’ll admit I’m not an expert on food nutrition, but I try to do my research when it comes to what I eat. With the use of organic products on the rise, more and more companies have packaging bending around the idea of “all natural, no artificial flavors," etc., which creates more confusion for the consumers choosing from more products than ever before. As “no GMOs” is becoming more prevalent on packaging and marketing material, a lot of people are confused as to what they even are. GMOs refers to genetically modified organisms, or food that has had its genetic material altered through genetic engineering. Most people think genetic engineering is like selective breeding, creating hybrids. It is a similar idea, but they are not the same. Selective breeding has been going on for

thousands of years. The first GMO was in a mouse in 1973 and in a plant in the 1980s. As I am all for science and technology bettering society, I realize many implications can arise as well. As GMOs is one of them, they were initially pushed onto farmers to better the output from their crop fields. By making a plant resistant to a weed or insect-killing chemical, they are able to still spray that plant, and it will not be affected (supposedly). This is the most popular form of the GMO, but there are many others. As these are developed, they are patented and owned by a corporation and meant for a return of profit. A company then tries to continue to keep profits rising, which is pushing the seeds further onto farmers or advancing their research and finding new patents, which Monsanto, the main target for GMOs, has been doing since it was created (sic). This is continuing into other parts of our food, as there have been attempts to have genetically modified fish released into the wild, among other things that can have a greater impact on the surrounding environment. As a Minnesotan and a part of the land of 10,000 lakes, a genetically modified fish worries me and should worry others, too. The deepened battles against Monsanto have reason. For instance, consider how

Join the conversation!


plants, or crops, reproduce. As most plants have natural traits to reproduce itself, many of these involve wind. The GMO-tainted product reproduces in areas that were not intended or legally viable to intrude on. I have yet to see a huge wall dividing all of our farmers' land so this is one of the problems that arise. Another problem is what GMOs allow the farmers to do. Do you want to eat food that has been sprayed with chemicals? Although the genetic material is altered to be resistant to these chemicals, this does not mean that these chemicals aren't absorbed into the food. Consider the United Nations (UN), the governing organization for international cooperation, which has been wary for allowing GMOs throughout the world. I was in Europe last summer and saw the difference first-hand. If it has GMOs in it, it is labeled. Not the other way around here in the U.S. I’ll end with this. The research against GMOs is not promising. However, neither is the research backing GMOs. Studies have shown that GMO seeds do not greaten the yield and actually worsen the yield if the conditions for the crop are not perfect or ideal. In today’s world, I question if I have seen one season where a "perfect" setting for crops. Although the current data does not show that GMOs are terrible, studies against them will continue by outside agencies determining if they have side effects on our health and environment. Until then, I suggest thinking about what you consume. Thanks. Noah Julin MOORHEAD, MN


Leave a comment or direct message on Fargo INC!'s Facebook page or email Fargo INC! Editor Nate Mickelberg at nate@spotlightmediafargo.com



What do Fargo businesses think of the new

By And rew J aso n


n December 1, the new Department of Labor overtime rules will go into effect. So the question is: will this affect your business and how are other businesses dealing with this new law?

What is it? The new overtime rule will mean that anybody making less than $913 per week ($47,476 per year) will be required to be paid overtime. This doubles the previous threshold of $23,660. According to the Department of Labor, this will affect more than 4.2 million workers in the U.S. with about 12,000 workers in North Dakota and 79,000 workers in Minnesota. To read all about it, go to dol.gov/overtime Who is impacted? Here are some industries that will be most affected by the new overtime law and the total number of affected workers in the U.S. Professional and technical services (e.g. accountants, architects, legal services, etc.) 538,000 Nonprofits Retail

450,000 417,900

Health care services, except hospitals 329,300 Finance Hospitals

277,000 241,500

Educational services 230,200 * Stats from the Department of Labor 19








Assistant Director, The Arc of Cass County

“I understand why it could be valuable because of large companies. So that employees don’t get taken advantage of and things like that. But for a small nonprofit, it’s pretty challenging because we work with as few staff as possible, and, obviously, the nonprofit wage isn’t as high as for-profit so it’s more challenging to work that way. It’s going to affect how our store is run."

Director, Total Rewards position isn’t as highly respected almost. It’s almost no longer that manager term.

It actually is impacting us quite a bit, mostly in our property setting. It impacts about 290 of our employees out in our property. Particularly, it’s hitting our middle-management level, which is where it becomes a little more difficult to establish the direction we want to go, whether we want to keep individuals as exempt and move them up to the new salary threshold or if we consider them to be non-exempt and then have to rework through, not only training them on being an hourly employee and clocking in appropriately and managing their overtime but then also managing that communication and employee morale in terms of: I’ve been a manager of some of the other managers for 5-10 years, and now, all of a sudden, they’re being bumped down in terms of how they would see it in terms of, ‘I’m no longer a salary employee. I’m now an hourly employee.’ They’re seeing it as a demotion in a sense that their



“Dollar-wise, we’re looking at the extreme if we were to move everyone to the new threshold, we’re looking at about $3 million potentially. That’s on the high, high end, but it’s really hard to predict the cost of the overtime we would see if we were to go that direction in terms of moving individuals to non-exempt. It’s hard to really estimate the true cost it will have to our organization. “The other side of it is: how do we message it and how are employees going to take that? The other piece that we also consider is: if we do make adjustments to employees to move them to that new threshold, we also have our existing employee population who are already at that threshold today or slightly above it, and now they’re going to be making the same amount as someone who was just recently hired. We run into what we call compression. Employees are close regardless of how long they’ve been with the organization or their performance. It creates that issue and the conversation that we have to relate to their salary.”

“I think it’s a big leap at one time, from a management standpoint. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would say that it’s created some headaches. From a personal standpoint and viewing workforce issues as I have for the last couple of years, I don’t have any objection to raising the standard for that. I think it sat at $23,000 or whatever it was for 20-some years. That’s kind of crazy. It would have been nice if it came up gradually over the years. I don’t understand why things like that can’t happen, but that’s the way the government works. Philosophically, I don’t have any objections to raising the threshold.”

CHARLEY JOHNSON President & CEO, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau

I could see how that new law is definitely going to help families financially, to ensure that they are taken care of for the number of hours they’re putting in. Again, with our agency, we are very much a family-first company so the hours that are expected of people are simply the 40-hour work week. If they want to put in a few extra hours and make a little extra money in overtime if the position calls for it, I’m all for it because it enhances our business and helps our clients out. I guess I don’t

mind the law. I know that there are businesses that will be far more affected by it than us. Again, when you have 6,000; 7,000; 8,000-plus associates, it can definitely affect their bottom line more than what a small business like us can be affected so they might have a different opinion of the law itself. But as a small business, no law is going to be that sweeping of a change for us.”


Owner, Great North Insurance


Sanford Senior Executive Director, Total Rewards

"With the new overtime laws set to take effect this year, Sanford is well-positioned to implement these changes. We are reviewing staff positions to determine the full impact of the change. For employees who work in hourly positions below the new salary threshold, we have procedures in place to ensure all employees are paid appropriately for their time spent at work."

To read the full interviews with the area businesses, go to fargoinc.com

OFFICE By Nate Mickelberg | Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography


A nod to the past 1 2nd St. N #102, Fargo 22




Ben Meland (left) and Austin Morris (right), Managing Partners, Enclave Companies Meland's background is in architectural design and construction management, while Morris's expertise is on the real estate and investment side.


Probably the signature element of Enclave's space greets you immediately and conspicuously as you walk through the front door. Anchored by repurposed steel pipes from both the ceiling and floor are nine 7-foot-tall, 3-inch-thick liveedge wooden slabs, which Meland says won out over a couple of other potential design elements. "We tossed around the idea of using tractor chains or a bunch of tractor parts just scattered all over," he says, explaining that because most of Enclave's employees are housed in glass-walled offices, creating some kind of screen wall was a priority. "But we just really liked the slabs." According to Meland, the original plan was to steel-cut the Enclave logo into the wood, but once he and all of the guys at the office actually got them up, he had a change of heart. "When we saw it, we just said, 'Let's not put anything on it. It looks cool,'" he says, adding that the wood is of a variety of different species and from CNC Wood Design in Park Rapids, Minn.

In what's become a trend in contemporary design, Enclave wanted to preserve and acknowledge the history of the 100-plus-year-old building they now inhabit and that for many decades housed the Case Threshing Machine Company. One of the first such examples can be seen in their main conference room, where the solid walnut table is supported by a series of three-point hitches from an original Case tractor. "The idea is that when we go into these rooms, we've done something nostalgic," says Meland, adding that the table also contains grain-eroded timber from the Old Globe Grain Elevator in Superior, Wisc. The room contains some thoroughly modern touches as well, including a nearly invisible glass marker board built right into the wall.




For employees looking to kick their feet up for a few minutes or grab a cup of coffee, there's a secondary break area downstairs, something Enclave never would've had room for in their old space, says Meland. "We used to be in the Parkside Building across from Island Park," he says, adding that, in a little more than five years, Enclave has grown from just himself and Morris to an on-site team of nearly 20. "And we initially had just the first floor there and then we moved to the second floor and then we moved (out). "We never thought we'd outgrow that building, and then we never thought we'd fill this office. But it only took about six months and we were full here."

Even the nicest offices have their warts—a messy server room, an unkempt storage closet, an archaic filing cabinet—but not Enclave. "We sandblasted all the brick and timbers in this whole area," Meland says. "And then we built this mezzanine area. These timbers came out of Moorhead High School, and we repurposed them. And because of the mezzanine height, we couldn't put a 12inch floor system in, so we just did thick, short beams. So basically this is a six-inch floor, and then the floor above it is also the finished ceiling below it. "This is where all of our data and storage racks are, as well as our main electrical panels. So this is kind of the mechanical room with everything piped into it. We didn't want to see and were pretty anal about where the pipes were and how we were going to run things." If you can't see any of the stuff he was talking about, well, that's kind of the point.


If you aren't into punny titles, then read ahead. This is the Crow Bar, Enclave's main break area and in-house watering hole/pool hall. The name being an allusion to their construction roots, Meland says they're eventually going to hang actual crowbars from the walls as soon as they find the right ones.


While beer taps and pool tables might seem over the top to some, Morris and Meland see them as essential to instilling a sense of ownership in their team members. "People really do appreciate it," Morris says. "Our old office was pretty normal, and it worked well for everyone. But I do think there's a sense of heritage and pride of space and confidence that comes with the office. I do think office environment contributes to people's perception of their job and even how they're treated. "I don't think it's the end-all because there are plenty of wonderful businesses that have normal offices that work well for them, but I do think a sense of confidence comes with it."

Meland adds that going the extra mile in their own office has plenty of practical applications, too, as it shows clients the potential they have as developers and builders. "We alway try to push the limits," he says. "Everyone's always like, 'It's not possible' or 'You can't do that' or 'You have to spend a fortune,' and you just don't. You just have to think smarter. There's always a way, but sometimes it just takes a little bit to get there. "What's held Fargo back is these old-school developers who are just like, 'I can build the same box over and over again and I know it makes me money.' So we've just tried to continually push the envelope."

On tap at the Crow Bar you'll find only local beers—Fargo Brewing Company and Kilstone, just to name a couple—and if billiards is your thing, there aren't many cooler surfaces you could play on. Made from reclaimed wood and bedecked with buffalo nickels, in the middle of the "bar" sits a custom Olhausen pool table, which Morris says has become more of a decoration piece. "It doesn't get a lot of use, unfortunately," he says. "Which I guess is good because if we had everybody spending an hour a day playing pool...The space does get a decent amount of use for lunches and drinking purposes, though."



In Enclave's secondary conference room, there's another cool piece of history from the building's Case days. Built into the room's glass table is a cover from an original Case threshing machine (see above), which wasn't easy to get a hold of, Meland says. "We really wanted to find one of these covers so we basically just started calling around to Case dealers," he explains. "I eventually reached out to a friend of ours from Grain Designs and said, 'You have to find us one of these.' "So he goes and finds a guy who wasn't going to sell it because it's a pretty rare piece. But our friend tells him the story of us putting it back in the Case building where it was built, and the guy gives it to him...for free!"

While the space's potential and charm are obvious now, Morris says they weren't so sure in the beginning. "An investor partner of ours on some projects told us about (the building) and kind of oversold it a little bit," says Morris, remembering back to their first walk through the space. "It was Dex Yellowbook before and had been vacant for like six months. It had drop ceilings that were 25, 30 years old with stains all over them, and they hung down to probably seven-and-a-half or eight feet. "There was purple-flecked, blue carpet with some pink in it that was probably 20 years old, and it was filled with cubicles. The brick wasn't exposed, everything was drywall and the windows were down-framed, too. So at first we were kind of like, 'Well, this might work.' Then Ben stood on a desk, popped a ceiling tile and flashed his iPhone light in it and saw that the ceiling actually went up to 16 feet and was exposed timber. So we saw the guts."



Probably the most popular person on the Enclave team is, in fact, not a person at all. Meet Mimosa the office kitty, who, while cute and harmless now, could wreak havoc one day on the countless wooden beams (AKA giant scratching posts) that surround her.

Pretty much the entirety of Enclave's office is flanked by DIRTT walls, a modular wall system that allows you to maintain the structural integrity of a building while still giving employees some privacy. The former was of the utmost importance to both Meland and Morris, as they wanted to be sure that no design decisions came at the expense of the building's original shell.



Q&A Most generally, Dakota CDC takes care of a lot of the financial headaches that small businesses don't want to have to think about on a daily basis. Is that a fair way to put it? Steve Dusek: That's a good way to think about, it yeah. In any kind of request for capital, there's a certain amount of process, coordination and paperwork, and we're going to handle all of that for them. There are obviously some things they need to provide, but we're going to walk them through that process and make it as easy as possible. Because our financing is usually not the only financing involved in a project—most of the


Dakota CDC President & CEO Steve Dusek at the company's South Fargo offices. The private/nonprofit hybrid employs 10 staff members, a number of whom are stationed across North Dakota.

times, there's a lender or somebody else involved—we're facilitating and helping them navigate that process so they don't have to do it alone. Because it's a huge process. And we're going to reduce their time and effort so that they can do something else. One of the ways you are different from a lot of other small business resource organizations is that you yourself are a lender, correct? Dusek: We are what people call a nontraditional, and that just means a nonbank lender. We're a 501(c)(3), private independent. What that means is we're not affiliated, and we don't get any government support. We simply survive and operate off the loans we make to small businesses. So yes, we lend money day in and day out. And that's what differentiates us from others like the SBDC (Small Business Development Center). They're not actually lending money. Though we do work closely with the SBDC. But in the end, it's still the capital that businesses need. It's still the money that makes it work. And that's what we do. We have the money. It's great that you partner with other small business resource organizations, but one thing that seems to confuse a lot of business owners is which one to go to first. Can you take us through a sample workflow of when a small business would come to you? Dusek: We always like to be involved as early



on in the process as possible because we might save the business time and we might save them from going in a direction that isn't right. With the SBDC, for example, they're going to help the owner with the business plan, projections, and review of financials, and they're going to submit that to us and then we're going to get involved from that point on—analyzing the credit, making sure it makes sense from that standpoint, and then determining what we can do, if anything. If we can be involved early on in the process with the SBDC and meet collectively with clients, we can say to the SBDC, 'Okay, this is what we think fits. So your analysis and your direction and your plan should be going this way.' And then they can save themselves time as well. You said that one of the reasons your organization exists is to fill in the gaps left by traditional commercial loans. What do you mean by that? Dusek: The businesses that are really challenged, it's usually because of lack of collateral or regulatory constraints by lenders. It's not always that lenders don't want to do projects. They're constrained by what they can do in a regulatory environment. They're a highly regulated industry. The risk might


just be a little too much, or they might need some support or some additional financing that helps them do the deal. That's where we come in. You're not the only alternative financing option out there. Why are some of the others not a sound choice, in your opinion? Dusek: Nowadays, we're seeing a lot of stuff




JL Beers

•Dakota CDC helped finance most of the JL Beers locations—in West Fargo, Moorhead, Grand Forks, Bismarck, Minot and Fargo. •When JL Beers was looking to franchise, Dakota CDC put them in touch with a Fargo attorney who helps businesses get SBA-certified as a franchise and, in turn, eligible to borrow money. •When Baker Boy, a wholesaler baker based in Dickinson, N.D., was ready for a major expansion, Dakota CDC was there to help provide financing and guidance. What's the connection to JL Beers? Baker Boy makes every single bun you'll find at a JL location.

•A few years ago, when Sandy's purchased the real estate for their West Fargo location, the bank couldn't do the full amount on the project so Dakota CDC participated in the acquisition of the real estate. •When Sandy's needed to do some major repairs, Dakota CDC provided the capital and structured the deal, worked with the bank to find the best amounts for all sides, and then processed the entire loan, approved it and dispersed the funds. •When Sandy's didn't have a kitchen large enough to make all the donuts they were delivering across the FM area, Dakota CDC stepped in and gave them access to an operating line of capital, which they used to continue operating as they finished work on a larger commercial kitchen at their West Fargo store.

that's coming through online. Online lenders are not regulated as strictly, and they're moving stuff through fees and other means versus interest. And they're literally pushing money out as fast as they can. They're delivering it quickly and giving it to small business, but their rates of return and the interest back to the business—or what we would call interest—is between 18 and 22 percent. So it's almost worse than credit cards. It's easy to get and easy to access, but it's not the best capital for the small business. And there are a lot of those online lenders popping up all over. They're usually taking daily payments or sweeping right out of accounts. And while it might seem attractive to the small business



initially, in the end, it's not. We've seen a few (cases) where they borrowed $100,000 online for a year, and they're making that payment each year. They're not necessarily paying interest but they're paying large, upfront fees that are spread out over the 12 months, and it just keeps getting worse for them. How do Dakota CDC's rates compare? Dusek: Our max is going to be about 8.5 percent, and usually it's somewhere around 6 or 6.5 percent. We're providing the risk capital but not necessarily the risk returns that you would see because our mission is more important: see the business succeed and grow. Obviously we have to make money to stay in business, but that's the difference. Is that why you're able to maintain nonprofit status? Dusek: Yes. In the end we have to stay on task to our purpose. What is it we were created to do? Grow small business, see businesses succeed and reinvest the profits into other economic development activities across the state. Where other lenders will take their profits and return them to shareholders, in order for us to maintain nonprofit status, we return our profits into other related activities that help us grow. We support the SBDC, we help Impact Foundation with government procurement, we work with a young entrepreneur program in Fargo. We take our profits that we make and reinvest them into things that we don't necessarily deliver but that make sense for the area. One unique service you offer is a highrisk social lending program. Tell us a little more about that. Dusek: One thing we did with our

"What is it we were created to do? Grow small business, see businesses succeed and reinvest the profits into other economic development activities across the state." profits was establish our Main Street Loan Program, which provides $6,000; $8,000; $10,000; $12,000 on a real short application, all at risk. Basically, we're going off the signature of the individual. And we're doing that largely for womenowned (businesses), which is what the SBA (Small Business Administration) considers an emerging market, as well as minority businesses in the FM area. One (loan) we're doing right now is to Azteca Tacos, which is going into the international marketplace on Main Avenue. Their business plan was done by the Immigrant Development Center (IDC), and the IDC is making them a small loan. And then we're making (Azteca Tacos Owner) Daniel Granados a loan for equipment, basically off his concept and idea. We do a lot of great stuff—from manufacturing to business services—and while all of those are important, the exciting ones are listening to Daniel talk about his dream to own a small business. And that's what we can be a part of and that's why we're here. Your organization has clients across the state of North Dakota and the western part of Minnesota. What percentage of them are based in the FM area? Dusek: I'd say at least 50 (percent), if not closer to 60. And with some of the smallergrowth stuff or the emerging market stuff, more. We're a lot of small stuff in the $8,000$10,000 range—and up to $50,000—in Fargo because they just have that kind of activity going on.

We have a person in Minot out of her home and we have a person in Bismarck out of her home. One of our guys goes from here to northeast North Dakota. So we cover the whole state, but there's still a large pocket of Fargo where all the growth is happening. Do you struggle with making it known to area businesses that Dakota CDC is even an option? Dusek: Yes. There's one company in Fargo now that we're looking at. They need cash flow, and they have no collateral but they have a proven product and strong management—two things we're looking for. And so we're looking at lending them that equity piece on a deferral basis—because we can't take equity—but they have some online loans basically because they just didn't know we existed. They didn't know there was a source like us, which is one of our big challenges.

MORE INFO If you're a small business owner interested in Dakota CDC's services, you can contact them at: Dakota Certified Development Corporation (Dakota CDC) dakotacdc.com 4133 30th Ave. S #100, Fargo 701-293-8892



By Mike Allmendinger Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography and courtesy of Kilbourne Group and Digital Horizons

Mike Allmendinger General Manager, Kilbourne Group kilbournegroup.com 210 Broadway N, Fargo 701-237-2279


t Kilbourne Group, we believe that design and innovation create economic value and sustainability and that a basic building block of that is a vibrant, walkable neighborhood resulting from great street design.

Pre-automobiles, streets were designed for people, by default. Pictures of Fargo’s Broadway in the 1920s show a street filled with pedestrians in an active, mixed-use environment. On-street parking, heavy foot traffic and public transportation supported the ground floor retail along Broadway. Traffic moved slowly as a result of the cobblestone streets, the street car, and the pedestrian activity, allowing people to feel comfortable and safe when spending time in the environment. As the years went on, the once-people-friendly design on Broadway turned car-centric. The road transformed first with the removal of the street car, then changed even more as it was paved with concrete and converted from two to four lanes. The wider street allowed modern cars to move much faster and thus became considerably less pedestrian-friendly.

Studies have found that drivers tend to base their speed not by the posted speed limits but by the roadway environment. Wider streets give drivers the feeling that the road is free of hazards, therefore increasing their speed and decreasing their attentiveness. Numerous studies by engineers and transportation agencies find that wider streets result in faster speeds. “The tendency to equate wider streets with better streets and design for free-flow traffic is a highly questionable practice," according to the Institute of Traffic Engineers. __________



TIMELINE • From the 1960s-1980s, many Downtown storefronts were renovated with the hope of competing with the new suburban strip malls and shopping centers. Unfortunately, in most cases, the storefronts were redesigned with limited amounts of glass and doors, which made for a less-inviting streetscape and actually hurt retail sales.

Broadway 1975 - The Red River Mall design of Broadway in 1975 aimed to replicate an indoor mall. One of the flaws of this design was that all on-street parking was removed, which stifled the success of the ground floor retail. This design was removed as part of the 2002-2004 streetscape renovation.

was removed, and the underlying brick and stone has been uncovered and refurbished. The renovation also added two new entrances to complement the new storefront. This renovation was possible in part due to a program initiated in the late 1990s by the City of Fargo.

•Then, in the early 2000s, reconstruction of Broadway began. This marked the beginning of Broadway’s transition back to its original, pedestrian-friendly design seen in the 1920s.

The 2016 Storefront Rehabilitation of LowmanHadeland at the 400 Block of Broadway. • The storefront/downtown rehab program incentivizes property owners to renovate their storefronts back to their original design, which, in

Broadway 1990


By implementing on-street diagonal parking on Broadway, more parking spaces became available for visitors to downtown. This has become a vital element for the success of ground floor retail in Fargo today. The diagonal parking allowed for the addition of sidewalk bump-outs at intersections, narrowing the street at pedestrian crosswalks for a safer, more pleasant

The improved walkability of the downtown neighborhood increased pedestrian activity on Broadway. experience. These essential changes to the street design cause drivers to slow down and be more attentive to their surroundings. Furthermore, slower traffic increases the safety and walkability of downtown. __________ The improved walkability of the downtown neighborhood increased pedestrian activity on Broadway. Today, drivers in Downtown Fargo are naturally more cautious and attentive because the streets are now designed for people but still accommodate cars. Small changes can make a big difference in making streets safer for pedestrians.

• In the 1970s, the original storefronts of the buildings on the retail block of 400 Broadway— including Kilbourne Group’s Lowman-Hadeland project, home to c.lizzy’s and Unglued Market—were removed, in-filled, and a full-length, flat-roof canopy was added, hiding historic architectural details. This summer, this 1970s remodel


many cases, meant adding more glass and more frequent doors on the ground floor of buildings. These redesigns created an environment that most pedestrians find more pleasing and inviting. The large clear glass on storefronts also generates increased sales for retailers by improving the visibility into their stores.

Today, Broadway thrives as a walkable, bikeable, pedestrian-

Broadway Today

friendly street in the heart of downtown Fargo. Property values along Broadway have also grown exponentially over other areas of town. Its success is largely due to thoughtful street layout and appealing storefronts designed with pedestrians in mind. What if other streets in Fargo were designed with people in mind? We could reconstruct other promising Fargo streets to be more pedestrian-friendly like they were in the '20s. Could major corridors like Main, NP Avenue, First Avenue, Tenth Street North and University Drive flourish like Broadway has over the last 15 years by adopting a pedestrian-centric approach to street and building design? In July, the City of Fargo kicked off its Downtown Master Planning efforts, which include the study of future street design in the city. In the fall, broader conversations and engagement will begin as the entire Fargo

community is invited to envision the future of Downtown. There will be several opportunities for feedback and participation through social media and public forums. We encourage you to participate! Broadway has become a destination for visitors and residents alike. It is a great example of how pedestrianfriendly street design can spur investment, increase the tax base and help local retail thrive.

MORE INFO Kilbourne Group kilbournegroup.com 10 Broadway Dr. N. Ste. 300, Fargo 701-237-2279


for 3 million americans, a peanut allergy is a daily reality.

By Nate Mickelberg 40



one fargo brand is helping to make their lives just a little bit easier.

Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography & courtesy of SunButter 41


August 2009 There's a middle-aged woman standing in the manager's office of a Denver-area grocery store and she's mad. Not because she found a hair in her potato salad or because there was mold on her blackberries but because her favorite product was just pulled off the shelves. "A corporate decision, ma'am. We hope you understand."

Former SunButter Vice President Dan Hofland

But she doesn't understand. And she didn't understand the first time she came in to complain about it last week. This time is different, though. This time she has an army. She's brought five of her friends, and the six of them are hovering over a man who's asking that they not kill the messenger. The messenger might be a necessary casualty, though, because they want their SunButter. "If you don't get it back on the shelves ASAP, we're not going to buy anything in

this store ever again," they tell him, as he realizes this is a problem he's going to be solving in real-time. "And we're going to tell all of our other friends to stop shopping here, too." Things are escalating quickly as he dials the number of the one man who he knows can de-escalate them equally fast. About 900 miles away in Fargo, N.D., the phone of SunButter Vice President Dan Hofland rings and he's briefed on the situation. "...So yeah, can I get some SunButter?" the desperate manager asks the head of the Fargo-based sunflower butter manufacturer. "And can you overnight it?" "No problem. It's on its way." __________


cult following like SunButter's is the holy grail in business—a product or service so essential to people's lives that they're willing to take up proverbial arms to get it.

Apple, Harley-Davidson, Lululemon. There are plenty of high-profile examples. But a peanut butter alternative made in little, old North Dakota? Unheard of. Until it wasn't. "I don't know if we ever realized that we would become a national product," says Justin LaGosh, SunButter's sales & marketing director who's been instrumental in growing the sunflower spread to new


COVER STORY heights over the last decade. "When I came on in 2008, it was one of those deals where we were in 400 or 500 stores and we were selling, but we'd go through these specialty distributors and get a little four-foot table at a show and wear these god-awful yellow t-shirts, stick that spoon out and try to catch someone's attention. We've come a long way." A very long way, to be sure, from the early days when Hofland—who headed SunButter from its inception in 2002 until his retirement at the end of last year— would load up the back of his pickup truck with jars of the spread, set out across the state and not return home until they were gone. SunButter is now in more than 20,000 stores and 12,000 schools across the U.S. and Canada, and they've secured partnerships with a number of major global brands. If LaGosh and Hofland told you the company's immense success has been the result of executing a 15-year blueprint to perfection, though, it would make for a great story, if a half-true one. "I think we recognized that we were a national brand when we looked in the rearview mirror," says Hofland, "It was very organic growth and just a lot of hard work," he says. __________




t was late 2000 and SunButter's parent company, Fargo-based Red River Commodities, was looking for a way to remain competitive in the international sunflower market.

With Chinese producers undercutting prices, the company was looking for a product that would allow them to do something with the excess sunflower kernel they had at the time and that wasn't making its way to market. That's when Hofland and Red River Commodities President & CEO Bob Majkrzak had an idea. They would bring back to life a product that was first tried in the 1980s, unsuccessfully, by another North Dakota


SunButter Sales & Marketing Director Justin LaGosh

company. A product called...yep, you guessed it, Sun Butter. The name wasn't where they were planning on differentiating their new and improved version, though. "In the past, nobody could figure out how to market it," says Hofland, who also worked extensively with the USDA on neutralizing the chlorogenic acids that are naturally present in sunflower seeds and that caused the original SunButter to be quite green in color. "What (other companies) tried to do was say, 'This is a cheaper peanut butter.' "Everyone else tried to do: this is an average product for an average market. And what we did is figured out how to sell it as a specialty product to a specialty market." Just who was that specialty market? The 3 million American peanut-allergy sufferers. __________


ofland says that although they knew they'd eventually be concentrating on the allergy market, they first needed name recognition and so employed a different approach initially. "You don't use the water you're going to drink to prime the pump, so to speak," Hofland says. "And so what we did is we went to North Dakota stores and said, 'This is a North Dakota product,' and sold it on an entirely different premise. "We said, 'Oh, by the way, we're peanutfree. But this is a North Dakota product. You'll love it.' And all the stores took it." From there, the strategy was to target only larger commercial clients, as Majkrzak, Hofland's boss, was adamant that it wouldn't be a retail product. There was only one problem: everyone liked it too much. "When we started out, I went to schools

"We've never gotten to the point of thinking we've arrived," Hofland says. "And these guys are running this thing to nice increases now that we never would've thought possible back when we started."


COVER STORY and I said, 'This is for schools,'" Hofland says. "And they said, 'Yeah, I know, but where can I buy it?' And we said, 'You can't.' And they said, 'No, I do want to buy it. I have a peanut allergy' or 'My grandparent/niece/neighbor has a peanut allergy. I have to get it for them. They'll love it.' "So we started taking it to a bunch of shows and giving it away. We also gave it away on airlines for a while. And people wanted to pay for it. So we finally decided, 'Okay, we're going to retail.'" It was an instant hit, and over the course of the next couple years, Hofland drove around North Dakota and Minnesota going to food shows, home-and-garden shows and wine tastings, developing a fiercely loyal SunButter following and more importantly, learning the ins and the outs of the allergy market. "I went to allergy shows and just talked to people," he says. "'What do you need? How do you need it? How do you use it?' And I kept asking all those questions. "And I actually think this is one of the reasons big companies do such a poor job of introducing new products is they don't have one person going out and dedicating their professional career to, 'How do you market it?' and 'Okay, this is what I'm going to learn to do and all the nuances that come with it.'" Something Hofland learned very quickly was how uniquely involved and passionate the parents of kids with allergies are. "If you have a real severe anaphylactic child, mom and dad turn into advocates



at the highest level," says Hofland, who heard countless stories from parents about carrying their unconscious kids into the ER or a child being bullied at school over their allergy. "This is the highest level of emotion, protecting your child. And we started using that motivation those parents had to get them to spread the word on and on. "And word of mouth is really the way anything gets transferred into somebody's thinking. You can do all the advertising you want, but if you don't get word-of-mouth, it's not going to do any good. And that's what we did is provide a way for moms and dads to move the message for us." __________


f the typical allergy parent moves the message, Cindy Deibert sprints with it.

Deibert, who lives in Perham, Minn., is a mother of two, and if her son ate a handful of peanuts, he'd get nothing more than a healthy dose of protein and Vitamin E. But if her daughter, Haley, did? Well, she could die. "The hardest thing about being a parent (of a peanut allergy sufferer) is when I go and speak to other parents," Deibert says. "And I say, 'For my child, sitting in a classroom can be like being in a room


Cindy Deibert on the prominent ingredient labels on SunButter products: "It's fabulous because any labeling that I can have as a parent that says, 'This is safe'—teaching people to read labels is hard. I can't tell you how many pictures I get from Haley's friends' parents saying, 'Can Haley have this?' There are a lot of parents who are really afraid to have her over."

with a loaded gun.' Because, at any time, if something is cross-contaminated or she puts something in her mouth, it could be deadly." If that sounds like hyperbole, Deibert would invite you to hear about the first time they discovered 12-year-old Haley's condition. Haley tells the story. "I was 11 months old," Haley says, recounting the day 11 years ago that her mom would rather soon forget. "I was eating Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs, and I was a little baby so I was just playing with them. I got it on my hands, touched my eyes, and 15 minutes later, my eyes were swollen shut. "My dad was at work, and it was just my mom and me. She called Dad and said,

'Haley's eyes are swollen shut! I don't know what's going on!' So she rushed me to the hospital, and they figured out I was severely allergic to peanuts. And ever since then, I've been reading labels." "She had to have amphetamine shots that day," Cindy recalls. "And then we went to a specialist right away the next morning, and they did the prick test. And the minute we did the peanut, her whole back broke out." For years, the Deiberts have held out hope that Haley would outgrow the allergy—only 20 percent of those allergic to peanuts actually do—but it's only gotten worse. Haley's so allergic, in fact, that if someone with peanut residue on their fingers were to touch her skin, she'd likely break out into hives. And if she consumed it in any way? They don't like to think about that. "We go in every year and get tested, and every year, she's gotten severely more allergic," says Cindy, adding that Haley's



The number of kids in the U.S. living with peanut allergies tripled between 1997 and 2008. Haley Deibert of Perham, Minn., is one of them and on the most extreme end of the severity scale.


doctor says Haley has the worst peanut allergy he's ever seen. "A 5.7 was like the most severe, and Haley was like an 18.9. Those aren't exact numbers, but he had never seen anything like it before." Often lost in all the talk about anaphylaxis, EpiPens and hospital visits is the fact that people like Haley miss out on the daily peace of mind that comes with not having to approach every place you go like it's a minefield.

Allergy Apprentice Drawing from her personal experiences, Haley Deibert decided that she wanted to start her own company to raise awareness for food allergies and help support others who are living with them. Allergy Apprentice sells a variety of apparel and accessories that promote allergy education and acceptance. You can see some of AA's offerings and learn more at allergyapprentice.com



So when Haley and her mom discovered SunButter, it was about much more than Haley enjoying her first-ever PB & J. It was an acknowledgment that the condition she and millions of others have matters and that someone is doing something about it. See, the thing about SunButter is that it's much more than just a product. It really is a kind of implicit promise. "We're the only peanut-free butter in the country that brings in a farm crop and exits a finished good all under one roof," LaGosh says, adding that every ounce of SunButter is made from sunflower seeds sourced in the tri-state area. "And that's a big message we want to get across. You see peanut-free almond butters, peanutfree this, peanut-free that, but we're the only ones who do it all under one roof." Cindy Deibert says that really left an impression on Haley after the Deiberts got their first tour of the SunButter facilities earlier this year. "That made a big impact," she says. "Because Haley noticed it, and it made her comfortable. For her, understanding the process gave the whole family confidence, and now we are thrilled to have this alternative in our lives because we love it on so many different things." SunButter's Fargo plant follows all GMPs and is SQF Third Party Level Two-certified,

COVER STORY expensive because we'd have to stop production and bring back all the product since the last test," he says. __________

which, in English, just means they abide by very strict, third-party-approved procedures that ensure that not a single molecule of peanuts will ever come near the production line.


ever before has a product like SunButter been more necessary, with peanut allergies afflicting millions of Americans and the number of children suffering from the condition tripling between 1997 and 2008, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

"We completely eliminate any crosscontamination from the offices, from the warehouses, from the facilities," says LaGosh, who adds that he doesn't even allow peanuts in his own house. "And before everyone goes in, it's hand-wash stations, hand-sanitizing, hair nets and smocks, and either shoes you wear only in the manufacturing area that stay there or booties to go over the top of them."

And while the peanut allergy epidemic has been an essential part of SunButter's growth, LaGosh says they also want to be a part of the long-term answer.

Hofland says they're also the only peanut-free company he's aware of that tests for peanuts every shift.

"So don't think for a second that SunButter will say, 'Well, if somebody cures peanut allergies, then no one's ever going to use our brand.'"

"If we ever did have a positive, it would be very

The main reason SunButter doesn't need the allergy market to remain prosperous is that the product has a great deal of mass-market appeal, according to LaGosh and Hofland.

"As a brand, because we are providing a solution, part of that is finding the answer to the question and solving the allergy," he says. "We promote food allergy research and education organizations at a very high level year after year to help find cures to food allergies and help support groups' education of food allergies. That's part of our cause and our brand's message.


COVER STORY "There's about four or five percent of the general population who just love the taste," says Hofland, who estimates the figure based on years of attending food shows and handing out samples of the spread. "When they taste it, they go, 'Oh, this is so great.' And the next person will look at them and go, 'Eh, it's okay.' "But there's something about it that some people really, really love." LaGosh says that according to independent consumer research they've gathered, the number actually might be much higher. "In peanut butter-using households with kids age 5-11, they tried SunButter versus Jif creamy, and 31 percent preferred the flavor of sunflower butter," LaGosh says. "It shows the potential in other markets. "Peanut butter is a $2 billion/year market. So if 31 percent prefer the flavor of sunflower butter over peanut butter, well that says there's room." Cindy Deibert can confirm. "We have friends who, when they saw that Haley was involved with SunButter, tried it and just love the taste," she says. "And they're in Omaha (Neb.) and all over and they're health-conscious and just like it as an alternative." __________




unButter is one of those rare instances in business where a product meets demand meets a larger public issue. A win-winwin, if you will.

"We created a product as a solution to a growing problem," LaGosh says. "And it was different, but it wasn't things that could be easily mimicked with low barrier to entry like packaging or taste or nutritive value.

SunButter's Fargo factory meets the highest food safety standards and is the only peanut-free butter brand in the country that brings in a farm crop and exits a finished good all under one roof.

"It was high barrier to entry because we invested in our process: where we got the sunflower from, where it's stored, how we clean it, how we produce it in a closed system. That's a major, vertically integrated proposition for anyone to mimic." Hofland says he believes SunButter ultimately succeeded because they approached it like it was more than just a product. "We weren't trying to get to know a group who's eating Doritos or a group who goes to football games," he says. "We were getting to know people with peanut allergies. And when you got to know them, the other things came out naturally. "Also, of all the people we hired, they all had empathy for kids. That was a big deal for us. If they didn't have empathy, we weren't going to hire them. The message of SunButter is: trust, love, taste. But we didn't go around saying, 'You should love us.' We put the message together and that ended up being what people said about us."


Not your


ENTREPRENE How three teenagers are trying to make your social media presence easier


Nate Thoreson (18), Mukai Selekwa (18) and Austin Braham (19) are the men behind the new social media management software Webblen.




ukai Selekwa might not be your typical entrepreneur, but he sure thinks like one. When his dad offered him $1,000 in seed money to start a business, Selekwa, a senior at Davies High School, began to dream. That dream brought him in to the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a national program that teaches high school students how to start and run their own business. At a pitch in Fargo similar to ABC's "Shark Tank," Selekwa took home $2,400 in funding and a chance to compete at the national event in Rochester, N.Y. While he did not win the national event, Selekwa has brought his idea and passion back to Fargo and has added Austin Braham and Nate Thoreson to his team to bring to life a new social media management software called Webblen. By Andrew Jason • Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

START US OFF WITH HOW THIS BEGAN. A Selekwa: Initially, my father told me to create a business, and I thought to myself, ‘OK, if I were to create any sort of business, how would I market myself?’ I came to the idea, ‘OK, I’ll probably use social media.’ Then I looked online at the different social media management sites available to the public, and none of them did exactly what I wanted them to do. I then thought, ‘Maybe I’m coming on to something and I’ll actually create my own social media management platform to get things started and see where I’ll go from there.’ Q

WHAT SEPARATES THIS FROM THE OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT SITES OUT THERE? A Selekwa: There seems to be a trend with trying to get big on social media and also Q


How it works

businesses and marketing teams using social media as a really important medium for their marketing. With the software available, these companies can spend upwards of $17,000 a month, but it’s not taking full advantage of all the sites out there. When it comes from the individual standpoint, people tend not to have that much money lying around in order to get themselves out there. They might not be interested in a service that’s helpful for branding but want a service to integrate all their social media into one place. I really want to appeal to the individual. I ended up not just doing social media but online accounts in general. Austin actually brought that idea to the table so you can link up your Amazon, Angie’s List, GoDaddy and have a single place to perform specialized tasks with all your online accounts.

Through their social media, users will be able to log on to their account, which hooks up the various social media accounts to your Webblen account. From your dashboard, you’ll be able to view all of your different accounts in one place. You can then schedule posts and, in one of the more unique features, create if-then situations. For example, if you have a YouTube video that receives more than a certain amount of views, you can have it automatically post to social media. There will be separate individual and business accounts, although, in the beginning, they will be focusing on the individual. The individual account will have event notifiers based on geo-location so if you’re in a town and there’s an event going on that you might be interested in, you will be notified. The business side of the account will be meant to work as an entire agency. The software is meant to act as a marketing team where you just create the content and the software will manage and post it for you.



WHERE ARE YOU AT IN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS? A Thoreson: Right now, we have an alpha set up. Mukai has coded the majority of everything, (and) the majority of the front-end is done. Basically, the design is almost done and the back-end stuff, which is basically the functioning side of things like the software. Certain functions are done like the analytics and the dashboard, but the only things that haven’t been set up are scheduled posts and the if-then processor. The reason is that it would take forever for one person to do it. By December, we’re hoping to have a fullfunctioning beta out.



Selekwa: The main problem is that I’m also still learning so the amount of time it would take to get it done myself and really polish it, if I were to just work eight hours a day on it, it would take a couple of months. YOUR DAD BACKED YOU FOR A WHILE. TALK ABOUT THAT AND WHAT IT’S LIKE WORKING WITH YOUR DAD. A Selekwa: I think him telling me he was going to give me $1,000 in seed money was to really get me motivated, just to really think of something to create. I wasn’t doing much of anything. I think he saw that I had potential to get something going. He gave me the push I needed. Q

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP AND WHAT’S YOUR LONG-TERM VISION AND GOAL? A Thoreson: Our next six-month goal is to either find developers who will partner with us to do it or find funding to pay developers to develop it for us. We have a couple of events coming up where hopefully that’ll happen. We spoke at 1 Million Cups, and that’s given us connections to potential opportunities for funding and potentially some coding guys (who) could partner with us. Like I said, by December, we hope to have, at the very least, the scheduling posts and all the dashboard and front-end stuff done. By early spring, at the very latest, we want to have the if-then processing done. The reason that we’re waiting on that and it’ll be the last thing we do is just because it is time-consuming. In the next six months, that’s our goal. Have a beta out by December and have a full Q

NATE THORESON is the marketing guy and will be attending NDSU for Business Administration with a minor in political science.



MUKAI SELEKWA is the computer guy and will be attending NDSU for computer science and is looking into a certificate in entrepreneurship.

AUSTIN BRAHAM is the finance guy who will be a sophomore at NDSU and is majoring in finance and economics.

"T he Far go c ommunit y is suc h a good place to do this kind of thing because ever yone’s so willing to help you." website out a month or two later.

Because of them, we’re going to start working through the Prairie Den. They’ve also been a real help in getting our name out there. Random people are contacting me because of the article and 1 Million Cups. Then there’s The Forum. They also put my name out there to let people know what I was doing.

Selekwa: After that, we’ll push to have a phone application for the majority of people to have Learn More access to and then we’ll focus on facebook.com/ any other functions people can webblenllc use for their online accounts and create some web consulting and provide tips and tricks for people and businesses interested in using this software–how do you The Fargo community is such a use this, how do you create a good name for good place to do this kind of thing because yourself and all that. everyone’s so willing to help you. I lived over in Florida the first half of my life and I didn’t Thoreson: That’s a year or more down the see that kind of thing. Maybe it was because road. I was too young to see it, but I didn’t see anything like that occur over in Florida. It’s really impressive. Q IS IT WEIRD THAT YOU’RE SO YOUNG AND YOUR FRIENDS MAY BE TALKING Q WHAT’S BEEN THE HARDEST PART? ABOUT THEIR DAILY PROBLEMS AND A Braham: Finding team members. Not YOU’RE DEALING WITH ALL THIS? A Thoreson: It’s different. If anything, from as much of product planning but product my mind, it makes me question my whole creation. What we have been able to do has life. My plan for my entire life was to go to been spectacular, but there are nuances law school, be a lawyer and then eventually and very fine points that we need a specific go into politics. Now that this came around, person and team to do. The hardest part so it’s like, ‘Oh, okay.’ We were even asked far has been finding a means to get to that. the question at 1 Million Cups if we plan on finishing our undergrad, and I don’t know. Mukai: We’ve done a really good job of creating the team because all of our skills and responsibilities are so diverse and really Q TALK ABOUT THE OTHER SUPPORT cohesive. I couldn’t ask for a better team. YOU’VE GOTTEN IN FARGO. Now we’re just looking to add on to our A Selekwa: I applied to speak at 1 Million team to just really get the product up and Cups about a month or two ago, and then running. The hardest part is just creating it. they hit me up and said that they wanted to have me present. I got really excited.




Cart Summit organizer Kirk Anton in front of his own e-commerce company, Heat Transfer Warehouse

BY MARISA JACKELS Lead Writer & Social Media Manager, Emerging Prairie PHOTOS COURTESY OF EMERGING PRAIRIE




n September 23, Cart Summit will host its inaugural event right here in Fargo-Moorhead with the hope of being the largest e-commerce conference in the Midwest.


Cart Summit was inspired by the ongoing success of the monthly e-commerce meetup Cart Monthly. The meetup, formerly known as E-commerce Breakfast, was started two years ago by Kirk Anton, the founder and CEO of Heat Transfer Warehouse and organized by Emerging Prairie. The group focuses on engaging local leaders in the e-commerce industry in conversation with one another. As the meetup grew, so too did e-commerce in the region. Heat Transfer Warehouse is only one of many e-commerce companies that have headquarters in the Fargo-Moorhead area but are shipping around the world. Weavve Got Maille, based in Ada, Minn., ships to 72 countries. DogIDs, which is based in Fargo, has appeared on Good Morning America multiple

times. RealTruck, which is headquartered in Jamestown, N.D., brings in more $60 million a year selling truck parts. Still, however, Anton said the rise of e-commerce has been a silent one in Fargo. “You don’t realize that Edie [Ramstad, founder of Weave Got Maille] and all these other people employ more than 25 people,” Anton says. “You don’t hear about those stories. We’re like the underground. People don’t realize we exist.” With Cart Summit, he hopes to highlight how e-commerce is seeing success in the region while also encouraging it as a beneficial next step for businesses. “Everybody has to look at

well, Breuler says. Rumor has it there may even be a pop-up ice cream shop from Florida-based marshmallow-making marvel Wondermade.

He also hopes Cart Summit can grow into a magnet that brings e-commerce big shots to Fargo. Already this year, the speaker lineup includes leadership from UPS, the founder of successful online t-shirt company Coed Monkey, the founder of Real Truck and the founder of e-commerce tea company T&Co.

All these festivities will take place in what some might consider a surprising venue: the Moorhead Center Mall. Despite the mall having seen decreasing foot traffic over the years, the organizers of Cart Summit vouch for its potential.

The conference, organized by Anton and Emerging Prairie, will be a combination of keynotes and interactive workshops, each focusing on three tracks: CEO/Founder advice for current and soon-to-be founders in e-commerce, marketing techniques for e-commerce and logistics such as shipping, packaging and wholesale. “This is not a conference where you’re sitting and listening to presentations all day,” Cart Summit Event Coordinator Lindsay Breuler says. “This is going to be interactive. Participants will be engaged throughout the breakout sessions.” Most importantly, Cart Summit leaves room for attendees to mingle with each other and with the speakers, something Anton said is sorely lacking from other similar conferences he has attended in the past. The conference will include a smattering of special features as

“We’re re-imagining the Moorhead Center Mall as a space,” Breuler says. As the inaugural event, Breuler and Anton estimate an audience of between 100-150. But longterm, Anton has high hopes for this becoming a prime spot for e-commerce leaders across the globe. “It’d be great to have 1,000 people,” he says. “We want to get more people here, to put Fargo on the map as far as being a center for what e-commerce can be.” Learn more and get your ticket at cartsummit.com

MORE INFO Cart Summit cartsummit.com cart@emergingprairie.com Emerging Prairie emergingprairie.com 122 1/2 Broadway N, Fargo



Heat Transfer Warehouse in North Fargo

it,” Anton says. “We need to embrace it and make it work for everybody. (E-commerce) opens up your markets to 50 states and beyond.”


AAF-ND President Missy Keney is the corporate communications manager at Alerus in Fargo.



5 62





AAF-ND Past President & District 8 Conference Chair Katie Elenberger is a freelance designer and the owner of Elenberger Creative.

By Nate Mickelberg | Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography


n an age of niche clubs and specialty meetups, organizations like the American Advertising Federation (AAF) have had to find a way to compete. The AAF is a national club open to anyone in a communications-related field— designers, multimedia specialists, marketing representatives—and one way its hoping to attract and retain members is by providing them access to networks and resources that smaller groups just can't match. With AAF-North Dakota, one of the federation's more than 200 local clubs set to host their district conference this month in Fargo, AAF-ND President Missy Keney and AAF-ND Past President & District 8 Conference Chair Katie Elenberger tell us about the significance of Fargo hosting the event for the first time in more than two decades and give you five reasons to consider becoming a member.



1 2016 AAF District 8 Far North Conference

Coinciding with its annual membership kickoff, AAF-ND is hosting the biennial AAF District 8 conference for the first time since the 1980s. AAF-ND will host representatives from nine other clubs in their district that spans North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and its expecting a turnout of up to 125. "It will be great for them to see Fargo and the downtown," says Elenberger, who owns her own design business and has been an active

• John T. Meyer CEO & Cofounder at Lemonly

• Von Glitchscka Creative Director at Glitschka Studios

"The amount of knowledge (the speakers) have and being able to ask them specific questions that relate to what you're doing or about their work," she says, "I just think it's really great and more personable and engaging. You get that



AAF-ND member for 12 years. "I think Ecce (Gallery) is a great spot to host and to show our other D8 members our community, our art community, and just the fun network of startups and freelancers and everybody who's downtown." As part of a host of other activities, AAF-ND will be hosting four national speakers, as well as one local one.

• Jennifer Bourn • Chris Lima Partner, Web CEO Designer & Content at Beyond Good Strategist at Bourn Creative

The event will kick off on Thursday at the Cropped graphic design competition and conference attendees will have the additional option of attending a small lunch on Friday with the conference speakers for $40, which will be a great value-added experience, says Elenberger.

Transferable memberships

• Denise Kolpack SVP Brand & Communication Strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield ND

one-on-one interaction versus one-on-100." There's also a discounted conference price to attendees who renew or sign up for a 2016-17 AAF-ND membership. For more information and pricing on the District 8 Far North Conference: conference.aaf-nd.org To complete your 2016-17 membership: aaf-ndmemberships.eventbrite.com

One perk of AAF-ND memberships is that they're transferable among different people, which Elenberger explains: "Say Missy has a membership and there was a situation during the year where there was an event that she either couldn't go to or wasn't as interested in," Elenberger says. "Then her coworker could go in her place and wouldn't have to pay anything. "Then, in a situation where I wanted to go and my coworker wanted to come, too, I can go for free as a member and then they'd just pay the non-member price." Keney says transferable memberships are especially useful because of how diverse AAF's programming is. "We try to bring in a couple each of designers, social, content, web, etc.," she says, adding that they know not every event will appeal to all of their members.



AAF-ND hosts a number of educational and networking events throughout the year: • Pro-AM Day Held in October, Pro-AM Day is a mentorship day between local experts and college students that Keney says is a great networking opportunity for both sides. "Generally, agencies in town will take on 10 or 15 students and give them a hands-on look at, 'Here's what it's like to work in the business,'" she says. "A lot of agencies have used it as a way to find their interns for the year. It gives them an insight into the future talent pool as well."

• Portfolio Review Day Held each April, this is a day for MSUM students to get a professional set of eyes and feedback on their portfolios. • Agency tours A recurring opportunity for AAF-ND members to get an inside look at other agencies in town. Some past stops have included: - Office Sign Company - Super Studio

- Odney - Hatch Realty

- Abosolute Marketing - H2M

"I think the agency tours have been a success because even though I might not be looking for a job, it's still kind of cool to see inside of other agencies, somewhere you might not have access to but are kind of curious what things are like," Elenberger says.

• 5:01 Happy Hour 5:01 is a recurring networking opportunity for AAF-ND members and non-members alike that's aimed at marketing and advertising professionals in the FM area.

• S'more Showdown, Chili Cook-off, Cupcakes and Cocktails, and many others Unique events such as the S'more Showdown, Chili Cook-off, Cupcakes and Cocktails, and many others are used to kickoff the annual AAF-ND membership year by bringing together members and other professionals in a fun setting outside of the monthly professional development luncheons.




May's luncheon speaker was Tad Carpenter, a wellknown designer based in Kansas City, Mo.


Professional Development Luncheons

ADDY Awards The only national design award that's judged and reviewed by other designers, the ADDYs are the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, with more than 40,000 entries across the country each year. Whether copy writing or full-on, multidimensional campaigns, AAFND members submit their best work to be judged at the local level and eventually districts and nationals if they continue to win. Just last year, AAF-ND had student member Erin Fischer of Minnesota State Community & Techincal College win a national ADDY, which Keney says is great recognition for our region. "We'll often have people who will win at the district level," she says, "But then when you go up to the national level, you're competing with all these agencies that do huge campaigns and have large teams. So it's a pretty big deal." Yet another benefit of an AAF membership is that it gets you a free ticket to the ADDY ceremony in February and you and your team a nice discount on all ADDY Award submissions.

Each month from October-May, AAF-ND hosts a different national speaker over lunch, giving attendees a chance to hear from some of the most innovative minds in a variety of creative industries. "It's a wide variety of topics, which works well because people who work at in-house marketing can tap into the expertise of national speakers on a variety of subjects," Elenberger says. "And then our members who have agencies can say, 'Oh, let's send our PR team' or 'Let's send our copywriting team' or 'Let's send our design team.' And so they can customize it based on what their specific employees do. The speakers are a large part of what we do."

MORE INFO If you're interested in becoming an AAF-ND member or just want more information: American Advertising Federation-North Dakota (AAF-ND) aaf-nd.org P.O. Box 1051, Fargo president@aaf-nd.org




We're Behind

BRESCIANID Craig Whitney is the president and CEO of the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. By Craig Whitney 68


ean Bresciani has been North Dakota State University’s president for seven years now, and he has successfully transformed the university into a nationally recognized institution for education, athletics and research. It is now an institution that has proven itself vital to the community, the state, the nation and even the world.


Just one of his successes lies in the university’s fundraising efforts. Through the end of May, the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association’s fundraising totaled more than $33 million. That number was just under $7 million at the same time last year, which was the fourth-highest fundraising year ever. The university secured more than $176 million in current and deferred gifts from July 1, 2010, through June 16, 2016. In the five years prior, the total was $58 million. Numbers like that don’t increase without solid leadership from the top. Moody’s Investors Service released a statement on July 6, 2016, which read: “NDSU’s strategic positioning is good, reflecting excellent long-term planning, strong investment in core programs and facilities, and careful financial oversight enhancing financial flexibility. The university carefully calibrates its expenses to revenue volatility, which is essential given high competition for students, variable state

funding and pressure on federal research funding. Management continues to successfully capitalize on Fargo’s economic growth, with industry partnerships for education, job placement and research.” NDSU also plays an important role in the ongoing issue of workforce in the metro. Not only is the institution the second largest employer in the region-only after Sanford, with over 4,000 FTEs as of December last year-but they produce highly educated and trained employees, many of which stay to work here. In fact, according to a recent graduates survey from NDSU, 77 percent of North Dakota

students are working in the state, and 34 percent of Minnesota students are now working in North Dakota. Bresciani has been involved in the recent workforce collaborative and has shown his strong support of efforts to attract, train and retain qualified workers in the region. Quite simply, our work in solving the workforce gap would be much more difficult without the backing of our higher education leaders. I can’t forget to mention that NDSU has upward of an $884 million annual economic impact on the regional economy. These are no small figures. While colleges and universities

Bresciani has been involved in the recent workforce collaborative and has shown his strong support of efforts to attract, train and retain qualified workers in the region.


Bresciani’s commitment to NDSU has never wavered. As many of you have likely heard about and read, he is under fire at the moment, but the facts show that the university has never been stronger, thanks in large part to the wisdom and experience from his seasoned leadership.

around the country struggle with enrollment, under President Bresciani’s leadership, NDSU continues to grow and prosper. It’s also hard to ignore the incredible athletic accomplishments. Bison Pride booms through this community, and the university boasts five consecutive NCAA D1 football championships and four visits from ESPN. Getting national sports coverage on this level promotes not just NDSU but the community and state. While this kind of exposure could be a milliondollar marketing campaign, we receive it for free because of NDSU’s accomplishments. Knowing that Bresciani hired the athletic director and football coach shows that he picks the kind of staff and provides the vision and leadership that they need to succeed. It’s clear to me that President Bresciani has his heart and head in the right place when it comes to serving the citizens of North Dakota and the students of the university. It is inspiring to watch as he and his team continues to pursue excellence in academics and research with an eye toward the economic success of our region. I applaud Bresciani’s commitment to NDSU and I stand behind him with confidence. I hope you do, too.

*The views reflected in this column are those of Craig Whitney. 69


NEW YORK (MANHATTAN), N.Y. Need to make: $103,367


$100,000 HONOLULU, HAWAII Need to make: $84,644


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. Need to make: $79,975



MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. Need to make: $49,440



FARGO $40,000


Groceries - 16% more



Groceries - 45% more


Groceries - 17% more


Groceries – 1% less

Housing - 405% more

Housing - 224% more

Housing - 253% more

Housing - 25% more

Utilities - 34% more

Utilities - 128% more

Utilities - 10% more

Utilities - 4% less

Transportation - 30% more

Transportation - 33% more

Transportation - 26% more

Transportation - 10% more

Health Care - 1% more

Health Care – 6% less

Health Care - 4% more

Health Care - 8% less







to live elsewhere

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in Fargo is $43,680. We decided to have a little fun and see how far that salary would take you in other parts of the country. *Information from Council for Community and Economic Research Photo by Repor Photography

BISMARCKMANDAN, N.D. Need to make: $46,556

DALLAS, TEXAS Need to make: $44,130

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Need to make: $42,986

DES MOINES, IOWA Need to make: $41,612




Housing - 17% more

Housing - 16% less

Housing – 2% more

Housing - 7% less

Utilities - 12% less

Utilities - 4% more

Utilities - 3% more

Utilities - 4% less

Transportation - 8% more

Transportation - 1% more

Transportation - 10% less

Transportation - 2% less

Health Care - 4% less

Health Care - 11% less

Health Care - 6% less

Health Care - 16% less

Groceries - 1% less

Groceries - 5% less

Groceries - 14% less


Groceries - 15% less







the 70-year-old startup






n the speech that Flint Group founder Harold Flint delivered at the 30th anniversary celebration of Harold E. Flint and Associates, Flint recalled how in 1946 he had returned to his hometown of Fargo at the urging of a man named Barney Lavin, who, at the time, owned his own advertising firm and wanted to join forces with Flint. After serving his country in World War II, Flint had been living in Chicago and writing for a publication called Prairie Farmer, but he yearned to bring his young family back to the area where he grew up so that he could raise his children in Fargo. So he took a chance, wrote a “position wanted” ad and placed it in The Fargo Forum. Years later, he would describe that simple "want" ad as being the best ad he ever wrote because it got him a job at an agency. When Lavin answered the ad and convinced Flint to help him start Fargo’s advertising sector, Flint of course had no idea that it would lead to a lifelong career in Fargo and that his company would one day impact the entire region.

By Kris Bevill, PR Specialist, Flint Group Photos courtesy of Flint Group



The second and third generation of Flint leadership can be seen together in one picture, as Flint Group President & CEO Roger Reierson (left) poses with his son and Flint Group COO Andy Reierson (right).

In fact, as he boarded the train from Chicago to Fargo, he had serious doubts whether the chance he was taking was worth it. Could an ad agency succeed in Fargo? Could he have a meaningful career there? Was he making the right choice for both himself and his family? Flint’s boss in Chicago certainly didn’t think so. When Flint turned in his resignation, his boss told him that “an ad agency can’t make it in Fargo.” But Flint let optimism win out over skepticism—his own included—and his optimism proved true. The startup ad agency that he and Lavin launched in 1946 is now known as Flint Group and is one of a small number of independent ad agencies in the country to operate continuously for so many years. As Flint Group celebrates its 70th anniversary, it’s interesting to consider that some of the challenges faced by Flint nearly three-quarters of a century ago are the same ones new businesses and young professionals face today.

Fargo’s budding startup community is constantly peppered with questions of "Why Fargo?” Young entrepreneurs often face scrutiny regarding whether a new company can find success in this part of the country. A largely unfilled labor pool has created many job opportunities, but new recruits—whether they are returning to their childhood home or setting new roots—frequently ask first whether they are making the right choice for their future. "Is Fargo relevant? Can it offer meaningful careers? Can you build a life here?"

its kind—to provide meaningful careers and have a lasting impact on the community at the same time. Flint Group is a success story, but its story hasn’t ended. Change has fueled the agency’s growth over the past 70 years and will continue to feed its success for the foreseeable future.

Flint’s story is just one example of a story that continues to be repeated throughout the region. It proves that it is indeed possible to start a company here—even the first of

The elder Reierson in 1976. Reierson, along with two partners, purchased the Flint agency from Harold Flint in 1982.






Many things, if not everything, has changed about doing business in Fargo since 1946. Here are just a few examples:

Starting a business T HEN Barney Lavin and Harold Flint opened North Dakota’s first ad agency in Fargo in 1946, boldly entering an industry that was often referred to as “Madison Avenue” in reference to the surplus of ad agencies operating in that area of New York City.

Marketing NOW Fargo’s blossoming tech industry is often compared—on a smaller scale— to California’s famed Silicon Valley, as entrepreneurs compete for talent and investment dollars.


Finding partners, hiring employees

While women remain a minority overall in the advertising industry, Flint Group's Fargo office has bucked that trend, with the majority of leadership roles belonging to women. Pictured is Flint Communications President Jodi Duncan.

Flint's original Downtown Fargo location (left) and their current Downtown Fargo location (right)



Harold Flint sought out career opportunities in Fargo by placing his own “position wanted” ad in the Fargo newspaper. Barney Lavin was the sole responder to the ad, inviting Flint to join him at an ad agency he wanted to start. The agency operated with a small staff for years and, as was common practice at the time, men were account managers and women were secretaries and assistants.

T HEN At one time, Flint had its own labels for boxes at the local printing company due to the sheer volume of printed materials that the agency ordered for client projects. Ad agencies did a lot of pre-production work in-house as well, often employing typesetters and photographers who spent hours in dark rooms producing ads for clients. Art was hand-drawn, resulting in many sleepless nights to produce last-minute presentations for clients.

NOW Digital advertising and social media have broadened the scope of marketing, lessening the volume of printed materials produced for clients. Computers have sped up the pace of production enormously, although marketers still spend many sleepless nights preparing projects.

NOW Potential new business partners meet up at local networking events, national conferences or through financial backers. The occasional "want" ad is placed for new hires, but social media is more often the goto place for both job seekers and employers looking for new recruits. Women are still a minority within the overall advertising industry, particularly among leadership, mirroring a nationwide disparity between male and female executive roles in all areas of business. But not all companies are the same. At Flint Group’s Fargo office, 70 percent of the employees are women and women hold the majority of leadership roles within the agency.

Attracting and retaining clients T HEN In the “Mad Men” era of advertising, networking and business deals were done over martini lunches and sealed with a handshake.

NOW Martini lunches are a thing of the past (mostly), but the connection between people is still key to getting and keeping new clients.


Correspondence T HEN Handwritten letters, or letters dictated to secretaries, and telephone calls were the norm when it came to regular correspondence between businesspeople.

Location, location, location NOW Email tops the list for correspondence, followed by any number of alternatives, including instant messaging, texting, video conferencing and social media. Handwritten notes and postal letters are a rarity.

Office hours

A Flint banner hangs over Broadway in 1966. The Black Building, which then housed Sears, Roebuck & Co. can be seen on the left.

T HEN Late-night cramming aside, the typical work week in 1946 for business professionals was Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Nights and weekends were family and social time. Without a way to constantly keep connected to the office, people were actually out of the office and not reachable when they weren’t in the office.

NOW Office hours? What are office hours? Sure, places of business list office hours, but the majority of business professionals report spending nearly as many hours working outside of the office as they do within posted office hours. Smartphones and computers have blurred the separation between office and home, and many employers are now beginning to place an emphasis on work-life balance.

Reaching the right people T HEN Telephone books, daily newspapers and radio were popular methods of advertising to the general population in 1946. Mass media, i.e. television, had yet to take hold as a major communication tool so targeted advertising opportunities were limited.



Harold Flint in 1966 at "The World's Shortest Parade" in Downtown Fargo. The event commemorated the company's 20th anniversary.

T HEN Downtowns were the heart of economic activity in 1946. Flint was launched in Downtown Fargo and even paid homage to founder Harold Flint with “The World’s Shortest Parade” in Downtown Fargo on the company’s 20th anniversary. The Fargo Police Department pitched in to direct traffic around the parade route, which spanned two blocks and included one car.

NOW NOW Ever wonder why a product you just searched for on Google suddenly shows up in an ad on your Facebook feed? Analytics have helped marketers zero in on target audiences and help businesses share their message with people who are most likely to be interested in their product or service.

After several decades of a trend toward strip malls and suburban sprawl, downtowns have come roaring back as the place to be for businesses. Flint has relocated offices a few times in its 70 years of business but it never left Downtown Fargo. Its current location is at the corner of 10th Street North and 1st Avenue.



Saturdays, July 9 - October 29, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The Red River Market is a farmers' market in Downtown Fargo with a mission to create a space for all community members to experience the joys of locally produced food and local vendors. redriver.market 409 Broadway N, Fargo

PLANNING COMMISSION 3 FARGO Tuesday, September 6, 4 - 8 p.m.

You can watch the meeting live on TV Fargo (channel 12). Meetings are rebroadcast each Sunday at 8 a.m., Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Wednesday at 8 a.m. cityofargo.com/calendar Fargo City Hall 200 3rd St. N., Fargo

Dr. David Flowers

Dr. Lynne Kovash

Dr. Jeff Schatz

LOOK AT AREA K-12 SCHOOLS 2 ATuesday, September 6, 7:30 - 9 a.m.

The number of students attending local schools is growing exponentially each year, causing many administrators to examine infrastructure and staffing needs. Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schatz, Moorhead Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lynne Kovash and West Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David Flowers will be providing insight into what their school systems are facing, goals for the year ahead and long-term needs. Registration includes breakfast and is $25 in advance and $30 at the door for Chamber members and $35 in advance and $40 at the door for nonmembers. fmwfchamber.com Courtyard by Marriott Fargo-Moorhead 1080 28th Ave. S, Moorhead

UNITED WAY KICKOFF EVENT 4 2016 Wednesday, September 7, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Join United Way of Cass-Clay for lunch, the premiere of their 2016 United Way video, networking and inspiration. There will also be several guest speakers, including 2016 Campaign Chair Mark Nesbit and United Way of Cass-Clay President Kristi Huber. unitedwaycassclay.org Holiday Inn Fargo 3803 13th Ave. S, Fargo


Wednesday, September 7, 4 - 5:30 p.m. You can watch this meeting live on TV Fargo (channel 99). Meetings are rebroadcast the first Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m., the second Tuesday at 8 p.m. and the third Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. cityofargo.com/calendar Fargo City Hall 200 3rd St. N, Fargo

Photos courtesy of J. Alan Paul Photography, FMWF Chamber of Commerce and Fargo Monthly






TAILGATE 6 TECH Thursday, September 8, 5 - 8 p.m.

For one night only, you can meet all of the different meetup groups in the area. Happening at Brews On Broadway, each meetup will be tailgating and showing off what they have to offer. Plus, there will be plenty of pizza and beer. techtailgate.com Brews On Broadway 409 Broadway, Fargo

IRON FARM SHOW 7 BIG Tuesday, September 13 - Thursday, September 15

In 1980, a farm equipment show took root in Casselton, N.D., with the idea of showcasing the latest in “big iron.” This was indeed the start of something big. One year later, with a successful inaugural event behind them, the Red River Valley Fair Association moved the event to the spacious West Fargo Fairgrounds.

Since then, the event has grown each year, from a farm equipment show to a three-day celebration of rural living—agribusiness, health, innovation and technology. In 2015, more than 70,000 attendees came from across the nation and several other countries to see demonstrations, visit 900+ exhibit booths, connect with their peers and attend training sessions. Today, there is little doubt that Big Iron Farm Show is the event for agribusiness. bigironfarmshow.com Red River Valley Fairgrounds 1805 Main Ave. W, West Fargo

CONTROL BOARD MEETING 9 LIQUOR Wednesday, September 21, 1 - 2 p.m.

Meetings are broadcast live on TV Fargo (channel 99). They are rebroadcast on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. and the first Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. cityofargo.com/calendar Fargo City Hall 200 3rd St. N, Fargo

LITTLE COFFEE AND A LOT OF HUSTLE 8 AWednesday, September 14, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Many of us believe that once we have “paid our dues” we should have the luxury of sitting back and enjoying the ride. However, whether it be in family, work or business, those who truly want to grow as leaders must hustle at every stage. Through acknowledging the need to hustle, leaders take responsibility for both their successes and failures and through that, grow as leaders. Ciara Stockeland, founder and COO of MODE, will energize the session audience to keep moving forward and to hustle through whatever stage they are in. Her business mindset and tenacity led her to open her first store, Mama Mia, and shortly after, develop and open MODE, a designer outlet. In 2008, she chose to merge the two concepts into MODE and has successfully developed the concept into a thriving franchise, successfully expanding to 12 locations across the Midwest and South Carolina, with more on the way. Registration includes lunch and is $25 in advance and $35 at the door for Chamber members and $45 in advance and $55 at the door for non-members. fmwfchamber.com Courtyard by Marriott Fargo-Moorhead 1080 28th Ave. S, Moorhead


Thursday, September 22, noon - 1:30 p.m. Join the Chamber as they look back on their 201516 year by celebrating their accomplishments and honoring their outstanding volunteers. They'll share their priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, as well as recognize 2016 Legacy Leader Dr. Roger Gilbertson. Registration includes lunch and is $35 in advance and $45 at the door for Chamber members and $35 in advance and $45 at the door for non-members. Corporate table sponsorships are $650. Past Legacy Leader Winners • 2007 William C. Marcil, Sr. • 2008 Frederick B. Scheel • 2008 Edward Stern • 2009 Dr. Roland Dille • 2009 James R. McLaughlin • 2010 John Q. Paulsen • 2011 Ronald D. Offutt • 2012 Bruce Furness • 2013 Margie Bailly • 2014 Alexander Macdonald & Darrol Schroeder • 2015 Morrie Lanning fmwfchamber.com Ramada Plaza & Suites and Conference Center 1635 42nd St. S, Fargo






Thursday, October 20, 4:30 6:30 p.m.


Thursday, September 22, 4 p.m. - Saturday, September 24, 12 p.m. Plug in to the creative energy at the 2016 AAF District 8 "Far North" fall conference to recharge your passion for all things advertising. They'll have big ideas and big names in a small environment so you can learn, share and make great new connections. Conference includes: • Thursday night's "Cropped" event • Friday's conference speakers • Option to add attending a small group lunch with one of our speakers ($40) In conjunction with their annual membership kickoff, AAF-ND is offering a discounted conference price to attendees who also renew/ sign up for their 2016-17 membership. To complete your 2016-17 membership, visit aafndmemberships.eventbrite.com Pricing: • Member - early bird*: $125 • Member: $150 • Non-member - early bird*: $175 • Non-member: $200 • D8 AAF member - early bird*: $225 • D8 AAF member: $250 *Early-bird pricing ends Sept. 1

fmwfchamber.com Hilton Garden Inn Fargo 4351 17th Ave. S, Fargo


Ready to put SMART in your CART? Join Emerging Prairie for the first-annual Cart Summit conference. If you live, play or work in the e-commerce world, this conference is for you. Come experience a day of learning and community to better yourself, your organization or just feed your passion for e-commerce. Cart Summit was created to bring industry leaders and enthusiasts together so that all may improve their practices in e-commerce. There will be keynote speakers, small breakout sessions and networking opportunities throughout the conference. Breakout sessions will be focused on three tracks: 1) Marketing 2) Logistics 3) CEO/founder/executive cartsummit.com Moorhead Center Mall 510 Center Ave., Moorhead


Thursday, January 19, 2017, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.

emergingprairie.com/events Location TBD

MONTHLY MEETUPS* ··Bitcoin Meetup ··Cass-Clay Subcontractor Sales & Marketing Meetup ··Girl Develop It ··Fargo 3D Printing Meetup ··Fargo Cashflow Game Night ··Fargo Virtual Reality Meetup ··Fargo-Moorhead Content Strategy


Tuesday, September 27, 3:30 - 5 p.m. (social: 5 - 6 p.m.) Effective communication is a crucial element of leadership success, both at work and at home. From one-on-one dialogues to group presentations and facilitations, at this session, Jodee Bock of Bock’s Office Transformational Consulting will teach managers, supervisors and workplace leaders the foundation upon which to build a strong culture where everyone has the opportunity to succeed at the highest level. REAL is an acronym for the areas on which this course concentrates: radical, energized, authentic and learning-based. When leaders and collaborators share a strong bond of trust and open communication, there is no limit to what the organization can achieve, produce and become. Registration is $25 in advance and $35 at the door for Chamber members and $45 in advance and $55 at the door for non-members. fmwfchamber.com Avalon Events Center 2525 9th Ave. S, Fargo SEPTEMBER 2016

emergingprairie.com/events Coteau des Prairies Lodge 9953 141st Ave. SE, Havana, ND

··Fargo Entrepreneurship Meetup

aafd8.org Ecce Art Gallery 216 Broadway N, Fargo


November 9-11

··The Fargo-Moorhead Real Estate Investing Meetup ··Master Networks – Fargo Business Referral Group ··Mobile Meetup Fargo ··Moorhead Entrepreneurship Meetup ··Red River Valley Big Data – Midwest Big Data Hub Meetup *All meetups above (except Bitcoin Meetup) can be found at meetup. com/cities/us/58102. If interested in the Bitcoin Meetup, please contact alarson@myriadmobile.com



Fargo INC!, Fargo Monthly and gofargojobs.com bring you a section dedicated to careers in Fargo-Moorhead. Here you'll find... FM SUCCESS BY THE NUMBERS JOB LISTINGS 85



You're in the right spot to


By Rick Berg, Founder, Go Fargo Jobs • Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography


hat does it mean to be a job-seeker in the Fargo metro area? Well, simply put, in today’s labor market, job-seekers have good odds. Cass County boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates (2.3 percent) in a state that as of June 2016, was ranked fourth-lowest in the U.S. overall at 3.2 percent.

According to the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation's website, the Fargo metro area has 5,000+ job openings available, and the Labor Market Information Center reports Cass County having roughly 2,400 people unemployed. Hence, there is an obvious shortage in the current workforce. Employers seem to be constantly struggling with recruiting and retaining quality employees and are trending towards becoming more data-driven in the recruiting process. New technologies and recruiting options are more widely available than ever, allowing employers to improve their processes and recruiting strategies. Employers are also looking for new and creative ways to attract candidates and cater to the “selfie



generation”, i.e. Millennials. Which, by the way, are now a much larger group than the Baby Boomers and make up around 30 percent of management positions, according to a recent Upwork study. The key for job-seekers is to remain optimistic and thankful that we are in the situation we are in here in our home area. Fargo continues to top lists all over for "best cities to live" and markets for finding jobs. There are other parts of the country that aren’t so lucky. As with anything, as long as you keep at it and continually try to learn and improve yourself, things will go your way, especially in today’s current market.

Rick Berg

The numbers behind


Fargo-Moorhead’s $uccess

It’s no surprise that the FM area is an economic beacon for the U.S., and thanks to the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation (GFMEDC), we have the numbers to prove it. By Andrew Jason

All data collected in June 2016



North Dakota





2015: 2.3%

2015: 2.5%

2015: 5.3%




2015 $45,968

1,000,000 US



158 million

2016 $47,684


151 million Total Wages: $5.2 billion


Total Wages: $5.5 billion

Total Growth: 3.7%






Clay 2015 $36,296


2016 $37,752 100,000






Labor Force


Total Wages: $670 million

Total Wages: $699 million

Total Growth: 4.0%

Notes: Unemployment Rate, Labor Force & Employed data are not seasonally adjusted. Most recent labor statistics are estimates generated monthly through the LAUS program with frequent revisions as updated data becomes available.* These numbers are quarterly/weekly wages and have been prorated by GFMEDC to demonstrate an annual wage for the quarter. It is important to note there are quarterly fluctuations in wages such as 4th quarter bonuses in addition to some seasonal effects.




Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities

Retail Trade


Wholesale Trade

Trade, Transportation & Utilities



Mining, Logging & Construction

Private ServiceProviding




Total Private

Total Nonfarm



All data collected in May 2016





19,700 16,100

9,200 5,400


(Fargo, ND-MN)

22,700 18,600






Other Services

Leisure & Hospitality

Educational & Health Services

Professional & Business Services

Financial Activities



Source: Job Service N.D., Labor Market Information Center, CES Unit

Management Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Operations Manager


Spotlight Media Fargo How do I apply?

Health Care Registered Nurse


This position includes client liaison communication, associate performance management, revenue forecasting, maintaining account service level agreements, account implementation, reporting and implementing internal programs and policies.

Prairie St. John’s, a 110-bed psychiatric care facility located in Fargo, has been providing services for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors to address mental health issues, chemical dependency, or addiction and cooccurring disorders since 1997.

Apply: more Email infocareers.us@integreon.com at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Apply: email PSJHR@uhsinc.com

Store/Assistant Managers




Petro Serve USA is looking for qualified individuals who have integrity, can provide outstanding customer service, strive for excellence, are eager to learn and can consistently work as a team member. We offer competitive pay, benefits, 401k, paid vacation and sick leave.

Full- and part-time positions available. Attend client appointments and meetings, training of staff, supervision of medical care and participation as part of an interdisciplinary team.

Apply: Visit bit.ly/petrogfj

Apply: Email nhuber@mcrsi.com

Energy & Oil Digital Strategy (Paid) Propane ServiceIntern Technician

Spotlight West Fargo Media

Human Resource Assistant


How I apply? Petro do Serve USA is looking for qualified applicants to be a

member of our team. We offer competitive wages, medical benefits, paid vacation, holiday and sick days. Qualified individuals have two-plus years of propane service experience. CETP certification is preferred.

MCRSI is looking for a human resources assistant to work in our Moorhead office. Duties include scheduling, assisting with time sheets, training new staff and other general human resource duties. Hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m. Pay dependent on experience.

Apply: Website more info atbit.ly/PSUSA16 SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Apply: Email nhuber@mcrsi.com

Sales Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Sales Account Executive

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Inside Sales Executive

How do I apply?

How do I apply?

Apply: Email more infocareers@gofargojobs.com at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Apply: Visitinfo spherion.com/fargo more at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Spotlight Media Fargo

Go Fargo Jobs is looking for an entrepreneurial sales account executive to lead our sales program. The ideal candidate has 2-3 years of successful outside sales experience. Huge earning and growth potential.



Spotlight Media Fargo

Our client, a large scale sales and marketing company, has an opening for an inside sales executive. A successful applicant will market to new and existing customers. Successful applicant will provide direct sales of products and services in this fast-paced industry.




Customer Service

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Career Opportunities Spotlight Media

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Leasing Specialist

How doatI Digi-Key apply? offer a world-class experience, Careers

competitive compensation, outstanding benefits, and a comfortable, friendly work environment. Areas of opportunity include: Accounting, Applications Engineering, Customer Service, Human Resources, IT, Marketing, Order Fulfillment, and more! Visit our careers page to learn more.

Goldmark strives to make a positive impact on the lives of others. An opportunity is available to serve those looking for or living in apartment homes we manage. We’re accepting applications for caring and dedicated candidates for full-and part-time positions with opportunities for advancement.

Apply: www.digikey.com/careers moreVisit info at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Apply: more Visit info goldmark.com/careers at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Program Assistant

Spotlight Media Fargo

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Workflow Coordinator Spotlight Media

How do I apply?

How do I apply?

Thief River Falls, MN

Full and part-time positions available. Assist clients with disabilities in a variety of areas based on need, including cooking, cleaning, supervision, transportation and redirection of behavior.

Apply: moreEmail info bhalvorson@mcrsi.com at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Cost Specialist

Fargo Fargo, ND

This will support the day-to-day operations of the Howposition do I apply? pricing department with the loading and maintenance of new and existing cost conditions, list pricing and pricing contracts.

Apply: Visit spherion.com/fargo

Spotlight Media Fargo


This position manages word processing projects by communicating with clients and assigning projects to other Integreon Associates.

moreEmail info at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM Apply: careers.us@integreon.com

Digital Strategy Intern (Paid) Intake Admin Specialist

Spotlight Media Fargo How do I apply?

The purpose of this position is to provide administrative support to the assigned client. The duties may range from meeting preparation, internal/external correspondence, report preparation, document and word processing assistance, and other administrative duties as requested.


Apply: Email devon.hofer@expresspros.com

Transportation Digital Strategy Purchasing Job Intern (Paid)

Digital Strategy Delivery Driver Intern (Paid)

Spotlight Media Fargo

Fargo Spotlight Media

How do I apply?

Couriers responsible for driving a company vehicle How do are I apply?

Apply: spherion.com/fargo moreVisit info at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

Apply: moreEmail info devon.hofer@expresspros.com at SPOTLIGHTMEDIAFARGO.COM

This position will lead and administer daily purchasing and inventory management functions within the company’s computer system for assigned vendor lines and product categories.



to transport materials from client and Iron Mountain locations, loading and unloading, using wireless scanning, preparing paperwork and performing daily vehicle maintenance to ensure it functions efficiently.


Profile for Spotlight

Fargo INC! September 2016  

Meet the team behind SunButter, a local sunflower spread that's gone from a local niche product to a global brand in a little more than a de...

Fargo INC! September 2016  

Meet the team behind SunButter, a local sunflower spread that's gone from a local niche product to a global brand in a little more than a de...

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