IN BUSINESS | MARCH 2017
54 YEARS RUNNING
Kabrick Distributingâ€™s work to quench thirst in North Iowa spans decades
J2 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
INSIDE THIS ISSUE OF IN BUSINESS On the cover: Jason Hahn, president of Kabrick Distributing, stands next to one of the company’s delivery trucks in Mason City. Kabrick’s sales area covers Mitchell, Floyd, Chickasaw, Howard, and Worth counties, plus half of Cerro Gordo County. North Iowa’s established distributor Kabrick enters 54th year as North Iowa’s beer company............................. J3 Also: Prepare for visitors Warmer weather means tourism season is near......................................... J8 Count on the regulars Annual events make up the core of North Iowa tourism.............................J10 Turning pain into hugs KC firm focuses on gifts for cancer patients, caregivers..............................J11 Sharing economy finds the office A handful of firms are renting workspace by the hour............................... J13 IN BUSINESS: MARCH 2017 Editor: David Mayberry 641-421-0524 —firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising and Circulation: Greg Wilderman 641-421-0545 —email@example.com In Business is a quarterly publication of the Globe Gazette. Reach us at Box 271, Mason City, IA 50402-0271 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Kabrick Distributing has been delivering beer to North Iowa vendors for more than 50 years. The business started in 1963, when Jack Kabrick purchased an existing Budweiser wholesale operation in Mason City.
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IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J3
Established deliveries Kabrick enters 54th year distributing beer to North Iowa ELDA STONE
For the Globe Gazette
If you’ve enjoyed a beer in North Iowa during the past 50 years, chances are it came to your hands courtesy of Kabrick Distributing in Mason City. Three generations of Kabrick and Hahn family members have kept busy quenching North Iowa’s prodigious thirst for beer. “In 2013, I was awarded our 50-year distributorship award from AnheuserBusch,” said Jason Hahn, 44, current president of Kabrick Distributing. Jason’s grandfather, Jack Kabrick, came from Mitchell, South Dakota, in 1963 to buy an existing Budweiser wholesale business in Mason City. He heard about it from his brother, Red Kabrick, who ran another distributorship in Britt at that time. “My grandfather owned a liquor store in Mitchell,” Jason said. “When he came here, the Mason City business was really a small-town operation, with one truck.” Jim Hahn, Jason’s father, also moved to Mason City to join the business, after Jim finished four years in military service including duty in Vietnam. Jason grew up with the company. “I remember coming down here to work when I would ride my bike,” Jason said. “I started with redemption work and helping out wherever it was needed in the warehouse.” After graduating from Mason City High School in 1991 and attending North Iowa Area Community College for two years, he started full-time at the business in 1995. He moved up into management and eventually became president when Jim retired about 10 years ago.
About Kabrick Company: Kabrick Distributing Location: 1809 S. Benjamin Ave., Mason City Est.: 1963 Business: Beer distribution for on- and off-site businesses in six North Iowa counties Top sellers: Bud Light and Busch Light EXPANSION UNDERWAY Today, Kabrick Distributing sells more than 800,000 cases of Anheuser-Busch products in a year, as well as handling many craft beers from smaller breweries. Its sales area covers Mitchell, Floyd, Chickasaw, Howard, and Worth counties, plus half of Cerro Gordo County. “It’s really seasonal,” Jason noted. “We sell more beer in July than in February and March combined.” The company’s current location at 1809 S. Benjamin Ave. is the third site for Kabrick since 1963, and now the third expansion at this address is underway. The $650,000 project added 4,000 square feet to the warehouse, with refrigeration and vertical racking to be installed by mid-March. “It’s basically a cooler for kegs and packaged beer,” Jason said. “The expansion is due to the wide variety of tap and packaged beer we sell now.” Jason explained distributorship in Iowa is a three-tiered system, with ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette distributors like Kabrick in the middle Kabrick Distributing President Jason Hahn stands next to cases of beer in the company’s between brewers and retail access points Mason City warehouse. Kabrick is in the process of a $650,000 expansion that will add for the consumer. 4,000 square feet to the warehouse. “Anheuser-Busch is the main brewer that we sell, about 97 percent of our business. Most of our product comes out Kabrick numbers of St. Louis,” he said. “Our top sellers are Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light, 800,000 Cases of Anheuser-Busch products sold by Kabrick each year Michelob Golden Light, and Mich42% Increase in sales for Kabrick’s fastest growing brand, Michelob Ultra, in 2016 elob Ultra.” 28 Full-time employees at Kabrick Jason said Michelob Ultra is the $130,000 Estimated annual amount spent by Kabrick to support community events and functions PLEASE SEE KABRICK, PAGE J4
J4 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
From left, Jason Hahn, president of Kabrick Distributing, Dunovan McKinnon, assistant ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette Hunter Patton loads a delivery truck recently at Kabrick Distributing. The company delivers warehouse manager, and Greg Till, salesman, look over a chart at their warehouse in Mason City. The company distributes beer to on- and off-site businesses in six North Iowa beer to six North Iowa counties. counties.
KABRICK From J3 company’s fastest growing brand. “Our sales of Mic Ultra went up 42 percent in 2016,” he said. “I can see that brand continuing to go up.” Anheuser-Busch markets this lowcalorie, low-carbohydrate beer “for those who choose to live exceptionally.” Bud Light and Busch Light are Kabrick’s No. 1 sellers.
“We shifted gears about seven years ago and changed our business plan a little,” Jason said. “We started picking up craft beers.” These beverages are made in a traditional way by small, independent breweries in various regions. “Craft beer is really hot right now. The first one we signed was Toppling Goliath out of Decorah,” he said. “We strongly support our local craft beers, like Mason City Brewery and Worth Brewery.” Other Iowa beers carried by Kabrick
Distributing include Mill Stream, from Amana; Exile, Des Moines; and Back Pocket, Coralville. It also handles national craft beers like Sierra Nevada and regional brands like Summit from Minneapolis. Anheuser-Busch ships its product to Mason City, but Kabrick picks up from the craft brewers. Kabrick Distributing has what Jason calls a “hybrid selling system,” reaching both on-premise and off-premise outlets.
“The declining population problem is huge. That’s why we always encourage new businesses to come to town. The more people live here, the more product we’ll sell.” Jason Hahn, president of Kabrick Distributing
PLEASE SEE KABRICK, PAGE J5
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IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J5
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Jason Hahn, president of Kabrick Distributing, sits at his Mason City office. Hahn said while Kabrick Distributing Sales Manager Jon Benson and President Jason Hahn stand next Anheuser-Busch products account for 97 percent of Kabrick’s business, the company to one of the company’s delivery trucks in Mason City. Bud Light and Busch Light are “shifted gears about seven years ago.” It also distributes some regional craft beers. Kabrick’s top sellers, according to Hahn.
KABRICK From J4 On-premise customers are businesses that sell drinks at their locations, like bars and restaurants. Off-premise customers include groceries, liquor stores, and convenience stores that sell packaged beverages to consumers. Kabrick sells to approximately 340 accounts. LOCAL OPERATION Kabrick’s biggest challenge, according to Jason, is the declining population and aging demographics in our area. He said population in Kabrick’s sales district declined 7 percent in the past 10 years. “The declining population problem is huge. That’s why we always encourage new businesses to come to town. The more people live here, the more product we’ll sell,” he said. “In a lot of rural towns, the average age is getting up there. Kids don’t stay on farms in small towns anymore.” Kabrick Distributing has 28 full-time employees, all with full benefits. Nightshift employees load the trucks, and drivers get to the warehouse at 5 a.m. “We charge the redemption fee, and we pick up and crush our own cans and bottles. Repair work on neon beer signs that you see in businesses is all done
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Kabrick Distributing President Jason Hahn, rear, and Comptroller Bruce Oimoen work at the company’s Mason City office. Hahn, whose PLEASE SEE KABRICK, PAGE J5 grandfather started the business, started working there full time in 1995.
J6 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
“When he came here, the Mason City business was really a smalltown operation, with one truck.” - Jason Hahn, president of Kabrick Distributing, on his grandfather Jack Kabrick
KABRICK From J5 here in house,” Jason said. “We’re a family-owned business, so everything we do is local. That includes our accountant, lawyer, insurance, plumbers, electricians. We never outsource outside our area. We like people to support us, so we support them, too. That’s why we picked up local beers.” Kabrick Distributing is a presence behind almost all events in its commercial reach. In addition to being the pipeline for beer, Kabrick spends about $130,000 annually in local marketing to support community events and functions. “The biggest misconception about us is that people think of us as AnheuserBusch. They think, ‘Hey, just call up St. Louis.’ But everything we do comes out of our own pocket,” Jason said. The recently announced route through North Iowa for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, will keep the company’s employees hopping in 2017. The event brings at least 10,000 riders through Iowa communities during one week in July. “This year, we have three overnight towns in our region: Clear Lake, Charles City, and Cresco,” Jason said. “We will talk RAGBRAI every day between now and July.” FAMILIAR CREW Jason noted that much of the company’s leadership and management comes from general manager Tim Scholl, of Rockwell. “He’s worked here since 1982, worked under my father,” he said. “Tim’s kind of the backbone here. He believes in hard work, the work-before-play ethic.” Jon Benson is the sales manager, but also can be found checking on a delivery truck that isn’t running right. “We all wear several hats,” Jason said. “We can be making business decisions in the morning and delivering in the afternoon.” Most of the company’s team leaders and sales managers have been on payroll since the early ‘90s. “There is longevity in all our top
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Lindzie Umbarger, graphic designer for Kabrick Distributing, works at the company’s Mason City office. Umbarger’s mother Michelle held the same position at Kabrick. management,” said Jason. His son J.J. is a senior this year at Newman. Tim has a son at NIACC. They both work part-time in the family business. It’s not only the men in the family that have kept Kabrick Distributing humming along. “My niece Lindzie Umbarger is our graphic designer, in the same job her mom Michelle used to have here. My mom Mairead worked here, too, and my grandma Maxine, both secretaries,” Jason said. While printing banners to go up at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake for the Winter Dance Party weekend, Lindzie said, “I love it, it’s lots of fun. Working in a family business gives me a little more pride. My mom did this job for eight years. It’s a great atmosphere. Even people who aren’t family, they feel like family here.” Jason recognizes that there aren’t many family-owned businesses anymore and is grateful for the opportunity. “There are some challenges—you see your family every day,” he joked. “But it’s great to still have that and be local, support the local people.”
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Kabrick Distributing’s Jason Hahn, left, and Dunovan McKinnon stand in the company’s building in Mason City. Kabrick sells more than 800,000 cases of Anheuser-Busch products each year.
IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J7
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J8 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
Seasonal reminder: Time to think about tourism Clear Lake, Mason City anticipate strong 2017 for visitors ELDA STONE
For the Globe Gazette
It’s that time of year in North Iowa when all our thoughts turn toward the prospect of summer: warm breezes, open lakes, and happy crowds of people enjoying the sun. It also happens to be the time of year when those in the business of promoting tourism are out there working hard to remind visitors to include North Iowa in their travels. Libbey Patton, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, recently traveled to Schaumburg, Illinois, for a big tourism trade show. At a booth shared with Air Choice One, the flight service between Mason City Airport and Chicago, she talked with travel planners about the easy access and exceptional attractions in our area. “Tourism is really looking strong,” Patton said. “The last two years Clear Lake has been breaking records on hotel counts. Winters are also a lot stronger.” Patton has directed tourism here for seven years and previously was director of sales at the Best Western hotel in Clear Lake, so her whole career has been dedicated to promoting this area. Lindsey James, executive director of Visit Mason City Iowa, said, “Much of what we do is invisible to local people. We do a lot of marketing outside of the area. Local residents might not be aware of how many James events come to this area or how many people come from outside Mason City to participate, or why they chose Mason City in the first place.” James, who has been directing Visit Mason City for about a year, stepped
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Libbey Patton, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, stands with a mock-up of the group’s 2017 visitor guide. up to the position after seven years as a project coordinator in the office. “People are pleasantly surprised to learn about Mason City and all we have to offer,” James said. “We reach visitors by advertising, attending trade shows, and marketing. If I go to a trade show, I’ll sit down with planners and talk about our Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, music heritage, Clear Lake, and all this area has to offer. “They realize we have enough to fill
at least a day on a tour. Often groups are passing through Iowa on the way to somewhere else. They have a good experience here and become repeat customers.” Mason City offers 494 lodging rooms, and Clear Lake has 447 hotel rooms. Patton said there also are about 40 homes offered as vacation rentals around Clear Lake. PLEASE SEE TOURISM, PAGE J9
Tourism numbers 447 Lodging rooms in Clear Lake 494 Lodging rooms in Mason City 1,500 Tourism-related jobs in Cerro Gordo County $68 million Visitor spending in Clear Lake in 2015 $95 million Visitor spending in Mason City in 2015 $191 million Visitor spending in Cerro Gordo County in 2015
IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J9
“One of biggest challenges is appealing to people to take their vacation time, really unplugging and unwinding.” Libbey Patton, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
TOURISM From J8 James said, “It can be a challenge at times, but if we can get them to listen and embrace the opportunity, they love it. We get so much positive feedback. We offer site visits to show them what’s available. That personal touch, our level of service, and then seeing it first hand just blows them away.” Visitors spent $95.4 million in Mason City during 2015, the most recent figures available, according to James. For all of Cerro Gordo County, visitor spending that year was $191.09 million. That includes hotel, shopping, dining, and gas. She also said there are 1,500 tourism-related jobs in Cerro Gordo County. Patton said, “One of biggest challenges is appealing to people to take their vacation time, really unplugging and unwinding.” James noted that this region is easy to navigate, offers big-town amenities, and it’s affordable. “When groups host events here, they see an increase in attendance. We attribute that to our location, easy to get to midway between Minneapolis and Des Moines, and it doesn’t cost a lot to come and stay.” Activities by the tourism centers are funded through a portion of the state’s hotel/motel tax. “Visit Mason City has a legal agreement with the city. We receive 45 percent of the hotel/motel tax,” James said. “State code allows the community to access the tax, but it’s required to invest in tourism. Visit Mason City was founded in 1985 when the city decided to pursue use of this tax.” Visitor spending for 2015 in Clear Lake was $67.996 million. Like Mason City, tourism activities of the Clear Lake Chamber are funded through the town’s hotel/motel tax revenue, according to Patton. Some goes to economic development, some to lake restoration. “Our Chamber, city, tourism, and economic development all work in sync and come to the table with what needs to be done,” Patton said. “For instance,
“If we can get them to listen and embrace the opportunity, they love it.” Lindsey James, executive director of Visit Mason City Iowa
we’re closing streets all the time for events.” Patton said tourism encompasses more than just getting visitors to the area. It’s also about keeping visitors and resources safe. “Water quality is a big deal for us,” she said. The Chamber supports the Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy’s efforts to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, created through a constitutional amendment passed by Iowa voters in 2010. The fund would be filled by an increase to the state sales tax of threeeighths of 1 cent. Revenue from the sales tax would go to many natural resource and recreation projects. “The act was passed, but it’s never been funded,” Patton said. “We’re definitely behind that initiative. These are things behind the scenes besides what events are going on.” Because of its location on Interstate 35, Patton said the Clear Lake Chamber also has been consulting the Cerro Gordo County Emergency Management Agency on how to work with hotels and restaurants to take care of people stranded in town by blizzards, tornadoes, and other emergencies. In February, the Chamber partnered with Crisis Intervention Center to put on a Clear Lake Human Trafficking and Prevention Program. “It does go on in our community, with our interstate location. It’s not fun to talk about, but it’s important to be a leader in getting issues to forefront,” Patton said. The event included a guest speaker; specific training for hotel staff members on things to look for; and an attempt to get “Any Kid, Anywhere” curriculum introduced in the local schools next year.
J10 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
Annual events make up the core of tourism ELDA STONE
For the Globe Gazette
Annual events are the lifeblood of tourism in this region. “They keep Clear Lake known as ‘the events’ town,” said Libbey Patton, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. “These are events the whole family can enjoy.” Her office often lends support to events started by local families, such as Jack Helgren Memorial Race, a snowmobile event in memory of Jack Patton Helgren, and the Color the Wind Kite Festival in February, organized by Larry and Kay Day. “The Jack Race is hitting its stride,” Patton said. The kite festival now attracts national attention. Patton said, “It’s been featured on Iowa Public Television and on the cover of Midwest Living Magazine.” This year, the CBS Sunday Morning show planned to send a crew here for the whole weekend, following around the kite pilots. However, deteriorating ice conditions on the lake led to the event being cancelled. Patton said the Days have told her next year’s date will be Feb. 17.
ELDA STONE, for the Globe Gazette
Lindsey James, executive director of Visit Mason City Iowa, poses in her Mason City office. PLEASE SEE EVENTS, PAGE J11
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EVENTS From J10 A new event in 2017 called TRI Clear Lake began with a triathlon competitor who recognized the location’s potential. This will be the first annual sprint triathlon sanctioned by USA Triathlon to be held in Clear Lake. On June 10, competitors will swim at State Park Beach, bike on South Shore Drive out past the prairie trail and windmills, and finish with a run ending up downtown. Patton said about 100 people have registered already for the event, with a maximum of 500. It coincides with the annual “Take Me Back” festival. “I feel like Clear Lake is focusing on the outdoors and health,” Patton said. “The demographic of triathlon participants is a good demographic for people moving to Clear Lake.” Embellishing existing events with new add-ons keeps things interesting. “Last year, Blues, Bikes and BBQ run by North Iowa Spin partnered with the Clear Lake Brewery to add ‘Brews on the Beach’ Friday night.” This weekend event is July 7-9 in 2017. Mason City’s summer will be busy with large, multi-state sporting events that bring thousands to North Iowa, according to Lindsey James, executive director of Visit Mason City Iowa. “Baseball tournaments are big!” James said. “Mason City Youth Baseball hosts several tournaments during summer. On June 9 and 10, with U.S. Specialty Sports Association, they’re bringing in teams from Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. They’re expanding it to an extra day.”
IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J11
“I feel like Clear Lake is focusing on the outdoors and health.” Libbey Patton, director of tourism at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce People come in from all over the Midwest for a series of horse show competitions throughout the summer and fall at the North Iowa Events Center, according to James. Mid States Horse Shows puts on hunter/jumper competitions, and Dressage Horse Shows feature horse and rider teams completing difficult moves and patterns. She said the annual North Iowa Fair is adding many new features this year, not ready yet for announcement. “The new manager hit the ground running,” James noted. The Cannonball Cross, which held its inaugural event in Mason City last year, will return the first weekend in September. This cyclocross bicycle race sanctioned by USA Cycling takes place off-road in East Park, with various obstacles and challenges. The announcement that RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, will be stopping overnight in Algona, Clear Lake, and Charles City has to be the top tourism news for this summer in North Iowa. The number of riders is limited to 8,500, but with day riders, support crews, vendors, and gawkers, towns on the route expect even bigger crowds. RAGBRAI and the Clear Lake Area Chamber estimated there were more than 20,000 participants during the last overnight stop in Clear Lake in 2010. Planning is just getting started in local communities for the July event. “RAGBRAI is not a Chamber or a city thing,
it’s a complete community event,” said Patton. “The RAGBRAI logo this year has a paddle boat on it, and our Lady of the Lake paddle boat is celebrating 30 years on Clear Lake, so we’re planning some fun things this summer around that.” Most Clear Lake hotels already are showing no vacancy on booking websites for July 25, the date when bikers hit town. James said although RAGBRAI won’t stop in Mason City this year, it will still have a positive impact. For details on all 2017 events and tourism, check out clearlakeiowa.com and visitmasoncityiowa.com.
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Gifts (upsidedowngifts.com) offers a broader selection of gift bags, including some for people going through a divorce, sick (or just homesick) college freshmen away from their parents for JOYCE SMITH The Kansas City Star the first time, a child with a broken leg, or for those folks just having a KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Sarah Brewbad day. ster was devastated when her dear friend Prices range from $25 to $135 for was diagnosed with a brain cyst. But she gift bags. But they also have gifts knew just where to turn for a gift to show for under $50. The following are her support. A year ago, Brewster, her sister, Jill some examples. Friendship Heals ($45, on CanWuetherich, and their sister-in-law, Elisa Trozzolo, took over Cancer Gifts, cer Center). A “Group Hug” scented candle from Brookside’s 5B & Co. an Ohio-based website selling gifts and care packages designed for cancer Candlemakers, Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookies (crisp caramelized and patients and their caregivers. cinnamon-spiced Belgian cookies), Now with offices in Kansas a pair of Notes to Self socks (highCity, the women have rebranded quality athletic socks made in the U.S. the company under Care Center Gifts (cancergifts.com) and they’ve launched a new line. Upside Down PLEASE SEE PACKAGES, PAGE J12
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J12 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
bed rest, plagued with nausea or just fatigued. It From J11 has a keepsake journal, “I am a great mom” Notes to Self socks, a tumbler with “positive affirmathat says “You are a good tions” woven in the toes mom. That’s all,” Jolly and the soles), a deck of cards and lip balm, all in a Rancher candies and lip balm. metal bucket. Bravery at Any Size Men’s Chemo Com($65, on Upside Down). fort and Care Package ($114, on Cancer Center). For children ages 3 to 7, it has a stuffed animal, A large fleece blanket, coloring books and cray“I am strong” Note to ons, a “Story Lines: I Can Self socks, cozy beanie, fly” book, squeeze ball, unscented skin care products, peppermint tea playing cards and Dum Dum pops. and container of Queasy We Hated Him ($28, Drops for nausea relief, Mega Book of Wordsearch on Upside Down). For a friend going through and pen, and an alumia divorce who needs a num water bottle, all in little laugh. It includes a backpack. Kansas City’s Roasterie Mommy-to-Bed coffee, Laffy Taffy and ($80, on Upside Down). Jolly Ranchers candy, and For pregnant moms on
ALLISON LONG, Kansas City Star via TNS
The “Humor Heals” package at Care Center Gifts in Kansas City, Missouri. The goal is to provide meaningful gifts to people with cancer and other illness. a coffee mug that says “Congratulations on your divorce. We hated him. That’s all.”
Many of the gifts are by Kansas City companies, including wooden signs with slogans such
as “Be you every day” by Brookside’s FarmDog Studios and inspirational painted canvases by area artist Becky Blades including a colorful one that says “A courageous heart is a work of art.” Customers also can customize their gift baskets by selecting specific colors, add-on items or a unique gift bag. Brewster and Wuetherich grew up in the family business, Trozzolo Communications Group, a Kansas City-based advertising and public relations company. They’ve known Elisa since she started dating their brother, Angelo, when they were teenagers. Angelo Trozzolo is now president and chief executive officer of Trozzolo Communications. The women not only wanted a company they could buy into and
expand, but also one that their children could participate in, as they did when they were children. The women have nine children between them, ages 1 to 15. After a recent school day, Brewster’s son, Luke, 6, pulled out a black notebook and ran through a list of items for the Men’s Radiation Comfort and Care Package. He knew where each item was stocked but needed help reaching the fuzzy neck pillow on a high shelf. The children also personalize the gift bags by including a “Your gift was made with love and sent with a prayer” card. But some cards are more personalized than most. When Trozzolo’s son, Mario, and husband, Angelo, first packed some gift bags together, Mario signed their card: “Mario, age 9, and Angelo, age 41.”
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ALLISON LONG, Kansas City Star via TNS
From left, Elisa Trozzolo, Sarah Brewster and Jill Wuetherich run Cancer Center Gifts and Upside Down Gifts in the Waldo neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. The gift care packages they sell feature many Kansas City-made products and have names such as Friendship Heals and Men’s Chemo Comfort.
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IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J13
Welcome to your new office: A stranger’s living room Rise of self-employment and soaring office costs are fueling demand for shared space DANICA KIRKA Associated Press
ONDON — Claire Brynteson had a L house, a job and a dining table that was empty once she got her three children out the door every morning. When she received a flyer telling her she could make money by renting seats at the table to people looking for shortterm office space, she jumped at the chance to list its virtues on the Spacehop website — where Airbnb meets the laptop entrepreneur. “I wondered why perhaps it had taken so long since Airbnb has been running for so long,” Brynteson said at her home in south London. “People have for a long time been making money out of their home with guests staying over the night and paying to be there. This is a little less intrusive.” The rise of self-employment and soaring office costs are fueling demand for shared office space in metropolitan areas, with a handful of firms renting workspace by the hour, similar to the way Airbnb offers overnight stays. Vrumi, founded in 2015, says it has 5,000 registered users and 120,000 square feet of rentable workspace across the U.K. London-based Spacehop joined the market last year, as did Breather, a four-year-old company that also operates in the U.S. and Canada. It’s the latest development of the so-called sharing economy, where those looking for extra cash are generating income any way they can with the help of the internet and smartphone apps. Space itself has become a commodity, with people renting their driveways to commuters searching for parking, attics TIM IRELAND, AP to apartment dwellers in need of storage Spacehop user Lavinia Osbourne poses for a picture Feb. 27 in one of the homes available for hire as office space on the Spacehop and garden plots to those who want to website, in London. The rise of self-employment and soaring office costs are fueling demand for shared office space in metropolitan areas, grow their own tomatoes. with a handful of firms renting workspace by the hour, similar to the way Airbnb offers overnight stays. Vrumi, founded in 2015, says it has Boxful in Hong Kong promises to
5,000 registered users and 120,000 square feet of rentable workspace across the U.K. London-based Spacehop joined the market last PLEASE SEE OFFICE, PAGE 15 year, as did Breather, a four-year-old company that also operates in the U.S. and Canada.
J14 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
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IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J15
TIM IRELAND, AP
Spacehop users Lavinia Osbourne, right, and Whitney Fangawa pose for a picture Feb. 27 in one of the homes available for hire as office space on the Spacehop website, in London.
OFFICE From 13 declutter your life by collecting and storing unneeded belongings. In Spain, LetMeSpace provides a marketplace to rent out anything from parking spaces to unused storage. Pubs are renting out space in the morning to people looking for peace to work, said Catherine Cottney, manager of trends at business research firm Mintel. “It’s the final frontier,” Cottney said. “People are recognizing the worth of space and they’re looking to maximize that.” With an abundance of investors and
a computer-literate entrepreneurial population, the U.K. is driving the trend in Europe. In Britain, platform revenues more than tripled to 850 million pounds ($1.1 billion) in the three years through 2015, according to a study by PwC. Peer-to-peer accommodation, which includes shared office space as well as overnight stays like Airbnb, accounted for 27 percent of that total. Globally, PwC estimates that revenues in the sharing economy were about $15 billion in 2015. The move toward new workspaces dovetails with changes in the workplace itself. Cary Cooper, an expert on workplace issues at Alliance Manchester Business
School, said he’s surprised the Airbnb model didn’t come to office space sooner, and he believes it will grow as millennials seek flexibility and others seek to make a living. Recent figures from the Resolution Foundation think tank found that self-employment accounts for 45 percent of the growth in employment in Britain since 2008. “It’s an outgrowth of the recession and an outgrowth of people being reemployed on a contingency basis,” said Cooper. “Big employers don’t want to make a commitment to people.” Lavinia Osbourne started her own financial counseling business in the wake of the global economic crisis but found
working at home was too difficult when she needed to meet clients. She struggled to find peace and quiet working in coffee shops and hotel lobbies. “I hate Starbucks,” the 40-year-old entrepreneur said. “It’s noisy. It’s dirty. Sometimes you can’t find a place to sit. You can’t find a socket that works.” Hotels weren’t much better. “Sometimes, if you are there too long, the maître d’ or the staff can give you a little funny look,” she said. Her solution? Brynteson’s dining table, where filmmakers, entrepreneurs and novelists sit down to work with other PLEASE SEE OFFICE, PAGE 16
J16 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
TIM IRELAND, AP
Spacehop users Lavinia Osbourne, left, and Whitney Fangawa pose for a picture Feb. 27 in one of the homes available for hire as office space on the Spacehop website, in London.
“It’s just sitting there empty anyways,” she said. From 15 The company vets both the host and client for the transaction, verifying the creative people. mobile phone, e-mail and identification. There, for 22 pounds a day, “hopSo far, there have been no major issues, pers” get one of eight places at the though there’s an insurance policy that table, WiFi, and access to the kitchen covers any gaps in a home insurance and bathroom. Fringe benefits include policy for claims or damage. Brynteson sliding glass doors that look out over a also does her own due diligence to make tree-lined garden and visits from Coco, sure she’s comfortable with the guest. the family cat. The portable office represents a step Brynteson had been an Airbnb host and was accustomed to the idea of allow- forward from a time when the buding people into her home. When she real- ding entrepreneur would find a coffee house and look for a free chair close ized people would pay for a seat at her to an electrical outlet. Freelancers and table, she teamed up with Spacehop.
self-employed people need the ability to work without distractions, network with others in the same position and speak with clients with some degree of confidentiality. And for those in companies, open plan offices also make it hard for people who work for the same company to talk. “The way we work is changing,” said Roddy Campbell, the founder of space rental firm Vrumi. “People like being with people but offices are the worst places to get things done.” Campbell said the business isn’t just about laptop startups either. Vrumi takes a lot of bookings from
small groups who work at larger companies but need time away from the phone calls, email and office noise — for instance senior managers who want to meet without being seen or distracted. Consultancy PwC estimates that the sharing economy will continue to expand. In Britain, it expects 30 percent growth annually over the next decade, generating 18 billion pounds of revenue for platforms and facilitating 140 billion pounds worth of transactions a year by 2025. “We thought growth would have tailed off,” said Robert Vaughn of PwC, “but it’s actually accelerating.”
In BuSInESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J17
A fresh start through spring cleaning and garbage bins. Likewise, designate a room or corner as a drop-off point for things people no longer want. A coWant to give your workplace a boost of fresh energy? Consider devoting time worker may appreciate your old lamp, and unclaimed items can this March to spring cleaning. Benefits be donated. your company stands to gain by the Much of the work will be in the spruce-up include: form of sorting, filing and discarding. Additional space from getting rid of You’ll also likely discover a variety unnecessary items Improved focus, having removed clut- of belongings that should be brought home. (Do you really need three ter and distractions umbrellas?) Saved time because things are orgaLook too for ways clutter might nized and easier to find Increased morale from a more appeal- be controlled in the future. Scanning receipts and documents keeps them at ing environment Better health from decreased circula- the ready electronically while reducing paper, and sites such as PaperKarma tion of germs and allergens and Catalog Choice can help eliminate Unsure how to start? Block off a few junk mail. hours on everyone’s calendar to tackle As for the physical cleaning, conthe following areas. (Tip: Let employees sider these suggestions from Meg Robdress super casually and order pizza.) erts, president of Molly Maid: Clean the room from top to bottom, INDIVIDUAL WORKSTATIONS moving left to right to ensure you don’t Before embarking, set out cleaning overlook door frames and window sills. supplies and arrange for extra recycling BETh BraccIO hErInG Business Management Daily
Use a microfiber cloth _ it is reusable, dust and dirt stick to the fabric, and it works great on computer monitors. Dust first, and then vacuum. Clear out all cabinets and wipe them down with a disinfectant or a combination of vinegar and water. Phones can contain thousands of germs per square inch. Use a disinfecting wipe to clean the keypad, headset and mouthpiece. For crumbs in your keyboard, tip it upside down over the trash can and shake. For serious dust, use a can of compressed air or a cotton swab dipped in a disinfecting solution. VIRTUAL CLUTTER A clean computer is just as important to focus and productivity as a tidy desk. Tasks in this area may include: Tackling email through a combination of deleting, sorting into folders to be read later, unsubscribing to unwanted newsletters and updates, and
filtering out garbage (a program such as SpamDrain can help). Updating your address book with current information. Eliminating unnecessary icons and sites from your desktop, tool bar and bookmarks list. COMMUNAL AREAS Finally, get the rest of the workplace looking as good as those individual cubicles by addressing problems in shared areas. Have everyone look at the office from an outsider’s perspective and jot notes. Perhaps nobody is quite sure who should toss that wilted plant in the reception area or what that mystery piece of old equipment in the copy room really does. Quickly run through the lists as a group to voice any objections; then, set people loose to make the changes. And buy a replacement green plant when the cleaning is done. This is spring, after all.
Starting a home-based business
: I am thinking about setting up a home-based business providing cleaning services to homeowners within a 20-mile radius of my ZIP code. I have the skills, contacts, drive and cash reserve needed to get me BRUCE through an FREEMAN anticipated startup window of six months. How do I get started marketing my business? A: First, let me congratulate you on your decision to start your home-based business.
If you are starting out without any client base, you may want to schedule a launch party to announce your new endeavor to your friends, family and former business associates. You will be happily surprised at the amount of business you get just from sending invitations out to your database. Be prepared: Starting up will be very challenging, and you will be working long days. Your first few months may be slow in bringing in income. You may have to offer some deals to get your foot in the door of homes in your target market. And speaking of your target market, make sure you know who you want to sell to and if they
can afford your services. Eileen Bergman, a professional organizer, has some practical tips: For your own sanity, put together a one-page marketing plan and refer to it weekly. Keep it simple, keep it clean and keep it fluid. It may change over time. Research your competition online and in local publications. Know who they are and study their websites. How do they present themselves and how do you want to model your online presence to stand out from the crowd? Research different networking groups in your area. Some examples: chamber of commerce, Business Introduction
Group, Business Networking International, Toastmasters, et cetera. Spend the money and join these organizations for at least a year. Attend every meeting you can. Follow up with every person you meet. You can do so by email, phone, text or good, old-fashioned postage. Just keep getting your name out there with a positive message. Always be willing to meet new people. Strike up conversations at the doctor’s office and the supermarket. Choose which social media you want to market your services on and do it well. Join the national organization that supports
other professionals in your business. You may get some great ideas from other people. Stay strong, keep smiling and stay focused. And be sure to schedule down time for you. Go get a
massage once a month. It will be like a mini vacation. Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor and co-author of “Birthing the Elephant” (Random House), is president of ProLine Communications. Readers may send him email at bruce@smallbusinessprofessor. com and follow him on Twitter (@smallbizprof) and Facebook.
Northern Cedar Service Co., Inc. “IT’S THE SERVICE AFTER THE SALE THAT COUNTS”
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Toll Free 1-800-358-8009 125 N. Jackson Ave. Mason City, IA
J18 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
How one woman found success in the male-dominated construction industry MELISSA ETEHAD Los Angeles Times
THE GIG Beverley Kruskol owns M.Y. Pacific Building Inc., a painting and construction company she cofounded in 1993. The 68-year-old supervises as many as 30 workers on projects including commercial properties, single-family residences and high-end homes, where her firm handles painting, drywall installation and carpentry work. Kruskol and her Los Angeles-based company are something of an outlier in the construction industry, in which women made up just 9.3 percent of the construction workforce as of 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. EMBRACING INTERESTS Kruskol has always had an interest in working with her hands. When she was about 9 years old, she remembers trying to fix a broken iron using a screwdriver. When she plugged it in, the entire house lost electricity. “I was mortified GLENN KOENIG, Los Angeles Times via TNS PLEASE SEE KRUSKOL, Beverley Kruskol, owner of M.Y. Pacific Building Inc., at one of her company’s completed projects in Calabasas, California. PAGE J19
KRUSKOL From J18 because I was worried my father would punish me,” Kruskol recalled. When she was 21 she moved from South Africa to the United States and found bookkeeping work. But she had her eyes on the construction business. BELIEVING IN AN IDEA Kruskol left the cold weather behind in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s to join her then-husband while he completed his medical residency. She took a job as a receptionist for a property management firm, hoping it would propel her career. Six months later she was promoted and worked up the ranks to eventually become a director. She wound up managing funding and real estate holdings for a firm with about 90 properties in its portfolio. After getting her painting license, she launched her own business in 1993 with the help of her second husband (they have since divorced). Kruskol needed to find clients and had a lucky break when a contractor working on a home in a gated community needed help with repairs caused by a gas explosion. Many homes in the neighborhood were damaged. Her client was so pleased and impressed with her care and attention to detail that he referred her to others whose homes had been damaged by the explosion. “By the time it finished, I did 17 homes,” Kruskol said.
IN BUSINESS • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • J19
women,” she said. “The bottom line is she isn’t fussy. It’s her home and you are in her home, and she has a right to tell you what she wants.” As a result, Kruskol has made lifelong friends with some of her clients. “I can’t believe how many jobs I do where I end up getting invited to bat mitzvahs or dinners,” she said.
“I’ll go on a job site and meet a new contractor or architect, and they will always refer to the man that I’m with. They realize halfway through that I’m in charge and all of a sudden it switches. I don’t think its prejudice, I just think people are programmed (that way.)” Beverley Kruskol, owner of M.Y. Pacific Building Inc.
Kruskol came to be the sole owner of the company in the early 2000s after her former husband left the company. OVERCOMING OBSTACLES Kruskol has felt the effects of working in a male-dominated industry since her first days. Sometimes she was the only woman on a construction site. “I’ll go on a job site and meet a new contractor or architect, and they will always refer to the man that I’m with,” she said. “They realize halfway through that I’m in charge and all of a sudden it switches. I don’t think its prejudice, I just think people are programmed” that way. Although some people in the construction industry didn’t take her seriously, Kruskol learned not to take it personally or feel threatened. She said it helps that she feels comfortable in her knowledge and that her solid track record speaks for itself. KEY MANAGEMENT LESSON Kruskol came to recognize there was a need for more women in the industry and harnessed that potential.
“In a lot of homes you communicate with the wife and you got to be able to do it respectfully, and a lot of men (in this industry) deal differently with women The bottom line is she isn’t fussy. It’s her home and you are in her home, and she has a right to tell you what she wants.” Beverley Kruskol
Many of her female clients trust her more than her male counterparts, she said, because of her patience and attention to detail. Once, while she was working on a painting job at a $10 million house in Beverly Hills, her client tested more than 60 colors before choosing one for her walls. It was a time-consuming task, but Kruskol didn’t mind. “In a lot of homes you communicate with the wife and you got to be able to do it respectfully, and a lot of men (in this industry) deal differently with
WORKING WITH MISSION IN MIND Kruskol said a key to a successful business is making people feel like they are part of something larger than just a business. She wants everyone involved to take pride in their work. As a result, some have been working with Kruskol for 30 years. “I’m not easy all the time,” Kruskol said. But she’s cultivated a familial bond with her workers. “I watch their kids get born, graduate, get married and have kids of their own.” LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE In the coming year, Kruskol would like to find a partner to help grow her company. She is cognizant that if she were to do it alone, it might jeopardize the quality of work and services her company provides. Personal: Kruskol has one son and lives in LA. She enjoys visiting museums and playing poker, sometimes participating in tournaments. She said she works closely with the Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood and is an avid traveler and fan of the arts, particularly ballet.
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2417 South Federal Ave., Mason City, IA 50401
641-423-7032 Phone • 641.423.4376 Fax DESIGN LEADERS | serving the midwest
J20 • Sunday, March 12, 2017 • IN BUSINESS
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