A publication of
Low financing rates attract buyers for new homes
On the cover
Anthony Brown fits trim on a roof peak at a home under construction at Wildflower Commons. Photo by Greg Jones. Story page 3.
Economic outlook for 2014 page 6
Ex-Enkei chief named state adviser . . . . . . . . . 9 Internet browsers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Chamber Connection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Sales of small businesses booming . . . . . . . 14 Morton Marcus column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 On the Move . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Mark McNulty column . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Around the Watercooler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Business Leads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Comments should be sent to Doug Showalter, The Republic, 333 Second St., Columbus, IN 47201 or call 812-379-5625 or dshowalter@therepublic. com. Advertising information: Call 812-379-5652. ÂŠ2013 by Home News Enterprises. All rights reserved. Reproduction of stories, photographs and advertisements without permission is prohibited.
Blind job seekers page 8
2 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
Louisville Slugger factory page 16
Home economics Local builders find more buyers, fewer lots By Barney Quick n photos by greg jones
ustom builders of homes in the Columbus area report a general upswing in their economic environment from a few years ago, but the scene is not without challenges. From the presence of production-home builders to changing arrangements with suppliers, there is a shift in their circumstances that requires adaptability. Overall activity for both the custom builders and the production-home companies has increased over last year. According to the Bartholomew County Department of Technical Code Enforcement, 201 residential permits were issued in the first nine months of this year, compared to 197 for all of 2012. Interest rates are “fabulous now,” according to Trent Ferguson of Ferguson Construction. “A lot of people have decided not to wait any longer on their back-burner projects.” His firm has built five houses so far this year, in such areas as Sycamore Bend, Wildflower Estates and Tipton Lakes. “We have a couple more projects in the works,” he says. Connie Miller of Miller Home Planning and Building reports a 50 percent increase in activity over last year. She echoes Ferguson’s assessment of interest rates. “You can build a new home for the price of an existing one,” she says. “Since January, we’ve sold 25 lots at Wildflower Estates,” says Lisa Conner of Jolie Development. She says that last year, there were two
DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 3
builders working in that south side community, compared to seven this year. “We’re adding 49 more lots for 2014. We see a strong market.” Perhaps the most noteworthy change in the local home building market is the influx of companies that build what’s known as production homes. The difference in their approach and that of the custom builders is akin to that between locally owned restaurants and chain franchises. “The production builders have their own financing, and they’re selling lots themselves,” says Ferguson. Rick Webb of Devening & Webb Builders says that 15 years ago “it was all local guys.” He says the change has been rather sudden and significant. “I realize they have a business model that works, and I can’t disparage that, but they’re buying entire neighborhoods. I’m in favor of people having options.” He notes that the young engineers Cummins Inc. has been hiring “go to a nice neighborhood and discover that they have to use a certain builder. For a guy born and raised in Columbus, it’s a little alarming.” Ferguson says that materials suppliers “need a little more notice than they used to. Sometimes they don’t make a run to a given area unless they have a full truck.” He also says that the last recession thinned out the ranks of subcontractors. Webb says he is booked a year in advance. “We have a group of architects who feed us work.” He notes an increase in major remodeling jobs in the past couple of years. “The Parkside neighborhood and Grandview Lake are two examples of areas lacking any remaining appealing lots. Lately, we’ve stayed quite busy gutting existing homes and starting over. It’s not uncommon for someone to spend $300,000 to $400,000 to renovate an early 20th-century farmhouse.” He says that custom carpentry can maintain such a home’s original style, while bringing it up to contemporary standards. Ferguson likewise notes the dearth of desirable lots, and where they
Top: Dave Reikers, of Touchstone Builders, paints a bedroom in a house he is building in Wildflower Commons. Above: Sales are picking up throughout the county. Opposite page at top: Tony Scott, left, carries a cut-to-fit piece of siding to Gary Love, as they work to finish the siding and trim installation on a home. Opposite page at bottom: Amanda Love cuts a piece of fascia trim. 4 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
still exist, such as at Tipton Lakes, prices are comparatively higher. “For a lot of people, though, that’s offset by amenities such as bike trails.” Seymour-based Skaggs Builders operates according to a rather unique model, situated somewhere between that of the custom home model and the model for the production builders. The firm markets its subdivisions with a “Park” brand, naming many of them after U.S. presidents. Such development is on a scale far less than the nationally active production companies. Skaggs also builds custom homes and multifamily apartments. The company uses the same suppliers for both its patriotically themed neighborhoods and its custom-built houses. Albert Skaggs concurs with the view that interest rates are favorable, but he notes that “banks are trying to push them back up.” He says building materials are up a little in cost from last year. He says that Presidential Parks on Rocky Ford Road are currently the strongest of the Skaggs parks. “It looks like we’ve recently sold a couple of properties in Reagan Park, and we just opened a new model home in Woodland Parks.” He adds that “Westland Estates south of the Seymour airport is moving along real well.” He observes that the main demographics interested in the parks are seniors and young professionals. Professionals seem to be the predominant group drawn to the apartments. The company also does a lot of remodeling. “That’s been heavy the last two years,” says Skaggs. Because Ferguson has concentrated his efforts on areas where lots remain, the balance of his work is somewhat different than the others report. “We’ve been so busy building new homes, we’ve seen less remodeling work.” Economic conditions of the last few years have thinned the ranks of local custom builders. The ones who remain, however, seem to have had their perspectives sharpened by that rough patch and stand ready to serve those interested in a refined level of craftsmanship. DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 5
Headed in the right direction Economic outlook panel offers a cautious thumbs up By Barney Quick n photos by Andrew Laker
The 2013 Economic Outlook Breakfast, co-hosted by the IU Division of Business and the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, offered attendees an opportunity for some fresh perspectives, as well as a chance to compare a couple of the panelists’ forecasts from last year with the ones they were offering at the most recent event. If a general theme emerged from the presentations of those examining the four economic levels — global, national, statewide and local — it was one of slight improvement that is vulnerable to political and monetary contingencies. Ellie Mafi-Kreft, clinical assistant professor of business at IU’s Kelley School of Business, presented the global perspective. At the 2012 breakfast, she had emphasized southern Europe’s “austerity fatigue” and northern Europe’s “bailout fatigue.” This year, she reported that the “panic in Europe has receded somewhat.” She said that the bailouts had exposed structural problems, such as labor skills mismatched to areas of economic progress. Regarding the overall picture, she said, “Many economists made the mistake of expecting the world economy to bounce back from recession.” She noted
that world trade growth had slowed to around 2 percent, well below the 20-year average. She acknowledged decelerating Asian growth, citing “sluggish demand for Asian powerhouses’ natural resources.” In particular, she said that China’s growth rate was currently 7.25 percent, but that its slowdown from a doubledigit rate “has been orderly.” Charles A. Trzcinka, who holds the James & Virginia Cozad chair of finance at the Kelley School, characterized U.S. growth as “tepid,” saying that it “certainly doesn’t justify the kind of stock market we’ve seen so far.” He said 374 companies were reporting earnings above the mean. The stock market has risen by about 16.7 percent since the crash of 2008. IPOs have been “booming,” according to Trzcinka. Risks to the stock market include the possible tapering off by the Federal Reserve of its current quantitative-easing program (QE3), as well as internal congressional differences over the debt ceiling. Meanwhile, his forecast for U.S. economic growth is 2.6 percent. He said that this will be led by intellectual property, construction and exports. He did note that most economists are forecasting low inflation. His forecast for the 2014 unemployment rate was 6.4 percent. He qualified that by noting “some wild cards, particularly Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank banking law.” Theresa Williams, a Kelley clinical marketing professor and director of IU’s Center for Education and Research in Retailing, also spoke at the 2012 breakfast, and her current forecasts built upon trends she had seen at that time. She continues to believe consumers are becoming ever more savvy about
Elli Mafi-Kreft, left, Charles Trzcinka, Theresa Williams and Ryan Brewer lead a discussion at the Economic Outlook Breakfast at the Columbus Learning Center. 6 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
Elli Mafi-Kreft Kelley School of Business
Charles Trzcinka Kelley School of Business
Jayne and Charlie Farber listen to remarks at the Economic Outlook Breakfast at the Columbus Learning Center.
For Indiana, 2013 is expected to close out with a growth rate of 1.3 percent, whereas for the nation, it will be 1.7 percent.
— Theresa Williams
Theresa Williams Kelley School of Business
Ryan Brewer IUPUC Division of Business
choices. When discussing languid numbers for the restaurant industry, she said that in recent years, that sluggishness was due to consumers’ budget concerns, but that it was now largely driven by interest in healthier eating. Some consumer trends for 2014 that she predicted included an ever-greater presence of mobile devices in people’s lives, as well as the further advance of 3-D printing. She said that 63 percent of women and 73 percent of men check their phones every hour. She said that the make-on-demand possibilities of 3-D printing would fuel the public’s preference for domestically made products. She also said that 76 percent of shoppers were more likely to buy items made in the U.S. She noted that the recreational vehicle manufacturing industry’s return to health was a boon to the state. She said production and sales were expected to experience growth in the 5 percent to 6 percent range. Williams said that the inventory of homes for sale was “headed in the right direction,” which is to say, down. Building permits in Indiana have seen slow but steady growth. She said that Indiana’s unemployment rate for 2013 would be around 8 percent. She predicted that in 2014 and 2015, that rate would drop by a point per year. Overall, she described Indiana’s participation in the national recovery as “subpar.” The state’s GDP growth took a bigger hit than the nation’s. “For Indiana, 2013 is expected to close out with a growth rate of 1.3 percent, whereas for the nation, it will be 1.7 percent,” she reported. Ryan Brewer, IUPUC assistant professor of finance, reported the Columbus Consumer Confidence Index at 150.4, compared to 71.2 for the national figure. Over the last year, the Columbus area has ranked 22nd nationwide in job growth. Columbus has contributed to the employment base of surrounding counties. He noted that cheap mortgage rates and solid job growth have led to a strong housing market, with home sale prices rising for the fourth consecutive year. He described Columbus as having “an increasingly well-educated, growing population.” The top 10 percent most educated counties in Indiana accounted for 100 percent of the state’s population growth, and Bartholomew County was in that percentile. He said that local companies such as Cummins and LHP had experienced “a banner year for market capitalization.” Cummins was forecasting lower growth for the fourth quarter of 2013 due to lowered global demand, but had $2.7 billion in cash on hand. He noted the full hotels, the continuing vibrancy of the downtown arts district, and the presentation of festivals and sports events and asked, “Why all this local investment at a time when spending is unpopular?” The answer, he said, was in order to attract professional talent. As was the case in 2012, poll questions were flashed on a screen behind the panel. The audience was invited to respond via text message. A question that had a national scope, whether the Federal Reserve was spot-on with its quantitative-easing policy, yielded a response of 8 for “needed to spur growth,” 8 for “taper it back” and 13 for “Fed should immediately abandon.” Questions regarding Columbus economic conditions, both current and for the next six months, garnered decidedly favorable responses. DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 7
Blind job seekers still face many obstacles in pursuit of work By David Crary n The Associated Press
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Back in the late 1980s, when Maura Mazzocca was a human resources administrator with a Boston-area firm, a blind man showed up to apply for a job. Today, she remembers the encounter ruefully. “What I kept thinking about was, ‘How can this man work in a manufacturing company?’” Mazzocca recalled, saying she looked past his abilities and saw only his disability. “I wish now I’d given him a chance.” That reflectiveness is heartfelt. Mazzocca lost her own eyesight in 1994 through complications related to diabetes. Now as a job seeker herself, she knows firsthand the many hurdles the blind must
overcome in pursuit of full-time work. At a job fair for blind and low-vision people, there she was going table to table, with a sighted volunteer by her side. Some of the other 80 jobseekers carried white canes, a few had guide dogs. Like the rest, Mazzocca was greeted with firm handshakes and encouraging words — but none of the employers she spoke with had job openings matching her interests and qualifications. The venue was the former Radcliffe College gymnasium where Helen Keller exercised en route to becoming the first deaf/blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree in 1904. Over the ensuing decades, Keller helped increase public awareness of blindness and empathy for those affected by it.
Yet blind people remain largely unwanted in the U.S. workplace, despite technological advances that dramatically boost their capabilities. Only about 24 percent of working-age Americans with visual disabilities had full-time jobs as of 2011, according to Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute. “There’s a lot of stigma, a lot of obstacles,” said Mazzocca, 51. “It comes down to educating employers. ... It’s going to take a really long time, if ever, for them to see us for who we are and what we bring to the table.” What they bring, according to national advocates for the blind, is a strong work ethic, plus deeper-than-average loyalty to their employers. That’s in addition to whatever talents and training
associated press photos
Marie Hennessy, right, president of the Perkins School for the Blind alumni association, leaves a job fair for the visually impaired with her guide dog, Azalea, and a volunteer guide on the Radcliffe Yard campus in Cambridge, Mass. 8 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
they bring, just like any other applicant. In the current economy, good jobs are hard to come by for anyone, even the sighted. But the blind face added challenges. Even employers professing interest in hiring blind people often don’t follow through out of concern that they might be a bit slower with key tasks or require assistance that could be burdensome. In some cases, said Mazzocca, who has held professional jobs since she lost her sight, “They’re thinking, ‘What if I have to fire them? Will they sue me?’” Many national and local organizations are working hard to change the equation, through a mix of outreach to employers, training and counseling for job seekers, and support for technological development. Though sometimes costly, there are now myriad devices and technologies that can convert computer text or printed pages into Braille or spoken words. Still, the steadiest sources of jobs for many blind people are nonprofit organizations with missions related to blindness and other disabilities. Among them is National Industries for the Blind, a network of 91 nonprofit agencies that collectively employ about 6,000 blind people. It recently conducted a survey of 400 hiring managers and human resource executives across the U.S. The survey found 54 percent of hiring managers said there were few jobs at their company that blind employees could perform, 45 percent said accommodating such workers would require “considerable expense,” 42 percent said blind employees would need someone to help them on the job, and 34 percent said they were more likely to have work-related accidents than sighted employees. “We’re having to deal with lots of misconceptions and myths,” said Kevin Lynch, CEO of National Industries for the Blind.
Jeff Paquette speaks to a recruiter during a job fair for the visually impaired. He is searching for a position in the hospitality industry. “From that standpoint, the study was clearly disappointing, but it gives us the opportunity to find a way forward.” Lynch and his colleagues take heart from federal initiatives that have expanded hiring of blind people by government agencies and federal contractors. They also are encouraged by efforts of the U.S. Business Leadership Network, a coalition led by several dozen major corporations seeking to boost employment of people with disabilities, including blindness.
Another initiative called CareerConnect, launched by the American Foundation for the Blind, offers an array of resources and advice for blind job seekers, including a mentorship program to connect them with blind people working in the professions they aspire to. Joe Strechay, program manager for CareerConnect, said visually impaired people tend to be dedicated workers — less likely than others to miss a shift or quit the job, and no more likely than others to sue in the event of dismissal. Among those featured on CareerConnect’s website is Jay Blake, a race car mechanic and pit crew chief. Other role models include Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb Mount Everest, and the late Richard Casey, the first blind federal trial judge. Yet a glance through listings of prominent blind people conveys some of the challenges faced by job seekers. There are many famous blind musicians, such as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, but a dearth of notables in many other fields. In the U.S. Congress, for example, there have been several blind members — but none since 1941. Numerous blind Americans have built successful careers as advocates for the visually impaired, but the pathway often is difficult. Jeff Paquette graduated in 2011 from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., and is seeking work in the tourism/hospitality industry. Declared legally blind in 2006, he has limited vision that prevents him from driving but enables him to use public transportation on his own and to read, sometimes with the help of a magnification option on his computer. “I honestly don’t know from employer to employer what their perceptions of someone like me will be,” said Paquette, who carries a white cane when he’s out and about. “I have to be honest with them. I will need some accommodation — but I’m fully capable.”
Pence picks ex-Enkei chief as Asia adviser By Boris Ladwig n the republic
ov. Mike Pence has tapped a former chief executive of Columbus-based wheel maker Enkei America as his special adviser for Asia. Rick Pease, who served with Enkei for nearly 26 years, has joined the state’s economic development organization to also lead its efforts to strengthen and expand initiatives in Asia. His duties will include leading the state’s efforts to attract new jobs from Asian companies and to encourage existing Asia-based companies to expand their investments in Indiana. “I’m excited to begin this new assignment, making the case to Asian companies why Indiana is a state that works for their next business venture,” Pease said in a news release. “Both Japan and Indiana share a rich cultural and
economic bond. Strong values of hard work and innovation join our two homes. After living and working in Japan, I’ve developed relationships that I’m excited to grow on behalf of Hoosiers across our state.” Pease grew up in Tokyo and speaks Japanese. In 1984, he joined Enkei, a $1.5 billion Japan-based corporation that makes industrial components, engine parts and wheels. Recruited by Enkei Group Japan’s CEO, Pease spent his first year at the headquarters in Japan before establishing the Enkei America division in Columbus. In his role as chairman of Enkei in North America, he established relationships with executives of other Japanese companies including Toyota and Honda.
Enkei employs about 850 at its Columbus facility in Woodside Industrial Park. Pease left Enkei in 2009 and most recently served as chief operating officer of Living on the Edge, a Christian ministry, and as president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Both are in Georgia. “Rick’s decades of personal experience and expertise in developing relationships with Asian corporate decision makers will be invaluable to our efforts to advance economic discussions in Asia,” Pence said in the news release. “Indiana is promoting policies to further economic growth, and Asian markets will be part of that growth. Rick is a proven leader who will help us seize this moment to create greater opportunities for every Hoosier.”
DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 9
Internet browser affects Web navigation, security
By Andrea Eldridge n Scripps Howard News Service
op quiz: What browser do you use to access the Internet? If you’re like many computer users, you may have answered Google or Yahoo, but while Google does have a browser (Chrome), Google and Yahoo are search engines. A browser is the piece of computer software used to navigate the Internet and view Web content. You use your browser to go to Web pages or to a search engine such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. The search engine is the website you use to find information on the Internet. Your choice of browser can affect whether sites load properly and whether you’re more exposed to getting a virus while surfing the Internet. The browsers that support most of the world’s Internet traffic are Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari. Visit http://whatbrowser.org/ to discover which browser you’re currently using and whether your browser’s software is up to date. The site has links to download a new browser if you’d like to switch. They’re all free, so explore your options. Whichever browser you choose, make sure you’re using the most recent version. Newer generations will support more coding languages, allowing for fewer broken images and better performance on interactive and recently updated sites. Also, the longer a browser exists, the more time virus-writers have to find its security flaws. Using an older version of a browser leaves you vulnerable to malware.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the conduit for about 40 percent of Internet access in North America. It’s pre-installed on Windows PCs, so it’s the default browser for most Windows users. The most recent version, Internet Explorer 10, is faster, more reliable and less prone to virus attack than previous generations of IE, but it won’t work on older versions of Windows operating systems such as Vista or XP. Users with older versions of Windows should switch to Chrome or Firefox. Unfortunately, IE’s popularity makes it a target for hackers, so it’s attacked with viruses and malicious code more than other browsers.
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10 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
Google’s Chrome supports about 30 percent of North American Internet access. Because the latest generation of Chrome is compatible with all versions of Windows, it’s a more secure choice for those running older versions such as XP or Vista. It uses a security mechanism called “sandboxing” to prevent code encountered on one tab from affecting others, leading to a safer browsing experience. It has a wide variety of cross-platform compatibility, meaning that there are versions for your computer, tablet and smartphone, so you can sync bookmarks across your devices.
Mozilla’s Firefox is used by about 15 percent of North Americans. It’s got tons of available addons, making it the most customizable of the major browsers. Its unique panorama view lets you open lots of tabs and then move and group them however you like. Firefox 24 (the latest version) works with XP, so it’s another option for users with older computers. Unlike Chrome, it lacks a built-in Flash player and instant page view.
Apple’s Safari is the default browser for Mac hardware, including iOS mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Its most recent version, Safari 6, is compatible only with Mac OSX, so Windows users wanting to use Safari are forced to use older versions. While Safari works passably well on Apple devices, its startup time and hardware acceleration lag competitors. Opening multiple tabs slows its performance. Consider installing Chrome to see if your Internet surfing improves.
DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 11
chamberc DECEMBER 2013
Monthly publication of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerc
From the president
Your Chamber is well-positioned to move forward in 2014 Your Chamber doesn’t look the same as it did a year ago. Notably, our staff has four new faces, including mine. Thankfully, 15-year veteran Kami Adams remains to provide history and leadership. Three newcomers — Tim Cooney, Brennan Rotert and Sherrie Grable — bring a renewed energy and fresh ideas to their roles as membership director, director of small business programs and administrative coordinator. Cindy Frey
There have been behind-thescenes changes, too. We’ve updated our customer management software with a system designed for chambers of commerce. It allows us to manage our records, communications and business referrals more effectively. We are in the process of updating the Chamber website so that it is integrated with our customer database to create efficiencies, better serve our customers and improve communication. SmallBizU, an online, business-training portal, has also been modernized in order to serve both our members and the clients of more than 30 chambers, small business development agencies and banks. The product allows us to model entrepreneurship while generating revenue to underwrite our operations.
As any business operator knows, it is challenging to manage wholesale change while continuing to meet your customers’ needs. Our members, our volunteers and our board have been very supportive and patient during this year of transition. The transition of the past year positions us for growth in the coming year. The 2013 numbers seem to be an indicator of continued success: • 600 members who continue to invest in our work. • 60 new members who see the value of joining this community of business owners and operators. • 62 Chamber Ambassadors and Action Team Members who are deeply engaged in promoting the Chamber every month. • 66 board members and committee volunteers who provide leadership. • 24 ribbon-cutting events to launch new ventures. There is nothing more gratifying than helping businesses find new customers, solve problems, refine their strategies and sharpen their skills. It is a great privilege to serve the Columbus business community and to work with other community partners to build a more vibrant, livable community. As we look toward 2014, let’s move onward and upward together!
Calendar Dec. 5 — Holiday Party, 5 to 7 p.m., Clarion Hotel and Conference Center
12 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
Why $pend t Holidays wit
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ce • 500 Franklin Street • Columbus, IN 47201 • 812-379-4457
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Growing BUSINESS. Growing people.
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Ashlynn Leigh Cakes 901 Washington St. Columbus, IN 47201 (812) 603-2140 www.ashlynnleighcakes.com Columbus Symphony Orchestra csoindiana.org The Harlequin Theatre Fair Oaks Mall Columbus, IN 47201 (812) 343-4597 theharlequintheatre.com Sogno della Terra 901 Washington St. Columbus, IN 47201 (812) 447-8522 www.facebook.com/SognoDellaTerra
Qdoba Mexican Grill 1665 N. National Road Columbus, IN 47201 (812) 376-1005 www.qdoba.com
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DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 13
Sales of small businesses finally make big gains
Fred Barkman Jr. of Tacoma, Wash., has purchased two environmental labs from retirees who wanted to sell but had waited for the market to improve.
By Joyce M. Rosenberg n AP Business Writer
NEW YORK — Sales of small businesses are finally making big gains. Fred Barkman, who last year bought Spectra Laboratories, a company that tests land and water for toxins, is in the process of purchasing a second environmental lab. Both companies were owned by retirees who wanted to sell but had to wait for the economy to improve after the recession devastated the small business market. “I wasn’t expecting this second acquisition. It probably came sooner than I expected,” says Barkman, whose company is located in Tacoma, Wash. “But I’m more able to find things worth buying.” The economic recovery has created a surge in sales of small businesses. The number of deals tracked by online marketplace BizBuySell.com rose more than 40 percent in the third quarter. Behind the trend: baby boomers want to retire, businesses are healthier following the recession and buyers are finding it’s easier to finance deals. At the low point of the recession — the second quarter of 2009 — BizBuySell logged just 1,040
sales — letting buyers pay on
an installment plan — to get deals done.
14 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
closings. In the third quarter of this year 1,685 sales closed. Expect sales to continue at their current hectic pace, says Curtis Kroeker, a general manager at BizBuySell.com. “Next year could be a year of extreme growth, given the trend we’ve seen this year,” Kroeker says. Many owners had hoped to get prerecession prices, but lowered them after finding few takers. But don’t worry about sellers. They’re still doing fine, according to Kroeker. The average selling price for a small business is up 3.4 percent from a year ago, and more people have the financial ability to buy a company since the recession. Richard Lyon bought Bend Commercial Glass in July after looking for a company for three years. “Everyone’s sales were 60 percent of what they had been two years before. No one wanted to sell at a low price,” says Lyon, whose company is in Bend, Ore. Lyon’s purchase was a classic scenario in today’s market. He bought from a retiring baby boomer. Lyon put down 60 percent of the $840,000 selling price and the owner lent him the rest. The easing of the credit crunch is spurring sales. Banks are more willing to lend to small businesses, says Paul Merski, chief economist with the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group. Still, some caution remains because of increased government regulation following the financial crisis of 2008.
Many sellers are financing sales — letting buyers pay on an installment plan — to get deals done. Before Michael Epstein and his business partner could sell their 13-year-old video game manufacturer, eDimensional, they had to agree to finance part of the sale price. Only then did the buyer’s lender approve the deal. The deal closed in July. They had hoped to sell five years ago. “We were aggressively trying to sell before the credit crunch and took it off the market when we weren’t feeling good about the buyers and types of financing available,” says Epstein, whose company was located in Jupiter, Fla. Retail businesses and restaurants are especially hot. Restaurant sales more than doubled in the third quarter, BizBuySell. com says. Jeremy Bragg and Regi Ott had their eye on River City Coffee, a cafe in Little Rock, Ark., for several years. Bragg managed the cafe, and when the owner decided it was time to sell, he and Ott borrowed from their families for a down payment of about 14 percent of the $70,000 purchase price. The owner financed the rest. The deal was sealed last month. They believe that the high profit margins they’ll make selling espresso and gourmet tea drinks will help pay off the loan. “Though the economy may not be that great, a lot of times, people consider that their little luxury,” Bragg says.
Eye on the pie
Indiana leading the way back We have been hearing a great deal about how manufacturing is leading the nation back from the recession and how Indiana is out ahead of the nation in that recovery. Do the numbers verify the story? By-and-large, yes. First let’s look at the nation. In August 2007, the U.S. had 137.5 million jobs with wages and salaries. That number excludes all proprietors (farm and non-farm) as well as other farm workers. (Note: These are jobs, not employed people, since one person may hold more than one job.) We dropped 7.8 million jobs (5.7 percent) by August 2010. Since that low, the nation has gained back 6.3 million jobs. That leaves us with an August 2013 jobs deficit of 1.5 million (1.1 percent below the August ’07 level). The story for Indiana is somewhat brighter. There were 3 million Hoosier jobs in August ’07. That number fell by 180,000 (6 percent) by August ’10; then 158,000 were recovered by this past August. Hence the Hoosier non-farm jobs deficit was 22,000 or 0.7 percent of the ’07 level. There would be no job deficit at the national level if manufacturing had not been so hard-hit by the recession and if manufacturing had led the recovery of jobs. At the U.S. level, we lost 2.3 million manufacturing jobs, recovered only 400,000 and in August ’10, had a deficit of 1.9 million manufacturing jobs. In Indiana, our manufacturing job deficit was 58,000, nearly three times our total jobs deficit. In August ’13, U.S. manufacturing jobs were 13.4 percent below their ’07 levels; Indiana’s were 10.6 percent below their level of six years ago, before the recession. Where does this Hoosier strength come from? In August ’07, transportation equipment (largely automotive vehicle parts and production) represented 1.2 percent of jobs nationally, but 4.4 percent in the Hoosier state. This sector took a much harder hit in the recession than did manufacturing in general. Nationally 22 percent and in Indiana 27 percent of these jobs were lost by August ’10. The recovery was kinder to Indiana than nationally, but by August 2013 both the U.S. and the state were still about 12.7 percent behind their respective peaks. This leaves us nationally and in the state with seven workers where we had eight producing transportation equipment in 2007. By-andlarge, these were good paying jobs, often union jobs with strong benefit packages. Where does the U.S. economy need help? If you believe we should recover to where we were, then manufacturing deserves our attention. Our manufacturing job deficits, nationally and in Indiana, exceed our total non-farm job deficits. The recovery is most successful in the nonmanufacturing sectors. Yet, one must ask: “Why should the old (2007) proportions of jobs persist?” Six years of much trauma have gone by. Is it reasonable to expect jobs in manufacturing and transportation equipment to resume their former places of importance? If not, is Indiana going in the wrong direction while the nation is going in a new direction? Morton Marcus is an independent economist, writer and speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 15
SHNS photos courtesy Louisville Slugger Factory
Top: The bat vault at the company factory in downtown Louisville has nearly 3,500 models. Inset: A bat being made at the Louisville Slugger factory.
Louisville Slugger factory keeps turning out the hits By Bill Wagner n Scripps Howard News Service
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Now that the 2013 World Series has gone into Major League Baseball’s record books, another season goes into the history books at Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the Louisville Slugger. And now it’s on to spring training 2014. “What we used to do in spring training is lay out 25 models, and a player would take a bat and whip it over his shoulder. Now, if he likes the way it whips, that’s the model he’d stick with,” said guide Don Greene during a 16 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
recent private tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Ky. This year, the company, which was making bed knobs and broomsticks when it branched into baseball in 1884, will produce 1.83 million bats with 88,000 going to the pros, Greene said. Across the majors, 60 percent of players swing Louisville Sluggers, according to slugger.com, the company’s website. Most players use bats that are 34 inches (maybe 35)
in length and weigh 32 ounces. Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria swings a 33.5-inch bat that weighs 31.5 ounces, Greene said. Players select their sticks in many different ways, with current players asking for thinner handles, Greene said. A couple of players — Texas Rangers catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez and San Diego Padres first baseman Mike Ivie — had ingenious ways of designing their bats. “Pudge had a bat from another company, and he had a bat from our company. He sawed them in half and duct taped it together,” Greene said. Mike Ivie went Rodriguez one better, using parts of three bats. “He came up with an idea. He had the barrel of Frank Robinson’s bat — R161. Then he took the handle of the Rod Carew model and put the knob of Bob Watson’s, so he had three bats in one,” Greene said. Ash was always the wood of choice, until former San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds starting swatting homers at a record pace using bats made from maple. Maple bats had a tendency to shatter dangerously into multiple pieces, so “major league baseball came back and said, we’re going to off-center it (the label) ... from the ‘V’ in the grain line,” Greene said. “They found out by offcentering it, it cut down on breakage by up to 65 percent.” The company has a special test for each maple bat before it goes out. “We put an ink dot on the handle right above where their hands go. If it bleeds more than 3 degrees, the grains aren’t strong enough or straight enough,” Greene said. Bats that fail the ink test are tossed aside. Ash, maple and other hardwoods come from the company’s own forest south of Buffalo, N.Y. Most of today’s players are swinging a bat designed for another player — many of whom played decades earlier. The factory’s bat vault holds nearly 3,500 models, including one with “P72” etched into the knob Those who have used that bat have done pretty well. Robin Yount, Cal Ripken Jr. and, of late, Derek Jeter have all collected 3,000 hits using a P72. Two are Hall of Famers, and the other is destined to join them. The bat was made for either Les or Bill Pinkham — neither of whom made it to the majors. However, Greene noted that they did pretty well selling automobiles after their playing days were done. “The P72 is the only bat model Jeter has ever ordered — 34 inches long and 32 ounces. He’s never changed,” Greene said. Back in the day, the company employed 20, and woodworkers created each bat by hand on lathes. It took around 25 minutes to fashion a bat using measurements and calipers. Now 200 work in the still-family-owned factory where computerized manufacturing can turn out a bat in about 45 seconds. No worries if the computer system fails: Danny Luckett, an old-timer, is still working in the factory. He knows how to produce a bat the old-fashioned way. The factory’s vault also holds a card catalog with details of contracts signed by players from 1945 to 1980. One card indicates the deal a pitcher for the Metropolitan Baseball Club received in 1971. The contract called for a $1 payment and a set of golf clubs — if the hurler won 15 games. That pitcher was 10-14 in 1971, but managed to go 19-16 (his first season with a winning record) in 1972. Greene is pretty sure Nolan Ryan got his clubs.
If you go What: Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Where: 800 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky. Tours: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. The factory and museum will be closed for Christmas. Cost: $11 for adults, $10 for seniors 60 and older, and $6 for children ages 6-12. Children 5 and younger, free. Information: www. sluggermuseum.com.
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DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 17
on the move
Chris D. Monroe
Boats, Volvo Trucks and Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Also at Toyota, Anne Ewing has been named national manager of dealer IT operations and will manage the sales, implementation, support, training and system improvements/developments of the TMHU standardized dealer business system. She has more than 23 years of experience working in the equipment dealership industry.
Former Bartholomew Superior Court I Judge Chris D. Monroe has opened a private law practice at 321 Washington St. The office is in the same building as the law firm of Sharpnack, Bigley, Stroh and Washburn, but Monroe is not a member of that firm. Monroe also has been selected to be the attorney for Bartholomew County Council and will continue to be involved in senior judging and special judging. Mary Lotz, managing barber at the former Master Cuts, has joined the staff at Handzz and Strandzz Salon in Clover Center on 25th Street. Her hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and by appointment after 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Noel Taylor has received the Presidential Award from Sacro Occipital Research Society International, a chiropractic teaching and research organization founded in 1952, for “outstanding dedication and devotion going above and beyond the call of duty.” Taylor serves on SORSI’s board of directors as its executive secretary.
Sharla Todd has joined JCB in Seymour as commercial banker, treasury management. With more than 15 years of financial experience in branch sales management, member services and mortgage origination, she will be responsible for managing the bank’s treasury management division and developing and managing account relationships with business customers. Todd is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Also at JCB, Leslie Unrue has been promoted to assistant vice president, deposit and electronic banking operations. She began her career with JCB in January 2012 and holds a degree in paralegal studies from Vincennes University. Joe Cacopardo has been appointed national marketing manager at Toyota Material Handling USA. Based in Columbus, he is responsible for the overall management of TMHU’s nationwide marketing and advertising efforts and for supporting the Toyota brand. He is a graduate of Loyola University, with a degree in communications, and Cardinal Stritch University, with a master’s degree in marketing. He has more than 20 years of marketing experience, previously working with Polaris Industries, Chris Craft
18 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
John A. Elwood, president of Elwood Staffing of Columbus, recently was elected first vice chairman of the American Staffing Association board of directors, a national trade association representing the staffing and recruiting industry in the United States.
Debra Pohl Green
Debra Pohl Green, owner and creative director of ThinkGreen Creative Solutions, has relocated her advertising and marketing agency to 418 N. Main St. in Brownstown. A graduate of Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis, she has more than 25 years of experience in advertising, marketing and visual communications and specializes in print, Web, product merchandising, brand naming and logo design. She formerly held senior design positions at 5MetaCom in Indianapolis and Indiana Design Consortium in Lafayette. New staff members at the Seymour office of the accounting firm Blue & Co. include April R. Darlage, senior accounting specialist; Penny S. Jones, accounting specialist; and Rachel E. Sterling, staff accountant. — Staff Reports
Is your business your retirement plan? You’ve probably seen the statistics, read the stories and perhaps lived the reality. The American population is aging, as baby boomers hit retirement age at the rate of 10,000 per day. This means that the owners of many small and medium-size businesses are reaching retirement age as well. Although business owners tend to stay in the workforce longer than traditional employees, the numbers looking to sell and get out over the next 10 to 20 years are staggering. The good news is that with the economy improving and the job market going through massive fluctuations, there are more potential buyers than ever, as people of all ages are looking at business ownership as a way to take more control of their lives. The bad news is that most business owners I speak with have a significantly inflated view of what their business is worth. So what does it take to maximize the value of your business? While there are different methods for formally calculating the value of your business, including assets, liabilities, brand recognition and cash flows, there are two overriding themes that will always have the largest impact on your valuation. The amount of free cash flow your business generates is the first, and the extent to which your business requires you to be involved to create those cash flows is the second. When buyers (at least the smart ones) are looking at your business, they aren’t really buying your business, they are buying your current and future cash flows. They will want to know how much cash they can generate both today and tomorrow as their return on investment for the purchase. Today’s net cash flow is easy to see, while the future cash flow is projected. One of the biggest factors in the future cash flow is how deeply your business depends on you to be there to sustain it. One of the most common questions I get from owners in this position of needing to cash out for their retirement lifestyle is when should they start planning for selling. Other than the obvious answer of now, I usually tell them that five years is a good starting point and then talk about what they need to do to prepare in the two key areas. Improving cash flow is Business 101, and there are no mysteries on what you need to do to make improvements – sell more and/or make more money per sale and manage your overhead expenses. There are dozens of ways to make improvements in each of these areas; you just have to make the decision to go about improving in a disciplined, focused and sustained manner. The second area is a little harder, but equally important – getting your business to run as well without you as it does with you. Are you the best salesperson or the top technical expert? If so, then you need to start developing your team to be able to sell and produce without you doing it for them. Will your clients stay if you leave, or will they be loyal to the company and not just you? Will your key employees stay as well? It can easily take two to three years to develop the management and leadership necessary to sustain a business after the owner leaves. What are you doing right now to build your team? You need to lower your value to the business and raise your team’s value to maximize your business as a retirement asset. If you are the biggest asset, and you are
leaving, what is left to buy? If you are one of those planning on your business providing the funds for your post-ownership lifestyle, I encourage you to establish a relationship with a business wealth planner, one who specializes in exit planning for business owners. Your business wealth planner can help you put together a plan that maximizes your retirement options by combining the traditional retirement plan (save a bunch of money), with maximizing the value of your largest asset, your business. They are trained to help you understand the value of your business, its role in your retirement plan and the value drivers you can work on to maximize the value of the business when it comes time to sell. Mark McNulty is a business coach with ActionCoach Business Coaching. He can be reached at 372-7377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 19
Around the WATERCOOLER Dorel partners with Data Cave
Dorel Juvenile, a segment of Dorel Industries and the world’s largest juvenile products manufacturer, has selected Data Cave, a full service, fully redundant data center in Columbus, as its co-location provider. “During our evaluation process, we knew that our three highest priorities for a co-location provider were redundancy, security and a proven track record,” said Andy Riddle, IT manager at Dorel Juvenile. “After touring the [Data Cave] facility, we knew it was state-of-the-art. The people at Data Cave take great pride in following industry best practices. That is a big deal to us,” Riddle said.
Wastewater plant site returning to nature
Columbus officials have awarded Denney Excavating of Indianapolis a nearly $835,000 contract to dismantle and remove the old wastewater treatment plant along the East Fork White River, just south of the city’s downtown. The city has no plans for using the 19-acre site, which is prone to flooding and cut off from the rest of the city by railroad tracks, Keith Reeves, Columbus City Utilities director, told The Republic. A new wastewater treatment plant was completed in 2011 near the river about three miles farther south. The old treatment plant for the city dates to the 1940s. “All the things that made us look for other sites would be the same shortcomings it would still have,” Reeves said. The contractor has until the end of next year to remove the buildings, but work is likely to begin as soon as feasible, said Jason Chopp, an engineer with consultant Strand and Associates.
Peterman merges with Indoor Comfort Solutions
Peterman Heating Cooling & Plumbing, an Indianapolis-based HVAC and plumbing company and 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award recipient, recently merged with Indoor Comfort Solutions in Columbus. The new Peterman Heating Cooling & Plumbing location at 919 23rd St. will retain the entire Indoor Comfort Solutions staff, and Bryan Blankenhorn will act as general manager.
Bathroom fixture maker to reopen plant
KOKOMO — A company plans to spend about $15 million to buy and prepare a vacant factory in central Indiana to start making bathroom fixtures. Officials of Patriot Porcelain say they expect to start production next summer at the former Kokomo Sanitary Pottery factory, potentially hiring up to 140 workers over the next two years. That factory in Kokomo closed in 2007. Patriot Porcelain executive Jeff Van Weelden says the company has contracts to provide fixtures such as toilets and sinks to Gerber Plumbing Fixtures and 20 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013
Niagara Conservation for sale in several major retail outlets. Van Weelden said the company could look to expand the factory because it has three long-term contracts that will take the plant’s full capacity.
$120M lawsuit moves ahead
TIPTON — The Indiana appeals court has decided against stopping a lawsuit filed by a Detroit-based construction company seeking nearly $120 million from the German company that halted building a new transmission factory in central Indiana five years ago. The appeals court declined to hear an appeal from Getrag Transmission of a Tipton County judge’s ruling that the lawsuit filed by Walbridge Construction should go to trial or settlement negotiations. Walbridge’s lawsuit seeks $118.5 million from Getrag for work on the sprawling factory along U.S. 31 near Tipton that Getrag was building as part of a partnership with Chrysler. Getrag stopped construction of the planned $530 million factory in 2008 and filed for bankruptcy after Chrysler pulled out of the project. The lawsuit claims Getrag’s actions cost Walbridge tens of millions of dollars, much of which would have paid subcontractors from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Walbridge maintains promise of payment was made for the work at the 800,000-square-foot factory about 30 miles north of Indianapolis. Getrag sought dismissal of the lawsuit and has argued the dispute should be heard in Germany to save the company the expense of paying for company officials to travel to Indiana to testify in the case. Officials of Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy since ending its Getrag partnership, announced plans in February for spending $162 million to complete the Tipton factory and hire 850 workers there.
Work starting on resort expansion
FRENCH LICK — Work is starting on a $15.5 million expansion of the events center at the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana. The resort includes the Orange County casino and the historic French Lick and West Baden Springs hotels. The expansion expected to open in January 2015 will add nearly 60,000 square feet of space to the resort’s existing 109,000-square-foot conference and event center. Resort parent company Chairman Steve Ferguson says the extra space will allow it to host more groups at the same time at the center about 40 miles south of Bloomington.
Agency deemed effective without results check
INDIANAPOLIS — A new study declares Indiana’s business recruitment agency is effective even though the researcher says he didn’t review how many jobs were actually created by companies receiving state assistance. Ball State University business research director Michael Hicks says the study
looked at various services the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offers to companies. It also reviewed the amount of state money spent on services such as workforce preparation and tourism and the geographic distribution of economic projects. Hicks says the $85,000 study wasn’t intended as a job-creation audit and pointed out companies can only collect state tax credits based on hiring of employees. The agency has faced criticism for not requiring companies that receive tax incentives to disclose how many jobs they’ve created.
Burns Harbor shipments increase
PORTAGE — Shipments at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor are on pace to reach the highest annual total in more than six years. Total tonnage that passed through the port on Lake Michigan near Portage jumped 16 percent in September. Port Director Rich Heimann says steel and steel-related byproducts are behind the increase. Scrap metal shipments to Great Lakes ports were up 22 percent in September, and grain posted the biggest gain, making a 27 percent year-to-date increase over the same period last year. The shipping season ends soon.
Chamber joins gay marriage ban fight
INDIANAPOLIS — Efforts to defeat an upcoming bid by Indiana lawmakers to add a gay marriage ban to the state Constitution received a major boost when the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce said it will oppose the ban. The Indianapolis chamber’s board of directors voted to adopt a position to work with “other business, faith and community organizations to defeat (the ban) at the Statehouse and, if necessary, to participate in any voter referendum on the issue.” “The Indy Chamber is in the business of strengthening our economy and attracting top talent to our region,” board Chairman John Thompson said in a statement. “The proposed marriage amendment does nothing to help show the nation that Indiana is a place that welcomes all, not just some, and we must be mindful of how actions such as this will impact our competitiveness on a national and global level.” While the Indianapolis Chamber represents only the central Indiana business community, it is one of several large business interests that have come out against the proposed constitutional ban, including the state’s largest companies, Columbus-based engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. and Indianapolis drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. The companies and the Indianapolis chamber are backing Freedom Indiana, a bipartisan coalition that is fighting the proposed ban. The statewide Indiana Chamber of Commerce has said it will remain neutral on the amendment.
Tom Kilian, Ivy Tech executive director for resource development, Thomas Coley, chancellor of its north central and northwest regions, told the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission the new training program at its Elkhart County campus would turn out about 400 graduates annually with a mix of certificates and degrees. They say the center would address a growing skills gap among workers and prepare students to enter manufacturing jobs. It would specialize in the automotive and recreational vehicle industries. Kilian says Ivy Tech has drawn in about $2 million in donations for the new training center. The redevelopment commission expects to vote on the funding next month.
Indiana University joins gay marriage ban fight
BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University has joined a bipartisan campaign fighting a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages. The university announced it was joining Freedom Indiana, a coalition that includes Eli Lilly & Co., Cummins Inc. and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. IU President Michael McRobbie says the amendment would turn some prospective employees away from Indiana and increase the state’s challenges remaining economically competitive. The General Assembly approved the proposed ban in 2011, but the current Legislature would need to approve it again before it would go to voters in a statewide referendum. Indiana law already bars same-sex marriage, but backers of the constitutional ban say it would provide an impediment to potential court decisions that would overturn the state law. — Staff and Wire Reports
New report finds optimism among manufacturers
MUNSTER — A new report from Indiana University researchers concludes that Indiana’s factory owners are becoming more optimistic and willing to invest in their businesses. The survey of Indiana’s manufacturers by IU’s Kelley School of Business found that four out of five manufacturing companies consider their businesses healthy or stable. The report also found that an estimated 70 percent of Indiana manufacturers are actively investing in capital and labor again following several tough years. The study’s authors call the situation a manufacturing renaissance. About half of survey participants described their manufacturing companies as “challenged” in 2009 and 2010 but now use more positive terms. A majority say they are now investing in employees, equipment and facilities to remain competitive.
Ivy Tech plans manufacturing center
GOSHEN — An Ivy Tech campus in northern Indiana is raising funds for an advanced manufacturing training center. DECEMBER 2013 The Business Connection 21
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Commercial Web & Sheetfed Printing // Personalized Customer Service Mailing & Fulfillment Resources // Quick Turnaround Two Central Indiana Production Facilities
Linda K. Compton, DBA Linda’s Resale, 281 N. Gladstone, Columbus James Gillen, DBA GLLJM8 (E-commerce), 1563 Brindle Way Blvd., Columbus
HNEprinting.com 3330 W. International Court, Columbus // 812-342-1056
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24 The Business Connection DECEMBER 2013