Page 1

A publication of

october 2012

Silicon prairie

Nusun Solar helps supply energy for customers who are off-grid

2 The Business Connection October 2012


Here’s to Toastmasters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Arni’s restaurants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 How to hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Sorghum with a kick . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Iconic company logos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 On the move . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Mark McNulty column . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Morton Marcus column . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Around the watercooler . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

On the cover: Ryan Stout on the rooftop of Nusun Solar. Photo by Joe Harpring. Story page 4. Comments should be sent to Doug Showalter, The Republic, 333 Second St., Columbus, IN 47201 or call 812-379-5625 or Advertising information: Call 812-379-5652. ©2012 by Home News Enterprises All rights reserved. Reproduction of stories, photographs and advertisements without permission is prohibited.

Business Indicators for Bartholomew County Percent changes Jul 12/ Jul 12/ Description Jul 12 Jun 12 Jul 11 Jun 12 Jul 11

Labor Force

42,628 42,184 38,843 1.1


Household Employment

39,985 39,514 36,073 1.2


Unemployment Rate (pct)

6.2 6.3 7.1 — —

Housing Units Permitted

— — — — — — Center for Business and Economic Research, Ball State University

Deadline? No problem. Budget? Of course! Every job is important, whether large or small, and whether turnaround is tight or relaxed. That’s why we make sure to have the expertise, technology and systems in place to fulfill our promise to you. We will deliver your job when you need it and with no compromise in quality at any stage. Please call for a free quote on your printed materials or future projects.

ISO Certified: 9001-Quality and 14001-Environmental





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4 The Business Connection October 2012

Nusun Solar specializes in silicon panels for rural applications

Up on the roof

By Barney Quick

Solar energy can be supplied profitably and reliably. That’s the conviction of Ryan Stout, CEO of Nusun Solar, a manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels. The company began operations at the beginning of the year at its new facility on International Drive on the city’s south side. He says the key is to keep quality high and find markets that are not yet overcrowded. Stout comes from a family steeped in energy-storage activities. At one time, it owned a battery manufacturing company. In more recent years, his father left a sales position with a large company to start a battery distribution company in the Yorktown–Muncie area, where the family lived. The term “battery” covered everything from those found in watches to batteries for forklifts. It grew to become one of the top 10 battery distributors in the nation. Ryan joined that business after completing his Indiana University studies in telecommunications and business. He eventually spun off his own firm, Greenworks Energy, which is a fullservice renewable-energy company. “As I developed that, it became clear that solar energy was outperforming wind,” he says. The next step was to enter the solarpanel business, but he wanted to proceed carefully. “My research showed me that we could be one of about 10,000 installers across the country, or one of a handful of manufacturers,” he says. “I put out some feelers, and one company that got back with me, a raw silicon provider based in South Korea and with an office in New Jersey, had the knowledge and the product that made sense to me.” That firm, S&S, is a vertically integrated group encompassing around 50 manufacturers of cells. “We can get whatever the customer is looking for,” Stout explains. “If one manufacturer is booked up and doesn’t need the

Photos by Joe Harpring

Ryan Stout at the front door of Nusun Solar, a Columbus company that assembles and distributes solar panels.

business, we can still keep the price competitive by getting bids for material through multiple supply chains.”

Science of sun

A solar panel consists of an arrangement of cells, which convert photons into electrons, as well as glass, a backsheet, laminate, a junction box and framing. Stout concluded that the cells Nusun would use should be crystalline silicon rather than the thin-film variety, which requires less material but has lower efficiency. “The high-profile bankruptcies in this industry, which, it should be noted, had received federal stimulus money, were making thin-film cells,” he says. There are levels of purity in silicon, designated by an internationally recognized grading system. “We use only 9N, which is the best quality available at our price point,” says Stout. “The Chinese are using 4N or 6N, which makes it harder for the electrons to pass through. Our modules don’t drop their output the way lower-purity silicon does.” Cells are also rated according to a system based on how prone they are to micro-cones, which result from degradation. Nusun uses only Grade A cells. The company gets its cells from South Korea and Taiwan. Availability of Chinese cells has been greatly curtailed

due to 35 percent anti-dumping tariffs imposed on the top six Chinese cell manufacturers by the U.S. Department of Commerce and a 250 percent tariff on all other Chinese producers. The grading system is not universal, and Stout points out that “German, U.S., Korean and Taiwanese Grade B cells are often better or at least equivalent to Grade A Chinese cells.” Nusun is well-positioned in the niche market of solar-panel customers who are off-grid. It’s mainly a rural market comprising those who live far enough back from a utility company’s lines to make panel installation appealing from a cost standpoint.

Into Africa

“We’re going to start doing business in Africa,” Stout says. “It’s an expanding market. In communities there, once people get a taste of steady power, they want more of it for more devices and appliances.” He notes that “we can build those modules at two to three times the profit margin we’d see trying to compete with the big-panel guys.” Most of Nusun’s accounts are installers or distributors. “Occasionally local people inquire with us, wanting to buy 10 panels or so,” he says. “For those situations, I’ll run an extra 10 panels on a production run to keep the price competitive.” A production team of approximately 20 people per shift is required for making panels at Nusun’s current level. The company also employs an engineer and some administrative personnel. Recently, the company rearranged its production area to accommodate a bigger testing area. Testing requires a temperature-controlled environment. “A financing issue our customers encounter is modules becoming outdated in terms of efficiency before they get them. That’s why we get UL certification for as many modules as possible at once,” Stout explains. Several states had courted Stout, but he says that he “wanted to bring jobs to Indiana.” His hometown of Yorktown seemed to express more interest in foreign companies. He began discussions with Columbus, which “welcomed us with open arms.” The city, Bartholomew County and the Columbus Redevelopment Commission all stepped up with incentives. Staffing has gone smoothly since the company situated itself here. “Columbus has a very strong workforce,” he observes. “There’s no shortage of qualified people.” Along with expanding into global markets, Stout would like to do more local business. “We’re trying to educate Columbus companies about the benefits of having panels on their roofs.” He points to the fact that a solar panel has no moving parts, gets cleaned by rain and is basically maintenancefree. He further stresses that a major difference between sunlight and coal is that, in the case of coal, “you’re always buying it.”

October 2012 The Business Connection 5

Toastmasters draws more members By Kyle Nagel Dayton Daily News

DAYTON, Ohio — Membership in the communication skills group Toastmasters International has grown, which officials say signals workers’ desire to stand out with in-person communication. The organization reported an alltime membership high of 273,895 around the world in 2011, which was a 21 percent increase in five years. Those members join Toastmasters groups, which are attached to either a community or a company, hoping to improve skills, including public speaking, evaluating performance and keeping composure when answering questions in an interview setting. Meetings run at regular intervals for memberships that usually range from a dozen to two dozen in individual clubs. “In an economic downturn, people were and are looking to differentiate themselves,” said Daniel Rex, the Toastmasters International executive director. “Communication skills help with that.” Founded in 1924 in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., the group took the name Toastmasters because most of its members wanted to improve public speaking skills, especially giving toasts. As decades continued, more skills were incorporated into the program, including interviewing and critiquing the work of others. Most new members want to first work on speaking in front of a group and overcome nerves. “That’s what Toastmasters is so good about,” said Jody Davis-Curless, who also oversees several clubs in the Dayton region. “Yes, it’s working on speaking skills and learning how to present in an organized way. But people especially have a fear of getting up and talking in front of (other) people. It gives you some confidence to stand up and talk.” A significant growth area for the organization is corporate clubs. Individual companies can form internal clubs for employees only, providing an option for extra training that is not required by the organization, he said. “A lot of companies bring people in to give a seminar that’s a day long or a

couple hours, but Toastmasters is ongoing,” Rex said. “It’s the experience of actually having regular practice.” New members follow a predetermined course for earning distinctions based on the number of speeches they give or activities they do. Some members span generations. Joanne Hawkins, a Distinguished Toastmaster (the highest level) in the Beacon Toastmasters Club in Beavercreek, Ohio, first learned of the club from her father, who was a member in the 1950s. Women were admitted into clubs beginning in 1973. “I’m an instructor, so the process of going through this really benefited me in my ability to talk spontaneously,” said Hawkins, a military logistics and foreign military sales instructor for the Department of Defense. “I can structure my lessons and deliver my materials. Nobody likes sitting in a class where the instructor is not speaking in complete sentences.” Most club meetings include speeches, group critiques of those speeches, and an impromptu question session, meant to simulate an interview environment or the question-and-answer section of a presentation. Club members said those three facets combine to improve different levels of communication skills. Those skills can translate to numerous industries, officials said. During a period when more business professionals are communicating through email, text message and mobile devices, comfort in in-person settings has increased in importance, which has almost certainly helped the club’s growth, they said. “One woman in our club has her own business,” said Kathy Hayes, vice president of membership for Dayton United Communicators. “She told me, ‘Now I’ll go up and talk to anybody, ask people questions and come out of my shell.’ That’s what this club does. It makes people more comfortable.”

6 The Business Connection October 2012

‘Meet You at Arni’s’

Homegrown Hoosier pizza chain emphasizes hospitality By Amy May

More than 40 years ago, Arni’s restaurant was created in a small shop in Lafayette. Its signature product — thin crusted, very cheesy pizza cut in squares and topped with pepperoni crumbles — took off. Now, there are 18 Arni’s locations around Indiana, including a company-owned outlet in Columbus, which opened in 1993, Greenwood and the Indianapolis north side, as well as four in Lafayette, considered the company’s home base. The original restaurant, started by Arni Cohen, is still going strong. When it opened in 1965, it seated 120 diners. Now, it holds 500. The original store served pizza, salads and sandwiches and had a New York-style deli inside. Cohen wanted his restaurant to be a neighborhood gathering place and created the slogan, “Meet You at Arni’s.” “He envisioned it as a casual dining place,” said Kurt Cohen, Arni’s oldest son. “He had live entertainment. You could bring your families and listen to the music. In a way, he tried to appeal to all age groups. We still try to do that now, try to have a little bit for everybody. “My dad’s thing was less about the food, more about the service, customer care and having happy employees. He always believed that if you took care of your customers and took care of your employees, you’d be taken care of.” The restaurant’s menu design still reflects that idea. Behind the logo and food photo is a collage of words, such as “friends and neighbors,” “conversation,” relaxed setting” and “meeting place.” Arni Cohen died Feb. 7, 2002. His sons, Kurt and Brad, now run the business. Kurt was 5 years old when the first Arni’s was opened, and Brad was not yet born. They have continued the tradition started by their father, who stayed

Photo by Mark Freeland

Above: Kurt Cohen, son of Arni’s founder Arni Cohen, visits the chain’s Greenwood location. Opposite page: The Columbus Arni’s opened

in 1993.

involved in the business until his death. They have kept the slogan and the basic menu, although they add new items. They have opened three new restaurants since his death. “He would have liked that. He wanted us to expand. Retirement was a foreign concept for him. He didn’t have any other hobbies. He was just all about the customers,” said Kurt, who started working at Arni’s when he was 14 and has done every job in the restaurant, from dishwasher to manager. Kurt and Brad co-own the businesses

and run them together, Kurt said. “I came on board in 1987; my brother about five years later. Both of us have always loved the business,” he said.

Don’t mess with success The menu is large and varied, with several varieties of appetizers, soups and salads; build-your-own and specialty pizzas; pasta; dinner platters; sandwiches, burgers, subs and wraps; lunch specials; a children’s menu; and several unique and tempting desserts. All Arni’s restaurants serve beer and

wine, and many of them have a full bar. Kurt Cohen said the Arni’s Junior Salad and, of course, the pizza have remained the restaurant’s most iconic items. Both have been on the menu since Arni’s was created, and the Cohen brothers have not changed them much, although they have added some unique pizza recipes to the lineup. “The pizza recipe evolved through the years, but Dad set up the original recipe. My brother and I have tweaked them through the years,” Cohen said. One of the advantages of being an

October 2012 The Business Connection 7

owner-operated restaurant is the ability to envision a new product, create it, try it out on customers and have it as a regular menu offering in a short amount of time. If the product is not a success, it can just as quickly be removed. Cohen said he enjoys experimenting with recipes and new offerings and seeing if the customers like them. “I don’t have a lot of culinary skill. But I find things I think are good and tweak them. I trust that what I like, a lot of other people will like, too,” he said. “We’ve tweaked the menu, and virtually everything on the menu sells well. We’ve tried things over the years that didn’t sell well. I just go with my gut. It doesn’t always work out, but I’m not afraid to try it.” The one “big company” feature the Cohens insist on is store-to-store consistency, so Arni’s created and runs its own commissary operation, Lafayettebased Linarco. Both the 14 familyowned restaurants and the four franchise locations, as well as other restaurants, buy ingredients and equipment from this single distribution center. Arni’s unique, self-created recipes, such as the dough, pizza sauces and salad dressings, are also made and stored

photo by Doug Showalter

there. With all the locations using the same products, Arni’s food should taste the same no matter which location the customer is visiting, Cohen said. “It made a lot of sense for quality control,” he said. “It’s a single location for dough, dressings, sauces. It gives us consistency across the board, and it gives us tremendous buying power as a

single purchasing location.”

Happy employees wanted

Another important business practice is employee relations, Cohen said. Arni’s employs more than 500 people statewide. “You take care of your employees. I want happy employees who buy into what we do … who buy into Arni’s philosophy,” he said. “It’s good for

customers to come in and see the same people every time.” Employees know their regular customers, many of whom will visit and request the same server. Arni’s continues its tradition of local sponsorships, which started in Lafayette. Arni Cohen loved softball and played on town teams. When he died, the town named the softball complex after him. The local restaurants often sponsor Little League teams, school sports and other causes, such as the local chambers of commerce and community foundations. Its signature event is an annual golf tournament. This year’s Arni’s Charity Classic was played at Purgatory golf course in Noblesville. Proceeds go to a scholarship, named after Arni Cohen, for a Purdue University student in the restaurant management program, and to the Children’s Wish Fund. Kurt Cohen said he keeps his father’s memory close when he runs the restaurants and believes Arni would be happy with the direction the business is moving. “Everything we do started with his vision; we just move it forward and keep it going.”

8 The Business Connection October 2012

Big-firm methods for small-firm hiring By Jennie Wong The Charlotte Observer

Fortune 500 companies can afford recruiters and HR consultants to assist them in the process of finding and hiring the right people. But what about the small-business owner? Whether you’re hiring your first employee or your 50th, you can use the same practices espoused inside the largest corporations, and perhaps do it even better.  Create a competency model. Contrary to popular belief, a proper competency model for hiring is not a 17-point wish list describing a mythical human being who, like Mary Poppins, is “practically perfect in every way.” What you want instead is an extremely succinct set of “must have” competencies — usually only about three to five total. The key to picking the right competencies for a hiring model is to analyze the job and identify the top barriers to excellent performance. There are probably a variety of people who could do the job at an average level, but what

are the challenges that might make it hard for the typical plumber/stylist/ accountant to do the job really well? Then match your competencies to these top barriers. For example, one job might be hard to perform at a high level because the rules are constantly changing. The matching competency would be the ability to adapt quickly and constantly. A different job might have the challenge of tedious repetition. The matching competency would be the ability to be extremely consistent during highly repetitive tasks. A third job might have the challenge of dealing with irate customers with a matching competency of maintaining calm under fire.  Select with behavioral phone interviews. After writing and posting a job description and reading through resumes, you’ll wind up with a short stack of people to screen by phone. (At my company, we’ve had good luck with Craigslist.) These candidates should have already passed the resume tests

of minimum education, experience, required licenses, etc. Here’s where you’ll deviate from the traditional job interview (aka “Tell me a little about yourself ”) and use a behavioral interview format instead. The logic of a behavioral interview is quite simple. Much like a credit score, a behavioral interview produces a score based on the assumption that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So the interview collects information on the candidate’s past behavior in regard to the competencies. For example, you might ask questions such as, “Tell me about a time you had to adapt quickly and constantly to a rapidly changing environment,” or “Can you share a story about a time you had to maintain a calm and cool demeanor even while dealing with someone who was very upset?” These types of questions yield excellent data, much better than hypothetical situations or the candidate’s selfdescriptions. Be sure to take good notes

about the specific situation, the actions taken by the candidate (not the larger team), and the outcome or result of the candidate’s actions. Immediately after each behavioral phone screen, you’ll give each candidate a score. If you have a four-competency model, then the highest possible score is 4 out of 4, based on the candidate’s evidence of having displayed those competencies in the past. Keep doing behavioral interviews until either a) you have a handful of “4 out of 4s”, or b) you decide to modify the model, the job description or the recruitment strategy.  Finalize with face-to-face meetings. Then finalize your selection with face-to-face meetings with the manager and key stakeholders, such as co-workers and strategic partners. Once you have a lead candidate, be sure to run a background check and call references to confirm employment dates, etc. I like to ask references about the candidate’s strengths and for tips on how to best manage them.


Columbus, Indiana


wake up on the bright side




101 Carrie Lane, Columbus, IN 47201


nger o l r o F ngs meeti bout sa ask u event our ing. cater


chamberconnection October 2012 Growing BUSINESS. Growing people. Monthly publication of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce • 500 Franklin Street • Columbus, IN 47201 • 812-379-4457


In 2011 your Chamber expanded the $pend the Holidays With Us campaign with a community-wide competition that resulted in local consumers submitting more than $44,000 in receipts spent with Chamber members. The $pend the Holidays with us campaign rewards shoppers with a chance to win $1,000 in prizes for every $100 spent between Nov. 1 and Dec. 17. This year, a dedicated group of volunteers has developed an aggressive marketing campaign to ensure that local retailers and restaurants experience even greater results. To maximize this program’s success and effectively promote the $pend the Holidays With Us Campaign, we are asking for your help. First, would you be willing to include a flier promoting the campaign in your Christmas bonus envelopes, include it with payroll or in your employee newsletters? If so, please email and let us know how many you would like — and whether you need the information electronically or printed. Second, as a local retailer and/or restaurant, a minimal investment of $45 is being requested in order to better promote the program and your business. By leveraging the collective investment of the Chamber membership, we will expand our reach and maximize the impact of this campaign. Visit Third, please post the inside pages of this Chamber newsletter in your break room for your employees to see. The more people know about it, the more successful it will be. Thank you in advance for your support of this program and your continued participation in the Columbus Chamber.

Calendar Register to attend events at Check the Web site calendar for all upcoming events. Oct. 15 — School House Session, 7:30 a.m., Columbus Learning Center. Free, open forums featuring updates from BCSC.

Follow us: Columbus Area Chamber



• For the Home

• Auto Mobile Diagnostics*

• As You Like It Painting*

• Diamond In The Ruff Mobile Carwash*

• Baun’s Chimney Sweeping

• Frank Anderson Tire Co. Inc.*

• Brands Inc.*

• HK Auto/Truck Services*

• Carpet Mania*

• McIntyres Quality Body Repair*

• Carters Sweeper Sales Inc.*

• NAPA Auto Parts*

• Chelsea Restoration and Flooring*

• Nichols Body Co. Inc.*

• CleanWorks Restoration & Cleaning

• O’Reilly Auto Parts

• Columbus Carpet & Linoleum*

• Percifield Inc.*

• Columbus Paint & Supply Inc.*

• Ray’s Automotive Center*

• Crystal Clear Window Cleaning*

• Top Dog Car Wash, LLC

• Gillman Home Center*

• Voelz Body Shop Inc.*

• Grass Luvers Inc.* • Kenny Glass Inc.*

• Big Toys • Mann’s Harley-Davidson Inc.*

Make a difference and earn a chance to win $1,000 in prizes while supporting Chamber members this holiday season.  Support participating businesses listed in this flier and online at  Many members are offering exclusive discounts and featured items.  Save your receipts from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17  Submit receipts at the Chamber (500 Franklin St.) or scan and email to by 5 p.m. Dec. 18.  For every $100 in receipts submitted you’ll receive one chance to win.  Double your chance to win by submitting receipts from locally owned and operated businesses marked with *.

• Bishopp’s Appliances*

• Mueller Auto Sales Inc.* • Renner Motors* • Carver Toyota*

• Lowe’s • Meshberger Stone Inc.* • Miller’s Power Wash Inc.* • Mowin Monster Property Maintenance* • Neal Paint & Wallpaper Store*

• Electronics

• Nugent Sand Company*

• Advanced Computer Solutions*

• Ono Brothers General Contractors*

• Grant Communications / Sprint

• Pollert Design Associates Inc.*

• Midwest Computer Solutions*

• Riverside Carpet Warehouse Inc.*

• Owens Communications Inc.*

• Servpro of Columbus

• Entertainment • Audio Magic! Entertainment* • Ceraland Park* • Columbus Area Arts Council* • Columbus Indiana Philharmonic* • Columbus Museum of Art & Design*

• Shelby Materials* • Weaver Fine Furniture & Cabinets*

• Grocery • Aldi Foods • Columbus Cooperative Grocery & Market*

• Dancin’ DJs Event Center & Mobile Disc Jockey Service*

• Natural Choices for Healthful Living

• Kidscommons*

Let’s Eat

• Woods-N-Waters Kampground*

• 4th Street Bar and Grill*

• YES Cinema*

• Ahlemeyer Farms Bakery* • Amazing Joe’s Grill*

• Floral

• Arni’s Restaurant

• Claudia’s Flora Bunda Inc.*

• Auntie Aimee’s Country Tea Room*

• Flowers By Lois*

• Bistro 310*

• Bush’s Market*

• EYB Promotions LLC*

• Hoosier Sporting Goods*

• Casey’s Cookies*

• Paragon Meeting & Events LLC*

• Indiana Diesels • Otter Creek Golf Course*

• Culver’s • DAGS Homemade Ice Cream and Desserts featuring Bertie Jean’s Foods*

• Photography

• Salt Creek Golf Retreat*

• Lowry Dismore Photography*

• Timbergate Golf Course*

• Dairy Queen Brazier Downtown*

• Shudderbugg Studios*

• Gethin Thomas Catering*

• Staycation

• Stillframes Photography*

• Gramz Bakery and Café*

• The Right Angle Studio Inc.*

• Clarion Hotel and Conference Center*

• Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches*

• Parker Portraits*

• Comfort Inn* • Comfort Inn & Suites

• Johnny Carino’s

• Planes, Trains & Automobiles

• KFC/A & W

• Corporate Express Transportation*

• Hilton Garden Inn*

• Marco’s Pizza

• Destinations Travel Agency

• Holiday Inn Express & Suites*

• Mark Pi’s*

• Indy Park Ride & Fly

• Hotel Indigo

• Montana Mike’s

• National Car Rental

• LaQuinta Inn & Suites*

• Olesya’s Kitchen*

• The Travel Authority

• Residence Inn

• Hampton Inn*

• Sleep Inn & Suites

• Papa’s Deli* • Piepers Gourmet Catering LLC*


• Power House Brewing Co.*

• Baker’s*

• Satuma Japanese Restaurant*

• Columbus Area Visitors Center*

• Wellness

• Scotty’s Burger Joint

• Columbus Pawn Inc.*

• 5th Street Yoga*

• Sirloin Stockade

• Edinburgh Premium Outlets

• Columbus Massage Center*

• Smith’s Row*

• FairOaks Mall

• Exhale with Hope*

• Snappy Tomato Pizza*

• Harry and David

• Family Chiropractic and Wellness*

• Starbucks Coffee Company

• Lockett’s Ladies Shop*

• Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping

• Subway Sandwiches & Salads*

• Maurices

• The Garage Pub & Grill*

• Recycled Treasures Flea Market*

• Frasier Chiropractic and Sports Clinic*

• The Savory Swine*

• Sam’s Club

• Tre Bicchieri*

• Shoe Sensation Inc.

• Natural Choices for Healthful Living*

• Tropical Smoothie Café*

• That’s Pretty Personal*

• New-Start Health Center*

• White Castle IN LLC

• VF Outlet

• Zaharakos Inc.*

• Viewpoint Books*

• One Body One Soul Wellbeing Studio*

• Wal-Mart Supercenter

• Pampering

• Wal-Mart Supercenter – West

• A Better Cut*

• The Inn at Irwin Gardens*

• Metabolic Research Center

• Taulman Chiropractic: A Creating Wellness Center* • Tipton Lakes Athletic Club* • Total Fitness of Columbus*

• Cameo Room Beauty Salon*


• La Mode*

• Bob-O-Link Liquor Outlet*

• White River Clinic of Chiropractic*

• Cork Liquors*

• Zen Fitness*

• Personal • Art’s Cleaners Inc.*

• Sports

• Bellies & Beyond Doula Services*

• Harrison Lake Country Club*

The ribbon-cuttings also appear in The Republic. For addresses and phone numbers of Chamber members, visit our online directory at or call 379-4457.

New members Columbus Sunrise Rotary Club

Kathy Trotta 812-371-0593 PO Box 1465 Columbus, IN 47202

Indiana Golf Foundation Cyndi Lawson 317-738-9696 2625 Hurricane Road Franklin, IN 46131 Miller’s Power Wash 359 S. State Road 129, Batesville 812-934-4694 Mary Ferdon, community development director, performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Miller’s Power Wash. Owner Phillip Miller and em-

ployee Dustin Rowland were joined by friends and clients. Members of the Chamber Action Team were also present. Miller’s Power Wash offers solutions to residential, commercial and agricultural cleaning.

Morales Group Inc.

Shelly Hoffman 317-997-1509 5628 W. 74th St. Indianapolis, IN 46278

Mutual of Omaha

Chris Dixon 812-579-6786 15645 E. Road 300S Elizabethtown, IN 47232

Office Pride

Fred Paris 317-442-0142 1230 S. State St. Franklin, IN 46131

Sign A Rama

Barry Davis 812-657-7449 barry@signarama-columbusin. com 3192 Washington St. Columbus, IN 47201 Elwood Staffing 2506 25th St. 375-1600 Mayor Kristen Brown performed the ribboncutting ceremony for Elwood Staffing. The Elwood

family was joined by employees, friends and clients. Members of the Chamber Action Team were also present. Founded in Columbus in 1980, Elwood Staffing has evolved into one of the largest staffing firms in the United States.

The Cole

Kelli Kern 800-375-2653 200 Jackson St. Columbus, IN 47201

October 2012 The Business Connection 9

Indiana distillers sell sorghum spirit By Ellen Kobe Indianapolis Business Journal

INDIANAPOLIS — Talk about irony: Two central Indiana entrepreneurs are making a new spirit from an old crop — supplied largely by an Amish farmer who doesn’t drink alcohol. The product is Sorgrhum, a distilled liquor made from the syrup of sweet sorghum, a stalk-like grain used as a sweetener before sugar cane became widely available. It’s the brainchild of Matt Colglazier, marketing director at Big Red Liquors in Bloomington, developed in partnership with Stuart Hobson, founder of Indianapolis-based Heartland Distillers. The partners launched Colglazier & Hobson Distilling Co. a year and a half ago. Their challenge: making and marketing a spirit in an industry dominated by major brands. Craft distillers have to educate the public about their products to generate interest, said Louis Meyer, general sales manager at Indianapolis-based distributor Crossroad Vintners. “You have to introduce it to the right

people, get the right people involved and tell the story,” said Meyer, who doesn’t handle Sorgrhum. “You essentially have to create a market for it.” Even so, the number of craft distilleries nationwide is growing 30 percent each year, according to Bill Owens, founder and president of the American Distilling Institute. He said the homegrown nature of the products is a plus. “The craft guys have a huge advantage to say it’s local,” Owens said. “As soon as you put the words ‘local’ and ‘handcrafted’ on it, it’s got weight to it.” Colglazier’s inspiration came when he saw a label for Lin Creek Sorghum Farm at a Bloomington grocery store. Curiosity and his blue sedan took him south to Bromer, where he met Amish farmer Ervin Bontranger. Bontranger, who has 13 children and a wife who sells eggs and pies on Saturday mornings, sold him about five gallons of sorghum syrup. Colglazier took it to Heartland Distillers in northeastern Indianapolis, where he and

Hobson started experimenting. “We’d play around with it and get all sticky,” said Hobson, whose business cards are still gummy with syrup.

Sticking to it It took the pair several months of fermenting and distilling — the processes that convert sugars to alcohol — to come up with two varieties of Sorgrhum. One hundred gallons of water and 20 gallons of syrup are fermented to make nine gallons of alcohol. The liquid is distilled twice to make the clear “white spirit,” which tastes like tequila with a sweet finish. To create the darker version, which tastes like a mixture of bourbon and rum, the mixture is distilled once and then aged in oak barrels for six months. The name Sorgrhum is an amalgamation of sorghum and rum, which the partners came up with after the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau wouldn’t let them call it Sorghum Rum. Only alcohol made from sugar cane or a byproduct can be

called rum. They formalized their business relationship with Bontranger through snail mail, given the Amish aversion to technology. Bontranger doesn’t drink alcohol but gladly sells sorghum syrup to Colglazier, who is equally pleased with the deal. “I’d much rather be in business with someone who’s curious and willing to take a risk,” Colglazier said of the Amish farmer.

Hefty investment

But Colglazier and Hobson are taking chances, too. They don’t have the heft of a multibillion-dollar corporation or well-known brand, and Hobson said they’ve already spent tens of thousands of dollars to make Sorgrhum. “We’re not going to get rich anytime soon,” he said. Colglazier and Hobson had to hire a distributor to market the product to liquor stores, bars, restaurants and grocery stores. They chose Texas-based Glazer’s Distributors, known as Olinger

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10 The Business Connection October 2012

Your By Mae Anderson Associated Press


How a logo becomes an icon

NEW YORK — In almost every corner of the world, golden arches symbolize something. So does a red bull’s-eye. The same is true for a half-eaten apple. Ditto for the well-known swoosh. The most iconic company logos such as those of McDonald’s, Target, Apple and Nike are visual cues that are seared onto people’s consciousness without their even realizing it. That kind of influence has always been valuable, but now it’s priceless. Companies are fighting for the shrinking attention spans and wallets of consumers who increasingly get their information on tiny cellphone screens. And as companies expand into emerging markets, images matter more than words. The brand identity that a logo brings can pay off, and companies know it. That’s why Ford’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford described the day that the automaker got back its signature blue oval as “one of the best days I can remember.” The company gained back the logo along with other assets in May after having used them as collateral for a $23.5 billion loan six years earlier. “Logos are a symbol of who you are, a rallying point, an identification of the company that lets you stand out from others,” said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys Inc., a New York customer research firm that measures company image. What’s better, people like logos. LogosQuiz, a smartphone application that tests people’s knowledge of company logos, is one of the top free games on Apple’s iPad tablet and iPhone. And a short animated French film made up of nothing but logos called “Logorama” won an Oscar in 2010. That kind of hype translates into dol-

lars for companies. Interbrand, which tracks brand values, of which the logo is a key part, values Coca-Cola’s brand at $71.86 billion; McDonald’s at $35.59 billion, Nike’s at $14.53 billion and Ford’s brand at $7.5 billion. Here is a look at how companies create and maintain iconic logos.


Target Corp.’s bull’s-eye was born when department store operator The Dayton Co. decided to open a discount chain in Minneapolis in 1962. Stewart K. Widdess, Dayton’s publicity director, was given the task of naming the company so shoppers wouldn’t confuse it with the department store chain. After considering 200 other names, Widdess came up with both the name “Target” and the now ubiquitous red-and-white bull’s-eye. “As a marksman’s goal is to hit the center bull’s-eye, the new store would do much the same in terms of retail goods, services, commitment to the community, price, value and overall experience,” Widdess has been quoted as saying. The company at first considered using a bull’s-eye with a few bullet holes in it. That, however, didn’t seem appropriate for a family store. The first logo had the name “Target” written in black over a red and white bull’s-eye with three red circles and two white circles. The store’s first print

ad campaigns used the Target as their theme with the tagline: “Aim straight for Target discount stores.” The bull’s-eye was simplified in 1968 with a red center, one white circle and one red circle, without the name on top of it. Experts say that logo stuck because it embodies the two hallowed traits of a good icon: it’s simple yet distinctive. “It’s incredibly eye catching in general, and it’s a simple, clean design,” said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates. “It’s one of the strongest brandmarks in the marketplace.” Of course, Target had something else on its side, too: time. It’s more difficult to come up with a memorable logo today than 50 years ago because many iconic symbols — such as the bull’s-eye — already are trademarked.


Would McDonald’s Corp. be the world’s biggest fast-food chain if it kept its original symbols — the McDonald family crest or “Speedee” the chef — instead of the Golden Arches? McDonald’s was started in 1948 in San Bernardino, Calif., by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald. But by the early 1950s, the Oakbrook, Ill.-based company began to franchise and grow rapidly when businessman Ray Kroc bought the company.

In 1953, architect Stanley Meston designed the first franchised building, in Phoenix, with red and white tiles and a sloped roof. Dick McDonald thought the design was a bit boring, so he sketched in the now-famous yellow arches, dubbing them the “Golden Arches,” according to Mike Bullington, McDonald’s archivist. But Meston didn’t like them. So McDonald’s hired sign maker George Dexter to create them. He added in yellow neon and the arches soon became emblematic of McDonald’s restaurants. Still, they weren’t yet part of the logo. Originally, McDonald’s used the McDonald family crest, a shield with a dragon, fish and boat icon on it, as the logo. When it began to open franchise restaurants, road signs incorporated a single arch along with a chef character called “Speedee,” which was intended to represent McDonald’s “Speedee Service System.” It wasn’t until 1968 that the double arches became the company’s official logo. It was designed by Paul Schrage, then McDonald’s chief marketing officer, and D’Arcy, their advertising agency. Ironically, that was about the same time actual arches were disappearing from stores, as the company expanded and remodeled old stores. Most arches were gone from McDonald’s locations by the end of the 1960s, but the Golden Arches of the logo remained. In fact, they’ve become such an icon that they’ve hardly been altered since 1968 and are easily recognized globally. “As a symbol, it’s simple and sticky,” says Adamson, the branding expert. “Show the logo to kids without the word and they’ll know it’s a hamburger and French fries.”


Not every logo is a hit, of course, especially when a company tinkers with

October 2012 The Business Connection 11

a beloved one. In 2010, without any announcement or warning, Gap Inc. changed its white type-on-navy “blue square” logo, which it had introduced more than a decade earlier. The new logo had a lowercase “gap” with a blue box in the right hand corner. Officials revamped the logo at a time when the retailer had lost its fashion edge. Sales were slipping. Gap officials were hoping the new logo would communicate to customers that it was updating its image with more modern designs of jeans, pants and other clothing. But that message was lost on customers. After the new logo was out, Gap fans voiced their discontent with it on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. A fake Twitter feed, @GapLogo, even was created to lampoon the move (it currently has more than 3,600 followers). “Our Creative Director just quit, the ACD is in a corner drinking and muttering to himself and Jenna the intern is softly crying. JUST GREAT,” the feed tweeted humorously the day after the flap. About a week later, the retailer decided to reinstate its old logo.

designed the Chase bank logo.


The lesson? It’s tempting for a company with a well-known logo to want to tinker with the image to boost a sagging reputation. But that’s often a mistake since logos become more recognizable, and thus more valuable, the longer they’ve been around. And of course, a logo change can’t solve all of a company’s problems. “We remind clients that a logo is not going to change people’s minds, but it can stay in the mind and burn into memory,” said Sagi Haviv, a partner at Chermayeff & Geismar, a firm that

Sometimes, though, a revamped logo is just what a company needs. A new logo can be critical when a company is trying to get the word out about a new message. For instance, when the industry has gone through substantial changes or there are different company services being offered. “If the character of the mark no longer jibes with the positioning of the company or product then it makes sense to change,” says Haviv, from Chermayeff & Geismar. Aetna, the big insurer, revamped its logo to address changes in the health care industry. Health care legislation that is likely to be phased in over the next several years includes a system in which consumers can buy insurance through new online marketplaces. For insurers like Aetna, that means they will have to more actively market their products to consumers — not just businesses. In order to do that, Aetna decided it would need a more consumer-friendly logo. “We are much more focused on consumers and consumers have a much greater voice,” said Belinda Lang, vice

president of brand, digital and consumer marketing, for Aetna. “The logo needed to be effective in a digital, mobile and social environment.” Aetna worked with branding firm Siegel + Gale to revamp its logo: a blue wordmark or logo that is only text, with a stick figure of a person. The result? The new logo is a purple wordmark with a lower case font and linked letters. The stick figure is gone. The company says the response to the logo has been positive. Lang says the logo has gotten good reviews in the design community, and employees, an important group to win over, have said they like the new logo.


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12 The Business Connection October 2012

agement development videos per month for the next year. These videos are free and aimed toward getting professionals more in tune with their leadership and management styles, challenges and goals.

Columbus Regional Hospital has appointed Pamela Missi as vice president and chief nursing officer. She worked at Norton Healthcare System in Louisville, Ky., from 1991 to 2012. She was the director of patient care services at Kosair Children’s Hospital from 2006 to 2012 and was director of patient care services at Norton Hospital from 2000 to 2006. Missi earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Spalding University in Louisville. The Hampton Inn at 12161 N. U.S. 31 announced the special recognition of Blanche Bryant. She received the Spirit of Hampton award, which honors outstanding hospitality Blanche Bryant and customer service. The award is given to five Hampton Inn employees from across the nation who were nominated by a supervisor. Cindy AllenStuckey, CEO of Making Performance Matter, has formed a partnership with Indy Biz TV shows to air two of her recorded leadership and manCindy Allen-Stuckey

Roger Schooler, general manager, and Troy Williams, project manager, for Global Builders completed the Haag Engineering Co. Professional Roofing Inspector Training Course in Roger Schooler June at Nashville, Tenn. The Haag Engineering Roofing Inspector program helps roof inspectors provide quick, accurate damage evaluations and correct estimates according Troy Williams to scientifically based damage assessment techniques. The designation ensures that inspectors are proficient in proven techniques for assessing roof damage. James Boldman, assistant department chairman–communications, Julia Stumpff, director of Ivy Tech library services, and Sara Wilhoite, librarian at Ivy Tech Community James Boldman College–Columbus/ Franklin, gave a presentation at the Indiana University Libraries Instruction Congress at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany.

Julia Stumpff

Sara Wilhoite

Titled “Learning Out Loud in a Communication 101 Classroom: Speed Dating with the Librarians,” the presentation explained an innovative and collaborative approach between librarians and faculty members to have students learn about a library research tool and, the following week, to demonstrate it during a six- to eight-minute speech.

Three staff members at Old National Bank have been named banking center managers. Dawn Andrews will manage the 501 Washington St. office, Tanya Hawkins will head the West Hill Dawn Andrews office at 4330 W. Jonathan Moore Pike, and Amy Hirtzel has been named to manage the Hope office. They will assist commercial customers with lending and deposit needs and oversee overall operations. Tanya Hawkins Andrews joined the bank a year and a half ago as manager of the West Hill location. Prior to joining the bank she was general sales manager for QMIX and Reising Radio Partners. Amy Hirtzel Hawkins has more than 18 years of banking experience and joined the staff as a personal banker at the Greenwood office in 2005. She was later promoted to office manager, overseeing daily operations of the branch, and has completed a variety of courses offered by the American Bankers Association and the American Institute of Banking. Hirtzel, with nearly 20 years of banking experience, is a gradu-

ate of Indiana Wesleyan University and numerous American Institute of Banking courses. She has served the bank in a variety of positions, from teller to office manager. Dr. Ryan C. Nelson has opened White River Clinic of Chiropractic at 5536 25th St. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from Dr. Ryan C. Nelson Minnesota State University Moorhead and received his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minn. He is board certified by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the Indiana Chiropractic Board and the Minnesota Chiropractic Board. Rita Euers of North Vernon has joined Black’s Support Services as client services manager. With more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, she provides administrative and service management support to clients of the company, which provides IT network management, support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses. She is a graduate of Indiana University, with a degree in marketing, and the University of Indianapolis, with a degree in finance. Karen Browning of Seymour has been promoted to senior consultant with Thirty-One direct-selling company. The company specializes in fashion accessories, totes and organizing solutions sold at in-home parties. Lace Stroh has purchased the former Carla’s Wellness Center at 902 Washington St. and has renamed the massage business Loving Hands Wellness. Massage therapists include Stroh, Steven Newlin and Gabriel Dorothy Woon, a 25-year veteran massage therapist. The practice also offers acupuncture therapy. — Staff Reports

October 2012 The Business Connection 13

coach’s corner

The business success cycle Many business owners find themselves in the trap of trying to do too much and not allowing their employees to help them. This is probably the single biggest inhibitor to growth that I have witnessed over the last eight years of coaching businesses — the failure of the owner to get Mark McNulty out of the way and to empower his team. Too many owners feel it is their responsibility to take care of everything, because “I can do it better” than anyone else. All this approach provides is the guarantee that you will be the busiest and least paid (on a per-hour basis) employee, the only one who comes in early and stays late. If you enjoy being a slave to your business and your customers, stop here. If you need to get past that, read on. The problem is that most business owners believe that they are responsible for taking care of their team, their customers and their business all on their own, and not necessarily in that order either. The most effective way to grow your business profitably is to adopt the following cycle of business model: Owner –> Team –> Customer –> Business –> Owner. In plain English, this can be read

as the owner takes care of the team, enabling the team to take care of the customers, which leads the customers to take care of the business with repeat orders and referrals, which results in the business rewarding the owner with profits and success. Let’s look at what goes into each of these four steps. As the owner, your primary responsibility is to your team. You need to hire the best people, provide them with the tools to perform their work and train them how to properly use the tools to service your customers. The types of tools you should provide include vision and mission, company culture, goals, job descriptions, processes and procedures, communication channels, and services and products that your target markets want. In addition to tools, your team also needs you to be their leader and cheerleader, and recognize their needs and successes. Armed with the proper tools, your team can now take care of your customers. This means providing them with high-quality, consistent, responsive service and delivering your products and services with a smile, every single time. Winning teams exhibit leadership qualities, share common goals, know who is responsible for doing what and support and include each other. Successful teams listen to customers’ problems and identify solutions before they are asked. When customers are treated well

drink continued from page 9

liliter bottles of the light Sorgrhum for $28.99; the dark costs $35.99. Other retailers, such as Kahn’s Fine Wine & Spirits, have similar prices. But making a spirit from Indiana crops in an Indiana distillery doesn’t guarantee immediate sales. The American Distilling Institute’s Owens suggests liquor producers create an appealing label and give distillery tours to spark interest. Colglazier & Hobson Co. has separate labels for each product. Both feature a red, navy and pale yellow color scheme and the company’s logo, which includes a drawing of a sorghum plant. The tag line: America’s first sweet sorghum spirit.

Distributing Co. before a June ownership change. The company has distributed Heartland Distillers’ Indiana Vodka since it hit the market in 2008. “We’re seeing a lot of interest in bars and restaurants who are looking for craft distilling and Indiana artisan products,” said Jim Calvert, vice president of brand development for Glazer’s Distributors of Indiana. Glazer’s has received about 800 bottles of Sorgrhum worth a total of $20,000, and Calvert said it has made its way into about 50 venues since April. Vine and Table, a wine and gourmet food market in Carmel, sells 750-mil-

and receive prompt, courteous service and consistently high-quality products that solve their problems, they come back again and again, and they tell their friends. When your team solves a customer’s problems, your customer rewards you with loyalty. Loyal customers can then be involved in helping you to grow your business successfully by giving you critical feedback on how you can help them even more and opportunities for new business that you might never have had otherwise. When your customers are well cared for, they take care of you and your business so that you can remain in business to help them. Now that you have provided your team with the tools and leadership that they need, they are able to invest their time in caring for your customers. Happy customers come back again and again and tell their friends about your

services. Repeat business, happy “A” customers and endless referrals are the foundation for profitability. When your business is running this way, you have the financial rewards for yourself, your family, your team, your community and your business. You are able to reinvest in the team and tools to improve their abilities, to increase your capacity and to grow your ability to solve the needs of your customer base. When you decide it is time to succeed in your business, evaluate where you are in the cycle of business. Whether it is leadership or communications, or systems and tools, it will always start with you. It is a simple decision to make, so make your choice and get going. Mark McNulty is a business coach with ActionCoach Business Coaching. He can be reached at 372-7377 or mark@

(812) 372-7829

Mike Bonham

Dan Fox

14 The Business Connection October 2012

Vision lacking in Hoosier thinking Economic development is not a single story told in a hurried voice. Rather, economic development is an intertwining of two tales told patiently with significant attention to detail. There is the major theme of big projects that give rise to hundreds and thousands of small investments that form Morton Marcus the second tale. As in the past, Indiana’s economy performed poorly during the recession and then improved during this ongoing recovery. Relative to the nation, we ride a roller coaster with sharp declines and satisfying climbs. Despite these dramatic movements, the business of economic development proceeds, often slowly, sometimes with halting hesitation, but progress is evident.

Interstate 69 is being built from Evansville north to Bloomington and Indianapolis. The Ohio River bridge is going to be built to connect southern Indiana with the east side of Louisville. The BP Refinery in Lake County is under construction. Upgrading U.S. 31 from South Bend to Kokomo and Indianapolis is taking shape in pieces. These may be the biggest of the billion dollar projects now in process, but many other public and private infrastructure efforts are under way. The state will benefit from each of them as long as quality control is enforced to protect workers, users and the environment. Thanks to vigilant local groups, each project is under ongoing scrutiny to supplement the state’s often lax supervision. Major projects to bring high speed Internet service to every community in every county are vital economic development programs. Added capital

resources for our schools at all levels would be very beneficial. (Only this year did the Indianapolis Public Schools realize the goal of air-conditioning in every school.) Simultaneously, we are treated to reports of minor, local economic development projects where new or existing firms announce an investment promising some increased employment. Each is almost insignificant, but in the aggregate they are the substance of economic growth. Because major investments are made in public and private infrastructure, these small investments are possible. They are made in response to the opportunities opened by the larger investments; they are the confirmation of the efficacy of infrastructure development. What is being considered today that will stimulate the state’s economy 10 or 20 years from now?


Morton Marcus is an economist formerly with the IU Kelley School of Business.

























High speed rail offers an enticing future. Indiana, however, seems indifferent to solidifying or even working on a plan. The proposed Illiana Expressway solves little of our transit needs. Upgrading small town airports remains on a neglected agenda. Local transit systems in this Hoosier Holyland are pathetic despite valiant efforts to make them work in hostile environments. Without adequate public transit, land use patterns will not change, and the environmental challenges of sprawl will worsen. Our water and sewer systems may be in desperate need of renovation, but who is talking about them during this election season? The Indiana gubernatorial and legislative elections will remain dull and disheartening until the candidates express some vision for the Indiana infrastructure of the future.




October 2012 The Business Connection 15

Growth recognized Zeller Insurance Agency has been recognized by Auto-Owners Insurance for outstanding growth in 2011. The agency concluded the past year as one of the top 10 growth agencies in the state.

Master PT expanding Master Power Transmission (Master PT), a manufacturer of industrial gearboxes, will expand its Columbus operations, creating up to 48 new jobs by 2016. The Greenville, S.C.-based company, which produces industrial gearboxes used in various warehousing and manufacturing operations, will invest $3.6 million to renovate and equip an additional 30,000 square feet of production area in its current 220,000-square-foot facility in Columbus. As part of a series of initiatives, Master PT has purchased new manufacturing equipment to support additional product expansion. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Master Power Transmission up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Columbus approved additional property tax abatement at the request of the Columbus Indiana Economic Development Board. Master PT, which currently has 56 full-time employees in Columbus, has already begun hiring new machinist and manufacturing associates.

RV plant sale MILLERSBURG — A northern Indiana factory where about 200 workers built recreational vehicles until it shut down last year is up for sale. The 55-acre site of the former Carriage Inc. facility in the Elkhart County town of Millersburg includes 19 buildings. The Elkhart Truth reports that Key Auctioneers of Indianapolis is marketing the property for possible manufacturing, engineering and distribution uses. Carriage ended production abruptly last year after being unable to reach an agreement with a lender. The company built high-end fifth wheel trailers. The company’s assets were auctioned off in February, with Thor Industries’

its Connersville prospects into doubt, but Urban says Carbon is lining up new capital.

Toyota adding jobs

Around the watercooler

Redwood RV buying the Carriage name and brands.

Mine closing VINCENNES — Peabody Energy Corp. says it has stopped production at a southwestern Indiana coal mine and will permanently close it. The St. Louis-based company is blaming continued weak market conditions for the decision to close the underground mine near Vincennes. The mine had about 230 workers and produced 1.2 million tons of coal last year. Peabody said it was working with employees to possibly place them at other Peabody operations. The company has other coal mines in Daviess, Gibson and Sullivan counties in southwestern Indiana. Peabody says it expects to incur an after-tax charge of about $75 million this quarter, mainly related to a write down in the value of the mine’s assets. Coal companies have struggled this year as utilities switched from coal to cheap natural gas for electricity generation.

Subaru sales strong LAFAYETTE — Strong sales figures for Subaru could lead to increased vehicle production at a 3,600-worker central Indiana factory where it already has expansion plans. A production boost would mean more overtime work for the plant’s employees. Subaru reported August sales were

up more than 35 percent from a year ago, joining other automakers in pushing U.S. sales to their highest level in three years. Those increased sales make it likely Subaru will want more of the Outback and Legacy models built at the company’s Lafayette factory, Subaru of Indiana Automotive vice president Tom Easterday told the Journal & Courier. The company announced plans in May for a $75 million expansion that will allow the factory to build 180,000 vehicles a year without overtime, an increase of about 24,000 vehicles from current capacity. The factory produced nearly 171,000 vehicles last year by including overtime. Subaru said then it anticipated adding up to 100 jobs by the end of 2014.

Connersville plant sold CONNERSVILLE — Connersville Mayor Leonard Urban says the city has accepted an approximately $4 million offer to sell a vacant Visteon auto parts plant to a buyer specializing in returning such sites to the tax rolls. Urban said he can’t reveal the name of the buyer until the deal closes, but the city will recover most of more than $4 million in environmental cleanup costs. He says a Carbon Motors Corp. police car plant still proposed for the site would fill about a third of the space. When Carbon lost out on a $310 million federal loan in March, it threw

PRINCETON — Toyota says it is hiring the first wave of new employees this fall for an expected 400-person addition to the workforce at its southwestern Indiana factory. Toyota officials said they planned to have about 240 more production workers on the job at the Princeton factory by the end of November. The hiring comes after the company announced in February that it would spend $400 million on the factory so that it can build 50,000 more Highlander SUVs a year. The plant built more than 101,000 Highlanders last year. Toyota says the factory where Sienna minivans and Sequoia SUVs are also built now has about 4,100 workers. The rest of the new employees are expected to be hired next year.

Battery research center CRANE — Construction work has started on the $14 million Battery Innovation Center at the technology park near Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. The project is a collaboration among state and local governments and businesses. The 32,000-square-foot facility is expected to open this year with about 35 staffers working on developing battery technologies. The facility will include a clean room for lithium ion battery prototype manufacturing and a variety of temperature, humidity and altitude chambers for testing.

New steel factory COLUMBIA CITY — A steel industry supplier plans to spend $3.2 million to build a factory that will process scrap material that is used by steel mills and foundries. Indiana Materials Processing LLC expects to potentially add up to 22 jobs by 2015. Whitley County Economic Development Corp. President Alan Tio tells The Journal Gazette that the company is looking at a site east of Columbia City. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the company up to $100,000 in tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. — Staff and Wire Reports

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Business Connection October 2012  
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Business Connection October 2012