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Published by APG Media of Wisconsin, LLC, 2019-11-18 16:32:53

Business Leader | Fall 2017

Business Leader | Fall 2017

Keywords: business


Heating up Several Chippewa
Valley businesses fight

fire with ingenuity


Waterfront aids
Factory grows
out of the box
B ean firm forecasts
golden future


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2 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017


4 12 16, 26STORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . STORY
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PROFILES . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Longstanding companies and Businesses look to area’s riverfront Chippewa Falls, Menomonie firms
new ventures help fight fires. as an asset to attract customers. satisfy growing demand for goods.


Andrew Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Andrew Dowd
Jeff West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 [email protected]

OF FAME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 GRAPHIC DESIGN & LAYOUT
DIRECTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
BOOK REVIEW . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 John Balgaard


Catie Carlson - [email protected]

EDITOR’S NOTE much heed until walking in to pick up a job A few of those steady Chippewa Valley
application. companies get their due recognition in this
Thinking back on the jobs I’ve had issue of Business Leader.
through the years, I keep coming back to the For a summer, I watched machines press
summer I worked in a factory. steel and aluminum into louvers and other It might be a surprise to some that North
parts, occasionally measuring them to see if America’s largest kidney bean processor is in
In between semesters at UW-Eau Claire, they met specs and then placing them into Menomonie and has been there a while.
I’d returned to my hometown of Verona to heavy metal bins.
live rent-free with my folks while working to Packaging that keeps rolls of tape and
ward off student debt. The reason I keep flashing back to it is beer cans from rolling willy-nilly is made in
that the factory had been there for decades Chippewa Falls.
Carnes, a factory that produced ventila- employing workers, churning out parts and
tion system components, was hiring, paid making a place for itself in the local econ- And after the area’s lumber industry
a decent wage for starting workers and was omy. wound down, a fire truck and pump manu-
about a five-minute drive away. facturer came to Chippewa Falls and has re-
There are a lot of those companies out mained here for 85 years.
It was one of the businesses I’d probably there that fly under the radar while others
driven by a hundred times, but never paid it make a big splash with large expansions, new It’s about time we caught up with those
products or downturns in their businesses. employers on what they’ve been up to lately.

Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram advertising department. Copyright 2017 Eau Claire Press Co., 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI 54701. All rights reserved. 800-236-7077.

COVER STORY Heating up

Staff photos by Marisa Wojcik
Capt. Brian Toonen of the Eau Claire Fire Department participates in a demonstration at the CVTC Fire Safety Center on May 1, 2014.

Firefighting technology and services have become a growing part of the local economy

SBy Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff municipal equipment for police, fire departments and other
everal Chippewa Valley businesses — some for decades and government uses. Company founder William Stuart Darley struck
others just recently — have been fighting fires with their a deal with Henry Ford to use the carmaker’s chassis for a fire
ingenuity. truck, which was rolled out in 1926.
Fires have been doused by water churned out by Jeff Darley keeps an advertisement for the fire truck built off a
Chippewa Falls-made pumps for 85 years. Ford Model T. Darley sold its truck for $690 when other companies
An Eau Claire manufacturing company is selling a fire were selling theirs for $2,500 or more.
extinguisher it sees as revolutionary. “We became one of the largest producers of fire trucks at the
time,” Jeff Darley said.
It was among the products tested at a specialized facility run by That irked the entrenched fire truck
Chippewa Valley Technical College that hopes to become a go-to companies who used their influence to
place for companies looking for a space for R&D. cut off the supply of a key component
Darley needed for its trucks — water
Architects at a local firm are designing fire stations to improve pumps. So Darley then hired engineer
training and safety for firefighters. Pete Yates away from his job at
American Marsh Pump Co.
An Eau Claire firefighter even created an invention that caught Yates did have a demand — that
the attention of the White House. Darley pumps be made in his
hometown, Chippewa Falls, which
All combined, they show the region has become an innovator in also had a labor force available as the
the creation of firefighting technology and services. lumber industry declined. The first
Darley pump was made in 1932 and it
Pumping worldwide has become the heart of the company.
The W.S. Darley & Co. insignia will always wave in the breeze “The bread and butter of our
next to the stars and stripes outside the Chippewa Falls factory, business is water pumps,” said Jeff Darley shows the
but a third pole is occasionally used to display a foreign flag to Wayne Hable, Darley’s director of advertisement for the original fire
welcome customers coming from around the world. engineering. truck built by W.S. Darley & Co.

The fire truck and water pump manufacturer does 60 percent of Darley sold trucks and pumps
its business overseas — an export base that grew out of World War to the U.S. military from 1941-45 and the equipment that went
II and has expanded since then. overseas to help the war effort was left behind after World War II
ended. People in those foreign countries adopted the abandoned
“Over 100 countries use Darley fire pumps,” said Jeff Darley, firefighting equipment and Darley’s reputation grew worldwide.
chief operating officer and grandson of the company’s founder. When Jeff Darley started coming to Chippewa Falls in the

Chinese symbols adorn a shiny new fire truck that’s getting
ready to go overseas. The company began selling to China in the
1990s and it’s become a good market for Darley products.

Itasca, Ill.-based Darley has 200 employees in the U.S. with half
of them working in the company’s factory in Chippewa Falls.

Darley started in 1908 as a catalog supply business, selling

4 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

1970s as he was learning about the family But emergency calls pay no heed to
business, Darley was in a 25,000 square scheduled employee trainings, cutting
foot factory on the city’s south side. Since them short if firefighters had to rush out to
then the company relocated in the 1980s extinguish a blaze.
to an industrial park and expanded its “We can’t just say we’ll shut down
buildings several times. operations and train for a day elsewhere,”
The company also spent millions battalion chief Lee Douglas said.
to update its machinery, upgrading Training at a remote site is no longer an
technology to keep up its competitive edge issue as their newest fire station, which
and produce a high-quality water pump. opened in June, has numerous features
Computer-controlled machines use built into it that allow impromptu skills
collections of specialized tool bits to practice.
transform rough metal casings into Wayne Hable, director of engineering, explains features of Firefighters have rappelled down a
finished pump parts. A Zeiss inspection Darley’s pumps on display at its Chippewa Falls factory.
tower using ropes, lugged hoses to upper
machine robotically probes a part with floors and practiced connecting trucks to
a needle-like appendage, measuring all the curves, flat ends and water supplies without leaving the building.
edges to make sure it meets specifications. The new Chippewa Falls fire station was created by an Eau
Highly-trained workers control the new machines, but there are Claire architectural firm that specializes in police and fire stations.
some craftspeople at Darley that still do some tasks done on older Five Bugles Design arose from a partnership between architect
equipment. Removing burrs from gears and balancing impellers Steven Gausman, a principal at Architectural Design Group, and
are still done by hand. retired Chippewa Falls fire Chief Ed Mischefske formed about 15
A typical mid-ship pump on display at Darley can spray 1,500 years ago.
gallons in a minute, Hable explains. At about 150 psi, the water Gausman, who has 30 years experience in designing a host of
pressure is about three times of good household shower. municipal buildings, saw the inside knowledge that Mischefske
The company works to push the standard, recently producing had in firefighting would be valuable when designing fire stations.
a water pump to fight large industrial fires that can put out 5,750 “There was an opportunity there where I thought we could
gallons a minute. bring a different model to the industry,” Gausman said.
Darley also has a filtration system that can be added to pumps The firm has worked with about 200 fire departments —
so fire trucks can be used as mobile relief stations when potable designing remodeling projects, doing feasibility studies and
water becomes scarce. creating new buildings. Annually, Five Bugles does work on an
“After a disaster, the first thing people need is drinkable water,”
Hable said. See page 6

The company also sells systems that make fire-fighting foam BUSINESS LOANS & SERVICES
and a line of pumps that can create a temporary fuel pipeline in a
The company has a 72-hour worldwide parts guarantee to
return their pumps to service quickly.
“We will make parts for any one of our fire trucks that we put
into the field,” Jeff Darley said.
And even for collectors of their old fire trucks, Darley is able to
make spare parts from its entire line — including the first pumps
made in Chippewa Falls.

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Brushing up on their firefighting skills previously meant Business Loans & Services
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09-25-17 September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 5

from Page 5

public usually doesn’t see.
Firefighters are exposed to myriad
chemicals in a house fire from burning
paint, adhesives, carpet and other
materials used in modern construction.
But that’s not the end of it as those
vapors cling to protective clothing and
hitch a ride back to the fire station.
Decontaminating those suits is part of
Contributed photos the design that goes into new buildings so
Chippewa Falls Fire Department’s Station No. 1, 1301 Chippewa Crossing Boulevard, firefighters aren’t continually exposed to
opened in June. In addition to being much larger than the old station it replaced on Park those chemical vapors, which have been
Avenue, the new building also includes a training tower. linked to an increased incidence of cancer.
average of about 15 emergency response buildings, Gausman said. Between the added space and the
They primarily work in the Upper Midwest, but have also been modern design elements included by
brought in on jobs in Colorado, Utah and outside the U.S. One of Five Bugles, Douglas said Chippewa
their most recent jobs has been designing a replacement for Eau Falls’ new fire station is a “night and
Claire’s aging Station No. 10 on North Hastings Way. day” difference from one it vacated on
East Park Avenue.
Architectural Design Group and Five Bugles was acquired in “It has been nothing short of amazing,” Firefighters practice second-
June by Wendel, a large architectural firm based in Buffalo, N.Y. story rescue procedures using a
he said. training tower included in a fire
Depending on the workload, Five Bugles has six to eight
employees on staff, including experienced firefighters. Mischefske Proving ground station designed by Five Bugles.
recently retired, but Five Bugles still has two other former fire
chiefs on staff, James Schmidt and Mark Windschitl. Listening to the sound of 200 smoke detectors going off at the
same time wasn’t music to Red Van Ert’s ears, but it’s one of the
“Having chiefs on board creates a great dialogue and feedback memorable moments he’s had running Chippewa Valley Technical
to current clients we’re serving,” Gausman said. College’s Fire Safety Center.

While many fire stations look simply like big garages from the His job as the center’s coordinator also has entailed building a
outside, aspects of firefighting influence many of the features the 900-square-foot apartment inside the center and finding ways to
set it ablaze.
A MONTH, OR A YEAR Overcooked pizza, unattended cigarettes and a string of lights
zapped with high voltage to start a Christmas tree on fire were
Fully-Equipped Kitchen • Complimentary Buffet Style Breakfast and all used to test and aid in development of a sophisticated early-
Self-Service Laundry Room • Pet Friendly • “The Social” Evening warning system from Mount Horeb-based OneEvent Technologies.
Reception • The Pantry • Fitness Center • Pool and Whirlpool •
Courtyard with Backyard Seating Area, Fireplace and Fire Pit It’s one of the products that have gone to CVTC’s fire-testing
facility, which opened in 2014 with financial support from the
college’s foundation and the Phillips Family Foundation.

The Fire Safety Center is a sophisticated, precisely-controlled
environment for testing how products can withstand, extinguish
or react to fire.

“Just about everything that goes to market has to be tested for
fire or failure,” Van Ert said.

He’s seeking more companies to use the center on CVTC’s Eau
Claire West Campus to refine their products with the end goal of
creating more jobs in the region, which is the heart of the college’s

Part of his pitch is that CVTC’s facility relieves businesses of the
costs of creating their own testing grounds. Instead, companies
that use CVTC’s center pay for materials, facility time and use
firefighters who are in the burn room to set and then extinguish

The heart of the center is a 50-by-50-foot room with walls that
are a solid foot of concrete. Overhead, there are specialized tiles
on the 30-foot ceiling to absorb heat that has been measured up
to 2,000 degrees. Computers in an adjoining classroom precisely
measure and monitor conditions inside the burn room.

1515 Bluestem Blvd, Altoona, WI 54720 Pointed in the right direction Jeff Dykes has been in his share of smoke-filled buildings during
(715) 830-0800 839957 09-25-17 more than 20 years of fighting fires in Eau Claire.

See page 8

6 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

78(6'$< 2&7





839064 9-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 7

Building a better extinguisher from Page 6
“You don’t serve for so long in the fire service without realizing you
Fire extinguishers are ubiquitous — the red cylinders are
found throughout homes and other buildings to give people get disoriented in a house fire,” said the captain who works for the city
a chance to fight a small fire instead of immediately fleeing fire department.
for safety.
But there's a possibility the one you'll reach for simply He figured there had to be some kind of gadget to help firefighters
will not work. keep their bearings. And when he couldn’t find one, he started
Randy Rousseau has seen quite a few of those in inventing it.
more than 30 years of servicing
extinguishers at the family The result is the Northern Star Fire, an electronic compass that
business, La Sierra Fire. mounts to the inside of a firefighter’s mask. The size of a small stack of
He's seen faulty pressure coins, the compass is turned on by tapping it. Depending on which way
gauges, damaged cylinders it is pointed, it will illuminate letters indicating north, east, south, west
and older ones where the or between two cardinal directions.
powder used to smother the
fire had settled to the bottom of With a handful of prototype models, he’s already gained a lot of
the extinguisher, all rendering attention.
extinguishers less effective.
Rousseau and his dad decided in His first burst of interest came from a $20 Facebook ad that featured a
2001 to create a better extinguisher photo and description of the Northern Star Fire. That got a half-million
to remedy common problems they hits.
saw when servicing units and
correcting longstanding design “It’s a needed and desired unit,” Dykes said of the response.
flaws … even if it would cut into Seeking advice on the business side of getting his invention to
their servicing business. market, Dykes began working with Luke Kempen, director of the UW-
They designed an extinguisher Eau Claire Small Business Development Center.
that only is pressurized when Kempen aided Dykes in creating a business plan, which was
needed, requires less strength to Contributed image instrumental in entering the Governor’s Business Plan contest earlier
this year.
use, is ambidextrous and can be self- “Jeff is willing to do the work to make this thing happen,” Kempen
serviced. said.
“Here’s a guy who is, in essence, is pretty much putting The Northern Star Fire beat out 12 other business ideas to win the
himself out of business,” said Randy Lieble, vice president, grand prize in the contest hosted by Gov. Scott Walker. Kempen believes
CFO and treasurer of National Presto Industries. it was Dykes’ down-to-earth style of presenting his simple, life-saving
About six years ago, a business associate introduced invention that brought home the win.
Presto leaders to the Rousseaus' invention. Though the “The governor’s contest catapulted us to another level,” Dykes said.
company is known primarily for making ammunition and In addition to interest from fire departments across the U.S. and
small kitchen appliances, the idea of an innovative fire abroad, Dykes was asked to be among 100 entrepreneurs to visit
extinguisher gained their attention. Washington, D.C.
Presto's experience in manufacturing, plus its He was among a group who briefly met President Donald Trump and
understanding of plastics and polymers aided in turning spoke with his daughter and adviser, Ivanka, in early August.
Rousseau's working prototype into product ready for By the end of the year, Dykes is scheduled to deliver on his first
market. orders of the Northern Star Fire and get enough units to send more out
“We took that to the next level. We fine-tuned it,” Lieble to departments that want to try one out.
said. “Then I think the orders will flood in,” he said.
In addition to furthering development of the product Genesis Tech of Brooklyn Park, Minn., designed the product, Poliac
to the mass production stage, Presto also ushered the Research Corp. in Burnsville, Minn., engineered its internal components
extinguisher through rigorous testing needed to get the and KeyTronicEMS of Oakdale, Minn., is manufacturing the first batch
Underwriters Laboratory seal. of 3,000 units, which is expected this fall.
Dubbed the Rusoh Eliminator, the reinvented fire The Northern Star Fire retails for $149.99, but can be ordered through
extinguisher was unveiled in late April at a firefighter trade the product’s website for $129.99 and there will be negotiated prices for
show in Indianapolis. That's part of Presto's strategy to bulk orders.
market the product — introduce it to firefighters so they Dykes plans to hire three people to handle finances, customer service,
understand its features and why it looks different from a operations and marketing of the product, but regional fire equipment
standard extinguisher. dealers are expected to handle sales of the Northern Star Fire.
“We wanted to plow a lot of ground first,” Lieble said. While the business is gaining attention, Dykes doesn’t want it to take
The company also is focused on business-to-business him away from his calling.
sales of the Eliminator, namely large workplaces such as “My intention is always to ride the fire truck until I retire,” he said.
offices, warehouses and distribution center that need a lot of His main goal with the Northern Star Fire is to make firefighting
extinguishers. safer, Dykes said. If the
The pitch to those business owners is while the Eliminator product is able to pay for a
does cost more than a standard extinguisher, companies can kitchen remodeling or help
put his kids through college,
that would be a bonus.

cut the costs and hassles of regular third-party servicing. Contact: 715-833-9204,
While it's not on store shelves, the general public can buy [email protected],
the extinguishers for $149.99 on the Rusoh website. @ADowd_LT on Twitter
Dykes Kempen Van Ert

8 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Your Business. Better.

At EO Johnson we’re powered by relationships. Partnerships with customers, vendors,
and each other that drive business solutions to help you achieve your vision.

844.365.4968 |

John Long
W.S. Darley & Co.

“ We had a lot of sales and service history that was only available on paper. If a paper file got lost or
misfiled we would not be able to access the information it contained. We needed to have those files
scanned into electronic files and didn’t have the resources to do that ourselves. We looked to EO
”Johnson to do that for us.
— John Long, Systems Administrator – W.S. Darley & Co. W.S. Darley & Co. manufactures fire pumps and fire trucks and sells
fire-fighting equipment throughout the world. They also provide a variety of products to the U.S. Department of Defense. Headquartered in Itasca, IL,
they have manufacturing facilities in Chippewa Falls, WI and Janesville, IA and have approximately 225 employees.
839069 9-25-17
September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 9


Investment mistakes to watch
for at different stages of life

By Andrew Cooper Andrew Cooper is a financial adviser with Edward
Edward Jones Investments Jones Investments in Eau Claire. He can be reached at

715-833-3986 or [email protected]

As an investor, how can you avoid making mistakes? 403(b) or 457(b). These retirement accounts offer tax advantages
It’s not always easy, because investing can be full of potential that you may not receive in ordinary savings and investment
pitfalls. accounts.
But if you know what the most common mistakes are at
different stages of an investor’s life, you may have a better Try to put more money into these retirement accounts every
chance of avoiding these costly errors. time your salary goes up.
Let’s take a look at some investment mistakes you’ll want to When you’re nearing retirement …
avoid when you’re young, when you’re in mid-career, when
you’re nearing retirement, and when you’ve just retired. Mistake: Not having balance in your investment portfolio.
When you’re young … When they’re within just a few years of retirement, some
Mistake: Investing too conservatively (or not at all). people may go to extremes, either investing too aggressively to
If you’re just entering the working world, you may not have try to make up for lost time or too conservatively in an attempt to
a lot of money with which to invest. But don’t wait until your avoid potential declines. Both these strategies could be risky.
income grows — putting away even a small amount each month So as you near retirement, seek to balance your portfolio.
can prove quite helpful. This could mean shifting some of your investment dollars into
Additionally, don’t make the mistake of investing primarily fixed-income vehicles to provide for your current income needs
in short-term vehicles that may preserve your principal but while still owning stocks that provide the growth potential to
offer little in the way of growth potential. Instead, position your help keep up with inflation in your retirement years.
portfolio for growth. When you’ve just retired …
Of course, stock prices will always fluctuate, but you Mistake: Failing to determine an appropriate withdrawal rate.
potentially have decades to overcome these short-term declines. Upon reaching retirement, you will need to carefully manage
Since this money is for retirement, your focus should be on the the money you’ve accumulated in your IRA, 401(k) and all other
long term — and it’s impossible to reach long-term goals with investment accounts.
short-term, highly conservative investments. Obviously, your chief concern is outliving your money, so
When you’re in mid-career … you’ll need to determine how much you can withdraw each year.
Mistake: Putting insufficient funds into your retirement To arrive at this figure, take into account your current age, your
accounts. projected longevity, the amount of money you’ve saved and the
At this stage of your life, your earning power may well have estimated rate of return you’re getting from your investments.
increased substantially. As a result, you should have more money This type of calculation is complex, so you may want to consult
available to invest for the future — specifically, you may now be with a financial professional.
able to “max out” on your IRA and still boost your contributions By avoiding these errors, you can help ensure that, at each
to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as your 401(k), stage of your life, you’re doing what you can to keep making
progress toward your financial goals.

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10 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

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& Estates team deals with this type of thing and many other family matters visit our blogs at
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help you make the right decisions for you and your loved ones.

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 11

FEATURE STORY Revenue streams

Businesses increasingly find ways
to capitalize on the scenic rivers
flowing through Eau Claire

By Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff Staff photos by Marisa Wojcik
It began as a trickle and is becoming a steady High school students Joey Kroeger and Bodhisattva Smith walk through Phoenix Park
during May along the Chippewa River State Trail in Eau Claire. The city’s network of
stream. trails features many spots along the river for biking, running or a casual stroll.
After decades of city leaders talking about making

better use of the rivers that flow through Eau Claire,
several local businesses are finally diving in.

And they say the water is nice — both for
customers and for their bottom lines. 

The current has pulled in everything from large
operations — officials from credit union RCU and
software company Jamf helped open the floodgates
by investing in new buildings near Phoenix Park in
part because they wanted views of the water — to
small restaurants and bike shops that just want to
offer their customers a chance to see or experience
the rivers and the trails that hug their banks.

One of the latest businesses to go with the flow
— even though it doesn’t actually sit on riverfront
property — is The Oxbow Hotel on Galloway Street.
Despite it’s location a few hundred feet from the
Eau Claire River, hotel management is all in on
encouraging guests to enjoy the city’s rivers. 

“Being an independent, locally owned boutique
hotel, we want to showcase what our city has to
offer, and the rivers are a big part of that,” said
Allison Gumz, general manager of the Oxbow and
its adjacent restaurant The Lakely.

The Oxbow offers a fleet of 10 bikes — free of
charge — to its guests so they can explore the city’s
bike trails and even suggests routes that take in
several of downtown’s best river views. 

It also partners with Riverside Bike & Skate to
supply interested guests with kayaks and canoes,
along with shuttle service to points along the Eau
Claire and Chippewa rivers, and with Eau Claire
Anglers to offer guided fishing trips in the region.

“These are value-added items for us, and the
feedback I’m getting from guests is that they really
enjoy them,” Gumz said. “We’re not just about
getting people’s heads in beds. We’re all about
giving them an experience and showing people why
we choose to live here.”

The rivers, she said, are a big part of that.
“It’s a chance to show people how cool Eau Claire
has gotten,” Gumz said.

12 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Seeing potential river as a revenue stream and capturing people’s interest in
Riverside Bike & Skate, 937 Water St., was promoting the the water,” he said. 
city’s rivers before it was the trendy thing to do, getting
its feet wet beginning in the 1980s when late founder Jim Development of bike trails in Eau Claire and the wider
Rolbiecki started offering canoe rental and shuttle service Chippewa Valley also has been a boon for the shop’s
and even promoted a river immersion pedal-paddle bicycle business, along with a growing interest in wellness
experience in which customers could paddle down the and “going green.”
Chippewa River and then bike back along it.
Floating clients
“We started doing this before there were cellphones,” Still, Rolbiecki chalks up one of the river’s most visible
Pat Rolbiecki, Jim’s son and the current owner, said with uses to serendipity.
a chuckle. “We used to say the trip should take about two
hours, so we’ll pick you up in 2½ hours. Now people just “City fathers and developers can thank their lucky stars
call us.” that back in the early ’90s about 10 college guys decided it’s
too damn hot out and decided to grab some tubes and a case
While boat rental and the shuttle service accounts for only of beer and float down the river,” he said. “Nobody would
a small portion of the shop’s revenue, Pat Rolbiecki said it’s go in the river before that.”
a great way to promote the
concept of people getting out Tubing down the
on the water and enjoying Chippewa River since has
the views from the rivers become a summertime
instead of solely of the rivers. tradition, attracting hundreds
The shop offers trips from of UW-Eau Claire students
several dropoff points along and community residents on
the Eau Claire and Chippewa hot days while at the same
rivers.  time providing a new source
of income for several local
Business, which picks up businesses that sell tubes,
on music festival weekends, accessories and refreshments
tends to be split about 50-50 to scantily clad sun-seekers.
between locals and tourists.
Indeed, UW-Eau Claire’s
“We were ahead of the Chippewa Valley Economic
curve in terms of using the
See page 14

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839362 9-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 13

from Page 13 Staff photo by Kelsey Smith
Research Group, led by economics department chairman Outdoor seating at Cowboy Jack’s in Altoona takes advantage of the views at the
Thomas Kemp, recently completed a study concluding that River Prairie development, which has a recreational trail between businesses and
the tubing industry contributes an estimated $65,400 to the the Eau Claire River.
local economy each year. adding that people often pounce on available outdoor seats
as soon as they are vacated.  
The research, which included four trips to interview
tubers putting in at Phoenix Park, determined that about Tom Larson, president of Larson Cos., which manages
1,200 different people tube in Eau Claire, with many of them Cowboy Jack’s, said he is pleased to see Eau Claire, Chippewa
going for multiple floats a year. The researchers estimated Falls and Altoona  taking greater advantage of the rivers the
that tubers spend an average of about $20 per trip, providing communities were founded along.
them with what Kemp described as “good, cheap fun.”
“We’ve actually been overwhelmed with the response
“While that’s not a big number, when you put it all from the community,” Larson said. “It has exceeded our very
together it generates sizable economic activity for the high expectations and continues to attract large numbers of
community,” he said, noting that he believes the rivers people.”
remain a tremendously underutilized resource. 
In an effort to keep a good thing going, Cowboy Jack’s
Several businesses around the area have capitalized on the intends to add heating elements and canvas shelters to extend
popularity of this new recreational activity by selling tubes. the outdoor dining season deeper into fall and spring, he said.
One of those, Azara, 624 Water St., often has an impressive
display of different kinds of tubes outside its front door in Another of the region’s most-talked-about riverside dining
the summer. The shop also offers air pumps, floating coolers opportunities — the retail space on the ground floor of the
and an in-store pumping station for those who want to head year-old Haymarket Landing building at the confluence
straight to the water in their flip-flops. of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers — remains on the
back burner. All of the public plans for the building, part of
“We sell a lot of river tubes,” manager Lindsey Green said. downtown’s signature Confluence Project that will include
“It is a pretty big part of our business in the summer.” an arts center on the other side of a public plaza, indicated
a restaurant with outdoor dining space right along the
Green said the shop’s location close to the university and riverbank would occupy that location.
the Chippewa River makes it convenient for students eager
While the site has generated significant interest from
Staff photo by Eric Lindquist potential restaurant operators, Commonweal Development
Azara, 624 Water St., is among the shops near the Chippewa River that rent inner Corp. has yet to secure a firm commitment for the expected
tubes. Researchers at UW-Eau Claire estimated that floating on the river two or three restaurants that will occupy the space below an
contributes $65,400 annually to the area's economy. apartment-style housing project for UW-Eau Claire students,
to dip their toe in the water flowing through campus. said company president Stuart Schaefer.

Riverside dining The construction underway on the arts center and planned
Less adventurous residents who appreciate the rivers but for the plaza has given potential operators hesitation, Schaefer
prefer to stay dry have long clamored for dining options in said, although he remains confident the plan will come to
the city that incorporate views of the water.  fruition.

Just up the Eau Claire River from downtown Eau “It will be an extraordinary space. People are drawn to
Claire, Cowboy Jack’s answered that call this summer by the water,” he said. “I think we’ll attract some really good
opening a location right along the river in Altoona’s River operators and it will be a great gathering place.”
Prairie development. In addition to banks of windows, the
restaurant offers a huge two-level patio overlooking the Something’s brewin’
water. The operators of a pair of local brewpubs are seeking to
merge two of Eau Claire’s emerging passions: craft beers and
“People love the patio. It’s definitely a big draw for people downtown rivers. 
to come out here,” said general manager Lori Hayden,

14 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Lazy Monk Brewing took the leap in January 2016 by enable customers to see the water year-round.
moving from Banbury Place to its current location across the “We wouldn’t have been interested in that property if it
Chippewa River from Phoenix Park.
wasn’t for the river,” Glass said.
The business maximized its location by building a large He is confident the proximity to the water will be a major
outdoor deck overlooking the river, and the owners are
bubbling with excitement now that the city has cleared some draw and help satisfy pent-up demand.
of the trees along the riverbank, improving views of the water “Having been in Eau Claire for a long time, I’m tired of
and the nearby Phoenix Park footbridge. 
hearing people complain about the lack of riverfront seating.”
“It is just a glorious location,” said Theresa Frank, who Glass joked.
co-owns the brewpub with her husband, Leos. “The river was
a huge factor in choosing this spot. We really wanted to be Mike Schatz, the city’s economic development
downtown and close to the river and the walking paths. A lot administrator and executive director of Downtown Eau Claire
of our customers just love that.” Inc., has heard the same rumblings for years and is thrilled to
see more businesses catering to customers who want to float
A healthy number of customers already arrive by bicycle, on, bike along or grab a drink or bite to eat next to the rivers.
and Frank said she expects that volume to grow — more
bike racks are planned — when the city extends the bike trail It’s a major reason, Schatz said, for all of the recognition
behind the business and north through the planned Cannery Eau Claire has received in recent years as an attractive place
District. to live and visit.

“Eau Claire traditionally hasn’t used the river very much Contact: 715-833-9209, [email protected],
and now we’re at the point where people are starting to @ealscoop on Twitter
embrace it,” Frank said. “We’ve talked about it for years, and
now is the time to do it.” Larson Schaefer Frank Glass

Similarly, William Glass, owner of The Brewing Projekt,
plans to move his brewing facility and taproom out of its
current building by the end of the year to a new, larger space
along the Chippewa River at 1807 N. Oxford Ave.

Plans call for a major renovation to the old industrial
building the brewer will occupy, expected to be completed
by next fall, to include the addition of a 2,500-square-foot
riverfront patio and a 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck with
views of the river. Glass also plans to add several windows to


FOCUS ON MY BUSINESS. Talk to Wipfli. We can offer you the industry 715.832.3407

expertise and breadth and depth of resources of a national firm, but the focus you expect
from a local firm. From audit and tax services to a wide range of information technology and
business consulting services, Wipfli will provide customized solutions that align with your
goals and needs. As a firm that has served businesses in the Chippewa Valley since 1921,
we are committed to your success and the success of our business community. Contact Wipfli
today to see how we can put the power of our focus to work for you.


September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 15

COMMUNITY PROFILE tGohureot wbooifnxg

Staff photos by Kelsey Smith
Great Northern Corp. operates out of a 175,000-square-foot building in the northeast corner of Chippewa Falls, where most of the 254 employees work.

Chippewa Falls cardboard packaging company expands its capabilities, posts record years

By Chris Vetter, Leader-Telegram staff

Grabbing a new roll of Scotch tape or reaching for a Leinenkugel’s beer may have first
meant going through packaging made in Chippewa Falls.
Great Northern Corp., formerly known locally as Kell Container, makes corrugated
cardboard store and product boxes.
Presses run round-the-clock, five days a week at the company’s manufacturing facilities in
Chippewa Falls to keep up with demand.
“Business is very strong,” general manager Zach Schmidtknecht said. “2016 was a year of
record growth. 2017 has been a year of stabilizing growth. Corporately, Great Northern has
had record years, year after year.”
In 2016 alone, the Chippewa Falls plant
alone produced 460 million square feet of
corrugated product, Schmidtknecht said.
Great Northern Corp.’s production has
doubled in size since 2008.
“We have equipment that (print) 100
sheets an hour, to equipment that can
do 20,000 Leinenkugel’s boxes an hour,”
Schmidtknecht said.
The boxes come in all shapes and sizes
too — including ones big enough for a
The company doesn’t just make the
boxes — they design the in-store displays,
then fill them with a customer’s products,
and ship them directly to shops. Zach Schmidtknecht, Great Northern Corp. general manager, poses with workers in the
company’s plant at 231 Palmer St. in the northeast corner of Chippewa Falls.

16 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

“We’ll come up with the concepts and renderings
(of a display),” Schmidtknecht said. “We’ll apply
graphics and mock it up. We have evolved from a box
company — we are a packaging company.”

Between 15 and 20 trucks depart from the building
each day. Their customers include 3M, Leinenkugel’s
Brewing Co., ITW Deltar and Keurig.

“We are on the cutting edge of digital print right on
corrugated cardboard,” he said. “We’re on the second
generation digital press here in Chippewa Falls. Our
reinvestment back into the Chippewa Falls plant is
over $10 million in the past three years.”

Key employer Bill Thompson, a machine operator at Great Northern Corporation, shows off the
Chippewa Falls Mayor Greg Hoffman praised the corrugated cardboard before it is processed and turned into boxes.
company for being an important employer in the city.
“I have toured Great Northern, a number of years in 1962 in Appleton, bought the local company in
ago. It’s a great organization — it’s one of those October 2004.
that goes under the radar,” Hoffman said. “We are
fortunate in Chippewa Falls, we have a number of Great Northern now has about 1,100 employees
manufacturing businesses that do a great job. They across all its facilities, including about 250 between
are a great employer, the two Chippewa Falls facilities. Most workers are in
and I’m appreciative the 170,000-square-foot building at 231 Palmer St., in
they are a part of the the northeast corner of Chippewa Falls, with the rest
community.” at a 300,000-square-foot center on Olson Drive.
Charlie Walker,
Chippewa Speeding up, wasting less
County Economic In spring 2009, the company purchased a new
Development Corp. high-speed digital printing press, which was the key
executive director, component in a $3.75 million expansion. At the time,
called Great Northern it was just one of four made worldwide.
a leader in their
industry. As Schmidtknecht provided a tour through the
“They are a plant, he pointed to the latest of technology — a Bobst
Midwest mover Vision Cut press — which was purchased in 2016.
and shaker,” Walker Only a short distance away, a press that is from 1978
said. “They have was still printing away.
lived up to their
commitment of giving Jordon Frohn shows off printed boxes made for Leinenkugel’s Brewing Co., shortly after
to the community they were created at Great Northern.
and keeping their
Great Northern Corp. makes corrugated boxes, See page 18
employees.” including ones for in-store displays, like this 3M
The company container. The boxes are designed to hold up and
last for three months in stores.
continues to invest
in its operations, he
“Their graphics department is awesome,” Walker
said. “They stay on top of the technology.”
Walker described the company as a “mainstay
corporation” that adds value to the other businesses
in the region.
The local Great Northern Corp. business previously
had been Kell Container, which was founded in 1964
in Eau Claire. Great Northern, which was founded

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 17

from Page 17

Let us This printing machine, which has been in operation since 1978, is still used at Great
take care Northern. There are 15 printing presses at the Chippewa Falls facility, plus machines that
fold and seal boxes, and bundle cardboard packages.
of you.
“We have tremendous maintenance people who can
6\Y WYVMLZZPVUHS Z[HɈ ^PSS keep that machine running,” Schmidtknecht said.
be happy to assist you in
Schmidtknecht joined the Kell Container staff in
planning your event. 1999, and he became general manager 2½ years ago.
6\Y MHJPSP[PLZ VɈLY [OL He said the largest challenge he faces is managing the
perfect setting for small peaks and valleys throughout the year. For instance,
group meetings, banquets the busiest time is typically May through September,
when most employees want to take vacations. So,
and conferences. they can at times employ 200 temporary employees
along with their regular full-time staff.
Our versatile banquet
menus provide a delicious

variety of choices at
various price ranges and

attend to every detail of

your next event.

Andrea Pettis works on a machine that folds and seals boxes.

Conference and Banquet Facilities The business also focuses on eliminating waste.
“All of our scrap is recycled, re-pulped, and
[email protected] | 715.839.8687 turned back into corrugated,” he said. “As far as
the products we make here, nothing is going to the
839961 • 9-25-17 landfill.”
Contact: 715-723-0303, [email protected]

18 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Honoring Businesses in the Chippewa Valley for over 130 years.


H to the
on20o1r7 Roll of Business

The businesses listed on the following pages are proud of the history they’ve formed
with the Chippewa Valley and they want to share it with you. They know first hand
how difficult it is to open and operate a successful business year after year.
We salute these businesses for their years of service to the Chippewa Valley.

Congratulations to them all!Somehavebeenhereaverylongtimeandothersarejustbeginning.
Years in business are provided by the businesses represented.

159 YEARS <($56 138 YEARS 136 YEARS

Connell’s Family (1(188772-2001173)) Providing information and
Orchard Est. 1858 marketing services to
U.S. Bank
HONEYCRISP - Apples, 65 area locations Chippewa Valley readers
Pumpkins & Squash, 715.839.6318 and businesses.

Apple Donuts & Bakery, 715-833-9200
Jams, Jellies and Pure 800-236-8808
Member FDIC
Local Honey. Live, working
observation bee hive.

Raspberries, pick your own.

715-723-5889 840428 09-25-17
Open Daily 9-6
RIDES Chippewa Falls

839930 9-25-17 840059 • 9-25-17 840770_9-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER 8|4011199

Honor Roll of Business

Eau Claire has been the home of My
McDonough Manufacturing Co. Place
since 1888, producing quality Bar
sawmill machinery for sawmills in
Eau Claire and the world over. 406-408 Galloway St.
Downtown Eau Claire
Open 10:00 AM 7 Days a Week
%XV 840420_9-25-17 Keeping Your Image
Neat and Clean
ZZZ /DPSHUW/XPEHU FRP 2320 Melby St. 102 YEARS Since 1891
Eau Claire, WI 54703
839927_9-25-17 A Family Tradition 3605 White Ave
840423 9-25-17 in fine diamonds since (715) 835-3101 1-800-666-3101
115 YEARS 1915

3rd Generation 840414_9-25-17
Downtown Menomonie

Serving Northwestern Wisconsin Since 1920


Repair Specialists Mill & Lathe Work
Production Manufacturing- Builders of Special Machinery

Grinding Gears-Belts-Pulleys-Chain
Large CNC Bearings-Sprockets-Couplings

840411 9-25-17 715-723-4649 839921 9-25-17 840713 9-25-17 INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES & CASTERS
613 Wisconsin St., Eau Claire
96 YEARS <($56
3703 Oakwood Hills Pkwy, 95 YEARS 10954 E. Melby St
Eau Claire, WI 54701 Chippewa Falls 840220_9-25-17
715.832.3407 “Serving the Eau Claire area 715.832.1691 <($56
AUTO TOP SHOP LLC since 1922” 715.723.7592
840279 9-25-17 Automobile Upholstery, Automobile Serving Eau Claire
Carpeting, Truck Cushions Rebuilt, Truck Since 1934
83 YEARS Accessories, Zippers-Sales, Repairs,
Burn Damage Repairs, Convertible Tops, 840407 09-25-17 Conveniently located
Boat Covers, Canvas Repairs in Putnam Heights.
Leather Interiors LIQUOR MART
Seat Heaters 301 E. Clairemont

715-E8au3C5la-i3re388 715-835-8737

840409 9-25-17 840403 09-25-17


839917 9-25-17

24-HOUR SERVICE Family owned Proudly Serving the
& operated – Eau Claire Area Four generations Since 1939
and counting!
715-723-2211 3339 Fehr Road
1003 Harlem St, Altoona
840662 • 9-25-17 840401_9-25-17 715-834-3191 Eau Claire, WI 54701

20 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017 1-800-944-3604 715-839-5116


Honor Roll of Business

FURNITURE 7732Years of providing ttt͘D Zd E͘ KD Serving the Chippewa Valley
Tires & Services for over 69 years.
16051 County Hwy J to local 840398_9-25-17
Chippewa Falls, WI 54729 communities. “Innovative Construction Durand 300 W Prospect St Solutions, Since 1948”

715-723-1444 (715) 672-8300 Offices in Eau Claire, La Crosse
Eau Claire 3014 Mall Dr and Oakdale MN
840222 9-25-17
(715) 834-4106 715-834-1213
68 YEARS Red Wing 1511 W Main St
better water. (651) 388-1141
pure & simple. 840396 9-25-17
839907 9-25-17
Sterling Water, Inc.
715-834-9431 67 YEARS 66 YEARS 66 YEARS
(800) 444-9431
Big, Tall, Short or Small... Plumbing - Water Eau Claire HVAC WE FIT THEM ALL Systems SINCE 1951 PLUMBING
840217 9-25-17 Thank you Western Wisconsin for Thank you to the Based INDUSTRIAL PVF
making our 67 years so successful. Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls Company WELL & SEPTIC
64 YEARS EST. 1897 areas for your patronage
Proudly Serving the 596 CAMERON STREET
Chippewa Valley Since 1953 1506 S. Hastings Way, Eau Claire BOHL & PROULX
PLUMBING INC. (715) 832-6638
2514 Golf Road 715-832-3502 839897 9-25-17
Eau Claire, WI 54701 1-800-942-0783 715-832-4795
715-834-2686 Quality Clothing Since 1950 840392_9-25-17
840682 9-25-17
<($56 61 YEARS 61 YEARS
2812 London Road
840275 09-25-17 We’re honored to have FUNERAL CHAPEL
715.831.1300 served communities in AND CREMATORY
the Chippewa Valley
More than pizza. Est. 1956 • Funeral Director Erin Smith
We serve traditions. for 61 years!
Oɣering Onsite Cremation &
840388 840808 9-25-17 Pre-Planning Services
ALTOONA 715.832.1400 715-832-1141 •
CHIPPEWA FALLS 715.723.8514
840710 • 9-25-17

59 YEARS <($56 57 YEARS

We have been doing commercial There’s no home like
painting and wall covering the one you own
for the past 59 years.
Wilbert Statz
We appreciate your continued support. Home Builder LLC

HAGEN Custom Builder • Remodeling

DECORATORS, INC. Since 1958 1498 S. Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI
Pleasant St. 715-835-4321 715-834-3362
715-832-1185 1913 Skeels Avenue
840212 9-25-17 840225 9-25-17
Eau Claire, WI 54701 840362

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER 8|4021213

Honor Roll of Business 53 YEARS

Prairie Pointe Rehab Suites 840390_9-25-17 Practice est. 1961 2625 Morningside Drive 1225 Truax Blvd
River Pines Long Term Concierge Care Second Generation Eau Claire Eau Claire, WI 54703

Syverson Rehab and Health Steven B. Mahler, D.D.S. 715.832.5085
Edgewood Assisted Living 605 E. Clairemont Ave.
Willowbrook Assisted Living • 715.836.8360
Woodlands Memory Care Eau Claire 840355 9-25-17 • 1.800.472.8838

School-Age Childcare 715-834-2174 50 YEARS “Because we care, our customers
Adult Day Services become our friends”
Independent Living Apartments GLASS 840210 9-25-17
3410 Sky Park Blvd., P.O. Box 287 GARAGE DOOR AND OPENERS 49 YEARS
Eau Claire, WI 54702 Nick Gardow is proud to
715.832.3003 continue the Sparkle Wash 3 LOCATIONS: Julson’s Auto Service
franchise serving Eau Claire Eau Claire South L.L.C.
for 39 years. Chippewa Falls • Menomonie
53 YEARS Jim & Steve Julson
840358 9-25-17 Insured. OnTime. On Budget. 840731 9-25-17
Proudly serving Professionally Trained. SINCE 1968
Our Members for Free Estimates. <($56 Complete Auto and

523 Years 715-832-4270 Thank you to our clients & LT. Truck Service their pets for letting us serve you
49 YEARS 1505 Western Ave.
840351 • 9-25-17 for the last 49 years. Eau Claire, WI 54703
Ruth E. Harris M.S., Director 2135 N. Clairemont
CHILDREN • ADOLESCENTS • ADULTS 49 YEARS Eau Claire, WI 54703 (715) 834-5832

One-on-One Educational Your Independent Dealer 715-834-7538 840724 • 9-25-17
Services for Reading, Ray’s Metal Work LLC Pam Hansen, DVM
Learning Disabilities & Nate Meyer, DVM <($56
840208 9-25-17 715-962-3601 Duane Vollendorf, DVM 840347 09-25-17 840336 09-25-17
Attention Deficit Disorders Kathleen Nowak, DVM An Experience That Will
Heating & Air Conditioning Karen Trott, DVM Leave You Smiling
715-834-2754 24-hr Service & Free Estimates
or call 1-800-773-2605 43 YEARS
2600 Stein Blvd., Eau Claire, WI 840722 9-25-17 Building Lasting Relationships, +LOOVLGHGHQWDO FRP
46 YEARS One Customer at a Time
FSAerSvTic&eRaEnLdIASaBleLsE 2309 W Cameron St, Eau Claire
Plumbing - Heating 301 N. Farwell St. 888.GoAsher &KULVWRSKHU -RKQVRQ ''6
Air Conditioning Eau Claire
715-839-0707 or 715-834-7707 840360 9-25-17
1-800-307-9000 Full Service Tire & Mechanic Facility.
1915 Talen St. 840761 9-25-17 Tires, Brakes, Oil Changes
715-235-3468 Alignments & Wheel Polishing Commercial & Consumer Vehicles

840333_9-25-17 1102 Menomonie Street
Eau Claire, WI 54703
22 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

840331 9-25-17


41 YEARS Honor Roll of Business


1018 E. Prospect St. “The Newspaper That Cares 840701 9-25-17
Durand, WI 54736 About Rural Life” 840265_9-25-17

715-672-5659 1-800-236-4004 840692 9-25-17 <($56 33 YEARS
840635 09-25-17
Open April - mid September Commercial, Industrial & Residential, • Landscape Management
electrical work, and control work. • Design & Installation
840268 9-25-7 840772_9-25-17 24 Hour Service • Irrigation Services

1303 Western Avenue
ASSOCIATES 7KDQNV WR DOO Eau Claire, WI Operated Since 1984

HEALTH & LIFE INSURANCE RI 285 &XVWRPHUV 715-832-1676 839882 9-25-17
“Your trusted independent IRU PDNLQJ XV :HVW 30 YEARS
agency helping individuals Network Design & Services
&HQWUDO :LVFRQVLQ¶V Virtualization * Wireless John’s Sewing
in the Chippewa Valley Managed Services Center
with their health and life +RPHVHOOHU
Coldwell Banker Cloud Services * Security John L. Webber
insurance needs since Brenizer, Realtors Dell Preferred Partner Janome-Elna
1982.” 715-834-7712
715-835-4344 &HUWL¿HG 'HDOHU
715-832-1772 715-723-5521 Service & Parts - All Makes
715-235-8443 840759_9-25-17
3413 Golf Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 419 E. Madison St.
[email protected] • 32 YEARS 29 YEARS Eau Claire

840672 • 9-24-17 ECONOLAWN 715-834-5252
33 YEARS Serving the Chippewa Valley
Since 1985. 840326 9-25-17
Friendly, Dependable Service
2749 Alpine Rd. • Eau Claire We offer a full line of <($56
lawn maintenance &
715-834-6044 snow removal services. EST. 1988 -DPHV $ .OXJ ' &
or Toll Free 1-888-834-6044 Let us do the work while • Septic Systems • Custom
you enjoy your leisure time. Skidsteer & Backhoe Projects 2130 Brackett Ave.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8-5 Call us at 715-533-8155 • Total Site Dev. • Demolition Eau Claire, WI 54701
Sat. By Appointment for a free estimate today. • Poured & Block Walls • Floating
Mark J. Deutschlander - Owner Quality lawn care at Slabs • Retaining Walls • Garage 715-832-2292
& Basement Floors • Driveways,
840689 9-25-17 affordable prices. Patios, Sidewalks & Stoops

30 YEARS 839893 9-25-17 • Snow Removal
840318 09-25-16
1727 Western Ave. <($56 839695 9-25-17
Eau Claire
THE ART OF TEPPANYAKI 840629 09-25-17
715-835-0761 Experience Authentic Japanese cooking at its finest,
prepared at your table.
839886 9-25-17
Enjoy steak, chicken, Vegetables,
fish, shrimp, lobster,

2426 London Rd. Eau claire, WI
reservations: 834-0313

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER 8|4021235

Honor Roll of Business 25 YEARS 20 YEARS
<($56 <($56
715-836-6828 We’re honored to
NORTHSIDE SERVICE have served communities 840431 in the Chippewa Valley
Professional Automobile Repairs 9-25-17
for 20 years!
JOHN MOLDENHAUER Steve Odegard • Owner 16 YEARS
1000 OakLeaf Way • Altoona
Chippewa Falls
GREAT SERVICE 715-829-0875 840803 09-25-17
KNOWLEDGEABLE Offering Quality Home Furniture
840281_9-25-17 15 YEARS
11 YEARS ke our patients
804 Bartlett • 804 Bartlett for Over 25 Years
East side of Altoona, WI Alan J. Ostertag D.D.S., M.S.
East side of Orthodontist
Altoona, WI 715-832-2539
Brieanna Lise Newton D.D.S., M.S.
832-3349 Wednesday • 10am - 4pm Orthodontist

Thursday • 10am - 6pm 840270 9-25-17

840626 09-25-17 Fri. & Sat. • 10am - 4pm 840557 4907 Keystone Crossing, Suite A,
09-25-17 Eau Claire, WI

<($56 17 YEARS 777 E. Park Avenue,
Chippewa Falls, WI
NEED STEEL? 840289_9-25-17 Tel: (715) 855-5051“We ma
Smile” Fax: (715) 855-5052
By the Inch or by the Pound

• On-Site Document Destruction Elk Mound
• Affordable and Confidential 715-879-5559 River Falls
Daily Deliveries
840305 09-25-17 Small or Large Quantities



General Contracting Eau Claire 715-271-3892
‡ &RPPHUFLDO Ace Hardware
‡ ,QGXVWULDO Wall • Attic
2618 Birch Street Sill • Basement
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Spray Foam
ZZZ UKRPFRQVWUXFWLRQ FRP 715-836-7788 Blown Cellulose
Blown Fiberglass
840298 09-25-17 840685 9-25-17 Fiberglass Batt

840639 • 9-25-17

Want to include your 840126
successful business next year?

Call Edie at 715-833-9239
to find out how!

24 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Mary Rufledt has provided exceptional
real estate services to Eau Claire and

Northwestern Wisconsin area home
buyers and sellers since 1997.

Mary Rufledt was awarded the “10 Best Real
Estate Agents” for exceptional and outstanding
client service by the American Institute of Real
Estate Professionals.

• Top 3% Real Estate Agents in the
Nation- Stated by Expert Network- 2017

• 2017 – Best Realty Groups in Wisconsin -
Elite Realty Group LLC

• 2017 – The American Registry –
American’s Most Honored Professionals
- Mary Rufledt

• 2017 – Expert Network – Distinguished
Realtor - Mary Rufledt

Please contact Mary today, whether you are ready
to buy or sell a home in Eau Claire, Chippewa
Falls, Menomonie and surrounding communities
in Northwestern Wisconsin.

Mary F. Rufledt
"Helping People is what Real Estate is all about!"

715-830-1001 Office
4410 Golf Terrace, 715-828-9347 Cell
Eau Claire, WI 54701 or email: [email protected]

840315 • 9-25-17 Buy • Sell • Trade • Appraisals
Eau Claire • WI • 54701
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[email protected] 840263 9-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 25

done that

Staff photos by Pamela Powers

Company President Cindy Brown, left, and her niece, Stephanie Doane, show some of the packages of beans at the processing plant.

Chippewa Valley Bean Co. exports to about 24 countries, expects wider reach with changing food tastes

By Pamela Powers, Leader-Telegram staff corn and soybean grown in the area, said Bob Wachsmuth, who
MENOMONIE now oversees production for the company.

President and co-owner of Chippewa Valley Bean Co., Cindy “One thing Russell also recognized was it was a big bean and
Brown sees a golden future for dark red kidney beans. would look good on a salad bar,” Wachsmuth said. “It played out
As the world population grows by an estimated 3 billion over
the next 40 years, dark red kidney beans are a nutritional, healthy In addition to Brown, the Doanes other children, Ruth Anne
and tasty alternative to meat. Beans are less expansive and offer Hofland and Brian Doane, and partner Wachsmuth are all
an alternative to those who can’t afford or opt not to eat meat. shareholders and work for the company. Hofland oversees quality
control and finances, Brian Doane is responsible for processing.
Nearly 70 percent of the rural Menomonie company’s beans are
exported to 24 countries in Europe, South America, the Middle The next generation also is starting to work within the
East, Austrailia and a few Asian ones. The company is working to company. Brown’s son, Charles Wachsmuth works at the bean
open markets in India and other parts of Asia, Brown said. company in sales and marketing. Brian Doane’s children, Marcus,
18, and Alexis and Stephanie, both 16, are starting to learn about
“Our future is golden,” Brown said. the company as they work there.
Chippewa Valley Bean has grown and succeeded because of its
growers and about 30 employees who strive to put out a premium Gaining recognition
product, Brown said.
The company produces about 72.8 million pounds of dark and Beyond the Chippewa Valley, the company’s leader has
light red kidney beans a year. become a leading name in bean production.
The family-owned and operated company is the largest
processor in North America and exporter of dark red kidney Brown recently was elected executive vice president of the
beans in the U.S. Depending on the year, the company produces Global Pulse Confederation, the governing body of growers,
about 10 to 15 percent of the U.S.’s light red kidney beans. The processors, exporters and buyers of beans, peas, lentils and
company produces between 7.8 million and 19 million pounds chickpeas. (A pulse is the edible seed from crops in the legume
of light red kidney beans per year. family.) She is the first woman to hold the second-highest board
position for the confederation, which is headquartered in Dubai.
Keeping it family-run
The organization works for transparency and sustainability in
Chippewa Valley Bean Co. was founded by Russell and Nancy all sectors and aspires to contribute to global food security and
Doane. The first crop of dark red kidney beans was grown in improved health and nutrition, according to the Global Pulse
1969. Confederation website. The executive board consists of up to 30
members from all over the world elected from the membership.
Russell Doane felt dark red kidney beans were more tolerant Board positions are voluntary and unpaid.
for rainy fall weather in western Wisconsin than other types of
beans. He also was looking for a different product than the usual

26 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

Brown also was the first woman to hold the office of regional Varied uses
vice president as well as the first and only female to hold the
presidency of the United States Dry Bean Council. Dark red kidney beans have a robust, full-bodied flavor and are
most often used in chili, in salads and with rice, according to the
U.S. Dry Bean Council.
Food supply trends “The large, beautiful bean is often used
As the world’s population grows, the
ability to grow animal protein will be in recipes for its visual appeal,” Brown
said. “The flavor, texture and how a dish
constrained by land availability, Brown looks will affect how well people like what
“Beans, peas, lentils can be produced they are eating. A whole bean that doesn’t
have any breaks in the skin is important
with less water than animals,” Brown in all methods of cooking from canning
noted, adding beans help with blood
pressure and diabetes, and prevent cancer. to dehydration. Dark red kidney beans
can be incorporated into every dish from
In the U.S. 1.8 to 2 million acres of dry appetizers to entrees, soups, salads and
beans are planted a year, according to the
U.S. Dry Bean Counsel. A half cup of beans even desserts.”
The company has many recipes on its
costs about 12 cents per serving to buy, website, At Chippewa Valley
according to the Bean Institute.
Chippewa Valley Bean Co. also sees Bean Co., employees bring in different
dishes using the beans and share them with
consumer preferences guiding more each other, Brown noted.
people to their products.
Millennials are more environmentally Showing a Japanese product with dark
red kidney beans ready to put on a salad
conscious and tend to be more interested from a plastic pouch, Brown said she
in a plant-based diet, Brown said. They
also want to know where their food is expects markets to open up as more people
The dark red kidney beans grown in rural discover the health benefits of eating a more
produced and how it is processed, she Menomonie are used in many canned products plant-based diet. Beans also are gluten-free.
including Bush's. Production overseer Bob Wachsmuth

The company uses non-genetically said he expects to see more ready-to-eat
modified seed that has natural resistance
to disease requiring fewer chemical inputs and offers greater products using the beans, for example chips made from kidney
beans and hummus, which is primarily made from chickpeas.
yields. Contact: 715-556-9018, [email protected]



We are dedicated to improving the communities we
serve through helping the businesses, farms and families

that call the Chippewa Valley home.

2728 Mall Drive • Eau Claire, WI 54701 • (715) 838-2404
Visit us online at

Larry Accola Local community decisions. Regional strength.
21 Locations Serving Wisconsin and Minnesota 839554 9-25-17 Member FDIC

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 27

CEO SPEAK Jeff West is the owner of
Bear Down (,
Are you beating yourself? an executive and executive
team coaching company based
Customer-centric businesses have the ultimate in Eau Claire. He was a founder
edge on their competition and CEO of Silicon Logic
Engineering. He also currently
chairs the local chapter of
The Executive Committee and
Business Partners, a forum
for small business leaders.
West can be reached at
715-559-2195 or
[email protected].

“I am more afraid of our own mistakes than of our enemies’ designs.” PERICLES, Ancient Greek statesman and general

By Jeff West

A client recently sent me a picture of a whiteboard he saw in the immediately translate to numbers. I call it “lazy accounting.”
entryway of a business. Any company that has gotten serious about being more customer-

I assume that every employee walks past it on their way into work each friendly will tell you it does, in time, make a big difference on the bottom
morning. line.

Here’s part of what it said: It requires a longer term commitment. Many of us like being busy. We
Amazon didn’t kill the retail industry. They did it to themselves with poor feel if we’re not checking things off our list every day we’re slackers.

customer service. Building a company that offers a great experience for the customer takes
Netflix didn’t kill Blockbuster. They did it to themselves with ridiculous late time. You won’t see results the same day you begin.

fees. But if you as the owner/CEO don’t start and own the process, who will?
Apple didn’t kill the music industry. They did it to themselves by forcing •••

people to buy full length albums. While Amazon, Netflix, and Apple have been used as examples in this
There were more examples, but I’m sure you get the idea. You can article, it isn’t just the big boys that can do this.
probably come up with a few of your own.
The final two sentences on the whiteboard were: As a matter of fact, great customer service is often your best competitive
advantage against the Goliath companies of the world. Their bureaucracy
Technology by itself is not the real disruptor. is usually their Achilles heel. How often have you been caught up in
Being non-customer centric is the real threat to any business. telephone menus that say, “Push 1 for this” or “Push 2 for that”? And then
On the proverbial scale of one to 10, how would you rate your businesses only get an uncaring person reading off a script on the other end.
customer-centricness? (I know, I just invented a word.)
When you come up with the number, ask yourself, how do I know? I’d like to finish by using a local example. Our family regularly goes to
Many a business has thought they were doing a good job … until they Altoona Family Restaurant. They have good food and fair prices. But then
began to measure it. so do many restaurants in town.

••• So why are they always packed?
Business owners and CEOs will often play the victim card. Blaming For us it’s because even though we don’t know anyone there by name,
the economy, competition, lack of capital etc., all while merrily doing we’re always made to feel like we’re their favorite customer in the world.
themselves in with average or poor customer service. A smile, a handshake and a, “It’s good to see you again!” goes a long way.
We’ll spend a lot of time and money on things like new technology and We’re made to feel so welcome we go back often.
the latest sales training fads yet never spend a minute thinking about how In a business that’s as competitive as they get, their customers keep
we can be constantly improving the customer experience. coming back time-after-time.
So if we like being treated well when we’re the customer, why don’t Coincidence?
we spend more time making sure our customers are happy and feel
appreciated? •••
In my experience there are a couple of things at play here: Where are you letting your competition have an advantage with your
It’s hard to measure the results. When we buy new equipment or find customers?
a way to cut a fixed cost we can easily show it on a spreadsheet. Making Free up part of your days to think about it.
your business more customer-friendly is something that doesn’t easily or There are very few things truly more worthy of your time for building a
strong organization.
Stop beating yourself.

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28 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

- Guest Article -

Commercial Leasing:

Things to Consider When
Taking Advantage of
Eau Claire’s Growing

Waterfront Opportunities

By Paul J. Mirr and Benjamin E. Streckert – Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.

Over the past few years, Eau Claire has seen some exciting new development along its riverfronts. Underutilized in the past, these new spaces give
local businesses the chance to add an appealing location as another asset. While some of these projects are still in the planning stages, one especially
exciting new opportunity is the recently constructed Haymarket Landing. Many forward thinking business are looking to “hang their shingle” along
the water, and it is not hard to make a business case for why it makes sense. Development downtown provides a ready audience of individuals
already living downtown and capitalizes on the traffic coming to and from the forthcoming Arts Center as well as other downtown activities (like the
Farmer’s Market, summer concerts, and weekend road races). Haymarket Landing condominium is one such property. With its unique location at
the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, the space, which can be rented or purchased, offers opportunities for frontage along Eau Claire
Street, Barstow Street, and the Eau Claire River. The property is suited for any commercial enterprise.

If you’re considering taking advantage of Eau Claire’s want the landlord to lease space in the development do so whenever and to whomever it wants, or is the
waterfront opportunities, there are many items to a competitor. Commercial leases often contain landlord’s consent required? Can the landlord withhold
to consider and be aware of. When negotiating a provisions restricting the landlord from renting to its consent for any reason or must it be“reasonable”?
commercial lease, the amount of rent and length of the businesses that provide the tenant’s products or Personal Guarantees. Oftentimes, landlords
lease term are obviously major considerations. However, services. These provisions should specifically identify ask business owners, especially of small-business
because each business has its own unique identity and tenant’s business (including the services it provides tenants, to personally guarantee the business’s
needs, the following are some important lease provisions or the products it sells), so that it is clear which lease obligations. Owners should appreciate the risk
that business owners and managers should consider: prospective tenants will be prohibited. that this entails. If you choose to sign a personal
Buildout. If the space does not meet the exact layout or Co-Tenancy. Certain tenants in the development guarantee, make sure you understand its terms.
other structural specifications that you envision, the lease often add a lot of value to the others. For example, Consider carefully the following: What constitutes
should specifically lay out the terms of any modifications some businesses attract significant foot traffic or a business default that allows the landlord to seek
that will be made. Some questions to consider include: types of customers that other tenants want. Without payment from you personally? Can the landlord do
What sorts of changes will the landlord allow?Will the these tenants, the space is not worth as much to the so right after default, or does it have to first seek
tenant pay for all of the changes, or will the landlord remaining tenants. Co-tenancy clauses provide for a payment from the business and its assets?
share the cost?When will rent payments commence? reduction in rent or even the opportunity to terminate Moving to a new space can jumpstart your business, but
Will they start when the construction begins, when the the lease if a certain tenant ceases doing business or it can also present a new set of complex considerations,
tenant starts moving in, or when the buildout work is terminate its lease. especially when doing so for a lengthy term. Attorneys
completely finished?Which of these modifications will Subleasing and Assignment. The lease should at Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. have significant experience
remain after the tenant moves out, and which must the address if and under what conditions subleasing or navigating these sorts of issues. Please contact us with
tenant restore to the original condition? assignment to a third party is allowed. Can the tenant any questions or for additional information.
Common Areas. Many commercial properties
include common space that is shared by the tenants Paul J. Mirr, Benjamin E. Streckert,
(lobbies, restrooms, parking lots, etc.). The cost of Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
maintaining these areas, including utilities, janitorial
services, insurance, and repairs, should be addressed
in the lease. Are the costs allocated amongst the
tenants equally or based on square footage occupied?
Does the landlord pay the share for vacant space, or
do the existing tenants?

Exclusivity. After signing a lengthy lease and
investing in a significant buildout, a business may not

839070 • 9-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 29



Upbeat author gives an inside look at what it Title: “The Long Haul.”
takes to haul people’s belongings across country Author: Finn Murphy.
Pages: 229.
By Terri Schlichenmeyer Publisher: W.W. Norton
The Bookworm (c.2017).

From here to there. idea that the job was hard work, but he stuck around to earn
That’s where you need to move your stuff: from Point his shirt and his coworkers’ respect. He gained a reputation
A to Point B. Take it out of one place and put it in another, as a solid worker, “a good shipmate,” and a reliable
possibly many miles away. And it’s not like you can wiggle employee, learned to pack a truck, meet a deadline, deal with
your nose or wave a magic wand to do it, either; you need clients, unpack a truck and maintain everything at job’s end.
someone who knows what he’s doing.
In “The Long Haul” by Finn Murphy, there’s somebody Author Murphy has an almost Zen-like composure
like that out there. in this memoir, although irritation does show up in his
It is one of those rare remembrances of dealing with rude clients and demanding
books that peeks inside an company owners. Note that aggravation doesn’t show up
industry that you almost so much with co-workers, which isn’t surprising when you
BUSINESS never hear about — long- learn how Murphy’s niche industry works.
distance moving — from
for a voice that’s more upbeat Today, in his job, Murphy sees the usual amount of
than hammer-down. unusual things. He’s not a cowboy, he’s a furniture mover
SALE Murphy nostalgically — sneered at by drivers who haul freight and derided at
truck stops and diners. He’s been praised and yelled at;
My Friends recalls how he first became he’s moved humble folks with very little as well as prideful
Place Spa Salon interested in becoming a people with too much. He wears company clothing, unloads
moving man. As a teen, he’d his own cargo and doesn’t own his rig. His job, in fact, is
watch with envy as moving expensive, exhausting and sometimes exasperating.
truck drivers from Callahan
• Great Clairemont location Bros. gathered beneath On that business side, which is as much a part of this
• Rent out 7 stations/chairs a nearby tree after their book as his personal tale, readers will be spellbound with
at $500/month = $3,500 workday ended. Murphy tales about the job itself and its inner parts. That includes
was working his first job the kinds of anecdotes readers crave: stories of the best and
• Monthly building rent at a service station in his worst, most unusual and what to know when sharing the
$1,210 childhood hometown in road with an 18-wheeler.
• 1570 total square footage Murphy counts himself among the elite movers.
• 2 seperate Massage rooms And “It’s the best job in the whole world,” he writes.
for added income This is a thoroughly enjoyable story, quick to start and
The drivers were working really quite fascinating. Get “The Long Haul,” and leave it by
Only.........$79,000 men, beers in their hands your bedside table.
and logo shirts on their Tonight, you’re going to want it there.
$49,000 backs, talking trash and
razzing one another. It was The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer.
Call: a brotherhood he long to Terri has been reading since she was 3
join — and so he did, on the years old and never goes anywhere without
Pam 715-271-5569 day he turned 18. a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin
Email: with two dogs and 15,000 books.
[email protected] Before then, he couldn’t
legally drive a large truck.
ALL inquiries will remain confidential Also before then, he had no

839912 09-25-17

30 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ September 25, 2017

- -GGuueeststAArtritcilcele- -

Onboarding Technology
Helps Get and Keep
Great Hires

by Dan Rickert

One of the greatest frustrations for businesses and their Human Resources (HR) managers is getting and
keeping good employees. Competition is fierce and national statistics prove that first impressions with
your company mean a lot.

Research cited in the 2015 Harvard Business Review shows: Onboarding technology offers Moreover, 85% of U.S. office workers believe technology
customizable solutions. makes them more productive.
1. Nearly 3% of new hires look for new employment within
their first six months on the job. (Among millennials, Successful onboarding according to Workforce Magazine Implementing an onboarding system helps create a
that percentage is even higher and happens earlier.) (12/19/16) says,“Software can effectively support the balance between people and processes. Automating
onboarding process, and apps can aid what the Society for HR document management reduces inefficiencies,
2. 23% of new hires turn over before their first anniversary. Human Resource Management Foundation calls its four complexity, and costs. It also directly improves job
3. Organizational costs of employee turnover are estimated levers of successful onboarding: role clarity, self-efficacy, satisfaction through:
social integration, and knowledge of culture.”
to range between 100% and 300% of the replaced 1. Human engagement.
employee’s salary. Customization is important because one size software 2. Intuitive digital onboarding tools.
4. Typically, it takes eight months for a newly hired doesn’t fit all. What’s most effective is implementing a 3. Delivering self-service along the way.
employee to reach full productivity. “system”of different onboarding tools that can push all
the levers. For example, one area lacking in many HR tool Choosing the right partner is important.
Organizations of all sizes are experiencing problems boxes is the use of mobile apps.
with ineffective onboarding. Kristen Yetto, SVP, eBay Every business has their unique onboarding needs.
says,“When employees get off on the wrong foot at a All age groups continue to show a rise in smart phone use. Here are five of the biggest benefits:
corporation, it can have major implications for their long- Not surprising a 2015 Pew Research Center survey shows
term integration.”Yet, she points out the reality is most millennials are more likely than any other groups to use 1. Information gathering capability.
companies pay little attention to the onboarding process. their phones to find and apply for jobs. Mobile software 2. Use of industry-standard data practices.
can include employee directories, vacation calendars, 3. Different employee security levels that restrict
How’s your onboarding process? personal files, and more. All the information gives new
hires 24/7 access and a feeling of being“onboard”’their data access.
You may be experiencing: new work environment. 4. Quick new employee training through a

• Paperwork, large files, or multiple points of delivery. Onboarding builds job satisfaction and standardized process.
• Redundancy in data entry. reduces costly turnover. 5. A simplified process to follow federal guidelines (I-9
• Frustration with manual processes.
• Overload in the amount of paperwork. Most HR departments know that job satisfaction comes and other compliance forms can be filled out quickly).
• Problems manually managing application processes. with creating a seamless, comprehensive experience
• Staff who are overwhelmed with too much to do. that fully engages and integrates the new member into Onboarding technology is vital for staying competitive
• Employee frustration with outdated technology. the team. A 2016 ADOBE study found that in the U.S., in retaining, engaging, and keeping quality employees.
those employees who said their company’s technology is Finding an experienced partner can make the difference
Even if files begin as electronic forms too often they move “ahead of the curve”love their work about twice as much in integrating a system that is intuitive and self-sufficient.
on to be printed, mailed, and stored in paper files often and feel about twice as creative, motivated, and valued Your HR staff will thank you for being able to keep their
located in several different places, creating efficiency and compared to those at“behind the times”companies. perspective on people rather than handling documents.
consistency problems. Most troubling is the potential for Your business will benefit from improved services, reduced
opening a security breach. risk, and money saved — a win-win that can bring big
advantages immediately as well as over time.

by: Dan Rickert, Director of Solution Sales at
EO Johnson Business Technologies

839067 09-25-17

September 25, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 31

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