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Published by APG Media of Wisconsin, LLC, 2019-11-21 17:03:25

Business Leader | Summer 2017

Business Leader | Summer 2017

Keywords: business



New networking groups
spring up in the
Chippewa Valley


The Ellefson Group, LLC
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Permit #203
Eau Claire, WI

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2 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017


➤ Guest Columns �������������������������� Pages 8, 16 New networking groups emerge in the Chippewa Valley.
➤ Business Directory ������������������������� Page 14
➤ New Chamber CEO �������������������������� Page 15 Pg 12 Pg XPg 20 FEATURE STORIES
➤ Calendar ���������������������������������������� Page 17
➤ Book Review ���������������������������������� Page 18 Eau Claire has a growing Insurance agent, financial
➤ By The Numbers ����������������������������� Page 23 food truck scene. advisor ends storied career.

Graphic Design & Layout: COMMUNITY PROFILES
Magazine Advertising &
Distribution Coordinator:

[email protected]

Editor: Pg 10 Pg XPg 22

[email protected] Chiropractor named Bus tours provide day trips
Entrepreneur of the Year. for senior citizens.
715-833-9204, @ADowd_LT
a bidding war going on, and I didn’t like it that
After a dozen years of renting in Eau Claire, much to get wrapped up in that.
I finally started shopping for a house in
autumn. Ultimately, about six months after I started
Tales of this being a hot time to buy a home are spending weekends and off-hours browsing
true, especially in the price and size I had in mind. homes, I walked into a house and immediately
knew it was for me.
Articles on the market say that new listings
were only lasting for days, but my experience The listing went up at midday, and we had an
was the best deals got gobbled up in mere hours. offer to the sellers by 5 p.m.

One tour I scheduled for a couple days after If you’re looking to buy a home this summer,
a house was listed was canceled because that make sure your budget, loan preapproval and
house sold on the same day it appeared on Zillow. checklist of must-haves are all in line because
you might only have a couple hours to secure the
I was amid a slew of tours at another house on house you want.
a Wednesday afternoon, but there was already

Published four times per year by the Leader-Telegram advertising department. Copyright 2017 Eau Claire Press Co., 701 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire, WI 54J7u0n1.eAl1l r2ig,h2ts0re1s7erve♦d. 8B00U-2S36I-N70E77S.SleaLdEerAteDlegEraRm.c|om3

COVER STORY Mmiexnintgowristh

Staff photos by Marisa Wojcik
Organzier Tyler Anderson, a sophomore at UW-Eau Claire, listens to a presenter during the May 10 meeting of 1 Million Cups while fellow event
organizer and university senior Jessica Wicklund records the presentation with her smartphone.

New networking groups emerge in the Chippewa Valley to forge
relationships, share advice and enjoy a drink

TBy Eric Lindquist, Leader-Telegram staff opportunity in the Chippewa Valley to give and receive
wo UW-Eau Claire students stood in front of a information that can mean the difference between
group of Chippewa Valley business operators success and failure.
on a recent Wednesday morning and talked
about their fledgling coffee enterprise. Following is a rundown of some of these relatively
When the PowerPoint presentation was over, other new players in the local business networking scene.
local entrepreneurs asked questions, offered advice and
shared information about resources that could help the 1 Million Cups
student-run business called Blugold Roast. With the 1 Million Cups name based on the notion
that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network
This nurturing process — with presenters ranging over a million cups of coffee (offered at all meetings),
from Twin Cities entrepreneurs to local residents with the group’s motto is “caffeinating an entrepreneurial
potential business ideas — is repeated weekly as part nation.”
of 1 Million Cups, a national business networking and
entrepreneurship group that launched an Eau Claire The organization, started five years ago in Kansas
chapter in April. City, Mo., by the Kauffman Foundation, has spread to
116 communities.
Success in business is often about making connections
— with customers, the community and other businesses Ann Rupnow, entrepreneurship and economic
— and the launch of new networking groups gives local development coordinator for UW-Eau Claire’s College
business owners more options than ever to forge those of Business, said she attended a 1 Million Cups meeting
connections. in Fargo, N.D., a couple years ago after hearing about
the city’s strong entrepreneurship culture and came
Whether it’s over coffee at 1 Million Cups, over away impressed.
lunch at a Polka Dot Powerhouse social or over a beer
at a Musky Tank mixer, entrepreneurs have ample

4 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

“I came back thinking, ‘If Fargo can do it, we can do it meeting of the day, as she belongs to four such business groups
too,’ ” said Rupnow, one of the organizers of the Eau Claire and is a big believer in the concept.
chapter. “At its core, the idea is to support local entrepreneurs.”
“There’s always something you can learn from other
The concept calls for one or two early-stage businesses to businesses and startups,” she said, “and anything I’ve learned I
present their companies to their communities at each meeting. In like to give back so it goes both ways.”
Eau Claire, those meetings are held at 9 a.m. every Wednesday
at The Local Lounge, 2106 N. Clairemont Ave. Attendance has Despite the casual atmosphere at the gatherings, Rupnow
been averaging about 20 people per meeting. said she believes the group will prove beneficial to local
entrepreneurs and that in turn will boost the regional economy.
At the recent meeting featuring Blugold Roast, students
Nels Mowlem, a junior from Hutchinson, Minn., and Bradley “We’re doing a lot of education on those Wednesday mornings
Johnson, a freshman from Lake Geneva, described how the without it feeling like education,” she said. “It’s really kind of
business started last fall and is designed to give students fun, community educational thing — and a free cup of coffee.”
experience with sales, marketing, distribution, accounting,
inventory management and other business skills. Polka Dot Powerhouse
Eau Claire-based Polka Dot Powerhouse dubs itself a
The nonprofit company sells organic, artisan, premium quality “connection company” that is all about connecting the “Dots” —
coffee online, in bulk to local enterprises and brewed at a retail what members call each other.
stand on campus.
The group, which caters specifically to women in business,
“What makes us unique is that we are entirely student-run,” is different than 1 Million Cups in that it is a private enterprise
Johnson told the supportive crowd. and charges a membership fee ($299 for the first year and $199
annually after that). Its growth suggests there is strong demand
When the experience was over, Johnson said he thought for a group targeting the unique style of female entrepreneurs.
Blugold Roast could apply some of the tips from the crowd to
improve marketing and possibly get more students involved. Founder Shannon Crotty of Chippewa Falls launched Polka
Dot Powerhouse in October 2012 with a lone paid member
“We came here to seek advice because we know the people and still had only one member several months later, when she
who show up here are very business savvy and willing to help acknowledged “it looked like a failed idea.”
out,” he said. “We got what we came here for.”
But the concept began to take off in 2013 and now has grown
Katy Stevens, owner of N7 Cafe, a cold-brew, nitrogen-infused to 50 chapters in 21 states, with its first Canadian chapter set to
coffee company in Eau Claire, attended the meeting and was open this June.
happy to offer some feedback to the students. She hopes to be a
presenter in the near future. See page 6

For Stevens, 1 Million Cups was her second networking

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HOME June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 5


from Page 5

Musky Tank
Musky Tank mixers grew out of a desire by the founders of

the 2-year-old local consulting firm Musky Tank (a Wisconsin

twist on the ABC-TV business reality show “Shark Tank”)

to provide another opportunity for local business people to

connect and share ideas.

“One of our company’s key recommendations is

networking, networking, networking,” said Musky Tank

co-founder Pete Marsnik, so the mixers fit right in with that


The concept calls for setting aside networking time and

bringing in speakers to spark conversation about a variety of

topics relevant to startups and small businesses. Among the

topics addressed since the sessions started last fall are how to

start a business, plan for growth, finance a company and deal

Contributed photo with intellectual property.
Polka Dot Powerhouse, a “connection company” that provides networking for “Starting a company is really a body contact sport. When
businesswomen, started a few years ago in Eau Claire and has grown to
chapters in 21 states. you are starting a business, you can lose contact with people
because you are so focused on your idea,” Marsnik said. “The

“Women are seeking an extra layer in their business whole idea of the mixers is that you might learn something
relationships,” Crotty said. “The word we use a lot is there and you might make a connection that could help your
sisterhood. The group becomes like a second family for us.” business.”

That involves connecting with other businesswomen who Musky Tank partners with economic development
push each other to take their businesses to a higher level but corporations in Eau Claire, Dunn and Chippewa counties to
also help each other without condition, Crotty said. put on the events, which Marsnik said each have attracted 45
to 65 people, about three-quarters of whom are entrepreneurs.
“Oftentimes businesswomen feel like they’re on an island The meetings are held the second Wednesday evening of the
by themselves,” she said. “This group makes them feel like month, although organizers plan to suspend the mixers over
they’re not all alone.” summer after the 6:30 p.m. June 14 session at Tanglewood
Greens in Menomonie.
Denise Bender, managing director of the 125-member
Eau Claire chapter, put it this Attendance at
way: “Women do networking a the sessions is
little differently than men. We like
optional, although
to get to know each other first. We
attendees are asked
develop these personal relationships to register through
and then we know that when we
the muskytank.
recommend somebody’s business,
com website. As an
they will take good care of the
added bonus, the
person I recommended them to.”
networking is often
Bender, a consultant for direct
conducted over a
sales company Tastefully Simple,
said she got involved with Polka
“It’s been fun,
Dot Powerhouse at a time when she
and we’re getting
wanted to expand her business and
good engagement
was looking for a no-drama way to
and a lot of energy,”
make connections.
said Marsnik, also
“After two or three months, I
executive director
couldn’t stop going,” she said. “It Staff photos by Marisa Wojcik of Chippewa Valley
was extremely uplifting.” Mark Daigle, founder Mine the Bird, explains his technology company during a Angel Investors
1 Million Cups meeting in Eau Claire. Network.
Members attend one meeting a
month where they mingle with other

Dots and listen to a presentation on

topics ranging from social media and exercise tips to packing More the merrier
for business travel and developing an elevator pitch. Though Rupnow has been a key figure in founding the
Eau Claire 1 Million Cups chapter and Marsnik has played
The positive response has Crotty setting her corporate goals a similar role with the Musky Tank mixers, both attend the
high. other group’s meetings when they can.

“After seeing the impact we have on members, our goal The networking sessions are held at different times, offer
is to reach all of the women across the globe who need us,”
Crotty said.

6 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017


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Retired UW-Eau Claire College of Business Dean Diane
Hoadley, who has been involved in organizing the local
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“The more of these grassroots groups you have in your
community, the better off you are,” she said.

Contact: 715-833-9209, [email protected],
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June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 7


Breaking the hierarchy Jeff West is the owner of
Bear Down (,
Ditch the outmoded organizational chart to better an executive and executive
align roles with goals team coaching company based
in Eau Claire. He was a founder
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” and CEO of Silicon Logic
Engineering. He also currently
VINCE LOMBARDI, Green Bay Packers head coach (‘59-’67) 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].

By Jeff West the company needs.
Does your company use a traditional organizational chart? 5. R ole descriptions allow a greater degree of flexibility. As
If so, have you ever asked yourself why?
Have you ever evaluated how useful it is? situations change, it’s much easier to figure out what roles need
This is an example of how leaders question everything. Many to change, which allows a company to adapt faster than their
times it’s challenging the things that most organizations look right 6. Role descriptions force a level of clarity upon management.
over. Everyone has an org chart, right? If a role’s description is nebulous at best, maybe the role isn’t
necessary in the first place.
The typical org chart is focused on the business from a 7. For a company to truly be great, every person with a role
hierarchical perspective. It contains everyone’s “place” in description must minimally outperform his or her counterparts
the business. But is it the most effective way of organizing to in their competitors’ organizations. A company with this
accomplish what a business needs to get done? structure and the attitude it exudes will consistently outperform
their competition.
Among the most effective companies I’ve seen or worked with, 8. Maybe the most important is a sense of camaraderie develops
many have gotten rid of the traditional org chart. So why would a to a level that’s hard to create in command-and-control, org-
company do that and what replaces it? chart organizations. When everyone is clear on their role and
the company is clear on its purpose, a fellowship around being
Once organizations develop a strong understanding of their accountable to each other develops.
purpose it becomes much easier to identify what the structure of the With this model, over time, companies develop the internal
company needs to be in order to achieve its goals. capabilities for devising and carrying out plans for achieving
measurable goals no matter what obstacles get in the way.
If the company has taken the time to hire the right people instead A strong internal pride develops, along with true sense of being
of just, “filling open positions,” the roles required become obvious. on a great team. This is the secret sauce of great organizations.
Those roles describe what needs to be done by each individual Unfortunately most leaders of companies will never spend the
position, by each sub-group and by the company as a whole. time understanding the subtlety. They will happily continue on
with an organizational structure that doesn’t inspire anyone, yet
Companies that have abandoned the traditional org chart have complain about competitors who always seem to be two steps
different names such as role descriptions or accountability descriptions ahead. Of course it’s not their fault. They just don’t have the right
for each position and group. While it may seem a subtle difference employees or enough capital or <insert excuse of the moment here>.
between these and an org chart, that subtlety is often where the Imagine if your company was one great team with the full
magic comes from that takes a company from average to great. capability and readiness to achieve any goal, no matter what
Here are some of the advantages companies glean from this Ownership of planning and execution throughout an
approach: organization – not just those at the top – is the real key to
1. It discourages egos. When there are defined roles within a organizational greatness.
Remember what Vince Lombardi said about achievements being
business that need to be done, they are owned by individuals the results of the combined effort of each individual. Are each of
and groups of people within the organization with a clear your employees crystal clear on their role in your organization? Are
understanding of how it moves the organization forward. Job they clear how their performance – good or bad – affects company
titles then become unnecessary. outcomes?
2. When role descriptions are clear, everyone knows the part they If so, congratulations. You are a rare leader.
play in building a great organization. If not, why not, and what’s the cost to your organization for not
3. The company ends up with better accountability and alignment. doing it?
People know specifically what part they and the groups they
work with play in the overall success of the business. That leads
to a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in their jobs. Employees
that achieve this rarely leave these types of companies. Are you
having any problems with turnover or finding good employees
4. B y clearly understanding the structure required to achieve the
company’s goals, it’s much easier to identify what type of people

8 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

- Guest Article -

Open Road

By Attorney Paul Mirr – Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.

In recent years, food trucks have emerged as an increasingly popular way for people of all ages to indulge in their favorite street foods,
from barbeque to shaved ice to pizza to tacos…and on and on. One of the benefits of owning a food truck is that the startup costs are
generally much lower than starting up a traditional restaurant. If you are thinking about starting up a food truck of your own, pump the
brakes: below are some issues to consider before you jump into the driver’s seat (don’t worry: that was the last bad pun in this article).

State Regulations. All food trucks in Wisconsin and differing restrictions or requirements on mobile also contains insurance requirements, and provides
must comply with the Wisconsin Food Code food establishments based upon whether the that food trucks must not show any visible signs of
requirements for Restaurants or Retail Food establishment is“open air”(i.e., bicycle or push carts), rust or deterioration. The City of Altoona’s food truck
Establishments. In general, the Wisconsin Food “enclosed limited service”(i.e., small enclosed trailer), ordinance also restricts locations food trucks may
Code requires all food trucks, or technically“mobile or“enclosed full service”(i.e., large truck or trailer operate, and allows food trucks to operate between
food establishments”, to obtain a mobile food with full kitchen). Such restrictions or requirements the hours of 7am-10pm Friday-Saturday, and 10am-
establishment license and a service base license, include the minimum size of required hand washing 9pm Sunday-Thursday. The City of Hudson restricts
in addition to any permits or licenses required by facilities; ventilation system standards; minimum food trucks from operating on City-owned property
a specific municipality (for example, if you plan required fresh water supply; minimum size of waste or within the public right of way unless the use is
on operating in the City of Eau Claire, you will also storage tank(s); the types of equipment allowed or authored as party of a temporary special event, and
need to obtain a restaurant license from the City required inside the food truck; electric or gas supply the food truck must not make or cause to be made
and have your food truck pass inspection by the requirements; floor and wall finishes and lighting any excessive noise, lighting or other method of
Eau Claire Fire Department – more on municipal standards; and fire protection requirements. attracting public attention.
requirements below). A service base is“an operating In addition to the requirements contained in the Moral of the story: make sure to check with each
base location to which a mobile food establishment Wisconsin Food Code, food truck operators will local municipality to determine whether a food
or transportation vehicle returns regularly for need to obtain a Seller’s Permit from the Wisconsin truck ordinance or regulations exist, and if so, make
such things as vehicle and equipment cleaning, Department of Revenue before serving any food. sure your food truck operation is in compliance with
discharging liquid or solid wastes, refilling water Also, all licenses must be posted on the food truck for all local requirements, in addition to the State of
tanks and ice bins, and boarding food.”Wisconsin the public to view. Wisconsin’s requirements. The good news is that most
Food Code 1-201.10(B)(84). In essence, the service Local Municipal Rules/Ordinances. In addition of these items will be available on your municipality’s
base is a licensed facility where food for the mobile to the State of Wisconsin’s food truck requirements, website. Finally, don’t forget that most municipal
food establishment is stored or prepared, where several municipalities are beginning to pass food licenses must be annually renewed.
water is obtained and waste is disposed, and where truck ordinances to regulate food trucks operating
vehicle and equipment cleaning takes place. Food within the municipality’s limits. For example, the City Attorney Paul Mirr,
trucks must return to their services bases at least once of Eau Claire’s food truck ordinance restricts several Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
every 24 hours. Note that service bases cannot be things, such as a food truck’s hours of operation
a private home; instead, they must be a warehouse (8am-11pm), locations food trucks may operate 832089 06-12-17
or commercial space, a shared space from a licensed (i.e., no residential neighborhoods, must be 200 feet
restaurant or retail establishment, or a shared space away from existing brick-and-mortar restaurants,
from a licensable community kitchen. and cannot stay in one location for more than a four
The Wisconsin Food Code also requires that all mobile hour stretch), and describes certain public parks in
food establishments that prepare, handle or serve which food trucks operate (unless a special event is
unpackaged meals have a Certified Food Manager’s occurring at such parks). The Eau Claire ordinance
license. Additionally, the Code places very specific

June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 9


Chiropractic practice cracks into two more
cities after starting in Chippewa Falls

MARKETING By Chris Vetter, Leader-Telegram staff


for a digital age Lona Cook envisions that in the future, many
people will consider going to see a chiropractor on a
The Leader-Telegram is “more regular basis for preventative care, just like they go
than just a newspaper.” Leader to see a dentist.
Marketing Solutions offers multi-
platform marketing solutions for “People are educating themselves more on
ever-changing consumer demands. proactive health,” she said. “So many people are
aware of what else is out there.”
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Cook, 33, is owner of Cook Chiropractic, which
833160 6-12-17 opened in Chippewa Falls in 2010. The business was
going so well, she added a second site in Hudson in 2013. She has now added a third location in
Cadott, which just opened. She also has purchased
10 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017 the building in Chippewa Falls at 2029 Highway I,
which houses her clinic.

Between the three sites, Cook has six full-time
workers and two part-time employees. She is
looking at adding more staff.

“It grows every year,” she said. “We’ve had a big
growth in new patients in the past month, and I
attribute that to adding another person in my office.
We’ll have a busy day where we’ll see 100 people in
a day.”

Along with her three clinics, Cook has been
active in bringing her services to an onsite clinic
for Chippewa Falls school staff last year. She also
provides education about chiropractic health in
schools around the county, and she is president-elect
of the Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin.

Because of her growth and work in the industry,
Cook was honored in May as “Entrepreneur of
the Year” by the Chippewa County Economic
Development Corp. at its annual meeting.

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Charlie Walker, CCEDC executive director, said Whispering Hwy X
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“She’s a mover and shaker. She’s the best at what
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chiropractic care.
Many of her clients have hard, physical jobs, which
is why they opt to see a chiropractor, she said.
A friendly environment is another reason for the
business’s growth, she said.
“You walk in here, it’s not medical-looking,” she
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Cook said she enjoys the work.
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Contact: 715-723-0303, [email protected]

June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 11

Staff photos by Steve Kinderman


Customers line up to place their orders on May 20 at the Biggie and Bull BBQ trailer parked at Lazy Monk Brewing. It is one of several food trucks that park outside
the downtown Eau Claire brewery during warmer months.

Heating up Eau Claire’s food truck scene is getting warmer,
but license to use parks gets cold reception

By Lauren French, Leader-Telegram staff Those who instead sell on private property, such as
those parked outside of Lazy Monk Brewing, say they
Janice Amenson waltzed up to the order window of enjoy partaking in Eau Claire’s burgeoning street food
Big Girl Street Foods on the corner of Oxford Avenue scene and making connections with other businesses.
and West Madison Street and propped her elbows on
the ledge. There are nine vendors licensed to operate a food
truck on private property in Eau Claire, which is up by
“What do I want for supper tonight?” Amenson a couple when compared to prior years, according to the
playfully asked Randy Kuhnert, owner of the food truck. city clerk’s office.

Amenson and Kuhnert bantered back and forth for Food with personality
a while before she settled on a basket of piggy fingers
— deep-fried pork tenderloins — and Parmesan fries. Kuhnert inherited what was then called Big Girls Hot
Amenson took a bite, smiled, lingered for a while and Dogs from his father after he died and has been running
was soon continuing her walk through downtown. the truck for about five years. A key to success, he says?
A big personality.
She joins countless others in Eau Claire who enjoy the
convenience of quirky curbside eats, and said she’d like “You have to have a little carnie in you, almost, to do
to see more of them around. this,” he said.

Last year, the city of Eau Claire expanded its rules The food truck business isn’t Kuhnert’s only livelihood
regarding where food trucks can set up shop. With — he also owns a tavern and an auto repair shop.
proper licensing and some exceptions, vendors can
now operate on city streets and in parks. But no vendor For her part, Amenson, who knows Kuhnert from
has opted to pay for and obtain that license yet, citing going to his auto shop, said she likes food trucks for
concerns that ordinance limitations combined with a their personality and convenience. Stopping by Lazy
young food truck culture would make business hard.

12 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

Monk’s corner, where food trucks considering the license that would

are frequently stationed in warmer allow them on city streets and in

months, on her walk home from parks but haven’t decided yet. If

work is a habit, she said. there’s no event to guarantee a

“Honestly, I’d like to see more draw of hungry visitors, Hebert

(food trucks in the area) because said the chances of setting up in a

it’s a convenience,” Amenson said park and not making a profit are

while she waited for her food to higher.

be ready. “Tonight, I was going to Kuhnert said the cost of the

go to the store and decided to stop license isn’t yet worth the chance

here. And then it’s Randy’s truck! of a low-earning day, but he

It’s his personality.” appreciates the chance for more

While Kuhnert said running a flexibility.

food truck is “never not fun,” it Eau Claire City Councilwoman

takes a lot of passion to commit to Catherine Emmanuelle, a backer of

a business with long hours and a last year’s food truck policy, said

sometimes risky payoff. the expansion is a good start. But

On a typical food truck day, she adds that this season will bring

Kuhnert starts prepping food at 6 feedback for potential changes to

a.m., has the trailer delivered to the the policy next year.

venue, heats up the appliances and “I think (the policy) should be

is ready to go by about 10 a.m. He revisited because the amount of

could then work until 10 p.m., not applicants is low,” Emmanuelle

including cleaning and the drive Hope Knepper, right, and her cousin Abbie Knepper said. “That would be indicative that
home. Sometimes the monetary stoke the fire at the barbecue cooker at Biggie and something more needs to be done
gain is great, Kuhnert said, and Bull on a rainy day. to better work with businesses.”

other times, not so much. See page 14

“There are days where I could go to my regular job and BUSINESS LOANS & SERVICES
make a lot more money,” he said. “But I do enjoy that

little old lady walking by and saying, ‘Great curds!’ and

(Amenson) walking by and trying different stuff. I get a kick

out of that.”

Is Eau Claire ready? Federally insured by NCUA

While many view the nature of a food truck as casual and Business Loans & Services
spontaneous, starting one isn’t always like that.
Our local business loan professionals are experienced,
Estimates from the Eau Claire City-County Health friendly, knowledgeable and ready to serve you and your
Department place general food truck startup costs between business needs.
$5,000 and $10,000, including the mobile establishment itself,
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After a push from some Eau Claire residents resulted in
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and parks, vendors have greater flexibility in where they Agriculture Loans
choose to do business. That license costs $250.
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However, the license doesn’t allow food trucks to set up
shop in areas that have a scheduled event occurring. That (800) 924-0022 |
catch is a reason to pause for many vendors.

“When you have a really large city, the population can
support you being out and about,” said Pete Hebert,
executive chef for The Hubb, a new food truck that is a sister
company to Wagner’s Lanes. “I don’t know if Eau Claire is
quite ready. I think they want to be ready, but we’re growing
into the food truck scene.”

Hebert said he and other operators of The Hubb are still

June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 13

from Page 13 “Before you buy one,” Hebert added, “go ahead and talk
to your local health department and make sure you’re ready
When it comes to the events concern, Emmanuelle said she and prepared for what they’re going to need for you to be
thinks it’s important to maintain a balance where food trucks successful.”
can thrive, but also protect vendors who have committed to
an event from competitors not under the event’s umbrella. Emmanuelle said any bumps along the way in licensing for
food trucks will be worth it in the end.
Whatever kind of license he has, Hebert said he enjoys
connecting with the community and signing The Hubb up “Eau Claire is this community that is very interested in
for special events, such as the Blue Ox Music Festival. (Food supporting start-up businesses,” she said, “and finding that
trucks can operate in parks without the new license as long sweet spot — pun intended — for food trucks in Eau Claire is
as they’re part of a special event that has a separate license to going to be worth it.”
use city property.)
Contact: 715-830-5828, lauren.french@ Featured in
“It’s just a different venue,” Hebert said of the food truck, @LaurenKFrench on Twitter this article:
scene. “It’s one you can play with a little more. You can do
anything.” • F or more information on setting up
a food truck business, visit ci.eau-
The future of food trucks
When it comes to deciding whether to open a food truck,
Kuhnert and Hebert both point to planning ahead and Emmanuelle
knowing why you want to pursue the business.

“As with any business, be prepared to work long hours
and work very hard,” Kuhnert said. “Maybe go to work for
a food vendor for a summer and just make sure this is what
you really want to do.”


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Chamber's new LakeGHaallmieeGoIlfmClupbrovSemereinets
CEO starts July 1 Three-Lesson Package
One 60 minute swing evaluation
By Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff plus two 30-minute followups
One Person .......................................$99
Superior native David Minor will start Two People .....................................$129
serving as the Eau Claire Area Chamber of “Supervised Practice”
Commerce's president and CEO on July 1. Available to current and former students
For the past 23 years, he has served as the Consolidate Improvement/
leader of the Superior-Douglas County Area Minor Coaches on hand to monitor your practice
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Chamber of Commerce, which also runs a visitor’s bureau named Includes unlimited range balls & access to Practice
Travel Superior and a foundation.
“I would not be leaving Superior for any other chamber in the Scheduled Practice Sessions:
state but this one,” he said on May 31 when his hiring to the Eau Tuesday 6:00 till 8:00
Claire job was announced. Thursday 4:00 till 6:00
Minor also knows his predecessor, calling Bob McCoy both a
mentor and a friend. McCoy retired on June 2 after 23 years of Saturday Mornings 10:00 till Noon
serving as president and CEO of the Eau Claire chamber.
Between McCoy's last day and Minor’s start date, Scott More sessions to be determined based on demand. 715-861-5442
Biederman of local business consulting firm Musky Tank will serve
as the chamber's interim president.
Though Minor already is familiar with the Eau Claire area from 832987 • 6-12-17
his time serving a chamber just a few hours north of it on U.S. 53,
the new CEO plans to get better acquainted with local businesses in
his first months on the job.
“I certainly have a handle, but there’s a lot I can learn about
what’s going on,” he said.
Minor’s wife, Jackie, is finishing up 30 years as leader of the
Superior-Douglas County Family YMCA. Their two children are
grown and away from home, but David Minor noted the move gets
them a little closer to a daughter in La Crosse.
The new job also means leading a larger business community.

John Long Your Business. Better.
Systems Administrator
At EO Johnson we’re powered by relationships.
W.S. Darley & Co. Partnerships with customers, vendors, and each
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“ 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

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832086 6-12-17

June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 15


The future of small Kathryn Noe is a financial
business looks brighter advisor and managing
partner at River Prairie
Wealth Partners, a
private wealth practice
of Ameriprise Financial
Services, Inc. The practice
has its office at 2423
Rivers Edge Drive, Altoona.

Continued bull market, potential to cut regulations aids owners' optimism

By Kathryn Noe to help support, sustain and grow their companies.
More important than easier access to credit, small
Small business owners are reporting a brighter outlook
on the prospects for growth, according to a survey of business owners consider tax reform to be the No.
1,000 of them in spring’s Bank of America Small Business 1 priority for Congress, according to the National
Owner Report. Federation of Small Business.

The semiannual report finds that small business Small businesses account for around half of U.S.
owners’ confidence in the economy is at its highest GDP and the private sector is responsible for two out
recorded level in five years and that those surveyed are of every three jobs in our nation. Lowering tax rates for
experiencing less concern over several predominant small businesses, which pay a higher rate than large
economic issues such as consumer spending, corporate corporations, could prove significant to millions of
tax rates, the strength of the U.S. dollar and stock market. entrepreneurs as well as the economy.

Of the entrepreneurs polled in the Bank of America At the center of the proposed tax reform is lowering the
survey, 52 percent believed the economy would improve corporate tax rate from a current maximum of 35 percent
over the next 12 months. That’s a significant 21 percent to 15 percent. This cut applies to what the tax code calls
increase from just six months ago in the fall 2016 survey “C corporations” such as Fortune 500 companies like
when only 31 percent were confident in economic AT&T, Ford and General Electric. This goal largely has
improvement. bipartisan support because the U.S. corporate tax rate is
among the highest in the world, and it is believed this
With the current – and second longest – bull market major cut could incentivize companies to hire and invest.
having recently turned the ripe age of 8, it’s not surprising
that only 34 percent of small business owners are Why is this important for small business? The vast
concerned about the stock market – a 16 percent decrease majority of small businesses are set up as pass-through
from six months ago. entities such as a sub S corporation or limited liability
company. Currently owners of these pass-through
Another explanation of such optimism is the current businesses report business profits as personal income,
legislative environment in Washington, D.C., that could therefore paying maximum tax rates of up to 39.6 percent
prove especially pivotal for small business owners. Tax on those profits. As currently proposed, business income
reform, deregulation and the potential repeal of the Dodd- would be taxed at a reduced single rate of 15 percent
Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act rather than at the personal rate of the shareholders.
are among the reasons entrepreneurs are feeling hopeful.
It remains to be debated whether these reforms are
Already facing limited capital and resources, small viable and will find life in Congress, however, the current
businesses find themselves additionally burdened by outlook for business remains strong.
aggressive regulations and expensive compliance that
often create barriers for the entrepreneurs who need it While it could be argued that the positive sentiment
most. Dodd-Frank, for example, has inhibited some small among small business owners is being viewed through
businesses and homebuyers seeking credit. The possible rose-colored glasses spurred by lofty proposed legislation,
repeal of Dodd-Frank could mean easier access to credit cautious optimism – for now – is appropriate.
for millions of businesses, an increase in homebuyers and
a stimulated economy. As with anything, only time will tell.

According to the Bank of America study, more than 40
percent of small business owners have applied for loans

16 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

June - September CALENDAR

June 20: Business Hall of Fame Luncheon, noon, Eau Claire July 20: Start a Small Business in Eight Steps class, 1-4 p.m.,
Golf & Country Club, 828 Clubview Lane, Altoona. Cost: $25. Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin
Register: or 715-834-1204. St. Cost: $29. Register: or 715-836-7511,
ext. 1171.
June 20: Business Plan Basics class, 6-9 p.m., Western
Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: July 25: Cyber Security Risks presentation by Jeff Olejnik
$29. Register: or 715-836-7511, ext. 1171. of WIPFLI, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Room 54, Dunn County
Community Service Building, 3001 U.S. 12 E., Menomonie.
June 21: Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Cost: Free. Info: [email protected] or 715-386-9050.
Success Series: Jim Loffler, founder and CEO of Loffler Cos.
7:30 a.m., Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, 1221 Aug. 10: Business Record Keeping 101 class, 5-7 p.m., Western
Whipple St. Cost: $25 chamber members, $45 nonmembers. Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost:
Register: or 715-834-1204. $29. Register: or 715-836-7511, ext. 1171.

June 22: Microsoft Excel Intermediate Comprehensive Aug. 22: Mechanics of Starting a Small Business class, 5-7
Session, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., CVTC Chippewa Falls Campus, p.m., Western Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418
770 Scheidler Road. Cost: $119. Register: Wisconsin St. Cost: $29. Register: or
715-836-7511, ext. 1171.
June 22-23: Supervisory Management: Recruiting and
Retaining Top Performers course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn Aug. 23: Supervisory Management: Diversity in the
South, 4751 Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $600. Register: ce.uwec. Workplace course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, 4751
edu or 715-836-3636. Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $300. Register: or 715-
July 11: Business QuickBooks class, 6-9 p.m., Western
Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost: Sept. 6: Meet Menomonie & Job Fair to introduce new
$99. Register: or 715-836-7511, ext. 1171. university students to the community and employers, 5-7 p.m.,
Johnson Field House, UW-Stout campus, Menomonie
July 19: Supervisory Management: Maximizing Team Talent
and Motivation course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, Sept. 12: Business QuickBooks class, 6-9 p.m., Western
4751 Owen Ayres Court. Cost: $300. Register: or Dairyland Community Action Agency, 418 Wisconsin St. Cost:
715-836-3636. $99. Register: or 715-836-7511, ext. 1171.

July 20: Microsoft Excel Advanced Comprehensive Session, Sept. 21-22: Supervisory Management: Negotiation Skills
8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., CVTC Business Education Center, 620 W. course, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Holiday Inn South, 4751 Owen Ayres
Clairemont Ave. Cost: $119. Register: Court. Cost: $600. Register: or 715-836-3636.


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
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June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 17


Reclaiming your weekends

‘Cult of overwork’ cuts into free time earned by Title: “The Weekend Effect.”
previous generations Author: Katrina Onstad.
Pages: 304.
By Terri Schlichenmeyer Publisher: HarperOne
The Bookworm (c.2017)

Zzzzzzzzzip. And yet, Onstad says, if someone asked you what
That was the sound of your last weekend as it you’d do with free weekends, you might struggle
passed by, but it probably doesn’t matter anyhow: it with a list. Think: You can actually visit with real
was packed with work, to-do lists and obligations, people, in-person. You could volunteer more, read
kids sports and more work. Sometimes you wonder more, attend more church or go for more walks.
why you even bother. You might as well just go to
the office – but first, read “The Weekend Effect” by In short, you can stop and learn to do less.
Katrina Onstad before you zip out Friday afternoon. What would you do with two unencumbered
When was the last time you had two full days days? Imagine the possibilities and then read “The
without plans? Weekend Effect.”
If you’re like most working adults, answering While it might seem that few people need
may take you a few minutes. Chances are, it’s been convincing when it comes to taking time off, author
awhile; like millions of North American employees, Onstad shows in her first pages why some people
our weekend is “not a weekend at all.” feel trapped into working more. Readers might see
Much like the seven-day week, weekends are themselves in some of Onstad’s short profiles – we
man-made things: Ancient civilizations created our obviously have similarly driven compatriots – as
modern week, the Old Testament demarked a day we learn why a “cult of overwork” is detrimental to
of rest, and employers tried forcing workers to toil both individual and to a business. Yes, we can brag,
most of both. but it’s unsustainable, and we’re hurting ourselves
In 1791, U.S. carpenters held the first strike over as it turns out.
hours; the eight-hour day started to take hold in Once you have the ammo needed to try to make
the late 1800s; Henry Ford introduced a five-day change, Onstad offers things that might now take
workweek in 1926; and generally, there we were up that newly gotten free time. There’s a surprise
until the digital age, when employees could – and do in that: Whatever you think you like to do on your
– carry work with them everywhere. weekends, you could be doing it all wrong.
Considering that 15th century serfs enjoyed a This book is eye-opening, but it may also tell you
holiday-filled church calendar, says Onstad, you something you already know: You work too hard.
may work more now than a medieval peasant. For confirmation, though, or for further reasons why
That’s not good for mind or body, and employers you need shut off your phone and find a hammock,
are starting to recognize that. “The Weekend Effect” has that all zipped up.
Known for obsessively-focused marathon
workweeks, Silicon Valley may taketh away, The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer.
but it also giveth: some high-tech start-ups offer Terri has been reading since she was 3
employees flex-time and demand down-time. years old and never goes anywhere without
Your boss may welcome happier employees who a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin
aren’t so stressed. Four-day workweeks aren’t rare with two dogs and 15,000 books.
anymore, nor are half-day Fridays.

18 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

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June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 19

into it

After partially retiring 21 years ago,
James Ganther, Jr. finally puts a
storied career to rest

Staff photo by Marisa Wojcik
James Ganther, Jr. retired in April after 57 years of selling insurance and giving

financial advice at Principal Financial Group in Eau Claire.

By Andrew Dowd, Leader-Telegram staff goes in to sell insurance, pretty soon they’re out of it.’
Advising clients on their retirement savings is one of James And that was true because 9 out 10 that went into the life

Ganther, Jr.’s specialties. insurance at the time, failed.
But for a guy who helps people plan what to do after they Why make the switch then?
At that time there were 20 jobs for each applicant in
finish their careers, he was in no hurry to finish his working
years. the recreation field. There was no worry that if I failed
at insurance, I could easily go back and work there or
At 84 years old, the agent at Eau Claire’s office for Principal somewhere else in the field.
Financial Group has finally decided to pass his clients along
to his son Jay, who has worked at the firm for 18 years. How has your job changed through the years?
Originally it was health insurance. And it was health
It was the elder Ganther’s second try at retirement – he insurance that kept me in the business the first five to 10
“officially” retired 21 years ago as far as 401(k) contributions years. Life insurance is not an easy thing to sell or convince
go, but kept on working for the firm under a retiree contract. people that they need.
Then it phased into where I was doing almost all life
The early days insurance for many years. And then probably 20 years ago,
I got into the investments big time.
After graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1959 Now it’s probably 30 percent life insurance and 70 percent
with a degree in recreational leadership, Ganther got a job investments.
managing a recreation center in St. Paul. But he sought a way
to return to his hometown. Being a good sport

What brought you back to Eau Claire after college? A few of his awards have wandered up from a basement
I wanted to get back to Eau Claire for a selfish reason. That room filled with trophies, plaques and sports memorabilia.
was to play sports. I played football in the touch football His home office has a row of trophies topped with different
league. Basketball in the YMCA league. Softball in Eau Claire figures – one hitting a softball, the next pitching a horseshoe
leagues. Baseball in surrounding communities – Howard, and another carrying a briefcase.
Lake Hallie.
What led you into the insurance field? How many trophies do you have at home?
I answered a blind ad in 1959 put in the paper by Richard I can tell you I had 50 plaques or trophies because of
O’Brien of Banker’s Life; he was the manager. It didn’t say insurance or selling investments. All the trophies in the
anything about insurance. So he took me out to the White basement relate to athletic competition – horseshoes, baseball,
House (an Eau Claire supper club) to eat there. He was telling softball. My guess would be around 250 of those.
me this was life insurance, how much money you can make How long were you active in softball and horseshoes?
and the value of it. I’ve been active in horseshoes for 70 years and active in
I lived on the east side of Eau Claire with my mother at the softball for about 70 years. Our softball team was world slow-
time. So when I came home, my mother said ‘what was that pitch champions for 4 out of 6 years a few years back. I quit
all about?’ softball four years ago now, but I still do horseshoes.
I said it was about selling life insurance.
She said, ‘Jimmy you don’t want to do that! Everybody that

20 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

In terms of softball, I’ve gone to 37 world tournaments. A lot of companies back a few years ago started dropping
For horseshoes, I’ve gone to about 17 world horseshoe their defined pension plans and went to 401(k) plans where the
tournaments. participant will be sharing in saving some money. The people that
don’t have access to that have to do it through IRAs or some other
Selling insurance consistent investing.

Life insurance – a product the buyer will literally not be around When that shift from pensions to 401(k)s occurred, how
to enjoy the benefits of – can be a tough sell to people, but Ganther did your job change?
found early on in his career that it’s very important.
With the fact that the employer was not doing as much in
Insurance is a pretty dry subject. How do you get people retirement planning, that did open it up for more individuals.
interested in talking about it?
Now the individual – whether he’s aggressive or he’s moderate
I usually try to talk about some things that are funny. So we can or he just wants good guarantees – can pick and choose in the
get a good relationship back and forth. The key thing is to get them 401ks and IRAs and other savings, what he wants to do with it.
interested in the subject of life insurance and investments. And
show them what each of those items can do in certain situations. And therefore our advice becomes more valuable.
What do you think is the current state of retirement
What kinds of stories would you use to illustrate how life savings for the general population. Are most people behind,
insurance comes in handy? ahead or at the right level?
I think most people are behind somewhat. Because when all the
When I first went into the business I knew I had to do so much in pressure is put onto each of us to get the job done, then we can find
terms of sales to keep my job. many other things that take away from that.

Not too long in the business, I had a fella home on leave who I Helping out
wrote insurance for, killed himself in a motorcycle accident. That
was my first claim. That’s when I realized how important it is to A newspaper article laying out on the Ganthers’ dining room
have life insurance. table is about a local high school student who was honored for her
performance in school. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’ll soon get
How many clients have you had with life insurance? the Jim and Gloria Ganther Youth Recognition Award. The couple
At one time I had over 5,000 clients who had life insurance have been sending certificates and checks to students they read
with me. Now that’s phased down, to maybe 3,500 that have life about in the paper or elsewhere who they feel deserve recognition.
When did you decide to start doing this?
All by hand I had a lady client in Barron about six years ago who said ‘I don’t
like giving to all these charities. You don’t know if the money gets
During his long career, Ganther racked up records in the there and is used properly or not. What I do is I see people in the
industry. He won the National Sales Achievement Award for all 48 community who are doing well and send them a check.’
years it was handed out – requiring him to write at least 100 life It wasn’t my idea. But it was that idea where I said, ‘Hey, why
insurance policies annually. don’t we develop something like that?’
Do you know how many checks you’ve sent out?
Did you ever keep a running total of the policies you’ve I’d guess we’d sent out about 100 checks a year.
written? They aren’t that large. They aren’t a big deal. Except to these kids
it’s a big deal.
No, I’ve never kept a tally. But one year I wrote 540 applications We hear back that it’s going toward their education. We get a lot
in 15 months. Since I was the only one to ever write 100 of them saying ‘that’s nice, sending a check to people you don’t
applications 48 years or more, I had to be one of the top members know.’
in the industry. Contact: 715-833-9204, [email protected],
@ADowd_LT on Twitter
During that span when you wrote 540 applications – You
weren’t on computers back then, were you?

No, no, no. I had to fill out all these forms by hand.
Here I am today still doing the same thing. Now my son, the
systems he’s got in place pretty much fill them out.
Do you use a computer now?
I can’t even turn on a computer, that’s terrible.
But I’ve seen so many people that are coming into the business
that got so computer-oriented that they never got away from the
computer to see the people. To me the big thing is you’ve got to
see the people.

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June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 21

Pamela Powers
Janet Adams of rural Elmwood
started On the Go Bus, a business
that creates one-day bus trips
primarily for area seniors.

Get on the bus
Day trip business provides social outlet for seniors
By Pamela Powers, Leader-Telegram staff
MENOMONIE said. “I am a small business owner, and I want to help support
other small businesses. It is business-to-business relationship
Janet Adams of rural Elmwood wants to see people hop on building.”
the bus to stay active.
Adams, 53, who moved to the area about a year ago, The coaches used for On the Go Bus are charted from
started On the Go Bus, a one-day bus trip business after Kobussen Buses in Bloomer, Adams said.
leaving a 30-year career at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison
coordinating major events for the hospital and 13,000 members She currently is planning to do one to two trips each month.
of its senior citizens club. The next trip is a June 28 return to the Old Log Theater to
see “Ghost the Musical.” A Wisconsin Dells theater is the
“Coordinating events and having fun is kind of in my destination for upcoming trips to see the musical “Grease” on
wheelhouse,” Adams said. “I wanted to start something on my July 13 and a John Denver tribute show on Sept. 8.
So far Adams plans to only offer day trips, but if there is
Adams said she has always enjoyed working with retirees demand she may offer overnight tours, said the mother of two
and knows it is important for them to stay active and socialize. grown children.

“I think they have so many life experiences,” she said. “It’s “The possibilities are endless,” said Adams, who is married
fascinating to learn what they have experienced in life. They to her husband, Craig. “It is just going to take time to find out
just have so much to share.” what people are really looking for.”

The first trip for On the Go Bus was a May 17 outing to the This not Adams’ first foray into the small business world.
Old Log Theater in Excelsior, Minn., where they took in the In the late 1980s she started Stork Express, where she
play, “The Savannah Sipping Society.” delivered gift baskets to new moms in the hospital in a stork
costume. She also would attend baby showers in costume. She
Jan Link of Knapp attended the first trip and loved it. sold the business after a couple of years.
“It was just so convenient and you meet new people.” Link Adams’ mom, Betty Riemann, 74, of rural Mondovi, will
said. “It was fun, and I just really had a good time. It was so serve as trip host on the tours.
nice not to have to worry about traffic.” “This is not only a great opportunity for her to meet new
Link plans to attend future trips and encourage her friends people, but how awesome is it that I get the opportunity to
to go along. have some fun with my mom,” Adams said.
For Adams, half the fun of the trips will be to play Riemann said she is thrilled her daughter asked her to be
games and hand out prizes to travelers as they go to their part of the trips.
destinations. “I feel so happy to be part of her new business,” Riemann
The goal is to get travelers to talk and interact with each said, noting she is looking forward to her adventures with
other and make new friends, Adams said. On the Go Bus.
In addition to providing a social outlet, Adams also wants to Contact: 715-556-9018, [email protected],
help promote other area businesses with On the Go Bus. @MenomonieBureau on Twitter
As the bus travels, she plans stops in communities. She • To learn about future trips sign up for email
wants to have coupons for area businesses to encourage her announcements at [email protected], www.facebook.
clientele to visit them. Businesses could also offer a small gift com/OntheGoBus or call Adams at 715-619-6064.
that will be part of a gift bag to travelers.
“I want my customers to help support other businesses,” she

22 | BUSINESS LEADER ♦ June 12, 2017

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June 12, 2017 ♦ BUSINESS LEADER | 23

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