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301 posts categorized "Networking events"

May 09, 2013

Not Westminster, but CeleBARK promises fun for dogs, familes

When the contests include worst doggy breath and owner/pet lookalikes, you know it isn't the Westminster Dog Show.

50edebd513994.imageHowever, you can bet your last collar that Saturday's CeleBARK Your Dog Day in the "backyard" of Rochester's Eagle Club will be a lot more fun for both pets and their families.

Pam Miller, owner of the mobile Bone Appetit Canine Bakery Unleashed, is sponsoring the family-friendly event to honor beloved dogs of all kinds, even those that might have a bit of halitosis. People are encouraged to bring well-behaved dogs that are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Look for local celebrity judges Marcia Fritzmeier and Dr. Vicki Hunt to brave the bad breath, measure the longest ears and select the most similar dog/owner pair.

Fritzmeier is the handler of Mayo Clinic's popular therapy dog, Dr. Jack. Likewise, Hunt works with the therapy dog, Hershey. Hershey is known "Mr. June" from his appearance in the Rescued Dogs Calendar put out by Paws and Claws.

To help mark the first anniversary of the mobile version of her gourmet dog treat business, Miller wanted to host a fun and different kind of bash.

"I'd like it to become kind of a signature event," she says.

For the humans, both young and old, there will be games, contests, demonstrations and food. There even will be a treasure hunt similar to the Rochesterfest Medallion Hunt.

While fun is a big part of the fest by Bear Creek, it also will be about helping dogs find homes with good families.

"Part of my passion is to try and help rescue groups with their mission," says Miller.

Six rescue groups from Southeastern Minnesota will show off dogs available for adoption, as well as raise money to support their organizations.

While Miller has been locally-known for her homemade, preservative-free dog treats, she began driving her canine bakery and dog accessories shop on wheels to Rochester dog parks last summer.

"We go where the dogs and their owners are," she said.

Miller prides herself on offering the most current and unique products for dogs and the people who love them.

She says CeleBARK is just another way to help her business stand out from the pack.

Woof.

Tag: Columnist, blogger and reporter Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street.
Infobox headline: CeleBARK Your Dog Day
Infobox text: BACB Unleashed is sponsoring the free event. which is open to families and their well-behaved dogs.

• Saturday.

• From 11 a.m. to  2 p.m.

• Behind the Eagles Club at 917 15th Ave S.E. in Rochester.

For more information, go to www.BACBunleashed.com.

August 02, 2012

Changes, honors for Roch. Area Builders

After more than five years as the high-profile public affairs director of Tony-Lehrmanthe Rochester Area Builders organization, Tony Lehrman is moving on to a build a career on another foundation.

Lehrman, who will remain in the area, has taken a position with Mayo Clinic. His final day with the Rochester Builders is Aug. 10.

At the Rochester Area Builders networking event this week, Lehrman made his public good-byes, while a face familiar to the local construction community returned to the group to accept some honors.

Sandy-FriendSandy Friend, who was the executive director of the Rochester Area Builders for 20 years, was inducted into the Builders Association of Minnesota Hall of Fame.

This is an honor reserved for people "who make a significant and lasting contribution to the Minnesota housing industry ... It’s about long-term commitment of service, time, and talent made to better the residential construction industry," according to the state Builders Association.

Friend, who retired at the end of 2010, is only one of 40 people who have been named to the Hall of Fame since it was created in 1994.

Beside the statewide honor, Friend was also presented with a lifetime honorary membership to the Rochester Area Builders by current Executive Director John Eischen at Tuesday's event.

April 12, 2012

Home Design Studio goes dark

While it has been for sale for a while, it looks like the once-red-hot Home DesgnStudio showroom building along West Circle Drive in Northwest Rochester is now completely cold and dark.

04112012homedesignstudio1Staff of the Studio plus Home Improvement Professionals and the Olmsted County Lumber Mart moved out on Friday and shifted their offices to the remaining space they have in Byron.

I'll have more details soon, but this move has gotten me remembering the golden days in the fall of 2006 when this massive, multi-level 32,000-square-foot showroom opened its doors and flipped on the hundreds of fancy light fixtures made the complex glow like a spaceship at night.

Homedesign studio August 15Pictures from Business After Hours and Builders events held there in 2006 and in 2007 during that time show a big shiny place bustling with smiling people. Most of the folks I can indentify have long Homedesignicesince made forced career changes, lost jobs, had businesses go under and have faced a variety of other difficulties.

That was also the same time that Rochester Market Square, another home construction mall, also opened on t Homedesignstudio2in2006he south side of the Med City. That has since retracted quite a bit and its developers finally sold it to an out-of-state corporation.

Homesdesignbah1in2006
It is quite simply a bygone era.
I realize how much better Rochester has fared than most during these turbulent times. However, it is my impression that most of the survivors from those days have a lot more scars today than they had then.

Moving beyond maudlin memories, I am wondering what kind of business might buy this cavernous place and what could it be used for. It is fantastic rambling showroom.

But not many businesses go that big anymore. Maybe a furniture store or an Aquarius-style dance club?

We'll see, I guess.

January 25, 2012

Window maker exec on how her business weathers bad economy

I feel compelled to confess that I did not have very high expectations when I walked into the Rochester Area Builders meeting last night to cover the president of Marvin Windows talk about the economy.

However, I quickly upgraded my attitude as Susan Marvin began her engaging and interesting presentation.

Here's part of what I wrote for today's paper. Thanks to Mike Pruett of MLT for the pics.

People, community and commitment are the basic building blocks to create a foundation for a business to weather any economic storm and even grow during tough times.

DSC_0663Susan Marvin, president of the popular and successful Marvin Windows and Doors of Warroad, Minn, shared her 100-year-old, family-owned company's philosophy at the Rochester Area Builders annual meeting Tuesday night.

"We serve all of our stakeholders — our employees, our customers and the community," she told the attentive crowd of more than 200 at the Rochester International Events Center.

Marvin and her straightforward approach to business and opinions on the economy hit the national stage in the fall, when the New York Times wrote about her and the international window-making company based in a small Minnesota town of just 1,700 people.

The story generated an "incredible response" across the country and soon Marvin was appearing on CNN, Bloomberg Television and even President Obama discussing the window-making company during a speech.

"It is a story people were hungry to hear," she said.

While she describes a simple business approach, Marvin acknowledges that is not easy one.

"The last few years have been very tough. The economy went into recession and the home building industry went into a depression, one deeper than the Great Depression, with unemployment in our industry hitting 30 percent at one point," she said.

While her family's company was in a very strong position with money on hand and no debt when the worst of the home construction slump started in 2009, she and her siblings realized they had to make some changes.

"We realized immediately that we had to do everything differently," she said.
DSC_0670
The Marvin family's first decision was a key one. The company would not cut any employees.

"While a layoff would have been easier, the community would have been devastated," she told the crowd. "We kept the people, but cut everything else — wages, bonuses, travel reimbursements, 401(k)s — everything that didn't contribute to the bottom line."

Marvin Windows employs about 4,300 people, 2,000 of whom work in the small northern Minnesota town of Warroad, where her grandfather founded a lumber yard in 1904.

The town and the company are intertwined. In fact, her father originally turned the family lumberyard to making windows during World War II to help create jobs for returning GIs.

"The strength of the company is the community. It is … an incredible relationship," Marvin said.

However, cutting expenses to the bone to keep from letting workers go was not easy.

"It was a team effort, though not everyone liked it. But they were willing to do that rather than see their neighbor lose their job," she said.

Keeping the workforce intact was not just good for Warroad. The Marvins see it as good business.

"Retention of talent is key. Experience matters," she said.

January 19, 2012

Biz After Hours tonight, politics Friday

Here's a quick reminder of a couple business networking and informational events coming up tonight and Friday.

I hear a scavanger hunt is slated for tonight's bash at Olmsted National Bank, so watching the Med City's business leaders scurrying around the building is probably reason enough to stop by.

And of course, there will be the food, a cash bar and business networking. I plan on being there, so stop me and tell me what local business news I've missed or messed up lately. Heh.

Both events are sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

-----------

TONIGHT
Business After Hours, a monthly business networking event sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Olmsted National Bank, Suite 101, 975 34 Ave. N.W. Olmsted National is co-hosting the event with the Crown Restaurant & Lounge.

MemberofRACC


FRIDAY, JAN. 19
• The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
is sponsoring a breakfast preview of the 2012 Minnesota Legislative session with state lawmakers from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Rochester Marriott Hotel at 101 First Ave. S.W. Officials scheduled to take part in the event include: Deputy Majority Leader Sen. Geoff Michel; Majority Leader Sen. David Senjem; Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen: Sen. Carla Nelson, Rep. Tina Liebling, Rep. Kim Norton, Rep. Duane Quam and Rep. Mike Benson. The cost is $25 for member and $35 for non-members.

December 29, 2011

Kiger's back and the blog is breathing again

I apologize to you all for abandoning this blog for so long.

I took a vacation and was pretty tied up even before I left. The result was that Kiger's Notebook was left barren for the longest stretch, since I launched it in March, 2005.

I couldn't stay away completely, so I did pop back in to do the CostCo piece and a few columns here and there.

RedjeffMost of my time away was spent on the banks of The Wabash in Indiana. A place Verizon as well as the rest technological world evidently do not know exisits. While I did zip out a few Tweets and email responses when the moon was in the right place, I was mostly out of the loop.

I apologize to everyone who sent me emails, voice messages, Facebook notes and direct messages on Twitter. I'll try to catch up. More than a 1,000 unread emails have piled up.

Anyway, I'm back now and revved up for the new year.

Please keep letting me know what you are interested in and passing along any business tips you might hear.

Look for lots of action on here in as 2012 kicks into gear and thank you for reading.

October 21, 2011

Roch. chamber bash 2011 wrapup - Priorities and awards

The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce's annual member celebration drew a big crowd Thursday as business leaders packed the Rochester International Event Center.

Outgoing Chamber board chair Melissa Brinkman of Custom Alarm handed over the reins of power to Alan De Keyrel of CWS.

Here's the story I scribbled out about the event.

---------------------

The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce's political priorities for the coming year were made clear at its annual member celebration Thursday night.

Get_photo"There is no political agenda item that we are more committed to as an organization than the passing of the extension of the local sales tax," chamber president John Wade told the crowd of business leaders filling the Rochester International Event  Center.

He said the renewal of the sales tax in November 2012 would fuel a boost to the local economy and benefit Rochester's schools, libraries, infrastructure and more.

The tens of millions of dollars generated by the tax will help leverage hundreds of millions in private sector investment, Wade said.

"Trust me, I can give you a whole list of taxes I don't like. This one is good for business," he said. "I believe in my core that this one is good for business."

To lead the drive toward the passage of the sales tax extension, the chamber is launching a new committee.

Former Rochester school superintendent Jerry Williams will be the chairman of the new group. He also was presented with the President's Award for community service.

Williams accepted both the job and the award.

"As I look out amongst the group here, there are so many of you who have given service of self to this marvelously amazing community," he said looking at the tables full of the local leaders. "To those of you who give so generously of your time, talents and efforts for this marvelous community, I share this with you. I am deeply, deeply appreciative."

While the sales tax extension tops the chamber's political wish list, the expansion of the Mayo Civic Center remains a goal, but is not a pressing one, Wade said.

"Our hospitality industry knows how important the expansion of the civic center is," he said. "But it has to be done at the right time in the right way."

While the presentation to Williams was the most dramatic of the night, it was not the only award given out.

Business of the Year: Creative Cuisine, the company behind many popular Rochester restaurants that includes Newt's, City Cafe, City Market, 300 First and the recently revived Redwood Room.

Brothers Dave and Mark Currie accepted the award.

Chamber Volunteer of the Year: Jaimi Stejskal-Kent of Broadway Residence & Suites by Bridgestreet won the award for her work with the chamber.

• The Lamp of Knowledge award: The annual award for outstanding work with education was presented to Wendy Shannon, superintendent of the Byron Public School system.

Chamber Ambassador of the Year award: After reciting her long list of accomplishments with the chamber's Ambassador program, the award went to Karen Hanson of Home Instead Senior Care.

July 31, 2011

National Night Out and Kiger as a target

I have always attempted to make a splash in the Rochester business community and it looks like I'll literally get my chance
Nnoflyerduring Tuesday's National Night Out events.

 The Minnesota School of Business is hosting a community event from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at its campus at 2521 Pennington Dr. N.W. in honor of National Night.


This is being done in partnership with the Cimmaron Neighborhood Association.


Expect free food including hot hogs, nachos, sno-cones and more. A live DJ will be playing music. There will also be games, an inflatable bounce house and much more.


And to add to the fun, there will be a dunk tank featuring foolish folks, like newspaper columnists, as targets.


Do you hate the way I use the phrase "Med City"? I know that drives the Post-Bulletin copy editors crazy? Have I butchered the spelling of your name or overlooked your business?


This is your chance to take your best shot at me (I'm looking at you, Mr. Answer Man. Heh) and support a positive neighborhood event.


I won't be the only target. Dunken and Sam of the KROC-FM Morning Show will also take turns in the tank.

April 22, 2011

Lots of buzz, activity @ Biz After Hours Extra 2011

04212011BAHExtracrowd It was a big night for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce last night.

04212011BAHextratextile Big crowds turned out for its annual super-sized Business After Hours event, the Extra business expo.

By the way, if you noticed some of these pics are much better than what I usually post, that's because Brian Olson of the Chamber used his fancy new camera to snap some of them.

Thanks, Brian.04212011BAHextraRHRRA

Anyway, I got to talk to lots of folks and see even more last night in the Kahler Grand Hotel's upgraded Heritage Hall rooms.

If what I was hearing  is any indication, it seems the mood out there is pretty positive as roll int04212011BAHextra1vinnieandtimo this frosty spring.

Maybe the area business scene is thawing out faster than the weather.

I'm no good at forecasting. I'll leave that up to the experts like Randy Brock.

But I will be out and about keeping an eye on what's going.

Keep me updated, people.

April 18, 2011

Mega biz networking

  Here's a quick reminder as you look at your calendar for the week.

Business After Hours Extra!, the annual super-sized version of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly business networking events, is coming up yet this week. 

Hopefully, the snow will be out of the way by then.

Here are the details:

Rochester's business community's annual super-sized networking event and expo is coming up Thursday.


The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring its Business After Hours Extra! bash from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kahler Grand Hotel in downtown Rochester.


6a00d83451cc8269e20133ed7d8ee8970b-250wiThis event, which is open to the general public, generally draws a crowd of about 400 people, according to Brian Olson, the chamber's communications director.


The expanded version of the chamber's monthly business gatherings will set up in the Kahler's newly revamped Heritage Hall conference center in the hotel's subway.


More than 75 area businesses and non-profits will have displays at this year's event.


A cash bar and appetizers will be available.