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Viewing posts categorised under: Member Spotlight

New River Heights Chamber President!

Nicole Bengtson
Member Spotlight

We are pleased to welcome Bob Ruhland as the new River Heights Chamber President. Bob started with the Chamber on Monday, January 22. Bob will be reaching out to many of the Chamber members over the coming weeks. If you get a chance, stop by to say hello or send him an email to welcome him to the Chamber.

A Breakdown of Our 100 Year Old Businesses

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

1919, that seems like forever and a day ago, right? Well, it was 100 years ago! The year was not in the least bit ordinary.  It had the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, drowning 21, the origination of the UPS, the foundation of the American Legion, a Stanley Cup that was not awarded because of a flu epidemic, the founding of SSP’s own Croatian Hall, the creation of Southview Country Club and lastly the birth of the Globe Publishing Co., a union shop from the onset.  How did these local businesses start, what changes have they seen over the years and what does it mean to them to reach this milestone?

The Croatian Hall was built by the Croatian immigrants that settled in South St. Paul at the turn of the century.  The Hrvatski Dom (Croatian Home) was built as a gathering place for Croatians to meet, celebrate their heritage with traditional food and music and get help with learning English, finding jobs and any other help they might need. Through the last 100 years, it has changed from a Croatian-only club to a community gathering place for the whole community, regardless of ethnic background.  The Hrvatski Dom Board members are proud of the positive impact they have had on South St. Paul and surrounding communities while continuing to celebrate their Croatian heritage with others across the state and region.  Their 100th Anniversary celebration saw the next generation of Croatian-Americans and community members get involved to continue the legacy of the Cro – the community gathering place and the Hrvatski Dom – their Croatian heritage.  The Cro – you know where it’s at!

For Southview Country Club,  1919 brought a different kind of gathering space. Local South St. Paul businessmen decided they wanted to build a golf course to bring local businessmen together.  The gentlemen purchased the Peters Farm and started Louogden Country Club, named after two prominent South St. Paul residents; Lou Swift and Ogden Armour.  Prior to 1975, the club was owned by different private businessmen.  The members purchased the club from some investors in 1975, and ever since has been owned by the membership. The original idea of bringing local businessmen and golfers together still holds true today; however, it has become so much more. Southview Country Club is a place for men, women and families to come together for golf, work and celebrations of all kinds.  Many of their members join for the golf and stay for the long-lasting memories and relationships they have created.   The golf course has evolved with time as it began as a 9-hole course with sand greens.  Now it is an 18-hole golf course which is highly recognized by many Minnesota golfers.  Southview has been host to the Tapemark Charity Pro Am since it began in 1972.  Being a long-standing and successful club says a lot about our members.  Southview Country Club has had its share of difficulties over the last 100 years, but the one constant is our members and their love and passion for their club.

Looking back on the beginning of Globe, Charlie Regan and his partner, Jay Dunbar, purchased the “Globe” on September 26th, 1919.  It originally published a newspaper, hence the name, with Regan being the editor.  It turned into a print shop and in 1955, Ed Horst and John Goff Jr. bought it from Regan & Dunbar.   Ed bought out his partner in 1960 and 60 years later, here they are with a second-generation family-owned business.

Bill and Dan Horst have since taken over the day-to-day operations of the business and their father, Ed (E.W., aka Grandpa Eddie), passed away peacefully in November 2013.  Working in and with the Exchange Building commission companies kept them on their toes and some of those relationships go back 70-75 years.  High-speed digital printing and 2 color presses have changed what they can do for their customers.  While the printing industry has seen many changes and methods, the same values that their father taught them growing up still ring true as their main focus today, their dedication to quality and the trust of their customers.  “This 100-year milestone is a tribute to all of the people associated with Globe, whether owners, employees (past and present), customers (past and present) or vendors,” says Dan Horst.

Congratulations to these River Heights Chamber members, Croatian Hall, Southview Country Club and Globe Printing and Office Supplies –  Happy 100 Years!

Member Spotlight: KOMA

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

We Built This City, by Starship, is not only a successful song from 1985 but is also a theme song KOMA showed their love for in their 2015, 30 year anniversary, music video on YouTube here. No, KOMA didn’t build the city on rock and roll, but they do love to build!

In 1985, Dan O’Brien, Jim Krech and Brian Wass formed a partnership and opened the doors of Krech, O’Brien and Wass after formerly working together for the CHS architectural and structural engineering department that closed. Two years later, Brady Mueller joined the firm as an owner and they became Krech, O’Brien, Mueller + Wass. In 2004, the firm rebranded and became Krech, O’Brien, Mueller and Associates. Under new ownership, the company completed a second rebrand last year and is now doing business as KOMA.

KOMA’s mission is to collaboratively create inspiring, aesthetically pleasing and highly functional spaces for people to live, work, learn, play and worship. They achieve this through hard work, passion, keeping a healthy workplace and teamwork. KOMA has worked with numerous companies within the community including Neighbors, Inc., Old World Pizza, Waterous, CHS and Gertens Greenhouse. They have a wide range of experience in multiple industries including education, corporate offices, retail and industrial.

When asked about what inspires their business, Ashley Riley, marketing coordinator, shared, “We are a firm built on relationships. We embrace partnerships with our clients and we believe people come first, always.” This statement also holds true with their participation in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. KOMA has always volunteered with projects and at events to lend a helping hand since they joined the Chamber over 33 years ago. When asked about their favorite thing about the River Heights Chamber, Ashley said, “We love the people! The Chamber is very inclusive, very welcoming and the relationships are genuine.”

KOMA is a perfect example of how a good company is built. Keeping a healthy workplace while maintaining hard work can be tough for anyone, but when KOMA pairs it with passion and makes sure to add a little fun, they created a strong, cohesive company. The company’s values, their dedicated staff and their dedication to their relationships are ensuring success for KOMA’s future.

Watch their Member Spotlight video with managing partner, Marc DuBois below.

Member Spotlight: Town Square Television

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

When thinking of locally, homegrown businesses none come to mind quite like Town Square Television. Founded in 1987, after its parent NDC4 Cable Commission was founded five years prior, Town Square Television has served Northern Dakota County as its local community media center for nearly thirty-one years.

Jodie Miller, Executive Director of Town Square Television, has been employed by Town Square Television since 1989 and hopes to be there until she retires. When asked about her background, Jodie said, “I have a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and English, writing concentration, and a minor in Business Administration. These credentials allowed me to take over the executive director position in 1993 and have also helped me succeed in my career.”

When asked about what inspires Town Square Televisions’ work, Jodie commented, “Our volunteers, our customers, our viewers, and the people we feature on our programs inspire us every day. Northern Dakota County and its seven cities have many stories to tell, and we are privileged to be able to tell them using video as our medium.” Their inspirations and their business philosophy of, “Lead with your heart. Listen. Be flexible. Be truthful. Be fair and consistent. Be thankful,” have shown their love for the community. This love and support has helped Town Square Television become, and continue to be, such a beloved asset to our community.

“The River Heights Chamber of Commerce is our go-to organization for networking and community outreach. We have been members for twenty-five years. Our customers are Chamber members, our vendors and service providers are Chamber members, and after thirty years in this community, our long-term partners and friends are Chamber members,” added Miller when asked what a membership in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce has meant to their business.

Click below to watch their Member Spotlight video!

April 2018 Member Spotlight: Point North Networks, Inc.

Nicole Bengtson
Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

Modesty, professionalism, relationships and transcending. These are the founding principles of Point North Networks, Inc.  Brian Emerson, founder and president of Point North Networks, Inc., has a background in computers and networking dating back to high school. Emerson worked for IT consulting firms and contracted with numerous businesses including BestBuy.com and Carlson Companies. This experience sparked Emerson’s interest to start his own IT firm. Emerson states, “I really enjoy new challenges and helping other businesses overcome their technology challenges.” With that drive and helpful nature, Point North Networks, Inc. was created.
In 2005, Emerson started Point North Networks, Inc., a data hosting company for websites, emails and business apps. Point North is a full-service IT company specializing in cloud hosting, server colocation, and managed IT services. Emerson explains, “In addition to having a friendly and knowledgeable tech support staff to help our clients on-site, we have been able to develop a wide range of services. We provide our own cloud hosting out of our Minneapolis data center as well as our own VoIP phone service. We do web design and maintenance, and provide IT cyber-security features, making us a true full-service IT company.”
The business started to take off due to their superb Google ranking. Point North Networks prides itself in exceeding customer expectations by providing their customers with superior IT services and support. Emerson proclaims, “Our overall success is composed of the small, daily victories that we have by helping our customers solve an issue. Over 10 years those can add up!”
Emerson and his staff have been active in the River Heights Chamber where they regularly attend and participate in networking and educational events.
Highlights include:
  • Member of the Business Owners Roundtable
  • Hosted a booth at the 2017 Small Business Trade Show
  • Presented on Cyber Security at the November 2017 Power Lunch
  • Point North staffer, Brian Martell, serves as a River Heights Chamber Ambassador
Emerson is proud to be in the River Heights Chamber and he is also proud of the success of his business. Emerson said, “I want Point North Networks, Inc. to become known as the most trusted IT services company in the Twin Cities that attracts and retains superior clients that hold themselves to the same high standards that we hold ourselves to.”Emerson makes sure to never forget those standards and has an interview hung in his office as a reminder. Emerson shared, “The Pioneer Press did an interview in 2016 with a 75-year-old business owner who was discussing his longevity in the business of being a blacksmith in the ornamental iron trades. He had a line that really resonated with me. He said, ‘give your customer a little more than they expect. You never have to look over your shoulder. Figuring out how to whittle them for 15 cents – That’ll bite ya.’ “
Watch Point North Networks, Inc. Member Spotlight video

February 2018 Member Spotlight: Hardline Concrete & Masonry

Editorials, Marketing, Member Spotlight

Jon Dietrich, of Hardline Concrete & Masonry, has been in the industry for over 20 years, and started Hardline over 13 years ago! Not only has Hardline been in business for over 13 years, they have been a part of the River Heights Chamber for 4 years. Hardline started as a sole proprietor in 2005, doing mainly commercial and industrial work. When incorporating in 2009, they shifted business to completing more residential and decorative work.

While they are grateful for fundamental commercial work, they feel their true passion lies with being able to help customers create their artistic vision for their own yard and home. Jon has an artistic side that helps him think outside the box and give customers innovative ideas that work in the Minnesota climate. Jon and Brenda pride themselves in doing the job correctly the first time and being primarily a referral-based business; they contribute many of their referrals to being a part of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. They form great relationships with their customers. When working so closely with the customer to get them what they want, customers become grateful for the service. Jon talked about how many customers even make food for the crew. When asked what the crew’s favorite food was he said, “Anything the customers make is always great! I have had customers grill us hamburgers and make homemade french fries, those meals are always the best.”

They treat every job as if it was their own when they leave their Hardline logo stamped in the concrete. When Hardline was asked how they came up with their logo, Jon replied, “Following in my father’s footsteps to work in the same line of work was hard. Losing my dad at a young age didn’t secure me the guidance most people get from taking over a family business, causing me to make many mistakes along the way. It was like a hard line in the sand. That’s where the name comes from. Regarding the logo my buddy and I put it together. I used red because it was my dad’s favorite color and the color of his first car.”

Not only does Hardline Concrete & Masonry care about their customers’ needs they also care about their employees’ needs. Employee relations are important at Hardline. Every employee is treated like family. They know how hard the work can be. They put policies in place to keep their employees safe, as well as keep their customers safe and free of potential liability. Some policies they have implemented are a drug screening and zero tolerance drug policy, as well as a healthy work policy. Hardline appreciates the hard work done by employees so they offer job bonuses based on work expectations. They even offer full-time employees hour long massages ever 2 weeks!

Hardline Concrete & Masonry believes in small businesses succeeding and has recommended five other sole proprietors, LLCs and corporations to join the River Heights Chamber of Commerce for continued success. Brenda is very active in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, currently serving as the 2018 Chair of the Board, and has served 1.5 years as the Ambassador chair, 1 year as Ambassador chair-elect and has been a Board member since 2015. Brenda also has served as a delegate for MN at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Summit 2015, received the River Heights Chamber Marshall award during the 2016 membership drive and was a member of the South Metro Business PAC in 2016. When Hardline was asked about an impactful moment that they would consider their greatest win, Brenda said, “Being nominated for the River Heights Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award, it was an honor and a huge win because being recognized by a group of your peers is a great feeling.” The River Heights Chamber was proud to honor Hardline with the award and is proud to have Hardline Concrete & Masonry as a dedicated member of the business community!

Watch their Member Spotlight video here.