September 2013 Featured Board Member | William Schmidt

September 16th, 2013 - By admin

William “Bill” Schmidt is the general manager of Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 20,000 member-owners in northwestern Wisconsin.

He has experience with rural electric cooperatives in the Midwest, South and Hawaii. Since his start with Polk-Burnett in January 2009, Bill’s leadership and contributions have helped move the cooperative forward. His new initiatives focus on member satisfaction, economic development and becoming an energy leader for local families and businesses in our community.

Bill demonstrates a dedication to economic development in communities served by Polk-Burnett Electric Cooperative. Together, Bill and the co-op board believe that commercial and industrial growth is vital to our region.

Under Bill’s leadership, the cooperative is active in economic development, including supporting construction of the new Grantsburg Fire Station with a U.S.D.A. economic development loan in August 2013, and serving on economic development boards in Polk and Burnett counties. Polk-Burnett is proud of its relationship with commercial and industrial customers, and offers energy management tools and resources to help them succeed.

A native of Wisconsin, Bill has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He and his wife, Lisa, are the busy parents of a six-year-old daughter.

September 2013 Featured Business Member | NEI Electric

September 16th, 2013 - By admin

NEI Electric is your local electrical contractor. We are devoted to our mission of providing prompt and courteous electrical services to all of our customers. We have completed projects ranging from one-hour service calls to large-scale, multi-million dollar projects.

Our work experience includes facilities for healthcare, commercial, data centers, industrial, food processing, education and religious, institutional, retail and housing. We encourage a Team Approach and work with general contractors, homeowners and with owners of all sizes of commercial, manufacturing, technical and professional businesses throughout the project process.

Our business philosophy is simple, provide quality electrical installations at competitive prices and make it easy for the customer to use our services so they can continue to do their business.

Our three locations include:St. Croix Falls, Eau Claire, and St. Paul, MN.

Small Town Downtown Forums

August 29th, 2013 - By admin

SponsorsThree Regional Workshops

  • September 5, 2013—Darien
  • September 10, 2013—Black Creek
  • September 19, 2013—Luck

Improving the vitality and economic health of our very small communities

$10 per person – Please register by August 30, 2013 – Small Town Forum Brochure 2013

About the Small Town Forums

Small towns have unique issues and needs that are often very different from those of larger communities. These forums are intended to bring together those serving and working in and with communities of populations fewer than 1500 to learn from each other through case studies, roundtables and discussion groups. Everyone who cares about the future of rural Wisconsin is invited to attend. Come to the forum nearest to you to brag about your town’s accomplishments, ask questions about successes and challenges in other communities, learn about new opportunities, and share your great ideas.

Who should attend?

Community leaders, elected officials, volunteers, business leaders, educators, and both local and regional economic development, civic, and planning organizations.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact:

Bob Kazmierski
Community Development
University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension
Polk County UW Extension
100 Polk County Plaza, Ste: 190
Balsam Lake, WI   54810
Telephone: 715-485-8600


Small Business Counseling Offered – September 16, 2013

August 29th, 2013 - By admin

Submitted by: Bob Kazmierski, Community Development Resource Agent


Free individual business counseling will be held in Balsam Lake on Monday, September 16th, 2013 offering specialized assistance to small business managers as well as to those interested in starting new businesses.

The Polk County UW-Extension Office along with business specialists representing the Small Business Development Center will be providing the consultations. Anyone who would like to discuss plans for starting or expanding a business or who has questions in any area of business development or management will be able to take advantage of this professional counsel. The individual appointments, of up to 1 1/2 hours, will be scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Polk County Local Government Center in Balsam Lake on a first-come first-serve basis.

To register for a Business Counseling Session contact Bob Kazmierski at the Polk County UW-Extension office, 715-485-8608, or by e-mail:

The consultations are held on an individual and confidential basis. There is no fee for registration and materials. The University of Wisconsin-Extension provides affirmative action and equal opportunity education, programming and employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, color, gender/sex, creed, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or parental, arrest or conviction record or veteran status.

Featured Board Member – August 2013

August 20th, 2013 - By admin

Eric Dueholm Eric Dueholm is a 19-year commercial real estate veteran and has completed over 600 transactions exceeding 10 million square feet. He graduated from UW Madison’s business school with a degree in real estate and urban land economics.

In addition to listing office and industrial buildings in the Polk County area, Eric represents companies throughout the country in real estate lease and sale negotiations.

In addition to brokerage work, he actively invests in commercial and multi-family properties throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin and is the owner of, a supplier of fly tying materials and tools.

For the past 6 years Eric has worked for Welsh Companies/Colliers International. He lives in Luck with his wife Amy, and children Britta and Anders. Eric has been an active member of the boards of the Polk County EDC, Wild Rivers Habitat for Humanity and the Luck Golf Course.

Featured Business Member August 2013 Bremer Bank

August 20th, 2013 - By admin

Bremer Bank

The story behind Bremer Bank is the story of a self-made man, Otto Bremer, who was committed to the long-term health and vitality of the communities that were home to his banks. It’s also the story of nearly 2,000 employees who deliver outstanding customer service, volunteer for local organizations and enrich the health of the communities where they live and work.

Today, Bremer is an $8.2 billion financial services company offering banking, trust, insurance and investment services. The company maintains its headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., and has locations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Bremer is owned by the Otto Bremer Foundation (92%) and Bremer employees (8%). Bremer has a direct financial investment in the health of our communities – because when clients choose to bank with Bremer Bank, 42% of the dividends are paid to the bank’s majority owner, the Otto Bremer Foundation, to invest back in the local communities through Foundation grants. Last year, the Otto Bremer Foundation and Bremer Bank donated more than $36 million in grants to help local nonprofits build healthy communities.

“Our employees are very passionate about working on behalf of our clients and realize that the work they do contributes to the communities they live and work in through the Foundation’s giving,” said Draxler. “Their passion is evident in the longevity of many of our employees. For example, Bremer Bank’s Glenn Meier, Market Manager of our locations in Frederic, Danbury and Siren, recently celebrated his 35th anniversary at Bremer. It is truly amazing.”

For additional information about Bremer Bank, visit or, follow Bremer on Twitter @BremerBank or call them at 1800-908-BANK.

Otto Bremer

New Business Tour with Sen. Harsdorf, Rep. Severson, County and Town of St. Croix Falls Officials

August 14th, 2013 - By admin

St. Croix Falls –The Town of St. Croix Falls and the Polk County Economic Development Corporation sponsored a Welcome New Business Event August 12 for the new businesses in the Town of St. Croix Falls in Polk County. “The Town of St. Croix Falls is excited about the new businesses that have recently opened in the business friendly environment of the Town of St. Croix Falls,“ said Steve Palmer, Town Chairperson.

Leading the tour where Town Chairperson Steve Palmer and Steve Healy the Executive Director of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation. The four businesses visited where Big Rock Creek Farm, RM Golf Carts, Inc., Polar Pete’s, and the Dancing Dragonfly Winery.

Big Rock Creek Farm

Big Rock Creek FarmBig Rock Creek Farm (Big Rock Creek Retreat) is opening up some of its buildings and land for rent to the public.

The farm is located about 3 miles north of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin just off STH 87 in the Town of St. Croix Falls, and consists of over 1500 acres, including a lodge and wilderness cabin.  “We hope people will rent the lodge and cabin or the land for weddings, retreats, family reunions, business retreats and/or picnics, or similar events” said Allen Klein, one of the owners.

“The Retreat’s 20 plus miles of trails are great for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and similar activities ”, he said.  Scott Hansen, the farm manager, said “By renting Big Rock Creek Retreat, it’s like having a state park all to yourself”.

Big Rock Creek Video

RM Golf Carts, Inc.

RM Golf CartsRM Golf Carts, Inc., has a branch location in the Town of St. Croix Falls along the Highway 8 corridor east of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, with a main manufacturing facility in Blaine, Minnesota.

RM Golf Carts, Inc. specialty is building custom golf carts.  They design and build limousine golf carts, repair and service all makes and models.  They pick up and deliver golf carts.

Owner Mark Kaufman said, “Golf carts aren’t just for golfers on the golf course anymore.  Fishermen are using golf carts at their cabins to drive bait down to the dock, elderly are rolling around in style at a family reunion, and golf carts make a public event more accessible.”    Kaufman further added “The company’s goal is to expand their business near St. Croix Falls and to begin manufacturing golf carts in the St. Croix Falls location.”  Website:

 Polar Pete’s Seafood & Meats

Polar Pete'sPolar Pete’s is located in the Town of St. Croix Falls along the Highway 8 corridor east of St. Croix Falls Wisconsin.

Polar Pete’s is a local family owned business that sells frozen seafood, frozen meats, and frozen custard. They also have local offerings such as Louie’s Finer Meats, Morey’s Seafood, American Fish & Seafood, Honey House Honey, Comstock Creamery cheeses, Hooray Puree, Big Butz BBQ sauce, Simmer Down and Morley’s maple syrup, American Homestead ABF meats, Sandi’s Treasure Chest jellies, Backroads coffee served and offered on site, Rice River Farms, Bayview Products, Square One Pizzas, Best Maid cookies and many others.

Priced to be lower than the big-box stores and they actually do mean lower…. including famous wholesale chains! They have the competitive advantage because they buy direct from the producers and are passing the savings on to customers.

Polar Pete’s invites customers to stop in for lunch or grab dinner to go! Their cafe offers daily sandwich specials, hot soup, frozen custard, sundaes, cones & more!  Weekly specials and bundles are only advertised in-store or on Facebook.

“We identified a way to bring a great selection of meat and seafood to the area and it has been wholly embraced by the St. Croix Falls area.  We are honored to showcase many local products in our store giving many of our neighbors the opportunity for more exposure to these products.  Our family has been in the business of helping the people of Polk County for almost 60 years and we want to give our local economies every chance to be sustainable.  The vibrant people of this area see the value in a business that is big enough to handle the growing needs of the community, yet small enough to still know you by name.  It’s why people choose to live here,” said Peter Ward co-owner of Polar Pete’s Seafood and Meats.

Dancing Dragonfly Winery

Dragonfly WineryDancing Dragonfly Winery is located in the Town of St. Croix Falls just suth of the Highway 8 corridor on 120th Avenue east of  St. Croix Falls.

Dancing Dragonfly Winery is Wisconsin’s newest destination winery. They are working hard to make the very best wines of the St. Croix River Valley. The state-of-the-art production facilities and tasting room are surrounded by 15 acres of cold-climate grapes.

They have a commitment to producing fine wine from Midwest and California fruit that have a natural balance, characteristic flavor, and a hint of elegance. Their first crush was in 2012 and the tasting room opened in the spring of 2013.

“The Dancing Dragonfly Winery believes in close family and friends, lively conversation and great tasting wine. Come and enjoy the spacious tasting room, scenic deck overlooking the vineyard, as well as

the covered patio during the summer. Dancing Dragonfly Winery is a one-of-a-kind destination located on the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, just an hour from Minneapolis/St. Paul. We are open year around.  Join us and start your own tradition,” said Todd Schweim, Marketing Director. On Facebook.

The Town of St. Croix Falls is a local municipal unit of government.

The Polk County EDC is a public/private economic development organization formed in 2004 to build and maintain a strong economic base in Polk County through local business growth and expansion throughout Polk County.

For more information about economic development in Polk County, contact Polk County Economic Development Corporation, 715-646-3369, or visit our website at

Photos by: Kirk Anderson of Interactive Business Solutions

How to Get Your Business Off the Ground Course Offered

July 29th, 2013 - By admin

For persons who have a promising business idea, the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) offered by the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls can help reach entrepreneurial goals. A 10-week ETP course, “How to Get Your Business Off the Ground,” takes participants through the steps and process of starting a business – from marketing and advertising to strategic planning to financial basics and tax and legal issues.

The course begins Tuesday, Aug. 6, and continues each Tuesday through Sept. 24 from 6-9 p.m. at UW-River Falls. The ETP curriculum covers the basics of successfully launching and sustaining a business. Each participant will have completed a comprehensive Business Plan at the conclusion of the program. The Business Plan is a crucial guide to starting and growing a business and an essential part of raising funds from the private or commercial sector.

Registration is now open and applications are available by calling the SBDC at 715-425-0620. The course costs $250, which includes textbooks and materials. Steve DeWald, SBDC director, leads the program. He can be reached by calling the SBDC or by emailing

July’s Featured Board Member – Kelly Hibbs

July 12th, 2013 - By admin

Kelly HibbsKelly Hibbs is a Business Banking Manager for Bremer Bank and has worked in banking for 20 years. She has fulfilled a number of banking roles within Bremer Bank, including personal banking, mortgage lending, cash management, and business banking.

Kelly has been an active community member for the past 16 years, serving on the board for the Siren-Webster Rotary Club, the Burnett County Development Association, and the Polk County EDC. She was recently appointed as the Polk County representative for the Regional Business Fund, Inc. Board of Directors.

Kelly helps organizations and businesses face challenges and sees opportunities in order to achieve long term goals the entities desire.

July 2013 Featured Business Member – Bishop Fixture + Millwork

July 12th, 2013 - By admin

Bishop Fixture + Millwork Born out of opportunity, brothers Morgan and Hub Nelson started Bishop Fixture + Millwork inside their small garage in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1977. Bishop Fixture + Millwork builds high-quality retail store fixtures and architectural millwork.

Their first client was the Dayton-Hudson Corporation and they built local Dayton’s stores. Over the years, that relationship grew into building fixtures for Target stores.

The two brothers continually reinvested profits back into the business to build its capabilities and capacity. Today, Bishop Fixture + Millwork operates in 320,000 square feet of world-class manufacturing in Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. The company has established deep roots in the community.

Bishop Fixture + Millwork is first and second generation family owned and operated. They take great pride in manufacturing its products in America. The manufacturing campus offers a full range of production capabilities including wood and metal fabrication, CNC routing, solid surface fabrication, metal powder coating and automotive grade paint finishing.

Its clients include top global retailers including Target, Gap, Verizon and Kohl’s. Over the years, Bishop Fixture + Millwork has become a global leader in retail store fixture manufacturing and exports to 16 countries all over the world.

Bishop Fixture + Millwork believes that it should conduct its manufacturing operations in a way that is beneficial to environment, the local economy and the community in which it operates.  Demonstrating this commitment includes reducing the environmental impact of our operations and our products.

The facility is also Forest Stewardship Council Certified to produce wood products from well-managed forests and other responsible sources. The company continues to increase the use of reclaimed wood from barns that have been taken down in the area.

The commercial construction sector of the economy has improved considerably in recent years. As a result, Bishop Fixture + Millwork would like to hire more skilled workers to help with manufacturing, assembly, shipping, project management and estimating.  Interested candidates should contact Marcia Granley, Human Resources Manager.  Please call at (715) 485-9312 or email