Monday, February 28, 2011

Kobussen Hails Drivers During Bus Driver Appreciation Week (Sun Prairie Star)

Kobussen Hails Drivers During Bus Driver Appreciation Week

Blogger's Note: Kobussen Bus Company just built a brand new facility last year in Sun Prairie off of Bailey Road. This facility services both their coach buses (seen above) as well as many of their school buses.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Schmitz earns GHC-SCW 'Top Producer' award (Sun Prairie Star)

Schmitz earns GHC-SCW 'Top Producer' award

Blogger's Note: The staff at Harms Insurance continue to prove that even in this economy, you can't beat effort and hard work to give you the best chance to be successful. Congratulations, Kathy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cadwallader among ATHENA nominees (Sun Prairie Star)

Cadwallader among ATHENA nominees

The Business Forum cordially invites area residents and business people to the 14th anniversary of the ATHENA Award Celebration at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on March 15, 2011. The ATHENA Award Program will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, followed at 6:30 p.m. with the dinner and Award ceremony.

This celebration event recognizes Madison area individuals that have provided opportunities to women in the community to allow them to reach their full leadership potential.

Dr. Dawn Cadwallader, Chiropractor and owner of ProHealth Chiropractic located in Sun Prairie and Madison, is one of nine nominees for the 2011 ATHENA Award.

Click here for more information on the business forum, and the Dane County ATHENA Award.

Click here to read the full story in the Sun Prairie Star

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obituary for Glenn S. Fenske of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (Cress Funeral Services)

November 8th, 1942 - February 20th, 2011

Glenn Fenske, age 68, passed away on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at HospiceCare in Fitchburg following a courageous battle with lung cancer. Glenn was born on November 8, 1942 in Madison, the son of Herman and Lillian (Kehl) Fenske. On September 1, 1962, he was married to Judy Selje. They were blessed with a son, Jason, and most recently a daughter-in-law, Carly, and grandson, Caiden.

Glenn was a graduate of Madison East High School, Madison Business College, and the University of WI-Madison. He was Vice President of the Bank of Sun Prairie for 16 years and was currently a Director. He joined Royle Printing in 1984 as Vice President of Administration, retiring in 2001. In retirement he managed Sunwood Senior Apartments and became an associate of Cress Funeral Home as a Funeral Assistant. He was also instrumental in developing WoodGrove Ridge Condominiums, a premier private condominium complex in Sun Prairie. Glenn was a life member and Past President of the Sun Prairie Lions Club and recipient of the Melvin Jones Award, the highest form of recognition in Lionism. He was a member of Masonic Lodge #143 F & AM, Zor Shrine, ROJ #126, and Maple Bluff Country Club. Glenn was Past President of Mendota Gridiron Club and a member of the Directors Club. Long active in community affairs, he twice was President of the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Sun Prairie Improvement Council and a member for over 20 years of the Sun Prairie Utility Board. He championed support for Sun Prairie school children having served as President of the Business and Education Partnership and was the first President of the Sun Prairie Education Foundation, founded in 2004. He enjoyed golfing, cards, and was an avid UW sports fan, attending most football and basketball games.

For more information, please go to:

Blogger's Note: For everything that is great about the Sun Prairie community, odds are that Glenn had something to do with it. Thank you , and we'll miss you, Glenn.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wisconsin Cheeseman - Section 128 Auction Information


The Wisconsin Food Gift Company, LLC and all its business units are in a Wisconsin state judicial (Section 128) Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors and will be sold at auction on March 2, 2011 at the Concourse Hotel beginning at 10 a.m. C.S.T. in Madison, WI.

The Wisconsin Food Gift Company, LLC ("WFGC") was created in 2007 as a producer and marketer of food gifts and gift components. WFGC is based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, produces internally processed cheese spreads and chocolates, and does business through three well-known brands: The Wisconsin Cheeseman®, Mille Lacs Gourmet Foods, and Scott's® Fundraising Resource.

Below is a list of the sale documents for your review:

1) Wisconsin Food Gift Company, LLC Transaction Summary:

Click here: Transaction Summary

2) Non-Disclosure Agreement: Wisconsin Cheeseman NDA V2 1-23-2011:

Click here: NDA WFGC

3) Legal documents regarding the March 2, 2011 sale and auction.

This is a great opportunity to acquire these viable businesses at a bargain price.

Please print and sign the NDA under #2. Then either email a scanned copy to or fax to 608-837-5493.

For more information, please contact Dave Mack by phone at (847) 274-7604 or email at for additional information.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

City Seeks Projects for New Markets Tax Credit Area (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development)

In 2000, Congress passed legislation encouraging investment in income qualified census tracts. This included the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, which is operated through the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, a division of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The program provides investors a credit against federal income tax liability for a qualified investment. The credit provided to the investor totals 39% of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a 7-year credit allowance period.

Eligible projects include:

  • Loans and investments in operating businesses located qualified census tracts
  • Development of commercial, industrial and retail real estate in qualified census tracts
  • Mixed-use projects are okay where commercial income exceeds 20 percent of the gross income of the property

Potential benefits to businesses include:

  • Provides gap financing for projects that would otherwise not be able to move forward
  • The weighted average interest rate paid by the borrower is below market rate
  • Advance rates on collateral exceeds market rate
  • Business receives patient capital with some interest-only payments and longer than market amortization period.
  • Some forgiveness of the “B Note” (net tax credit equity)likely depending on economic impact of project
The area in Sun Prairie that is eligible for this program is a triangle that has U.S. 151 to the north, Bristol St to east, and Main St. to the south (see below).

Note that a significant portion of this area is also a part of the City's TIF 10, so additional incentives may be available for qualified projects.

For additional information or assistance in evaluating New Market Tax Credits for a project in this area, contact either of these financial consultants familiar with the qualified Sun Prairie tract:

Kate Crowley, Manager
Baker Tilly


Carol Maria, President
Wisconsin Business Growth Fund, Inc.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Buy Local Programs and Resources Online (Various)

March Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Workshops (UW Extension Agricultural Innovation Center)

Growers and local food businesses interested in learning more about selling to institutional markets are encouraged to register now for one of the following Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin 2011 Regional Workshop Roadshows. The “Selling to Institutions” workshops will be held in March 2011 in Rice Lake, East Troy, and Viroqua.

For more information, go to:

Dane County Buy Local

Dane Buy Local is a coalition of local independent businesses, organizations, and citizens in and around Dane County, Wisconsin, acting in alliance to keep our communities prosperous and sustainable.

For more information, go to:

Badger Barter

Badger Barter is Madison's (located in Sun Prairie) only locally owned barter and trade exchange. Our Mission is to establish a business-to-business network for trading goods and services.

Badger Barter is a clearinghouse for trading your inventory, goods and services into something you want or need. Badger Barter acts as a sales agent for its members creating exponential growth from business to business.

For more information, go to:

Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce

Sun Prairie Chamber Mission Statement: To foster, promote and protect the business interest of our members and to create a positive economic, political, educational and social climate in Sun Prairie.

For more information, go to:

Sun Prairie Business Improvement District

The Sun Prairie BID allows local businesses to join together with the municipality to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvement to the downtown area, to promote economic development and to market Downtown Sun Prairie.

For more information, go to:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

THRIVE to Host Training on Economic Development Software Resources on March 10th, 2011

THRIVE will host a training session on March 10th for area public sector economic development representatives, chambers of commerce staff, and other economic development organizations on the Synchronist business retention software and ZoomProspector, the new statewide buildings and properties database being rolled out this spring. Synchronist is produced by Blaine Canada Ltd., and ZoomProspector is produced by GIS Planning. Both initiatives represent tremendous leaps forward for economic development practitioners in the Madison region.

The training will be held at Edgewood College. Interested parties should contact THRIVE at (608) 443-1962 for additional information.

Blogger's Note: I currently chair the steering committee for the Business Link group through THRIVE that will be using Synchronist as our retention and expansion survey tool. Watch for additional information later this summer.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Baba's Supper Club Aims to Rekindle Love of Supper Club Fare in Downtown Sun Prairie (Sun Prairie Star)

Baba's Supper Club Aims to Rekindle Love of Supper Club Fare in Downtown Sun Prairie

For more information on Baba's Supper Club, go to:

Blogger's Note: Welcome! New restaurants continue to be top growing sector in Sun Prairie. Looking forward to seeing this downtown space active and a vital part of downtown once again!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Choice Insurance Solutions Receives Awards for Partnership by Group Health Cooperative (Sun Prairie Star)

FCIS receives awards for partnership by GHC-SCW

Pam Hying of GHC-SCW (left) presents Bret LaBuwi of FCIS (right) the Producer of the Year award for 2010 (submitted photo above).

Blogger's Note: Another example of a great local financial business in Sun Prairie, and why Finance & Insurance is a targeted growth sector.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sun Prairie Geocaching Challenge Launched (Press Release)

02.15.2011– The Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Sun Prairie Tourism Commission, today announced the Sun Prairie Geocaching Challenge. Official program dates run from March 1, 2011 to December 31, 2001. In order to participate in the Sun Prairie Geocaching Challenge, geocaching teams must obtain an official Sun Prairie Geocaching Challenge passport from the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce or one of three participating area hotels. Passports may also be printed here from the Chamber of Commerce or Visit Sun Prairie websites.

Using a compass or GPS device to find four of the six geocache containers hidden throughout greater Sun Prairie, Wisconsin the teams must record their finds on the official website.

After March 1, passports must be then returned to the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce. All entries will be verified on and eligible geocaching teams will be entered into a monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate donated by an area business. A grand prize drawing will be held at the end of 2011, and one winning team will be selected to win lodging, food, and entertainment in Sun Prairie. The first monthly winner will be selected held at the end of March, 2011.

"As a Chamber of Commerce, we're excited to announce this program to the community. We feel the Geocaching Challenge will promote Sun Prairie to Wisconsin and even a worldwide audience," explained Ann Smith, Director of the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

"Geocaching is a great way for people to find different parts of Sun Prairie that they probably wouldn't think of going to if they were just going to an event or restaurant."Les McBurney, Sun Prairie Tourism Commission Chair, added, "The geocaching challenge offers a whole different dimension in terms of connecting with visitors and folks that might return again to Sun Prairie. Promoting our community is very important to help sustain our businesses and bring people back in the future."

In addition to hiding physical cache containers, ten Sun Prairie themed travel bugs have been created and distributed with the purpose of educating people about Sun Prairie. "With the travel bugs, I wanted to showcase different aspects of the community," explained Julie Henning, Sun Prairie resident and Geocaching Challenge volunteer. "We have a Jimmy the Groundhog travel bug, one for the Volunteer Fire Department, Georgia O'Keefe, and even one for the annual summertime Sweet Corn Festival."

For more information about the Geocaching Challenge, contact the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce at 608-837-4547.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cross Country: Direct dairy sales give some farmers an advantage (Capital Times)

Excerpt taken from article from John Oncken, "Cross Country: Direct dairy sales give some farmers an advantage"

...The Baerwolf brothers, James and Robert, a third generation dairy farm family located some four miles north of Sun Prairie, are in their third year of adding value to their milk through their Sassy Cow Creamery.

James Baerwolf told the conference attendees how his family sought more control over the milk production from their 600 cows: 400 raised in a conventional freestall dairy and about 200 organic-raised cows on another farm.

After a good bit of looking, studying and pondering, the two families decided that producing fluid milk sold in plastic bottles was the way to go. "There were no farmstead fluid milk facilities serving the Madison-Milwaukee area," James Baerwolf says. "We realized that consumers want to know where their food comes from and we are a family farm."

Sassy Cow Creamery was built from the ground up and opened in May of 2008. It now sells organic and conventional milk in whole, 2 percent and 1 percent in about 120 stores in southern Wisconsin and in the store located at the front of the creamery.

In addition, Sassy Cow makes and sells ice cream and recently began making cheese curds. (Marketing manager Kara Kasten-Olson is a licensed cheesemaker.)

The store at Sassy Cow Creamery is open seven days a week and offers all the dairy products produced there and a look into the creamery itself through windows.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sun Prairie's Katlyn Ross Takes 2nd in 18th Annual Student Design Competition (Sun Prairie Star)

Sun Prairie student earns second place in IHA contest

Sun Prairie's Katlyn Ross took 2nd place in the 18th annual Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association (IHA) for "Quick-Fix", a first-aid system that makes treating an injury fast and easy.

The design competition’s annual challenge to students is to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production and marketing principles and quality of entry materials. A jury of 10 designers, working in a blind judging process, recognized great concepts, backed up with research, development and creative design, to award a total of 10 prizes to students in nine design schools in the United States.

Katlyn' project, The "Quick Fix" system, organizes a first aid kit’s contents into smaller boxes that are labeled by type of injury or emergency, such as cuts, burns, stings, breaks/strains, choking and poisoning, and include simple instructions. The kits help users quickly choose the correct supplies and make first aid procedures more intuitive.
Katlyn is a Sun Prairie High School graduate and a senior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

Blogger's Note: Another example of some great entrepreneurship and innovation from folks right here in Sun Prairie. Congratulations Katlyn!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Concept: The Governor of Wisconsin Actually Showing Up for His Own Conference on Economic Development

At the beginning of what was to be an interesting day of announcements from Governor Walker, he joined us for some opening comments to the last day of the Governor's Conference on Economic Development hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA). Other speakers focused on the export opportunities for Wisconsin companies, the role of the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), the growing role of economic development regions and the targeting of industry clusters, and a sneak peek at the new online building and sites database that will be coordinated Statewide through WEDA. It was nice to see Governor Walker take this event seriously, as compared to the previous administration. As he was off to announce some controversial budget measures afterwards, it was nice to have him take some time to speak to the economic development community in the State.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Our View: A Super Job (Editorial - Sun Prairie Star)

Our View: A Super Job
Winning Super Bowl XLV puts Wisconsin back into national spotlight

Blogger's note: An excellent local commentary the effect the Green Bay Packers have on us as fans and residents of the State of Wisconsin...and just maybe our business climate too.

Photo of the Day: Governor's Conference on Economic Development

Sun Prairie Economic Development Director Neil Stechschulte is attending the Governor's Conference on Economic Development co-hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) on Thursday February 10th and Friday February 11th at Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin. Some of the notable speakers from day one of the conference included Department of Commerce Secretary Paul Jadin, Angelos Angelou of Angelou Economics, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Manuel Perez, and Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting (see photo).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Photo of the Day: Madison Area Commercial Brokers Group Meets in Sun Prairie

About 45 area commercial brokers and Realtors from the Madison area Commercial Brokers Group (CBG) braved the cold temperatures and met in Sun Prairie today to hear from Matt Lang from the City of Madison on their zoning code update. The meeting was held at the City of Sun Prairie Westside Community Services Building on W. Main St.

Alan Sebranek and Mike Madden from the Bank of Sun Prairie sponsored and spoke about their available properties and their commercial lending services. Damon Root from Kwekel Companies briefly spoke about the Wisconsin Cheeseman building on Broadway Drive that is currently for sale. Neil Stechschulte stood in for Chad Fedler and briefly discussed the Prairie Lakes development. Neil also briefly discussed the availability of lots for sale in TIF 9 by St. Mary's as well as current redevelopment opportunities on Main Street.

Blogger's Note: We look forward to having CBG back in Sun Prairie again soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chamber Seeks Participants for "Restaurant Week" in Sun Prairie (Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce)

What is Restaurant Week Sun Prairie?

Restaurant Week Sun Prairie is an opportunity to showcase your restaurant's cuisine and to highlight your best creations between March 28 - 31, 2011. Participating restaurants will feature three options for lunch and/or dinner. The options may be signature menu items, their most popular, or staff favorites. Lunch will be set at $8 and dinner $12 (tax and gratuity are not included).

Restaurants, fill out the registration form and return it to the Chamber by February 16th.

It allows you to be creative with your menu.It's low cost promotion for your restaurant.It's the only event of its kind in Sun Prairie.It's an opportunity to gain new diners and exposure.Be a part of Sun Prairie history by participating in the inaugural run.

During the week, diners will be eligible to win a gift certificate to a participating restaurant. In order to be entered, they must dine at one of the featured restaurants and fill out a comment card - no limits. Provide a gift certificate and ensure return business ($25 minimum).

Check the Chamber website for participating restaurants. Web links and menus will be provided, if applicable. It will be promoted locally in The Star as well.

Contact the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce at 608-837-4547 or for more information.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Prairie Flowers & Gifts Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary (Press Release)

Prairie Flowers and Gifts is celebrating their 5 year anniversary in business under the ownership of Dina Pocernich this Febraury. To celebrate, they are offering $5 off every fresh arrangement in February (including Valentines Day)!

Blogger's Note: A great reminder for us guys heading into Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Post Groundhog Day Predictions...For the Local Economy

Since it is that time of year where prognostictions are popular in Sun are five quick predictions on what will happen in 2011. I was counting on Jerry and Jimmy to help out with these, but since the snow had other plans I guess I'm on my own. we go.

1) Woodman's will announce when they will begin construction.

I'm feeling pretty confident on this one. If I was a betting man, this is probably as close to a sure thing as there is. Of course, there is no such thing as a sure thing.

2) Housing market will pick up...slightly.

With the new high school coming on line, and maybe a couple of more commerical announcements I think we'll see a slight increase in the housing market. A couple of developers in the area seem to have the magic touch when it comes to finding what the market is looking for, and I think at least one new major residential project comes through.

3) A new building will get started in the business park.

Sooner or later, there is going to be a company in the Fox Cities and in Milwaukee are going to want a Dane County presence. I predict someone stumbles into us this summer and wonders why it took them so long to find this place called Sun Prairie. Sun Prairie has been getting a lot of looks from site selectors lately. Maybe 2011 will be the year one of them lands here. Maybe a manufacturing company, or a distribution center? Time will tell.

4) A major redevelopment project on Main Street will be announced.

Another case of its going to happen eventually, but the combination of great traffic exposure, high visibility, competitive real estate costs, and possible financial incentives is long overdue to generate a good project. Not sure if this will happen soon enough to get started in 2011, but it will be announced as being in the works.

5) WalMart's future in Sun Prairie will be made clear.

Again, not confident enough to say that they'll be underway with a project, but I think that sometime during 2011 WalMart will announce what they intend to do. Whether that means stay and expand, or find a new site in Sun Prairie...only the folks in Bentonville know for certain.

Think you can do better, or have something to add? E-mail me at nstechschulte[at] I'll post the best ones on here the economic development news blog.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

QBE supports environment through green practices (Press Release)

With more than 800 employees and three buildings located on 140 acres in Sun Prairie, QBE has a special commitment to sustainability. The company’s environmental sustainability statement calls for environmental awareness, as well as support for employee involvement in sustainability practices.

Green efforts are encouraged by the QBE Eco Team, a group of employees that help the company research and promote environmentally-friendly programs.

QBE has implemented several programs to save energy and reduce waste at its Sun Prairie campus. These include:

  • Recycling—Over the past two years, QBE has recycled 38 tons of waste, including electrical wire, cabinets, shelving, scrap metals and light fixtures.

  • Lighting and energy conservation—All laptop and desktop computers connected to the company’s network automatically shut down at 9 p.m. each day. Many work spaces and conference rooms have sensors to activate lights as needed.

  • Sustainable food practices—QBE’s food service vendor turns food waste into compost for local farmers, and uses biodegradable and compostable containers. In addition, the food service uses organic natural, local and seasonal foods to help reduce carbon use from manufacturing, transportation, preparation, packaging and waste processing.

Click here for more information on QBE or contact Paula M. Symons, APR, Communications Consultant at 608.825.5029 or

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brooks elected to The Alliance board (Sun Prairie Star)

Brooks elected to The Alliance board

The Alliance elected three new members to its 2011 Board of Directors at its annual meeting including Mary Kay Brooks, general manager, corporate attorney and an owner of Brooks Tractor, Inc. of Sun Prairie.

The Alliance is an employer-owned, not-for-profit cooperative of 160 members providing health care coverage to more than 83,000 individuals in southern Wisconsin and neighboring counties in Iowa and Illinois. The Alliance moves health care forward by controlling costs, improving quality, and engaging individuals in their health. As an employer-owed cooperative, the Board of Directors works together with staff to set the direction for The Alliance.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Madison Area Commercial Brokers Group to Meet in Sun Prairie Wed. Feb. 9th

The Madison Area Commercial Brokers Group will be holding their regular meeting in Sun Prairie on Wednesday, February 9th. Sponsors include:

Bank of Sun Prairie

Since its inception in 1987, Commercial Brokers Group has grown into an association of 200 real estate professionals that meet every other month for informational and educational, as well as an annual Mallards game, golf outing, and holiday party. The mission of the Commercial Brokers Group remains to further and promote the common business interests of commercial real estate professionals.

Click here for additional information on the Madison Area Commercial Brokers Group.

Blogger's Note: This is a great opportunity for us to showcase Sun Prairie as a community that is serious about business development and real estate.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One Month Down, 11 to Go...Project 365 Rolls On!

Some impressive statistics from our first month of Project 365:

Stories posted in Jan. 2011:
- 46 posts (compared to all of 2010: 46)

Visits and Visitors:
- 691 visits from 173 cities* in 29 countries (191% increase over Dec. 2010)
- 1,144 page views
- 440 absolute unique visitors

Traffic Sources:
33.43% - Direct traffic
37.19% - Referring sites
29.38% - Search engines

* Special Note: The first person to correctly guess and e-mail me at nstechschulte[at] at least 7 of the top 10 cities from where blog traffic was from this past month will win a $20 gift card from me to Market Street Diner! (Mayor Joe is disqualified, as he has inside knowledge of the list.) Winner will be announced Monday Feb. 7th. Give it some thought, and take a guess!