EDC Honors Business Of The Year Winners

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EDC Honors Business Of The Year Winners

2023 Business of the Year honorees
(l to r) Bill Rubin (Directors Award), Ender Gocmen of Barbell Coffee (Emerging Business of the Year), Dave Brummel of Aves Studio (Small Buiness of the Year), Doug Audette of Ciranda (Business of the Year) and St. Croix EDC Executive Director Melissa Meschke.

On February 22nd, St. Croix EDC honored its 2023 Business of the Year winners at a banquet hosted by Kilkarney Hills Golf Course in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 2023 honorees included Barbell Coffee (City of CIty of River Falls; ‘Emerging Business of the Year’); Aves Studio (Town of Troy; ‘Small Business of the Year’); and Ciranda (City of Hudson; ‘Business of the Year’). William (Bill) Rubin received the EDC Directors Award, an occasional award presented to an individual or organization in honor of contributions to economic development through innovative actions, making St. Croix County a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Krista Paulus, the EDC’s 2023-24 President, served as the evening’s emcee.

About the Winners:
Started in 2021, Barbell Coffee is a family-owned specialty coffee roaster. They feature small batch, single origin, roast-to-order, organic specialty coffee. They offer a signature-series coffee line of light, medium, decaf, and dark roast coffees as well as seasonal blends and limited-run single origin coffees throughout the year. Barbell Coffee’s differentiator is its use of single-origin, specialty coffees combined with its roast-to-order platform, which delivers customers with extremely-fresh roasted premium coffees. Their e-commerce platform allows customers to buy directly or set up flat-rate, custom subscriptions where customers can select coffee type, roast level, amount and delivery frequency – all at a flat rate. They do not have a retail location but actively seek out retail wholesale accounts. Barbell Coffee’s commitment to quality coffee, customer service, and hard work is the foundation for their tagline: Don’t drink weak coffee. Drink Barbell Coffee.

The sign “Aves Taxidermy and Cheese” has been known as a local landmark in the community for over 40 years. What you probably don’t know is that they manufacture multiple types of self-hardening clays and machés and sell them in over 38 countries. Their products are used in the Smithsonian & Chicago Field Museum for wildlife art and artifact repairs; by the MN Zoo, Georgia Aquarium and Disney for habitat and character displays, by coral reef restoration divers, and countless artists and YouTube influencers worldwide.

Founded in 1994 by Brazilian-born Hans Friese, together with his wife, Joan, Ciranda has been the premier North American provider of certified organic, non-GMO and Fair-Trade food ingredients. In 2017 Ciranda’s founders transferred company ownership into the hands of the employees in the form of an ESOP and remains 100% employee-owned today.

Ciranda’s mission is to “create connections that nourish life” and focus efforts in meaningful ways that are better for people and the planet. As a part of this mission, they are also committed to contributing a portion of their net income to enrich local and global communities each year. In 2023, Ciranda donated over $45,000.00 locally, as well as contributed to important life-enhancing projects in underserved communities across the globe. Ciranda is fully committed to sustainability and economic fairness for all.

William (Bill) Rubin retired in September 2023 after a 27 year career as the Executive Director of St. Croix EDC. Mr. Rubin was a fierce advocate for the St. Croix River Crossing, and spent 15 years working towards making the bridge a reality. He planned and led the first ever St. Croix Valley Legislative Day, bringing issues specific to the greater St. Croix Valley region to Madsion, which has since become an annual event. He had a hand in numerous business recruitment and expansion successes, and offered assistance finding grant money of all types. Rubin was a tireless worker with the county, boards and commissions, chambers of commerce, and other local and statewide organizations.

Each of the winners received a plaque from the EDC as well as a Legislative Citation from the State Senate and Assembly in Madison, and congratulatory letters from Missy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); State Senator Stafsholt and US Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Past business of the year winners and recipients of the EDC Directors Award were introduced during the program.

An estimated 135 people attended the awards dinner and helped celebrate the accomplishments of the honorees.

The 30th annual awards banquet was sponsored by St. Croix County, Derrick Building Solutions, Xcel Energy, Bakke Norman Law Offices, Royal Credit Union, Market & Johnson, St. Croix Electric Cooperative, Baldwin LightStream, Citizens State Bank, Croix Gear, Eckberg Lammers, First National Bank of River Falls, First State Bank and Trust, FNC Bank, Hiawatha Bank, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Northwood Tech, Nucor, OEM Fabricators, Security Financial Bank, Westfields Hospital & Clinic, WBD, and JA Counter.

December 2023 Unemployment at 3.5%

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St. Croix County’s December 2023 Unemployment Rate at 3.5%
On January 24th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary December 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s December rate was estimated at 3.5%, which is higher than November’s rate of 3.1% and October’s revised final rate of 3.2%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.8%.

DWD said Preliminary December 2023 unemployment rates decreased or stayed the same in 26 of 72 Wisconsin counties over the month. Over the year, 67 of 72 Wisconsin counties had unemployment rates increase.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in December include Lafayette (1.9%), Green and Dane (2.0%), and Calumet and Sheboygan (2.1%). Iron had the highest rate in December at 5.4% followed by Adams (5.3%), Bayfield (4.8%), and Polk and Burnett (4.6%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.5%, December’s preliminary rate for Polk was at 4.6% and Pierce was at 3.5%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The December 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.4% which is higher than November’s rate of 1.9%, and lower than October’s rate of 2.9%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.8% in December of 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 2.1% in December, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 2.2% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in December was estimated at 3.3%, which is the same as November and higher than October’s final rate of 3.2%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in December was estimated at 2.9%, which is lower than November’s rate of 3.1% and October’s rate of 3.2%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for December was estimated at 3.7%, which is the same as November’s final rate and lower than October’s final rate of 3.9%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.5%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for December was estimated at 65.9%, which is the same as November and higher than October’s rate of 65.8%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 64.6%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in December was estimated at 62.5%, which is lower than November’s rate of 62.8% and higher than October’s rate of 62.7%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.3%.

December’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

2023 Business Of The Year Banquet Details and RSVP

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You are invited to celebrate the 2023 Businesses of the Year and Directors Award Recipient for St. Croix County, and meet the new Executive Director, Melissa Meshke. Click on the invitation below to be taken to Eventbrite to RSVP and purchase your tickets.

FREE TICKETS ARE BASED ON MEMBERSHIP LEVEL. THEY ARE LISTED ON THE INFO PAGE AND UNDER FAQ’S ON EVENTBRITE.

Meet Melissa Meschke, St. Croix EDC’s newest Executive Director

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Meet Melissa Meschke, St. Croix EDC’s newest Executive Director

Jan 16, 2024 – by Jack White, Star Observer

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation’s Bill Rubin retired from his post as Executive Director after 27 years of working in economic development. EDC tabbed Melissa Meschke to replace Rubin.

Meschke, who starts the new role Jan. 25, lives in New Richmond. Recently, she’s worked as an Economic Development Outreach Manager for University of Wisconsin System Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship for over two years.

Before that, she was the Director of the Small Business Development Center at UW-Stevens Point for around four years. “So I’ve known the area for a long time. I love living here. I love raising my kids here,” she said.

Meschke has also helped run a marketing company and winery, in addition to working in small business consulting prior to taking this new job.

The Star-Observer spoke with Meschke about what she brings to the table pertaining to the Executive Director role: why she wanted to take it in the first place and how she will go about replacing Rubin’s wealth of experience.

Disclosure: Rubin used to write guest columns for the Hudson Star-Observer. Note: this interview has been edited for style, conciseness and clarity.

Q: How do you think your [past experience] will translate into this different role where you’re trying to amplify these businesses on a broader level?

A: Especially [since] I’ve been working in Wisconsin, I’ve really worked to build a really broad network of resources. I pride myself on being able to answer the phone and being able to direct that person to the needed resources that they have. My work has brought me all across the state and all different levels of rural and urban — small business, big business — economic development and everything in between. So I think my experience as well as my network is going to be very beneficial in the role that I’m taking on.

Q: Going to the economy now, unemployment is low. St. Croix EDC reported in late December that St. Croix County’s November unemployment numbers went to 3.1%, down compared to revised final rates from the previous two months. But that’s sometimes hard to reconcile with public opinion. What would you tell people now about the current state of the economy, generally?

 

A: In general, the labor market is tight, which expresses that the Wisconsin economy is very strong. A strong employment equals a strong economy. But it is a struggle for our businesses to find the employees that they need. So we’re seeing a lot of work in the innovation space: a few people are playing with automation all the way into artificial intelligence to look at the jobs that they have and look for innovative opportunities. I think we also focus a lot on making St. Croix Valley a great place to live and to raise a family and bring people to the area with the great quality of life we have here. We’ve got great amenities. We’ve got great events to bring people to the area.

Q: What are you doing before starting the new job in late January?

A: I am working my other job up until the day before. And I’ve already become involved with St. Croix EDC. I’ve attended some meetings. Made some phone calls. Set up some contacts. A lot of people have already reached out and put things on my calendar. I’m very much the type of person to hit the ground running. I am available to talk pretty darn soon here.

My [Economic Development Outreach Manager] role right now… at U-Wisconsin Systems, is convening and ecosystem building in the entrepreneurship-led economic development space. I do statewide outreach, statewide convening, statewide resources building for entrepreneurship, but on a broader level I think I’ve been brought in to a lot of conversations that are more generally speaking about economic development not just entrepreneurship-led economic development.

Q: What did you like about this current role that you’re in?

A: I really love meeting people. And I think that this position I’m in now has led to me getting a lot of opportunities to really get to know people from all across the state in various roles in economic development. I just really like hearing what everybody does and seeing the big ecosystem picture. I’ve tried mapping it — it’s virtually impossible to map. But I’ve made a lot of connections and connected a lot of dots over the last several years in this space. I just love hearing what people do and connecting those dots for people is really invigorating for me.

Q: This position opened up because of Bill Rubin retiring. What was your relationship with him like? 

A: When I moved to St. Croix County two and half years ago, I had reached out to Bill just as a local, economic-type resource, looking for opportunities to get involved with the county. I really, really enjoyed Bill. It’s a lot to step into a position that has been held by somebody else for 27 years. I’m excited for that challenge. But Bill has actually reached out and welcomed me and wished me well, which I really appreciated.

Q: Will your role here be similar to what Bill did or will it be different?

A: I bring a different skill set. I bring a different network. I bring a different view of things, just from my background and moving around the state and working on these different levels of, not only entrepreneurship myself, but small business consulting and economic development. I think I’ll put my own flavor into it and I don’t think I can define that at this point.

Q: You mentioned earlier things on your calendar already. Are there any things you want to tell people about?

A: Our 31st annual business awards program will take place on February 22nd at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course at 5 [p.m.]. (Register for the banquet here.)

Q: Any future goals as of now?

A: I’ve got a lot of learning to do and a lot of connections to make. On this local level, looking at the towns and cities and municipalities that we serve in this county. Just building those relationships and looking at the picture is going to help me really understand what my goals should be. I want to serve the county in the best way that I can. I don’t think I’ve set clear goals yet, but I really am looking forward to learning and understanding the direction of this position as I get into it.

St. Croix EDC Honors 2023 Businesses & Individual

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St. Croix EDC Names Top Businesses & Individual for 2023

Krista Paulus, president of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced the EDC’s selection of Barbell Coffee LLC (City of River Falls), Aves Studio (Town of Troy), and Ciranda (City of Hudson) as recipients of the 2023 Business of the Year awards in St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

The EDC Board of directors also named William (Bill) Rubin as the recipient of the EDC Directors Award, an occasional award presented to an individual or organization championing economic development through innovative actions, making St. Croix County an exceptional place for business, industry, and residents.

The companies and Mr. Rubin will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, February 22, 2024, at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course, 163 Radio Rd, River Falls, WI starting at 5:00 o’clock p.m. with check-in, networking, and cash bar.

“The 2023 winners demonstrate the varied and unique attributes of St. Croix County businesses,” said EDC President Krista Paulus. “Barbell Coffee is making its mark with organic single source coffee beans, roasted to order. Aves Studio is known throughout the world for their products used in manners as varied as taxidermy to coral reef restoration. Ciranda is an employee owned company committed to corporate giving, volunteering and sustainability. Former EDC Executive Director, William (Bill) Rubin left his fingerprints on many projects in St. Croix County during his twenty seven plus years in economic development. It is with pride and gratitude that I congratulate each of these nominees on winning this year’s awards.”

About the 2023 Honorees
Barbell Coffee LLC is the 2023 Emerging Business of the Year (based in St. Croix County and in business for five or fewer years). The company was founded by Ender Gocmen in 2020 and registered with the state on 3/12/21. Barbell is a small batch specialty coffee company that offers the key features of :a) small batch; b) single origin; and roast to order. Barbell offers both signature series coffee and seasonal coffee throughout the year. The company’s differentiator is its use of both single origin and specialty grade beans that are roasted to become premium coffees. Barbell is also an e-commerce business. They do not have a retail location, but actively seek out retail (wholesale) accounts. They offer subscriptions for their products where consumers can select the coffee type, roast level, amount, and delivery frequency (ground shipped or local pickup). Learn more at www.barbellcoffeeco.com.

Ave’s Studio is the 2023 Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees). Aves offers over 40 types of clay and mache products and ships to resellers in 38 countries. Their products are used in museums such as the Smithsonian, to Hollywood special FX artists, for taxidermy, and at zoos, aquariums and theme parks, among other uses. They are also used in coral reef restoration projects as their clay is waterproof, non toxic and doesn’t crack, shrink or peel. Learn more at www.avesstudio.com.

Ciranda is the 2023 Business of the Year (30 or more employees). Founded in 1994 by Brazilian-born Hans Friese, together with his wife, Joan, Ciranda has been the premier North American provider of certified organic, non-GMO and Fair-Trade food ingredients. In 2017 Ciranda’s founders transferred company ownership into the hands of the employees, and makes yearly contributions of stock or cash to the ESOP on behalf of their employee owners. They are also committed to donating a portion of their net income both domestically and globally each year. In FY23, Ciranda donated over $45,000.00 domestically. Some of the recipients include: St. Croix Valley Food Bank, Hudson Hospital Foundation, Grace Place Shelters, Hudson Backpack Program, River Valley Charities and Somerset Food Pantry. Ciranda is fully committed to sustainability and economic fairness for all. Learn more at www.ciranda.com.

About WiIliam (Bill) Rubin
William (Bill) Rubin enjoyed a 27.5 year career as the Executive Director of St. Croix EDC from 1996-2023. Many projects led by St. Croix EDC revolved around the core strengths of marketing and communications, business retention, expansion, recruitment, new business start-ups, workforce development, and legislative advocacy. Rubin helped plan the St. Croix Valley’s inaugural legislative day in Madison. It is now an annual event and the St. Croix Valley is well branded among legislators and state agencies. Rubin worked hand in hand with John Soderberg in advocating for the approval of the St. Croix River Crossing. Along with others, their work started in early 1997 following a determination by the National Park Service that the proposed new bridge had a detrimental impact on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Following years of work, the new crossing was approved in 2012 and opened in 2017. Many hands touched the project, but the effort is attributed to Mr. Soderberg and Mr. Rubin.

Event Details
This is the 31st business awards program conducted by St. Croix EDC. The event is open to the public but reservations are required. Watch the Trending News on the EDC website to purchase your tickets.

About St. Croix EDC
St. Croix EDC was established in 1994 as a public-private business league that operates as the independent economic development arm of St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Reflective activities include marketing and communication, business retention, business expansion, business recruitment, new business incorporations, workforce development, and advocacy on behalf of business and industry. Initiatives taken by St. Croix EDC help improve the business climate of St. Croix County, allowing businesses, large and small, to grow and prosper.

For more information, contact Nita Dusek at (715) 690-2110.

St. Croix EDC Welcomes New Executive Director

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St. Croix EDC Welcomes New Executive Director

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Melissa Meschke as its new Executive Director, effective January 25th, 2024.

In this role, Meschke will lead the organization’s efforts to foster economic growth and development within St. Croix County. With a strong background in entrepreneurship, economic development, marketing and ecosystem building, she brings a wealth of valuable experience to this role. Meschke has been a resident of St. Croix County for over two years, has children in the New Richmond School District and is involved locally with various volunteer roles.

“We are thrilled to welcome Meschke to our team,” said Krista Paulus, President of St. Croix EDC. “Her passion for St. Croix County and economic development, as well as her extensive network of economic development professionals statewide, makes her the ideal candidate to guide our organization into a new era of growth and prosperity.”

Meschke expressed enthusiasm about joining St. Croix EDC, stating, “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead St. Croix EDC. I look forward to working collaboratively with the Board of Directors, community partners and the businesses in the county to build on the successes of the organization and drive sustainable economic development in the St. Croix Valley region.”

Meschke holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UW- Eau Claire and holds both her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and Entrepreneurship Development Professional (EDP) certifications from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and has over a decade of experience in economic development and entrepreneurship.

Welcome Melissa!

November 2023 Unemployment at 3.1%

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St. Croix County’s November Unemployment Rate
Stays The Same At 3.1%

On December 27, 2023, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary November 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s November rate was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than October’s revised final rate of 3.2% and September’s final rate of 3.3%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.7%.

DWD said November 2023 unemployment rates decreased in 50 counties, increased in 12 counties, and were unchanged in 10 Wisconsin counties over the month; year-over-year rates decreased in four Wisconsin counties, remained unchanged in seven of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and increased in the remaining 61 counties. Current rates range from 1.8% in Lafayette to 4.9% in Menominee.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in November include Lafayette (1.8%), Green and Dane (2.0%), Iowa and Kewaunee (2.1%). Menominee had the highest rate in November at 4.9% followed by Adams (4.4%), Iron (4.4%), Forest (4.3%), and Milwaukee (4.2%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.1%, November’s preliminary rate for Polk was at 3.8% and Pierce was at 2.9%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The October 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 1.9%, which is lower than October’s rate of 2.9% and September’s rate of 2.7%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.4% in November of 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 1.7% in November, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 1.7% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 2.1%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in November was estimated at 3.3%, which is higher than October’s final rate of 3.2% and September’s final rate of 3.1%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in November was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than October’s rate of 3.2% and the same as September’s rate of 3.1%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.0%.
The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for November was estimated at 3.7%, which is lower than October’s final rate of 3.9% and September’s final rate of 3.8%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.6%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for November was estimated at 65.9%, which is higher than October’s rate of 65.8% and September’s rate of 65.7%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 65.8%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in November was estimated at 62.8%, which is higher than October’s rate of 62.7% and the same as September’s rate of 62.8%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.2%.

November’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

Recording of Transportation Update

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WI DOT’s Transportation Update Recording

On Thursday December 7, St. Croix EDC hosted Jerry Mentzel, director of WisDOT’s Northwest Region to give an update of transportation projects around the county. Find the recording HERE (Passcode: m9##TCy1) and download the presentation slides here. Find presenter notes in the top left corner of the slides. 

Be sure to scroll to bottom of this article for more geographical information.

Jerry Mentzel, a civil engineer, is the director of WisDOT’s Northwest Region, which encompasses 20 counties in northwestern Wisconsin, including St. Croix County. He has been with WisDOT for more than 30 years, manages a staff of more than 150 full- and part-time employees and promotes and implements WisDOT policies, programs, services and strategies.

October 2023 Unemployment is 3.1%

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St. Croix County’s October Unemployment Rate is 3.1%

On November 22nd, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary October 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s October rate was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than Septembers final rate of 3.3% and August’s final rate of 3.8%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.6%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from September to October decreased in 71 counties and was unchanged in one Wisconsin county over the month; over-the-year rates decreased
or didn’t change in four of Wisconsin’s 72 counties and increased in the remaining 68 counties. Current rates range from 2.1% in Lafayette to 5.5% in Menominee.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in October include Lafayette (2.1%), Green (2.3%), and Dane, Iowa, Kewaunee, and Pepin (all at 2.4%). Menominee had the highest rate in October at 5.5%, followed by Adams (4.3%), Iron (4.2%), Forest (4.1%), and Milwaukee (4.0%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.1%, October’s preliminary rate for both Polk and Pierce was 3.1% as well.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The October 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.9%, which is higher than September’s rate of 2.7% and lower than August’s final rate of 3.2%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.2% in October of 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 2.6% in October, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 2.7% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 2.8%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in October was estimated at 3.2%, which is higher than September and August’s final rate of 3.1%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.3%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in October was estimated at 3.1%, which is the same as September and August’s rate of 3.1% Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for October was estimated at 3.9%, which is higher than September and August’s final rate of 3.8%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.7%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for October was estimated at 65.8%, which is the same as September’s rate and higher than August’s final rate of 65.7%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 64.6%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in October was estimated at 62.7%, which is lower than September’s rate of 62.8% and higher than August’s rate of 62.6%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.2%.

October’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

Local School Recognized During Apprenticeship Week

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Local School Recognized During Apprenticeship Week

St. Croix EDC helped recognize the important contributions of local schools and businesses during National Apprenticeship Week, November 13-19, 2023, with a stop at Baldwin-Woodville High School.  St. Croix EDC presented the school with a proclamation to highlight their role in hosting, training, and mentoring apprentices.

Apprenticeships are a proven model that provides training and a built-in pipeline for workers to secure solid careers across the nation and in the St. Croix Valley. They give employers the opportunity to develop and train their future workforce and apprentices earn wages while they learn.

Youth Apprenticeships integrate school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in employability and occupational skills. Registered apprenticeships are a post-secondary education, like a college or university. Registered apprentices learn only a portion of their skills in a traditional classroom and receive most of their training on-the-job working for a local employer.

For more information on prospective youth or registered apprenticeships, businesses are asked to contact their respective school district or technical college.

St. Croix EDC Seeks New Executive Director

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St. Croix EDC Seeks New Executive Director

The search is on for a new executive director following the retirement of longtime Executive Director Bill Rubin. Could that be YOU? Or, do you know someone who could take the organization and St. Croix County to new heights? Go to www.thenextmovegroup.com/stcroix to see the requirements and to start the application process. Deadline to apply is Friday December 1, 2023.

St. Croix EDC Seeks Nominations for 2023 Business of the Year

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St. Croix EDC Seeks Nominations for 2023 Business of the Year

St. Croix EDC is accepting nominations for its 2023 Business of the Year awards program.

Categories include:
-Emerging Business of the Year (a start-up business that has operated in St. Croix County for five or fewer years, 2019-2023);
-Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees); and
-Business of the Year (30 or more employees)

Qualifying companies must be involved in manufacturing, distribution, construction, health care, or must be a service provider to other companies. Companies must be operated for profit. Retail companies are not eligible.

Individuals may nominate a company in any of the categories or a business may place their company’s name in nomination.

Criteria include:
Recent Noteworthy Accomplishments:
i.e. milestone anniversary, physical plant expansion, new product line, increases in employment, sales increases, pollution control advances, new training programs, export sales, or any other significant advances.

Contributions to Enhance the Community:
Contributions to community projects, service to area youth, education programs, and other efforts to increase the quality of life in the area.

The honorees will be announced in January and recognized at an event in February. The location and date of the event is yet to be determined.

An interactive form and guidelines can be obtained by clicking here. A printable nomination form and guidelines can be obtained by clicking here or by contacting Nita Dusek at nita@stcroixedc.com or (715) 690-2110. The deadline to submit is Friday, December 15, 2023 at the close of business.

September 2023 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s September Unemployment Rate is 3.3%

On October 25th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary September 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s September rate was estimated at 3.3%, which is lower than August’s final rate of 3.8% and higher July’s final rate of 3.2%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.7%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from August to September decreased in 71 counties and was unchanged in one. Year-over-year, rates decreased in one of 72 counties. Current rates range from 2.3% in Lafayette to 5.8% in Menominee.

The four counties with the lowest unemployment rates in September include Lafayette (2.3%), Door (2.6%), Green (2.6%), and Pepin (also at 2.6%). Menominee had the highest rate in September at 5.8%, followed by Iron (4.7%), Adams (4.4%), Forest (4.4%), Buffalo (4.2%) and Milwaukee (4.1%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.8%, September’s preliminary rate for both Polk and Pierce was 3.3%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The September 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.7%, which is lower than August and July’s final rate of 3.2%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.3% in September of 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 2.4% in September, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 2.5% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 2.6%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in September was estimated at 2.9%, which is the same as August’s final rate of 2.9% and July’s final rate of 2.6%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.1%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in September was estimated at 3.1%, which is the same as August’s final rate of 3.1% and higher than July’s final rate of 3.0%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for September was estimated at 3.8%, which is the same as August’s final rate of 3.8% and higher than July’s final rate of 3.5%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.3%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for September was estimated at 65.8%, which is higher than August’s final rate of 65.7% and July’s final rate of 65.5%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 64.7%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in September was estimated at 62.8%, which is e same as August and higher than the final rate of 62.6% for both July. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.3%.

September’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

Hodek and Nichols PowerPoint Slides

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Scott Hodek and Deb Nichols PowerPoint Slides

On Sept 20, St. Croix EDC hosted a lunch program at Northwood Tech with Scott Hodek and Deb Nichols. Their slides are available through the links below.

Scott Hodek

Deb Nichols

Scott Hodek is the Section Chief of the Office of Economic Advisors, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. He provided a comprehensive economic update, offering valuable insights into current trends and opportunities shaping the St. Croix Valley’s economic landscape.

Deb Nicholas is the Director of Business Services at the West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. She presented information on the Workforce Advancement Initiative, an exciting program that offers employers up to $10,000 of support for employee training, daycare, transportation, and much more.

August Unemployment Rate is 3.8%

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St. Croix County’s August Unemployment Rate is 3.8%

On September 20th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary August 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s August rate was estimated at 3.8%, which is higher than July’s final rate of 3.2% and June’s final rate of 3.5%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.0%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from July to August decreased in one county and rose in 71 counties. Year-over-year, rates decreased or stayed the same in five of 72 counties. Current rates range from 2.7% in Door to 11.2% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates from July to August increased in all of Wisconsin’s 35 largest cities. Year-over-year, rates rose in all 35 cities. Rates ranged from 3.0% in Fitchburg to 5.5% in Beloit, Milwaukee, and Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in August include Door (2.7%), Lafayette (also at 2.7%), Pepin (also at 2.7%), Dane (3.0%), and Green (also at 3.0%). Menominee had the highest rate in August at 11.2%, followed by Iron (5.4%), Adams (5.1%), Forest (5.0%), and Milwaukee (4.7%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.8%, August’s preliminary rate for Polk was 3.7% and 4.0% for Pierce.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The August 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.2%, which is the same as July’s final rate but lower than June’s final rate of 3.3%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.7% in August 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 3.0% in August, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 3.1% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 3.5%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in August was estimated at 2.9%, which is higher than July’s final rate of 2.6% and June’s final rate of 2.5%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.1%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in August was estimated at 3.1%, which is higher than July’s final rate of 3.0% and June’s final rate of 2.9%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.7%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for August was estimated at 3.8%, which is higher than July’s final rate of 3.5% and June’s final rate of 3.6%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.7%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for August was estimated at 65.7%, which is higher than July’s final rate of 65.5% and June’s final rate of 65.3%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 64.8%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in August was estimated at 62.8%, which is higher than the final rate of 62.6% for both July and June. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.3%.

August’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

EDC Proclaims September 28 as Craft Brewing Day

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EDC Proclaims September 28 as Craft Brewing Day

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC) proclaims Thursday, September 28th as Craft Brewing Day in St. Croix County. This is an annual celebration in recognition of a small but growing business sector in the county. The first craft brewing day was held in September 2019 and survived the global pandemic of COVID in 2020-2021.

“Craft breweries are important community anchors,” said Bill Rubin, St. Croix EDC’s executive director. “Many times they are the focal points for area residents and tourists alike. They enjoy a loyal following. Small breweries bring people together to socialize, dine, and even listen to live music,” he added.

St. Croix County boasts six craft breweries, including Rush River Brewing (River Falls), Pitchfork Brewing (Town of Hudson), Oliphant Brewing (Somerset), Botany BrewFarm (Wilson), Hop and Barrel (Hudson), and Lift Bridge Brewing (New Richmond). Swinging Bridge Brewing and The Garage Bikes + Brews in River Falls are located just across the St. Croix-Pierce County line.

Each brewery will receive a framed proclamation from the EDC as part of the celebration. An in-person event at Rush River Brewing runs from 4:30-6:00 p.m. and co-founder Nick Anderson will be honored with Rush River’s proclamation at 5:15.

The Brewers Association (www.brewersassociation.org) is a national trade group for craft brewers. Overall beer production in 2022 was down -3.1 percent, however, craft brewing production was up +0.1 percent. The total number of U.S. breweries in 2022 was around 9,710 and included around 2,035 microbreweries, 3,838 taprooms, and 3,418 brewpubs. The overall beer market was estimated at $115.4 billion last year and the craft beer market was $28.4 billion.

In 2022, Wisconsin ranked 14th in the U.S. with an estimated 249 craft breweries. Those breweries contributed an economic impact of $2.53 billion, ranking the state 8th. Wisconsin craft brewers produced almost 1,078,665 barrels last year to rank 7th.

The EDC asks residents and beer enthusiasts to consider stopping at taprooms on September 28th or ordering a local product at a bar or tavern. Whether enjoying a lager, pilsner, pale ale, IPA or stout, please do so responsibly.

For questions or comments, please call St. Croix EDC at 715.690.2110.

Recording of Bakke Norman Panelists

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St. Croix EDC hosted attorneys from Bakke Norman on Monday, August 28th via Zoom® for short presentations packed with expert advice for your business.

Topics presented by Bakke Norman included creditor and business owner matters, business litigation, new laws governing LLCs, working with municipalities, employer and employee issues, and navigating mergers and acquisitions.

You can access the recording here until September 30, 2023.

St. Croix EDC Hosts Conversation with Scott Hodek and Deb Nichols

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St. Croix EDC Hosts Conversation with Scott Hodek and Deb Nichols

St. Croix EDC will host Scott Hodek and Deb Nichols for an in-person lunch conversation on Wednesday, September 20th at Northwood Technical College, 1019 South Knowles Avenue, New Richmond, Wisconsin.

The event is free, but registration is required. Deadline to register is Friday September 15, 2023.

Event Details:
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
11:30 Check-in and Networking
12:00 Complimentary Lunch, Welcome and Presentation

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Highlights:
Gain crucial economic insights
Learn about the Workforce Advancement Initiative
Explore opportunities to access financial support
Networking with attendees

Scott Hodek is the Section Chief of the Office of Economic Advisors, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. He will provide a comprehensive economic update, offering valuable insights into current trends and opportunities shaping the St. Croix Valley’s economic landscape.

Deb Nicholas is the Director of Business Services at the West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. She will present information on the Workforce Advancement Initiative, an exciting program that offers employers up to $10,000 of support for employee training, daycare, transportation, and much more.

Questions: St. Croix EDC (715) 690-2110

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

July 2023 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s July Unemployment Rate at 3.2%

On August 23rd, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary July 2023 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s July rate was estimated at 3.2%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 3.5% but higher than May’s final rate of 2.8%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.0%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from June to July decreased or stayed the same in 68 of 72 counties. Year-over-year, rates decreased or stayed the same in 48 of 72 counties. Current rates range from 2.2% in Lafayette to 9.4% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates from June to July increased in 34 of Wisconsin’s 35 largest cities. Year-over-year, rates declined or stayed the same in 19 cities. Rates ranged from 2.5% in Madison to 4.8% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in July include Lafayette (2.2%), Dane (2.5%), Door (also at 2.5%), Iowa (also at 2.5%), and Green (also at 2.5%). Menomonee had the highest rate in July at 9.4%, followed by Iron (5.2%), Forest (4.7%), Adams ((also at 4.7%), and Buffalo (4.3%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.2%, July’s preliminary rate for both Pierce and Polk was also 3.2%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The July 2023 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 3.3% but higher than May’s final rate of 2.9%. The unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 2.5% in July 2022.

Nearby Washington County in Minnesota reported a preliminary rate of 2.9% in July, while Dakota County, MN reported a rate of 3.0% and Chisago County, MN had a rate of 3.3%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in July was estimated at 2.6%, which is higher than June’s final rate of 2.5% and May’s final rate of 2.4%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Minnesota in July was estimated at 3.0%, which is higher than the final rate of 2.9% for both June and May. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.6%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for July was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than June’s final rate of 3.6%, but higher than May’s final rate of 2.7%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.5%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for July was estimated at 65.5%, which is higher than June’s final rate of 65.3% and May’s final rate of 65.1%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 65.0%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in July was estimated at 62.6%, which is the same as the final rate for both June and May. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.1%.

July’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

St. Croix EDC Hosts Bakke Norman Panelists on August 28th

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St. Croix EDC Hosts Bakke Norman Panelists on August 28th

St. Croix EDC will host attorneys from Bakke Norman starting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, August 28th via Zoom® for short presentations packed with expert advice for your business.

Topics presented by Bakke Norman will include creditor and business owner matters, business litigation, new laws governing LLCs, working with municipalities, employer and employee issues, and navigating mergers and acquisitions.

The event is free, but registration is required to access the zoom® link.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

About Bakke Norman
Bakke Norman has been offering exceptional advice to businesses throughout Northwest Wisconsin since 1985. Our full-service law firm is prepared to handle the legal complexities faced by large corporations as well as the legal needs of small and first-time business owners. At Bakke Norman our focus is to provide superior quality legal services to our community. Our success is driven not only by our dedicated team of attorneys, but by the satisfaction of our clients who trust and recommend Bakke Norman to take care of business.

Bakke Norman Attorneys at Law – Genuine People, Accomplished Attorneys, Expert Advice

To find the Bakke Norman Law Office nearest you, visit www.bakkenorman.com.