Applications Open on June 15, 2020 for “We’re All In” Small Business Grants

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Applications for “We’re All In” Small Business Grants Open on June 15, 2020

The state’s lead economic development organization, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), will begin accepting online applications for its We’re All In small business grant program at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, June 15, 2020. The application process ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 21st.

Governor Tony Evers announced the $75 million small business grant program in mid-May. It was largely funded by federal dollars received by Wisconsin through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed and signed into law in late March 2020.

The cash grants will assist Wisconsin’s small businesses with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory.

An estimated 30,000 businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees will qualify for the $2,500 grants.

Businesses may apply for the grants if they:
-Were in business as of February;
-Are Wisconsin-based and for-profit.
-Employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, including the owner.
-Have more than $0 but less than $1 million in annual revenues.

National chains are ineligible unless the businesses are third-party franchises.

Agriculture industries and landlords covered by other CARES Act-funded programs are not eligible. These are crop production, animal production or aquaculture, and lessors of residential buildings and dwellings

More information can be found at wedc.org/WAI-Small-Business-Grant.

Unemployment After COVID-19

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COVID Realities: St. Croix County’s April Unemployment Rate is 17.8%

On May 27th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary April 2020 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s April rate was estimated at 17.8%, which is substantially higher than the final rate of 4.0% for March and February’s rate of 4.8%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.5%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from March to April and year-over-year increased in all 72 counties. The rates ranged from 9.7% in Lafayette to 26.2% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates increased in all of Wisconsin’s 34 largest municipalities from March to April as well as year-over-year. Rates ranged from 9.9% in Fitchburg to 21.1% in Superior.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in April include Lafayette (9.7%), Clark (10.0%), Kewuanee (10.2%), Taylor (10.9%), and Dane (11.3%). Menominee County had the highest rate in April at 26.2%, followed by Iron (also at 26.2%), Bayfield (24.1%), Burnett (23.5%), and Douglas (23.3%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 17.8%, April’s preliminary rate in Dunn is 12.3%, while Pierce reported 17.4% and 17.7% in Polk.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The April 2020 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 9.2%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.1% for both March and February. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.9% in April 2019.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in April was estimated at 14.1%, which is significantly higher than March’s final rate of 3.1% and February’s final rate of 3.5%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.3%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in April was estimated at 8.1%, which is significantly higher than March’s final rate of 2.9% and February’s final rate of 3.1%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for April was estimated at 14.7%, which is significantly higher than March’s final rate of 4.4% and February’s final rate of 3.6%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.6%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for April was 66.6%, which is higher than March’s final rate of 66.4% but lower than February’s final rate of 66.9%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.0%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in April was estimated at 60.2% which is lower than March’s final rate of 62.7% and February’s final rate of 63.4%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.8%.

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

Wisconsin Establishes $75 Million Small Business Grant Program

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Wisconsin Establishes $75 Million Small Business Grant Program
Businesses in Wisconsin with 20 or Fewer Employees Can Qualify for $2,500 Grants

(Released Monday, May 18, 2020)

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will establish a $75 million grant fund to help businesses struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Tony Evers’ announced the program, entitled We’re All In, in a press release distributed Monday morning, May 18, 2020.

An estimated 30,000 businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees will qualify for the $2,500 grants.

These cash grants will assist with the costs of business interruption or for health and safety improvements, wages and salaries, rent, mortgages, and inventory.

We’re All In was largely by federal dollars received by Wisconsin through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The governor’s office promised more details later in May.

WEDC will begin accepting grant applications in June.

Read more here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/WIGOV/bulletins/28c2d0c (link to Ever’s press release).

COVID-19 and Small Business Assistance

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COVID-19 and Small Business Assistance

Updated March 23, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) continues to negatively impact business and industry.

In Wisconsin, it is a rapidly-changing landscape, given restrictions on public and private mass gatherings of ten (10) or more people as well as the mandatory 5:00 p.m. closure of bars and restaurants (except for take-out orders), school closures, and the strong encouragement of remote working, etc. These are dramatic steps to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

To assist small businesses incurring losses due to the crisis, action is underway on several fronts, including the Governor’s office and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the state’s lead economic development organization.

On March 20, 2020 the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Governor Tony Evers’ request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. As a result, severely impacted Wisconsin businesses can access targeted, low-interest loans through the SBA. The loans provide necessary working capital for businesses to operate until normal obligations resume. Businesses can use the loan funds to satisfy payment obligations in which they are unable to meet due to the COVID-19 disruption. Each business may qualify for up to $2 million. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for for-profit businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits. Repayment is deferred for four months and the term is determined by the business’s ability to repay, with long-term options up to 30-years.

Business and industry may apply online at the SBA’s website, https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela . It is a three-step process, Eligible Disaster Areas (Wisconsin is confirmed), Apply Online (requires the set-up of User Name and Password), and Check Application Status.

On March 17th, WEDC’s board of directors met and approved $5 million in funding for its special program known as Small Business 20/20 (SB20/20). SB20/20 will provide grants of up to $20,000 to targeted businesses with no more than 20 employees to cover rent and to meet payroll expenses, including paid leave (including sick, family and other leave related to COVID-19). WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes announced the program. The grants will be deployed by WEDC partnering with state’s 23 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) because CDFIs have pre-existing relationships with many of these small businesses.

Secretary Hughes’ announcement and outline of SB20/20 can be found here
https://wedc.org/blog/wedc-announces-targeted-grants-to-small-businesses-suffering-losses-due-to-coronavirus-emergency/

The link to WEDC’s summary of SB20/20, including downloadable program information can be found here
https://wedc.org/programs-and-resources/small-business-2020/

Summary

As always, business and industry are encourage to utilize advisors like banks and credit unions, accountants, attorneys, local and county EDCs, and chambers of commerce.

St. Croix EDC can be reached at (715) 381-4383 or by email at bill@stcroixedc.com.

2019 Traveler Spending Up

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2019 Traveler Spending Up in the Greater St. Croix Valley
State’s Tourism Spending up 2.6% to $13.67 Billion

2019 traveler spending in St. Croix County increased to $119.6 million (up +1.6% from 2018) according to an annual analysis released May 4th by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. The 2019 traveler spending in St. Croix resulted in total business sales of $197.6 million, reflecting a +2.4% increase from 2018. This spending supported an estimated 2,073 jobs in the county (up +1.8% from 2018) and generated $14.8 million in state and local tax revenues (up +1.05% from 2018).

Statewide, travelers spent an estimated $13.667 billion in 2019, a +2.62% increase from 2018.  Total business sales from tourists in Wisconsin were estimated at $22.223 billion (a +3.02% increase from 2018).  Tourism and traveler-supported employment in Wisconsin in 2019 topped the 200,000 milestone for the first time and was estimated at 202,217 jobs (a +1.58% increase from 2018). Tourism also provided the state with tax revenues of $1.61 billion in 2019 (a +1.79% increase from 2018).

The traveler spending news for 2019 comes ahead of the challenges faced by Wisconsin’s tourism sector in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

St. Croix, Polk, Pierce, and Dunn counties comprise the Greater St. Croix Valley. Visitor spending in 2019 for the 4-county region was estimated at $299.1 million compared to $292.0  million in 2018 (a +2.43% increase). 2019 spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley includes St. Croix’s estimated $119.6 million, $95.4 million in Polk, $53.3 million in Dunn, and $30.8 million in Pierce. Because of the Greater St. Croix Valley’s close proximity to the Twin Cities metro area, many visitors from Minnesota enjoy day trips to the Valley and return to their homes without incurring lodging expenses. Local overnight stays would greatly increase traveler spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley.

Total business sales from travelers and visitors to the Greater St. Croix Valley in 2019 were estimated at $491.6 million compared to $477.9 million in 2018 (a +2.87% increase). Business sales per county include $197.6 million in St. Croix, $143.5 million in Polk, $93.0 million in Dunn, and $57.5 million in Pierce.

Tourism-related employment in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2019 was estimated at 4,601 jobs (up +2.15% from 2018) and include 2,073 in St. Croix, 1,172 in Polk, 892 in Dunn, and 464 in Pierce.

2019 state and local tax revenue attributable to visitors and travelers in the Greater St. Croix Valley was estimated at $34.5 million (up +1.77% from 2018) and includes $14.8 million from St. Croix, $9.7 million from Polk, $6.5 million from Dunn, and $3.5 million from Pierce.

Milwaukee is the state’s top county for visitor spending estimated at $2.192billion. The other counties in the Top 10 include Dane ($1.361 billion); Sauk ($1.145 billion); Waukesha ($847.9 million); Brown ($717.9 million); Walworth ($584.5 million); Outagamie ($375.2 million); Door ($374.4 million); La Crosse ($281.4 million); and  Rock (263.6 million).

Tourism is one of Wisconsin’s top three industries along with manufacturing and agriculture.

For additional information, or to read the 2019 Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin go to http://industry.travelwisconsin.com/research/economic-impact and select the topic: “County Total Impact”.

March 2020 Unemployment

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Ahead of the Pandemic, St. Croix County’s March Unemployment Rate at 4.2%

On April 22nd, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary March 2020 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s March rate was estimated at 4.2%, which is lower than the final rate of 4.8% for both February and January. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 4.1%.

The one-month delay in data reporting is not indicative of Wisconsin’s current economy and labor market.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from February to March declined in all 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.2% in Dane to 7.1% in Burnett.

Preliminary unemployment rates decreased in all of Wisconsin’s 34 largest municipalities from February to March. Rates ranged from 2.0% in Madison to 5.2% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in March include Dane (2.2%), Ozaukee (2.6 %), Calumet (2.7%), La Crosse (2.8%), and Marathon (also at 2.8%). Burnett County had the highest rate in March at 7.1%, followed by Bayfield (6.7%), Iron (6.6%), Adams (6.5%), Menominee (6.1%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 4.2%, March’s preliminary rate in Dunn and Pierce was also estimated at 4.2% while was Polk at 5.8%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The March 2020 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.4%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.1% for both February and January. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 3.6% in March 2019.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in March was estimated at 3.4%, which is lower than the final rate of 3.5% for both February and January. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in March was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than February’s final rate of 3.2% and January’s final rate of 3.3%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for March was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than February’s final rate of 3.6% and the same as January’s final rate. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.8%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for March was 66.8% which is lower than the final rate of 66.9% for both February and January. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.0%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in March was estimated at 62.7% which is lower than the final rate of 63.4% for both February and January. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 63.0%.

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

February 2020 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s February Unemployment Rate at 4.8%

On April 1st, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary February 2020 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s February rate was estimated at 4.8%, which is the same as January’s final rate and higher than December’s final rate was 3.6%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 4.4%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from January to February decreased or stayed the same in 55 of the 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.5% in Dane to 8.2% in Burnett.

Preliminary unemployment rates decreased in 32 of Wisconsin’s 34 largest municipalities from January to February. Rates ranged from 2.3% in Madison to 6.2% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in February include Dane (2.5%), Ozaukee (2.9%), La Crosse (3.2%), Sheboygan (also at 3.2%), and Waukesha (also at 3.2%). Burnett County had the highest rate in February at 8.2%, followed by Bayfield (8.0%), Adams (7.8%), Crawford (7.4%), and Sawyer (7.3%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 4.8%, February’s preliminary rate in Dunn was 4.7%, while Pierce was at 5.0%, and Polk at 6.8%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The February 2020 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.1%, which is the same as the final rate for January, but higher than the final rate of 3.0% in December. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 3.4% in February 2019.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in February was estimated at 3.5%, which is the same as January’s final rate, but higher than December’s final rate of 3.3%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in January was estimated at 3.1%, which is lower than January’s final rate of 3.2% and December’s final rate of 3.3%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for February was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than January’s final rate of 3.6% and the same as December’s final rate. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.8%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for February was estimated at 66.9%, which is the same as January’s final rate but lower than December’s final rate of 67.0%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.2%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in February was estimated at 63.4%, which is the same as January’s final rate and higher than December’s final rate of 63.2%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 63.1%.

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

FFCRA Leaves

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COVID-19: April 1 Effective Date for FFCRA Leaves

On Tuesday, March 24, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the effective date of the leaves available through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be April 1, 2020.

Based on the language in the bill, the effective date was widely believed to be April 2.

The DOL announced the effective date in a “Questions and Answers” document where it also provided answers to some common questions. Other than the April 1 effective date, the information is in line with what has been advised. The DOL also released two Fact Sheets, both of which appear to contain the same information, but it’s possible they will each be updated in the future with information that is geared more toward employees or employers.

While the links above do not provide much new information, they are worth reviewing. The DOL still needs to answer many questions about how these leaves will be administered and how they will interact with other leaves. 

Safer at Home Order

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Gov. Evers Directs DHS to Issue Safer at Home Order

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today, March 24, 2020, directed Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue a Safer at Home order that prohibits all nonessential travel, with some exceptions as clarified and defined in the order. The order is available here

The order is effective at 8 am on Weds., March 25, 2020 and will remain in effect until 8 am Fri., April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued. 

“I know the COVID-19 outbreak has been difficult and has disrupted the lives of people across our state. Issuing a Safer at Home order isn’t something I thought we’d have to do and it’s not something I take lightly, but here’s the bottom line: folks need to start taking this seriously,” said Gov. Evers. “Each and every one of us has to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can flatten the curve to ensure our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers have the opportunity to do their important work. Let’s all do our part and work together.

Individuals do not need special permission to leave their homes, but they must comply with this order as to when it is permissible to leave home. Similarly, if a business is an Essential Business or Operation as defined in this order, it does not need documentation or certification to continue its work that is done in compliance with this order.

Under this order, Wisconsin residents are able to: 

  • Perform tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor;
  • Get necessary services or supplies for themselves or their family or household members, such as getting food and supplies, pet food and supplies necessary for staying at home;
  • Care for a family member in another household; and
  • Care for older adults, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.

Businesses allowed to operate under the Safer at Home order include, but are not limited to: 

  • Health care operations, including home health workers;
  • Critical infrastructure;
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals;
  • Fresh and non-perishable food retailers, including convenience stores, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and food banks;
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residences;
  • Pharmacies, health care supply stores and health care facilities;
  • Child care facilities, with some limitations; 
  • Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
  • Banks;
  • Laundry businesses, dry cleaners and services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of a residence, including garbage collection;
  • Hardware stores, plumbers, and electricians;
  • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning;
  • Roles required for any business to maintain minimum basic operations, which includes security, and payroll; and  
  • Law and safety, and essential government functions will continue under the recommended action.

The order contains detailed information regarding the exemptions provided to certain businesses. If a business is unsure about whether or not they are exempted from this order, please contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation here

The public should follow simple steps to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus including:

  • Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, non-essential workers in your house);
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water;
  • Covering coughs and sneezes;
  • Avoiding touching your face; and
  • Staying home. 

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we encourage you and the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.

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Job Center

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Job Center is a Great Resource for Local Job Seekers

updated March 25, 2020

As a result of sudden lay-offs and business closures because of COVID-19, individuals may be faced with the reality of new employment.

The Job Center of Wisconsin is a good option to consider, starting with the website: https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/.

Browsers may start a search by job title (like accountant) or by city/zip code in the upper right corner of the Job Center’s website.

Other resources for both employers and job seekers can be found at http://wisconsinjobcenter.org/otherassistance/default.htm

Reflective topics for employers and job seekers include recruitment, employee retention, workforce training, plan a career, training and education, and look for a job.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is closing Job Centers across the state starting Wednesday, March 25th. This includes the St. Croix Valley Job Center in River Falls, Wisconsin which serves the Greater St. Croix Valley.

As an alternative, their staff will be offering over-the-phone appointments to assist people who are searching for jobs, creating an account on the Job Center’s website, or utilizing online tools. Please call (715) 836-5156 to make an appointment for over-the-phone support for job search assistance.

Please consider the Job Center of Wisconsin as a good starting point.

WEDC Releases Guide

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WEDC Releases Guide for Small Businesses and Community Organizations Serving Them

On March 23rd, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) released an informative document entitled, “Navigating through COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” a guide for small businesses and the community organizations serving them.

Read WEDC’s press release here:
https://wedc.org/blog/wedc-releases-guide-for-small-businesses-and-the-community-organizations-that-serve-them/

 

“Navigating Through COVID-19″ is available on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) website at:

https://wedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/WEDC_Response-to-COVID_19.pdf

January 2020 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s January Unemployment Rate at 4.8%

On March18th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary January 2020 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s January rate was estimated at 4.8%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in December was 3.6% and November’s final rate was 3.0%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 4.2%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from December to January increased in all 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.8% in Lafayette to 7.9% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates increased in all of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from December to January. Rates ranged from 2.7% in Madison to 6.1% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in January include Layfette (2.8%), Iowa (3.2%), Dane (3.4%), Green (also at 3.4%), and Calumet (also at 3.4%). Menominee County had the highest rate in January at 7.9%, followed by Iron (7.6%), Marinette (7.3%), Forest (7.2%), and Rusk (7.1%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 4.8%, January’s preliminary rate in Pierce was 4.9%, while Dunn was at 5.0% and Polk at 6.5%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The January 2020 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.3%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.0% in December and November’s final rate of 2.7%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 3.6% in January 2019.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in January was estimated at 3.5%, which is the same as the final rate of 3.3% for both December and November. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.1%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in January was estimated at 3.2%, which is the lower than the final rate of 3.3% for both December and November. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for January was estimated at 3.6%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.5% for both December and November. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 4.0%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for January was estimated at 66.9%, which is the same as December’s final rate 67.0% but lower than November’s final rate of 67.1%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.2%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in January was estimated at 63.4%, which is higher than the final rate of 63.2% for December and November. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 63.2%.

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

St. Croix EDC Honors 2019’s Top Businesses

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St. Croix EDC Honors 2019’s Top Businesses

On February 20th, St. Croix EDC honored its 2019 business of the year winners at a banquet hosted by Kilkarney Hills Golf Course in River Falls, Wisconsin. The 2019 honorees included Gallery 77 Stone (City of Hudson; ‘Emerging Business of the Year’); Catalyst Sports Medicine (City of Hudson; ‘Small Business of the Year’); and partner companies TurnKey Corrections and Three Square Market (City of River Falls; ‘Business of the Year’). S. Mark Tyler 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.

Scott Jones, the EDC’s 2019-2020 President, served as the evening’s emcee.

About the Winners:
Gallery 77 is owned by Pablo and Suzanne Sotelo. The company opened in Hudson 18-months ago, but brings over 17 years of experience creating stone and tile designs for all areas of the home, including the kitchen, bath, entry, fireplace and outdoor kitchen and BBQ areas. The operations include a showroom, warehouse, and adjacent production facility where material is cut to very exacting measurements, thanks to a significant investment in state-of-the-art equipment. Before launching the business, Pablo and Suzanne found an important regional resource – – the Small Business Development at UW-River Falls – – and utilized the SBDC’s No Cost Business Consulting to define goals and a vision. They also enrolled in the SBDC’s
10-week Entrepreneurial Training Program where a business plan was developed to strategically guide them forward.

Catalyst Sports Medicine was launched on January 1st of 2013 when then-General Manager John Knutson and Clinic Director J.W. Matheson purchased Larsen Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy from Rich Larsen. The clinic outgrew space at Willis Miller Drive, and on September 1, 2015, Knutson and Matheson opened in renovated and expanded space at Hanley and O’Keefe Roads in Hudson. Catalyst Sports specializes in physical therapy, athletic training, industrial medicine, orthopedic massage services, and performance training for athletes. Today, Catalyst employs 20 people including physical therapists, PTAs, athletic trainers, massage therapists, strength coaches and administrative and customer service personnel.

TurnKey Corrections and Three Square Market are partner companies, owned by brothers Tim and Todd Westby. TurnKey works with correctional facilities on kiosk vending needs and Three Square Market is a corporate solution to in-company breakrooms and convenience stores (snack and vending), and a new innovation – autonomous stores – in white spaces outside the traditional corporate breakroom. Both companies are growing at rapid rates and their respective footprints are global. Combined with its TurnKey jail technology business, Three Square Market has over 10,000 kiosks across U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Central America and Australia.

Mark Tyler and a business partner launched OEM Fabricators in Woodville as a heavy weldment and steel fabricator business. The company has grown to include multiple locations and a worldwide customer base. A recent retirement from OEM enables Tyler to devote time to his latest passion, workforce development and early childhood development. Tyler served on the board of the Wisconsin Technical College System, which led to a board seat with the UW Regents. He is also extensively involved with legislative advocacy at the state and national level, highlighting the important need for workforce and early childhood development. Tyler’s work resulted in governance roles with the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and he has volunteered with many organizations such as Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, The Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council, the Family Resource Center St Croix Valley, and the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment. Tyler is a tireless advocate for St. Croix County and the St. Croix Valley.

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 Office, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin; St. Croix County; Village of Woodville; City of Hudson; and City of River Falls.

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

An estimated 175 people attended the awards dinner and helped celebrate the accomplishments of the honorees.

The 26th annual awards banquet was sponsored by Royal Credit Union, Bakke Norman Law Offices, Xcel Energy, First National Community Bank, First State Bank and Trust, WESTconsin Credit Union, WBD, Market & Johnson, TCM, Bremer Bank, Derrick Building Solutions, St. Croix Electric, Nolato Contour¸ Catalyst Sports Medicine, Greystone Commercial, Hiawatha National Bank, RE/MAX Synergy Commercial, Hudson Hospital & Clinic, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Baldwin LightStream, Security Financial Bank, Wipfli CPAs and Consultants, JA Counter, Eckberg Lammers Law Firm, Citizens State Bank, Phillips-Medisize, and OEM Fabricators.

February 2017 Unemployment Rate Table
February 2017 Unemployment Comparison

December 2019 Unemployment

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December Unemployment Rate at 3.6%

On January 29th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary December 2019 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 33 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s December rate was estimated at 2.6%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in November was 3.0% and October’s final rate was 2.6%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.0%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from November to December declined or remained the same in nine of the 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.1% in Dane to 6.7% in Bayfield.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 18 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from November to December. Rates ranged from 2.0% in Madison to 4.5% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in December include Dane (2.1%), Ozaukee (2.5%), Washington (also at 2.5%), Calumet (2.6%), and La Crosse (also at 2.6%). Bayfield County had the highest rate in December at 6.7%, followed by Menominee (6.5%), Iron (6.4%), Burnett (5.8%), and Adams (also at 5.8%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.6%, December’s preliminary rate in Dunn was 3.5%, while Pierce was at 3.7% and Polk at 4.8%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The December 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.0%, which is higher than the final rate of 2.7% in November and October’s final rate of 2.5%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.8% in December 2018.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in December was estimated at 3.4%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.3% for both November and October. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in December was estimated at 3.3%, which is the same as the final rate for November but higher than October’s final rate of 3.2 %. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.9%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for December was estimated at 3.5%, which is the same as November’s final rate but lower than October’s final rate of 3.6%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.9%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for December was estimated at 67.0%, which is lower than the final rate of 67.1% for both November and October. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.5%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in December was estimated at 63.2%, which is the same as November’s final rate, but lower than October’s final rate of 63.3%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 63.0%.

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

Top Businesses/Individual for 2019 Named

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St. Croix EDC Names Top Businesses/Individual for 2019

Scott Jones, president of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC), announced the EDC’s selection of Gallery 77 Stone (City of Hudson), Catalyst Sports Medicine (City of Hudson), and Three Square Market – TurnKey Corrections (City of River Falls) as recipients of the 2019 Business of the Year awards in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Mr. S. Mark Tyler (Woodville) is the recipient of the EDC Directors Award, an occasional award presented to an individual or organization championing economic development through innovation actions, making St. Croix County an exceptional place for business, industry, and residents.

The companies will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course in River Falls.

“Our 2019 honorees are great examples of business and individuals that are making St Croix County a better place to work and live,” said EDC President Scott Jones. “St Croix EDC thanks the honorees for their contributions to our community,” he added.

About the 2019 Honorees
Galley 77 Stone is the 2019 Emerging Business of the Year (based in St. Croix County and in business for five or fewer years). Owners Pablo and Suzanne Sotelo moved to the Hudson area from Los Angeles to raise their family and build their business. The showroom and production space along Industrial Street in Hudson allows for the finishing of tile, natural stone, engineered quartz for all areas of the home, including kitchen, bath, entry, fireplace and outdoor kitchen and BBQ areas. The company is dedicated to keeping current with the latest trends and products, as well as technology, to bring the most elegant and functional design for the home.

Catalyst Sports Medicine is the 2019 Small Business of the Year (29 or fewer employees). Catalyst Sports Medicine was launched on January 1, 2013 when then-general manager John Knutson and clinic director J.W. Matheson purchased Larsen Sports Medicine & Physical Therapy. The clinic transitioned from space in the St. Croix Business Park to expanded space at Hanley & O’Keefe Roads. The newly renovated facility opened in September 2015. Catalyst Sports Medicine specializes in physical therapy, athletic training, industrial medicine, orthopedic massage services, and performance training for athletes. Today, Catalyst employs around 20 people including physical therapists, PTAs, athletic trainers, massage therapists, strength coaches and administrative and customer service personnel.

Three Square Market – TurnKey Corrections is the 2019 Business of the Year (30 or more employees). Three Square Market and TurnKey Corrections are partner companies, headquartered in Sterling Ponds Corporate Park (River Falls). The companies are involved in the design, manufacturing, and equipping of kiosks, coolers, vending, fixtures, and market accessories. Turnkey works with correctional facilities on vending needs and Three Square is a corporate solution to in-company breakrooms and convenience stores (snack and vending). Both companies are growing at rapid rates and their respective footprints are global.

S. Mark Tyler and a business partner launched OEM Fabricators in Woodville, Wisconsin in 1987 as a heavy weldment and steel fabricator, serving multiple industry sectors. His latest passion is workforce development, including Success by Six (a United Way program), and Family Friendly Workplaces, Inc. Mr. Tyler serves on the board of the Wisconsin Technical College System, which led to a board position with the UW Regents. He is also on the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment. OEM earned Wisconsin’s Manufacturer of the Year Award, Medium Category, in 2006. In 2012, the company was the recipient of the Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year award for Workforce Development. A recent retirement from OEM enables Mark to devote more of his time to workforce development advocacy, legislative advocacy (in Madison and in D.C.), and ensuring the social and emotional development of infants and children, allowing them to be successful in the years that follow.

Banquet Details
This is the 26th business awards program conducted by St. Croix EDC. The banquet is open to the public but reservations are required. Dinner tickets are priced at $45.00 and can be purchased at https://19businessbanquet.eventbrite.com.

About St. Croix EDC
The 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 William Rubin or Nita Dusek at (715) 381-4383.

November 2019 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s November Unemployment Rate at 3.0%

On December 27th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary November 2019 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 33 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s November rate was estimated at 3.0%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in October was 2.6% and September’s final rate was 2.7%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.5%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from October to November remained the same in 8 of the 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.0% in Lafayette to 7.3% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 13 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from October to November. Rates ranged from 2.1% in Madison to 4.6% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in November include Lafayette (2.0%), Dane (2.1%), Iowa (2.2%), La Crosse (2.3%), and Green (2.4%). Menominee County had the highest rate in November at 7.3%, followed by Iron (5.6%), Florence (5.2%), Bayfield (4.9%), and Price (4.7%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.0%, November’s preliminary rate in Dunn was 2.7%, while Pierce was at 2.9% and Polk at 3.5%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The November 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.7%, which is higher than the final rate of 2.5% for both October and September. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.0% in November 2018.

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

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in November was estimated at 3.3%, which is higher than the final rate of 3.2 % for October and September. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.9%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for November was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than October’s final rate of 3.6% and the same as September’s final rate of 3.5%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.7%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for November was estimated at 67.1%, which is the same as the final rate for October, but lower than the final rate of 67.2% for September. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.6%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in November was estimated at 63.2%, which is lower than October’s final rate of 63.3% and the same as September’s final rate of 63.2%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.9%.

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

October 2019 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s October Unemployment Rate at 2.6%

On November 20th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary October 2019 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 33 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s rate was estimated at 2.6%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in September was 2.7% and August’s final rate was 2.9%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.3%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from September to October declined or remained the same in 68 of the 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.0% in Lafayette to 6.6% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 32 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from September to October. Rates ranged from 2.1% in Madison to 4.5% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rate in October include Lafayette (2.0%), Dane (2.1%), Iowa (also at 2.1%), Green (2.2%), and Calumet (2.3%). Menominee County had the highest rate in October at 6.6%, followed by Iron (4.6%), Price (4.5%), Marinette (3.8%), and Rusk (3.7%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 2.6%, October’s preliminary rate in Pierce was 2.4%, while Dunn was at 2.5% and Polk at 2.7%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The October 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.5%, which is the same as the final rate for September but lower than August’s final rate of 2.9%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.1% in October 2018.

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

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in October was estimated at 3.2 %, which is the same as September’s final rate, but lower than August’s final rate of 3.3%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.8%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for October was estimated at 3.6%, which is higher than September’s final rate of 3.5% but lower than August’s final rate of 3.7%. 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 67.1%, which is lower than the final rate of 67.2% for both September and August. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 68.4%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in October was estimated at 63.3%, which is higher than the final rate of 63.2% for both September and August. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.9%.

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

August 2017 Unemployment Table
August 2017 Unemployment Comparison
August 2017 Participation Rate

September 2019 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s September Unemployment Rate at 2.7%

On October 23rd, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary September 2019 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 33 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s rate was estimated at 2.7%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in August was 2.9% and July’s final rate was 3.0%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.3%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from August to September declined or remained the same. The rates ranged from 2.1% in Lafayette to 9.3% in Menominee.

September’s 2019 preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from August to September. Rates ranged from 2.2% in La Crosse to 5.0% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rate in September include Lafayette (2.1%), Iowa (2.2%), Dane (2.3%), Green (2.4%), and La Crosse, Monroe, Sauk, Sheboygan, and Taylor (all at 2.4%). Menominee County had the highest rate in September at 9.3%, followed by Iron (4.8%), Marinette (4.1%), Forest (4.0%), Rusk (3.9%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 2.7%, September’s preliminary rate in Pierce was at 2.5%, followed by Dunn at 2.7%, and Polk at 2.8%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The September 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.4%, which is lower than August’s final rate of 2.9% and July’s final rate of 3.1%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.2% in September 2018.

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

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in September was estimated at 3.2 %, which is lower than August’s final rate of 3.3% and July’s final rate of 3.4%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.8%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for September was estimated at 3.5%, which is lower than the final rate of 3.7% for both August and July. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.7%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for September was estimated at 67.2%, which is the same as the final rates for August and July. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 67.6%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in September was estimated at 63.2%, which is the same as August’s final rate and higher than July’s final rate of 63.0%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.7%.

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

Nominations for 2019 Business of the Year

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Nominations Open for 2019 Business of the Year

St. Croix EDC is now accepting nominations for its 2019 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)
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 service providers 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.

Recent Noteworthy Accomplishments such as:
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 winners will be announced in January and honored at a banquet on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at Kilkarney Hills Golf Course in River Falls.

A nomination form and guidelines can be obtained by clicking HERE or by contacting Nita Dusek at (715) 381-4383 or nita@stcroixedc.com. The deadline to submit is Friday, December 13, 2019 at the close of business. (The form is interactive. No need to print it! Fill it out on your computer, save it, then email it back to nita@stcroixedc.com.)