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St. Croix EDC Honors 2021’s Top Businesses and Individual 

On February 24th, St. Croix EDC honored its 2021 business of the year winners and recipient of its Directors Award during an event conducted on an electronic meeting platform. 

Honorees include Aster Beverage (City of New Richmond), Alms Creative (City of Hudson), and Indue (Town of Hudson) as recipients of the 2021 Business of the Year awards in St. Croix County, Wisconsin.

Ruthie Johnston received the EDC Directors Award, an occasional award presented to an individual or organization for championing economic development through innovation and actions, making St. Croix County an exceptional place for business, industry, and residents. 

Angela Popenhagen, the EDC’s 2021-22 President, served as the event’s emcee.

About the Honorees:

Aster Beverage: The company was formed in late 2020 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Watt Beverage, Inc. and commenced operations in New Richmond last year in a previously vacant facility in the city’s business park. Aster operates as a beverage manufacturer specializing in ready-to-drink and ready-to-serve functional beverages, hard and nonalcoholic sparkling products, and as a contractual co-packer for other beverage companies. The co-packing partners are local, regional, and national operations. The company is led by Tom Meyer and a number of partners who have ownership interests in Big Watt Beverage and the limited liability company which own the real estate and capital equipment at 1280 Madison Avenue.

 Alms Creative: Alms is a full service video production agency with over 25 years of experience in all phases of production. Based in Hudson, Alms Creative is owned and led by William (Bill) Alms. The company was launched in 2013 and used Alms’ passion of storytelling with nonprofit organizations as its foundation. Alms and staff rely on their respective keen eyes and focus to produce authentic awareness and content for clients. In late 2021, Alms Creative was awarded two Gold Marcom awards for marketing and communication excellence. Bill Alms serves as an alderperson on the Hudson Common Council and represents constituents in the city’s second district.

Indue: Indue is an industrial flooring company that installs and manufactures polyurethane concrete coatings, concrete polishing, and decorative floors. Indue provides these flooring services to companies in the food industry sector throughout the upper Midwest, east central and southern U.S., as well as Idaho, Colorado and New Mexico. Reflective customers include Mead Johnson, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Mars, Incorporated, and American Crystal Sugar. The company has been in St. Croix County since 2004 and has grown from five employees in 2000, to 20 in 2004, and to over 100 including the associates in a Michigan sales office. Indue is led by Tom Scanlan.

EDC Directors Award

Ruthie Johnston is the CEO of Croix Gear and Machining in Hudson. Her story is one of opportunity within a tragedy. In 2010, Ruthie’s husband Mark unexpectedly passed away. Ruthie was not involved in the family’s manufacturing business, but was thrust in the leadership role of running the company. Although not prepared, she stepped into the CEO role of then-named Marine Associates. From Day One, she asked her leadership team for assistance and grew into the role of the leader. The company name was changed to Croix Gear to more accurately reflect the manufactured products. Numerous metrics and goals were introduced along with a 23,000 square foot addition in 2016. Through the efforts of Ruthie and her leadership team, Croix Gear continues to prosper. The company’s tagline is Precision with Purpose. Her success is testament to learning and adapting.

Each of the winners received a plaque from the EDC as well as a Legislative Citation from the State Senate and Assembly, and numerous congratulatory letters from state, federal, and local officials.

The 28th annual awards event was sponsored by 32 organizations.

For more information contact: (715) 381-4383 William Rubin or Nita Dusek