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editor's note-Spending Wisely-December 2011
How the beliefs of two leaders past are still relevant today.
Who the Hell is Ken Dahlberg?
Paul Revere Rides Again
A former U.S. comptroller general sounds the alarm about the federal budget.
Minnesota Cup: Game Changers Of Tomorrow
2011 Minnesota Cup
200 Minnesotans You Should Know: 2011 Edition
From rising stars and agents of change to industry titans, creative geniuses, sports leaders, and celebrities, meet the people to know about and, if possible, get to know.
Minnesota Cup: Game Changers Of Tomorrow
2011 Minnesota Cup
Big Thanks to Small Firms
The Minnesota Chamber’s Grow Minnesota and Business Connection programs offer a private-sector approach to economic development.
A local company believes that the market can support a new crutch design.
Selling It-Forward Motion-December 2011
Mono’s campaign for MSNBC—ready for the political campaign season.
Special Focus-The Stable Market Segment-December 2011
Industrial real estate shows signs of life.
Starters-Color Me Missoni-December 2011
The Missoni commercial’s postproduction work was performed entirely in Minneapolis.
Starters-Writing on the Walls-December 2011
Need space to innovate? W.lab’s whiteboard walls are designed to let your business make its mark.
The Video Game
Minnesota companies are finding that videos are a crucial element of promoting their brands online.
Top 10 Business Lawsuits of the Year
We recount the accusations of debt dodging, product failure, bad management, and mutant sugar beets that brought Minnesota business into court in 2011.
That would be bread pudding, the humble postprandial comfort food that’s becoming haute.
AllOver Media Grows With Acquisition of Intran
Non-traditional advertising company AllOver, which has placed ads at about 40,000 gas stations and convenience stores across the country, has bought Intran Media Vehicles, which puts vinyl advertising on trucks.
American Crystal Seeks Workers Amid Lockout
The Moorhead-based sugar producer has reportedly begun advertising for temporary workers and said that its "long-term goal" is to hire 1,300 workers if the lock-out continues.
Angel Tax Funds Used Up for '11; State Accepting Apps for '12
All of the nearly $16 million in angel tax credits available this year was used up as of last week; but the state has another $12 million in credits to distribute in 2012 and has begun accepting applications from investors and businesses wanting to participate in the program.
Ford Center Closes on Financing, Renovation Nearly Done
A California-based investor announced that it collaborated with two other community development entities to provide a $23 million tax credit financing package for the renovation of the downtown Minneapolis building, which is expected to be completed in February, although tenants will begin moving in next month.
Gov't Shutdown: Challenges, Minimal Long-Term Impact
A report released Tuesday by Minnesota Management and Budget found that the shutdown in July posed challenges for the public and state employees who were out of work for 20 days-but the state won't feel a long-term economic impact.
L.A. Fitness to Buy 5 MN Clubs From Chicago Co.
Irvine, California-based L.A. Fitness-which has 12 fitness clubs in the Twin Cities-is buying 171 clubs from Chicago-based Bally Total Fitness, including all five of Bally's Minnesota locations.
Medtronic to Sell External Defibrillator Biz for $487M
The medical device company's Washington-based Physio-Control unit has reportedly been plagued with quality issues since Medtronic bought it in 1998, but buyer Bain Capital, LLC, called it a "market leader" and said that it has exciting "growth prospects."
More Retailers Cut Ties with Sparboe Farms
After an undercover video depicting animal abuse at Sparboe Farms prompted Target and McDonald's to cut ties with it, Lunds and Sam's Club have reportedly also pulled the farm's eggs from their stores.
Cass County Developer Zacher Dies in Helicopter Crash
John Zacher was the CEO of Walker-based Unlimited Peak, which acquires and grows small to medium-sized companies, and also started at least two other businesses.
Christopher & Banks Closures Affect 2 MN Locations
In Roseville, two stores will be combined into one dual-format Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks store; a store in Albert Lea, meanwhile, will be closed altogether.
CHS to Buy Soy Protein Co. Solbar for $133M
Solbar, which has a sales office in Oakdale, provides soy protein ingredients to manufacturers in several sectors; the deal is expected to close in early 2012.
Forbes: MN Is the 15th-Best State for Business
Minnesota didn't budge from its spot on last year's list; while the state ranked third for its quality of life and also scored higher than most other states for labor supply and growth prospects, it trailed behind most other states for regulatory environment and business costs.
Himle Horner Changes Name, Moves to Mpls.
The new name reflects ownership changes that have occurred in recent years; former co-owner Thomas Horner left the firm in 2010, and Todd Rapp became a co-owner in 2008 and now shares that title with CEO and founder John Himle.
Hormel Doles Out $16.5M in Profit-Sharing Program
Eligible Hormel Foods workers received a share of $16.5 million in profit-sharing payouts; meanwhile, Marvin Windows and Doors, which has traditionally given bonuses to its workers, reportedly will not pay out profit-sharing bonuses this year due to a slumping housing market.
Local Real Estate Pros Convey "Eroding Confidence"
A twice-yearly survey by the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business indicates that local real estate professionals are less confident about the near future of the commercial real estate industry than they were just six months ago.
MOA Midnight Opening Leads to Record Black Friday
The Bloomington mega mall welcomed more than 15,000 shoppers as it opened at midnight on Black Friday.
Red Wing-based Capital Safety Bought for $1.12B
New York-based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company has agreed to buy the company for $1.12 billion from Capital Safety's London-based owner, Arle Capital Partners.
Target Names New Leader for Its Web Site
Casey Carl will oversee Target's digital efforts, including its new Web site, which has crashed several times since its launch.
TCB Unveils "200 Minnesotans You Should Know"
The December issue of Twin Cities Business features 200 notable Minnesotans-and the full list is now available online and on selected newsstands.
30 Former Petters Associates Agree to Repay $8.5M
Thirty former associates of Tom Petters have reportedly agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle "clawback" lawsuits that are attempting to recover funds for victims of the Ponzi scheme; meanwhile, attempts to reach a deal with more than 10 other employees failed.
Crave Opens FL Restaurant, Its 7th U.S. Location
The Minneapolis-based restaurant chain has rapidly expanded since opening its first location in Minnesota in 2007.
Ecolab Completes $8.3B Nalco Acquisition
The two companies received the necessary shareholder approval and antitrust clearance to proceed with the deal, and the post-merger company will have 2011 sales in excess of $11 billion.
Forbes: ShopJimmy Among "Most Promising Companies"
The Bloomington-based company was the only one from Minnesota on
list of 100 privately-held "up-and-comers" from across the country.
Google Chairman Praises Mpls. Entrepreneurship at CoCo
Google Chairman Erik Schmidt on Wednesday praised the Twin Cities' culture of entrepreneurship as he toured "co-working" firm CoCo.
Labor Worries Continue For American Crystal
American Crystal's locked-out workers claim that CEO Dave Berg likened them to a "cancerous tumor," while the company claims that Berg's words were taken out of context.
Local Real Estate Titan Boyd Stofer Dies at 62
Boyd Stofer was chairman and CEO of Marquette Real Estate Group; he developed Northland Executive Office Center, Southpoint Tower, Northland Plaza, and the Centennial Lakes mixed-use development during his 33-year career with the company.
Minnesota Budget Forecast: $876M Surplus
The state took in more revenue and spent less in fiscal 2011 than it had previously anticipated-resulting in a forecasted $876 million balance for the remainder of the current budget period.
RedBrick Sees 100% Growth in Coverage with New Clients
An expanding client roster has helped RedBrick Health boost the number of people who receive its health and wellness services by 100 percent during the past six months.
Ring in the Holidays-December 2011
Where to celebrate (or escape) the season with your clients.
Target Announces Deals, Gears Up for Strong Dec.
Same-store sales last month missed Wall Street expectations and were "near the low end" of the company's expectations, but Target aims to capture significant sales in December through various discounts and promotions.
USA Today Video Profiles Local Start-Up Community
A new video report by
looks at local tech start-ups and takes a tour of "co-working" firm CoCo's Minneapolis location.
Cargill to Cut Up to 2,000 Jobs; MN Numbers Unknown
The Wayzata-based company-which has 138,000 employees in 63 countries-said the layoffs will be made across the company and are part of its effort to reduce expenses.
MN Banks Benefit in Outcome of Boy-Band Fraudster Case
A federal jury in Minneapolis reportedly awarded $16 million to 26 banks that had loaned funds to a businessman behind famous "boy bands," like the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, who is now serving time for his role in a Ponzi scheme.
After Closing Nalco Deal, Ecolab Buys Italian Co.
The St. Paul-based company has acquired Italian company Esoform; the announcement comes less than a week after Ecolab completed its purchase of Nalco Holding Company.
City Leaders Seek $50M Nicollet Mall Renovation
Minneapolis officials have reportedly named a renovation of the Nicollet Mall walkway in downtown Minneapolis as their top funding request for the state Legislature when it puts together a bonding bill during the 2012 session.
Deck the Halls Flash Mob Comes to U's Carlson School
A lone saxophonist playing a traditional version of "Deck the Halls" was slowly joined by individual singers, who first sang the traditional version of the song and then broke out in choreographed dance moves to a jazzed-up version.
Michele Bachmann Targeted in Petters-Related Clawback Suit
A new clawback lawsuit is seeking more than $27,000 in funds that were allegedly transferred to Michele Bachmann and her political committees between 2005 and 2008 by Frank Vennes, who faces securities fraud charges related to Tom Petters' Ponzi scheme.
Ohio Manufacturer to Add 100 Jobs in MN
Chart Industries, Inc., an Ohio-based manufacturer that already has a plant in Minnesota, is planning to open another manufacturing facility in the state that will create at least 100 jobs.
Partners Sought for St. Paul Union Depot Transit Hub
Requests for proposals and qualifications have been issued in an attempt to secure private partners to develop and manage Union Depot in St. Paul, which is being transformed into a multi-modal transit hub.
Pawlenty Joins Board of Another Co.: Digital River
Digital River CEO Joel Ronning said that former Governor Tim Pawlenty-who joined two other company boards in late October-brings "diverse business development and finance experience along with a strong international perspective."
Replica from Movie "Up" Features Andersen Windows
Andersen Corporation's 100 Series windows were used in a replica of the home from the popular Disney/Pixar movie
TCF CEO Cooper on "Who the Hell is Ken Dahlberg?"
"Growing up in poverty during the Great Depression, Ken rose to be a genuine war hero, a business entrepreneur, and a Minnesota legend," according to TCF Financial Corporation Chairman and CEO Bill Cooper, who wrote that his recently departed friend "represents the greatest of the World War II generation."
Vikings Stadium Hearing Focuses on Financing, Watch Live
A Tuesday hearing at the state capitol-which is anticipated to feature a series of testimonies from state and city officials, Vikings representatives, and the public-is scheduled to run until 6 p.m. Ted Mondale stressed the importance of moving quickly in building a new stadium, and Mayor R.T. Rybak announced that the city has narrowed its proposal to the Metrodome site.
In Jobs Speech, Obama Praises Marvin Windows
President Barack Obama lauded the Warroad-based company's commitment to making sacrifices in order to avert layoffs during the recession.
$25M Renovation to Begin on Downtown Mpls. Hyatt
The architecture and design concept for the hotel's 533 guest rooms, and its public areas and restaurants, will incorporate elements that reflect Minnesota's culture and history; the renovation will be completed in late spring 2012.
2 MN Students Advance to "Retail Challenge" Championship
Charles Du and Duncan Hurrelbrink of Minnetonka High School represent one of five teams that will advance to the championship round in a national math and retail competition.
Ecolab Buys Third Company in a Week
St. Paul-based Ecolab, which completed its purchase of Nalco Holding Company a week ago and announced on Monday that it bought Italian company Esoform, said it has acquired another company-a Brazil-based pest elimination business.
Hecker Trustee Seeks Assets; Rowan Released from Jail
The trustee handling Denny Hecker's bankruptcy case is reportedly on the hunt for more hidden assets. Hecker's wife, meanwhile, has been released from prison and is in some form of supervised custody.
HickoryTech to Buy ND Network Provider for $28M
The acquisition will expand Mankato-based HickoryTech's fiber-network footprint in the Fargo area.
Kahler Hotel Builds 4,000-Lb. Gingerbread House
In an effort to do something festive for guests staying during the holiday season, the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester made a 16-foot-tall gingerbread house that contains more than 4,000 pounds of edible gingerbread.
Local Software Firm Jobs2Web to be Sold for $110M
The Minnetonka-based company struck a deal to be acquired by California-based SuccessFactors-a human resources software vendor that is being acquired by German company SAP.
MN Gets $450K to Help Small Cos. Boost Exports
The funding will be used to prepare small businesses to begin exporting to foreign markets or explore opportunities in new foreign markets.
Mosaic Settles Potash Dispute, Cancels Trial
Plymouth-based Mosaic reached an out-of-court settlement with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan; under the terms of the agreement, Mosaic's contract to supply the company with potash will expire at the end of 2012.
Mpls. Snow Emergencies Announced on Billboards
A dozen digital billboards around the city will alert passers-by about snow emergencies starting this winter.
Report: MN 6th-Healthiest State, Unchanged from '10
The state ranks eighth for smoking and ninth for violent crime rate, both of which have shown improvement over the past decade, but the percent of residents who are obese and have diabetes have increased.
Who Has Upper Hand in the Vikings Stadium Debate?
Media reports indicate that Tuesday's Senate hearing about a new Vikings stadium seemed to focus on Minneapolis' efforts-and it left some Ramsey County leaders frustrated. But key state lawmakers still seem split over which potential site has the upper hand.
Appeals Court Upholds Petters' Conviction, Sentence
A three-judge Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Friday reportedly ruled that Petters wasn't denied access to a full defense of his case, that jury instructions were appropriate, and that his sentence was within the discretion of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle.
3M Offers 4,900 Early Retirement Packages
The company, which is bracing for a weaker economy in 2012, is reportedly offering early retirement incentives to about 15 percent of its U.S. work force.
Cargill Cited for Safety Violations at Milwaukee Plant
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said that Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation-a subsidiary of Cargill-violated the agency's process safety management and fall protection standards at the company's beef production plant in Milwaukee.
Genesys Works Founder Among Forbes' "Impact 30"
Rafael Alvarez, founder and CEO of Genesys Works, was recognized for his business' social entrepreneurship. The nonprofit operates a program in St. Paul and has partnered with a long list of local businesses.
Medtronic Pays $23.5M to Settle Kickback Allegations
The U.S. Department of Justice accused the Fridley-based medical device giant of using two post-market studies and two device registries to pay physicians fees ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 for each patient that they implanted with one of the company's pacemakers or defibrillators.
New $355M "Green" Firm to Invest in Early-Stage Cos.
Minneapolis-based First Green Partners will make initial investments of $500,000 to $10 million in emerging technologies-and then up to $100 million in single businesses as they commercialize.
Schwan Food Co. Lays Off 60 in MN to Cut Costs
The affected employees work in the company's Marshall and Bloomington offices.
St. Paul-Based Synovis to Be Sold for $325M
Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter International has agreed to buy St. Paul-based Synovis Life Technologies for $325 million-a deal that was unanimously approved by Synovis' board.
Target to Move 3,900 Employees to Brooklyn Park Campus
The retailer reportedly said that 2,400 employees in technology services and 1,500 contractors will move out of downtown Minneapolis to its campus in Brooklyn Park.
U of M Tries New Approach to Industry-Funded Research
The university said that a new initiative-called Minnesota Innovation Partnership-will help eliminate prolonged negotiations with businesses over rights to research that they sponsor at the university.
Allianz Life: CEO Promoted, New CEO Named
Chief Administrative Officer Walter White will become the company's new president and CEO on January 1; he succeeds Gary C. Bhojwani, who was promoted to chairman of Allianz Life and will assume responsibility for its U.S. insurance operations on the executive leadership team of its global parent company.
Bixby Energy Admits to Fraud, Gets Deal
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones applauded Bixby for demonstrating "true corporate responsibility" and said that it "serves as a fine example for other companies" after it admitted to defrauding investors of up to $7 million and agreed to cooperate with a government investigation into its former leaders and employees; in exchange, Bixby won't be prosecuted.
Christopher & Banks Hires President, Predicts Loss
The struggling retailer has hired a new president for a one-year term, and disappointing third-quarter results have led it to suspend its dividend.
Downtown Council Pitches Ambitious Plans for Mpls.
The Downtown Council, in conjunction with local business leaders, has a plan to boost downtown Minneapolis' residential population, revitalize Nicollet Avenue, build a "downtown sports district," develop a new park, and more.
MN Unemployment Hits Lowest Rate Since 2008
Despite the dropping unemployment rate, state officials say the state continues to shed jobs, and the conflicting indicators make it difficult to draw clear conclusions about Minnesota's labor market.
Securian Promotes EVP Hilger to President
Company Chairman and CEO Robert L. Senkler said that preparing internal candidates to take on greater responsibility is part of the company's culture-and Christopher Hilger's transition to president has been in the works for the past few years.
Associated Bank to Close 20 Branches, One in MN
The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based company plans to close the branches-including one in Rochester-in the first few months of 2012.
Cargill Resumes Turkey Production in Arkansas
Following a salmonella outbreak that led to two recalls earlier this year, the company has introduced new food safety measures at its Springdale plant-which it said were approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Carmichael Lynch Creates "Stalking Stocking" Holiday Video
The local ad agency decided to spread holiday greetings this year with a video featuring a holiday stocking with a bad habit of stalking.
Duluth-Based Bellisio Foods Bought by NY Firm
Bellisio was previously owned by Jeno Paulucci, a well-known Minnesota businessman who died last month; financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Local Publisher ECM Agrees to Buy Sun Newspapers
Negotiations with Sun Newspapers' parent company, Dallas-based American Community Newspapers II, are ongoing-but Coon Rapids-based ECM hopes there will be a signed agreement by the end of the year.
Prime Therapeutics Expansion Means 300 New Local Jobs
Prime Therapeutics plans to add 300 information technology and business analyst jobs as it expands into the former home of Buffets, Inc., in Eagan.
Regulators Seek to Stop Graco's $650M ITW Deal
Federal regulators are seeking to block Minneapolis-based Graco's $650 million acquisition of Illinois Tool Works' finishing business, but Graco intends to defend the deal in court.
Study: Abandoned MN Mines Could Capture Wind Energy
Ponds in Minnesota's Iron Range that were created from water-filled pit mines could be used to harness wind energy and better integrate it into Minnesota's power grid, according to new research.
Young Rappers Win U.S. Bank Video Contest
The Minneapolis-based bank selected three winners in a youth video contest-including top-prize winner "Save Song," which features a rap performed by "Young Muny & Lil Savings."
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