September Ambassador Visits
The first stop the Ambassadors had for September was at new member Blue Egg Bakery. We met with Randy and got to see the back where all the baking happens. Randy owns the bakery with his brother, Rick, and sister, Carrie. They had been in the bakery business years ago, then were in the printing industry for many years. When the opportunity to buy the bakery presented itself, they decided to “go for it”. Steve, Bruce, and Robin helped get them going.
In addition to the doughnuts and breads they have in the store, Blue Egg Bakery has many restaurants and bars that they provide bread and baked goods for in the local area and in the metro. Blue Egg Bakery goes through 500-600 lbs of dough a week. When asked how many loaves of bread they bake in a week, Randy responded “A LOT of loaves”.
They are looking for a baker and cake decorator if you know anyone that would be interested in working with the crew at Blue Egg Bakery.
Our next stop was at Gateway Church, another new member. We met with Pastor Jeff who has been the pastor there for over two years. Gateway Church recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary – formerly known as the Alliance Community Church. This location was built in 2009 and is about 24,000 sq ft. They have nine paid staff members, four full time staff to support the 300-350 members in their congregation. Approximately 100 people continue to connect online each week. They deeply believe in investing in and supporting the community. Some of the ways they do that include adding another church service during Covid. They have three separate kids’ spaces for different age groups and are currently remodeling those spaces. In the future, they will add another 1000+ sq ft to the north side of the building, adding even more accessibility.
Our next visit was with new member Kent Larson of Edward Jones and his right-hand person, Lisa. Kent had started with Edward Jones in 2001 in St Paul – his start date was September 10, 2001! Talk about a crazy time to start a new career! He worked for various Edward Jones offices in the metro before being approached by Larry Wipf when he was planning his retirement. Kent started here in April, moved his family to the Elk River area a year ago Labor Day. Larry had been an Ambassador while he was a chamber member. They found his red coat and the Ambassadors had fun trying it on for size.
Kent’s assistant Lisa has been with Edward Jones for 20 years, with about 10 of those years being at the various Elk River offices. She’s working back in the Elk River office she started in.
When Kent was asked about his business, he said this summer has been his busiest EVER. Summers are usually slow, but not this year. People are taking more time to make sure that they are on track, adjusting what they are doing, and simply being more intentional about their financial well-being.
Our last stop was at long time chamber member Fleming Investment Group where we met with Brian and Patty Fleming and their Operations Manager, Danielle Cain. Danielle recently also became a certified financial planner (CFP) herself. They recently had invested in remodeling their space; and we were on hand to celebrate with them. When asked about the remodel, they shared that people are coming into their office to talk about very personal, private matters – their finances. The Bohnsacks wanted a comfortable space where people feel like they can come in, take a breath, and have a conversation in a comfortable – and comforting – environment.
The Fleming Investment Group serves about 400 clients, many of whom they have a long-term relationship with and are already serving a second generation of the same families.
One of their main values is they believe that if you have 1 penny or 5 million dollars, you were brought to them for a reason. They are going to treat you the same no matter which end of the spectrum your finances are on. Three or four years ago they had an intentional shift in how they looked at their financials – they STOPPED looking at them. They didn’t focus on them in sales meetings anymore. The focus, the “heart shift” as Patty stated, became much more focused on the relationships. After that intentional change, things really fell into place in really good ways.
Fleming Investment Group is also looking to hire for their front desk position after a long term employee retired if you know anyone who would be interested in such a position.