Barmah Hats

For over 30 years, Barmah Hats has built a reputation for innovative hat design. They are known for manufacturing the toughest outdoor head wear on the market. This is because Barmah Hats commits to using only the finest materials and handcrafts each hat with care. Barmah Hats has production sites in Staples, Minnesota and Melbourne, Australia.

So how did an Australian hat company get a foothold in rural Minnesota? Andreas Vogel was living in California when the opportunity arose to take over the Barmah Hats, USA division. Andreas and his wife Michelle wanted to raise a family in a less populated area. Andreas, with family near Verndale, knew Minnesota was a great place to live and they made the move. Barmah Hats now has five employees, a robust online business and a manufacturing and retail location in Staples.

Located within our expanded fiber network area, Barmah Hats now enjoys broadband access over a fiber optic line. In fact, they wrote letters of support to the MN Border to Border Broadband committee on our behalf. They needed broadband to stay competitive, lower costs and be more flexible. Andreas said, “Fast internet is a must since a large majority of our sales are online.”

If you are looking for quality hats made in the USA, visit Barmah Hats at 1240 Prairie Ave. NW in Staples or online at

For a Good Cause 10-Digit Dialing Must Start

For a good cause… ten-digit dialing must be implemented in all areas of the U.S.

This is due to technical reasons supporting the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) directive adopting 988 as the three-digit number to be used nationwide to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. For 988 to work in the 218-area code, 10-digit local dialing must first be implemented, which means you will need to change the way you dial local calls.

The 988 hotline is starting July 16, 2022. Customers should continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

What will be the new dialing procedure?
To complete all local calls, you will now need to dial 218 + telephone number. This applies to all calls within your area code that are currently dialed with seven digits.

Who will be affected?
Anyone with a telephone number with the area code 218 will need to make this change from 7-digit local dialing to 10-digit local dialing.

When will the change begin?
Beginning April 24, 2021, you can and should begin dialing 10 digits (218 + telephone number) for all local calls. If you forget and dial just 7 digits, for now, your call will still be completed.

Beginning January 1, 2022, you must dial 10-digits (218 + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7-digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. You must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.

Reprogram Your Auto Dialers
In addition to changing the way you dial local calls, all services, automatic dialing equipment, or other types of equipment that are programmed to complete calls to 7-digit local numbers will need to be reprogrammed to complete calls to 10-digit numbers.

Some examples are life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates, speed dialers, mobile or other wireless phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services and other similar functions. Be sure to check your website, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks, contact information, your personal or pet ID tags, and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

What will remain the same?
• Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.
• The price of a call, coverage area, or other rates and services will not change due to the dialing change.
• What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.
• You will continue to dial 1+ area code + telephone number for all long-distance calls.
• You can still dial just three digits to reach 711 (relay services) and 911 (emergency services).
• 211, 411, 511, 611, or 811 services can still be reached by dialing their three-digit codes.
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can still be reached by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Who may you contact with questions?
If you have any questions regarding information provided in this notice, please call our office at 218-837-5151 or access for more information. You can also visit the FCC website.

And remember, if you or anyone you know needs it, beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will quickly route your call to National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline.

For more information see the FCC Announcement.



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Dialing 988 for Suicide Prevention Begins July 2022

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is adopting 988 as the three-digit number to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Use begins July 16, 2022 nationwide. You should continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the Lifeline until July 16, 2022.

For more information see the FCC Announcement.


Erik J Olson CPA Ltd

Erik J Olson CPA Ltd is a local accounting and finance firm located at 503 Jefferson St S in Wadena. They specialize in personalized financial consulting, tax accounting services and other services to meet your financial needs. Unlike some firms, Erik J Olson CPA Ltd will do more than just prepare your business or individual tax return; they also offer continuous tax planning so you can achieve your full financial potential. 

Erik Olson is the owner of the firm and was born and raised in Wadena. Erik earned his BS in accounting at St. Cloud State University before becoming a licensed CPA. He opened his own practice in 2012, and now has 17 years of experience under his belt. 

Jim Nardello, also a CPA at the firm, earned his BBA in accounting from Hamline University. Jim works with a wide range of clients in many industries. 

Lynn Olson is the Office Manager (and Erik’s mom). Lynn keeps the office running smoothly and handles bookkeeping, corporate tax returns and customer service. 

Kristi Vanroekel is the Staff Accountant specializing in payroll. 

Erik J Olson CPA Ltd trusts West Central Telephone’s business support services to keep their network running smoothly and ensure that the important work they do is backed up and safe-guarded properly. We encourage you to trust the folks at this firm to help with your financial needs. For more information, call 631-1405, email kristi@ or visit

Premier Realty

Premier Realty Group LLC is a full-service real estate company located at 504 Ash Ave NW Suite 2 in Wadena. It offers professional service at competitive rates. Founder Jeff Nardello brought more than 18 years’ experience in real estate to the table when he opened Premier Realty Group, LLC. He started his own company because he enjoys helping buyers and sellers realize their real estate dreams. His team of three is eager to help with the ins and outs of real estate and works hard to make the process as easy as possible for clients.

The company’s tagline is “Your Property is Our Priority.” Those five words form the foundation of Premier Realty Group, LLC and represent their commitment to giving each client a professional and personalized experience. When asked to share their biggest challenges, Jeff said, “The biggest challenges are finding the right property for the right buyer and navigating current protocols under COVID-19—especially during our first year of business. We also face the challenge of getting people to list their homes. We need more listings!”

While West Central Telephone can’t help Premier Realty Group, LLC with listings, we are able to provide business support. Since Jeff is a cooperative member, he was already familiar with West Central Telephone, which made it easy for him to choose us for business support services. Even though West Central Telephone isn’t the local phone service provider, we were able to install a business phone system and provide managed Wi-Fi service and support for his business.

Premier Realty Group, LLC hopes to grow quickly and be a top-of-mind name in real estate. If you need help buying or selling property, call 218-430-0355 or visit their website at

Spirit Lake Resort & Motel

Spirit Lake Resort & Motel is a family business owned by Jeremiah Erickson and Breanna Hoffman. The couple purchased the motel in late December 2018 and have worked tirelessly to transform the somewhat tired motel into a beautiful resort with affordable accommodations. Located at 311 Aspen Ave SW on Spirit Lake in Menahga, the motel enables visitors to experience the great outdoors on a beautiful lake — perfect for the whole family, a girls’ weekend or a wedding on the beach! 

The couple met in Fargo in 2018 when Jeremiah’s work required him to lodge long-term at the Baymont Inn and Suites which Breanna happened to manage. A friend showed the couple a listing for Spirit Lake Motel, and three weeks later, they visited and made an offer, which was accepted. Since the closing, they have refreshed the rooms, improved the landscaping and beach, and renovated the former apartments into suites that guests can rent by the night. 

When asked what they love about Spirit Lake Resort & Motel, Breanna said, “It is so rewarding to see families creating amazing memories at a price that is affordable. We include many amenities to ensure a great time including the use of kayaks, canoe, paddle boat and fishing gear, plus a gas grill and beach firewood at no extra charge.” 

Jeremiah is a Montana native, and Breanna is from Hopkins, MN. They never truly imagined being resort owners in Menahga, but they love the community, the school and the ability to raise their children in such a beautiful place. 

For more information on Spirit Lake Resort & Motel, call 564-4151. You can also find them on Facebook and at

Beneath Your Rural Feet

Driving through Main Street in Sebeka, the back-country roads of Wolf Lake or Wadena, from cabins in Menahga all the way to farms in Staples and Verndale… the picture is rural.

To those who live here our communities offer the vital space to live out our independent spirits. We experience our communities as active and vibrant; full of fun-loving, hardworking people. Throughout this report, you’ll see pictures of our employees and their families ejoying life in our area. Just like you.

Yet, to an outsider the wide-open spaces can look different. A simple, but underdeveloped Main Street, or an occasional dilapidated rural building, might look sleepy. One home every mile, compared to many in just one block is the lifestyle difference. More specifically, in the United States, rural areas have just 6% of the overall population, but about 50% of the territory.

Despite the appearance and density differences, there is something else that makes us quite unique.

Someone unfamiliar might be surprised to know that running silently underfoot is a lit-glass communication system that rivals any in the world. This ‘lit-glass’ is a fiber-optic network that connects directly to each business and residence in our area. On it, ultra-high-speed broadband internet is available to every corner of our service area.

Because of our early adoption to this fiber-optic network, your cooperative, with technical experts and leading management continues to expand and transform this region into a communication powerhouse ripe with opportunity for every rural corner.

As evidence of our leadership, we regularly give input to legislative offices such as Amy Klobuchar’s on telecommunications issues affecting rural areas. The public and cooperative investments made here are a rural model for advancing telecommunications infrastructure.

We work hard every day to make this rural area a great place to live and work. We invite you to secure the opportunities and embrace our leading technologies. Thank you for making us a part of your rural life.


Pinnacle Marketing Group

Pinnacle Marketing Group • 4030 Technology Drive NW, Bemidji

In 2002, West Central Telephone Association partnered with Pinnacle Publishing in Bemidji, MN, to publish our annual telephone directory. Over the years, Pinnacle Publishing has transitioned to Pinnacle Marketing Group, a full-service marketing and advertising company offering additional services such as website design & hosting, social media management, targeted Google Ad and social media advertising, video production, design services and more. 

Pinnacle Marketing Group works with businesses of all sizes and industries across 37 states and over 300 markets. Their mission is simple: to help businesses achieve success through effective marketing, and this is backed by their commitment to provide superior customer service with customized marketing solutions that provide measurable results. Their staff of marketing strategists, content writers, designers, account managers and consultants work together to develop custom plans to meet the needs of each client they serve. 

If you are a business just starting out or a seasoned company that needs a fresh marketing approach, Pinnacle can help. They offer FREE assessments which include a 30-minute call with members of their marketing team. The team will ask questions about your business including the services you offer, your goals, and what has worked/ not worked for you in the past in terms of marketing. They will assess your business and provide a proposal for what they advise. The proposal includes suggestions for an optimal marketing plan and recommendations for budget.


Kahvila • Highway 71, Menahga • 218-564-FINN (3466)

Kahvila, meaning “coffee shop” in Finnish, features extraordinary comfort foods, crafted coffee, and espresso. Kahvila is at the center of Menahga along Highway 71. The building has stood since the early 1900s and is the second-oldest building in Menahga. Many remember the building as the Olson Feed Store and recall walking by and seeing baby chickens in the window. 

Christina Day used her love of design and experience in flipping houses to create Kahvila. She used local building materials and recruited several local contractors, as well as her brothers, Craig and Jason Korvela, and a host of talented friends, to make the coffee shop a reality. Christina is happy to boast about the “army” it took to make it all possible. 

Craig, with over 25 years of restaurant experience, is the mastermind behind the creative menu. Kahvila proudly uses fresh, clean, high-quality ingredients when preparing their savory flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, and other items on the menu. Organic coffee beans, milk, heavy whipping cream, and half and half are used in their specialty beverages. Organic syrups are available, allowing the creation of a fully organic latte or mocha. Organic lemonade and smoothies are also among the large list of beverages on the menu. 

Jason, with approximately 30 years of construction experience, was responsible for most of the finishing work. He continues to be a valuable “handyman” as new projects and problems arise. 

Kahvila has robust internet with secure Wi-Fi and a surveillance system through West Central Telephone. Christina said, “West Central was great. They were there every step of the way making sure my network was secure and reliable.” 

We’re sure the “old feed store” turned bistro will be your new favorite gathering place! Kahvila’s friendly staff would be proud to serve you. To reach Kahvila, call 564-FINN (3466). Hours are 7am – 2pm Monday – Thursday, 7am – 7pm Friday and 8am – 2pm Saturday.