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 www.barmahhats.com.
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@ ericjolsoncpa.com or visit www.erikjolsoncpa.com.
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 www.premierrealtygroupmn.com.
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 www.spirit-lake-resort.com.
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.
Freshwater Education District • 2222 Industrial Drive, Wadena • 218-631-3505
Freshwater Education District provides a variety of programs including rehabilitation and special education services. The District has about 140 employees throughout the school year that work at its office, at a school or at one of the five Alternative Learning Centers (ALCs). Several schools are part of the Freshwater Education District, and they provide services to Sebeka, Menahga, Wadena, Pillager, Henning, Bertha and many more school districts.
Superintendent Jerry Nesland told us that the favorite part of his job is seeing the success of his students and having staff members that truly care for their students. He also stated that he feels fortunate to have such dedicated and talented staff members.
Freshwater Cooperative was started in Staples, MN in 1968. Since that time, several related educational clusters have merged with the original group to start the joint Education District #6004. They now have a new office and special school building located south of Wadena on US 71.
Freshwater Education District uses West Central Telephone’s broadband service at its brand-new office in Wadena at 2222 Industrial Drive and at its 5,700-square-foot ALC building, also in Wadena. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:00am – 4:30pm. You can reach them at 631-3505, Ext 1001 or get more information at www.fed.k12.mn.us.
37 6th St. SE, Menahga, MN • 218-564-4268
Rose Haven is an assisted living facility started in 2000 for seniors 55 and older. In 2016, Beth and Ed Heltunen bought the business from Beth’s parents to continue providing exceptional care for seniors in the community.
Rose Haven works to meet the demand as baby boomers in the area begin retiring. This small facility in a small town feels like a home away from home for the residents. When asked what they love about Rose Haven, Ed said, “Getting to know the residents and their families, and learning their stories is the best part of running this business.”
Family is important to Beth and Ed, which is why they make sure every resident has access to communications services to stay connected with loved ones. Local phone service from West Central Telephone is available in their private rooms as is traditional cable TV service. West Central Telephone also provides broadband service with a Wi-Fi network to Rose Haven so residents can connect their devices to the internet for emailing, streaming, posting on social media, and so on.
For more information on Rose Haven Assisted Living Facility call 564-4268. You can also find them on Facebook and on their website rosehavenliving.com. Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, security and other technology solutions for your business.
320 W Minnesota Ave. Sebeka, MN • 218-837-5455
Rife’s Stop N Shop has been a fixture in Sebeka since 1974 when it began as a “Mom and Pop” shop owned by John and Hellen Rife. Rife’s offers many services including a convenience store, deli, and gas station. Recently Rife’s rebranded their gas services to Arco, a top-tier gas station.
Rife’s continues to be a family-owned and operated business, owned by Kim and Austen Rife. “The biggest challenge we face is having to compete with bigger establishments, but with the support of the community behind us, we hope to sustain and grow to build our community up again,” said Kim.
Rife’s Stop N Shop has broadband and phone services from West Central Telephone, and they’re working on installing new security and camera systems for their business. “West Central Telephone services are a great support to our business, and it’s amazing to keep it all local,” she noted.
For more information about Rife’s Stop N Shop, stop in or visit them on Facebook at Rife’s Stop N Shop. Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, security, surveillance and other technology solutions for your business.
The Economic Alliance The Economic Alliance (formally the West Central Economic Development Alliance) is a nonproﬁt that focuses on economic development in Wadena County and surround-ing communities. They were formed in 2011 from the need for a voice for economic development in our area of West Central Minnesota. With the goal of collaboration and ﬂexibility in mind, the Economic Alliance was organized to represent both public and private interests, and not to be conﬁned to a deﬁned governmental boundary. Today, the Economic Alliance consists of an Executive Board of volunteers — representing banking, government, non-proﬁt and private industry interests — and a full-time Executive Director, Katie Heppner, who carries out the day-to-day operations and strategic mission of the organization.
The mission of the Economic Alliance is to give a voice to the economic and business interests of Wadena County and surrounding communities by providing educational, networking and advocacy resources and opportunities. Through a series of interviews with key community members and stakeholders, the Economic Alliance identiﬁed three key priorities to drive their work in the upcoming years: Business Start-Up, Retention, and Expansion; Infrastructure Improvement and Workforce Development. Through this work, the Economic Alliance hopes to achieve its vision of making our communities the best place to do business.
In addition to its community-driven projects, the Economic Alliance offers personalized services including one-on-one small business consulting, grant writing and social media training. To learn more about the Economic Alliance, their upcoming projects and the resources available, contact Katie Heppner at 837-5950. You can also find information at www.thealliancemn.com and on Facebook at