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
Rural Park Rapids welcomed Lakes Store All in the summer of 2018. Lakes Store All offers massive storage units with 56 garages in eight sizes. Owners Paul and Katie Johanning are also crop farmers with five children. With such a busy life, they love that they can run the business from home using technology from West Central Telephone.
West Central Telephone created a fiber network from the storage units to their house. A Ring video doorbell notifies the couple when customers arrive at the storage buildings. Paul and Katie also have security measures in place with a robust surveillance system. They said, “Working with West Central Telephone made it easy to get the services that help us run our business with ease.”
The Johannings have built a state-of-the-art facility, and since all the storage units are now full, they hope to expand in the future.
If you’re in need of a place for storage, you can find Lakes Store All at 15670 County 6, Park Rapids or call 218-380-7447. http://www.lakesstoreall.com You can also find them on Facebook.
Call West Central Telephone at 218-837-5151 to learn about security, surveillance, internet and other technology solutions for your business.
North Central Alignment & Tire has been a fixture in Sebeka since 1981. Located on Highway 71, they offer alignments on trucks, cars and pickups, as well as tire sales, oil changes and tune-ups. They also work on suspensions and brakes. “We do pretty much everything,” said Tom Hjermstad, who owns and operates the business with his stepson, Greg.
Starting his own auto repair shop wasn’t always an ambition of Tom’s. “Before that, I wasn’t close to doing this type of thing,” he recalled. He worked in sales in Minneapolis for 11 years before coming back to his hometown of Park Rapids, where he became a Mobil oil distributor. After doing that for 29 years, Tom opened North Central Alignment & Tire. Greg joined the company 27 years ago.
The automobile industry has evolved quite a bit since 1981. “Every year, you need new equipment, and every year the analyzing of the engines changes, too,” said Tom. “When we first started in tires, there were a dozen different kinds. Now, there are 200 or 300 sizes.” Luckily, navigating the ever-changing industry is easier with West Central’s phone, internet and security services.
For all your auto repairs and maintenance, stop by North Central Alignment & Tire at 407 US Hwy 71 N, Sebeka or call 837-5121. You can also find them on Facebook.
Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about our phone systems, internet plans and security systems for your business.
Business Address: 10 East Mason Avenue, Verndale, MN 56481
Business Phone Number: 218-445-6288
If you are looking for general motor repair and tire sales, look no further than Verndale Auto Sales & Service. Matt Elfstrum opened the business in December 2017. Starting his own business was a natural choice for Matt, since he grew up around cars and went to school for automotive service technology.
With 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, Matt is familiar with the ups and downs that come with it. While he admits keeping up with the work flow, especially as a one-man crew, is challenging, he’s proud of his success. “We’re known for our honesty and a reputation for doing high-quality work,” Matt said. His future plans include selling used vehicles and modernizing his business.
Matt counts on phone, internet, wireless networking and a security system from West Central Telephone to keep his business running. “Right from the initial phone call, West Central was more than willing to help get things running,” Matt said. He went on to add, “It felt like I had a business partner.”
For more information on Verndale Auto Sales & Service, call 445-6288.
Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, security and other technology solutions for your business.
Business Address: 112 Aspen Avenue SE, Menahga, MN 56464
Business Phone Number: 218-564-2540 (ofﬁce) or 218-255-3434 (cell)
Business Website: www.northcountrymotorsports.com
North Country Motorsports in Menahga is the place to go for quality used autos and motorsport vehicles. Since opening in July 2017, North Country Motorsports has accrued a small selection of used ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, side-by-sides, cars and trucks.
Owned by Menahga native Trinity Junes, North Country Motorsports is the result of his lifelong interest in vehicles. ìIíve had a passion for anything with a motor my whole life," Junes said when asked about his inspiration. His years of buying experience have taught him how to treat customers, too. ìI know what it's like to be a customer, so I try to put out the best quality vehicles I can."
They list all vehicles on their website and Facebook page. Customers can see the condition of the vehicles in addition to the make, model and other information. Junes updates the statuses of his vehicles regularly so that potential customers can see if the vehicle is still available.
Security is a top priority for North Country Motorsports, as well as fast and reliable inter-net. Leased security cameras help Junes keep a careful eye on things from any location. With our unlimited high-speed internet, they can upload pictures of vehicles quickly.
For more information on North Country Motorsports, visit www.northcountrymotorsports.com or Facebook @northcountrymotorsports.
Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, security and other technology solutions for your business.
Business Address: 62312 State Hwy 29, Wadena, MN 56482
Business Phone Number: 218-631-1718
Business Website: https://www.moenchbodyshop.com
Quality work, reasonably priced: That’s the motto of Moench Body Shop, which has been providing the very best in auto body repair to the rural Wadena area since 1982. Owner Roman Moench started his business 35 years ago with a passion for quality repairs. He wanted to use his experience in small-engine repair and his interest in body-work to start a business that would "try and do the best repair it could."
While striving to live up to its motto, Moench Body Shop has evolved into a business that offers a vari-ety of goods and services including:
• Auto body work
• Windshield repair and replacement
• Small engine repair
• Country Clipper zero-turn lawnmowers
• Echo chainsaws, weed trimmers, and blowers
• Factory Authorized Fisher Plow & Spreader Dealer
Since we expanded our ﬁber network into rural Wadena, Moench Body Shop has access to our services. Besides telephone service, Moench now has broadband internet and a Honeywell security system. Moench said the decision to get services from West Central was an easy one. “Our main form of marketing is an online presence, and having high speed internet makes it easy to maintain. The services are dependable, and having a local person to talk to if there is an issue is very important to me.”
For more information on Moench Body Shop’s quality auto body and repair work as well as Country Clipper, Echo, and Fisher products, visit www.moenchbodyshop.com.
Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, security and other technology solutions for your business.
When sisters Andrea Yliniemi and Amanda Aho started their business in February 2017, they wanted to do something engaging and creative while having the convenience of staying home with their kids. Sister Stitches Embroidery, a custom embroidery service, is the result of that vision.
“We saw a need in the Wolf Lake area for an embroidery business after hearing many people say they were tired of having to go so far to get anything embroidered,” Andrea explained. She added, “We love being able to work in our pajamas and have the ﬂexability to make our own hours.” The demand for custom embroidery has been so consistent since Sister Stitches was founded that the sisters count it as their greatest success so far.
In just a few months, Sister Stitches Embroidery has gone from the dream of two sisters to a thriving, dynamic business that does beautiful work not only for individuals, but also for businesses, organizations, and schools. Andrea and Amanda can embroider on a wide variety of material including (but not limited to) hats, coats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, blankets, towels, bags, camp chairs, and Cubbies (stuffed animals). "We aren't afraid to try something we have never done before," said Andrea. New challenges are just part of the fun; as Andrea enthused, “Every day is a new adventure!"
Sister Stiches Embroidery, like many modern businesses, relies heavily on the inter-net for marketing and communication. With West Central Telephone’s broadband internet service, they can do just that. Andrea said, “West Central Telephone has the fast, reliable service we need for communicating with customers, ordering from our wholesalers, and connecting to our embroidery machine."
Call West Central Telephone at 218-837-5151 to learn about phone, internet, and other technology solutions for your business.
Community First Bank (formerly First National Bank of Menahga and Sebeka) has been serving the area for 120 years. Its history traces all the way back to 1898, when it was the Bank of Menahga. Renamed the First National Bank of Menahga, it received its Bank Charter in 1922 and bought Security State Bank of Sebeka in 2005. Over the years, the bank has continued to provide customer service with the small-town, old-fashioned, and friendly attitude that people appreciate.
Community First Bank offers full-service banking including personal and business checking and savings accounts as well as loans, insurance, and internet banking options. Both locations have walk-up/drive-up banking available.
When asked about the reason for the success of Community First Bank, Loan Ofﬁcer Justin Day said, “It’s our good and faithful customers. We never lose sight of our mission to provide community-oriented service.” The bank is also vigilant with fraud protections, regulations, and current technologies.
Community First Bank uses a wide variety of technology and business solutions from West Central Telephone. A business phone system ties the two locations together, and the internet service is used for marketing and online banking services. Community First Bank also uses a virtual private network (VPN) that securely relays information between the two buildings. In addition, West Central Telephone recently installed a speaker system at the Menahga location to pipe music into the building.
For all your banking needs, contact Community First Bank at 21 Main Street NE in Menahga, 218-564-4171; or at 115 Minnesota Ave W in Sebeka, 218-837-5171. You can also get more information at www.communityfirstbankmn.com.
Call West Central Telephone at 837-5151 to learn about our phone systems, internet services, network solutions, and other business technology.
Location: 201 Minnesota Ave East, Sebeka
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am–5:30pm; Sat, 8am-12pm
The site of a lumberyard since 1921, Clifford Gronlund began Sebeka Lumber Sales in April of 1960. At that time, rail cars brought in coal and rough lumber to be sold. Carpenters used the rough lumber to build rafters, windows, doors, cabinets and other projects.
Today, Sebeka Lumber Sales still supplies area carpenters and homeowners with materials for construction. This includes exterior siding and roofing materials, custom cabinets, countertops, molding and interior doors, drywall, paint, fixtures and more. They also supply prefinished garden sheds, garage doors, hand tools, hardware, cordless drills and storage and organization options.
Richard Gronlund bought the business from his dad in 1994 when Clifford retired. Richard said, “Sebeka Lumber Sales have supplied materials for many of the homes in the area, including Hill Top Villa Apartments, area churches and First National Bank of Sebeka. If you are ready to start your project, let us help you. Whatever it is you’re looking for, we probably have it.”
Sebeka Lumber Sales embraces technology, too. They use computer software to design and create estimates, and relay many through email. You’ll find them online at sebekalumbersales.com and on Facebook. Besides WCTA phone service, they have high speed internet and several IP surveillance cameras. Noted Richard, “It’s important to keep an eye on my business whether I’m at home, at a jobsite or out in the hunting stand. Working with West Central makes that easy to do.”
For all of your building and remodeling needs, visit Sebeka Lumber Sales in Sebeka. For help keeping an eye on your home or business, contact West Central Telephone at 837-5151.
Location: Verndale, HWY 10
Hours: Tues – Thurs 11am - 9pm; Fri & Sat 11am to 10pm; Sunday 10:30am to 2pm
Jim and Kim Maas, former owners of The Uptown restaurant in neighboring Wadena, purchased the Bullseye Bar & Grill and reopened this summer as Maasconi’s Char & Bar. Maasconi’s is a destination that will satisfy you and your family with fresh, madefrom- scratch meals in a casual dining atmosphere. You’ll also find a vast menu of on-tap beer, wine and liquor.
Maasconi’s serves items such as Thai chicken flatbread pizza, hand-cut steaks, Gouda mac with candied bacon, shrimp and fish, and homemade tator tots. Their beer lineup includes fresh craft beer from Gull Dam Brewing in Nisswa and Disgruntled Brewing in Perham.
The couple agreed that it’s great to be back in the area, saying, “We’re excited to meet new customers, and happy that we’re seeing a lot of our old customers from The Uptown. Maasconi’s uses our Internet service for their point of sale system, and they also turned up the Wi-Fi for their guests. Jim added, “Having strong, reliable Internet service that West Central provides over a fiber network is important for our business. In addition to delicious food, we offer our guests reliable Wi-Fi because we believe that is also part of a great customer experience.”
For casual dining with to-die-for appetizers and entrees, visit Maasconi’s Char & Bar in Verndale. For information on Internet service with strong Wi-Fi, contact West Central Telephone at 837-5151.
Locations: Wadena and Perham
Hours: 11am to 9pm, Monday through Saturday
In the heart of every cowboy lies a dream. The dream in this case was Pizza Ranch, and it all began in the heart of a young man in Iowa. That dream now extends to thirteen states, including Minnesota.
Darren Kelderman liked the company’s mission, which was to “give every guest a legendary experience.” He opened his first Pizza Ranch in Wadena, MN in 1988. The restaurant was such a welcome addition to the community that he expanded his business, opening the second Pizza Ranch in Perham, MN in the early 1990s.
On May 4, 2016, Darren moved their downtown Perham location to a newly remodeled building at 720 3rd Ave SE. The new location is able to serve more customers and has a large parking lot, something that wasn’t available at their downtown location. Their menu includes the awesome buffet, Pizza Lover’s Pizza, the Country’s Best chicken, and their famous Cactus Bread.
The Keldermans are very focused on legendary service and quality food, and have installed West Central Telephone camera systems to help them with the day-to-day operations. The kitchen employees refer to the monitors to make sure the food bars are full and the dining area is well staffed. They also use the live and recorded footage for training purposes. Of course, the cameras also provide a level of security and allow the owners to remotely check on the business through their smartphones or other connected devices.
Darren said, “It was great to work with West Central Telephone. Their goals to provide a quality product and great customer service are very much in line with our goals.”
For great food in a great atmosphere, visit Pizza Ranch in Wadena or Perham. For information on security cameras, contact West Central Telephone at 837-5151.
113 Minnesota Ave, Sebeka, MN
Caring Hands Home Care Inc. has been in business since 1994. Owners Gary and Pat Johnson started the business to give people choices in the area for home healthcare. Caring Hands was a natural fit for the couple since Pat, an RN, also had experience in home healthcare, and as Gary noted, “There was a need for these types of services in the area.”
When Caring Hands began, there were about 800 Medicare certified agencies in Minnesota; that number has dwindled to around 400 or so. The decrease could be attributed to the ever-changing rules and regulations regarding Medicare and VA, insurance issues, and the State of Minnesota’s requirements. Caring Hands works hard to ensure that their clients receive the best care, and as a result have received a “no deficiencies” survey from the State and Medicare again this year.
Gary spoke highly of their staff; in particular he praised Marion Hanson for her hard work training staff and working with the surveyors, showing them all of the changes made in their business to stay current and compliant. This kind of dedication comes from all of the employees at Caring Hands, and that’s one of the reasons they are still a top provider of home healthcare service when other businesses have failed.
Caring Hands has our high speed Internet service, which helps them with state reporting requirements, insurance company submissions, and communication with clients and staff. They also have a business phone system from us, and a dedicated fax line. With an RN on call 24/7 365 days of the year, those phones get used a lot!
For more information on home healthcare, contact Caring Hands at 837-5572 or 732-0088. For more information on ways to use technology in your business, give West Central Telephone a call at 837-5151.
302 Mason Ave E, Verndale, MN 56481
VCB’s first finished home is above. Shown left to right are Robert & Emily Weiher Jr. and Patricia & Robert Weiher Sr., with their son Owen.
Verndale Custom Builders (VCB) manufactures system-built homes indoors. They then deliver the homes to the customer’s foundation. An in-house designer assists customers with design and layout of their new home, ensuring each home is custom designed. They can build up to a 28’ x 72’ house.
The owners of VCB, Robert Weiher Sr. and son Robert Weiher Jr., also own Whispering Pines Log Homes and JR Construction of Verndale. These companies typically build higher-end homes capturing 15-20% of the market. When the Verndale Custom Homes facilities were for sale, the Weiher’s wanted to buy the business, hoping to tap into the other 80-85% of the market. They were able to take advantage of very low interest rates through our Rural Development Loan program, which helped them complete the purchase.
We asked Bill Hess, general manager of VCB, what makes the business stand out from others? He said, “We recently had a grand opening event where several owners of a home built by Verndale Custom Homes came back to say they really enjoy their home and are glad we are back in business. That’s a great legacy to build upon.” VCB was able to hire many former employees, allowing them to jump right back into production.
West Central Telephone provides telephone and high-speed Internet services to VCB, and we also help them with their business phone system and computer network. All home design plans and other customer data is backed up in the cloud through our Filehopper Plus service. Filehopper Plus gives them access to files from any Internetconnected device. It also assures them that in case of a fire or other emergency, their files will remain safe. For more information about Verndale Custom Builders, visit them on the web at www.Verndalecustombuilders.com, or call 445-6006.
For more information on the Rural Development Loan program, phone systems, securing your computer network or protecting your important files, give us a call at 800-945-2163.
Pixel Perfect Photography and Design is open for business in Verndale, MN. Owned by Menahga native Cassie Hodgden, Pixel Perfect specializes in maternity, newborn, infants and children, family, pets, high school seniors, prom and special events photography.
Besides photography, Cassie puts her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design to use by designing one-of-a-kind invitations and announcements for customers. In fact, Pixel Perfect offers commercial photography and full graphic design services for businesses.
Although new to Verndale, her love of photography and her laid back, fun and relaxed style has led the community to embrace Pixel Perfect. She’s already been booked to capture Verndale’s Homecoming Coronation event.
Cassie loves meeting people, and capturing those special moments in time with her camera. Often she uploads 50 -100 enhanced, high resolution photos to an online gallery for her clients to view. Cassie said, “I don’t have hours to waste watching files upload, so I was thrilled when I realized how quickly my files upload with West Central’s Internet service.” Cassie has West Central Telephone’s all-fiber optic broadband Internet service with an upload speed of 6 Mbps. Not wanting to lose her precious work — her client’s priceless photos — she also uses the high upload speeds to back up over a terabyte of files in record time.
For more information about Pixel Perfect Photography and Design, visit them on the web at www.Pixel-Perfect-Studio.com, or call 445-4283.
For more information about how West Central Telephone can speed up your time online, give us a call at 1-800-945-2163.
The Hair Company, located in downtown Sebeka, has been in business since 1997. The Hair Company is a full service salon that specializes in hair shaping, color trends and the latest texturing techniques. They also offer manicures, pedicures, spray tanning and sugaring services.
Salon manager Jessica Ehrenberg said, “We love making people feel better, whether it’s fixing their hair or just chatting with them.” It’s a sentiment that stylists Whitney Nelson and Julie Cochran agrees with. Julie added, “Our clients are the best, and the reason for the success of the salon.”
Their dedication to their clients shows, especially considering the lengths they go to stay on trend with the industry. Jessica has Advanced Color and Hair Shaping under her belt. She is also skilled in Sugaring — a chemical-free alternative to waxing. Julie is skilled in Advanced Color techniques.
The Hair Company offers the latest trends in beauty, and they can claim to have the latest technology — fiber optics. As a result, they have super-fast Internet. Since they schedule everything through their online web-based software, this is a must. They also offer Wi-Fi access to their clients during their visit. A security system from West Central ensures the safety of staff and clients. Plus, they can check on their business from a smartphone or online when no one is there.
For the latest trends in beauty, contact The Hair Company at 837-5227. You can also schedule an appointment with them online at www.thehaircompanymn.com.
For the latest trends in technology, give West Central Telephone a call at 837-5151.
Looking for healthy foods free of chemicals and pesticides? You’ll ﬁnd them and more at A Clean Plate Local & Organic Grocery in Menahga. Owned by Wayne and Julie Isaacson, the store sells the most complete selection of organic foods in a 60-mile radius.
Eight years ago, Wayne was on a mission to get healthy and began researching foods. He didn’t like what he found — overly processed foods with chemicals and preservatives, produce with pesticides, and meat from animals fed a steady diet of genetically modiﬁed grains and antibiotics. With 17 years of grocery management under his belt, Wayne and Julie opened A Clean Plate Local & Organic Grocery in July 2012.
The selection at A Clean Plate includes:
• Fresh produce from local farms like Red Fern Gardens of Sebeka
• Organic meat from area farmers
• Non-homogenized, minimally pasteurized milk from an Osceola dairy farm
• Over 100 items available in bulk including quinoa, oats, grains, raw nuts and spices
• Eggs from free-range chickens at Yellow Rose Organic Farms
• The Isaacsons are grateful for community support and love helping local farmers sell their products.
The store uses a Point of Sale system that relies on Internet from West Central Telephone for updates as well as credit card and debit card transactions. Product ordering is done online, and Facebook is their main form of marketing. Wayne said, “The dependability and speed of West Central’s Internet service make my job of run-ning a small business in Menahga possible.
For healthy foods, check out A Clean Plate at 13 Birch Ave SE in Menahga, visit ACleanPlateGrocery.com, or call 564-1010.
For technology to help give your business a healthy bottom line, call West Central Telephone at 837-5151.
Hub 71 is a full-service, family restaurant located at 3 US Hwy 71 South in Sebeka. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with daily features. The majority of their food is made from scratch, with signature items like “The 71,” the “Highway 8 Burger” and “Salted Caramel Apple Pie” as crowd favorites. They proudly serve Cedar Crest Ice Cream, which is made in Wisconsin and described as “pure frozen joy.”
Inside you’ll find a spacious and inviting environment with antiques and local oddities on display—many on loan from customers—as well Mac’s Room, which is a separate area that can be reserved for up to 60 people. What really sets Hub 71 apart from other mom-and-pop restaurants is the way they incorporated technology into their business. This includes free Wi-Fi, convenient charging ports at every table, and servers who take orders on iPads and relay that information wirelessly through the POS system directly to the kitchen.
Hub 71 is owned by Jeff and Shannon Lausten, but it’s really Shannon’s baby. When asked why she built the restaurant, Shannon replied, “I had a dream of owning a restaurant, and when Sebeka’s last sit-down café closed their doors for good, it was easy to see myself fulﬁlling my dream while providing Sebeka with a good, family-style restaurant.”
The electrical wiring was completed by West Central partner, Zenergy, while West Cen-tral installed security cameras, TV, phone, and Internet services with Wi-Fi capabilities. To enjoy a great meal served by friendly people, visit Hub 71 in Sebeka. To order carry out or catering, call 837-CAFÉ (2233).
For more information on ways to use technology in your business, give West Central Telephone a call at 837-5151.
You’ve probably heard of Johnson & Son Well Drilling — they’ve been a Sebeka-based busi-ness for over 55 years! Run by 3rd generation owner Austin Johnson, the business continues to offer water well drilling services for residential and commercial clients as well as irrigation services. It also offers directional boring services, backhoe digging, pump repair and installation, and well abandonment services. Johnson & Son, located at 202 Frontage Road in Sebeka, is an authorized dealer of both Grundfos and Sta-Rite Well Pumps.
When asked how the business got its start, Austin shared, “Grandpa Doug was a man who did it all. He would build houses from the septic system and plumbing on up to the roof. One employee and long-time family friend who worked with Doug specialized in well drilling, and taught him everything he knew about drilling.” Johnson & Son no longer builds houses but will design the entire well system and service and maintain it.
Austin is jokingly referred to as “the water doctor” since he’s on call 24/7, 365 days of the year, to handle any water emergency within the customer base which includes a 50-mile radius of Sebeka. Next spring, Austin plans to purchase an additional service truck that will expand their service and irrigation department.
With all this going on, how does Austin keep an eye on his business? With high speed Internet and a security system from West Central Telephone, of course. Austin said, “With my surveil-lance camera system, I can see who is coming and going at my business from my home computer or while on the road from my smartphone. I sleep easier at night knowing that my property is safe and secure.”
For more information on ways to keep your property safe and secure even when you are away, give West Central Telephone a call at 218-837-5151.