April – May 2009

Cover Story

Spice of life

Tim McKee and Josh Thoma met behind the range at Azur, the D'Amicos' Mediterranean fine-dining concept that, despite rave reviews, ended up in the obits a couple of decades ago. Today the two operate a host of culinary operations. But unlike their mentors' stable, each boasts its own name, theme and set of partners, many of whom represent staffers invited to become investors - a unique way to expand without a corporate umbrella. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

worth saving

Never has my green plastic purse looked so tacky than during an interview and tour with Jen Guarino. Her company, J.W. Hulme Co. in St. Paul, makes gorgeous, timeless handbags and luggage out of hefty, aromatic leather. Continue reading →

Back Page

President Jen Guarino on trying to save the century-old luggage manufacturer and retailer J.W. Hulme Co.

Jen Guarino says she felt uneasy two years ago when her business partner, Chuck Bidwell, added about $1.2 million in debt to J.W. Hulme Co. in St. Paul. Bidwell wanted to expand the luggage manufacturer and retailer quickly. "We took the fast track to growth. We were growing 40 percent a year," Guarino says. Continue reading →


Business law

John Fallenstein knew that negotiating the acquisition of a company would be difficult. But when his three-year quest to buy his first firm zeroed in last year on CustomRock Formliner of St. Paul, he learned that a formidable seller would be across the table: Bruce Mooty, principal at the Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty, and representing the Mooty family who owned the firm. Continue reading →

Business Builders

You can sample tech services for little or no cost

While finding ways to work cost-effectively is always a smart mode of operation, today's shaky financial times make it downright essential. My company saves thousands of dollars per year using free services from legitimate Internet-based software companies or service providers. Continue reading →

Out to Lunch: What business expenses can you deduct?

Most business owners probably don't think about the tax ramifications of taking a client or key employee to lunch. Continue reading →

How to tell if you are getting bad tax advice

Bad advice happens, regardless of whether you are working with a large firm or a sole practitioner. If you're not sure whether you are getting the best advice or doubt your tax planning is giving you all the benefits it should, we've compiled a list of questions to help you find out. Continue reading →

Employees Key to Enlivening Your Brand

'Brand.' It's one of the first words uttered by anyone starting or reestablishing a company.

We create the brand. We build the brand. We nurture the brand. We even like to say, "We live the brand." Continue reading →

Choose carefully when crafting domain name

What type of content do you expect to find on www.therapistfinder.com? A site dedicated to finding rapists or therapists?

This example proves that choosing a poor Internet domain name can be disastrous to your business and its image. Continue reading →