September 2004

Cover Story

The sporting life

Gatorade?s tagline is ?Life is a sport.? Dan Gladney?s could read ?Business is a sport.?

The Detroit native absorbed self-improvement, competition and teamwork when he played football and ran track at a private Catholic high school. Gladney played varsity in both sports all four years, and he was voted ?hardest hitter? by his coaches for his work as linebacker.

?Sports provided the discipline that he?s applied since then,? says Mark Ratliff, a childhood pal who has remained a close friend. ?He knows how to practice every day and be a team player.? Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor

180 degrees

Since he opened the glamorous Pagoda spa in Minneapolis last December, co-owner Tom Schmidt had been flying high.
He told Upsize in an interview published in May about his vision for the spa, which cost nearly $4 million to build and open. It was the third leg of his growing business along with Urban Retreat and Schmidty?s.
By June The Pagoda was closed, and Schmidt and partner Jeff Lillemoe were neck-deep in attorneys. They were sued by John Johannson, who owns the building where The Pagoda was housed and who has a 30 percent ownership stake in the company. Continue reading →

Back Page

Back Page

When Scott Leiferman was living in Arizona and deciding whether to make the biggest move of his career, the acquisition of a $16-million division of Harmon AutoGlass back in Minneapolis, he looked hard at its profitability. ?You don?t want to buy a dog and try to turn it,? says Leiferman, 33. ?You want to buy a good business and make it better.?
After becoming president and owner in the spring, he immediately pumped half a million dollars into advertising and promotion and added a back-room operation. Mostly, he started convincing veteran employees that the young man with ideas that tumble out a mile a minute was focused on one thing: long-term growth. Continue reading →


Financial guide: Map it out

Leslie Frecon left a top finance job at General Mills to start LFE Capital in 2001, a private equity firm in Minneapolis that provides expansion capital and advisory services to smaller middle-market companies.
She?s seen enough deals since then to nearly complete one fund and get ready to start a second. Her advice to small-business owners seeking financing: ?No one will lend you money or invest their money if you don?t know what you want.? Continue reading →

Financial guide: Proving grounds

After a four-year lull, the market for initial public offerings has shown signs it''s back, say many industry professionals. Unfortunately, most small businesses aren''t invited to the homecoming dance.
Nationally, there are just as many IPOs now ? about 70 ? than there were all of last year, but few are from small businesses. "Things have changed enough in the capital markets that it''s more and more difficult for the smaller companies to go public," says Tom Letscher, partner with Minneapolis-based Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly, who has helped several small local startup companies over the years go public. Continue reading →

Financial guide: Credit check

Maia Haag has written a children''s book that she personalizes and sells as a keepsake to thousands of customers each year.
If Haag wanted to, she also could write a book about how to finance a small business. Her self-owned retail and e-commerce company, I See Me Inc., has run the gamut of credit line options available through Haag''s bank, Wells Fargo. As her business is cyclical, with 60 percent of volume occurring the two months before Christmas, Haag has used various credit lines to stock up on inventory for the seasonal uptick. Continue reading →

Business Builders


Recent history provides graphic examples of costly antitrust law lessons companies have been taught. They span a variety of conduct any company should know how to avoid.
Companies, small as well as large, need to have a compliance program or policy that gets the antitrust message to their owners or managers and employees. Failure to do so can bring great expense and grief to a company and the persons associated with it. Continue reading →


Small businesses have a big impact on the Minnesota economy. It is estimated that small businesses create more than 75 percent of new jobs nationwide and their employees represent more than half of the private workforce. Continue reading →


It seems inevitable that one day experts or investors start pounding on an entrepreneur?s door saying that to be successful, the owner needs to have a board of directors. The evidence supporting the value of a board of directors is overwhelming and yet very few small entrepreneurial companies have one. Continue reading →



The owners of High Five, an events and communications firm, teamed up with their landlord to throw an open house that promoted both their year-old business and the landlord?s building. Continue reading →


Susan Eyton, owner of E Salon in Wayzata, will be the featured hair stylist sometime this fall on the popular Fox show ?Ambush Makeover.? A local cameraman hired to shoot an episode in the Twin Cities recommended her, and one day a small crew showed up at her salon. Continue reading →


Private company financial chiefs are improving their accounting practices even though they?re not required to do so, a new survey by Robert Half Management Resources shows. Continue reading →


By the fourth quarter of last year, Tom Salonek?s management team was convinced it was time to change the name of one of their two companies. Go-e-biz.com, the name of their software company since 2000, now seemed dated. Continue reading →


Roger Strauman admits he?s ?got a goofy approach to things,? but he loves to sort and organize.

?I?m kind of a minimalist by nature,? he adds, saying he believes if you?re not going to use it and it?s not going to appreciate in value, get rid of it. Continue reading →


For IT needs, choose an IT consulting firm that gets to know you ‘inside-out’

Microsoft icon Bill Gates runs a successful computer software company without needing to know the details of how General Mills manufactures cake mixes or how Northwest Airlines schedules flights. But ain't it the truth that CEOs of General Mills, Northwest Airlines ? indeed the majority of corporate leaders big and small ? almost completely depend on Gates' wares to run their own companies? Continue reading →

Dayton heir opens Twill, aims for ‘my own era’ in retailing history

Target Corp., the company that retired his family?s name from local retailing, handed Scott Dayton a gift of sorts in mid-summer: They announced an end to casual dress policy at their corporate headquarters in Minneapolis. Continue reading →