September 2006

Cover Story

Problem solver

Whether it's designing a better bed to cure his insomnia or inventing a corn-burning stove to drastically reduce his heating bills, Twin Cities entrepreneur Bob Walker is at his best when he's inventing new products and taking them to market.

Walker is president and CEO of startup Bixby Energy Systems Inc., a Brooklyn Park-based manufacturer of a high-efficiency corn-burning stove. Sales in fiscal year 2006 were $8.3 million, and Walker says he expects revenue to reach $40 million in 2007. Continue reading →

Letter From the Editor


Upsize was virtually dead for three long weeks in July. That is, our Web site, www.upsizemag.com, was out of commission, auctioned to a stranger in California by the company that registers our domain name.

It didn't take long for the vultures to circle. People left voice messages saying they couldn't access our Web site or send us e-mails. "I hope you're not out of business," they'd cheerily say, then detail their story ideas. Continue reading →

Back Page

How Lee Jones rescued Inlet Medical

Inlet Medical Inc. was out of money when Lee Jones left Medtronic Inc. to run it in 1997. She tells how she managed resources until it become profitable in 2004, then topped $1 million a month in sales, then was acquired by CooperSurgical, a billion-dollar publicly traded company. The sale will be complete this fall, […] Continue reading →


Real estate guide: Top tips

Top tips Owners, experts share advice for making smart space deals by Beth Ewen   Upsize asked real estate experts and small-business owners to share their ideas for making the best use of their work space. Here are 10 top tips. No. 1: Everything’s negotiable.Well, maybe not everything, but there are many more negotiable points […] Continue reading →

Real estate guide: Space talk

Mackenzie Marketing bills itself as a hungry agency using brains, willpower and bottom-up branding to create "really good" communications for its clients. Company officials believe such work involves collaboration among employees. Continue reading →

Business Builders


It seems that a year doesn't go by without Congress passing a major new tax act. The year 2006 is no different. In May, Congress passed the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA), and President Bush signed it into law. Continue reading →


While everyone knows that who you know is a large determinant of success, many of us don't know how to build a network of people who can make a big difference to our businesses and careers. Continue reading →


Concern over lost benefits is a common reaction among employees when they first get wind of a possible change in their health care coverage. Continue reading →


The 8 to 5 workday is becoming a thing of the past for employees who seek a different lifestyle. For many, family has become a higher priority ranking as high if not higher than work. Continue reading →



Steve Nesser spent a lot of time crashing on friends' couches in California and elsewhere around the world. He was trying to pick up sponsorships from corporations, first as an amateur and then as a professional skateboarder. Continue reading →

Real estate

Any owner of a commercial building can take advantage of new federal energy-related tax incentives. Continue reading →

Web sites

Wowza, a Minneapolis ad agency, first put up a Web site that was one page: It was called "Wowza's amazing one-page Web site." Continue reading →

Tank Goodness

Anne and Dennis Tank are sticking to their original idea as they figure out how to build their company, Tank Goodness in Minneapolis. They bake and deliver chocolate chip cookies - still warm - to corporate clients, hospital rooms and some residences around the Twin Cities. Continue reading →


Dana Olson is on a mission to keep companies or bring companies into North America. "That's our purpose," Olson says. Continue reading →

Dear Informer

Off-season marketing helps seasonal firms Continue reading →

2-minute meeting

Business resources, hangout spots abound at new Mpls library By Beth Ewen Famed author Zora Neale Hurston, as played by local actress Regina Williams, was among the notable librarians featured at the grand opening party of the Minneapolis Central Library in May. Williams also presents a one-woman show about the author at the Jungle Theatre from time […] Continue reading →


Some institutions try ‘concierge’ style to ease intimidation

Alex Saffert, owner of The Sausage Shop in New Ulm, feels there's a definite 'intimidation factor' when he steps through the door of many banking institutions. Continue reading →