July 31, 2014
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Riding it Out

Growth in the number of local bicycle shops mirrors increased interest in cycling for both recreation and sport
Kyle Rickenbaugh is manager of Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling, which will move to a new location on Vogel Road from Virginia St.

It’s less than three miles from his house near Bosse High School to his office at Raben Tire Co. on Green River Road, where he is a sales associate. Yet Jim Snyder, a longtime bicycle enthusiast, uses his morning ride to work up a sweat before he even starts his workday. From Bayard Park Drive to Walnut Lane, then to Bellemeade and Hebron avenues, Jim pedals his way toward continuing health — and a steady paycheck.

“I take the same route everyday, it never changes,” he says. “It adds enough tenths of a mile to get exactly 13 (miles) in a day.”

Jim is just one of many dedicated bicycle riders in the Tri-State area. Men, women, and children like him have taken part in the Evansville Rockin’ River City Ride in April, and the River City Bicycle Classic in June. They’ve become members of the Evansville Bicycle Club and ridden on the completed portions of the Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage.

And now, these bike riders have an increasing selection of bicycle shops, too.

“I think there is a real conscious effort by people to live a better and healthier lifestyle,” says Steve Kalsch, partial owner of Dan’s Comp, which bought out Gilles Cycle on S. Green River Road in 2012. “Bicycling and getting outside with friends and family is a great social event. It gets people to put down their handheld electronics devices, get them off the couch from behind a TV or computer, and get healthier.”

Dan’s Comp opened in 1986 in Mount Vernon, Ind., and is owned by Dustin Wilson, Bill Cartwright, and Kalsch. The bike shop carries several different bicycle brands as well as riding disciplines like road, mountain, general-purpose bikes called hybrids, and comfort bikes.

The store also sells bicycling, running, and home/residential fitness equipment.

“We’re committed to not only the quality of the product, we also encourage our customers to get out and ride,” says Kalsch. “Our service, work, and reputation are outstanding, and our customers are commenting that they are so glad that we have opened in Evansville.”

“Cycling is fun,” adds Mike Wheatley, manager of Breck’s Bicycle Shop on Vogel Road. “We see a lot of people who want to do something other then run. So, we get a lot of runners who are switching to cycling, and you can be as sporty as you want to be.”

“The whole family can do it,” he says. “It can be a casual bike ride to a complete workout.”

Breckley Tipton opened Breck’s Bicycle Shop in 2008 and Eric Muffett joined the company as his partner in 2009. This full-service bicycle shop sells bikes, tires, helmets, shoes, and seats and provides services for the new bicyclist, people who are returning to cycling after a long absence, and experienced racers.

“Everybody in our shop rides and participates in the activity at all levels and is active in the cycling community,” Wheatley adds.

Breck’s currently has three store locations, including one in Owensboro, Ky., and another in Bowling Green, Ky. Each store is known for its great customer service, Wheatley says.

“The community is growing in triathlons, in the cycling market, and cycling-related events,” says Kyle Rickenbaugh, manager of Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling. “There are more areas where people can ride their bikes and a larger bicycling infrastructure.”

Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling expanded into the Tri-State area in December 2012. Brothers Greg, Marty, and Tim Scheller opened their first location in Louisville in 1978. The shop now has six locations with two in Louisville, two in Lexington, one in Clarksville, Ind., and now Evansville.

Scheller’s currently is at a temporary location on Virginia Street but will be opening its new store on Vogel Road later this summer. The shop now is offering lifetime bike adjustments with an all-new bike purchase, and it services bicycles, fitness equipment, as well as commercial equipment.

Other local bicycle shops in Evansville include, but are not limited to, Bob’s Bicycles and Repair, Spicer Cycles, Legends, and Top Spot.

Meanwhile, Jim continues to ride his bike to work when the weather cooperates. He also rides on the weekends. For 22 years, he has participated in the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, Ind., a ride that involves 100 miles of hills divided into two days.

He owns about 10 or 12 bikes and keeps five in storage and the rest at his house. The ones in storage are collector’s items that he plans, at some point, to sell. He rides only two bikes on his daily routes.

“I realized when my dad died at 49, you need to do something to keep yourself fit because if you don’t, life’s short,” he says. “I’m 68, and I can get on a bike right now, at this summer temperature, and ride 50 miles and never get off of it, nonstop.”

Breck’s Bicycle Shop - brecksbikeshop.com
Bob’s Bicycles and Repair - facebook.com/BobsBicyclesAndRepair
Dan’s Comp - danscompbikes.com
Legends - legendsevansville.com
Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling - schellers.com
Spicer Cycles - spicercycles.com
Top Spot - topspotoutdoors.com
Evansville Bicycle Club - evansvillebicycleclub.org

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Sister Act

Evansville’s involvement with three foreign cities has fostered goodwill for all of the communities
Tochigi City Mayor Otoichiro Suzuki and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke in the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc. plant.

When an F3 tornado ruptured Evansville on Nov. 6, 2005, taking more than 20 lives and demolishing hundreds of homes, the Tri-State response was immediate: ambulances, donated labor and funds, vigils, and round-the-clock news coverage. Yet one reaction was a surprise, and that was the support from residents in Tochigi City, Japan.

Evansville’s second Sister City was halfway around the world when the tornado swept through the southeast side of the city, flattening Eastbrook Mobile Home Park. But the distance didn’t matter. Within about a week, the residents of Tochigi City collected donations to send to Evansville’s Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes destroyed by the twister. Eventually, thanks to their donations, which went towards the construction of one of the homes, and gifts from others, Habitat for Humanity built New Haven Subdivision, a $4.5 million development with 55 homes and a park on the Southeast Side of Evansville.

The new development became a new home to many of those who had lost loved ones and property in the Nov. 6 tornado. It was also a second chance for men like David Camp. He was living in his mother’s mobile home in Eastbrook when the tornado barreled through, breaking his shoulder.

Now, New Haven Subdivision is an entirely new community. And that’s partly due to the generosity of the men and women of Tochigi City, Camp told a delegation of Japanese Sister City visitors who visited the subdivision on Sept. 20, 2009, according to a statement on the subdivision’s website.

“Allow me to personally thank the wonderful people of Tochigi for reaching across the world to help us in our time of need,” Camp said as president of the New Haven Home Owners Association board of directors. “The 2005 tornado brought much destruction to our lives, but in its wake we have received countless blessings, including the wonderful homes in which we now live.”

Sister City Program

The Sister Cities program was launched as a national concept in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for massive exchanges between Americans and people of other nations.

“The Sister Cities Program is an important resource to the negotiations of governments in letting the people themselves give expression of their common desire for friendship, goodwill, and cooperation for a better world for all,” Eisenhower said.

“It also was a part of the outreach efforts that many in Europe felt were important on the heels of World War II,” says former Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel. “Many believe that the more we know and understand people in other parts of the world, the better the opportunity to collaborate and minimize misunderstanding.”

Yet in Evansville, the Sister City concept didn’t get off the ground until 1984. That’s when it began to develop a Sister City relationship with Osnabrück, Germany. The official Sister City agreement, however, wasn’t signed until 1991.

“It started when Ray Arensman (who passed away on June 28, 2013) founded the Osnabrück Society, which was pretty active for several years with monthly meetings both in Evansville and Osnabrück,” Evansville resident Larry Miller says. “We had student exchanges, private group exchanges with homestays, bands, and musical groups that we exchanged that performed in each other’s cities.”

Miller was a part of the Evansville/Osnabrück Society in 1984 that first met with then-Mayor Mike Vandeveer about establishing a relationship with the northern German city. Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel believes that relationship began because of Evansville’s long German heritage. Other cities in Indiana, such as Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and Jasper, have established long-term relationships with German Sister Cities, as well.

After Vandeveer visited Osnabrück in May 1985, several student exchange programs followed throughout the remainder of the decade. These student exchanges started between Catholic Carolinum in Osnabrück and Reitz Memorial and Mater Dei high schools in 1986. They then led to university student exchanges between Osnabrück University and the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana.

Following that success, the Sister City relationship became a formal agreement on May 11, 1991, when Mayor Frank McDonald II traveled to Osnabrück to sign the “Charter of Confirmation of Friendly Relations.” The official document expressed the wishes of Osnabrück and Evansville to intensify cultural, economic, and academic exchanges.

The relationship continues and has made a difference.

“Over the decades, a strong bond has formed between the University of Southern Indiana and the University of Osnabrück,” current Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says. “It’s very common for students and faculty to be exchanged between the two institutions, so we are gaining a lot of awareness about our different cultures and educational systems.”

Evansville didn’t stop there, however. On July 19, 1999, McDonald and Tochigi City Mayor Otoichiro Suzuki signed an agreement to promote mutual understanding, develop trust, and improve community life and welfare for the citizens of both cities.

Evansville now had its second Sister City, due in large part to Ken Robinson, the former head of Vision 2000. He was instrumental in convincing Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, to locate nearby in Gibson County.

And while the Sister City concept may not have intended to create a system of support during an environmental disaster like the Nov. 6, 2005, tornado, it was clear that that Sister City relationship was important to both Evansville and Tochigi City.

“It helps provide an outward look for our community, allowing us to look beyond the borders of our city, state, and nation, and establish ties globally,” Weinzapfel says.

He adds that there’s no formal process to choose a Sister City. “It’s based on personal relationships between individuals in both communities,” he says.

Yet the Sister City concept can assist in economic development.

A University of Evansville blog documented the Tri-State Trade Mission delegation visit to Malaysia and Japan in May 2007.

The blog stated that U.S. Embassy Minister-Counselor for Commercial Affairs, John Peters, told the delegation that visited Tochigi City that Indiana and the Midwest are well known in Japan.

Peters told the group that programs like the Sister Cities are important for expanding business opportunities because they develop relationships. Also, in addition to being suppliers to Japanese firms, the region has significant potential for growth in tourism and educational opportunities. Peters said the Japanese are interested in the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, the importance of Abraham Lincoln’s historical connections to Indiana and Kentucky, and sporting events like the Indianapolis 500 and horse racing at Churchhill Downs in Louisville and Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.

Meanwhile, Evansville’s third Sister City relationship became official on May 19, 2011, while Weinzapfel was mayor. At the time, local residents were working to help Tizimin, Yucatan, Mexico, obtain medical equipment to reactivate a small hospital in Colonia, Yucatan.

“Our local Rotary Club established a humanitarian relationship with the folks of Tizimin, providing donations of medical equipment, an ambulance, a bus, and other supplies,” Weinzapfel says. “The Sister City relationship helped formalize the bonds that were formed between our two communities.”

Currently, the Rotary Club of Evansville is in the process of sending another ambulance and school bus that will assist in transporting workers as well as children. The local Rotary Club recently received a grant from Rotary International to teach individuals in Tizimin basic business skills. The local Rotary Club also seeks to help Yucatan villagers create businesses tied to building hammocks and/or farming, according to Jeffrey Berger, president of Evansville’s Rotary Club.

Current Mayor Winnecke visited Sister City Osnabrück this past May along with his wife and several other travelers and delegations for the annual May Festival. Over the past 30 years, Osnabrück has invited people from Evansville to come join the festivities.

“I believe it is extremely important for Evansville to maintain relationships with our sister cities in Germany, Mexico, and Japan,” Winnecke says. “What I find most exciting is the multifaceted nature of these relationships, especially with Osnabrück.”

“The more we can learn about others, the better we can serve our fellow man, and I think that’s important,” says Winnecke.

For more information about Evansville’s Sister Cities, visit evansville.in.gov.

Comment

Clifton Sifford

Job: CEO, President, and Chief Merchandising Officer of Shoe Carnival

Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.

His Story: Beginning in the shoe business 38 years ago as a salesperson on the floor while attending the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Clifton Sifford remained in his home state until 1997 when Shoe Carnival hired him away from Belk. He and his wife, Kathy, have a second home in Charlotte, where they spend time with two daughters, Emily and Amanda, as well as two grandsons, Lucas and Sam.

His Resume: In 1997, Sifford was hired as senior vice president and general merchandise manager by Shoe Carnival and moved to the Evansville area. He would go on to be promoted to executive vice president and took on additional responsibilities of the marketing division. Two years ago, e-commerce was also added to his department. Then, in October 2012, Sifford was named Shoe Carnival’s newest CEO.

Perspective: “There is nothing better than practical experience.”

On Shoe Carnival’s significance in the Tri-State area:
People don’t realize just how big Shoe Carnival really is — we have stores operating in 33 states and also Puerto Rico. (The company, founded in 1978 in Evansville by David Russell, is a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of $547.6 million.) We’re one of the fastest growing shoe retailers in America, and that means employment opportunities for both the distribution center and corporate office. Between our distribution center and our corporate offices, we employ close to 400 people in Evansville. I think it’s something Evansville should be proud of. We are also increasing the size of the West Side store. We’re also active in the community from a philanthropic standpoint. Next year, with the addition of 30 to 35 stores, we expect to be a billion dollar company. Over the next 10 to 11 years, we expect to be a 750-store chain with stores in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

On what makes Shoe Carnival different:
Our stores offer customers a broad selection with deep runs — meaning you can find your style and your size. Our broad selection means Shoe Carnival is our customers’ one-stop shop for shoes — they can buy shoes for the entire family without having to go store to store and across town.

On what it means to be CEO of Shoe Carnival:
It really is a humbling experience as I have the unique opportunity to lead a team of over 5,000 employees through the next phase of Shoe Carnival’s growth. We have a very seasoned management team as well as a unique and exciting store concept, all of which makes my job much easier. Our team is dedicated to making Shoe Carnival not only the best shoe retailer in the country but also the largest. I am very excited about the opportunity to be the CEO of a company whose future is so bright.

On his all-time favorite pair of shoes:
That is a great question. I’m passionate about shoes and I’m not sure I can pick just one. As I said earlier, I have been in the shoe business for close to 38 years and “ever had” is a long time. I remember the first pair of Florsheim boots I bought while going to school — they cost me $75, and I thought I was going to have to take a loan out to pay for them. I loved those boots. Growing up in the Carolinas, every man had a pair of Bass Penny Loafers and Sperry Topsiders. I guess today I would have to tell you I like to wear unique shoes that you don’t see everywhere. But looking back … I still wish I had those old Florsheim boots I bought in 1971.

For more information about Shoe Carnival, visit shoecarnival.com.

Issue CoverEvansvill Business August / September 2013 Issue Cover
Comment

The Changing Face of Local Banking

First Security Bank continues to grow and expand its presence in the local community banking market
President M. Lynn Cooper stands near the entrance of First Security Bank’s Downtown location.

After six months of looking for your dream home, you realize you’ve finally found the perfect place for you and your family. Now, you’re ready to make an offer. Yet there are two problems. First, the house has another serious prospective buyer who’s itching to sign the deal. Second, it’s a Sunday, and you can’t reach your banker.

First Security Bank, a fast-growing community bank based in Owensboro, Ky., and expanding into Evansville has found a way around that dilemma. In a brand-new feature, it’s now offering Banker On Call, a private banking catering service geared to allow clients to reach a banker any day and at all hours.

“It’s designed for our more engaged clients who cannot leave work to come into the bank, who use multiple services, and who want answers quickly,” says bank president M. Lynn Cooper. “It’s a very new concept.”

It’s also a good example of how community banks like First Security Bank emphasize relationship banking versus the transactional banking model used by larger banks with more assets.

“The bigger banks tend to look at a customer’s business as transaction oriented,” Cooper says. “We look at clients on a relationship basis, more focused on their long-term value to us and our long-term value to them.”

That’s a philosophy that’s seeing area success. First Security Bank, for instance, opened for business in 1997. Sixteen years later, it now has roughly $430 million in assets and 11 office locations, including two in Evansville and one in Newburgh, Ind. Its Kentucky markets include Owensboro (the headquarters and one branch), Lexington (one branch), Bowling Green (four branches), and Franklin (one branch). By 2010, First Security had grown to be the 33rd largest bank headquartered in Kentucky. Yet, Cooper says, it’s still able to remain focused on personal relationships.

What is a community bank?

The term is fluid, but according to a December 2012 report by the FDIC, community banks obtain most of their core deposits locally. Many of their loans are to local businesses, too. Community banks tend to have specialized knowledge of their local community and their customers. They also tend to “base credit decisions on local knowledge and nonstandard data obtained through long-term relationships and are less likely to rely on the models-based underwriting used by larger banks,” the report says.

Additionally, community banks are more likely than larger banks to be privately owned and locally controlled. Even if they do have public shares, they usually aren’t traded on the major exchanges, the FDIC says.

Defining a community bank by assets is more difficult.

Cooper, for instance, defines a community bank as a bank with less than $1 billion in assets. He says First Security Bank, Evansville Commerce Bank, Legence Bank, First Federal Savings Bank, United Fidelity Bank, First National Bank of Carmi, and Ohio Valley Financial Group in Vanderburgh County fit in the community bank category based on that asset limit. Yet the Indiana Bankers Association, a bank advocate, defines a community bank as any bank that is headquartered in Indiana and that has less than $10 billion in assets. Laura Wilson, vice president of communications for the Indiana Bankers Association, says there is no across-the-board standard definition of a community bank. In fact, by her organization’s definition, First Security would not qualify as a community bank because it is not headquartered in Indiana.

Beyond that, however, the problem with using any type of fixed size limit in defining a community bank “is that any dollar-based yardstick must be adjusted over time to account for factors such as inflation, economic growth, and the size of the banking industry itself.”

In the end, the definition may not matter for First Security as long as it maintains its founding philosophy. Despite its growth, First Security continues to remain true to its original founding goals: to provide the very best in customer service while offering essentially the same products and services that are more commonly found in larger financial institutions. And to hear Cooper tell it, hands-on personal service is key. But First Security’s customers also like that they often can negotiate on terms and rates and that the fee structure is a little more forgiving. Cooper says community banks are more apt to waive fees or forgive some fees that big banks typically charge or stick to.

Meanwhile, one big reason for First Security’s continued growth is its willingness to grant loans based on the realities of the local — and not national — economy.

When the recession first began, “some of the bigger banks basically cut off lending … even to their existing customers,” Cooper says. “Some of the community banks such as First Security continued to loan money. I told our lenders that anyone who comes into the bank needing a loan, has the collateral and the capacity to repay it, take care of them.”

That had an immediate impact. Customers of First Security who received those loans took notice, and they brought their friends who had banked at bigger banks to First Security. “We grew phenomenally,” Cooper says. “Our bank took off, and we just kept it going. We outgrew our facility (in Owensboro). We opened two new facilities in the Evansville market.”

In all, the bank employs 150 people and has generated 25 new jobs since it came into the Evansville area market. Cooper was hired in 2007 to lead the bank’s new expansion strategy, which included the purchase of Warrick Loan and Savings Association. In June 2008, First Security opened a new, full-service office in Evansville on Green River Road. That first Evansville branch was profitable in less than 12 months, and its deposits and loans grew to roughly $37 million in that first year. By the fourth quarter of 2012, the Evansville office had almost $100 million in assets. In late July 2010, First Security purchased five Integra Bank branches in Bowling Green and Franklin, Ky. In July 2012, the bank opened a new corporate headquarters in downtown Owensboro at 313 Frederica St.

The Downtown Evansville Banking Center, located at 21 SE Third St., is in the former Integra Bank headquarters. First Security opened the office in March after Integra Bank closed in 2011. (Old National Bancorp. later acquired Integra Bank.) Branch manager Michael Dickerson says First Security owns enough of the building to have naming rights. It owns four floors of the business condominium structure totaling around 70,000 square feet of space. This includes the basement, floors 1, 2, and 3, the parking lot, and the drive-in facility across the street at the corner of Third and Locust streets, a press release states. Additionally, First Security intends to grow even more in both existing and new markets.

It will do that with Cooper leading the charge. Described as a seasoned banker with both community bank and large bank experience, the 62-year-old Cooper was the CEO of his first bank at age 28. To give some perspective, that was before the advent of computerized checks. Since he started banking, Cooper has seen the installation of ATM machines, remote deposit capture, and the introduction of interest rates paid on accounts other than savings accounts.

Cooper says Evansville is unique in that it does not have what he calls super large national banks in the market except Fifth Third Bank and Regions Financial Corp. “The big banks don’t come into the (Evansville) market, but the community banks do,” he adds.

“Earlier, the bigger banks had success in growing within the Evansville market and basically controlled the market,” Cooper says. “As those banks grew, they also chose to expand outside of the Evansville market. Later, one of the local large banks was purchased by Fifth Third and in turn it, along with the other big banks, focused less on the local market. Over time, the big banks paid less attention to the local market, which opened up opportunities for community banks like First Security and others.”

“So community banks moved into the market,” Cooper says, adding that bigger national banks held off because Old National, Integra, and Citizens were doing so well in Evansville. At the same time, smaller community banks weren’t a concern for larger local banks, either.

“When we first came into the market, we were un-noticed by the big banks,” Cooper says. “Now that there are five or six new banks that have entered the Evansville market in the last few years, we are providing increased competition to the marketplace and making a positive impact for residents of the area.”

He adds that he wants banks of all sizes to do well because that is a good sign that the economy is in good shape in those markets.

“We want them to have success,” Cooper says. “It generates more revenue for all the banks, and plus we generate new jobs.”

Meanwhile, Cooper knows the perspectives of bigger banks. He spent most of his banking career at Citizens Bank, helping grow it from $8 million to $8 billion in assets before it was sold to Fifth Third. “We grew it through a community bank philosophy,” he says. “That’s the real reason you don’t have a real definition of community banks. It’s more a philosophy than it is a size.”

At the same time, the bigger a bank becomes, the more challenging it is to deliver personal service to clients. Cooper knows this.

“Right now we are delivering the products that the customers seek for the right price, and as long as we continue to provide the service and the products the customer desires, we will continue to grow and be successful,” he says.

For more information on First Security Bank, visit www.firstsecurity.net.

Comment

Partly Cloudy

This illustration from 2005 is still a very accurate indicator of the way things go on every day in the TPG offices.

To the best of my often partly cloudy recollection, I have been writing publisher’s letters in Evansville Business for the last 11 years. As I have written about before, it is always the last item that goes into Evansville Business on the day it goes to print and, on this very rainy morning, let’s just say today is no exception. Over the years, I have been threatened, bribed, yelled at, and shamed over this procrastination and — depending on how you, the reader, look at it — this important task.

Every once in awhile at varying intervals, sort of like my workout schedule, I feel the need to give way to the desire of letting the thoughts flow at random, and as I am trying a new tact this morning with my much put-upon marketing assistant Valerie, who is typing as I am whittling down my long-winded tangents; well, I just hope you can feel her pain — and frankly, if you know me, I bet you can. So, allow me to get started.

First, let’s talk about the Downtown hotel project. It is almost cliché to say that our city needs to stop playing politics with the convention hotel and act in the best interests of the community. This is a city renowned for “studies” and “master plans,” many of which have shown that we have a significant need for a Downtown hotel. Let me also throw my two cents in to say that it needs to be done as nicely as possible. These types of opportunities are not afforded to us very often. Is it expensive? Yes. Are the city’s incentives to the developer a bit too high? Perhaps. But if we want to attract, recruit, and retain those who are interested in our community, don’t we deserve, as a community, to pursue things in a first-class manner? The idea of doing this at any less than first class concerns me in a city that often suffers from its own “municipal self-esteem complex.” Let’s do this project, do it right, and be proud of our combined effort. Indianapolis is not the only Indiana city that deserves nice things.

It seems like there literally is a bank on every corner in our fair city. However, banking consultants unfailingly state that Evansville is under-banked. It is then interesting to look at the cover story “The Changing Face of Local Banking” (page 30), by Victoria Grabner, managing editor. As you make your daily drives through Evansville, take a look at the different banks that are now in our market — many of which are small community banks — and note the names many of us were not, perhaps, familiar with not all that long ago yet now have a large footprint here. Off the top of my increasingly balding head, I can quickly think of Banterra, First Bank, Evansville State, German American, Evansville Commerce, Legence, as well as the bank on the cover, First Security. Would anyone, 10 years ago, have thought that this Owensboro-based bank would be the occupant of the former Integra headquarters at Third and Locust streets? I would guess not. While there are certain advantages and services associated with our much larger banks, as evidenced in the story, there are certainly advantages to community banking, as well, and I hope you enjoy the story.

Let me now tell you something that I am extremely proud of. The magazine business is challenging, difficult, and yet immensely rewarding in that we feel that a major part of our mission is to inform, entertain, and positively spotlight and impact our community. I commend those who have recently embarked on a positive PR campaign of shedding some less-than-scientific studies and labels of our community. At Tucker Publishing Group, we have been writing about, and showcasing, the best that our city and community have to offer every day for more than 13 years. And I am damn proud of that.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Todd A. Tucker
Publisher

Comment

Sit and Stay

Dogs play for a day at O’Hairs
Debbie Magenheimer sits on the porch of O’Hairs Happydog Daycare Inc. with her dog, Bill. Bill is a Portuguese Water Dog.

At O’Hairs Happydog Daycare inc., dogs don’t stay cooped up in a kennel all day. Yet they don’t live in luxury, either.

“If you would look at day cares from New York to California, a lot of them advertise features like piped-in music and queen-sized beds, and that’s not what we’re all about,” says owner, master groomer, and lifelong dog lover Debbie Magenheimer. “Dogs love to chase squirrels and dig in the dirt, and that’s what we (enable dogs to) do at Happydog.”

She founded O’Hairs in 1994 as a grooming salon that quickly became one of the top spots in the city for pampering pooches. Certified in pet CPR, Magenheimer later expanded her business to offer day care.

In 2006, the business moved to its current location at 4508 Covert Ave. That’s where the day care dogs have more than an acre of space with several outdoor, fenced-in areas for roaming, relaxing, and playtime, as well as a newly built “gymnasium.” Two or more large, fenced-in areas separately accommodate small and medium-sized dogs, while the gymnasium is normally reserved for larger dogs.

Owners, most of whom are young professionals, are not required to bring their dogs to the day care every day.

“Whatever works for the dog,” Magenheimer says. “Whatever keeps them the most balanced and happy is what I want (their owners) to do.”

The staff also keeps a close eye on the dogs’ temperaments. Magenheimer uses a “stoplight” method to monitor the dogs in her day care. New dogs that are being evaluated by Magenheimer enter as “red.” Eventually, the dogs become “yellow,” meaning they’re allowed more contact with others dogs while still being monitored. When the dogs turn “green,” they are then a “pack dog” based on their size and agility level. “The goal is to get all dogs green,” she adds.

While the focus at O’Hairs is day care, the business continues to keep one full-time worker on hand for grooming services. The day care also offers boarding, semi-obedience training (for a small fee the staff will work to correct any behavioral problems), and even agility training on the property’s American Kennel Club-compliant agility field (for an additional fee).

From puppies to old timers and dachshunds to Great Danes, O’Hairs is happy to take care of any dog. Magenheimer requires only that the dogs have their rabies and combination vaccines at least three days prior to starting day care.

“I’m not dealing with an inanimate object,” says Magenheimer, adding that the number of dogs in her care varies day by day. “I am dealing with … (my clients’) family members. That’s how I look at it.”

For more information on O’Hairs Happydog Daycare Inc., call 812-477-1405 or visit www.ohairshddc.com. It also has a Facebook page.

Comment

Clean Living

Superior Carpet Cleaning keeps it in the family
Chris Toelle, Lori Simmons, Derek Simmons, Pauline Simmons, and Randy Simmons work in what truly is a family business.

For the past 40 years, Superior Carpet Cleaning has been a family-owned business that puts home and family first.

In fact, it’s because of a family member that owner Randy Simmons learned about the carpet business.

According to his wife, co-owner Pauline Simmons, Randy was working at what was then called Sigeco (now known as Vectren) in Evansville when he decided to go off on his own to start his own company.

Various members of his family are entrepreneurs who are self-employed, and Randy learned the carpet cleaning business from an uncle who ran a similar business in upstate New York. Randy had grown up there as a child.

When Randy returned, it was to open Superior Carpet Cleaning on July 31, 1973, in his and Pauline’s home. Except for three years when the business was located near the corner of Virginia and U.S. 41, the company has remained at the couple’s home for 37 years.

Superior Carpet Cleaning cleans rugs in residential and commercial buildings, and in apartment complexes. Previously, its employees installed carpet, painted, and worked to repair fire, smoke, and water damage.

“We’ve done the whole gamut … whatever needed to be done to build the business,” Pauline says. “Then we started streamlining into the carpet cleaning. That was a more profitable, steady income.”

The company also does upholstery and area rug cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, and air duct cleaning.
Through it all, the Simmons have remained family oriented.

“By having this business, it enabled me to be a stay-at-home Mom,” Pauline says, adding that the company really is a family affair.

The couple’s son, Derek Simmons, has supervised a van and a crew for the company for 16 years. Son-in-law Chris Toelle supervises a van and has worked for the company for eight years. Meanwhile, the couple’s daughter-in-law, Lori Simmons, has been working in the office for eight years, helping to run estimates and handle bills, among other things.

“We have been very blessed in that our family is interested in working with us,” Pauline says.

For more information, visit www.superiorcarpetcleaningservice.net.

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Scramble Your Nest Egg

Diversify your portfolio

Here’s the routine for many employees: Human Resources sends out an email saying the company’s retirement plan representative will be in town next week to review your investments. You sign up, go in, look at your massive (or not) portfolio on the representative’s computer screen, and gently get told that you should add more to your 401(k).

Maybe you should not. Instead, many advisers recommend that you fund your employer’s retirement account to the point where you earn the company match, then stop, and invest the additional money outside the company plan in order to lower future taxes and increase your options. Remember, 401(k) withdrawals at retirement are fully taxed, and that could easily mean a tax bite of 15 percent or more. However, money withdrawn from a Roth IRA at retirement can be tax-free. Withdrawals from brokerage accounts are currently taxed at only 15 percent for most people. If your nest egg at retirement is $300,000, and one-third has been saved outside your 401(k), the tax savings could be $10,000 or more.

Hold on, you say. What about the tax deduction that comes from contributing to my company’s retirement plan? Indeed, your 401(k) contributions do receive an up-front deduction. Money going into Roth or brokerage accounts does not. However, you are hoping the big gains in your 401(k) come from compound interest that your investments produce over many years. Unfortunately, the IRS provides no reward for picking good stocks and bonds; all growth in your company plan is fully taxed.

“Tax rates are historically low now, and future tax rates are unpredictable,” points out Roger Nurrenbern, a financial adviser in Evansville for Edward Jones. “A blended route might be best for many people. By investing in your 401(k), then beyond the match in a Roth IRA, you have the option down the road of pulling either taxable income or tax-free income. Also, many people overlook investing in a regular taxable account. The disadvantage there is paying taxes on dividends and interest along the way, but those accounts provide flexibility and easy access to money without penalties.”

In other words, workers have more choices than they are sometimes led to believe. And when it comes to saving for something as important as retirement, choices are good.

Roger Nurrenbern may be reached at 812-464-2788 or find him on www.edwardjones.com.

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Personal and Private

Payne Wealth Partners designed building to meet clients’ needs
Taylor Payne, left, and Ann Pendley, right, sit at the conference table in the center of Payne Wealth Partners.

Certified financial planner Ann Pendley is sitting in the conference room of the new Payne Wealth Partners building at 601 N. Cross Pointe Blvd. Through the two ceiling-to-floor glass walls, she can easily see out, and others can easily see in.

The glass walls are much more than a division of space — they represent the Payne Wealth Partners business model. “We strive to be a very transparent — yet private — company,” Pendley says as she presses a button that draws dark shades over the glass walls. Payne Wealth Partners provides complete wealth management solutions for high-net-worth families and individuals, which means the ability to maintain privacy is of the highest priority.

The entire space was designed to be comfortable, warm, and professional, while demonstrating the company’s collaborative environment. It also needed to meet clients’ specific needs. Take the sound of what seems to be a constantly running air conditioner. That’s actually white noise, used to assure private conversations are kept private.

Each employee had input in the new building, as they all worked closely with architect Gary Thomas of Morley and Associates. The building is owned and was constructed by Woodward Commercial Realty.

“We wanted a design consistent with our company,” Investment Manager and President Taylor Payne says. “Our work is unique; this office is unique. It’s about the depth, the transparency from front to back. We want clients to have the complete experience.”

For more information on Payne Wealth Partners, visit www.paynewealthpartners.net.