Business Briefs for May 6

Baune agent in training for American Family Insurance

Nathan Baune has finished seven weeks of instruction through the American Family Insurance Agent in Training Program and is now continuing his training, working in the Marshall based office of Chuck Fennell.

Potential new agents go through a rigorous application process to enter the program. Fennell will serve as a mentor agent, enabling Baune to experience the day-to-day insurance operations from an experienced and successful agent, increase his knowledge of insurance and improve his selling skills.

Baune will maintain the title of agent in training for 13 to 24 months, and will then be given the opportunity to open his own agent office.

Marketing leader’s new division fuels tire retailer’s sales growth

Tire retailer Royal Tire recently road-tested a new way to integrate its printing and mailing marketing services and reported financial success without putting any additional capital at risk.

Twelve retail outlets of Royal Tire, including the Marshall branch, turned to Verfied Cross Media (VCM), a newly launched division of Las Vegas Color Graphics, to lead its March Madness promotional campaign.

Spending the same amount as it did on the identical campaign a year earlier, Royal Tire saw sales surge thanks to Verified Cross Media’s strategy of using e-mail, direct mail and websites to access customers through Twitter, Facebook and other social media.

“The success of our VCM campaign sparked March Madness in our stores,” said Brad Burley, Royal Tire’s chief marketing director.

VCM’s mission of efficiency is the engine behind its success, and Royal Tire’s year-over-year March Madness results illustrate best what this strategy does and can accomplish.

In 2012, the March Madness marketing campaign relied on direct mass mailing, with more than a quarter-million pieces touting discounts and in-store specials.

In 2013, with an identical March Madness marketing budget, VCM opened up more pipelines to customers and used data analysis to better target consumers. Even with direct-mail contacts trimmed to 32,000, Royal Tire increased sales by 20 percent.

After 30 years, Tracy Equipment, Inc. changes ownership

Tracy Equipment, Inc., a 30-year-old Minnesota John Deere Dealership company with locations in Tracy and Slayton, recently completed a sale of its business assets to C & B Operations, LLC headquartered in Gettysburg, S.D.

“Rod Burwell and I are excited to bring these two dealerships and their employees into our dealer group. The Tracy Equipment team is comprised of people with a lot of knowledge and experience and they have a great reputation for honesty and customer service,” said Matt Cronin, CEO of C&B Operations, LLC.

Tracy Equipment, Inc. dates back to 1983, when Tom Riley with partner Gene Seipel purchased the dealership from Dick Maertens. The following year, Riley purchased the John Deere dealership in Sheldon, Iowa. A few years later, The pair purchased the Slayton dealership. In 1994, Seipel decided to move on and sell out to Riley, who retained ownership of the three locations until he died May 1, 2012.

C & B Operations, LLC owns and operates 24 John Deere dealerships in South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. It is headquartered in Gettysburg and began in 1988 when Dan Cronin, a farmer in Gettysburg, and Burwell purchased the John Deere dealership in Gettysburg to keep the dealership in town.

The transition from Tracy Equipment, Inc. to C&B Operations, LLC is currently taking place.

The businesses are being re-named to Lyon County Implement in Tracy and Murray County Implement in Slayton.

The business names are new, but the faces at the stores will remain the same.