Credit union names new manager

EAU CLAIRE — Royal Credit Union announced Joe Wathke as accounting manager. Wathke is responsible for leading the accounting staff and assisting the vice president of finance in maintaining procedures that result in accurate financial records, operational efficiency and financial reporting.

Wathke has been with Royal since May 2002 as a high school Co-Op Student. During his tenure, Wathke has worked in a variety of roles at Royal before joining the accounting team in 2011. He holds a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and business finance from UW–Eau Claire and is currently earning a master’s of business administration with an emphasis in management from UW-Whitewater.

• RCU also named Anthony Cole, who began his career at TCF Bank in 2017, as manager of its River Falls branch.

Eau Claire business set to expand

Eau Claire-based Sapphire Senior Care, an in-home health care company, announced it has implemented a new program to sell franchises, beginning in the Midwest before expanding nationwide.

“We started developing what our niche would be within the home care industry shortly after COVID-19 came to focus in the winter of 2020,” said Dan Pekol, founder and CEO of Sapphire Franchising, in a news release. “This pandemic, in particular, has shone a spotlight on the need for quality care provided in a safe environment.”

Pekol previously ran Chippewa Valley Airport Service and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and currently operates BeeHive Homes of Eau Claire. The new business will provide a variety of nonmedical services to seniors in their homes.

Pekol is looking to establish a 5,000-square-foot headquarters in Eau Claire or Altoona that could host 10-day training programs for visiting franchisees and be home to around 20 corporate positions expected to be created over the next two or three years.

Visit for more information.

Free shredding events scheduled

Security Financial Bank is hosting two free shredding events this spring in Bloomer and Durand at which community members can securely dispose of confidential documents.

Confidential Records will shred documents onsite in the SFB parking lots during the following times:

• 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, May 1, SFB, 1401 Main St., Bloomer.

• 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, May 8, SFB, 212 W. Prospect St., Durand.

The limit is three boxes or bags per person, and only paper items will be accepted. For more information call 888-254-0615.

In other news

• MADISON — The deadline is 5 p.m. on April 14 for middle- and high-school students to enter Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through

• The Independence-based Western Dairyland Business Center earned a $40,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to provide peer mentorship. WEDC awarded 13 state organizations a combined $529,000 to help small businesses with training, legal services and to cope with COVID-19.

From staff reports