Chamber will discuss Opportunity Zones

A tax incentive program created by the federal government to encourage investment in specified areas, including several in the Chippewa Valley, will be explained at an upcoming presentation in Eau Claire.

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce will provide details on Opportunity Zones at a seminar that will be 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 at Market & Johnson, 2350 Galloway St.

Created by federal tax reforms enacted in late 2017, Opportunity Zones offer a way for investors to use capital gains to reinvest in real estate and businesses in certain census tracts, including parts of Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, Menomonie and Rice Lake.

The seminar will explain who should invest in Opportunity Zones, the proper way to invest and tax advantages associated with doing so.

Accountants, bankers, builders, developers and property owners are encouraged to attend this free seminar.

While there is no fee to attend, registration is requested in advance through the chamber’s website,

RCU plans larger St. Croix Falls office

Seeing St. Croix Falls as a growing community and a hub of activity for its members, credit union RCU is planning a new, bigger office in that city.

The Eau Claire-based credit union announced Thursday that it bought land for a new office building, which will be a full-service branch set to open in 2020.

“Surrounding communities utilize St. Croix Falls as a hub for many activities and building a larger, more accessible branch will allow us to better meet the needs of our members in the region,” Brandon Riechers, RCU president and CEO, said in a news release.

The new office will be across Highway 8 from RCU’s current St. Croix Falls location on Glacier Drive. The current office will continue to operate until the new one opens.

Rural entrepreneurs to get marketing tips

Fifty tips that small business owners and entrepreneurs can use to boost their marketing prowess will be shared at a free presentation in Augusta.

Western Dairyland Community Action Agency will present “Up Your Marketing Game in 2019 — 50 Tips You Can Use Today” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 at Augusta Memorial Public Library, 113 N. Stone St.

The fast-paced presentation will share 50 low-cost or free marketing methods that can help rural businesses grow. Social media, seasonal marketing, loyalty programs, promotions, alliance marketing and branding are among topics to be discussed during the presentation.

Western Dairyland also has a computer lending library available so rural entrepreneurs can borrow laptop computers and mobile hotspots for up to 60 days to try out the marketing strategies.

The presentation is free, but space is limited and prospective attendees must register online at

Short Takes

• Eau Claire-based Charter Bank hired Suzanne Twite as a new assistant vice president and mortgage officer. Twite has more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry with prior stints as a mortgage loan officer in the Eau Claire area at RCU, United Bank and US Bank.

• RCU named Tim Sass as the new branch manager of the credit union’s office in New Richmond. Sass, who has experience in the financial sector and ties to the region, is moving to New Richmond to build a new home with his family after he spent the past 8½ years as a sergeant in the Bismarck Police Department in North Dakota.

• The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking speakers who would be interested in making an hourlong presentation during a Feb. 28 sales conference in Eau Claire. Those interested are asked to submit proposals by Friday to Jenna Ziegler, who can be reached by email at ziegler@eauclaire or by phone at 715-858-0615.

• Wedding dresses can get a second walk down the aisle through a bridal consignment shop that recently opened in Eau Claire. Off the Rack Bridal Consignment Shop, 1813 Brackett Ave., is accepting donated wedding dresses and sells them at discounted prices to brides with a portion of sales being donated to a local food pantry.

From staff reports