Bauer Built buys Omaha-based business

Durand-based Bauer Built bought the commercial tire division of Omaha, Neb.-based Allied Oil & Tire Co.

The acquisition includes tire centers in Omaha; Kansas City and Joplin, Mo.; Wichita, Kan.; Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa; and Sioux Falls, S.D.

A tire retreading plant and a wheel refinishing business, both in Omaha, also were part of the deal.

Bauer Built will retain about 90 Allied employees and hire some more, according to a company news release.

Including the Allied acquisition, Bauer Built has 40 tire and service centers, eight retreading plants and three wheel-refinishing operations.

Bauer Built has a workforce of about 600 people spread across 10 Midwest states since the acquisition, which was effective last week.

Chamber, Project SEARCH host job fair

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce will host a reverse job fair on Wednesday afternoon for employers interested in meeting 11 workers.

The job fair is being held in conjunction with Project SEARCH-Eau Claire, a local chapter of an organization that trains young people with significant disabilities for the workforce.

The candidates will be available from noon to 2 p.m. at the chamber building, 101 N. Farwell St.

All the candidates have received nine months of employability education and experience. They will be ready for hire starting June 1.

Merchants Financial touts 2018 figures

The parent company of Merchants Bank, which has an Eau Claire location at 2728 Mall Drive, posted smaller net income in 2018, but growth in both deposits and loans during the past year.

Though last year’s $18.89 million in net income was about $2 million less than 2017’s earnings, that was due to an increase in income taxes paid by the bank. Pre-tax earnings were up almost 12 percent in 2018, according to Merchants’ annual report.

Total deposits, which were just under $1.4 billion in 2017, had risen to $1.435 billion by the end of 2018. Net loans and leases went from $1.34 billion in 2017 to $1.41 billion last year.

Merchants Financial Group reported strong year-end financial figures to shareholders during its annual meeting on Thursday, according to a news release.

President and CEO Gregory Evans touted the steady growth and consistently strong earnings performance to shareholders.

“Our board of directors helps ensure the Merchants organization stays true to our community banking roots while continuing to provide value to our shareholders,” he said, according to the news release.

With $1.756 billion in consolidated assets, Merchants is the fifth-largest banking organization chartered in Minnesota.

Leadership training April 18 at 29 Pines

A leadership training workshop for management-level employees will be later this month at a rural Eau Claire restaurant.

Art Atkinson, who oversees learning and talent development for Express Employment Professionals, will share tips that managers can use for increasing trust and their influence within their organizations.

The workshop will be 8 to 10:30 a.m. on April 18 at 29 Pines, 5872 33rd Ave.

Registration costs $35 per person, but groups of five or more get a discounted rate of $25 per person. Breakfast is included.

Register by Monday by going online to or calling 715-831-8778.

Momentum West gives inaugural awards

The regional economic development organization serving west-central Wisconsin recently bestowed awards to area business leaders for their contributions to the region.

Award-winning projects were Altoona’s River Prairie and the DHL distribution center in Chippewa Falls that serves Mills Fleet Farm stores.

The Pablo Center at the Confluence in downtown Eau Claire was named the best regional collaboration.

Medical device manufacturer Phillips-Medisize won the award for being a business with a regional impact.

Raj and Swati Lall were named entrepreneurs of the year for their business, Vets Plus in Menomonie.

Rice Lake Weighing Systems was recognized for its talent initiative.

And Danielle Campeau from the St. Croix Business Innovation Center was named Young Professional of the Year.

The awards were presented at Momentum West’s annual luncheon on March 20.

Real estate brokerage takes closing crown

The Minneapolis-based real estate subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway took the No. 1 spot when it came to closing sales in 2018.

HomeServices of America, which has an Eau Claire office at 3452 Oakwood Hills Parkway, had 346,629 transactions close last year, according to real estate industry publication REAL Trends. This edged out the previous No. 1, New Jersey-based NRT, which had 337,235 closings in 2018.

However, when it comes to sales volume, NRT retained the No. 1 spot with transactions valued at $176.4 billion last year, according to REAL Trends. HomeServices came in second with a sales volume of $135.9 billion.

Realityworks product among educational award finalists

A blood pressure simulator from Eau Claire-based Realityworks that is used to train health care students was among those in the running for an award for innovative education technologies.

The local company’s device was among 30 educational products named in the new product or service category for the EdTech Awards, a U.S.-based program that started in 2010.

“We’re honored to have been named as an EdTech Award finalist for one of our internally developed products,” Timm Boettcher, Realityworks president and CEO, said in a news release.

Realityworks’ blood pressure simulator teaches proper techniques for taking blood pressure. The device also simulates different blood pressure sounds and scenarios that nurses and other health care professionals may encounter in a clinic.

The product that won EdTech’s new product or service category is ClassLink’s OneSync, software that imports both student and personnel data into one system for school districts.

Short Takes

• Eau Claire-based commercial laundry business Huebsch Services won awards in late March from the Textile Rental Association for customer service and community service. The Above and Beyond Service award recognized Huebsch’s high customer retention rate and scores on customer service surveys, and the Company Community Service Award acknowledged charitable and volunteer efforts of the company’s workers.

• Engineering and architectural firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, which has offices in Chippewa Falls, New Richmond and Rice Lake, recently named a new president/CEO/chairman of the board. David Ott, who has more than 30 years of experience in the engineering industry and joined SEH this month, will take over for departing leader Sam Claassen on May 1.

From staff reports