Bite Squad expands to Eau Claire, Wausau

Minneapolis-based restaurant delivery service Bite Squad announced last week that it will begin serving the Eau Claire and Wausau areas through acquisition of 715 Delivery.

These are the first Wisconsin markets where Bite Squad will deliver food from local restaurants, though the company already operates in more than 50 other U.S. metro areas.

“We’re thrilled to be launching in Eau Claire, just across the way from our hometown of Minneapolis,” Bite Squad co-founder and CEO Kian Salehi said in a news release.

The service will deliver for Shanghai Bistro, Tacos Juanita, Grizzly’s, The District, Northern Taphouse, Milwaukee Burger Co. and a few chains including Rocky Rococo and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.

Delivery, which carries fees starting at $2.99, is available within a seven-mile radius of participating restaurants.

Eau Claire and Wausau service began on Tuesday. Bite Squad is available through its own app and the website

Jump-Start competition deadline is Aug. 31

An annual competition is accepting business plans from entrepreneurs interested in start-up money to help them open up a business in downtown Eau Claire.

Entrepreneurs have until Aug. 31 to apply for Downtown Eau Claire Inc.’s 14th annual Jump-Start Downtown Business Competition.

The grand prize package is $5,000 in start-up capital, $750 in advertising credit with the Leader-Telegram and niche publications, and a brand development strategy session with JB Systems.

The honorable mention prize is $2,500 in start-up capital and a $500 advertising credit with SpinVision Virtual Tours.

New this year is a $1,000 “innovative idea” prize.

Participants also will get a DECI media package, and up to six applicants will be able to take an entrepreneurial training program through the Small Business Development Center.

Applicants must submit an application, business plan and the owner’s resume to be considered for the competition. Forms and more information can be found online at​jump-start.

Over the past 13 years, DECI has awarded more than $75,000 in prizes and has seen nearly 40 participants open up shop downtown.

Disaster loan requests due soon for ‘17 rains

Small businesses and nonprofit organizations have until Aug. 21 to file for federal economic injury disaster loans in Wisconsin as a result of flooding last year.

The funding is available to those who experienced excessive rainfall, flooding and wet conditions between April 15, 2017 through Oct. 28, 2017. This disaster declaration is for Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Chippewa, Douglas, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor and Washburn counties.

The loans are for up to $2 million in working capital for terms of up to 30 years. The loans carry interest rates of 3.215 percent for small businesses and 2.5 percent for nonprofits.

Small agricultural cooperatives and aquaculture enterprises are eligible, but farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers cannot get the loans.

For more information or to apply, go online to, call 800-659-2955 or email

Merchants Bank posts big Q2 earnings boost

WINONA, Minn. — The parent company of Merchants Bank, which has a location on Eau Claire’s south side, announced last week that it had net income of $9.15 million for the first half of the year.

Net income is 53.5 percent higher than 2017’s second quarter and ahead of Merchants Financial Group’s plan by $2.1 million, according to a company news release.

Strong commercial loans, residential mortgage lending, focusing on credit quality and decreasing loan loss reserve contributions were factors in the increase, the company stated.

“I’m looking forwarding to continuing the momentum we’ve had in the beginning of 2018 through the remainder of the year,” Gregory Evans, president and CEO, said in the news release.

Chamber seeks voices for Oct. 16 expo, job fair

The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking speakers interested in presenting at its annual Business Expo and Job Fair on Oct. 16 in Eau Claire.

Those interested in presenting a one-hour session at the annual event have until Aug. 10 to submit a proposal to the chamber.

The chamber is interested in speakers who can give advice on networking, recruiting and retaining key employees, tips for job seekers and other topics. Presentations also are expected to include action steps that attendees can follow after the session is over.

For application forms or more information, call Becky Seelen at 715-834-1956 or email her

Yakesh branches out with steel business

The owner of a local roofing company opened a business recently that provides steel services for a variety of jobs.

Bryon Yakesh opened Yakesh Steel earlier this month at 3273 56th St. north of Eau Claire, just off Highway 29.

The company’s offerings include cutting, hole-punching, welding and light fabrication for varying shapes and sizes of steel. The shop has its own inventory of steel and does ordering as well.

For more information, go online to

Yakesh also is owner of Eau Claire-based Yakesh Roofing.

Bancorp has solid Q2, worries about ag assets

MANITOWOC — The holding company of Investors Community Bank, which has a loan office in Eau Claire, reported solid second-quarter earnings, but worries about its agricultural portfolio amid talks of a trade war.

County Bancorp reported net income of $3.9 million for the quarter that ended June 30, up from $2.1 million a year ago.

“We had another solid quarter for a net income perspective,” Timothy Schneider, company president and CEO, said in a news release.

But he noted that volatility in the dairy market, rising tariffs and talks of a “trade war” in Washington D.C. are showing an impact on non-performing assets. The company expects additional stress in its agricultural portfolio for the rest of the year due to that.

Non-performing assets rose to 2.3 percent of overall assets by the end of June, up from 1.83 percent in the preceding quarter.

CCF Bank loans grow, earnings fall in quarter

ALTOONA — Third-quarter earnings were about half what they were a year ago for an Altoona-based bank as it proceeds with the acquisition of a smaller regional bank.

Citizens Community Bancorp, parent company of Citizens Community Federal Bank, reported net income of $503,000 for the quarter that ended on June 30, compared to $1.08 million a year ago.

President and CEO Stephen Bianchi stated that the quarter had strong loan growth with $17 million in business and industrial lending, plus $28 million for commercial real estate loans.

But the company also incurred costs in the past three months related to its proposed acquisition of Osseo-based United Bank, increased loan loss provisions due to lending growth, write-downs on closed branches and settlement of a legal matter.

Bianchi stated the bank is making progress on the $50.7 million United Bank merger announced in June, which is expected to close by the end of 2018.

CCF Bank’s earnings still are 8 percent higher for the first nine months of its fiscal year when compared to the same time in 2017, according to earnings figures released on Friday.

• The company will hold a special stockholders meeting to vote on issuing new shares of common stock on Sept. 25 at Holiday Inn Eau Claire, 4751 Owen Ayres Court.

Short Takes

• U.S. Bancorp Investments hired Daniel Lotts as a wealth management adviser at U.S. Bank’s main branch, 131 S. Barstow St., in Eau Claire.

• Workforce company Manpower’s Eau Claire office marks its 40th anniversary this year. David Frederikson founded the local branch in 1978, according to a news release.

• MILWAUKEE — Insurance company UnitedHealthcare gave $700,000 last week to Feeding Wisconsin, which will help food pantries throughout the state. Workers also volunteered at four food banks — including Feed My People in Eau Claire — on Wednesday in connection with the company donation.

From staff reports