Downtown group issues awards

Several businesses and individuals were honored last week by Downtown Eau Claire Inc., a nonprofit organization.

The 11th annual “Downtownys” recognized businesses, organizations and supporters that have made significant contributions to Eau Claire’s downtown in the past year.

More than 1,100 votes from the community determined the following winners: SHIFT Cyclery and Coffee Bar, best new business; Grand Avenue footbridge, best renovation; Pablo Center at the Confluence, best new development; Clearwater Winter Parade, best downtown event; and The District, best business.

Special honorees were Marianne Klinkhammer, volunteer of the year; Brent Douglas Flowers for Everyday, member of the year; and Dan Market, outstanding achievement.

“Our downtown champions continue to make the heart of the city even stronger,” said DECI executive director Aaron White in a news release, “and we think it’s important to celebrate them.”

Visit for more information about the organization.

Business skills event approaches

RICE LAKE — The “Small Business Academy” will be Wednesdays, April 3 through May 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at UW-Eau Claire — Barron County, 1800 College Drive.

The seminar is for anyone interested in small business ownership or expanding their small business or side business into a formalized plan of action. The cost is $89 through March 25 and $99 after that date.

The instructor is Ken Pearson, a loan fund manager with the Northwest Regional Planning Commission and former director of business development at Indianhead Community Action Agency, where he helped more than 60 businesses start up or expand.

Preregistration is required. For more information or to register, contact Barb Ritzinger at 715-788-6235 or or visit

Cadott builder earns recognition

Jim Dobrzynski of Cadott has been inducted into the Rural Builder Hall of Fame.

Sponsored by Rural Builder magazine, the hall recognizes those who have helped advance the post-frame industry. Dobrzynski is one of 123 individuals who have been inducted into the hall since its inception in 1982.

Now semi-retired, Dobrzynski spent his career in post-frame construction, working in sales and management for other post-frame firms, and owning his own businesses — Rural Construction and West Central Buildings. He continues to work part-time in the industry for P&B Lumber of Cadott.

From staff reports