Business of the Year
“Nominees in this category will have conducted their business in such a way as to distinguish him or herself in an extraordinary way and to have made through his or her business a significant contribution to the community.”
Studio A – Trish Thompson, Owner
A for Aveda and A for Amazing
The Osceola Chamber would like to recognize Studio A, Trish Thompson, owner, as our Business of the Year for 2014. Studio A is owned by Trish but she fully admits she could not operate her successful business without her group of very dedicated employees. Trish would like to acknowledge her fine staff for their hard work and dedication: Ashley Rutledge, Salon Coordinator, Service Providers: Desirae Steffen, Lora Grabowski, Kristen Aarnio, Ann Marie Craig, Emmalee Hite, and Lisa Mangelson; Front Desk Personnel: Mcgee Thompson, Addeline Methvin, Sarah Vater, and Casey Sajna and Behind the scenes: Lisa Rutledge. They all share the same passion for the industry and all work together to see Studio A thrive.
2014 saw Trish’s first year with six stylists – she finally broke the curse of that 5th stylist. Trish says it’s very hard to expand to keep six stylists busy. Studio A has developed a niche in the wedding market that they do very well. Trish has organized a bridal fair in March in partnership with Dancing Dragonfly winery in St. Croix Falls. She also has partnered with Aveda for several years and organizes a Ladies Night Out in Osceola, held in conjunction with Earth Day in April each year.
Trish enjoys working with the chamber herself and encourages her employees to volunteer for various projects around the community as well. “As a whole, we all do well together on Main Street. People discover what we all have to offer the retail community by supporting each other” says Trish.
Trish moved to Minneapolis from North Dakota in 1992 to train with Horst. After graduating and working in Hudson, in 1997 she opened her own business in her Osceola home. She named her new business Studio A. A for Aveda and A for amazing. Her business has grown from working by herself to managing a staff of twelve today.
Trish built the building on First Avenue across from Millpond Park in 2004. Economy changes and major road construction have been challenges for her small business. Trish truly values her local and regular customers that have supported her and her business over the years. She has clients who have been with her since the beginning when her salon was in her home. Studio A continues to be a successful full service salon doing haircuts, facials, massages, nails and various body treatments.
Trish LOVES people and their hair. She loves doing different things. Trends change and Trish loves being part of it. She strives for continuing education: “Crazy what you can do with body waxing!”
She also loves being able to thrive in a small town that appreciates what her business has to offer. Being able to work and live in a rural setting with all Osceola’s hidden gems and have great access to an urban area is a huge draw for her.
One progressive professional strategy Trish has utilized is to partner with her tenant Brad Nygren Photography. Their businesses complement each other and together they can coordinate their services and design whatever special package their clients might like.
2014 saw Trish expanding spa options and other remodeling. In the coming year, she is looking at new signage and new paint. Trish continues to expand retail sales so she can achieve the title of Aveda Lifestyle Location (only a few salons in the area carry this title).
Trish continues to pursue her personal goal of education. She feels it is the key to a thriving business. She is working towards becoming an Aveda Purefessional. This title is only given to stylists who are up-to-date on current trends and techniques and earning the title will set her apart from her peers. Trish also credits Ashley Rutledge for helping her keep up on current trends.
Longer term goals show Trish expanding her business into a full spa. But Trish emphasizes that Studio A will always continue to provide a high quality of service to salon customers and she will continue to support and value her employees.
We wish Trish well in her new endeavors and congratulations on a successful 2014.
Volunteer of the Year
“Nominees in this category will have distinguished themselves and the organization they represent by dedication to an event or the organization in general by selfless contribution of time and effort.”
Broadcasting’s loss: our gain
Our next category is for Volunteer of the Year. No one is more deserving than Ashley Rutledge. The chamber would like to recognize her for her work in 2014 with Ladies Night Out, Main Street Treats, Doe on the Go and Lunch with Santa. She also serves as one of the Chamber’s most active Ambassadors.
We are recognizing Ashley for her volunteer work this past year but even at her young age, she has been an active volunteer for many years already. In 2004 she joined the Osceola’s Queen’s Committee as Royalty Coordinator, Parade Co-Coordinator and serves on the Osceola Fair Board. Ashley also helps with the Osceola Food Shelf (The Open Cupboard). Ashley feels it’s important to help one another as “you never know when you yourself will need the help.”
Ashley was born and raised in Osceola. She was named 1st Osceola Princess in 2002. She graduated in 2004 from OHS and attended Brown College and graduated with a degree in radio broadcasting. She worked at K102 in the Twin Cities but decided she liked small town markets better so worked at the Amery radio station for several years.
Ashley started at Studio A in 2012 as Salon Coordinator. She is owner Trish Thompson’s right hand gal doing bookkeeping, appointments, inventory and assisting Trish with whatever needs doing. Ashley and Trish share the same goals for Studio A which makes them a very strong team. Their goal is to be the Number 5 Top-Selling Aveda Concept Salon in Wisconsin. Sales are up and the salon continues to grow. She looks forward to staying active in her hometown and to continue to be a strong member of Main Street.
When Ashley was 15 years old she met Dick & Jean Kedrowski (owners of Twin City Paper). Dick and Jean would change the course of Ashley’s life. They were big supporters of Osceola and were involved with the Osceola Fair Royalty. They saw Ashley’s potential and sponsored her as a queen candidate in the 2009 St. Paul Winter Carnival Pageant. Ashley won the title of North Wind Princess that year and spent the next year volunteering with her Royal Family. Ashley said she saw and learned so much that year through the many activities that they did. They traveled from Canada to Florida and in-between volunteering at community festivals, hospice centers, hospitals, parades and various local events. It was a jam-packed year and imprinted the love of volunteerism on Ashley. Ashley remarked “It’s amazing how a 15-year-old girl could make connections that will impact her life 10 years later.”
Ashley is a member of the Winter Carnival Past Princesses Association. She also organizes the Titan Boat Trip for the North Wind Titan Organization. She organizes this boat trip for over 50 Osceola residents including queen candidates, royalty, parents and grandparents. It is always impressive to see that many local people together at an out-of-town event that really showcases our sense of community.
Ashley wants to enjoy life before she turns 30. She loves painting and decorating her home. In her hobbies and work life Ashley feels that “small changes make big differences.”
As Ashley does multiple tasks around the salon during her work day with many people needing her attention, she was heard exclaiming, “There’s only one me!”
That is so very true, Ashley. You are one of a kind and the chamber extends deep appreciation for your work for us and for our community. Congratulations on Volunteer of the Year!
Ambassador of the Year
“Nominees in this category will be an Osceola Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador who exemplifies the values of the Chamber – volunteerism, and promotes chamber functions such as member support, Ribbon Cuttings and Business After Hours.”
Danielle Nelson, Central Insurance
Centuria’s Loss; Our Gain
We would like to congratulate Danielle Nelson on receiving our new award this year, Ambassador of the Year. Danielle is President of the newly formed Ambassador group within the chamber and she was instrumental in getting the group organized and functioning in its first year. She brings considerable experience to this group as a member of the Falls Chamber and her work there as an Ambassador. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the St. Croix Valley Employer’s Association and on their Membership Committee.
Some of Danielle’s Ambassador highlights have been the forming of the group, fun at Wheels & Wings, and sharing in the Ribbon Cuttings of new businesses. She is honored to be the first president of the group. She feels it is a great addition to Osceola and has enjoyed working with this great group of people.
Danielle is currently an Employee Benefits Specialist at Central Insurance. She holds the designation of CBC (Chartered Benefits Consultant), and is a certified PHR (Professional in Human Resources) from the Society of Human Resource Management. With an extensive background in the field of human resources and sales, she enjoys working together with the team of professional insurance agents in the St Croix Valley area. Her office is in the Central Bank facility in Osceola. She would like to thank Central Insurance for allowing her the time in her work day to work on her chamber activities.
Danielle feels blessed to have lived and worked in this beautiful area for most of her life. She was born and raised in Centuria. Small town life and business was part of her upbringing as her parents, Sedric and LaVonne Solland founded Indianhead Glass in their home, then moving the business to main street St. Croix Falls.
She married her life-long friend, Craig Nelson in 1988. They moved to Osceola in 1995 after “falling in love with the schools.” Meredith is a senior at Osceola high school and is an avid golfer. Emilie is a senior at UM-Duluth, majoring in Communication and minoring in Deaf Studies. Stephanie is a graduate of UMD and recently married Brandon Whittaker.
Danielle loves people and loves Osceola. It is a good fit for her. She truly appreciates all that our friendly communities have to offer in terms of outdoor recreation, natural beauty, top-notch schools, and business opportunities. Some of her personal hobbies are decorating cakes, gardening and travel.
Looking ahead, the biggest challenge Danielle sees in the insurance business is health care reform. She herself has personal interest in health and wellness. She has helped found InnVigor8 (a healthy living activity) and serves on the committee Healthy Polk County with additional work on the Obesity Prevention Sub-Committee. She enjoys attending the Osceola Wellness Fair and Garden Show held at the high school each April and feels it is a great addition to our community life.
Some goals for the Osceola Ambassadors for 2015: more recognition of our businesses; membership growth; engaging people and recognizing quality customer service.
Take a little time to read Danielle’s name tag. It sums her up very well. It reads:
My name is Danielle Nelson. I’m a Relationship Building. My Strengths are: positivity, maximizer, belief, empathy and input.
The Osceola Area Chamber congratulates Danielle Nelson on being the Ambassador of the Year! Many thanks for your hard work for our chamber and community
Team of authors contribute. Germaine Ross, Chamber Director, Nancy Beck, Board Member.