Dane Buy Local is thrilled to recognize these people who have contributed extraordinarily to our organization and its mission in a multitude of ways. Their individual generosity during the last year is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Lori Carlson Madison Green Box
Kent Yan Plato Commercial Real Estate
Lori A. Carlson, Owner
Moving? Remodeling? De-cluttering? We rent convenience in the form of eco-friendly plastic boxes as an alternative to cardboard. Free delivery and pick-up service with a smile!
Kent Yan of Plato Commercial Real Estate, LLC offers full service commercial real estate services in the greater Madison area. For businesses, startups and nonprofits, and at no fee, Kent can help find, game plan, and negotiate on behalf of the client to get the client the site that best fits their purchase or leasing needs. For landlords and property owners, Kent will work to market and find tenants and buyers for the property. A few DBL members have used Kent’s services already, including DBL itself.
Winner of two awards at the 2014 MAMAsfor Best Studio and Best Engineer/Producer (our own Mike Zirkel), Audio for the Arts is a fully-equipped, professional recording studio and on-location recording company. Our studio features a 7-foot concert grand piano, which our clients love. And we get the most wonderful clients! On the music side of things, Madison Symphony, Madison Opera, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Freedy Johnston and Mary Chapin Carpenter have all recorded with us. On the business side, TDS Telecom, American Family Insurance, Promega, the New Yorker magazine and The Simpsons TV show have chosen to work with us. From advertisements and audio books to rock bands and orchestras, we can take care of youWinner of two awards at the 2014 MAMAs for Best Studio and Best Engineer/Producer (our own Mike Zirkel), Audio for the Arts is a fully-equipped, professional recording studio and on-location recording company. Our studio features a 7-foot concert grand piano, which our clients love. And we get the most wonderful clients! On the music side of things, Madison Symphony, Madison Opera, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Freedy Johnston and Mary Chapin Carpenter have all recorded with us. On the business side, TDS Telecom, American Family Insurance, Promega, the New Yorker magazine and The Simpsons TV show have chosen to work with us. From advertisements and audio books to rock bands and orchestras, we can take care of you!
I guess, I'm somewhat honored to be thought ofas "inspiring". And, if I am inspired, it is because I am affected by and inspired by people I meet day in and day out -- especially by all the good out-going folk I've chanced to meet from DBL breakfasts, mixers and some Membership Committee work over the last six years or so. (You get out of DBL what you put into it.)
For the last eight-plus years, I have been the customer services rep for Inkworks, Inc. Printing in the heart of downtown Stoughton. And if my print customers are inspired by me, they should know that it is Inkworks owner Dennis Kittleson and our pressman Jeff Offord behind the scenes who make me look good. Like other DBL member business owners, Dennis works long hours, not only for his business, but also for his community. He and his wife Amy (She is a nurse, who, with her green thumb, also works some for DBL member Klein's Floral.) have raised their family in Stoughton. And he, Dennis, still continues as an assistant JV soccer coach for Stoughton HS, while also being politically active in helping to shape his community's future. Simply put, he cares. And, in this, he's not unlike DBL's other members.
At Inkworks, we've invested financially in the latest digital print/copy technologies, and it is a substantial investment! Like other DBL members, we work to be competitive in our high-competitive local print market. (Many of our customers are themselves small businesses and non-profits, all conscious of every dollar earned and spent!) I personally appreciate it when my customers do recognize our value-added services, advice and assistance. Soon, it will be Christmas. And I'll watch again Miracle on 34th Street. I'll watch how the real Khris Kringle tells Macy's customer's where to go to find gifts not stocked at Macy's. Chris sends them to Gimbel's of all things! And then Gimbel's starts doing the same thing! Why? Because it's the right thing to do, especially at Christmas!
It's like smiling at someone just because... You never know if it helps that person to smile at another person or not, but you hope. You have faith. Like little Susie in Miracle, you eventually do believe! So, every day I get up, wish my wife a happy day and drive 20 miles from our home in Sun Prairie to be at work usually by 7:00 a.m. Dennis and Jeff usually beat me there, and Dennis often still is there when I leave, working until everything that needs to be printed is finished to his standard. Because, he cares. Meanwhile, I end many a day, making print deliveries in person all about Madison and around the greater Dane County area -- not much unlike Mr. Kringle! My customers, many of them like Don and Theresa Schuster of Shuster's Farm, are just big kids themselves -- smiling and happy when I walk in with neatly boxed newsletters, brochures and three-part carbonless statement forms. Even a handful of new shiny business cards lights up faces! And I drive home most days satisfied, singing Country ballads and Christmas favorites along with Trace Akins, Rodney Dunn and other classic and current Country artists who also believe in their fellow man "and woman", as sings Allan Jackson. (Yes, karaoke is one of my guilty pleasures!)
Today's buzz word is Networking. I carry business cards of some of our other DBL members with me. At Inkworks, we can't always do everything for everyone, but we try. Or, we encourage people to contact other businesses that can provide what they want. And many of these are other DBL members, businesses we know and trust will also take good care of our customers. I promote DBL where and when I can, because I do believe it makes a difference. Every meeting, every mixer I see people meeting and networking, building business relationships and personal friendships. In a way, it's not unlike growing up in our small rural Lutheran church near Cottage Grove, where my dad and all the other farmers met every Sunday morning, lined up their rubber overshoes in the Narthex going in, only to put them right back on an hour later to stand out on the church steps to talk about the price of pork and what the weather is doing to the tobacco. Networking. Caring. The McFarland Feed Mill and the little local hardware store (both sadly long gone now) served much the same purpose. Farmers commiserated with each other over broken John Deere and McCormick manure spreaders and such at these local venues, and then they'd go out of their way to help one another, even if they sacrificed a bit so themselves to do so. (My dad mentioned one time to me how his dad, my grandfather, once gave a wagon load of coal to another farm family during the Depression when it was discovered the other family was trying to keep warm by burning ear corn in their wood stove. To save face, the load of coal was traded even for a load of corn, so the family would have something to put into their furnace.) Standing on the church steps and sitting on a bag of feed at the mill, I became a networker, a listener and a story teller by default...
As a teen, I remember one long summer farm day when my father, out of frustration, yelled at me, "You have to Care!" I was too preoccupied at the time shooting hoops at the old rim nail to the side of the barn, thinking about girls and developing my Karem Abdul Jabar hook shot when I should have been doing something. I think he, my dad, already sensed and resigned himself to my eventually being an English major, a lover of written words. (My mom never said, but I think she wanted me to be a preacher, because of my writing and singing.) So, forgive me DBL members if this has turned into a bit of a sermon.... My dad did come around and forgave me for not wanting to be a farmer, eventually proud of his son, the editor of the McFarland Community Life, helping to give meaning to other people's daily lives, helping them network, if you will, through print media. As a community journalist in Wisconsin and later Washington State (when Mt. St. Helen's blew), I did then what I do now; I listen to and help people and business owners not only with their print needs, but also with their concerns, one person to another, on things happening to them, things important to them. If nothing else, I'm sometimes useful as a sort of sounding board! As DBL members, it's important to take a few minutes of time extra with each other and with our customers. You never know what is going on in someone's life. Get to know him or her. Transactions in and of themselves sometimes are the least important things in dong business with each other. This, the human element, is what you get when you shop local. It's what is missing when it comes to the internet.
So, for 38 professional years, I have been -- among other things -- a weekly newspaper editor, a non-profit fundraiser, a corporate information director and now a print sales/service guy recognized for his various brimmed hats -- symbolic, I guess, as we all wear many hats and juggle way more bowling pins in our daily lives than we probably should. I normally am kind of private, and Dennis Kittleson is very private, the last person to take credit for what he has helped to accomplish in his community, his life. If I'm "inspiring", it's because of my wife & family, my seventh grade English teacher Mrs. Barnhart, my college choral director at UW-Platteville, Dennis Kittleson and all the people I've written about as a newspaper man and all the other people I meet and work with now day in and day out, including a bunch of you DBL members! Am I rich? Financially, no. In friends and the non-tangible things, I'm blessed beyond my words. Thank you all.