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September 9, 2020


2020 Award Winners

2020 Small Business PERSON of the Year

Bruce Hagberg,

ritesoft, llc 

Bruce Hagbert, owner of riteSOFT, LLC 
In 2005, after 22 years with Bankers Systems/Wolters Kluwer, Bruce Hagberg received a severance
package and found himself looking for a job. “I’ve always kind of had in the back of my mind that I’d like to try my hand
at owning a small business,” he said. “I thought if I don’t try it now, I never will.”
In 2006 Hagberg and his wife Vicky purchased SRT Enterprises, a reseller of an existing ERP software product. Hagberg
immediately began turning the business into a software development company, creating packaged software for the
manufacturing/distribution industries. “Lots of people were creating custom software programs,” Hagberg said, “but I
wanted to build commercial package software, something that would meet 80 percent of the customers’ needs at 20
percent of the price.”
It turned out the company, which Hagberg recognized as a fixer-upper, needed more work than he had anticipated.
When the recession hit shortly after the purchase, payroll remained while cash flow dried up. Hagberg tapped into his
401k retirement and used his good credit rating to take out additional credit cards. He worked with the bank to secure a
guaranteed loan from the Small Business Administration and a line of credit. He found 10 shareholders, who continue to
hold minority interest in the business.
Today riteSOFT has 12 employees, two software products, and customers in 10 countries with 8,000 end-users of their
software products. Hagberg’s successful move from unemployment to international business owner earned him the
2020 St. Cloud Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Year Award.

 St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Luncheon
 Wednesday, September 9, 2020 
 Holiday Inn & Suites
11:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. check in
12:00 p.m. -12:25 p.m. meal served
12:25 p.m.- 1:30 p.m. program
 


Business Awards Luncheon 
Honoree Videos 2019

2020 AWARD WINNERS

2020 BUSINESS CENTRAL MARK OF EXCELLENCE: Woman in Business Champion

Melinda Tamm


Melinda Tamm, owner
Ms Melinda's Dance Studio
 When Melinda Tamm was 10 years old she dreamed of starting a dance studio called Melinda's Dance World. "I always
knew I wanted to do something in dance, but it was like a wild dream," she said. And yet, in 2006, that wild dream
became reality when she opened Ms. Melinda's Dance Studio, serving 49 students.
Tamm's experience in education and dance made her progression a natural one. She took studio dance lessons growing
up in Sartell and minored in dance in college. She auditioned for the NFL and was a cheerleader for the Vikings in 2000-
2001. She choreographed dance routines and sold them to the NFL.
Four months after telling her soon-to-be-husband she wanted to start a business, Tamm had established the company,
found and remodeled space, and welcomed her first students. Since those early days, Tamm has expanded three times
and currently owns her 15,000 square foot studio. During the 2019-20 school year she had just shy of 800 students, with
two full time employees, and 38 part time dance instructors.
Growing her business is exciting, according to Tamm, but that's only half the story. Her goal when it comes to both
students and instructors is to help them develop self-confidence and leadership skills through dance. "Providing a
quality dance education is our top priority," Tamm said, "but we also strive to provide a place for students to be
themselves, while learning to become strong leaders in the dance classroom and in their communities."
More than just a business owner, Tamm still does a lot of teaching and all the choreography for her award-winning
teams. She's also worked with three other dance studios, helping their owners with business plans and creating
financially viable companies.
Because of her combination of entrepreneurship, leadership, and support of female-dominated clientele and staff,
Tamm was named the 2020 Business Central Mark of Excellence - Woman in Business Champion.

 

 

2020 AWARD WINNERS

2020 Entrepreneurial Success Award

richard hobbs,
simonson lumber


Richard Hobbs, President,
Simonson Lumber
Richard Hobbs has done every job at Simonson's Lumber. He's been the janitor, bill collector, hauler, and lumberyard
manager. Today he's the company's president, sharing ownership with his two brothers who are not active in the
business.
Simonson's Lumber has been in Hobbs' family since 1913 when it was founded by his grandfather. Hobbs took over
leadership in the late 1980s, early 1990s after his parents became ill. At that time the company owned multiple
lumberyards, with about 45 employees and revenue around $7 million. The company enjoyed steady growth, and by
the time the Great Recession hit their sales were over $60 million.
"We came out of that with $28 million in sales," Hobbs said. Worse was letting employees go. "We dropped our
employment by almost two-thirds. It was horrible." Hobbs recalls the experience as a daily fight. "We had customers
who, if they went down, we would have gone down, too." The relationships the company had built over the years made
all the difference, according to Hobbs. "We had vendors who had been with us forever. They knew my grandfather.
Those relationships become tremendously important."
In 2019, following the death of Loran Hall, Simonson's Lumber purchased Mathew Hall Lumber from the Hall family.
"Mathew Hall Lumber had a Gold Standard reputation," Hobbs said. "We approached them about selling because we
liked their truss plant and the showroom. It worked out for both of us." The purchase increased Simonson's business by
one-third.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country, Hobbs said Simonson's continues to do well. "We're following
all the safety protocols and we're busy. This is nothing like the recession. Not for us."
Today Simonson's employs almost 200 people with annual sales of about $75 million. This steady growth, and successful
response to adversity, earned Hobbs the 2020 St. Cloud Area Entrepreneurial Success Award. This award is presented to
someone who has successfully grown his business from a small enterprise, as defined by the Small Business
Administration, into a large company.

2020 Champion Sponsor:


 
2020 GOLD SPONSOR:
 
 
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce
St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 487 St. Cloud, MN 56302-0487 320-251-2940