Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 01.08.2014

January 8, 2014

Today: Lori Creighton, Digital News (Gett)

Birthdays: Ingrid Anderson Sampo (1/2), Fred Rogers (1/4), Ron Linde (1/5), Curtis Tiano (1/6), Teresa Tillson and Elvis (1/8) and Lynne Pederson (1/11).

Next Week: Gunho, Exchange Student (Westcott-Brown)

Last Time We Met:

Chris Sawyer, president of College City Beverage, is the man in the middle. He purchases product – beer and non-alcoholic beverages — from the breweries and bottlers and sells them to liquor stores and bars.

College City has 1,400 customers in nine different counties, all within a 60-mile radius of its home base in Dundas. They carry some 1,000 brands from 35 different suppliers, and they do all of this with 87 employees.

His father, Jim Sawyer, and Tom Blaisdell purchased the business in 1978 from Jim Hubbard. It came with three brands and nine employees. Thirty-five years and five warehouses later, the company is still on a growth trajectory.

Eighty-five percent of their product comes from Anheuser-Busch. It used to be more like 95 percent, but the craft beer craze has changed the mix. There all kinds of options now. He predicts the cider market to be the next big thing.

Community involvement is a longstanding value of College City Beverage. They nurture a philanthropic impulse, sometimes in a very public way — Laura Baker Association, the SAFE Ride program and the YMCA, but more often in quiet, anonymous donations. For instance, College City Beverage supports the, local after-prom parties, high school “respect retreats,” and chemical prevention efforts. Chris said they want to avoid marketing to kids. And they do not lobby on issues such as the lowering of blood alcohol content for drivers or the legal drinking age.

Chris said he sees continued growth in the distribution business, and he sees College City increasing its market share. They are meeting this challenge by stressing efficiency first before hiring more people.

Mini Classification:

Candy Taylor was a stay-at-home mom with three kids when she started volunteering in search of adult conversation. She has since made her mark working for the Northfield Area United Way and helping start Fifth Bridge, which has now merged with the Northfield Area Foundation. She is excited about the recent merger. “It is a great way to help people make a difference today, tomorrow and beyond,” she said.

Those kids who helped launch her nonprofit work are almost grown. Her oldest son is in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her daughter works at the Cake Walk and is close to becoming a dental hygienist. Her second son is a senior in high school.

Candy’s oldest son, Matthew, did an exchange year in Bolivia. Candy said she and her husband, Cliff, have benefited from their involvement in the youth exchange program on this end.

Paul Harris Fellowship: Dave Halsor was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship. Dave Shumway was recognized for his sustaining effort with a Paul Harris plus six pin. Mark Abbot, Paul Harris plus 4, and Greg Carlson, Paul Harris plus eight, were also recognized in abstentia.

Last Week’s Guests: Our exchange students, Yoshino, Gunho, Rodolfo and Lucas; Ken Dragseth (Bill Carlson) and Luyen Phan (Cogan)

Scholarship Enhancement: Michelle Lasswell. It wasn’t the Powerball, but it helps.

Rotary Exchange: Past Rotary Exchange students share experiences with outgoing exchange students Dec. 19, 2013.


The Rotary club is co-sponsoring the Northfield Area Climate Summit Saturday, Jan. 18, all day at St. Olaf College’s Buntrock Commons. Meteorologist Paul Douglas will be the keynote speaker at 9:30 a.m. For more information or to register, go to: The event is free. If you have questions, contact Alan Anderson.

Chris Weber, chair of the Literacy Committee, said they are looking to place “book shelves” in businesses with young-family traffic. If you know of any candidates, let Chris know.

President Prichard invited members, especially those in leadership positions, to take advantage of Rotary’s Midterm Rally. It will be Saturday, Jan. 25, in New Richmond, Wis. It is a great source of training for club officers and offers an opportunity to be exposed to the work of Rotary at the district level.

Coming Up:

January 23 — TBD
January 30 — Beth Kallestad, Classification
February 6 — Karl Hakanson, Cultivating Conservation (Kallestad)