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COMPETING
IN 2015

Local businesses, communities and organizations must adapt to stay relevant in today's fast-paced, high-tech world. But how? The Gazette takes a closer look at that question with Competing in 2015, sponsored by Blackhawk Community Credit Union.

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Competing in 2015 E-Edition
Competing in 2015 E-Edition
Looking for the Competing in 2015 E-Edition? Find it here. Read more...
Scott Angus: Quality, variety and service propel 2015 marketplace
Scott Angus: Quality, variety and service propel 2015 marketplace
What does it take to compete in the marketplace of 2015? We asked that question of dozens of people representing sectors, businesses and communities for this special section. Their answers are featured in the stories that fill these pages. Read more...
Area hospitals focus on specialties, quality, employee engagement
Area hospitals focus on specialties, quality, employee engagement
From mandated changes through the Affordable Care Act to technological advancements, the health care field is constantly changing. Here's a look at what the three major health care systems in Rock County are doing to compete. Read more...
Municipalities' plans centering on businesses, residents
Municipalities' plans centering on businesses, residents
Creating and fostering a community that is appealing to both future businesses and residents is not easy with expanding technology, shrinking municipal budgets and worthy nearby competitors. Area communities, however, are finding ways to compete with one another and work together to create places where people will visit, live and work. Read more...
Wineries pour award-winning service for success
Wineries pour award-winning service for success
On a dreary Saturday in January, visitors are filing in and out of the tasting room at Staller Estate Vineyard and Winery in Walworth County's town of Richmond. "Normally, this is our slow season," said Joe Staller, who owns and operates the business with his wife, Wendy. Not anymore. The Stallers have seen an uptick in business this year and last as the economy claws back to recovery. Read more...
Market forces push recyclers to get creative
Market forces push recyclers to get creative
Among the many industries where competition is king, few face more market volatility and pressures of cost and demand than recycling handlers and waste haulers. The latest wild card is a recent dramatic dip in market prices for paper, cardboard and metals that some say is driven by a recent drop in natural gas, oil and energy prices. That's macro. Locally, smaller, trickier forces are at play. Read more...
Service clubs compete only when it comes to recruiting new members
Service clubs compete only when it comes to recruiting new members
Janesville area service clubs don't compete against each other's projects because each has a specific mission. When it comes to recruiting new members, however, they have learned to be competitive. Representatives from four local clubs discussed what sets their groups apart, their strategies for finding members and how they are faring in the community. Read more...
Building a different downtown: Business owners see a district on the verge of a revival
Building a different downtown: Business owners see a district on the verge of a revival
Business owners in downtown Janesville say there are examples of ways the downtown is and can stay competitive while offering something different than their counterparts along busy Milton Avenue. Read more...
Edgerton pharmacy melds trendy, traditional
Edgerton pharmacy melds trendy, traditional

EDGERTON—The sign says "Edgerton Pharmacy and Boutique."

The outside looks exactly like you'd expect a small-town pharmacy to look, with an architectural style that's somewhere between brick box and pole barn.

But travelers who... Read more...

Superior service, know-how give lumberyards an edge
Superior service, know-how give lumberyards an edge
In the age of the big box home-improvement store, local lumberyard owners know how to compete and keep an edge as owners of family-owned businesses. They say they do it by offering topnotch service with experienced and knowledgeable employees. They also offer high quality products at competitive prices. Read more...
Things keep heating up for heating-system-maker Lanair
Things keep heating up for heating-system-maker Lanair
When he bought a local company and arrived in Janesville a little more than five years ago, Barry Brandt didn't have the National Farm Machinery Show anywhere on his radar. But that's where Brandt found himself a few weeks ago, hoping to generate 150 or so leads that might result in orders for 15 or 20 of the waste oil heaters his company builds in Janesville. Much has changed since Brandt bought Lenan Corp. in 2009. Read more...
Two jewelers use distinctly different approaches to sparkle in Internet age
Two jewelers use distinctly different approaches to sparkle in Internet age
Jewelry is like a lot of retail businesses these days, with chain stores across the landscape and the Internet a growing competitor. In Janesville, two local companies report they're doing well despite the national competition. Read more...
Fitness clubs feed off competition
Fitness clubs feed off competition
Competition breeds success. That saying has been used by athletes training for competition for years. It's also a fitting adage for local fitness clubs competing for their business. Read more...
From creation to print, Fetch Graphics does it all for clients
From creation to print, Fetch Graphics does it all for clients
Right here in Janesville, there is a company doing business with the likes of Google, General Motors and Generac Power Systems. But for every large corporation it has as a client, there is another small company it works with to develop everything from a brand name to a logo and marketing plan to materials such as car wraps, banners, posters and billboards. Read more...
Marketing becomes key as colleges and universities work to attract students
Marketing becomes key as colleges and universities work to attract students
With mounting student loan debt and increasing options for secondary education, colleges must make themselves stand out more than ever. What a school offers potential students can be a make-or-break proposition not only for the students, but the college, as well. Here's a look at what area schools do to stay competitive. Read more...
Builders seeing resurgence in remodeling, new homes
Builders seeing resurgence in remodeling, new homes
The Great Recession weeded out plenty of building contractors, but the businesses that pushed through the hard times are prospering now. With a recovering economy, mild weather and fewer contractors available for a greater amount of work, local builders expect a busy 2015. Read more...
Exceptional customer service gives small-town retail shops competitive edge
Exceptional customer service gives small-town retail shops competitive edge
It's challenging to stay competitive in any business these days. So how does a business owner provide something different while offering quality merchandise at a reasonable price? Owners of two locally owned small-town shops say top-notch customer service is just one of the keys to their success. Read more...
Downtown Janesville bars create their own identities but find ways to work together
Downtown Janesville bars create their own identities but find ways to work together
The bar business provides pleasure to the eye, the heart and often the stomach. It's not as simple as providing seats and cold beer. Take downtown Janesville's bars, many of which have adapted, changed hands, expanded or remodeled in recent years as they invented and reinvented themselves. Read more...
World Famous Bargain Barn more than just a motorcycle parts store, owner says
World Famous Bargain Barn more than just a motorcycle parts store, owner says
If you need an oil filter for your late-model motorcycle, plenty of stores can sell you one. But if you need something more specific, say an oil tank for a 1970s-era Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster, then you have a tougher search ahead. That's where the World Famous Bargain Barn at 219 W. Fulton St. comes in. Read more...
Investing in customers: Financial institutions bank on relationships
Investing in customers: Financial institutions bank on relationships
With an evolving array of financial products available from a growing number of nontraditional sources, retail banks and credit unions need to satisfy increasingly demanding customers shopping in a hyper-competitive environment. That's according to a recent report, which raises a basic question: Will future customers still need banks and credit unions? The answer, at least according to industry leaders in Rock County, is a resounding "yes." Read more...
Auto dealers find kinder, gentler approach helps get people behind wheel
Auto dealers find kinder, gentler approach helps get people behind wheel
Pop culture portrays the caricature of a car salesman as a slick, sly, charismatic person willing to stop at nothing to make a sale. Using his wit, charm and a handful of psychological tricks, he's anything but an ally when a customer is trying to buy a vehicle. Rock County dealership representatives said salespeople in southern Wisconsin are nothing like that. Read more...