Viking Coca-Cola Recognized as 2015 St. Cloud Family Owned Business of the Year

June 17, 2015

Viking Coca-Cola Recognized as 2015 St. Cloud Family Owned Business of the Year

CHAMBER ANNOUNCES ST. CLOUD AREA BUSINESS AWARD RECIPIENTS

 

St. Cloud, Minn. - The 2015 St. Cloud Area Small Business Award winners are:  Larry Logeman, Executive Express, the Small Business Owner of the Year; Michael Faber, Viking Coca-Cola, the Family Owned Business of the Year; and Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing, the Business Central Mark of Excellence – Emerging Entrepreneur. 

Executive Express provides airport shuttle service to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, plus  charter and courier service.  The Executive Express of today is a much different business than the one Larry Logeman bought ten years ago.  Since taking over the company, Logeman has grown the business from $500,000 in revenue to $2.5 million; from 10 employees to 80; and from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet. He increased the company's service routes from five to 14 daily runs and expanded his reach to 60-90 miles outside of St. Cloud.  He also opened a branch in Ames, Iowa for shuttle service to the Des Moines International Airport.

Everything about Executive Express is about passenger comfort and convenience, according to Logeman.  He made the move to small buses with individual seats as opposed to the industry standard that uses bench seating, because passengers prefer it.  In many communities drivers provide home pick-up/drop-off, and he even maintains a limousine for the rare situation when he is asked for the service.

 While Logeman's business growth is impressive, it hasn't always been easy.  At the time of the recession he was working to expand the business into Iowa.  He purchased a new line of vehicles that cost him $100,000 in repairs and maintenance, then turned around and sold them after only one year.  In 2009 sales were flat and in 2010, he threw a company party because the business had survived what looked like a business-ending year. 

In ten years in business, Logeman has only had to handle 29 customer complains, out of the 70,000 passengers who have used Executive Express.

Logeman is a generous community volunteer, donating time and money to many organizations including Junior Achievement, the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, GREAT Theater, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Minn., and the St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

 

Michael Faber hadn't decided if he wanted to be in the family business, when his father Joe, died of cancer in 1995.  Just out of college, Faber wanted to try his hand as a CPA in Colorado, but in 1998 he returned to Minnesota and joined the management team at Viking Coca-Cola, the business his father helped found and eventually owned. 

Faber identifies his strength as finding gaps in the market and working to fill those gaps.  In 2004 he began working with a local coffee bean roaster to develop Armada coffee, a proprietary product, owned by Viking, that is now distributed in 10 states.  In 2010 he went through a similar process to develop and launch Warrior energy drink, and in 2011 the company launched Avalanche ICEE.  These last two products are currently available in five states, primarily in convenience stores. Faber expects all three products to experience exponential growth based on the initial response.

Viking Coca-Cola has expanded steadily since 2000.  Always a bottling operation, Faber added canning in 2003.  In 2005 he acquired distributorships in Red Wing, MN and River Falls, WI, as well as a Coors distributorship.  The company has grown from 375 employees to just under 500 employees in the last 15 years.

Also a generous member of the community, Faber and Viking Coca-Cola regularly support the United Way, Boys and Girls Club, the Coborn Cancer Center, and a wide range of community organizations and events.  Faber is also active nationally as chairman of the National Bottlers Association.

 

Again this year, the Chamber of Commerce is recognizing an emerging entrepreneur.  Luke Riordan founded his social media marketing company, DAYTA Marketing, in February 2012.  With an original team of three, he now has 25 employees and expanded his business into larger quarters four times in three years.

DAYTA has carved out a niche serving small businesses that can't afford to hire a full-time social media manager.  The company has pioneered an intake process that moves a business within a few weeks from offering no social media activity to receiving noticeable results from their social media marketing.  The proprietary system has a 130 step discovery process that allows the DAYTA team to quickly identify the client's goals, strengths and weaknesses, allowing DAYTA to create a customized social media strategy. 

The unusual business model made pricing a challenge for the company.  Today clients pay based on how much interaction they choose to purchase for a month.  The average subscription per client is between $600-$700 per month.  Account managers are in contact with their clients for 30 minutes to 2.5 hours per week, according to Riordan.  This type of partnership is critical in order for DAYTA to create the desired online personality for their clients.

Riordan expects his company to continue to grow rapidly in large part because of the team of employees he has assembled.  He calls them all young entrepreneurs because they "work late at night, during the weekends, contribute to the company's processes, and generate referrals and sales for the company.  They are motivated and hungry for success...like any entrepreneur."

Larry Logeman, Michael Faber, and Luke Riordan will be honored at the Chamber’s Business Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at noon at the Holiday Inn and Suites in St. Cloud.  Cost for the luncheon is $19 for Chamber members and $29 for the general public.  For reservations, call the Chamber at 320-251-2940, ext. 126 or online at events.StCloudAreaChamber.com.

 

-Chamber-

 FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Contact Gail Ivers, vice president, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, 320-249-3163 or givers@StCloudAreaChamber.com. 

You can reach Larry Logeman, Executive Express, at 320-309-3882, larry@executiveexpress.biz;  Michael Faber, Viking Coca-Cola at 320-251-4602, ext. 110, mjfaber@vikingcocacola.com; and Luke Riordan, DAYTA Marketing, at 320-345-7307, luke@daytamarketing.com