A quartet of businesses open in Waconia

In the past months, the former Snyder’s building in Waconia has been transformed into a hub of business featuring main tenant HomeTown Bank along with location partners Carver County Abstract & Title Co., Inc., Drazan, Henke and Associates, PLLC and Mocha Monkey. The Waconia Chamber of Commerce welcomed each of the four businesses to the chamber with a series of chamber ribbon cutting ceremonies on Jan. 16.
Officials from each of the businesses took a few moments to share more about their business, all of which opened at the location (off of CR 10 and Hwy 5 near Mackenthun’s Fine Foods) in the last month or so.

Carver County Abstract & Title Co., Inc.
Carver County Abstract & Title Co., Inc., a business that specializes in title insurance, abstracting, real estate closings and mortgage closings, has served clients in Carver County and surrounding communities out of its Chaska location (currently at 411 N. Chestnut St.) for the past 55 years. With the opening of the new location in Waconia, the business is positioned to continue its long tradition of excellence for decades to come.
Established in 1959 as an independent company that was family owned for almost 30 years, the business was purchased by partners Dave Moonen and Dale Kutter in 1985. Kutter operated the business in Chaska and Moonen ran a sister location in Shakopee called Scott County Abstract & Title Co., Inc.
After Kutter retired in the late 1990s, he was replaced by Randy Dawdy at the Chaska office. Dave Moonen’s son, Nick, eventually took over the Chaska office in 2009. In January 2013, the businesses were purchased by Nick Moonen, Sue Malz and Trish Erkenbrack. Malz has 30 years with the companies and primarily runs the Shakopee office. Moonen has been with the companies for more than 10 years and will be working out of the Chaska and Waconia offices.
“We are excited to be able to provide our services in a convenient location in Waconia,” he said. “We’re new to having an office in Waconia but we’ve been serving the area for 55 years. People ask, ‘Why Waconia?’ and I have to respond, ‘Why not Waconia? It’s a great community built by great people.’”
Malz said the business works to differentiate itself from other title companies.
“We are independent, not owned by a law firm, real estate or mortgage company, so we have don’t have a streamlined business feeding us clients. Our excellent work and attention to details is what brings in the business,” she said. “Our rates are competitive and we focus on customer service, accuracy and efficiency.”
A customer (buyer, seller, borrower who is refinancing) always has a choice in selecting the title company they are going to work with for their transaction.
Moonen noted the importance of purchasing owner’s title insurance when they buy a home.
“Today, more than ever, consumers are reminded that in order to have peace of mind, they should purchase an owner’s title insurance policy whenever they buy a home,” he said. “An owner’s policy provides assurance that your title company will stand behind you if a covered title problem arises after you buy your home.”
To learn more about Carver County Abstract & Title Co., Inc., contact the Chaska office at (952) 448-5570 or the Waconia office at (952) 442-3875.

Drazan, Henke and Associates
Drazan, Henke and Associates, PLLC is a CPA firm with offices in Chaska and Waconia. It has approximately 20 employees, eight of which are CPAs. Their diverse knowledge and experience provide the tax and planning expertise necessary to reach the financial goals and objectives of their clients.
They specialize in working with business owners throughout the life of their business, assisting business owners to measure the profitability of their business and help achieve their long-term goals and objectives.
Although they serve businesses in many different industries, they specialize in working with closely-held businesses in the following industries: Real Estate, Construction, Professional Services, Retail/Wholesale, Manufacturing, Management and Consulting.
The services available for businesses and business owners include: Tax Planning and Consulting; Entity Selection; Retirement Options; Business Succession or Transfer; Forecasting and Budgeting; Flexible Payroll Processing; and Financial Analysis and Review.
Drazan, Henke and Associates also provide services for individuals and families.
Their approach is based upon a tax planning focus to provide individuals with appropriate tax planning techniques, information and tools necessary to make informed decisions. Some of the sophisticated transactions include stock options, real estate transactions, trust opportunities, and generational transfers.
The services available for individuals include: Tax Planning; Stock Options Planning; Real Estate Transactions; Charitable Giving; Estate Planning; Retirement Planning; Gift and Trust Planning; and Multi-State Tax Issues.
Drazan, Henke and Associates celebrated its 10th anniversary last fall. The business was started by Mike Drazan, who opened the original office in downtown Chaska. Ryan Henke joined Drazan a year later. The business acquired Roebke & Bratsch in downtown Waconia in 2009. John Roebke retired last December but with the new office in Waconia, Drazan, Henke and Associates is positioned to serve the area for years to come.
“We’ve had tremendous growth in the last couple of years,” noted Jennifer Fransen, CPA and partner with Drazan, Henke and Associates. “We’re looking forward to continuing to serve our current Waconia clients and building new relationships in the Waconia community.”
Fransen noted the firm’s core passion of building valuable relationships, both internal and external, and its core focus of providing comprehensive, integrated tax and accounting services for businesses and individuals. Fransen added that the firm focuses on its ability to build relationships, offer customized services and meet needs from an owner’s perspective and business partner approach. Drazan, Henke and Associates is committed to being a proactive business partner that provides value for its clients.
The business’ tax season hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To learn more, contact www.dha-cpa.com or (952) 448-4220.

HomeTown Bank
With a goal to provide customers with a fun and friendly banking experience, HomeTown Bank’s energetic employees have delivered since the first day the bank opened its doors right before Christmas 2013.
“We want people to have a uniquely positive banking experience,” said Michael Orth, Waconia Manager and Vice-President. “We believe in inspiring happiness in everyone that walks through our doors with an inviting and comfortable experience. All made possible by our talented staff … we think people will love coming here.”
Orth emphasized that the experience is only part of the equation. HomeTown Bank offers a number of fee-friendly services. Most of which are low, or no-fee services.
For example, HomeTown Bank offers both paper and e-statements at no charge, along with free bill pay. Almost all of their accounts come with no minimum balance requirement. They also don’t require a minimum number of debit card transactions, and the card itself features the customer’s photo offering an extra layer of protection. When you call HomeTown, a real person answers, instead of making customers navigate a calling tree.
Another exciting service is the Easy Switch process that the bank has available for its new customers.
“The process takes care of people switching to our bank,” Orth said. “We work on our customer’s behalf to transfer all the automatic payments from the current account to HTB … it’s convenient and there’s no cost. We try to do the work for our customers.
“Our two main areas of expertise are commercial banking and home lending,” continued Orth, who also noted each of their lenders has the ability to do a wide variety of loans, and the empowerment to make loan decisions. “We still feel there’s a cross-section of people who can still refinance to today’s historically low rates, and we think people will love how fast and simple our process is compared to other mortgage lenders.”
It’s efforts such as these that have made Redwood Falls-based HomeTown Bank successful for the past 90 years.
Waconia is the bank’s ninth location, with branches also located in Cleveland, Henderson, Jordan, LeSueur, Olivia, Redwood Falls and St. Peter. HomeTown Bank has $220 million in assets and is a five star rated bank by both Bauer Financial and BankRate.com for strength and stability.
Orth said he and the rest of his staff are looking forward to serving Waconia and the surrounding area.
“I really appreciate the warm welcome we’ve received from the Waconia community,” he said. “We turn 90 this year, but we feel like we have a great new home in Waconia.”
HomeTown Bank is planning to hold an open house “Block Party” event on Friday, June 20. The event will feature music, performances and much more. The community is invited to this event.
The HomeTown Bank lobby is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The drive-through is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. To learn more, visit www.htbmn.com or contact Orth at (952) 230-3850.

Mocha Monkey
Although his coffee house in downtown Waconia was doing well, Mocha Monkey owner Jon Schmidt wasn’t necessarily planning to expand to a second store but the opportunity to operate a new location in the HomeTown Bank building — and the chance to offer drive-through service — proved to be irresistible.
“For me, I was never really looking to open a second location but this venture opened up and it seemed like a great opportunity,” said Schmidt, who has owned Mocha Monkey since January 2011.
“With our downtown location, we strive to be the community gathering space and HomeTown Bank wanted that as well so we were able to offer that along with the convenience of the drive-through,” continued Schmidt, who first talked with HomeTown Bank about being partners at the new location in March 2013.
The two share a portion of the lobby, although sliding glass doors and an entrance on the south end of the building allow Mocha Monkey to remain open even when the bank is closed.
“They really wanted it to feel like a coffee shop in here … there’s free wi-fi, lots of outlets, a community conference room, and we can be open even during non-banking hours,” said Schmidt, who feels that the arrangement between Mocha Monkey and HomeTown Bank has proved to be beneficial for both businesses.
“It’s been great for us to have HomeTown Bank as a partner,” said Schmidt, who opened the new Mocha Monkey location on Christmas Eve 2013. “It’s a great space for both of us. It has great ambiance. We’re able to serve a different area of the community and have the convenience of the drive-through.”
At Mocha Monkey, one will find espresso drinks, coffee, teas, smoothies (coffee and fruit smoothies) along with an assortment of bakery items and treats for breakfast and soups and sandwiches for lunch.
“The quality and consistency of our espresso drinks is what we focus on. It’s really important to us,” said Schmidt, who noted the importance of local connections. “All of our coffee is roasted at Specialty Java, which is located right here in Waconia. It’s fresh and delivered weekly. We use only local, hand roasted fair trade coffee. Our tea is blended by Kris James of Waconia, who runs a local company called Artful Brew.”
The local connection doesn’t stop with the drinks — it’s all over the decor, as well.
According to Schmidt, the store’s wooden shelves hail from a barn that was torn down in Norwood Young America. The red wood on the counter is from a barn that used to stand in Waconia and the framing around the chalkboard menus is from an old dock that used to sit on Lake Waconia.
Burlap cloud decorations on the ceiling are made out of the sacks that carried the coffee beans to Waconia. There’s even a pew along the wall that originally sat in the old chapel at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waconia.
“We’re trying to match the character of the downtown location a little bit,” Schmidt said. “Since we’re going up against a 100-year-old building, we can’t replicate it but we still want it to have some character.”
Mocha Monkey is open from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. The drive-through is open those same hours. Starting at the end of February, the store will close at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday as staff gets accustomed to running two locations.
“Our staff has done a terrific job of figuring out the drive-through,” said Schmidt, who has added about a dozen workers since opening the new location. “They’re providing great quality along with speed. Sometimes there might be a slight wait but the end result is worth it. We haven’t had any real problems so far.”
To learn more, contact (952) 442-0452, visit www.themochamonkey.com, or check out Facebook at facebook.com/themochamonkey.

Contact Todd Moen at todd.moen@ecm-inc.com

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