Friday, December 20, 2013

SMU business students announce record semester in Cardinal Corner sales

Members of "Team Hats" including Michael Burfeind, Ron Enrooth, Jakub Koziuk, Jen Tobroxen and Jamal Arnold describe the results of selling stocking hats as pat of an entrepreneurship class project.
WINONA, Minn. — It was a real-life lesson in profit margins as well as the spending habits of target consumers … fellow college students.

On Dec. 11, entrepreneurship students from Saint Mary’s University summarized the incomes and expenditures of their semester projects. These students, broken into smaller groups, had chosen five new products to sell at the Cardinal Corner, a small not-for-profit retail shop located in the basement of the university’s Toner Student Center. The students chose to sell a vintage-style Saint Mary’s College shirt, stress footballs, stocking hats, tote bags and cancer awareness shirts.

Their goal was simple: Make money.

This semester, the cohort not only broke even on their inventory investment of $2,000, but Michael Ratajczyk, assistant professor of business, also announced that this semester’s cohort also broke records in both revenue generated and profit margin from their products. The Cardinal Corner brought in over $2,300 in revenue and had a profit margin over 40 percent, breaking records by over $1,000 and 800 basis points of margin.

The team that won the Inventory Turns performance was “Team Hats,” which sold a red, black, and white stocking cap. Their “turns” score was 10.4, which means that the hats would sell out 10 times per year. Team members include: Michael Burfeind, Ron Enrooth, Jakub Koziuk, Jen Tobroxen and Jamal Arnold.

The team that won the GMROI performance was “Team Shoot Pass Cure Shirts,” which sold a pink shirt that brings awareness to breast cancer. Their GMROI score was 0.43, which means that for every $1 of cash invested in inventory, the team not only earned back that dollar, but also earned an additional 43 cents. Team members include: Sarah Mills, Lucas Kubic, Otto Holzer, Cody Sprague and Tyler Krysiak.

“I am very pleased with the results of this semester and I am proud of the students.  They worked hard,” Ratajczyk said. “The students learned firsthand how difficult it can be to start a business and break even. They not only broke even, but did so by breaking sales and profit records with style.”

Jennifer Tobroxen of “Team Hats” added, “It was a great hands-on experience in learning about what types of target markets buy what kinds of products. I enjoyed the opportunities that the Cardinal Corner gave me as a business major.”

Funds from this semester will be donated to the First-Generation Initiative at Saint Mary’s.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saint Mary’s Gifts for Winona grateful for Winona’s generosity

One gift recipient took the time to firmly embrace the hands of every volunteer in the room.

Another exclaimed, “God bless you all for all that you do,” as she was handed her bag of packages.

The “thank-you”s from this year’s Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona distributions were plentiful and heartfelt.

Yet, the many generous supporters of this community gift-giving program never see the excited children, never hear these “thank-you”s and never receive these handshakes. These are our program’s true heroes.

In the words of Pope Francis, “The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need …”

Because of the generosity that flows through this town, Saint Mary’s University’s Gifts for Winona program – now in its 12th year — is able to fulfill the wish lists of hundreds of children and seniors.

This year the program helped each of the 1,550 individuals and families who registered, and we couldn’t have done it without you. Because of you, everyone received specially wrapped packages, but also the knowledge that someone truly cares.

As we count our blessings for the past and upcoming years, we should also remember those less fortunate whose material blessings are a little harder to come by this year. We hope and pray that 2014 will have many wonderful things in store for these families.

The Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona volunteers extend an extra special thanks to all of you, including:

• the program’s additional partners, Winona Radio, the Winona Post, and Winona Volunteer Services;
• the many Saint Mary’s shoppers, wrappers, data-entry volunteers, sorters and organizers, including many students, who put in long hours without complaint;
• the many sponsoring businesses, schools, churches and organizations who helped groups of 10 or more;
• Fleet Farm, Walmart and Cars & Credit for their generous donations;
• the Hiawatha Valley Marines for donating hundreds of new toys
• the Winona Mall for allowing us to use their space for one of the gift distributions;
• every individual who took a tag off a tree or donated money;
• the Winona Public Library, Walmart, the three Severson-Sinclair stations, the Winona Post and Security State Bank for sponsoring giving trees;
• referral agencies who provided support;
• Maurice’s for gift boxes and Fleet Farm for giant bags
• Frances Passe at the Resource Center in St. Charles for helping to distribute gifts;
• and the area media for helping spread the word about this program.

We continue to be very blessed to be part of such a caring community.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Conservatory to host open house Jan. 8; winter catalog now available

WINONA, Minn. — On Wednesday, Jan. 8, from 4 to 6 p.m., the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts will conduct its winter 2014 registration open house.

Here are five great reasons to attend:

•    It’s a great opportunity to visit the facility, tour the studios and classrooms, and meet the talented instructors and staff.
•    The dance attire boutique will be open, and staff will be fitting students and taking orders for all of the dance classes.
•    Visitors can learn more about programming, including some great new opportunities.
•    Guests can learn more about hands-on volunteer opportunities.

Additionally, the new winter semester 2014 catalog is now available. Classes run from Jan. 13 through March 29. New programming is offered, and registrations are now being accepted. Some offerings include:

•    Teen and Adult Ballet, taught by director of dance Tammy Schmidt this semester.
•    New Art Division classes including Drawing 102 for Children and Drawing 101 for Adult Workshops.
•    Dance programming in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Tap with new course divisions.
•    Private music lessons with talented teaching artists.
•    New adult wellness class discounts and packages.
•    Advanced training for those serious about dance with an additional Ballet V/VI/VII class.
•    New adult wellness classes include Mindfulness, Introduction to Guitar, Teen and Adult Tap, and Belly Dancing for Beginners!

Interested students may registration online, by mail, or in person at MCA’s Valéncia Arts Center.

Class days, times and tuition vary. Financial need-based scholarships are available. For a brochure and a complete listing, visit, e-mail, “like” them on Facebook, or call 453-5500.

The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts offers programming in Dance, Music, Visual Art, and Theatre, year-round. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for ages 3 to adult at the Valéncia Arts Center located at 1164 West 10th Street, Winona.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Saint Mary’s music professors travel to Cuba for week of study

WINONA, Minn. — The former and current directors of jazz studies at Saint Mary’s University will travel to Havana, Cuba, along with a delegation of musicians, composers and educators to interact with the contemporary Cuban music scene.

Dr. John Paulson, professor emeritus, and A. Eric Heukeshoven, assistant professor of music, will join a group sponsored by the American Composers Forum from Dec.15-22 for a one-week research program to Cuba. The trip marks the first time a group of this type will be allowed to study with renowned Cuban musicians. Of special interest to the two SMU professors will be full access to the Havana International Jazz Festival.

During the intensive weeklong visit, the delegates will attend concerts, workshops, open rehearsals, and networking events, as well as tour Havana, enjoying its rich cultural history.

For more information, contact A. Eric Heukeshoven at (507) 457-7292 or

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Saint Mary’s Gifts for Winona due Thursday, Dec. 12

WINONA, Minn. — The deadline is fast approaching to return gifts to the Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona giving trees. Because the community distribution is early, gifts MUST be returned to giving trees by Thursday, Dec. 12!

Those individuals who have already taken tags should return their packages (with tags securely fastened) to the location where they got the tag. Trees are located at the Winona Public Library, the three Severson-Sinclair locations, the Winona Post, Walmart and Security State Bank in Lewiston. Donors are asked to spend about $35 per person. Grocery card trees are also located at HyVee and Midtown Foods.

If you got a tag from a church or different organization, please check your tag for the date (and location) your gifts are to be returned.

To ensure that the large number of gifts may be properly sorted and recorded, meeting the deadline is a priority.

Tax-deductible contributions can also be made out to Saint Mary’s University Gifts for Winona and sent to 700 Terrace Heights #8, Winona, Minn., 55987. These funds are used for remaining tags or last-minute gifts. Donations can also be made online at

Families who have applied for Gifts for Winona should check their mailboxes for instructions on where and how to pick up their gifts.

Several community partners including the Winona Post, Winona Radio and Winona Volunteer Services join Saint Mary’s University in helping to make this program a success.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Saint Mary’s listed in national ‘Best Colleges for Veterans’

WINONA, Minn. — According to a recent report, Saint Mary’s University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Colleges for Veterans.” This listing includes the top-ranked schools in the overall Best Colleges rankings that participate in federal initiatives to help veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees.

The new rankings provide data and information on schools that offer federal benefits, including tuition and housing assistance, to veterans and active service members.

Saint Mary’s was ranked No. 44 for veterans in the “National Universities” category – and was the only Minnesota college in that category to be ranked as a “Best College for Veterans.” In total, there were 234 ranked schools across all U.S. News ranking categories: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities and Regional Colleges.

All of the Best Colleges for Veterans scored well in terms of graduation rate, faculty resources, reputation and other markers of academic quality in the 2014 edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges. To qualify for the new rankings, the schools had to be certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program and Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium.

For more information, go to