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Learn what's Made in Central Wisconsin: Our View

Section offers a closer look at the firms that make up our economy.

2:49 PM, Sep. 24, 2013  |  Comments
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We all know we have an incredible diversity of businesses in our region. We drive past them every day - the consumer business that we might drop into, like a retail shop, as well as those office buildings or factories that we might not know exactly what is happening within. How much do we really know about these firms and the entrepreneurs and workers who make them go?

One of the great things about Gannett Central Wisconsin Media's annual "Made in Central Wisconsin" special section is that it peels back some of those layers. Included with Wednesday's print edition, the large, color section is a window into dozens of businesses that make our region special. We've tried to feature businesses that have not been in a "Made" section before, and this year we've written the stories in a question-and-answer format that allows you to get a sense of the business owners' own voices and how they see what they do.

You'll want to see for yourself, but these are just a few highlights:

? Wolfcraft Furniture of Unity was started by three brothers who knew woodworking and wanted to craft quality products. Today the company "produces heirloom-quality funiture and strive(s) to make it affordable," said co-owner Chris Wolf, whose father was one of the original owners. "We use common sense in manufacturing to keep prices low."

? The WoodTrust Bank serving the Wisconsin Rapids area has been operating for more than 121 years, through more ups and downs in the economy than most of us can count.

? The Central Rivers Farmshed in Stevens Point is a leader in the local food movement in the region. The nonprofit works to educate, inspire and connect people to locally grown food. "The reason I was so drawn in is because of the people in the organization," said executive director Layne Cozzolino.

? You may never have heard about Rudolph's Bank-A-Count, a firm that provides checks, payment coupons and related paper goods to banks - like the checks we use. But its clients are spread across the country, and there's a chance that they printed one of yours, complete with secure codes and variable data.

? We've got to look good while we cheer our teams on to victory, and John Miner of Victory Apparel in Marshfield helps us get there. The shop specializes in NCAA and high school gear - sweatshirts, T-shirts and gym bags that help us show school spirit. "There are lots of groups that do fundraisers. ... We provide the apparel (and) then they raise money for those items," Miner said.

? The Land O'Lakes factory in Spencer employs 350 to help produce dairy products consumed all over Wisconsin and the world. The factory, which has been in place since 1963, makes cheese and cheese powders rather than the iconic butter, but it does so on a precise, finely honed schedule.

Go ahead, have some central Wisconsin pride, and appreciate all the ingenuity and hard work that it takes to make any business succeed. We have a lot of them, made here in central Wisconsin.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports