Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dream Vacations, LLC


Are you dreaming of a “dream vacation“?  Do you dread the thought of spending 17 hours online searching all the major travel sites to find the perfect trip at the least expensive price?  Do you hate it when you find a “good deal” and you try to book it and the price is no longer available?

Dream Vacations to the Rescue!

Stephanie Homann has been the owner of Dream Vacations, LLC since January, 2007.   In 2006, she wanted to have the flexibility to set her own hours and be available to her family.  She took her passion for planning, organizing, and traveling and started her own agency!

Dream Vacations is a full service travel agency with a focus on leisure travel, but she does have a few corporate accounts.  Stephanie saves her clients money, time,  and the hassle of researching travel by using her experience and knowledge to plan and book great vacations, business trips and miscellaneous travel.

The Travel Agency that Comes to Your Door

Stephanie will go to her client’s homes, offices, or out for coffee to help them plan their vacation in the most stress free way.  She is available 24/7 to help with issues during travel and provides many extras like personalized travel documents in a wallet with luggage tags and much more!

Stephanie’s three keys to success:

1.     Treat her customers the way she would like to be treated.
2.    Be honest with all of her clients.
3.    Follow through with my all her commitments and business obligations.

You may contact Stephanie Homann via:

Email:  dreamvacations@bloomer.net
Phone:  715-568-5927
Website:  www.DreamVacationsTravel.net
RelyLocal: www.relylocal.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com
LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com
Twitter:  http://twitter.com

Dream Vacations specializes in “Making Your Vacation Dreams Come True”!

Article written by Shelly Cedarblade.  You can reach Shelly at 715-577-8745 or shellycedarblade@relylocal.com if you would like your business featured in the RelyLocal Word-of-Mouse Blog.

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RelyLocal Community Campaign Revealed


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com
This blog entry introduces a feature I will present over the next few days to reveal information about a RelyLocal Community Campaign we are working on. A Community Campaign is something RelyLocal does which matches a locally owned business with a charitable organization or non-profit agency.

About a month ago, I learned of an organization called “Kids Come First.” I took the opportunity to  interview the two individuals who have spearheaded the creation of this charitable organization – (Andrew Calkins and Jennifer Dahl.)  In an effort to collect used clothing for families in need (especially children’s clothing and outerwear), Andrew and Jennifer placed their request on Eau Claire Freecycle  (Eau Claire Freecycle is a Yahoo Forum) indicating they were available to pick up used clothing that people had to donate in which could benefit other families.

Andrew and Jennifer’s request on Freecycle created an influx of people who were in the giving spirit, and they found themselves running around at various times during the day to pick up clothing and other items  being given away by those on FreeCycle. When I met Andrew, I suggested pairing their effort up with locally owned businesses who could serve as Drop Off donation points to collect the donations.

Over the next few days I would like to feature more information on “Kids Come First” as an organization as well as the local businesses who have agreed to help by becoming a drop off points for donations.

Today, I would like to feature Pam Kelly, owner of Pam’s Quick Wash & Dry Cleaning in Chippewa Falls. We pick up the story from Jennifer Dahl who administrates “Kids Come First.”

According to Jennifer…
“I ended up meeting Pam through a process where I had an envision of starting up a Children’s Charity to supply winter apparel to kids who are not fortunate enough to have the items they so desperately need in our Wisconsin weather.  When Craig Campana of RelyLocal learned of my Charity, ‘Kids Come First,’ he generously got involved and helped to spread the word, FAST!!  Donations began to pour in for the Charity and we were unable to keep up with washing and drying all of the donations in our home washer and dryer.  My boyfriend, Andrew Calkins, spoke with Pam at her local Quick Wash about donating the wash and dry time we needed to wash and dry all of the items we were receiving.  Pam didn’t even hesitate!  We’ve utilized her services several times over the past couple of months and every time we enter her facility, she hands us a big cup full of quarters to start with and empties quarters out of machines to supply us with more if we run out.  She’s always cheerful, upbeat and more than willing to go the extra mile to help us out.

Pam has also stepped up by allowing us to utilize her facility as a drop off point for donations.  We cannot thank Pam enough for her generosity and what she is contributing to the community.

If you have used clothing to drop off in the Chippewa Falls area, please stop at Pam’s Quick Wash & Dry Cleaning located at 17 W. Willow St.  and drop the items in the donation box.  Pam’s business is open 24 hours with Wi-Fi availability.  Attended hours are from 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Friday.  She offers free coffee during attended hours and has a “10th Wash Free” program.  I encourage you to stop in and utilize her service as she’s such a wonderful person/local business owner with great services to offer.  Feel free to call Pam  with any questions regarding her company at: (715) 723-0582.”

13 Hot Tips for Effective PR


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

The value of Public Relations or PR is tremendous with regard to gaining recognition and visibility in the community. RelyLocal serves as a community advocate for our clients by generating Word-of-Mouse marketing through PR. Our clients signal to us when these activities occur in their business and we respond by generating press releases that are circulated in the local media to gain recognition for our client’s business.

Following are 13 reasons companies should consider engaging with the media. How many of these apply to your business? Let RelyLocal help your company gain the recognition it deserves through PR.

Reasons for generating press releases making the following announcements:
 Changes made in your company’s physical location or company expansion
 Opening of a new division, or announcing the release of a new product or service
 Promoting the opening of a new website
 New newsletters or blogs being developed
 Adding of new staff members, or announcing recent promotions of existing staff members.
(Adding a photo of a new staff member and noting their previous employer can connect your company to your new staff member’s former clients, colleagues or co-workers.)
 Continuing Education workshops attended or Re-certification of company staff members
 Tradeshows you have attended, or are exhibiting in
 Presentations or workshops you are offering
 Significant Anniversaries, Special Events, Open Houses, or Client Appreciation Days
your company is featuring or inviting people to
 Awards and honors your company has received
 Affiliations or membership organizations your company has joined
 Announcements of significant contracts acquired
 Noting trends affecting your industry that may be worthy of a full scale article

Do you know of locally owned companies that need assistance in generating effective
PR for their company?

A good referral we are seeking is a locally-owned company that has one or more of these reasons for creating press releases. RelyLocal – Chippewa Valley would like to put a plan in action for them to get the recognition they deserve in the media.

What is Word-of-Mouse?


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

I have received inquiries from individuals who like the concept, but trying to understand the concept of word-of-mouse. Numerous individuals thought I had mis-spelled the word “mouse” for the word “mouth.” Then I would explain the concept that defines word-of-mouse. The term was coined many years ago, and just recently hit the mainstream as a way to attain considerable traction among social mediums.

In this excerpt from www.wisegeek.com the term is better explained:

“Word of mouse is an electronic version of the time-tested idea of word of mouth. Numerous advertisers have jumped on the word of mouse bandwagon, using a variety of innovative techniques to get their message out to consumers, and businesses all over the world rely on word of mouse to promote good reputations. As electronic media grew in importance in the late 1990s, word of mouse became a new holy grail of marketing, with a host of books, articles, and commentaries on getting good word of mouse.

In the rise of the electronic era, the concept of word of mouth began to be translated into a new medium, and the idea of “word of mouse” started to arise. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of electronic communications, word of mouse can spread very rapidly, and numerous forums have enabled the transmission of ideas in an increasing number of ways. Word of mouse can be passed along from person to person in the form of electronic mail, but it can also manifest in a number of other locations.

Word of mouse can be built up on review sites, which allow users to post reviews and commentary on businesses, and it can also be generated on forums, chatrooms, and social networking sites. Social networking sites are regarded by many advertisers as a very fruitful arena for generating word of mouse, with many advertisers creating profiles on such sites and engaging with the community to build up word of mouse.”

So, including this excerpt, I am hoping my readers will better understand the concept of word-of-mouse as I share my interviews with local business owners using word-of-mouse, that can be shared with others electronically.

A Community to be Proud Of!


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Entry Date: August 14, 2010

This Saturday was an amazing day of fun community events. We had multiple things to do (PureWater Days in Chippewa Falls, SummerFest and Chalkfest in Eau Claire, Strongman Competition and Chippewa Valley Chase both in Eau Claire.)

Of course my son and I started our Saturday is the usual fashion – heading to Farmer’s Market, both to pick up fresh, locally grown vegetables, and also to connect with the friends that we meet at the market.

Knowing my son would not have the energy to handle all the activities, he stayed home while I took in Summerfest and Chalk Fest.

What a sense of satisfaction and pride I had as I saw the throngs of people who turned out for both events. We live in an area of great beauty, as well as an abundance of activities and events for all. I am very proud of all we have to offer here in the Chippewa Valley, and thoroughly enjoy being in a capacity to promote it and its local business longevity.

I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took at the events that I attended.

http://www.relylocal.com/wisconsin/eauclaire/

 

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Technology – Can’t Live With It – Cannot Live Without It


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Entry Date: August 14, 2010

I’m glad that for the most part we survived the hot days of summer last week, however my computer didn’t fare very well with the storms that came through the area Wednesday and Thursday. When I was all set to publish my blog entries for August 14, I found that the settings on my computer were all messed up. Unable to post to the original blog site, I created a new blog site with a better title (which several have commented on.)

After taking it easy on Saturday, August 14 with the many community events going on, I am trying to catch up on my blog. I am a bit behind now, but will reveal more business features over the next few days.

I am also continuing in my blog interviews this week to bring you information on some unique businesses that rely on local business.

As you read my entries, feel free to comment as you see fit. The feedback is appreciated. If you see my Silver minivan on the street with the RelyLocal logos on it, be sure to wave, and be sure to visit my website to see what new members are participating to generate business locally.

http://www.relylocal.com/wisconsin/eauclaire/

Business Owner Feature – John Effertz, ATS Service Center


By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Entry Date: August 13, 2010

I am pleased to feature John Effertz, owner of ATS Service Center as my first featured business for this blog. I had the opportunity to meet with John several times this week, both as a consumer and as a blog author.

I started my week this week by taking my minivan in for an oil change at ATS. This was the first time I had my van serviced at John’s new facility, so I was curious about the events that led up to John moving into his new facility, so I asked John to fill me in on a bit of his career path and what led to the move.

John started his career with 2 years at WITC Tech school in Rice Lake. Following graduation in 1986 his first job was working as a mechanic for a service shop in Minnesota. From there he moved to a Dodge/Oldsmobile dealership and worked 2 years there. In 1991 he moved to the Chippewa Valley. He was really drawn to the area by the vast opportunities available here, the small town feel, and friendly people. He enjoyed doing the many activities available in the area, but also felt an asset to moving here was the amount of medical resources available locally.

After his move here, he worked at the Ford dealership for 15 years. In 2003 the entrepreneur in John was revealed when he decided to open ATS Service Center. His location on East Clairemont started as a 3 bay shop. Eventually John had the opportunity to acquire 5 additional bays at a garage next to his service center had gone out of business.

John’s goals in starting his business were to help people keep their vehicles running properly, and to offer the most cost-effective way to provide durability in his auto repairs. He hoped that the customers would find value in his service and come back for other services again and again, which they did! His business grew very well, however he began to outgrow the location, and the parking lot for waiting vehicles, so he began looking into expanding his operation by building a service center on the west side of Eau Claire.

He and his 7 staff members were excited to open their new facility in February 2010. ATS now offers 8 service bays, with a comfortable customer lounge featuring a kids zone to keep children occupied. John features a beverage bar for patrons to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, chai teas, flavored water, and even has free wireless, so customers can bring their laptops and work while they wait.

For those who cannot wait for their auto repairs, ATS provides a courtesy shuttle that will take the customer to work or home until the repair is completed and pick them up again to return. Having utilized that service several times, I found John’s shuttle drivers to be very friendly and they seem to really enjoy providing the great customer service they do!

ATS just employed a new service that provides an email follow-up reminder system, that will send out a notice (email and text)to customers to remind them of their upcoming appointment with ATS. Another feature of this system gives patrons and opportunity to provide an evaluation of their ATS experience.

Several endorsements John shared with me from recent customers sum up the service that John provides to the Chippewa Valley communities.

“ATS provided excellent customer service, quality repairs done on time. ATS, a superb experience – they took the stress out of car repair. We will definitely use them for all our future auto repair needs.”

“Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Very neat and clean waiting room. Prices are competitive and fair.”

When I asked John if he has accomplished the goals he set out for in creating a great auto servicing experience, he indicated he has a great deal of pride that his goals have been achieved.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit ATS for your auto servicing, consider John’s fair, honest and dependable service, and stop in to see what they can do for you.

Check out his website at: http://www.atsservicecenter.com and his link on RelyLocal: http://www.relylocal.com/wisconsin/eauclaire/ats-service-center