January 16th Newsletter

Martin's IGA - Newton

“When you love what you do, it’s an inner peace.” - Todd Martin

Many gems of knowledge and life lessons were found on Monday morning at Newton IGA with Todd Martin. Martin’s IGA, a family owned business since 1938, was started by Clyde Martin, a meat cutter by trade, in a very small grocery store again starting with the many times repeated concept of starting small to get big. Todd started with Martin’s IGA at the age of 15 working weekends and holidays. However, his full time status with the company started in 1999. Martin’s IGA believes in focusing on quality, providing good jobs, and giving back to the community. When asked about competition, Todd’s advice was, to never down grade your competition. Visit them and decide what they are doing better than you. Todd’s suggestions about team work and success included surrounding yourself with others who believe in the same ideals and share your goals and success is will be imminent. Have a plan and execute it.

Arndt's in Newton

Arndt’s in Newton has been consecutively owned by a member of the Arndt family during their 102 year tenure in Newton, Illinois. Tony Arndt, current owner, contributes his family’s success and sustainability to their willingness to change and adapt with the times and a driven work ethic. Arndt’s as we know it today, started when Tony’s grandpa at the age of 25 moved from Monticello, IL to capture his dream of being an entrepreneur. The first Arndt’s store however was on the East side of the square in Newton and started out as a grocery store. It moved to its current location in the 1930’s and then became a variety store. Not only has this business expanded its offerings through the years, but it also ventured into several area communities in southeastern Illinois and western Indiana. In the 1980’s a business friend recommended they sell homemade candies in their Arthur, IL store. This started what we now know as the famous Arndt’s Fudgery. This portion of the business started expanding quickly and today they sell over 20 tons of fudge a year! Through the ebb and flow of their business Tony discussed with CEO students how they have adapted and especially how technology has changed every aspect of their business and the concepts they have used to adapt and stay competitive. Tony also discussed with us his management techniques and how he gives his employees freedom to make changes and transform the business by making additions according to what they see as valuable in the marketplace.

Visit our friends on the south side of the square in Newton or on line at You are in for a treat!

Jasper CEO 2015 Class Business

An Outlook on the Future: “How to be Successful in Small Town America”

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 5:30 p.m.

Quail Hollow in Newton

Jasper CEO’s class business is well underway as committees are busily following their timelines and checking off items from their to-do lists. This event targets economic development in small town America with a specific focus on developing Jasper County. Dinner will be served by Thelma Keller Convention Center at the Holiday and the evening will feature three entertaining speakers. Mark Bolander will highlight the past projects and the projected future of Newton and Jasper County. Eric Carr will have his small town business success story about Crooked Creek Antler Art. And last, Craig Lindvahl will discuss what CEO is all about as well as talking about penning his recent book, “Things you wish you knew yesterday and other stuff you’ll need to know tomorrow.” We will also have several economic development resources on hand to speak with one on one, including Ken Larimore, Jasper County Economic Development Educator, JEDI, and Trisha Vitale to visit with interested business owners and community members about TIF and Enterprise Zones.

Anyone interested in attending the event can contact Amy Tarr at no later than January 19th.

At this time we are also looking for table sponsors for our event. If businesses are interested in sponsoring a table or multiple tables, or have any questions about the event, they should contact the Jasper CEO class by emailing Amy Tarr at Table sponsors are priced at $50 per table at a first come first serve basis. The deadline to purchase a table sponsorship is January 19th.

Check out more about our event on our facebook page:

Class Business Event sponsored by: Eagle Country Water Works and Farley Insurance


Class business update from our CEO

Being from a small community with only one High School in the whole county I have known everyone in our class since Freshman year. Because of that I have had the amazing privilege of witnessing the personal and professional growth and change that this class has brought upon us. I am truly thankful for each and every one of them. I’ve said from the beginning this isn’t an ordinary class and we shouldn’t treat it like one. So far I would say we have done a pretty good job of that. Now granted it hasn’t all been roses, we’ve had our fair share of bumps and bruises and sore feelings. Without them though we wouldn’t be who we are today. As the date of our class business approaches, things are becoming more real and finally starting to fall into place. After 12 years of schooling I can’t help but sometimes treat it like another school project. But if we let this fail it is going to be a lot worse than just a bad grade. At the same time if it is a success, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences in our lives. I guess at this point the only thing for certain is uncertainty. Nevertheless I have full faith in my team of entrepreneurs to succeed both in this class and later on in life.-Christopher Pitcher, Class Project CEO

Class Business update from our CFO:

As chief financial officer of our class business, I tend to be the one worrying all the time. What CEO has taught me though, is that you need that person. It’s necessary to point out flaws in our thinking and with my CEO classmates, they’re quick to reassess new solutions after money has been discussed. The power of innovative thinking is utilized daily. There’s been a substantial amount of pressure being the inaugural class for Jasper County and I don’t take lightly the responsibility of aiding the next class. Finance is an odd thing, especially because as young adults, we were somewhat unaware of costs going into the class business. We continue to encounter bumps in the process every day but it is a learning experience I think we are all grateful for. In reality, isn’t that how life is? In real business and life, you cannot always account for every problem that may arise; constant adaptation is key to success. One of our first business visits mentioned that you could not plan your future finances based off the most profitable times. Currently, this frame of mind has served our financial plan beyond efficiently, but it’s a learning process. We are a determined group of young adults, gaining knowledge as we encounter roadblocks but it’s been one of the best experiences.

Kristen Frohning, Chief Financial Officer


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The manner in which the CEO program is funded is critical to its success and sustainability. All funds raised are used exclusively for the Jasper County CEO program. To participate, a 3-year $1000 per year commitment is required. Business Partner Investors commitments of time and energy are also critical to the program's success. Contributions may be tax deductible, as our organization is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization.

When we are not touring local businesses, we need a place to host the class. During that time, the 0 CEO students and their Facilitator would meet at your site where they would also have guest speakers and guests from the community attend. Hosting requires a facility with internet access and adequately accommodates up to 5 people.

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