Minnetonka-based AmeriPride Services, one of the largest uniform rental and linen supply companies on the continent, is another Minnesota firm cleaning up on the messy North Dakota oil boom.

“Our business is experiencing accelerated growth in the oil and gas industry in North Dakota, Texas and Canada and this sector is our greatest area of growth for the company,” said spokesman Ben Saukko. “We supply the industry with flame-resistant work apparel that is designed for continuous wear in areas where intermittent exposure to flame or heat is possible.”

There also is a nice growth trend in the staple industries of hospitality, auto and health care, said Saukko, who declined to disclose AmeriPride sales.

AmeriPride, which employs 750 in Minnesota and 5,600 nationally, has increased local employment by about 40 so far this year.

The company, founded as American Linen in 1889, recently expanded a Bismarck production facility and a Minot service center. AmeriPride has 45 production facilities in the United States and Canada. The company was founded by George and Frank Steiner in 1889 and is still owned by the Steiner family.

Cleveland SELLS MOST OF HIS Proto Labs stock

CEO Brad Cleveland of Proto Labs, who plans to retire to his next quest in 2014, said in late October he would remain a long-term shareholder of the computerized parts maker he has headed for 12 years.

He just didn’t say at the time how much of a stake he planned to leave in the company.

Now, we have a better idea. From Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, Cleveland sold 280,947 shares at between $79 and $87.34 per share for about $23.4 million, according to government filings.

That’s on top of the roughly $50 million he has sold since Proto Labs went public in early 2012.

Cleveland’s ownership is down to about 64,235 shares, worth about $5.5 million.

“Proto Labs is doing well and will continue to do very well,” Cleveland said in an e-mail response to my recent inquiry. “I’m just conservative.” Proto Labs stock has held up despite the heavy insider sales. It closed at $85. 61 per share on Friday. It has ranged from $31.16 per share to $89.97 this year.

Katie Kimball’s flying business

Trapeze artist and entrepreneur Katie Kimball received the Start-up Business award for her fledgling Twin Cities Trapeze Center, at WomenVenture’s 18th annual “Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained” awards banquet earlier this month.

Kimball had a perfect credit history and a solid business plan, but couldn’t get a bank loan, according to nonprofit WomenVenture, which helps aspiring business owners with business plans, professional development and small loans. She considered using credit cards to get the St. Paul business off the ground, but wasn’t ready to rack up the high-interest debt. Kimball was directed by friends and a sympathetic but wary banker to WomenVenture, which made a small loan. The agency tries to help small businesses get to the point where they qualify for bank credit.

Tina North and her Moss Envy retail store in Minneapolis won the Expanding Business award.

Madi Lommen, 17-year-old owner of Madibanani Bread Company, received the One to Watch award. Madi sold her popular banana bread to raise money for a school trip to Thailand. Her group encountered an orphanage project that was $10,000 short of completion. Madi and friends, with the help of WomenVenture advice and a small loan, has raised the $10,000 and more.


• CEO Chuck Runyon of Anytime Fitness was honored recently by Chief Executive magazine for leadership in the inaugural “midmarket” award category for companies of up to $1 billion in revenue. He was chosen from among nearly 200,000 executives. Chief Executive was impressed with Anytime’s growth and philosophy, known as “Return on Emotional Investment.” Runyon said Anytime seeks to help people, “whether employees or gym members become better people.”

• After five years, Colle & McVoy CEO and President Christine Fruechte has relinquished her presidency to Jim Silburn, a senior marketing and branding pro who joined Colle & McVoy last year. CEO Fruechte will continue to seek new business for a growth agency that employs 240 people. Silburn, who has worked for Fallon, Martin Williams and Carmichael Lynch, will continue to oversee Colle & McVoy strategic, digital, analytics, media and account management functions.

• Leonard, Street and Deinard this month celebrated the 20th anniversary of its free legal clinic at the University of Minnesota’s Community-University Health Care Center. Since 1993, Leonard, Street employees have volunteered 102,229 hours, or $21 million worth of legal services, for 2,400 needy people. Firm lawyer Eric Paulsrud, who died at 53 in October, was a tireless volunteer at the clinic and would be pleased with its ongoing commitment to the indigent. The firm last week awarded a $20,000 gift to the health clinic to fund a pilot program to improve children’s health.


Staff writers David Phelps and Patrick Kennedy contributed to this report.