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BIZ BUZZ: New owner for Halvorson-Johnson

iBeach Tan, a 24-hour tanning salon, opened recently in the East Brainerd Mall.

Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home in Brainerd has a new owner in Tim Taylor. 

Taylor said the ownership change has been a whirlwind but good experience. Taylor is keeping the funeral home’s name and will work as a funeral director with Casey Swantek and Jay Simon. 

Taylor is director/owner of Methven-Taylor Funeral Home, with operations in Anoka, Blaine, Columbia Heights, New Brighton and northeast Minneapolis with his business partner Peter Methven.

Halvorson-Johnson Funeral Home is Taylor’s first sole ownership operation. Taylor said he’s been a licensed funeral director since 1991. 

Becky Eggleston, Eggsact Tax, Brainerd, purchased the H&R Block tax business at 516 N.W. Sixth Street in Brainerd and the Aitkin office, 308 First Ave. N.W. 

Eggleston has about 20-25 employees. She was a district manager for H&R Block and has been a tax professional and office manager. Eggleston said all her tax professionals have at least three years of experience. 

iBeach Tan, a 24-hour tanning salon, opened recently in the East Brainerd Mall. 

The franchise is owned by Karl and Mindy Schultz of Osakis and managed by their daughter, Jessica Simon. In addition, the business has two part-time employees. 

This is the first iBeach franchise for the family. Karl Schultz said the business is staffed during the day and open 24 hours seven days a week using biometric technology, basically fingerprint technology for access.  

Schultz said they put in a high technology security system for clients extending from the salon beds to the parking area.  iBeach Tan is open to members any time of day or night with a “touch and tan kiosk” system designed to allow members to access their tanning packages whether the staff is present or not. The system also “monitors and limits the exposure times of each individual to ensure they are tanning appropriately,” the company reported. The iBeach Tan in Brainerd has eight tanning beds and has 12 rooms in all to allow room for expansion.  

Schultz said the franchise already has more than 50 members since opening.  Founded in 2009, iBeach  reports it expects rapid growth as a low cost alternative for franchising, making it attractive for ownership. The franchises are independently owned and operated. 

JT Industries, a high precision machining operation in Pine River, is working with the Cass County Economic Development Corp. regarding a $55,000 project to purchase equipment and complete a renovation. The business is owned by Jason Trout. The EDC reports the business expects to add three employees and financing came from Pine River State Bank and the North Central Economic Development Association. 

Ah-Gwah-Ching, the former state regional treatment center near Walker, came to life in 1907 as a care center for tuberculosis patients before it became a psychiatric nursing home in the early in 1962. The center treated nearly 14,000 people for TB. Ah-Gwah-Ching is Ojibwe for out-of-doors. 

Minnesota Public Radio did a story on the history of Ah-Gwah-Ching a few years ago, noting when it first opened it was called the Minnesota Sanitorium for Consumptives. The center had its own post office, railroad depot, farm and dairy herd, newspaper called The Pine Knot and a large Great Depression era Works Progress Administration art collection. It was on the National Register of Historic Places with architecture of colonial, Tudor and Spanish colonial revival styles in its construction with some of its 16 buildings designed by noted Minnesota architect Clarence H. Johnston Sr.

More recently, work went into finding a new use for the center after the state closed the regional treatment facility. In 2006, the Cass County Health Task Force worked with state, county and local officials to turn the Ah-Gwah-Ching long-term care facility into an integrated medical campus that would include a 25-bed critical access hospital. 

Now, the Cass County EDC reports Sanford Health, Fargo, N.D. and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, sent letters of interest to expand clinics on the campus, such as an ambulatory center, procedure room and home health care services and a possible drug and alcohol treatment facility or related health wellness center. 

Presenting Yourself, a networking event sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Area Women’s Fund is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes in Baxter. 

Vibe Hypnosis, Jennifer Mergen’s company, moved to Minneapolis Warehouse District recently. But Mergen is retaining a Brainerd office one to two days a week. Mergen reported much of her focus recently has been on corporate hypnosis with topics of confidence in cold calling, time management, stress or pain management, attracting success and abundance. 

A public hearing is planned at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Pequot Lakes Planning and Zoning Commission for a conditional use application for an animal shelter, office space and assembly and packaging facility application by Donald Babinski. 

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at or 855-5852.