Wait, we're not finished yet. Last week, the Business Record presented the winners in four categories of the 13th annual Best of Des Moines competition. That leaves three categories and 35 winners for this week. You'll find that several of the victories went to Wells Fargo & Co., making Senior Executive Vice President Mark Oman a natural choice for this week's cover.



Getting the Job Done

These organizations start with the widely respected Iowa work ethic, then go a bit further.



Closing the Deal

Of course you're offering a great business arrangement - but it wouldn't hurt to add some good will.



Living Here

And finally, these are the best places to recharge your batteries so you can do it all again tomorrow.



BEST VIDEO PRODUCTION COMPANY

Screenscape Studios




When the nation turns its attention to the Iowa caucuses, it's good for lots of local businesses, and the list definitely includes Screenscape Studios. "Over the last year, we've done a very extensive amount of political work," said company partner Todd Hyde.

"We designed a set that was the background for national TV shots and handled technical considerations for caucus evening for both parties," Hyde said. "Along with that, we worked with most of the campaigns and did quite a few uplinks for people who were here with (television networks) Fox, CNBC, CNN, etc."

Brad Morford, Tony Dock and Hyde started Screenscape in 1987 and now work with 22 full-time employees plus many freelancers - "50 or so," by Hyde's estimate.



Runners-up: Pratt Audio-Visual & Video Corp.; Applied Art & Technology



BEST LARGE COMPANY WITH THE MOST PROMISING FUTURE

Wells Fargo & Co.




In the midst of a weak economy and a tumultuous financial services industry, Wells Fargo & Co. reported a 16 percent increase in revenues last quarter and bumped up its common stock dividend by 10 percent. There's no doubt among Business Record readers that Wells Fargo is the best large company with the most promising future.

"Obviously, we're all proud of Wells Fargo," said Mark Oman, senior executive vice president of the company's Home and Consumer Finance Group. "It's a great company to work for. We have a great team, and really, our growth here has been a function of a lot of hard work by a lot of team members for a lot of years. It's great recognition, and it's great recognition for the team."

Wells Fargo reported record second-quarter revenues of $11.5 billion, earnings per share of 53 cents and a dividend of 34 cents per share. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, based in West Des Moines, reported a record mortgage servicing portfolio of $1.55 trillion, up 7 percent from second-quarter 2007. Oman said the results reflected Wells Fargo's long-term commitment to responsible lending and responsible servicing principles.

With more than 80 consumer and commercial businesses, the diversified financial services company is well positioned to continue to grow through adverse times and become even stronger.

"Our vision is about helping our customers succeed financially, and if we do that, we'll be successful as an organization," Oman said. The company cross-sells, on average, 5.6 financial service products per household and 7.7 products per commercial banking customer, with a strategic initiative to increase that number to eight products per household and business customer.

"We know that the more customers work with us, the more value we can bring them," Oman said. "It works well for our customers and it works well for us."



Runners-up: Principal Financial Group Inc.; Iowa Health - Des Moines





BEST CORPORATE FINANCIAL SERVICES

Wells Fargo & Co.



Wells Fargo & Co. offers a combination of financial strength and a broad product line to its corporate customers, but also uses a local team approach to build close relationships with its business clients.

Wells Fargo claims to be the first financial services company to introduce an Internet-based check-imaging service that enables its customers to deposit checks from their desktops.

"Our company continues to innovate so that our corporate customers have the tools they need to manage their finances," said Tim Billerbeck, regional vice president of commercial banking for Wells Fargo in Iowa. "We focus on developing relationships with our customers and making sure we are there every step of the way to help them achieve financial success."

Wells Fargo serves middle-market and large corporate businesses with traditional and asset-based lending, treasury management, equipment leasing, asset management, insurance brokerage, risk management and real estate services. It also offers services such as retirement plans and 401(k) plan administration.

Wells Fargo Bank N.A. is the only bank in the United States, and one of only two banks worldwide, to have the highest possible credit ratings from both Moody's Investors Service, "Aaa," and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, "AAA."



Runners-up: Principal Financial Group Inc.; Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp.



BEST COMPANY WORK FORCE

Wells Fargo & Co.




Wells Fargo & Co. is Greater Des Moines' largest private employer, and Business Record readers have decided the financial services company's 12,900 Iowa employees - the majority of whom live and work in Greater Des Moines - are the best work force as well.

"They really care for the customers, and they care for the community," said Mark Oman, senior executive vice president for the company's Home and Consumer Finance Group based in West Des Moines. "Our Wells Fargo team members give a lot back to the community by serving on a lot of boards and volunteer activities. It's important to us to be really connected with the communities we're involved in, and certainly we're heavily involved here in Des Moines. It's been a great place to do business."

Wells Fargo's Iowa employees personally contributed more than 91,000 volunteer hours to local charitable organizations last year. In addition to those contributions, the corporation donated more than $4.5 million to Iowa charities in 2007.

Collectively, Wells Fargo employees occupy more than 4 million square feet of office space in Greater Des Moines and generate an annual payroll of more than $650 million.



Runners-up: Iowa Health - Des Moines; Principal Financial Group Inc.



BEST ADVERTISING AGENCY

Flynn Wright Inc.




The nation's economy has been questionable all year, but at Flynn Wright Inc., "it's a very good year for us, as a matter of fact," said Andy Flynn, the agency's president and CEO. "Normally when the economy is softer, it's reflected in marketing budgets, so the challenge for us is to take the precious marketing resources of our clients and stretch them in the most efficient, effective way we can."

There is another angle to consider, however. Although "marketing dollars are one of the first things companies cut back on, we do have clients who seize on this and gain exposure for themselves," Flynn said. In other words, if your competitors cut back, your company's message might get more notice.

Flynn Wright ranks as the top advertising agency in Greater Des Moines in terms of billings, according to the Business Record Book of Lists.

With nearly two-thirds of 2008 gone, Flynn said: "We're right on par with last year, and hopefully we'll do better than last year. We always have a concerted 'new business' effort going on."



Runners-up: Innova Ideas & Services; Strategic America



BEST AUTOMOBILE DEALERSHIP

Willis Auto Campus




Willis Auto Campus has a tradition of more than 60 years of putting customers' needs first. And in each year since the creation of the Best of Des Moines awards 13 years ago, the luxury automobile dealership has been named Des Moines' best by our readers.

"We're thrilled, but extremely humbled, to win the award for a 13th time," said Jim Usgaard, general manager of Willis Auto Campus. "Our culture is to provide outstanding customer service, and we make every effort to do that."

The first half of 2008 marked some significant developments for the dealership. In April, the dealership, formerly Betts Auto Campus, formally changed its name to reflect the ownership transition to the Willis family, which purchased the dealership in 2000. Owner Chuck Willis has 36 years with the dealership and his sons, Jason and Matt, are part of the company and will provide the next generation of leadership.

And on July 15, Willis Auto Campus added the Infiniti line of luxury vehicles to its product mix, which also includes Lexus, Cadillac, Hummer, Land Rover, Jaguar and Volvo.

Outstanding service is the result of hiring and retaining outstanding people, Usgaard said.

"None of this would be possible without our employees. You can have the best facility and the best cars in the world, but without the employees, it doesn't work, and we feel we have the best employees in the state."



Runners-up: Holmes Automotive Group; Karl Chevrolet



BEST SMALL COMPANY WITH THE MOST PROMISING FUTURE

Sigler Cos.




Sigler Cos., an Ames-based communications and marketing company, has been named the Best Small Company with the Most Promising Future by Business Record readers.

The privately owned company, which comprises Sigler Printing, Innova Ideas & Services and Signify Promotions, has much to celebrate in addition to its 50th anniversary this year. Sigler Printing was also named Best Commercial Printer, and Innova was a runner-up in three categories: Best Advertising Agency, Best Web Site Developer and Best Public Relations Firm.

Sigler expanded from printing into marketing and creative services with the launch of Innova in 1998, and in 2006 acquired the production and sales operations of T. Galaxy, a screenprinting and embroidery company, which it now operates as Signify Promotions.

During that time, the company has grown from 48 employees to 262 in Iowa, with two offices in Ames and three in Des Moines. Sigler Cos. also operates Sigler Marketing Services, which employs 22 people in Seattle.

"A real key to our growth is that we've been able to attract a lot of talented, passionate people to work for our company," said Beth Cross, president of Sigler Cos. "That has been a real catalyst for our growth. While part of our company is production and part is creative services, it all fits together. We've created a culture that's really focused on positive, innovative growth."

The average age of Sigler employees is just 32, which means they have a lot of energy to expand the company, Cross said. In addition to customers throughout Central Iowa and statewide, Sigler Cos. serves clients in 48 states.

"We offer our customers an end-to-end solution for their communication and marketing needs," Cross said. However, "we look for our customers to tell us how they want us to fit in as an extension of their business. Some will use one of our services; some will use them all. But we just try to be an extension of our clients to best serve their needs."



Runners-up: Terrus Real Estate Group; ITAGroup Inc.



BEST M.B.A. PROGRAM

Drake University




Drake University's College of Business and Public Administration asked for lots of input when it was deciding how to fine-tune its M.B.A. program; now that students have experienced the results and graduated, it's time to gather more opinions.

"We're putting together a feedback survey and focus groups on the program," said Danette Kenne, assistant dean of graduate and professional programs. "We'll ask about their experiences as a whole and where this has been the most beneficial."

Drake has about 215 students enrolled this year in the M.B.A. program. They'll find themselves in a setting that includes small seminars on a variety of nontraditional business subjects. "These seminars give us a chance to talk about topics that might not get exposure in the usual three-hour course," Kenne said. "Last fall, we did one on subprime lending when we were just starting to see the press coverage on that. We have done them on entrepreneurship and office politics.

"We didn't see (similar seminars) anywhere when we came up with it, but now we have seen other programs doing this."

Also, a certification program operated through the Center for Graduate and Professional Studies is linked to the M.B.A. program. "If someone participates in the certification program," Kenne said, "they can apply that experience to the requirements for our M.B.A. program."



Runners-up: University of Iowa; Iowa State University



BEST WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRM

Wells Fargo & Co.



Wells Fargo & Co.'s Wealth Management Group focuses on providing a wide array of services to its wealthy clients. In Central Iowa, a team of 55 professionals are dedicated to providing advice to clients. The group manages or administers a total of $6.2 billion in assets in the state.

"I think the professionals in our wealth management team do an outstanding job of working with professionals and also families on their investment needs and on their strategies to migrate assets to the next generation," said Scott Johnson, regional president for Iowa and Illinois.

Wells Fargo recently opened an office in Clive that offers customers one-stop shopping for wealth management services. The new office, located next to an existing Wells Fargo banking store at 13621 University Ave., caters to families and individuals by providing a full range of financial products and services.

Among the services offered by the group are investment consulting, mortgage banking, estate and retirement planning, and insurance and trust services. Wells Fargo also serves high-net-worth clients through The Private Bank, which offers a full range of investment products and services.

In the second quarter, the Wealth Management Group's revenues increased 13 percent over the comparable period in 2007, with net income up 29 percent from the previous year. The Private Bank's revenues increased 54 percent for the quarter, with average core deposits up 64 percent.



Runners-up: RSM McGladrey Inc.; DeWaay Capital Management



BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM

McGladrey & Pullen LLP/RSM McGladrey Inc.



Although Kevin Prust is retiring in December and Rod Foster takes over as manager of the Des Moines office this month, the only major change at RSM McGladrey Inc. and McGladrey & Pullen LLP will likely be increased participation from its 18 partners in community activities.

"You'll hear more names probably in the future," Foster said, "and everyone taking a different piece of the pie as far as workload."

But McGladrey's business likely won't change too much. The company is the largest accounting firm in Des Moines, with 160 full-time employees. It has eight locations throughout Iowa and more than 100 nationwide, which have averaged double-digit revenue growth in the past few years. The Des Moines firm had about 15 percent growth last year.

Foster attributes this success to a talented group of employees who have attracted good clients, who in turn help the firm attract and retain more young professionals. The company is a perennial winner of the Business Record "Best Places to Work in Central Iowa" contest.

The other advantage McGladrey has is its consulting practice, with 40 people in Des Moines who can offer advice in human resources, risk management, technology and more. Many of its clients, especially mid-size businesses in the $10 million to $150 million annual revenue range, come for tax return preparation or other financial help and then end up using this other service.

"A lot of other firms offer somewhat the same range of services we offer," Foster said, "but they're not as deep."



RUNNERS-UP: McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith P.C.; LWBJ LLP



BEST LAW FIRM

Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts P.C.



Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts P.C. moved into its new offices on the top two floors of the Davis Brown Tower this summer, ushering in a new era for a law firm that will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year.

Though this doesn't mean many changes to the way the firm practices law, it does mean "an additional jolt of energy," said Bob Douglas, president of Davis Brown's board of directors. "We have a very workable space for the way we practice law these days, so that's been a nice change. I hope something positive comes out of it. Besides having a new space, people are reinvigorated and recommitted to the firm."

Davis Brown continues to grow, with the addition of five full-time attorneys in the past year to the 57 already with the firm. Immigration law, wind-energy issues and real estate foreclosures have been areas of tremendous growth in the past couple of years, Douglas said. Still, the firm prides itself on offering a broad range of legal services to clients that include individuals, multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations, the state of Iowa and regulated industries.

Another advantage, Douglas said, is the firm's affiliation with Lex Mundi, a worldwide network that helps Davis Brown recommend legal support to clients doing business outside Iowa and helps it get referral business from people coming to Iowa.

"We get a lot of positive feedback for having that type of affiliation," Douglas said.



RUNNERS-UP: Belin Lamson McCormick Zumbach Flynn; Nyemaster, Goode, West, Hansell & O'Brien P.C.



BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM

Flynn Wright Inc.



Flynn Wright Inc. has placed greater emphasis on the public relations side of its business in recent years, and once again the results were singled out for praise by Business Record readers.

The company was founded in 1984 and built its reputation as an advertising agency. However, "most of our relationships are full-service, and we utilize all of our disciplines with them," said President and CEO Andy Flynn. "We do quite a bit of research on the front end, keep our finger on the pulse, and then advertising and public relations go hand in hand.

"There are different ways of getting a good positive message out and awareness for our clients."

Those clients include big local names such as the Science Center of Iowa, Mediacom Communications Corp., MidAmerican Energy Co. and Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.

Flynn became part of the family-owned company in 1993. "The family and I got together and talked about what I could bring to the agency, and (joining) was one of the best decisions of my life," Flynn said. "I was maybe the 10th employee; now we're just shy of 50.

"We've been on a nice steady growth pattern for quite some time, in terms of people, revenues, profits and clients."



Runners-up: Innova Ideas & Services; Strategic America



BEST BAR TO ENTERTAIN CLIENTS

Star Bar



Not too far from downtown's cubicle farms, but far enough to serve as a getaway, Star Bar has become a popular lunchtime and evening oasis at 2811 Ingersoll Ave.

It's open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. until midnight on Sunday.

Martinis are priced at $7, and the beer list includes names such as Widmer Hefeweissen and Fuller's London Pride for $3.50 apiece.

More than a watering hole, Star Bar has built a reputation for good food at reasonable prices. The brunch menu includes small plates such as spinach and queso fresco dip with tortilla chips for $5.99 and big plates such as shrimp and cheese grits with two eggs for $11.99.

The dinner menu offers several big plates priced under $15 and a number of small plates at $5.99 and $6.99.

One big change: Chef Jeremy Morrow sold his share of the place to partner Mike Hutchison this summer after spending three years establishing its reputation.

Runners-up: Centro; 801 Steak and Chop House



BEST CATERER

Hy-Vee Inc.



When floods hit Eastern Iowa in June, Hy-Vee Inc. was called in to supply all the meals for American Red Cross volunteers and members of the Iowa National Guard.

Though the task of preparing hundreds of thousands of meals fell mainly to the Hy-Vee stores in the affected region, the company also deployed employees in its management-training program from across all the stores in its seven-state marketing area to help.

But that's not all the company's catering service has become known for lately.

One of its cake decorators won an award at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association conference in Las Vegas in June, the first year the company competed.

Catering also has grown to about 20 percent of Hy-Vee's total fresh-food business, said Greg Frampton, assistant vice president of food service.

"We've done catering from five to 5,000," he said, including just about anything from meat and cheese trays to chocolate fountains to full sit-down meals for events such as small meetings, graduation parties and weddings. Many of Hy-Vee's newer stores have an event coordinator to help customers through the planning process, with Hy-Vee's ability to handle catering, desserts and flowers under one roof.

"Having somebody they can call almost 24/7 is really a benefit for the customer," Frampton said, "and it's helped us grow our business."

Still, Frampton said, Hy-Vee's main focus is on its store operations. It doesn't advertise its catering service much beyond in-store signs and word of mouth, but, he said, "we can't deny catering is a growing opportunity for us."



RUNNERS-UP: Palmer's Deli & Market; Christiani's VIP Catering & Events



BEST PLACE FOR A BUSINESS CONFERENCE

Des Moines Marriott Downtown




With skywalk access, 415 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space, the Des Moines Marriott Downtown has a lot going for it as a business conference location. Last year, the hotel took another big step up with a $7 million renovation project. Now phase two has begun at 700 Grand Ave.

Cindy Roberts, director of sales and marketing, said last week that the renovation of the hotel's six suites is under way. Also, two guest rooms will be added on the 28th floor, a change made possible by moving both the concierge lounge and the hair salon.

By the end of 2008, renovation of the lobby is expected to be complete, including a business center that will offer a quick place for guests to pick up food and beverages. In the first quarter of 2009, all of the guest rooms are slated for new carpeting, furniture and artwork. All in all, this current phase of renovation is expected to cost about $6 million.



Runners-up: Hy-Vee Hall/Iowa Events Center; Hy-Vee Conference Center (West Des Moines)



BEST RESTAURANT FOR CONDUCTING BUSINESS

Centro



The buzz of Centro is perhaps what makes it the best place for conducting business, said Paul Rottenberg, a partner in the downtown restaurant.

"I think universally people like to go there to discuss business because they can be out and about in the buzz," Rottenberg said. "You can sit next to someone and not hear what they are talking about at the next table."

The lunch-hour hum and the open atmosphere provide a venue where casual and comfortable business can be accomplished, and the hosted - or hosting - clients can feel relaxed, Rottenberg said.

"Centro is wide open and fun, and it allows for people to make their own choices," he said.

And with a variety of menu options - both in price and in food selection - Centro isn't going to make a client feel uncomfortable with stuffy prices and limited choices.

"It's a place where people go to get energized about business," he said. "It's not the place that people go to talk about secrets."

Rottenberg also said Centro is working on a cooking series with chef George Formaro called "Cooking with George," which will provide people with the chance to learn how to prepare a multi-course meal and choose appropriate wine pairings. Rottenberg said some companies have used the cooking series for team-building exercises.

"We have a lot of business takers on that," he said, "using it as a team-building experience where they all take a class."

The first session of the series will begin in September and continue on a monthly basis.



Runners-up: 801 Steak and Chop House, Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano



BEST SPORTING EVENT FOR ENTERTAINING

Iowa Cubs games



Wet weather has eroded baseball attendance this summer, and one day the Iowa Cubs played a game with no fans allowed at all because of flood worries. But when the skies cooperate, baseball fans still love to spend time at Principal Park.

On July 18, with fireworks as part of the show, the Iowa Cubs drew 13,259 customers; that ranks as the team's eighth-largest crowd ever.

Overall, Des Moines' representative in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League averaged 7,155 fans for its first 58 game days this season, including doubleheaders that resulted when single games were rained out.

With renovations at the park complete, fans are treated to updated surroundings along with the usual promotions - bobblehead toys and the Mug Club, for example.

The fans have had a lot to cheer about.

Last week the Cubs were tied with two other teams for the best record in the 16-team league and stood atop the American North Division standings.



Runners-up: Iowa Barnstormers; Iowa Stars (now the Iowa Chops)



BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Django



Launching during a season that isn't ideal for restaurants, Django took a risk and opened its doors in April, offering classic French cuisine.

"It's the slower time of the year to open, but it's certainly been good," said owner and chef George Formaro. "The fun stuff really starts to come out when it gets cool outside. The real eating starts in the fall."

But even though the fun hasn't started yet in Formaro's mind, he is gratified to see the community embrace French cuisine.

Rooted in tradition, Formaro has taken classical French dishes and reintroduced them with his own culinary twist. Formaro explained that he

didn't want to reinvent French cuisine because of the multitude of great dishes that already come with the culture.

"We're not reinventing anything; we are reintroducing things," he said.

Django employs between 20 and 30 full- and part-time workers, which includes more than a dozen chefs. Formaro credits a lot of his restaurant's immediate success to his staff members; he said they work around the clock.

"Without a doubt, we couldn't do any of the things we do without the staff," he said. "It's a very passionate group. We're always working on the concept of what works for Des Moines."



Runners-up: Dos Rios, Maverick Grill



BEST CLOTHIER FOR WOMEN

Von Maur



Despite having only one location for all of Greater Des Moines,

Von Maur's Valley West Mall location continues to provide designer clothing for its high-end clientele. With clothing from Calvin Klein and handbags from Marc Jacobs, women find the chic apparel they are looking for at Von Maur.

Family-owned and -operated since 1872, Von Maur operates more than 20 stores throughout the Midwest with its headquarters located in Davenport, with an inventory of moderate to high-end retail apparel, jewelry and decor.

While they ruminate on expensive clothes, Von Maur shoppers are also able to enjoy live entertainment streaming from the store's signature piano. Every Von Maur location provides its customers with the ambience created by this live form of entertainment that comes from the fluttering fingers of talented pianists.

Unfortunately, the Valley West Von Maur said goodbye to its longtime pianist, the late Gene Powers, who played three times a week for the store before his passing in mid-May.

Playing by ear and by memory, Powers graced Von Maur with his knowledge of more than 1,500 songs.



Runners-up: Younkers, Kathy's Fashions



BEST CLOTHIER FOR MEN

Badower's/Reichardt's



If you're going to dress up, you might as well add a touch of class.

Badower's/Reichardt's prides itself on leading men to the right sartorial choices and that tradition has led it into the favor of Business Record readers.

As its name suggests, the store at 2817 Ingersoll Ave. merges the best lines from the shuttered Reichardt's clothing store with Badower's own favored lines.

Customers get a blend of business conservative that was a Reichardt's

staple and the European-influenced attire offered by Badower's.

"We appeal to a wider base now. We have people who want some of each," said Craig Lonning, a sales associate who has worked for both stores for nearly 20 years.

Lonning, who sold the Frankel's clothing store in 1986 after its 125-year run as a downtown fixture, said Badower's/Reichardt's sustains customer loyalty because its salespeople understand the tastes of longtime customers and provide an expert hand in helping first-time customers.

Badower's/Reichardt's provides a personal touch in a club-like atmosphere with an emphasis on customer service. It offers custom tailoring and a sales staff that remembers the preferences of its return customers.

"We think that the service is a more important factor in the competition with the bigger stores," Lonning said.

Business is growing this year, but "not by leaps and bounds," Lonning said. Still, Badower's/Reichardt's holds its own against large department stores. He noted that the economic slowdown might not affect the store's customers to the same degree as patrons of larger stores.

"If the housing market slows and people aren't spending as much on homes and furniture, then that frees up some money to spend on their wardrobe," he said.



Runners-up: Mr. B; Von Maur



BEST EXERCISE FACILITY

Aspen Athletic Club



Aspen Athletic Club can reach out and touch you from afar, and that's what makes its personal training program a success.

That might sound a little far- fetched, especially to anyone who considers fitness a three-headed monster named sweat, strain and sacrifice.

Aspen Athletic Club has five facilities in Greater Des Moines with a total of 15,000 members. Aaron Aeschliman, manager of Aspen's first area location at 10930 Hickman Road in Clive, said an online fitness program has helped boost membership.

"We focus on two investments that people make," Aeschliman said. "If somebody knows how to exercise, our goal is get them access through the front door. Others are looking for personal training. We lead them to their goal or get them motivation on how to train."

For those who lack a fitness education, as Aeschliman calls it, Aspen provides a path to a calorie-counting system called Bodybugg. People wear a small monitor that straps on their arm and counts how many calories they burn and consume in a day.

Reports are logged online, where Aspen staff can keep track of those who are dedicated to the program and those who are slackers.

"If we don't see them for a week or two, we can get online and see how they are doing," Aeschliman said. A phone call usually gets people in the gym for a workout to burn off the calories.

"Working out is like a job sometimes," he said. "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are not that bad, but Friday comes around and it might be the last thing you want to do.

"Bodybugg provides them with the best results for the least effort."

The program has boosted membership at each Aspen facility by at least 350 people, Aeschliman said.

For those who do make it into the gym on a regular basis, Aspen offers customer service, cleanliness and new equipment that keep them walking through the door, he said.



Runners-up: YMCA of Greater Des Moines; 7 Flags Fitness & Racquet Club



BEST FLORIST

Boesen the Florist



"It's very timely for us; every day gets a little bit easier," said Tom Boesen, owner and operator of Boesen the Florist. "We've been going through a lot of hard times in our family, and (being named Best Florist) is good news."

The company has won the honor year after year, and Tom assures customers that as long as flowers are blooming, Boesen the Florist will be open for business.

Working for Boesen the Florist since 1974, Tom has led the company as owner and operator for more than 30 years and remains confident about the family-run business's future.

With the death of co-owner and brother Edward Boesen, Tom said things have been difficult, but he and the staff are managing and are "there every day doing what we've always done."

Tom said that though his late brother was also an owner, Ed had not participated in the company's daily operations for a few years.

"My family and Boesen florists are all safe and solid," he said. "We're safe and sound and ready to be here for years to come."

And with its newest and youngest fourth-generation Boesen staff member, it appears that the company will remain in the family for some time.

Tom said that recently his 21-year-old son started to get involved in the business and has the same dedication that has kept the business alive for more than 85 years.

"He's got that same passion," Tom said about his son, Tim. "He understands it's not just about the flower, but the message too," a message that goes beyond just the flowers.

"Were not just selling flowers, but we are also celebrating some of life's most precious moments, from birth to death," Tom said.



Runners-up: Hy-Vee Inc.; Flowers by Anthony



BEST GOLF COURSE

Des Moines Golf and Country Club



Treat a golf course like a living thing and chances are people will respond.

That has been the case at the private Des Moines Golf and Country Club, where membership rolls are full and admiration strong for its two 18-hole layouts that were the brainchild of legendary course designer Pete Dye.

"As courses age one of the things we forget is that they are alive and they are growing," said Scott Howe, director of golf.

Des Moines Golf and Country Club provides the only golf facility in Central Iowa - and one of only 10 in the entire state - to be certified under Audubon International's cooperative sanctuary program, a designation that means the club follows an environmentally friendly maintenance program to manage water quality and preserve wildlife habitats, among other things.

Howe credits grounds superintendant Rick Tegtmeier with adopting new technologies to keeping the course, its bunkers and grasses, a pleasure to play. "He has made nice improvements to the appearance and condition of our course," Howe said.

Des Moines Golf and Country Club was founded in 1897, but its current configuration was created in 1957 with a few makeovers since then, some dictated by changes in nearby streets.

With 1,500 members, Des Moines Golf and Country Club is at capacity. However, the club also hosts tournaments that give non-members a chance to play on courses that tested professional golfers in 1999, when it was the site of the U.S. Senior Open.

"We want it to be something that people want to come out and play and we want it to be memorable for them," Howe said.



Runners-up: Wakonda Club; Glen Oaks Country Club



BEST HAPPY HOUR

Johnny's Hall of Fame



With specials extending into the early evening, Johnny's Hall of Fame presents after-work drinkers with a happy hour that lasts from 4 until 8 p.m. and showcases $2 draws and $2.75 bottles of beer.

"I think that period is a little longer than most places, so that draws (people) in," said Nate Taylor, assistant manager of Johnny's.

Taylor also said Johnny's atmosphere sets it apart from other bars.

"The atmosphere is No. 1," he said. "It's a traditional sports bar but with a spin on it - a vintage feel with the decorations and décor."

But for those who are uninterested in the vintage décor, Johnny's also has plenty of games to keep them entertained. Beyond the typical pool table, Johnny's has a basketball shoot, multitudes of video games and plenty of televisions for watching sports.

"There's stuff for everybody to do in here," Taylor said. "It's not just a place to drink."

Currently, Johnny's is working on compiling special packages for the football season and reaffirms that it will have plenty of games on every screen, for every fan.

"People will be able to watch numerous games," Taylor said.



Runners-up: Drink, Star Bar



BEST CULTURAL ATTRACTION

Des Moines Arts Festival



Despite a Friday afternoon storm, the Des Moines Arts Festival pulled in crowds totaling 210,000 people over three days in June, down slightly from a record 240,000 at its 10th anniversary last year.

Continuing its efforts to support new forms of art, organizers introduced the Interrobang Film Festival this year, which Executive Director Stephen King said was "far more successful than we could have imagined." Other new offerings included more street performers and a public art project started by Kemin Industries Inc. and Nathan Weeks Middle School.

"While artists really are the stars of the show," King said, "we do want to continue to reach out to our community and the other performing arts areas."

The Arts Festival increased the number of professional artists to 175 from 150 and next year will strive to encourage more art buyers to attend or try additional marketing tactics after an economic downturn caused a decline in art sales this year.

So far, the festival is scheduled to remain in Western Gateway Park, after trying a new layout this year that would accommodate the sculpture garden once it's installed. "We believe it could be a positive synergy with this world-class sculpture garden," King said. But Arts Festival leaders also are considering moving to the Principal Riverwalk once that project is complete.

The Des Moines Arts Festival continues to maintain its status as a premier event. AmericanStyle magazine named it one of the Top 10 Fairs & Festivals in 2008, and it has won several Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals & Events Association each year for the past couple of years.



RUNNERS-UP: Civic Center of Greater Des Moines; Iowa State Fair



BEST HOSPITAL

Iowa Methodist Medical Center



Concentrating very thoroughly on patient satisfaction, Iowa Methodist Medical Center is striving to make great leaps in the health industry and is using survey data to get there.

The hospital uses patient-care data gathered by Indiana-based Press Ganey Associates Inc., which surveys different types of patients - inpatients, outpatients, emergency room patients and more - to gain insight on where it needs improvement and where its employees deserve praise.

"How the public feels about their care and how they are treated is just as important as the medicine," said Eric Crowell, president and chief executive officer of Iowa Health - Des Moines, which operates Iowa Methodist. "How our patients feel about us - we focus on that as job one, job two and job three."

Employing nearly 4,000 workers, Iowa Methodist also shifts its focus internally to assure strong employee retention, Crowell said.

"We have one of the best work forces in Iowa," Crowell said. "Methodist turnover is one of the lowest in the nation, and we take care of the ones we've got."

Currently, Crowell, who has served as CEO for more than seven years, said Iowa Health - Des Moines is giving a lot of attention to its current construction project, West Hospital, trying to make it one of the premier facilities in the country.



Runners-up: Mercy Medical Center; Iowa Lutheran Hospital



BEST JEWELRY STORE

Josephs Jewelers

Josephs Jewelers is surrounded by growth, again.

The Joseph family has moved into the Davis Brown Tower at 10th and Mulberry streets, near the booming area of Western Gateway Park, from its flagship location in the Equitable Building at Sixth Avenue and Locust Street.

Josephs' old location once was at the hub of downtown retail activity, but with a pesky fire escape cutting up the middle of the old retail store and a construction boom occurring to the west, the family decided to opt for the contemporary environs of the Davis Brown Tower.

Brothers John and Toby Joseph are fourth-generation owners of the store, which has built a reputation based on its employees' knowledge of diamonds and precious gems.

And don't get the idea that their downtown move came on a whim. The brothers base their strategy on market research and over-the-counter conversations with their customers.

They developed a store in West Glen Town Center after discovering that mall traffic nationally was declining and that "lifestyle" centers were gaining in popularity.

The Des Moines institution, which also has a store at Valley West Mall, employs more American Gem Society-certified diamond and gem experts than any other jewelry store in the Midwest.

Not to be stuck in time, a fifth generation of Josephs is working in the family business.



Runners-up: Anglo International; Jared, a division of Sterling Jewelers Inc.



THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN IN CENTRAL IOWA IN THE PAST YEAR

Hy-Vee Triathlon



Hy-Vee Triathlon organizers were sweating the week before this year's June event as flood waters drowned out hope of conducting the swimming portion of the competition and it risked losing its status as the final qualifying event for the U.S. Olympic team. But three days before, after organizers had already announced they would move the race from downtown Des Moines to West Des Moines, the swim was reinstated and the Hy-Vee Triathlon maintained its reputation as one of the most exciting sporting events in Greater Des Moines.

Hy-Vee Inc. shook the triathlon world in its inaugural year in 2007 when it brought an International Triathlon Union World Cup to Des Moines, becoming the only U.S. city to host such a competition that year, and the triathlon offered the largest purse ever for elite athletes, totaling more than $700,000.

In its second year, Hy-Vee maintained this status and also stepped-up its amateur division, which reached full capacity at 2,200 participants, who competed in the 1.5-mile swim, 40k bike ride and 10k run. Race director Bill Burke of Premier Event Management said he has never seen an event achieve full capacity in its second year.

Hy-Vee remains dedicated to bringing the race back each year, with the goal to make it to triathlons what the Masters is to golf. The supermarket chain sees it as a way to promote health and fitness, draw attention to its products and services that help customers lead healthy lifestyles and give back to the community, with all proceeds going to Variety - The Children's Charity.



RUNNERS-UP: Downtown development; presidential caucuses



BEST RECYCLING/WASTE

Metro Waste Authority



Metro Waste Authority (MWA) is considering a new recycling program that could make it easier for households to send some of their garbage to a production line rather than a landfill.

Under the plan, customers would toss all of their newspapers, pop cans, yogurt cups and egg cartons into a rolling, 96-gallon recycling bin, similar in size to a garbage container, eliminating the need to sort recyclables by category.

Spokeswoman Amy Horst said the single-stream approach could lead to an increase in the amount of material pitched into a recycling container rather than into the trash.

Though MWA's recycling, or Curb It!, program is popular with Business Record readers, its other programs also attract local and national attention.

The Metro Park East Landfill in eastern Polk County is more than an old dump. It also is the location of a methane collection facility that captures the gas created by decaying garbage and uses it to generate electricity.

The landfill also is one of few in the country that has constructed wetlands that filter solids such as nitrogen, ammonia and iron from leachate that seeps throughout the landfill, then returns the cleansed water to restored prairie lands, where it evaporates.

MWA is so confident of its efforts to keep garbage from despoiling the landscape that it sponsors a "green run" that provides participants a look at wetlands, prairie grasses and wildflowers, not to mention excavated cells where their trash lands.



Runners-up: Artistic Waste Services Inc.; Waste Management Inc.



BEST PLACE TO BUY WINE AND SPIRITS

Hy-Vee Inc.



It's not just the convenience of buying a bottle of wine or case of beer while also shopping for groceries that makes Hy-Vee Inc. the best place to buy wine and spirits. It's also the company's intensive online training program that gives its employees a strong knowledge of wines.

"Wine especially is such a growing category, but the average person doesn't really know a lot, so they come in and need guidance and suggestions," said company spokeswoman Chris Friesleben. "We have focused a lot of our energies on making sure our employees are there and educated enough to offer that guidance."

Started a couple of years ago, "the wine academy" took Yulan Tsai, wine and spirits supervisor for Hy-Vee, about 100 hours to complete all three levels with 2,200 test questions on topics such as wine history, winemaking and countries where wine is made. Nearly 200 managers have made it to level three (a company requirement), and more than 1,500 employees are in the program.

This training has allowed some stores to carry higher-end wines based on customer requests, with a staff knowledgeable enough to talk to customers about them.

Tsai also said some Hy-Vee stores are rolling out a new model for the company's wine and spirits section that is more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Staff members no longer use chemical products to clean the floors and the ceilings are higher, requiring less air conditioning. It also features more earth tones and cherrywood cases for displays.



RUNNERS-UP: Ingersoll Wine & Sprits; WineStyles



BEST COFFEE

Starbucks Corp.



At Starbucks Corp., tall is small but there is no confusion in the coffee company's standing with Business Record readers. Number one is still the top of the heap.

Starbucks has undergone some upheavals in its operations this year, including a 24-hour shutdown to give its baristas a refresher course in what might be called haute coffee culture.

But its coffeehouses draw a crowd for idle conversation and business meetings flavored with Starbucks' 42 coffee blends, a little background music and the glow of laptop computer screens.

And, if you really want to immerse yourself in coffee lore, you can browse the company's Web site to find coffee history, coffee etiquette, even the "four fundamentals" of great coffee: Proportion, Grind, Water and Freshness.

Or, you might ask where coffee comes from. Starbucks has the answer, again from its Web site.

Put this in your coffee and drink it:

"According to one story, a goat-herder noticed that his herd became friskier than usual after consuming the red cherries of a wild coffee shrub. Curious, he tasted the fruit himself. He was delighted by its invigorating effects, and was even spotted by a group of nearby monks dancing with his goats. Soon the monks began to boil the bean themselves and use the liquid to stay awake during all-night ceremonies."



Runners-up: Caribou Coffee Co.; Friedrichs Coffee LLC



BEST RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD

Beaverdale



When a neighborhood lends its name to a unique architectural style, you just know it's going to capture the fancy of Business Record readers.

The Beaverdale Bricks, built along the lines of an English country cottage, rise above the area's shady streets, sharing space with Craftsman-style homes and bungalows that provide the neighborhood with a friendly persona.

And its residents obviously know they live in a special place.

Beaverdale, lying between Douglas and Franklin avenues and 30th Street and 48th Place, doesn't lack for community involvement. The Beaverdale Neighborhood Association is among the most active community groups in Greater Des Moines.

The association has its own Web site and publishes a 16-page newsletter that features Beaverdale businesses, people and events - even the area's preponderance of gardens.



Runners-up: West Des Moines, Urbandale



BEST PLACE FOR AUTO REPAIRS

Willis Auto Campus



The managers and employees of Willis Auto Campus strive to treat their customers as they would guests in their own homes. That explains why they keep the dealership building spotlessly clean, from the three customer waiting areas down to the 45 service bays where the technicians work on the vehicles.

"Between our parts and service departments, it's extremely clean," said Jim Usgaard, the general manager. "We take a lot of pride in that."

It's Willis' culture to take care of its customers and provide outstanding customer service. "As part of that service, we try to listen to the customer and take care of their needs," Usgaard said. So if customers need a loaner vehicle, there are 165 to choose from. Or if they need a ride to work while their vehicle is being repaired, the dealership provides complimentary pickup and delivery, both within Greater Des Moines and even outside the metro area.

Every Willis Auto Campus service technician and service manager is required to undergo rigorous annual training to maintain his or her manufacturer certifications to work on the sophisticated luxury vehicles that the dealership sells.



Runners-up: Holmes Automotive Group; Simon Tire & Auto Services



BEST RESTAURANT FOR ENTERTAINING OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS

Centro



It's quite the paradox to Centro partner, Paul Rottenberg, who posed the question: "Do people ever say to you that Centro feels like it's not in Des Moines?"

"People say that and I always say, 'It is Des Moines'," Rottenberg said.

This illustrates how far Des Moines has come in developing into a metropolitan area and providing a big-city feel while still holding on to its small-town charm.

"People like to show people that they have a big-city restaurant," Rottenberg said. And people use Centro "to show people that Des Moines is more than what they thought it was; to say, 'Des Moines is a hipper and cooler place.'"

Rottenberg said Centro provides the urban atmosphere of a big city, with a "windows on the world" design that allows diners to see the streets of Des Moines and the people who are out and about.

"I think it is about being a great restaurant, a great building and being in the heart of Des Moines that makes people want to bring their friends here to show it to them," he said "You get to feel that you're in a great city."



Runners-up: 801 Steak and Chop House, Latin King



BEST THING THAT WILL HAPPEN TO |CENTRAL IOWA THIS YEAR

Shawn Johnson in the Olympics



By the time this appears, Shawn Johnson will have proved whether she has what it takes to be an Olympic champion. But even before the Beijing Olympics, the 16-year-old gymnast's good looks, composure in the media spotlight, unprecedented success and traditional Iowa work ethic and values have propelled her into the international spotlight.

Since entering the senior gymnastics division in 2007, Johnson has won every competition she's entered, including the 2007 Tyson American Cup, the 2007 Pan American Games, the 2007 Visa National Championships and the World Championships. She took first in the Olympic trials this year and was favored to win at the Olympics.

Her constant success has led to many sponsorships, including being one of six U.S. athletes chosen to represent Coca-Cola Co., the oldest sponsor of the Olympic Games, in its international advertising campaign this summer. Locally she has partnered with Brodkey's Jewelers to produce the exclusive Shawn Johnson Jewelry Collection and appeared in an advertising campaign for Hy-Vee Inc. She also has appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the "Today" show and was ABC's Person of the Week. She was a presenter at "Frosted Pink," a breast cancer benefit show on television, and last year Gov. Chet Culver named Oct. 17 "Shawn Johnson Day." She has been nominated for the 2008 Teen Choice Awards.

But despite all this, Johnson keeps her training down to 20 to 25 hours a week, and though most elite gymnasts have private tutors, she attends West Des Moines' Valley High School, where she is on the "A" Honor Roll.



RUNNERS-UP: Cleanup from the floods; 80/35 music festival