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Posted by on in Announcements


Are you considering options to stay involved and be connected when you retire? The MIAMA Retiree Alumni group might be right for you.

MIAMA is constantly evolving, constantly bringing new ideas and new people into the industry. Along the way many any of us have retired or are soon to be retired; moving on to a new time in our lives. This can be a time of giving back, giving back some knowledge of what we have learned, much of it the hard way, to a new generation of industry leaders.

MIAMA has recently done away with districts and this may open an exciting time for those of us who would like to participate yet in the industry. We can offer our experience and share our common sense of how we successfully did things in the past, to blend in with the highly educated and motivated youth taking up the management duties of our beloved industry.

The MIAMA Retiree Alumni group allows those who sign up to attend the MIAMA Spring Workshop and the Fall Conferences. There will be opportunities to visit rinks and share ideas. This is a relaxed volunteer group meant to keep the ideals of the past generation alive and have an impact on the next generation.

It is easy to sign up. Please contact Walt Bruley at 218-340-0532 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Look forward to seeing you soon.


Posted by on in Announcements

We are continuing to see a change in MIAMA once again as long time arena managers and staff are retiring and others are moving to new positions. In 2014 we have been informed of at least three retirements within our group including Gary Pietig from Apple Valley, John Hack from Superior , and Kevin Madsen from Willmar. And this past year we had a number of retirements including Paul Ostoff,-Mankato, Steve Olson-Litchfield, Mark Clausen - Fogerty in Blaine, Mike Brooks - Hudson, Mike Mattson- Ramsey Co. Sliv McGree - Hastings and John Linstad – Highland. We also had a manager, Brandon Klement – Richfield, move to Texas with his family to begin a rink supply business.

With retirements come new opportunities. Here are some of the recent changes, Chadd Benson takes over as Manager at Litchfield, Jeff Elliott takes over operations in Hastings, Brian Christensen (formerly of Lakeville) at Forest lake, Joe Bergquist (formerly of Breezy point) takes over at Highland, Kris Weiby (formerly of Burnsville) takes over at Richfield and Rob Hall takes over at Fogerty and Barb Bergquist takes over at Breezy point.

If I have missed someone who is planning to or has retired let me know as we want to acknowledge each members years of service. We also want to have arenas acknowledge and welcome new Full time employees to get their names out within the membership.

Posted by on in Announcements

Let’s march through MARCH!

As March rolls in most are wrapping up the peak season filled with games and tournaments galore. March is also a good time to finalize spring and summer project plans and to take a break from the action. A few days off might do every one wonders especially at this time of the year. Coming back refreshed can go a long way to reviving morale. Don’t forget about rewarding staff for their extra efforts during the grind of the season.

Many rinks have great part time staff members who work hard and close the arena at midnight many nights a week. And many have staff that open at 530am on weekends getting busy days started on the right foot. These Part Time staffers are so valuable to arena operations and to those on the outside many good part time and seasonal arena personnel often get overlooked. Rewarding these staffers can be simple like going on a paid field trip to a few other rinks and having a lunch away from the arena or inviting them all to the Spring Workshop to be able to mingle and enjoy a day with pay away from the pressures of the daily operation.

A couple items of MIAMA business of note in March.

Items of interest for the membership in march include Regional informational Workshops regarding Freon R-22 phase out on March 11th in Mankato, March 12th in So. St. Paul or March 13th in Virginia. RVSP due by March 4th. Check our website tabs to find out more. The Alan K. Payne conference Grant applications and James Padgett Award applications are due March 21, 2014 also on the website.

What’s new at Bielenberg Sports Center.

Here at Bielenberg Sports Center in Woodbury we are undergoing a number of changes. Our $25M expansion project is going through the final four month push with the targeted opening date of July 4th.

The expansion includes a hard sided field house building with a full football/soccer turfed field and 50’ ceiling ht. There will be a large new lobby space connecting the field house to the two existing ice arenas. It will have two levels with viewing into each rink and the field house. The second floor will include a full service restaurant complete with grab and go food and beverage service and a sit down sports bar with liquor limited only to a restricted area on the second floor. Also included within the expansion is an outdoor refrigerated ice rink which will have clear dasher boards and be used by skaters and hockey groups during the winter and other activities including pickle ball during the summer. The expansion is funded by the City of Woodbury and will not have additional tax payer impact. We will be certain to have MIAMA members here for tours and possibly an event at some point.

As part of our changes at Bielenberg Sports Center we welcome in two new Full Time employees, Katie Broderick is our new Facility Operations Technician, a position created when John Harrington departed in December and Shelley Cotroneo joins our staff Full Time as Administrative Assistant after serving in a part time roll for two years. We may be adding another maintenance position and various part time positions in fall 2014 as our new operation reaches peak season.

Got anything new to share?

As always if you have news for the membership or see a story that might be of interest let me know and we can turn it into a Newsblast for our membership. If you have something unique going on at your facility or in your community that lends itself for the membership let me know and I will follow up.

Don’t forget to reward your staff and enjoy the change of season if and when it comes!

Think spring!

Dave Black BSC Woodbury – Newsletter editor

Posted by on in Announcements

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Posted by on in Announcements

By Dean Mulso, Recreation Facilities Manager, City of Burnsville

Looking to increase your bottom line? Consider owning and operating your own vending machines. Whether you add candy machines or a combination of candy and hot beverage machines you should see revenues increase your bottom line.

A lot of facilities today have cold beverage contracts with a major bottler and therefore cannot add that piece of the equation to a vending contract with an outside source. Using a vending service for all beverages and candy is the only way to make money for the company and possibly for the facility. Commission rates can get as high as 35%.

If your compare using a vending service for candy and hot beverages, you can usually expect no more than 15% commission on the gross profit. In a lot of cases they will give you the commission on the net profit, even further reducing the amount of dollars you take in for allowing a company in your building and taking up valuable floor space. Why not take that space and put your own machines in and consistently see profits of 50% of the gross profits.

A major factor in operating your own machines is the initial investment. Depending on the number of machines you need to compliment your facility, you can purchase a candy machine for approximately $3,500 and hot beverage machine for approximately $5,000. In the Burnsville Ice Center’s case we purchased two candy machines and one hot beverage machine. Our purchase price was $12,000 for the all three machines. On average we see $20,000 in gross revenues annually through our vending machines and have product expenses on average of $8,000-$9,000. In one season we can pay for our machines and then continue year after year to see profits of $10,000-$12,000. If the Burnsville Ice Center chose to be on a commission with a vending company we would see $2,000-$4,000 of commissions annually. Vending machines will last many years if maintained by staff or a service company. The Burnsville Ice Center chose to replace two of the three machines we already owned and one hot beverage machines after 15 years of use.

Another factor is where do you get your product? You can use a company that delivers it directly to your facility or you can order the product and pick it up yourself. Companies that deliver are usually higher in pricing, but the upside is you don’t have to do anything but store the product and stock your machines. With facilities that have small staffs and less time to devote to machines this is a good option. Another option is to use a large membership based warehouse such as Sam’s Club. They offer online shopping called “Click and Pull”. You place your order on line and the next day you go pick up the order which is all ready for you to check out and you are usually on your way in 10-15 minutes. If you have the time and staff, this is a great alternative. The Burnsville Ice Center generally sees between $100-$300 savings on each order by using this option over our previous direct delivery provider. This savings has taken into account a mileage charge and staff time. No matter the method of purchasing your product, filling your own machines and setting your own prices, provides you totally control of product choices offered and gives you the added revenue over using a vending service.

If you do have a contract with a major bottler, make sure to negotiate your commission rates. Depending on the type of product and the style of bottle or can, commission rates vary from 10% to as high 42%. If you don’t have a contract with a bottler, seriously consider adding a cold beverage machine into your facility and sell multiple brands of product to maximize your profits. It will be easier to purchase the product directly from the bottler. The price will generally be higher than a grocery store, but you will be able to recover your costs on the retail side. Once again if you have the resources and time you can get the product from the warehouse setting.

One final advantage of owning your own machines is customer service. Staff is able to help customers immediately with any malfunctions that may occur and keep your customers happy.

If increasing your revenues is a major priority for your facility, you need to consider owning your own vending machines.