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GROWING THE FIRM IN NEW PLACES

August 15, 2013

We heard this story about the firm’s early growth, along with advice for building business in a new location, from Jay Abdo, the son of Abdo, Eick & Meyers’ founder, Joe Abdo.

The year 1976 found the father and son team of Jay and Joe Abdo exploring opportunities to expand their successful Mankato practice. They were strongly considering an office in Rochester, but during a trip to look at office space, they decided to make a stop in Owatonna, a small yet vibrant city located halfway between Rochester and Mankato.

As they sat on a park bench contemplating the firm’s future, they noticed a sign advertising the Owatonna Chamber of Commerce. Sensing the city could be a good place for the firm, they made their way to the chamber’s office. There they were greeted by the enthusiastic chamber president, and were soon whisked away on a private tour of the city. The president’s hospitality worked: within a few months, Jay was opening the doors to the firm’s Owatonna office.

At first, Jay was alone. He worked hard to build the practice from the ground up, and by 1980, employed 15 full-time staff members. Soon, his successful practice would lead him to the Twin Cities. In 1982, the firm opened an office in Bloomington to better serve the large metropolitan market.

In the Twin Cities, Jay was once again alone and had to rely on his work ethic and networking skills to grow the practice. “I quickly learned that I had to work hard and get out there and meet people,” Jay recalls of the years spent building the Owatonna and Twin Cities practices. “I couldn’t be afraid to ask for business.”

Although Jay didn’t mind the commute from Owatonna to the Twin Cities, he realized the firm’s future was in the Twin Cities and, in the mid-1990s, sold the Owatonna office to its manager.

The rest is history.

For others tasked with growing a business in a new locale, Jay offers this advice: “If you genuinely love what you’re doing and work hard, the friendships and referrals come naturally.”

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