JEFF ASBACH: CEO & Co-founder
Our fearless leader brings 30++ years of newspaper industry experience to Hometown Focus. Jeff is the former general manager of Mesabi Daily News, where his expertise was in production and new technologies. He is the guy behind the scenes that makes everything work. A stickler for details, Jeff keeps everyone here on track.
SCOTT ASBACH: CFO & co-founder
Scott is the former Publisher of Mesabi Daily News, where he filled the shoes of his father, L. R. Asbach, before him. He also brings 30++ years of newspaper experience to our venture. Scott came up through advertising and marketing and has more ideas rolling around in his noggin than just about anyone. If anyone says, “We can’t do that” in a staff meeting, Scott gets very, very…determined. We’d worship the ground he walks on too, except, he doesn’t walk, he runs.
TUCKER NELSON: Editor
Tucker Nelson has written for Hometown Focus since 2009 and was hired as an editorial assistant/staff writer in 2019. He was promoted to editor following Cindy Kujala’s retirement in July 2020. He was formerly the museum director for the Virginia Area Historical Society and is also the artistic director for Mesabi Musical Theatre. He is passionate about local history, music, theater, and architecture. Tucker lives in Virginia with his wife, stepson, and cat. In his free time, he enjoys telling jokes, shopping for vintage clothing and antiques, and rewatching Mad Men.
KIRSTEN REICHEL: Editorial assistant/staff writer
Kirsten was a contributor first and an employee second at HTF. We liked her stories and great personality and knew she would be a perfect fit with Hometown Focus. She has a background in small business ownership and management and is active in her community, having served as a township supervisor, a Cook city councilor, and as a volunteer firefighter and first responder for the Cook Fire Department.
Kirsten appreciates our focus on positive community news and loves learning new things, a good trait for a staff writer!
JILL PEPELNJAK: Editorial assistant/staff writer
Jill has a communications degree with a journalism emphasis. Her career has taken her through a series of corporate creative and editorial departments, titles and job descriptions. The one constant in her career has been writing. After retiring a couple of years ago and moving back to her hometown of Virginia, she decided to contact HTF owners Scott and Jeff Asbach, with whom she had worked in a previous life, for a job. Here at Hometown Focus, Jill does her best to put finishing touches on the awesome stories from the people in the community, making them ready for print; she also writes stories of her own.
ZACK BENZ: Editorial assistant/staff writer
MARCUS BUSTAMANTE: Graphic design
Graphic artist Marcus was born in England, and raised in the U.S. with an English-culture influence. You can catch him saying things like, “I don’t bloody know!” or spelling “favorite” the European way: “favourite.” He drinks enough tea that he figures it now runs in his veins.
An Air Force brat, Marcus has lived in more places than he can recall, but the Range has always been home base for him and is what he considers home.
Blissfully married on Halloween of 2010, Marcus says he finds life joyous with each day better than the last.
An art lover, Marcus works with metal and wood and also draws and paints. A perfectionist who obsesses over little details (a requirement for newspaper work), Marcus found graphic arts a good fit for himself, and he graduated from Mesabi Range College’s Graphic Arts program in 2014.
BOB HEDLUND: Graphic design
SUSAN FROEHLINGSDORF: Online multimedia & marketing strategy
Sue comes from a family of business owners and entrepreneurs, and loves to think “out of the box.” She and her husband Joe started their first home-based business selling and servicing swimming pools in cold northern Minnesota. They were told the venture was “doomed to fail.” The business was 20 years old when a forced move by the Hwy. 53 relocation in Britt relocated the family to Zim.
It was then that Sue forged forward in website design, hosting and now developing apps for iPhone and Android mobile devices. Sue loves the challenge of staying on top of her game in a field that changes rapidly. At Hometown Focus, she loves spearheading our website and mobile app adventures. For Sue, the greatest reward is helping businesses to progressively market their products and services.
TYLOR ASBACH: Creative sales & service
Tylor represents the third-generation of Asbachs who tout “ink in their blood.” Tylor is an outgoing sort who loves calling on new business clients and developing relationships. “It’s all about what you develop before any sale takes place,” he says. He’s inherited his dad’s propensity for having way too many ideas in a day.
An entrepreneurial sort, Tylor started and operated his own small business for a few years on Lake Vermilion, Vermilion Odd Jobs, which provided an assortment of services to cabin owners. It was kind of a normal progression for the youngster who was responsible for lawn-mowing as a kid.
VICKY JUNTUNEN: Business Manager
Vicky is our business manager. This doesn’t even come close to encompassing the breadth of her responsibilities, which are too many to list, but sometimes includes balancing the personal checkbook of our Chief Financial Officer. So, basically, we think that means that Vicky is the real CFO around here; we’re not sure.
With almost as many years in the newspaper business as Scott and Jeff, Vicky is invaluable to the smooth operation of Hometown Focus. She is sometimes alternatively referred to as The Classified Queen, or Queen Victoria.
Vicky recently revealed to us during lunch in the break room that she is a former Cherry High School cheerleader. This ignited a spirited conversation among the staff that we are sorry cannot be repeated in this brief bio.
Connect the dots…Hometown Multi Media Partners, LLC, spanning three generations.
IMAGINATION…It never fails to make you think, and it always makes you listen.
EDUCATION…You want to build a relationship? It starts by telling the truth. That’s when the real fun starts. Creativity is our passion, but we do have another love—independence. With zero absentee owners or outside investors, we’re free to focus solely on our work.
COMMUNICATION…Which is good, because there’s a lot of work to focus on: advertising, interactivity, relationship marketing – retail, brand, business-to-business – and leaving an impressive footprint your customers will remember.
MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS
We will help you integrate your marketing plans with effective communication techniques so that your price, place, promotions, and products are properly balanced to attract customers. Let us help you maximize and be consistent with your messege.
CONSULTING AND COACHING
Our research uses several different methodologies to advise and implement best practices to help businesses improve their performance in strategy, technology and organizational operations.
MEDIA RELATIONS AND BROADCAST
We will help you build meaningful relationships with key media outlets to enhance the publicity of your organization. This technique is unlike creating your own message with paid advertisement because our tools and expertise will help you develop a strategic mass media connection.
BRANDING AND CORPORATE IDENTITY
We will effectively improve your business brand, increase corporate identity, and design a logo that will leave an impressive footprint your customers will remember.
Entrepreneurial Vision Award:
Jeff Asbach and Scott Asbach – Hometown Focus.us, Virginia, MN