Tenant Spotlight – Acres & Shares

Hannah Olson from CFI sat down with the owner of Acres & Shares, Jayson Menke and interviewed Jayson regarding his business and him/his business’s relationship with CFI.

Who are you and what do you do at Acres & Shares?

“My name is Jayson Menke and I am the owner of Acres & Shares. At Acres & Shares, I sell farmland and broker land. The “Acres” portion of Acres & Shares is listing and selling farmland, while the “Shares” portion is managing sugar beet limited partnerships and selling American crystal sugar company beet stock. As I have been along my journey, I have seen my role as more of guiding sellers through the process and trying to make it as simple as possible for them.”

Share your background/entrepreneurial story.

“I am a farm kid from northeast North Dakota who wanted to get as far away from the farm as possible. I came to UND with the expectation of being a business management major, but after about five major changes, I ended up as a Sociology and Communication major with an emphasis in public relations. I did an internship with AgWeek Magazine and the Grand Forks Herald, so I kind of got back into farming and went down the writing path in my career. However, I transitioned into advertising sales soon after. In the spring of 2000, I found a good career opportunity in Grand Forks selling and managing land. Fast forward 22 years later and I am 3 ½ years into owning my own business, selling farmland, and working with American crystal beet stock.”

“Sometimes life doesn’t always go the way you want it to go. In this case, I was terminated from my previous job and I had a very short window of do I go and work for somebody? Do I take a sabbatical for a few months to figure this out? I believe that there are three top things of starting a company, visiting with an attorney, setting up the marketing side of the business, and finding office space. On my journey of finding office space, I found CFI. I started off as a virtual tenant for two months and then I took full-time space in January 2019.”

As an entrepreneur, what support do you see from the Grand Forks community?

“Part of it would be what I’ll call channels; attorneys, accounting, referrals. The network of small law firms at CFI, even though it hasn’t led to a deal, I’ve had some deals that they take a look at on the referral side. Grand Forks is a great base and community for my business due to my background and upbringing in northeast North Dakota.”

How has working with CFI helped your business so far?

“When I got started in this business in 2000, I would not have been able to do what I was doing by myself. One of the things that has helped my business, especially just getting started, is getting direction from Travis, the manager of technology at CFI. Helpful hints and tools such as Mail Chimp and QuickBooks, are inexpensive, but efficient tools for small businesses that have helped my business grow. Another being the meeting rooms, I can use the space and technology in the meeting rooms that I don’t have in my office.”

If you had to describe your journey in a few words, what words would you use?

“You got this.”

What entrepreneurial advice would you give to someone trying to start their own business?

“There are sacrifices and hard work that go into starting and running a business. Be uncomfortable, that is where you grow. A big part of owning a business is getting out of the mold of being comfortable compared to being uncomfortable, growing, learning, and creating new things.”

If you had to describe CFI in a few words, what words would you use?

“A great resource or tool is the first thing I think of when I think of CFI. CFI is a melting pot, meaning that the CFI community is full of people from different parts of the world where everyone is exposed to different cultures and ideas.”