This article is part of a series about the businesses located above Gabby’s Cafe. To read the rest of the stories, click here.

Those who know Dan Crask appreciate him for his thoughtful introspection. If he is willing to offer an opinion, you know he’s given it careful consideration and has six reasons to defend his perspective. He’s a professional critical thinker eager to help others plan for success, in both Crask businesses, Brand Shepherd and Body Shepherd.

In 2006, Dan and his wife Andrea created Brand Shepherd, a branding agency that helps build brands of all sizes with strategies for how best to present themselves—whether that’s on product packaging, websites, logos, app design, video or print. “At our core is guidance, which is why the shepherd word is used, and it’s what sets us apart,” says Dan. “I call us ‘expert generalists’ because we are experts in branding, yet not for one particular niche industry.”

Andrea is actually majority owner of and serves as CFO all while also managing their home and four kids. Their office is less than a mile from home, which means Dan can often be spotted hiking back and forth, or meeting clients at Gabby’s, the Meat Market, and Pastry Shop.

residents might not realize how much has shaped the and brands they experience every day. Brand Shepherd created Wyoming School District’s EZpay branding from scratch (including the UX and UI design for the web app used to manage a child’s money). They’ve developed a decade’s worth of Half-Day Café’s websites. “If you’re driving around or watching satellite TV and hear an ad for Dinovite, we’ve worked with them for over a decade,” says Dan, adding that backyard games from Driveway Games (available at Menards and Target) has been part of Brand Shepherd’s portfolio for over 12 years.

Another Shepherd

In June 2018, Dan also launched Body Shepherd after earning personal training certification credentials from the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM). His main is online coaching where he provides a custom plan for individuals based on an assessment for a goal (e.g., weight loss, mobility, strength, etc.). However, he also trains people at the Rec Center. “Suzanna Smith at the Rec Center was instrumental in encouraging me to become a personal trainer,” says Dan, “and I can’t thank her enough for the support and guidance.”

Guidance is also at the core of Body Shepherd. “I am convinced that most people who want a healthy, fit life do not want or need an in-person, one-on-one personal trainer,” says Dan. “I believe most people want and need a plan. One that’s made just for them, for their body and their goal.”

He describes a familiar scene: each January well-intentioned people walk into the gym, get overwhelmed by not knowing where to start, get frustrated, hop on a treadmill “for twenty mediocre minutes,” and leave. Within a month, they disappear from the gym. That makes Dan believe people just need a plan for what to do. “They’ve shown the initiative to get there. It’s not knowing what to do that fails them,” says Dan, “and Body Shepherd offers such a plan, such guidance.”

He’s a big believer in planning because that’s what worked for him. “Planning is how I left morbid obesity behind,” says Dan. “That didn’t just happen.” Developing, adhering to, and having the discipline to stick with a fitness and nutrition plan may be the biggest challenge for anyone who has decided to become fit and healthy, Dan says.

While Dan and Andrea prefer to give back without fanfare, when pressed they will share that sponsors the each year—mostly because Dan’s brother Chief Darin Crask, is a police officer and K9 officer in his home state of Illinois, and they recognize, “The police need as much support as we can offer.” Dan has volunteered for two years as ’s COO, and serves on the Recreation Commission, with a seat on the Greenways Commission, too.

As business owners who themselves in careful planning, Dan and Andrea have been working toward 5 goals they wrote up in 2013. As Dan notes, “Those five goals are just several spokes in a bigger wheel of applying the belief that guidance begins with us. We would be guilty of hypocrisy if we didn’t apply the need for guidance to ourselves.”

Andrea reflects, “Planning has helped us get to where we are now because we want to always be anticipating our clients’ needs before they know they are needs.”