Connect Business Magazine

Since 1994: The Magazine for Growing Businesses in Southern Minnesota

CURRENT ISSUE: July 2018

Special Reports

Taking Care of Business, To Take Care of People

The Greater St. Peter area receives an injection of $46 million dollars that will expand not only the hospital there, but the local economy as well. “Solid infrastructure and modern healthcare facilities play a key role in the economic sustainability of rural communities – attracting new businesses, retaining population and providing opportunities for future growth,” says Brad Finstad, State Director for USDA Rural Development.

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A Day in the Life

Dustin VanHale

Today, Dustin VanHale has a thriving business with numerous employees. He’s come a long way from where he started, which was in his garage in Madelia mowing lawns part time as a high school student back in 2007. What started out as a part-time job to earn extra money, slowly grew and today Total Lawn Care and Landscape, with Dustin in the driver’s seat, brings attention to detail to everything that the company and its crews touches

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Cover Story

Pat Hentges LOCATION:

In the game of football, linebackers are often regarded as a key position in defense. Linebackers are known to be versatile, either providing hard hits on running plays or providing an additional layer of pass protection, whichever the situation calls for. Linebackers are required to use their judgment on every snap, to quickly determine their role after “reading” the offensive play. Why the sports primer in a business magazine? Because linebacker is a position that Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges knows well.

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Cownie Connection

National Independent Retailer Month

Elsewhere in this issue, we talk about the recently coined phrase “Retail Apocalypse.” Well, I want to throw out another one that I’ve embraced for decades now…“Retail Therapy.” This is the counterpoint to the national phenomena that is happening as large national retailers continue to struggle.

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Feature Story

The Refinery
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It’s being dubbed a “Retail Apocalypse”. The term refers to the closing of a large number of North American, large chain, brick-and-mortar retail stores. The trend started in 2010 and shows no sign of slowing in 2018. “As I look at these large retailers and department stores struggling, I feel as though so much of it comes from losing touch with their customers and worrying more about the statistics,” says Ashleigh Moelter.

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Feature Story

Spring Touch Lawn & Pest Control
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When Marv Kottke started mowing lawns 45 years ago, he didn’t imagine his customer base would eventually grow from two dozen to 12,000. He didn’t imagine he’d possess the help of more than 60 employees. He didn’t imagine running a fleet of 35 trucks, each with Spring Touch Lawn & Pest Control emblazoned on the side and equipped with tablets and printers. He didn’t imagine having anyone besides his parents to answer the phones, much less a call center with half a dozen employees doing only that.

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Hot Startz!

Hot Startz! features very new or reformed businesses in our reading area. Contact us to be considered.

True Commercial
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If there’s one thing that is evident about Jen True, it’s that she has a definite growth mindset. “After 15 years as a local residential sales agent, I decided to open a boutique real estate brokerage called True Real Estate. After just 2.5 years in operation we have satellite offices in Henderson, Lake Crystal, and Saint Peter,” says Jen True.

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Toppers and Trailers Plus
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Toppers and Trailers Plus has expanded and opened a new location in Le Sueur. With a soft opening in January, the Le Sueur location officially held its grand opening in April. “In Mankato, we do not have great street traffic by our location but in Le Sueur, there are so many people that drive by the store daily. This location allows people to see all of the trailers we have on display,” says Ella Andreasen.

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Fréy Salon and Spa
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With the vision of bringing a high-end salon and spa to the eclectic mix of other locally-owned, niche businesses on St. Peter’s main drag, Emily Schoper and Ashley Stanley brought the vision into focus. “St. Peter was a no brainer for us. We wanted to set ourselves up for success in a community that has a lot of great small businesses.”

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Editor’s Letter

Acting on Instinct

This issue of Connect Business Magazine features three very different people, in three very different industries. However, there are two things they all have in common: they have great instincts and they have a great love for southern Minnesota.

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