Z. Sam Gault

Z. Sam Gault doesn’t own the biggest or by any means the most powerful bank in southern Minnesota, but his family has owned one in St. Peter, Minn., since the days of U.S. President Chester Arthur in the White House. He owns Nicollet County Bank, which in 2000 had nearly $100 million in assets. And Gault tenders an excellent interview: often his answers are sharper than Lizzie Borden’s axe.

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Fairmont Sentinel

For a businessman trapped in a shrinking market, Gary Andersen remains remarkably optimistic.

Andersen is publisher of the Sentinel, a daily newspaper that’s been serving Fairmont and its surrounding trade area in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa since 1874. Fairmont, long regarded as one of Minnesota’s most attractive little cities, lost some of its shine in recent years. In many ways the booming ’90s skipped most rural areas, where population shriveled, retail stores closed and farm families left the land.

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