Rep. Bob Gunther

Rep. Bob Gunther, like Mr. Whipple, enjoys squeezing the Charmin — and periodically poking a finger into the Pillsbury doughboy’s tummy. In fact, his calloused hands and fingers are into squeezing and poking nearly everything.

Ask 100 people outside his hometown of Fairmont and they will describe Gunther’s poking and squeezing 100 different ways. The grocery industry leans heavily on his savvy: he co-owns Gunther’s Foods in Fairmont and Elmore, and understands grocery issues in minute detail. To corporate executives he’s the razor-sharp yet unassuming Republican point man on many job training and workforce development issues.

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Ground Zero Services

At night when most southern Minnesota businessmen are snoring loudly and dreaming of sugar plum profits, New Ulm native Jon Gasner is roaring his machine across a Wal-Mart parking lot, gulping hot java, and trying to stay awake by shoulder shimmying to Alabama and Alan Jackson. Other than being a fastidious neatnik, buying a $35,000 vacuum sweeper in 1998 to begin a new business with no customers, purchasing the old UPS facility with no renters, and circumnavigating a messy divorce in 2001, Gasner’s story has little shine.

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