Connect Business Magazine

Since 1994: The Magazine for Growing Businesses in Southern Minnesota

Summer

By • Sep 2008 • Category: Off-The-Cuff

Summer has not been hot a lot, and we have a beautiful leafy September yet to come, which translates to even more free time to read the latest Connect Business Magazine. Hope you enjoyed Labor Day. Buckle your seat belts and away we go………

First: Remember to enter your nominations for Connect Business Magazine 2009 Businessperson of the Year by noon October 1. (See page 6 for instructions. We have streamlined the nomination process.) Yet again, Minnesota State University business professors will be our judges and their top three selections will be featured in the January issue of Connect Business Magazine. Last year, our judges chose Jeff Thom of All American Foods…………..Why nominate a colleague as Business Person of the Year? A couple months ago, the Editor was having dinner at Red Lobster in Mankato. Clint Brown of Industrial Construction Services in St. James was there with his family and ambled over to our table. Brown came in second in our Business Person of the Year 2008 contest. A company that hadn’t been aware of his business read our story on him, he said. The payoff: the company gave him a $1 million order…………

Next, note our new “Connect Bulletin Board” that will permanently replace Connecticators and our stock page. The changes more appropriately fit the mission of Connect Business Magazine, which is to “connect” southern Minnesota businesses through features, interviews, news, and advertising. Any chamber, convention and visitors bureau, or economic development organization within our reading area can post anything on our Connect Bulletin Board for free each issue. Contact us for details……….

In mid-June, the Nature Valley Grand Prix bike race buzzed Blue Earth County. Most southern Minnesotans don’t seem to fully grasp the magnitude of this major bike race, as if it can’t be a great one because it’s here. The Editor watched near Rapidan Dam as tired bikers huffed and puffed past his mother-in-law’s home, which was only a stone’s thrown from the bikers’ nourishment station………Volunteering at that station this year was Gary Kratzke of Matt J. Graif Clothing, who was driving a sweet, flaming-red Pontiac Solstice convertible. In case you don’t know, Matt J. Graif Clothing recently moved a few doors down to 111 East Hickory………

In late July, 51-year-old Vanyo Moody, who owns a 45-bed assisted living facility, several specialty chemical companies, and co-owns Mankato-based Computer Technology Solutions. Another Moody company will most likely be developing the former Marigold site in downtown North Mankato, vacant since 1991. Moody has received preliminary approval to purchase it from the Port Authority………His Phase One will include a four-story building with ground floor space for Computer Technology Solutions, a second floor with office and professional lease, and two upper floors of residential condos that will be sold by Century 21 Atwood Realty. Currently, Computer Technology Solutions has 14 employees crammed into 2,000 sq. ft. and desperately needs room. Depending on the bidding process and necessary approvals, Moody could complete Phase One in late 2009………..In a Connect Business Magazine telephone interview, Moody said he had been working on the project seventeen months. Phase Two could include a multi-level underground parking garage and other construction. His vision for the property also includes retail shops and “possibly even a hotel”……….

North Mankato City Administrator and Port Authority Vice President Wendell Sande said in a telephone interview, “The Port Authority has always wanted to use this (Marigold) property as a linchpin for downtown redevelopment. This (Moody project) is exactly what we have been looking for in downtown.” Sande noted 2008 was stacking up as North Mankato’s best new commercial and industrial construction year in a while, including projects for Walgreen’s, North Central International, Building Fasteners, and a Caterpillar dealer………



More for North Mankato: The Editor was there in July for the dedication of Fallenstein Field, the new home of SMILES Miracle League, a baseball league for children with disabilities. The field, which adjoins the Caswell Park complex on Highway 14, provides a safe venue to play. I was also there later that week to watch competitive wheelchair softball games involving teams from Chicago, Omaha, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and other cities. Fallenstein Field right now is the nation’s top accessible ballpark and ultimately will bring thousands of visitors to the region……..According to Red Door Creative co-owner Stacey Straka, also Mankato Area Foundation president: “When Al and Erla (Fallenstein) passed away, they left funds to the Mankato Area Foundation. Initially, we (Mankato Area Foundation) gave more than $40,000 from this fund to the (Fallenstein Field) project and last fall another $100,000. We now not only have a great facility for area citizens to use, but also a world-class field that will showcase our community to visitors around the world. Fallenstein Field speaks to the progressive nature of our community in becoming a regional center”………

Driving into Henderson to visit Closing The Gap, the Editor took note of the attractive downtown. For an out-of-the-way place, 800-population Henderson really has a unique blend of metro-like niche businesses, including Closing The Gap, EdVisions (featured Mar. ’05), and Healthcare Academy (featured Nov. ’05)…………

Finally, do you enjoy reading local history? The Editor has finished Unique Mankato!, a 217-page book featuring the “incredible forgotten stories” of Mankato, including those of Moses Wickersham, Julia A. Sears, Maud Hart Lovelace, U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Sinclair Lewis, the Mankato Tigers Negro baseball club and band, Peter Ferguson Sr., the Green Gables tornado, and the visits of Presidents Taft and Truman. To purchase this easy-to-read, enjoyable book, visit www.danieljvance.com. See you next issue………

is a former Editor of Connect Business Magazine
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