Photos: Art Sidner
Le Center: Cornerstone Pizza & Pasta
Jim Weber and Joe Leinpz opened Cornerstone Pizza & Pasta at 2 East Minnesota in March. Weber was a local pharmacist, his family has owned the “2 East” building for more than 100 years, and he wanted to start a hometown restaurant on site. His partner, Leinpz, owns a local construction company.
Their manager is 24-year-old Barb Schwartz. “I’ve worked in the restaurant industry off and on since age 16,” said Schwartz in a telephone interview. “For two years, I was the general manager of Pizza Ranch in Le Sueur.”
She grew up on her family’s organic dairy farm in Le Sueur and periodically returns to help her father milk cows. Her mother is a florist. She learned hard work growing up on the farm.
As for managing a restaurant, she said, “I love getting to meet the people sitting at the tables. I’ve always worked in smaller communities in which the same customers keep coming back and I like getting to know them by name. In terms of the business aspect, there is the challenge of trying to make a restaurant profitable in a small town, but I definitely enjoy trying.”
The restaurant has dine-in, delivery, take-out, and take ‘n bake. The menu includes pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. For pizza, the restaurant uses a 50-year-old brick oven that “gives the pizza great flavor,” said Schwartz. So far, customers seem to like the “Philly cheese steak” sandwich best. Their menu has gone through three revisions already as the owners and Schwartz discern customer preferences.
Hours: 11-9 M-Th, F-Sat 11-10:30, Sun 3-9. Telephone: 357-4449.
Sleepy Eye and Springfield: Body Healing By Suzanne Kral
After graduating from Sleepy Eye Public in 1979, Suzanne Kral first worked in the Army National Guard doing office work, then as a nurse’s aide, a daycare owner, and finally seven years ago as a nurse’s aide again. While working in an Anoka nursing home four years ago, a physical therapist friend suggested she start a career as a massage therapist.
“So I went to the University of Minnesota to learn massage therapy and graduated in 2008,” said 49-year-old Kral in a telephone interview. “I learned in the nursing home that touch was just so important to the patients and the nurses didn’t have time to do it. There is a time for the loving touch, which older and sick people often really need. You rub someone’s shoulders and they feel like a million bucks.”
Following a divorce, she moved back home to Sleepy Eye two years ago and began specializing in geriatric massage in nursing homes. She branched out into hospice massage. About a year ago, she opened an office in Springfield at 11 N. Marshall and last December in Sleepy Eye at Curves at 902 Main East.
She said massage could be helpful for people with diabetes, headaches, arthritis, restless legs, post-traumatic stress disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease; children with autism or ADHD; people involved with sports; and people seeking relief from situational stressors. She uses these massage techniques: deep-tissue, Swedish, cupping, wellstone, reflexology, lymph-drainage, and pregnancy massage.
She said, “I just love to make people feel relaxed and to help them reduce stress.” Kral is married and has five children, including three stepchildren.
Hours: Call for appointment, 240-2112.
New Ulm: Prairie’s Edge Landscapes
For three years, Andy Budahn and Matt Furth (son of former AMPI executive Mark Furth) worked side-by-side in the Twin Cities. In April 2010, the two began Prairie’s Edge Landscapes in New Ulm.
“I always liked playing with dirt when I was a kid and was always outside,” said 25-year-old Budahn in a telephone interview. Later as a teenager, he also enjoyed a horticulture class taught by Mr. Stuckey at New Ulm High. After graduating in 2003, he went on to Central Lakes College in Brainerd with the intent of eventually working his way into the Department of Natural Resources, but ended up studying horticulture and landscape design.
“After school, I worked four years for a company in the Twin Cities,” he said. (Three of those four were with Furth.) “I did the design and install for the company. We were in the suburbs and we did everything from sprinkler systems to patios and planting.”
Today, their business does landscape design and installs concrete paver patios, retaining walls, plantings, waterfalls, fountains—general landscaping, he said. They offer concrete pavers, for example, from Anchor, Borgert, and Willow Creek.
What does he like about his work? He said, “I enjoy being outdoors, but also looking at the finished product. It’s a good feeling looking at my finished work—it’s awesome. I guess (feeling that) satisfaction is the whole part of it for me.”
At a recent job, the two installed block steps, 725 square feet of pavers, a freestanding wall, and two pillar units with outdoor lighting. Another job involved a paver patio with block steps and some edging rock, and three hydrangeas.
Web: prairiesedgelandscapes.com; Telephone: 491-3553; Address: 114 N. Franklin.