Co-owners Gina Zierke and Ryan Milbrandt doubled floor space at Blue Earth Drug when opening up a new retail building on US 169 about a year ago. Zierke had co-owned the business since 2000 with another pharmacist. Milbrandt bought in more recently.
Archive for January, 2014
Business Person of the Year 2014
Some people probably regard Mike Pinske’s business as being akin to a school child’s silly playground song during recess—as simple and fun. After all, how difficult could transporting adults around southern Minnesota be?
Jill Klooster and Kelly Begalka in October 2013 bought in as majority owners with what had been called Kitchenmaster & Co. Klooster joked in a telephone interview, “We’ve saved the Kitchenmaster name because of Bob’s (Kitchenmaster) longevity in this area, and have added our own names to let people know we don’t have anything to do with kitchen remodeling or appliances.”
Our second place finisher for Business Person of the Year, Julie Schmillen, executive director of Habitat for Humanity South Central Minnesota, grew up in St. James, Minnesota, and spent her early years learning to work and serving others. Her father and uncle owned Schmidt’s Bakery, a special stop for serious sugarphiles pining for deep-fried doughnuts, delicious desserts, and doughy breads. She began working for the family small business about age 11.
Pinske owns Mankato-based AmeriCare Mobility Van, and has been president of the Minnesota R-80 Medical Transportation Coalition and the R-80 representative on the governor-sponsored Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Advisory Council. His employees transport people to and from medical-related appointments in 14 southern Minnesota counties.
Our January 2014 issue means another Business Person of the Year award winner. The professors at the Minnesota State College of Business have done yeoman’s work the last ten years objectively judging our awards from nominees sent in by readers in September.