Maggie Knier, 2True Headbands

Even though she has not yet graduated college, Minnesota State University, Mankato student Maggie Knier is a veteran business owner. She started 2True Headbands when she was just 14 years old. Now a junior in college she has had some success in online sales of her headbands. But, with college graduation looming, she feels ready to take the next step. “I’ve had a desire to make it big and be successful since I was young, but always felt like it was unachievable from my current position. I would dream these big dreams, but then just wait for them to happen on their own instead of making them happen.” says Maggie Knier.

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Shane Nelson, Genesis Construction Group

In the 1700s the word entrepreneur entered our vocabulary, meaning adventurer. While the meaning has been honed over the centuries and is now widely regarded as one who launches and runs a new business. However, entrepreneurs remain adventurers at heart. Taking on great risks based on an idea or expertise one has developed in hopes of making a profit. In this issue, we feature a Lake Crystal entrepreneur whose “adventure” started very early in life.

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Blue Skye Mercantile

One of the latest additions to the landscape along Belgrade Avenue in lower North Mankato is Blue Skye Mercantile, formerly known as Arizona Olive Oil Co. “We changed the name in January. It is just an extension of our brand Blue Skye Farms and Blue Skye Shared Commercial Kitchen. We sell the produce we grow right in the store, as well as baked goods from our kitchen. You can still get the great oils and vinegars that AZOO sold,” explains Lisa Phillips, who owns the store with her husband Marty. 

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Data Noir, LLC

Market research may be a business tool many companies don’t have the time or expertise to undertake. Mat Willner hopes to fill that niche with his new business Data Noir, LLC. “Through market research I deliver new clients, investment opportunities, or employees. I qualify them, speak with them, and then facilitate meetings,” explains Data Noir owner Mat Willner.

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Lorin Krueger – Sailor Plastics

When Mankato native Lorin Krueger drives across southwest Minnesota, he sees more than small towns dotting the map. He sees opportunities.“It’s amazing, isn’t it? I have lived here my whole life, but as I’ve gotten out and around more in southwest Minnesota I find there are a lot of really neat businesses. Last month Connect talked about River City Eatery in Windom. That is a neat business. The Worthington area is really starting to pick up.

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Mankato Golf Club 100th Anniversary

There are many business tools available today that weren’t around 100, 40 or even 10 years ago: smart phone apps, Skype meetings, and super high-speed internet just to name a few. Nowadays there are a LOT of high-tech ways business gets done. However, there is a more traditional business tool that is still thriving, a good old-fashioned way to get business deals made. It’s not in a conference room or an office building…but on a golf course.

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1 Million Cups Initiative in Mankato

Diversity, equity, inclusion. There is a movement sweeping the nation that relies on these three words to bring entrepreneurs together and to elevate them in their communities. It’s known as 1 Million Cups. Founded in 2012 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, it’s based on the notion that entrepreneurs – and all business relationships really – develop over a million cups of coffee. Along with a little conversation.

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