St. Peter Woolen Mill and Mary Lue’s Yarn & Quilt Shop

Pat Johnson and Peggy Grey, two vivacious sisters who own a pair of southern Minnesota’s oldest family businesses, are day-brighteners.

If your mood’s been slightly skewed by corporate and stock market scandals, a snail’s pace economic recovery, pink slips, job outsourcing, bickering politicians, a couple of nasty wars and color-coded terrorism alerts, an hour with Johnson and Grey is an upbeat, uplifting 60 minutes. Two hours is even better.

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El Sarape

Today’s immigrants wear different faces than the pioneers who populated the sod houses and the prairie towns across southern Minnesota. But they struggle for the same opportunity, a chance to live better lives than in their homelands.

More than a century ago, an immigrant shopkeeper in the bustling railroad settlement of St. James might have been asked this question: “Wie sind Sie nach St. James hergekommen?” (How did you come to St. James?)

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Aerospace Systems

Forget your negative notions about the Defense Industry for a moment, especially your perceptions of fat contracts and shoddy quality.

Set aside your irritation at $650 toilet seats, backroom deals on supertankers, late deliveries and cost overruns. Instead, take a look at the industry from the perspective of Aerospace Systems in Fairmont and its general manager, Mike Wasmund.

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Center For Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Five years ago, Dr. Corey Welchlin faced an uncertain future as the only orthopedic surgeon in Fairmont.

He loved orthopedics and wanted to keep practicing in the town where he was born. But he suspected that the Mayo Health System planned to eventually import its own orthopedic specialists after buying the Fairmont Medical Clinic in 1996 and acquiring the Fairmont Community Hospital in 2000.

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