Tom Fallenstein – Runner-Up – 2007 Business Person Of The Year

The orange tuxedo—complete with top hat, cane and shiny shoes—is a dead ringer for the one Jim Carrey wore in the movie Dumb and Dumber. But when Tom Fallenstein puts it on to conduct a tour of Costumes Galore, his 9,000-square-foot business in downtown Mankato, the suit is the only similarity to Carrey’s ridiculously stupid character.

At 25, Fallenstein is president and CEO of a company doing more than $2 million in sales in 2006, including $1 million in October alone. Almost 99 percent of that business was conducted online, not out of the storefront he and his family operate on the south end of Mankato’s Front Street. And therein lies Fallenstein’s genius: He’s figured out how to work the Web.

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Larkspur Market

It’s easy to understand why Barb Haroldson regrets being confined to her office on the second level of 16 North Minnesota Street in New Ulm.

Downstairs, the rich aroma of hot coffee lingers in the air; the warmth of hot ovens filters through the space, mingling with the pleasant chitchat stretching from one end of the building to the next. Soft chairs and sturdy tables encourage friendly conversations over a wasabi chicken salad or a cup of Hungarian mushroom soup. The European street scenes painted along the walls provide a brief interlude from a gray winter day in southern Minnesota. And the customers come and go with cheerful greetings for the familiar faces behind the counters.

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