Brian Stark

In many ways, starting a business is like creating a piece of art: building a company often involves bringing together different “materials,” then honing and crafting them to meet the vision of what the entrepreneur wants the business to be.

An artist will first sketch a thumbnail of their project, much like an entrepreneur creating a business plan. An artist will then compose the basic elements needed to get the project going, much like a start up securing financing, a location, employees. Then the artist will start creating, one step at a time, adding detail and sometimes going in a different direction than the original sketch, much like a business owner finding the perfect niche for them.

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Action Company

You might as well call Jim Swenson of Marshall “The Action Man.” Anchored by Action Sports, a complete motor sports and marine servicing and selling dealer located near the intersections of Minnesota Highways 23 and 59, Swenson has several businesses – from landscaping and design to storage and automobiles – all operating under the “Action” name. It all started in 1979 when his father, Tim Swenson, purchased Marshall Small Engine and Repair in downtown Marshall.

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LCS Precision Molding

Around this region, Waterville, Minnesota is known as the home of Kamp Dels, the Sakatah Lake State Park and an eclectic mix of charming restaurants and bars. Mixed in with the small town feel of Waterville, population 1,945, is a player in the global injection molded plastics market: LCS Precision Molding, Inc. Reed Hart, owner of the now four-decade, family-owned operation, is proud of its location and the jobs its provides for the community.

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Mari Harries, River City Eatery

Mari Harries describes herself as more of a dreamer. She will tell you, the sheer desire to make her dream a reality pretty much directed every business decision she has had to make. “I’m a dreamer, always have been, almost to a fault,” she says. “River City Eatery is my dream, my heart and my soul, and I’m determined to make River City Eatery a story to tell among the respected stories of the history of downtown Windom.”

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Exclusively Diamonds

After 38 years in business, Exclusively Diamonds continues to grow prompting a move to a bigger space at 1601 Adams Street in Mankato. “The larger showroom has a more extensive Rolex buildout, increases our bridal/engagement ring space, and provides ample space for us to host our annual Holiday Party and Ladies’ Night complete with live music and catering,” says Maria Person, Vice President of Exclusively Diamonds.

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2 Pins Bakery

With the opening of 2 Pins Bakery, Tony Friesen has come full circle in a career that has spanned three decades. “I’ve been in the baking industry for 30 years,” he explains. “Starting in my father’s shops, then at Hy-Vee and Friesen’s, and finally now my own shop: 2 Pins Bakery.” 2 Pins Bakery is a one-man show for Friesen. It opened in October on Belgrade Avenue in lower North Mankato.

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