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GOLFERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD COME TO CHALLENGE THE JUDGE and the two other golf courses in Prattville at RTJ Capitol Hill. Bring your clubs and come take on Judge hole number 1, voted the favorite hole on the Trail. Complete your day in luxury at the Marriott and enjoy dining, firepits and guest rooms overlooking the Senator golf course. With the Marriott’s 20,000 square feet of meeting space, 96 guest rooms and luxurious Presidential Cottage combined with three world-class golf courses, business and pleasure can definitely interact in Prattville.

THE ROBERT TRENT JONES GOLF TRAIL AT CAPITOL HILL is home of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on the Senator Course September 18 to 24, 2014. The Marriott Prattville is part of the Resort Collection on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Visit or call 800.949.4444 to learn more.

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FEATURE S July 2014 Volume 9, Issue 7


Best of




Goods & Service






About the Cover

Using a trophy and lots of sunlit reflection, John Cross created this photo to represent the Best of Mankato.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 3




6 From the Editor Celebrate the best of Mankato 8 This Day in History 9 Your Style Marimekko’s flowers stay fresh 10 Chit Chat 13 The Gallery Rachel Compart,





Art Center of St. Peter

42 Raw Fusion 52 Garden Chat Sow lucky: Foretelling garden success 56 That’s Life Joie de vivre! 58 What’s Cooking Green beans: Best when burgled 60 Happy Hour An American amaro 62 Day Trip Destinations Fourth of July celebrations 64 Coming Attractions Events to check out in July 66 Your Health Another reason to get colonoscopies 76 From This Valley The old North End, part 2

Coming in August This month, we serve up the food issue. Of course, we’ll have a few recipes — but we’ll also get some insight from the pros, some weight-loss inspiration and an introduction to the livestock farming lifestyle. Join us, and bring a dish to share.

62 4 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


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From The Editor


July 2014 • VOLUME 9, ISSUE 7 PUBLISHER James P. Santori EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE Tanner Kent EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS Nell Musolf Pete Steiner Jean Lundquist Sarah Johnson Drew Lyon Heidi Sampson Gillian Needham Jill Roesler Lindsy O’Brien Leticia Gonzales PHOTOGRAPHERS John Cross Pat Christman PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING Ginny Bergerson MANAGER ADVERTISING Jen Wanderscheid Sales Theresa Haefner ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey


Mankato Magazine is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South Second St., Mankato MN 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $35.40 for 12 issues. For editorial inquiries, call Tanner Kent at 344-6354, or e-mail For advertising, call 344-6336, or e-mail

6 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

By Joe Spear

Celebrate the Best of Mankato Mankato Magazine reaches milestone


ou are holding in your hands the largest edition of Mankato Magazine that we have ever produced. This month’s 80-page “catalogue” comes to you with the help of our annual “Best of Mankato” features. As we have done for the past several years, we put out a call for area residents to vote for their favorite restaurant, business or service provider. It’s a way to not only give readers a voice in selecting special people and places in Mankato, but also a way to celebrate the success of local businesses and other organizations. The world is changing. From Mankato to Minneapolis, from New York to L.A., from Frankfurt to Tel Aviv, the news is not always good. New wars start. Old wars come back. Strife. Danger. The world can be a scary place. We’re somewhat insulated from those realities every day in the relatively safe communities of southern Minnesota, but we are reminded of the dangerous world we’ve agreed to take part in when we see our soldiers come home from Afghanistan or elsewhere. So, in that context, it’s not a bad idea to get some positive vibes going about the place we live. The “Best of” issue can help with that. There are many inspirational stories of the people behind businesses we might take for granted. Many have faced struggles and the trials of running a business or adapting to an economy we know is volatile. The stories of those recognized as “Best of” often contain emotional elements. People running their own business often have deep and personal motivations. They have commitments driven by something that happened to them in their lives, something they experienced or something they were inspired by. We think you will find the stories interesting and surprising, in some cases. We’re also turning the page a bit at

Mankato Magazine. Associate Editor Tanner Kent, who has been the dayto-day content editor for the magazine for a couple years now, will be leaving the employ of The Free Press Media. He is taking on a job as a proofreader for a marketing business in the Twin Cities. We wish him and his family well. He has really been the driving force for the quality of the magazine. He has been diligent and creative. His work was recently recognized in a survey we took of our magazine readers. By almost all accounts, the magazine got rave reviews from readers. Nearly 60 percent of readers say they read the entire magazine every month. That is a pretty incredible number for a media form that is usually designed to be browsed. We couldn’t find many readers who could tell us what to improve about the magazine. Most said “Just keep putting out the same great magazine.” Other comments included: “look forward to receiving it,” “love it!” and “I wouldn’t change anything, really!” It’s always a challenge to keep the magazine new and fresh and interesting to read. We received some feedback on our survey about different topics readers would like to read more about. Food and wine are on the list. That shouldn’t be hard given the growing avenues in the Mankato area for both. In two years, Mankato Magazine will be 10 years old. It’s hard to fathom. Time flies to be sure, but we hope you slow down and read all the narratives of people who make where we live interesting, unique and fun.


Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at or 344-6382 or on Twitter @jfspear.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 7

This Day



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July 7, 1932: Early on this morning, a man attempted to abduct Betty Jane Eickholdt, the 7-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Eickholdt. At about 1:30 a.m., Mrs. Eickholdt heard a noise in the sun porch where her two children were sleeping. When she switched on the light, she saw a man wearing a light top coat and hat bending over Betty’s bed. When Mrs. Eickholdt screamed, the intruder ran. Neither she nor her husband got a good description of the kidnapper and no clues were found at the scene. July 11, 1893: On the eve of a highly publicized bicycle race in Mankato, the Mankato Daily Free Press reported that someone sneaked into the Saulpaugh Hotel where riders were staying and punctured several tires. The paper reported that it took the “entire forenoon to repair On the eve of a bike race in Mankato in 1893, someone sneaked into them” while the the Saulpaugh Hotel (pictured) and punctured several tires. | Photo Saulpaugh swore that courtesy of Blue Earth County Historical Society an employee wasn’t responsible. The local cycling association offered a $25 reward while the newspaper condemned the attack thus: “We are loath to believe that there is anyone in the city who would do such a mean, contemptible act.” G.A. Lewis won the 20-mile race that stretched out to Kasota and finished at the Presbyterian church with a time of 1 hours 14 minutes. July 13, 1901: Mankato resident George Washinton Yuba died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Mankato resident was born into slavery around 1830 on a Tennessee plantation. In June 1863, he escaped the plantation and joined the Union Army, where he earned an “excellent record” as a soldier. After the conclusion of the Civil War, he retired to Blue Earth County and worked for his old officer, Capt. John Reed Beatty. He eventually purchased an acre of land near the Mankato cement works (which he sold the day before he died to Judge Daniel Buck). He was considered an expert in cooking — “many a man in Mankato,” the newspaper article said, “can testify as to his excellence” — and was remembered as a “kind-hearted man, much thought of and respected by all who knew him.” July 17, 1893: Alexander G. Woodbury of Good Thunder was brought to Mankato for psychological examination after succumbing to the heat a few days earlier in a hayfield. According to the newspaper report, Woodbury was a “temperate, honest, quiet and inoffensive young man” who friends and family said became insane from the heat incident. He has “destroyed whatever his fancy led him to and people were beginning to be afraid of him.” Drs. Warner and James were summoned for the examination. July 19, 1898: Passengers aboard conductor Root’s train from Wells were witness to quite a scene. While the train crossed the Le Sueur River bridge, the brakeman thought he saw a girl drowning in the water. Root stopped the train and backed up to the bridge, at which point many of the passengers disembarked to watch events unfold. But rather than finding a young woman in distress, they found half a dozen of them swimming. According to the newspaper article, the “girls had apparently forgotten their bathing suits because they were arrayed in the simplicity of nature.”

Your Style

By Jura Koncius | The Washington Post

Marimekko’s flowers stay fresh for 50 years


n 1964, when Marimekko’s red-and-white poppy pattern Unikko was introduced, America was poised to embrace flower power. Since them, hundreds of items including tableware, sheets and sneakers have been produced in this bold print, whose name means “poppy” in Finnish. The pattern became an icon for Marimekko, the Finnish company founded in 1951 by Armi Ratia that brought energy and innovation to the field of textile design. The 50th anniversary of Unikko, designed by Maija Isola, is being celebrated with a recently opened exhibition at the Finnish Embassy in Washington and a new product launch. The exhibit highlights a collection of Unikko ceramics, household products and dresses, and shows various color schemes it has manufactured since 1964. A limited-edition 50th anniversary collection of trays, pitchers, pillows, bags and other Unikko items debuted this month online and in the six American Marimekko stores. “Marimekko is close to our soul,” said Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Finnish ambassador to the United States, at the opening of the exhibit last week. The embassy used tablecloths of several Unikko color schemes for the reception, and a number of guests wore Marimekko dresses. “The bright colors and the courageous designs all speak to our lifestyle.” We spoke by phone last week with Isabelle Cadieux-Fabian, president of Marimekko North America, about the history of the popular brand and the company’s future. Here is an edited transcript:

Q: Why has this particular pattern had such staying power for Marimekko? A: The pattern came out after Armi Ratia, the owner and founder of Marimekko, declared that Marimekko could never do floral prints. That was when designer Maija Isola, who was a bit of a rebel, created a collection of florals, one of which was Unikko. The pattern was produced, and it’s very graphic and very in tune with the DNA of the company. Over the years, it has been done and redone in more than 100 colorways. Through new colorations, it evolved and has always remained popular. Q: What are some of the future plans for the company? A: We want to increase our footprint in the retail industry. We are planning to open new stores. We have a partnership with Banana Republic for a collection of limited-edition clothing and accessories. We want to find ways to bring the brand to customers in new ways. Q: Do you own anything in the Unikko print? A: I’m working at home this morning, so I can tell you that on my dining room table is a large Unikko tablecloth of pink and orange flowers on a dark brown background. I have orange leather chairs around it. It brings so much energy to the room. I thoroughly enjoy it. Everyone always comments on it. Q: Why is Marimekko timeless? A: Its essence resonates with real values. It’s about happiness and being oneself, not pretending. Once you are connected with those values, they become part of your life — like my tablecloth. This is something that represents who I am, and when I have people over, they see brightness and happiness.

A Marimekko caftan from Banana Republic, which has a partnership with Marimekko for a collection of limitededition clothing and accessories. | Photo by Banana Republic MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 9

Chit Chat

Jog plus dog: Tips for staying safe


o maximize health, safety and fun, consider these suggestions: • Puppies should not run long distances while their bodies are still developing; it could stress their joints and damage forming bones. Older dogs with any physical limitations that make running painful or unsafe also should not run (check with your vet). • Take your dog’s breed into account; smaller dogs and brachycephalic dogs (those with short noses and pushed-in faces) will tire more quickly than larger dogs and those bred to hunt or herd. • To avoid accidentally yanking on your dog’s neck and to maximize comfort, try a harness rather than a collar. • Never run your dog when the weather’s too hot; dogs have poor temperature selfregulation and overheat easily (plus, they have fur coats on). • Ease your dog into running. It needs to be conditioned just as you did when you began running, plus its paw pads must be toughened gradually. • Always bring water. • Familiarize yourself with signs of overheating to avoid a potentially life-threatening situation. • On hot days, stick to grass, earth and shade, because pavement can quickly reach paw-searing temperatures (when in doubt, hold the palm of your hand to the pavement for five seconds). • Make sure your dog has an ID tag with your phone number in case you get separated. • Use a regular five- or six-foot leash to keep your dog close by. • Train your dog to stay by your side by first teaching loose leash walking and/or “Heel,” then work up to varying your pace. • Teach your dog the “Wait” cue and reinforce attentiveness to you to help prevent trip-ups and other potential dangers. • Give your dog a chance to relieve himself before you head out for your run. Bring bags to clean up. Nora Krug, The Washington Post

A taste of South American wine


.S. foodies love wines from South America. We think of them as rich, fruity, friendly to our palates and pocketbooks. Some recommendations:

Uruguay • 2012 Bodega Garzón Tannat, Garzón Region, Uruguay: powerful and aromatic, with flavors of red raspberries and bittersweet chocolate; $20. • 2013 Bodega Garzón Albariño, Garzón Region, Uruguay: steely and lean, with floral aromas and citrus flavors; $17. • 2013 Bodega Garzón Sauvignon Blanc, Garzón Region, Uruguay: crisp and lively, with aromas and flavors of white grapefruit; $17. Chile • 2009 Santa Rita “Medalia Real” Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile: (95 percent cabernet sauvignon, 5 percent cabernet franc): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black cherries, vanilla and spice; $20. • 2012 Santa Rita “Medalia Real” Chardonnay, Leyda Valley, Chile: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of citrus and vanilla, lush fruit; $18. 10 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

• 2012 Concha y Toro “Casillero del Diablo” Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, Central Valley, Chile: toasty oak, aromas and flavors of black plums and spice, hearty and full-bodied; $11. Argentina • 2013 Alamos Torrontés, Salta, Argentina: floral aromas, flavors of lychees and white peaches, crisp and light; $13. • 2013 Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina: aromas and flavors of black cherries, dark chocolate and herbs; $13. • 2010 Trapiche “Finca de Escobar” Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina: soft and lush and intensely fruity, with aromas and flavors of black cherries, mocha and mint; $50. Fred Tasker, McClatchy-Tribune

Packing the perfect picnic


ummer is the time for picnics. And to help plan the perfect picnic basket, we asked Jim Vonderharr, cheese buyer for the St. Peter Coop and known as the coop’s “Cheese Whiz,” for some suggestions. Since retiring from the corporate world, Vonderharr has been the cheese buyer for the coop for the past eight years and said that the best part of his job is getting paid to taste, buy and smell some of the best cheeses in the world. “What constitutes a successful picnic basket?” Vonderharr asked. “We suggest simplicity — not too fragile and contents that are able to survive without refrigeration.” • Climate friendly: Vonderharr recommended avoiding items that contain mayonnaise or ones that become watery at warmer temperatures. “Bread, crackers, cured meats and cheeses are good choices for the ‘main course,” Vonderharr said. “Fruit and chocolate for dessert and your favorite beverage — wine, beer, sparkling water— to wash it all down.”

• Follow the protein: “Your choice of protein will dictate your bread or cracker options. Spreadable or semi-soft cheese pair well with a crusty baguette while harder cheeses like Gouda and cheddars work well with crackers,” Vonderharr said. Crackers should be on the milder side so as not to overpower the flavor of the cheese. The same is true for meats: baguettes should be used for spreadable meats such as pates while crackers work better for harder products like salami and summer sausage. • Tasty additions: Fruits are ideal for picnic baskets as they travel well. Chocolate is also a good traveler with dark, rich chocolate being a traditional choice. • Details, details: Vonderharr’s final suggestions to make a picnic basket complete: be sure to bring a knife for slicing cheese and meat, a spreader for softer fare, a board or platter for holding the meal, a beverage opener, napkins and a blanket. “Don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen!” Vonderharr added. “Life can’t get much better!” Nell Musolf

The farmers market pizzeria 10 specialty pizzas you can build at the market


n the mood for a pizza night but don’t want to get too stuffed? Stop by the Mankato Farmer’s Market from 3:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays to shop for the tastiest, freshest veggies for your pizza toppings. Start with your favorite crust, sauce and cheese and then load up with one or two of the following combos — much of which is grown right here in southern Minnesota. Here are some pairing suggestions to get you started:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Carmelized onions, fresh thyme and black olives Assorted fresh mushrooms and spinach (or, try paper-thin zucchini slices) Cherry tomatoes, roasted eggplant and fresh basil leaves Roasted red peppers and fennel with pesto Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese Assorted fresh herbs, thinly sliced heirloom tomatoes and roasted diced beets 7. Fresh thyme, caramelized onions, goat cheese and halved grapes 8. Blanched asparagus and smoked cheese 9. Sweet corn, peas, small diced carrots and tomatoes 10. Jalapenos, tomatoes, green onions, black olives, black beans and sour cream Sarah Johnson

For a fresh take on pizza, shop for toppings at the farmers market. Pictured is mushroom and spinach pizza. Flickr photo MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 11

The Gallery

MSU announces 2014-15 theatre productions The Minnesota State University Department of Theatre and Dance has announced the following productions for its 2014-15 season:

The Frye (second and third from left) participated in a Mad Ripple Hootenanny in March at Harriet Brewing in Minneapolis. A similar event will be held July 5 at Mankato Brewery. | Photo courtesy of The Frye

A real Hoot

Mankato Brewery hosting Mad Ripple songwriting showcase


verything sounds a bit different during the Mad Ripple Hootenanny. At least it does from the perspective of Joe Tougas and Ann Fee, the acoustic songwriting duo known as The Frye that is participating in Jim Walsh’s songwriting showcase at 5:30 p.m. on July 5 at the Mankato Brewery. Joining The Frye will be Mankato’s Nate LeBoutillier of The Porchlights as well as Twin Cities musicians, Becky Kapell, Mary Beth Hanson, Doug Collins and John Soshnik. Walsh, who is a longtime Twin Cities journalist and author of two books on the iconic Minnesota band The Replacements, started Mad Ripple in 2007. As the story goes, Walsh was inspired to create his own forum for songwriters after having too many bad experiences with loud crowds and bad sound systems. During events, Walsh convenes a handful of songwriters to share their tunes before a live audience in a turn-based, hootenanny-style concert. The Frye participated in their first Mad Ripple in March at Harriet Brewing in Minneapolis. And though The Frye have been performing since 2006, Tougas said they have rarely felt more at home. “I felt like we were doing our songs for the first time,” he said. “It was sort of what you wish could happen all the time.” Underscoring the reverent musical mood is the fact that Mad Ripple events are often held in atypical settings for live music. Removing the music from the usual surroundings, Fee said, allows audiences to focus more on the nuance of songwriting. The Mankato Brewery, she said, is a fitting venue: “It’s a cool setting for other people who are doing something with craft.” The Mad Ripple Hootenanny is free but reservations are requested through the Mankato Brewery’s web site, Tanner Kent

12 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MAINSTAGE SEASON Disney’s Beauty and the Beast • 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2-4 & 9-11; and 2 p.m. Oct. 4, 5, 11 & 12 • Ted Paul Theatre To Kill A Mockingbird • 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-18 & 23-25; and 2 p.m. Oct. 19, 25 & 26 • Andreas Theatre Our Town • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6-8 & 13-15; and 2 p.m. Nov. 15 & 16 • Ted Paul Theatre Assassins • 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29-Feb. 1 & 4-7; and 2 p.m. Feb. 1, 7 & 8 • Andreas Theatre Life Is A Dream • 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-21 & 26-28; and 2 p.m. Feb. 28 & March 1 • Ted Paul Theatre The Pirates of Penzance • 7:30 p.m. April 9-11 & 16-18; and 2 p.m. April 18 & 19 • Ted Paul Theatre STUDIO SEASON A Piece of My Heart • 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17-20 • Andreas Theatre Gabriel • 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19-22 • Andreas Theatre boom • 7:30 p.m. March 25-28 • Andreas Theatre


• Subscriptions are $100 and available beginning in August and through Oct. 12. • Individual tickets for musicals are $22 regular, $19 discounted and $15 for current MSU students. Individual tickets for plays are $16 regular, $14 discounted and $11 for current MSU students. Individual tickets for Studio shows and dance concerts are $10 regular, $9 discounted and $8 for current MSU students. • Individual tickets for all shows go on sale in September •Available at; box office is open 4-6 p.m., MondaysFridays, or by calling 507-389-6661. Request a season brochure by calling 507-389-2118 or visiting

Venus in Fur • 7:30 p.m. April 22-25 • Andreas Theatre DANCE PROGRAM Fall Dance Concert • 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 & 2 p.m. Dec. 6 • Also with Student Dance Showcase 2 p.m. Dec. 7 • Ted Paul Theatre Spring Dance Concert • 7:30 p.m. May 1 and 2 p.m. May 2 • Also with Student Dance Showcase 2 p.m. May 3 • Ted Paul Theatre

Rachel Compart applies strong color and line to her art, which is often inspired by domestic themes. At top right is a portrait of Compart’s father expressed only in color, an example of her most recent explorations in color. | Tanner Kent

The language of color Arts Center of St. Peter hosting Rachel Compart exhibit By Nell Musolf


ne look at Rachel Compart’s art and it easy to tell that she is an artist who likes to make things colorful. Bright pinks, blues, greens and yellows fill her artwork creating cheerful images. Compart uses acrylics, gouache paint as well as watercolor and regular colored pencils for her work. “I love color,” Compart said. “I think it can be very symbolic and a useful tool in the language of visual art.” Compart recently started a series on color that was inspired by artist Josef Albers. Her series is a way for her to experiment with color to see how different color combinations impact each other and also the different affects color can have on a viewer. “I’ll do combinations of complementary colors or primary colors or leftover paint colors to see what is most appealing and eye-catching or sometimes to see what is the most subtle and still cool looking,” Compart said. “Art is a way for me to clear my head and relax. It is very satisfying and it makes me a happier person. If I go a couple of days without making something, I feel anxious and stressed out.” Compart believes that when it comes to knowing that a

work is completed, she subconsciously reverts to the basics and asks herself if there is enough contrast, line and color and does the piece have the right combination of busy and calm. “These sorts of questions will run through my mind as I study something that I think might be finished,” Compart said. “I don’t always ask these questions though. Sometimes I just know.” Compart, who grew up in Nicollet, has had recent shows at the Coffee Hag and is exhibiting a show at The Arts Center of St. Peter through July 13. In addition to being the mom of a 6-year-old, she is an adjunct instructor at Minnesota State University, teaches community classes at The Arts Center of St. Peter and works at the after-school program called ACES. “I love teaching art. I used to think it was a terrifying idea to stand up in front of people but it turns out I really like it,” Compart said. “I like the idea of community art classes. They have a certain kind of atmosphere that you can’t find in a university.” M MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 13


erhaps customer service is what sets these businesses and professionals apart. Perhaps it’s a rich history, or new innovations. Perhaps it’s the best prices in town, or the friendliest smile around. But there’s no doubting that these Mankato individuals and enterprises have caught the attention of Mankato Magazine readers. The winners were chosen through a write-in ballot distributed inside previous editions of the magazine. Readers were asked fill in their choices in dozens of different categories. All of the businesses and professionals chosen as Mankato’s best have reasons to tout their success. We can’t share them all in this limited space, but we hope you enjoy this smattering of history, advice and business insight from those who are setting the example in southern Minnesota. Without further ado, the Mankato Magazine presents: The Best of Mankato. 14 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

The Best of the Best Dining Best breakfast

Best of Mankato: Wagon Wheel Second: Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery Third: Weggy’s On Campus

Best lunch

Best of Mankato: Panera Bread Second: Olives Restaurant Third: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Best frozen dessert

Best pizza

Best of Mankato: Pagliai’s Pizza Second: Jake’s Stadium Pizza Third: Dino’s Pizzeria

Best Asian cuisine

Best of Mankato: Yu’s Chinese Cuisine Second: Asiana Buffet & Grill Third: Shogun Sushi and Hibachi

Best Mexican food

Best of Mankato: Dairy Queen Second: Frozen Yogurt Creations Third: Mom & Pop’s

Best of Mankato: El Mazatlan Second: Mexican Village Third: La Terraza

Best hamburger

Best place for a dinner date

Best steak

Best family restaurant

Best of Mankato: Boulder Tap House Second: Five Guys Burgers and Fries Third: Buster’s Sports Bar & Grill Best of Mankato: Pappageorge Second: Charley’s Third: Grizzly’s

Best seafood

Best of Mankato: Number 4 Second: Neighbor’s Italian Bistro Third: Pappageorge

Best of Mankato: Applebee’s Second: Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery Third: Pizza Ranch

Best fast food

Best of Mankato: Red Lobster Second: Pappageorge Third: Neighbor’s Italian Bistro

Best of Mankato: Culver’s Second: Chipotle Mexican Grill Third: Hardee’s

Best deli or sub shop

Best pub/happy hour

Best of Mankato: Erbert & Gerbert’s Second: Subway Third: Jimmy John’s

Best of Mankato: Pub 500 Second: Tav on the Ave Third: Blue Bricks

Best coffee

Best of Mankato: Caribou Coffee Second: Coffee Hag Third: Starbucks MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 15

Boulder’s Brown Sugar Smoked Cheddar Burger. | John Cross

Boulder burgers are better, bolder Best hamburger — Boulder Tap House


he best hamburger in Mankato, according to Mankato Magazine readers, can be found at 291 St. Andrews Drive. That’s the address for the Boulder Tap House, where

manager Paula Rathman has been at the restaurant since it opened in November 2012. Although a person can order a burger with just about anything and everything on it, Rathman says their best-selling burger is the Brown Sugar Smoked Cheddar Burger, one of 14 specialty burgers on the menu. The Brown Sugar Smoked Cheddar Burger is described on the menu as “House made cinnamon brown sugar bacon combined with smoked cheddar cheese, Pabst onions, and honey BBQ sauce. Probably the world’s best burger.” Another local favorite is the Stuffed Peanut Butter & Jalapeño Burger: “A 1/2 lb. burger stuffed with peanut butter and jalapeños, and topped with Brown Sugar Bacon on Grilled Sourdough.” Then there is the ultimate burger known as The Defibrillator, which is, “A double cheeseburger topped with cheese curds and smokehouse bacon, then made Tap House style: lettuce, tomato, pickles, relish, jalapeño peppers, banana peppers, sautéed mushrooms, fried onions, and our famous Burger Co. sauce.” The menu also offers appetizers, salads, sandwiches and a kids menu, plus a full-service bar. “There are always 38 beers on tap here,” Rathman says. And the selection is always changing. Sometimes, only one keg is purchased for unusual specialty beers and when the keg is empty, it is replaced by something else. — Jean Lundquist

Eggs, with a side of sports nostalgia Best breakfast — Wagon Wheel


t’s nearly impossible to walk into the Wagon Wheel Cafe without glimpsing the framed photos of the late Kirby Puckett hanging on the wall. The former Twins legend holds a special place in the heart of the cafe’s owner, Kevin Haefner. “Kirby was one of the best,” Haefner said, gesturing to the large poster of a chiseled Puckett titled “The Wrecking Ball.” Haefner met Puckett once, when Kirby, then-retired, appeared at the Twins winter caravan at the Kato Ballroom. “Kirby said, ‘Hey, look at this!’ to the rookies when he saw the poster we wanted him to sign,” Haefner recalled. “That other one from the (1991) World Series, An array of sports memorabilia line the walls at Wagon Wheel. | John Cross Jim Whitlock did that and I had it up here like six hours after he died.” give me stuff all the time,” Haefner said, pointing to a recent The colorful sporting decorations are ubiquitous at the addition, a Bob Uecker bobble head. “But the Twins memorabilia Wagon Wheel and have become part of the diner’s homespun is my favorite.” charm. Haefner was asked if he’s ever considered selling parts of his Look around and you’ll find sporting pennants, towels, balls, collection, or at least had its value appraised. bobble heads, cards, mugs, lighters, pins, hats, unopened packs His response was firm and unwavering. of chewing gum, stuffed animals and Christmas ornaments. “It’s not for sale,” he said. And that’s just the Twins swag. “We’ve got MSU stuff, Vikings and Gophers stuff. People — Drew Lyon 16 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Slice of downtown

Best pizza — Pagliai’s


ankato’s Pagliai’s pizzeria is getting a facelift. But hardcore fans shouldn’t worry. “Part of our secret is we don’t change much,” owner Jan Downs said, laughing. “People still eat here who came in the ‘70s.” Co-owner Jim Downs added: “We’ve just updating the curb appeal of the front of the building. The front glass will wrap around on the side and the door will be diagonal cut. We’ll have a wrap-around awning, too.” “And we are getting new bathrooms,” Jan said. “Since we’re in the middle of the mess, we might as well do it all.” Customers will likely be most excited about the new, wider sidewalks out front, which will make room for a patio. “It’s going to be beautiful out there,” Jim said. “There will be trees and landscaping. The city wants to create a pedestrian walkway. They are putting a lot of money into the project.” The updates come along with the new construction project happening next door. According to the Downses, Pagliai’s 100-year-old building needed to literally be cut apart from the construction site. “Since then, people keep coming by to see what’s going up or coming down,” Jan said. “That’s part of why business has stayed pretty solid through the construction,” Jim added. “We’ve also been really fortunate over 40 years to build a loyal customer base. People just keep finding their way back.” The Downses credit much of their success to their loyal customer base. However, they are also very dedicated to the quality of their products. “We buy the very best ingredients that we can,” Jim said. “We make everything fresh here. We make the sauce and the dough and slice the vegetables. We also try to provide excellent service, and our prices are fair.” The construction may seem like a mess, but the Downses are supportive of the project. “We’re glad to be part of the downtown,” Jan said. — Lindsy O’Brien

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 17

Serving up a whole new Yu’s Best Asian Cuisine — Yu’s Chinese Cuisine


u’s Chinese Cuisine has been a beloved family restaurant in Mankato for 17 years. Founded in 1995 by owner Kevin Yu, the restaurant got its start in St. Peter. But two years later in 1997, Yu’s moved to where it is still located on Monks Avenue in Mankato. Yu’s underwent a complete renovation in late 2014. The restaurant now offers a main dining room near the lunch buffet and a separate dining room for a more comfortable and laid-back dining experience. But it was not only the dining rooms that received a facelift — the entire kitchen is equipped with new appliances and the restaurant has an improved layout. Since the renovation, Yu’s has seen an increase in business. Perhaps the relaxed surroundings have made for an improved dining experience, but the same, great food that was served when the restaurant opened in 1997 is still served today. The “Authentic Szechuan and Mandarin Style” cuisine offers something for everyone. From beef and pork to poultry and seafood, even vegetarians can enjoy authentic Chinese dishes from Yu’s. Each entree is printed in the menu alongside a spice rating for those who either enjoy spicy food or for those who are sensitive to hot foods. Among the most popular choices for customers include the sweet orange chicken, the savory beef and broccoli and the spicy firecracker chicken. The Chinese restaurant is open for dine-in or takeout 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 4:30-9 p.m. on Sundays. Yu’s also offers a lunch buffet noon to 2:30 p.m. on Mondays-Saturdays. For no more than $8, customers can purchase up to two sides and three entrees as well as a fountain drink. — Jill Roesler

18 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Congratulations: We are proud to announce two Mankato Clinic providers were voted winners of Mankato Magazine Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Family Health Care Providers.



Congratulations to Dr. Dan Anderson and Dr. John Benson, and the entire Mankato Clinic health team. The Mankato Clinic offers complete health care services and a convenient location when and where you need it. Call 507-625-1811 to make your appointment.

MANKATO CLINIC 1-800-657-6944 •

Making Happy Home Owners! THANKS FOR VOTING! Nick Zuehlke #2 Auto Mechanic and

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check us out on Facebook! MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 19

Goods & Service Best place to take kids

Best of Mankato: Wow!Zone Family Entertainment Center Second: Sibley Park Third: Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

Best golf course

Best of Mankato: North Links Golf Course Second: Terrace View Golf Course Third: Mankato Golf Club

Best phone store

Best of Mankato: Verizon Second: Sprint Third: Best Buy

Best place to buy tires

Best of Mankato: Discount Tire Second: Tire Associates Third: R & R Tires

Best nail salon

Best of Mankato: Nails by Jordan Second: Liv Aveda Salon & Spa Third: TQ Nails Salon & Spa

Best rental store

Best of Mankato: A to Z Rental Second: G & K Rental Third: Lloyd Lumber Just Ask Rental

Best specialty printing

Best of Mankato: Insty Prints of Mankato Second: Paragon Printing Third: Minuteman Press

Best carpet cleaner

Best of Mankato: Vanderberg Clean Second: Terry’s Cleaning Services Third (tie): The Caretakers of Mankato, Shine Way Services

Best pet groomer

Best of Mankato: Fur’s a Flyin’ Second: Haute Dog! Pet Styling Studio Third: Scrubbing Bubbles Pet Salons

Best retirement facility

Best of Mankato: Primrose Retirement Communities Second: Oak Terrace Assisted Living Third: Pathstone Living 20 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Best florist

1. Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse Second: Hy-Vee Third: Becky’s Floral and Gift Shoppe

Best meat market

Best of Mankato: Schmidt’s Meat Market Second: Hilltop Meat Market Third: Hy-Vee

Best auto body shop

Best of Mankato: Jerry’s Body Shop Second: Gary’s Body Shop Third: Heintz Collision Center

Best auto repair shop

Best of Mankato: Austin’s Auto Repair Center Second: Mankato Motors Third: Nick’s Car Care

Best bank

Best of Mankato: Wells Fargo Bank Second: Minnesota Valley Federal Credit Union Third: U.S. Bank

Best barbershop

Best of Mankato: Apollo Hair Studio Second: Dan’s Barber Shop Third: Y Barber Shop

Best cabinetry

Best of Mankato: Cherry Creek Cabinetworks Second: Acorn Custom Cabinetry Third: Krohn’s Woodshop

Best computer repair

Best of Mankato: Mankato Computer Repair Second: Q Computers Third: Best Buy Geek Squad

Best construction company

Best of Mankato: Deichmann Construction Second: Goodrich Construction Third: Frentz Construction

Best employment agency

Best of Mankato: Express Employment Professionals Second: Manpower Third: Labor Ready

Best HVAC business

Best of Mankato: Northern Comfort Second: Schwickert’s Third: Davis Comfort Systems

Best place for a massage

Best of Mankato: Liv Aveda Salon & Spa Second: Indulge Salon and Tanning Third: Mankato Chiropractic

Best hotel/motel

Best of Mankato: Hilton Garden Inn Second: Courtyard by Marriott Third: Country Inn & Suites

Best law firm

Best of Mankato: Jones and Magnus Second: Leonard, Street and Deinard Third: Farrish Johnson Law Office

Best hair salon

Best of Mankato: Liv Aveda Salon & Spa Second: Raydiance Salon Third: Indulge Salon & Tanning

Best car wash

Best of Mankato: Snell Auto Wash Second: Gerring’s Mankato Car Wash Third: Kwik Trip

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Best electrical service

Best of Mankato: Steel Electric Second: Ploog Electric Third: Master Electric

Best plumbing service

Best of Mankato: Jordan Plumbing and Heating Second: Mr. Rooter Plumbing Third: Northern Comfort

Best tanning salon

Best of Mankato: Sun Tan City Second: Electric Beach Mankato tanning Salon Third: Indulge Salon and Tanning

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Best travel agency

Best of Mankato: Amber Pietan Travel Agency Second: The Travel & Cruise Center Third: Emerald Travel & Cruises

Best fitness center Best of Mankato: Mankato Family YMCA Second: Fitness For 10 Third: Planet Fitness

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 21

Top-of-mind barber

Best barbershop — Apollo Hair Studio


im Johnson was one of three barbers back in the days of the lower campus of then-Mankato State University When the upper and lower campuses consolidated on the hilltop, Johnson decided not to make that move. He thought Jim Johnson of Apollo Hair Studio opened his barbershop in 1975. | John Cross there would be no business during the slowest time on campus — summertime. Comfort is the ultimate goal of the hair pieces Johnson Instead, he moved to 109 North Broad St. and started provides. He takes a mold of the person’s head to make sure it Apollo Hair Studio in 1975 where he hoped he could attract a will fit correctly. With a sample of the person’s hair to match stronger community clientele. In 2014, Apollo Hair Studio has color and texture, it can take as long as four months to get the been voted “Best barbershop” in Mankato. piece back. Johnson considers his regular customers his friends. “There are others that are faster, but none is better than the “They may not think of me as a friend, but whatever they say company I use,” he said. in here stays in the barbershop,” he said. Johnson does not create hair pieces for women, though he Since nearly 40 percent of his business is hair replacement, does cut hair for some women. he considers that a crucial element of his business ethic. “I’ll only cut hair for the ladies that wear their hair shorter,” Johnson doesn’t do medical hair replacement or transplants. he said. Instead, he offers a hair piece that can come off every night at bedtime, or one that will stay in place for 24 hours a day for — Jean Lundquist four to five weeks.

Keeping clients secure Best bank — Wells Fargo


hile identity theft isn’t necessarily on the rise, the threat of a stolen identity is more prevalent in today’s society. That said, Wells Fargo works to keep ahead of identity thieves to help protect your money and your identity. Mark Murphy, the Wells Fargo East store manager, explains what Wells Fargo does for their customers to protect them from identity theft. An Identity Theft Protection plan is offered to customers with a credit or debit account for a monthly fee of $12.99. Services include: • Quarterly access to your credit account to watch for any changes in your credit. For an extra $3 per month, you can monitor your credit monthly. • Access to resolution specialists so if an issue does arise, they can walk you through the steps to get it resolved. • An insurance policy for your account so if identity theft occurs, you can take out a claim against that policy. • Credit and debit cards issued through Wells Fargo have zero liability against fraud when the cardholder notifies Wells Fargo of unauthorized use. Therefore, the customer will not be held responsible if a transaction is deemed fraudulent.

22 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

• You will be sent alerts, either by email or text message, if there have been changes to your credit report or if a new credit report has been pulled. If you have fallen victim to identity theft, Wells Fargo will file a claim with the company that accessed your account. The company must then prove that it was the customer who made the transaction. If they cannot prove the customer made the transaction, the claim is processed within 7-10 days. If Murphy could give any advice to Wells Fargo customers, he suggests that monitoring your credit on a monthly or quarterly basis is the best way to ensure your accounts are secure. “Credit is the No. 1 thing that we don’t monitor that we definitely should,” Murphy said. “We shred our mail and put passwords on our accounts, but we should also be taking advantage of monitoring our credit.” — Jill Roesler

Taking care of carpet

Best carpet cleaners — Vanderberg Clean


anderberg Clean is a Clean Trust Certified firm, which essentially means they have followed the directions as laid out by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification program. These certifications ensure that a homeowner’s carpet warranties will not be voided after their carpets been cleaned. The Mankato Magazine sat down with Joshua and Becca Vanderberg to discuss the best practices for ensuring a carpet’s long life. Mankato Magazine: What is your method for cleaning carpets? Joshua Vanderberg: The Carpet and Rug Institute prefers steam extraction when cleaning carpets. The reason for this is that steam extraction or hot water extraction more thoroughly rinses the fiber and remove the dirt. Not every carpet cleaner uses steam extraction. So, it’s important to ask. MM: How do you know when it’s time to call a carpet cleaner? JV: Carpet manufactures recommend that you clean your carpet every 12-18 months. Sometimes, this must be done to maintain warranty. So, I’d recommend that you don’t do it yourself. If you are noticing soil patterns in your carpet, it should have been cleaned sooner. The point is to clean the carpet before it actually looks dirty. What can happen is the shine of the carpet is lost when dirt is ground into the fiber of the carpet. MM: What can homeowners do to protect their carpets in-between cleanings? JV: One of the biggest things a homeowner can do to preserve the life of their carpet, is to vacuum the carpet three times a week and daily in heavy usage areas. I know it sounds like a lot but it is really, really worth the extra effort in retaining your carpet’s long life. — Heidi Sampson

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388-1677 MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 23

Partners in law — and community

Best law firm — Jones and Magnus


Northern Comfort was founded in 1975 by Keith and Peggy High. To this day, the High family still runs the HVAC business. | Free Press file photo

Business that’s heating up

Best HVAC business — Northern Comfort


here are thousands of homes in Mankato, both old and new, and each home has one thing in common — the need for heat and air ventilation. Northern Comfort, located along Highway 169, has identified itself as a professional heating, ventilation and air-conditioning business and the professionals at Northern Comfort are experts at installation and service work in residential homes and commercial businesses, no matter the age. “It doesn’t matter the age of the home, it comes down to what the homeowner is willing to invest in, both structurally and financially,” said Chris High, vice president and general manager of the family-owned business. Northern Comfort was founded in 1975 by Keith and Peggy High. To this day, the High family still runs the HVAC business and they have seen significant growth in the past three years. “We’ve had steady, consistent growth since 2012,” Chris said. “We have an average of about 600 service and installation calls a month.” The increase in business could be because of Northern Comfort’s swift installation with a residential furnace and air conditioner replacement taking only one day. Or, perhaps it could be because Northern Comfort specializes in both residential and commercial buildings. “We do a little bit of everything, from churches to bars to industrial buildings,” Chris said. Northern Comfort is a Lenox Premier Dealer. The business offers systems from Lenox that can adjust air output in homes to maintain a comfortable temperature in the house year-round. They also offer the iComfort from Lenox, which allows homeowners to adjust the temperature of their homes from their mobile devices. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning continue to change with advances in technology, and Northern Comfort will continue to evolve as their products do. “Our goal is always to keep growing. This year we’ve seen growth and I hope to see more next year,” High said. — Jill Roesler 24 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

he Jones and Magnus law firm and its location at 212 Madison Ave. have only been part of the Mankato landscape since 2008, but they’ve already been voted best Stacey Jones law firm. Stacey Jones and Ryan Magnus are the people behind the name of the firm, with four other lawyers also employed. Stacey Jones is the managing partner. Jones started her career at Wolf, Etter & Co. While involved in a state tax audit with a couple of different law firms, the Lake Crystal native discovered she had an interest in practicing law. Her boss at the time, Bob Etter, encouraged her to take the Law School Aptitude Test — and the rest is history. When she graduated from law school, she went to work clerking for Judge Terry Dempsey in New Ulm before her career turned to working with a law firm in Mankato. “I was always interested in estate planning, especially after seeing my parents go through their planning process with a local attorney, Richard Kakeldey. I eventually went to work at Kakeldey and Associates and learned a tremendous amount working there.” She met Ryan Magnus in 2000. “Ryan and I worked together at another firm in town in 2000 and then both went on to work at smaller firms. In 2005, my son was born and I decided I wanted the flexibility of practicing law independently.” That’s when she struck out on her own, and began an independent practice. Shortly thereafter, Magnus also needed more independence. “In 2006, Ryan also welcomed a son and was looking for the same flexibility. We reconnected in 2008 and partnered to create a law firm that could service multiple areas of the law and still balance our family lives.” Now with six attorneys on board and 11 staff members, Jones says the firm has a full range of services to offer. But the services offered are not only legal services: “I learned early on in my career that it is important to give back to the community that you live and practice in, and I strive to instill that in the attorneys that work with us,” Jones said. Jones says everyone at Jones and Magnus is very proud to be voted Mankato’s best law firm, and she said everyone who calls on the firm for help will get its best work. “We strive to give our clients the best service and advice possible, even when sometimes that means turning down a case. Being honest with clients is really important to our firm,” she said. — Jean Lundquist

More than expected

Best specialty printing — Insty-Prints


or the third year in a row, Bob Shibilski and Benjamin Findley, co-owners of Insty-Prints, have been named the best business for specialty printing by readers of the Mankato Magazine. “We feel honored,” Shibilski said. “I think three years in a row builds credibility.” Findley added: “We are certainly not the only guys in town. So, it is nice to know we are a step above.” “Our customers know that we will work with any idea,” Findley said. “Sometimes customers have come in with an idea that they think is too difficult to reproduce, but I look at it and think, no problem. Other times, customers have come in with a project and I’ve said, ‘I’m going to need a day to wrap my head around that but I will call you back.’ And I do call them back. The last thing we want to do is tell somebody no. The only problem is that a lot of people don’t always have enough time to figure something out because they come in at the last minute and our options are limited. But with good planning and plenty of lead time, anything is possible.” When asked what were some things Insty-Prints could do that the general public might not be aware of, Shibilski and Findley composed the following list: • Insty-Prints has a full line of promotional products, from bathrobes to yo-yos • Advertising banners of all sizes • Large-format blueprints for construction projects • Booklets • Raffle tickets • Door hangers, as in the ones politicians often leave behind during campaign season • Labels containing a company logo, or even inspected by stickers for a factory • Decals designed to advertise the company or product • Notecards and notepads • Personalized business folders — Heidi Sampson MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 25

A place to relax

Best hair salon, Best place for a massage — Liv Aveda Salon and Spa


he residents of Mankato work hard and play hard. So what happens when it’s time to slow down and take some time to relax? Aapril Olfert, spa manager at Liv Aveda Salon and Spa, would suggest revitalizing your body through the massage services offered at Liv Aveda. “It’s taking the time for ourselves to re-energize,” Olfert said. “A lot of people don’t get enough sleep in today’s hectic world, but an hour massage is like getting 7-8 hours of sleep for the body.” Fortunately, there are five different types of massages offered at Liv Aveda so the client can customize the experience and decide which massage is right for them. • The Elemental Nature massage This is a basic massage customized for each client. The deep-tissue massage includes rituals for relaxation such as aromatherapy and hot towels on the feet and back. • The Stress Fix massage This massage focuses on pressure points in the body where stress can cause aches and pains. It also includes an aromatherapy session using lavender scented products to relax both mind and body. • Reflexology Each massage is tailored to each client to address specific aches and pains. Reflexology focuses on the hands, feet or ears to relieve pains such as headaches, sciatica, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint dysfunction for the jaw, arthritis and sinus pressure. • Pregnancy massage This massage is used to provide comfort to expecting mothers who may experience lower back pain and other stresses, both physical and emotional, that come with pregnancy. • Chakra massage This option deals with the seven energy points in the body. This massage focuses on aligning the chakras so that that the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the body and mind can become balanced. The massage therapist will guide the client through the relaxation process so that each person can slow down and reflect on themselves. — Jill Roesler

Wes Gilbert opened Mankato Computer Repair in 2010. | Free Press file photo

A professional advantage

Best computer repair: Mankato Computer Repair


hen asked about Mankato Computer Repair’s motto “When you need a tech, not a geek,” owner Wes Gilbert laughed a bit before getting down to business. “That motto encapsulates our goal to be a more professional model of computer repair,” he said. “You won’t find high school kids with a computer hobby employed here.” After working in computer repair for a number of years, Gilbert launched Mankato Computer Repair in 2010 alongside Dan Dinsmore and Joe Rstom. “I felt like I understood the model for a good customerfocused business,” Gilbert said. “While other places tend to hire people who are just computer savvy, we look for trained technicians who intend to make a career in the field. I think that gives us an edge over some of our competition. “We try to remember that when people come in, they are in a moment of crisis,” said Gilbert, noting how MCR has maintained its focus on the customer. “When someone’s computer is down, it affects many aspects of life. We are careful not to let that become routine. Once a computer comes to us, we try to make customers believe it isn’t their problem anymore — it’s ours.” MCR offers free diagnostics, then lets customers decide if they are comfortable with a quoted price. “We’ve found that ounce we get people in the door, they tend to become lifelong customers,” Gilbert said. He said 50 percent of the company’s contracts come from businesses. These services include remote monitoring, on-site repairs and server and networking installation. By monitoring entire systems, issues are caught and dealt with quickly. This proactive approach ensures small problems don’t lead to major crashes. Gilbert cites local connections and word-of-mouth as a major factor in his company’s growth. “I grew up in Mankato and have lived here for 25 years,” he said. “We’ve never had to do cold calling to get business.” So, when should you seek the advice of an expert? “Anytime you have a virus, you need a pro,” Gilbert said. “If you leave even a hint of the virus behind, it can come back. Whatever you do, don’t just let the neighbor kid help you out.” — Lindsy O’Brien

26 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Enriching experiences await

Best retirement facility — Primrose Retirement Community

Carol Armendariz speaks with a resident during an open house event. | John Cross


xecutive Director Carol Armendariz knew she was coming to a great place to work when she started at Primrose in March. But, she said, she had no idea the organization would exceed that expectation at every opportunity. Likewise, Rachel Carpenter started out as a life enrichment coordinator and marketing director for Primrose five years ago. Today, she is the full-time sales director, while her former position of life enrichment coordinator has become a position of its own.

“We’ve never had a full-time life enrichment coordinator to just do activities and promote quality of life,” Armendariz said. “So we are very excited. With a full-time coordinator, we feel our programs will flourish even more.” “I feel our life enrichment program is what sets us apart from all the others in town,” Carpenter said. “That sense of involvement, home and community is essential. We are not the biggest place in town and we aren’t the smallest. I think we are just the right size.” Armendariz added: “It really is an honor to be able to serve these people. They have worked so hard in their life and they deserve the best.” So what are some of the things a residence of Primrose is able to do? • Gourmet food tastings • Musical entertainment • Listen to educational guest speakers • Participate in trips and outings to places such as Drummers Garden Center and Floral, Indian Island Winery, Jack McGowan’s farm and the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Sibley Park, to name a few • Bingo • Card games • Patio time • Friday night bonfires with s’mores and storytelling • Yoga — Heidi Sampson

Taking pride in helping people

Best employment agency — Express Employment Pros


cold and blustery May afternoon didn’t stop Express Employment Pros in North Mankato from dragging out the cooler and grill to thank the office’s many associates. “Our success is because of our associates,” said Office Coordinator Tina Mead. “We want them to know how much we appreciate them. “Customer service is our biggest priority,” continued Mead, who attributes the company’s growth to a high level of attention to its clientele. “We try to make the experience professional from the moment people walk in the door until they leave.” One of Mankato’s largest employers, the office currently has 212 working associates in fields ranging from light industry to professional and office work. “There are so many people that really want to work,” Mead said. “Our goal is to find the best fit, something that they’ll commit to and stick with.” Although Express Employment Pros hires for some temporary jobs, 98 percent of placements are full-time positions with benefits available. “Most positions we hire for start at about 750 hours, but

most can lead to long-term employment,” said Mead. With in house drug-testing and other services, associates can get hired quickly. ‘“In some cases, we can get someone in, interviewed, drug screened and placed by the next day,” Mead said. “We’ve had people come in and be placed that same night for an open evening shift.” A streamlined hiring process is a major factor in this as well. A brief question-and-answer session helps the office connect workers to jobs that are right for them. “Some jobs, both office and production, require testing,” said Mead. “After testing, we give a proper interview with a staffing consultant.” From there, associates might interview in-house, or they might be sent on a tour their new workplace. “We had 800 W2’s in 2013 alone,” said owner Greg Moody. Moody purchased the Mankato office three years ago and has maintained it as the only family-owned staffing agency in Mankato. “We take pride in helping people find a job they have passion for.” — Lindsy O’Brien MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 27

Photos courtesy of Fur’s A Flyin’

Groomed for success

Best pet groomer — Fur’s A Flyin’

Mankato Magazine: How did you originally get into pet grooming? Tina Dickel: Lori (Scruggs) was going to go to vet school and decided through life experiences to go the grooming route. She was in business for 20 years or so. I relocated here and was working as a human resources manager. I grew up in family businesses and I got into the hobby of grooming and showing schnauzers. We knew each other through a mutual friend and we decided to do it together. MM: What prompted the idea of creating a full grooming center? TD: One of the things we see with dogs and cats is that grooming isn’t necessarily their favorite thing. It was always part of our plan to expand, but we were just never in the position to do it. From our perspective, we have found that dogs come for day care will pull their owners through the door. It’s helped the more fearful dogs. Now, we have something fun for the dogs. Our main goal was to win over those dogs that have separation anxiety.

MM: What has your company brought forward to make it the best pet groomer in town? TD: First and foremost, the quality of our work. Cutting hair, bathing — between Lori, myself and Ginger, none of us have any less than 15 years of experience. We all help each other and utilize a team enviromnemt. We also focus on customer service skills. We want to know about our customers and make them feel welcome like they are part of a family. MM: What kind of goals do you have for this year? TD: Our short-term goal is to continue to expand the day care business. But, our grooming business always accepts new clients. We want people with experience and, in order for us to keep expanding, we need groomers whose standards of work matched our own. Boarding is also on our radar. But it’s a debate. We have had people request it, but we might need more space. — Gillian Needham

Just what the customer ordered Best nail salon — The Original Nails by Jordan


ummer is sandal season, prom season and wedding season — and this summer is no different. The Original Nails by Jordan offers manicures and pedicures for everyone, no matter the occasion or the budget. Nails by Jordan, located next to Hobby Lobby on Madison Avenue, was taken over by My Huynh in 2012. Since then, Nails by Jordan has undergone a complete remodel with new technician stations for manicures and new spas for pedicures. Whether the client comes in for the basic pedicure or is searching for the newest products and promotions, Nails by Jordan is always stocked with the most up-to-date merchandise. “Whenever something new comes on the market, we update our inventory,” Huynh said. The nail technicians who work at Nails by Jordan readily admit that they don’t have a preference when it comes to manicures or pedicures, they simply want to give the client exactly what he or she wants. “We’ll give the client what they ask for, but we also give suggestions so they have more options,” Huynh said. 28 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

In fact, the loyal clientele is one of the primary reasons why Nails by Jordan has received the award for Mankato’s best nail salon. Kim Dyslin, a return customer, is impressed not only by the work they do, but the friendly, comfortable atmosphere of the salon. “They’ll give me exactly what I ask for, and they remember my name every time I come in,” Dyslin said. A basic pedicure package is $25 and contains a leg and foot massage, nail trim and shaping and a choice of nail polish. The deluxe pedicure package offers a leg and foot massage, nail trim and shaping, a sea salt exfoliant, hot towel application, clay foot mask and a choice of nail polish for $35. Manicures range from $15 for a basic manicure to $35 for a basic manicure and painted nails with a shellac finish. — Jill Roesler

Hot and getting hotter

Best tanning salon — Sun Tan City


ight year ago, John and Wendy Fell, owners of Sun Tan City, opened their first tanning salon after moving to the Mankato area from northwestern Iowa. Since then, the Fells have opened tanning salons in St. Cloud, Mason City, Iowa, and two locations in Rochester. They are now the second largest Sun Tan City franchise. Sun Tan City offers everything from single visits to monthly and yearly memberships. They also offer flex plan memberships with no long-term commitment. Sun Tan City offers four different levels of beds, as well as Versaspa, an airbrush

Downtown destination

Best hotel/motel — Hilton Garden Inn

technology that gives their clients a natural, vibrant glow that can be customized through several different color options. “We match up proper exposure to skin type,” Wendy said, “as well as the client’s events and purposes for tanning. We want to create the best possible schedule for them to achieve the results they are looking for.” This month, Sun Tan City will begin to offer clients the ability to go online, check wait times and register for a tan bed before they arrive. “We can’t control the competition,” John said. “However, we strive to give our clients the best experience that they can have when they come through our doors.” — Heidi Sampson

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he following is a question-andanswer with Steve Tachney, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn: Mankato Magazine: How many guests does the Hilton see each year on average? Steve Tachney: That’s a difficult question to answer, as many of our online reservations do not include information on the number occupants in the room. Hotels generally have a formula for estimating this number, which I believe ours is 1.3 persons per occupied rooms, which would put us between 32,000-35,000 guests, plus or minus a bunch.

Thank You

for your patronage for over 14 years!

Two Convenient Area Locations

1856 Madison Ave. Mankato 507-344-1554

1680 Commerce Dr. North Mankato 507-345-1680

MM: What are some of the joys of running a hotel? ST: I really enjoy the interaction with our guests, particularly those coming from outside the area. MM: How do you keep the Hilton the favorite with Mankatoans? ST: Of all the great hotels and hoteliers in Mankato, I think being downtown helps a lot. I also would give most of the credit to the phenomenal staff I’m fortunate enough to work with every day. MM: What makes your hotel special? ST: I’m guessing it’s due in part to the location downtown, the fact that it’s part of the Hilton portfolio, and our partnership with Olives that makes us a little more recognizable. — Nell Musolf

Thank you! MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 29

‘Above and beyond’

Best phone store — Verizon Wireless


rom an early age, it was clear that Amber Pietan’s career was going to involve traveling in one form or another. While growing up, her family traveled to either Wyoming or Utah every summer, and whenever they visited rest stops, Pietan made a point of picking up every promotional magazine and brochure offered. She requested that her father stop at each state line so that her picture could be taken next to the sign announcing the new state. Pietan also took on the role of family travel agent and helped her parents plan the route, hotel and sightseeing excursions for family vacations. That preliminary work paid off as she now runs her own agency in North Mankato. Amber Pietan Travel Agency specializes in luxury travel, river cruises and escorted tours. When planning a vacation, Pietan says that travelers will save time and money by using an agent instead of booking on their own. “A person can spend hours searching online — five hours on average — searching online and jumping from one website to another. But booking a vacation on your own can be very stressful. A travel agent will help you build, plan and piece together your vacation by asking you about your lifestyle, dreams and what activities you want to include,” Pietan said. “Travel agents also have inside contacts, which are like having the inside scoop for the traveler.” For people who might not be sure where they want to go, Pietan asks her clients when they want to travel, how long they want to stay, what kind of budget they have and what they like to do on their vacations. “I’ll do this to help my clients plan the vacation they didn’t know they wanted,” Pietan says. “We may look at popular travel destinations such as Alaska, Hawaii, Paris or Tahiti or less traditional destinations. It all depends on what the client wants.” River cruises are currently hot in the travel world and are so popular that Pietan recommends booking a year in advance to ensure the customer gets the cruise they want. For her own vacations, Pietan is a history buff and likes to visit places where she can learn about the local culture. “It is all so interesting to me and helps me understand cultures as a whole, which helps me plan the perfect vacation for my clients,” Pietan said. “Seeing the Terracotta warriors in Xian, China, is currently at the top of my list.”

ot only does Verizon Wireless boast some of the most extensive 4G LTE networks, top-of-theline devices and a plethora of other home services, they are using their expertise to bring their customers some of the best in-store and call center service. Verizon Wireless hosts familycentered events within the company by offering movie nights, trick-or-treating and other holiday events for their employees. By focusing their attention on a family-oriented environment, Verizon employees reflect the same ideals into their work. “We’re trained by the best possible people in our Mankato location,” Tyler Boehm said, a tech expert at the Mankato-based Verizon Call Center. “We like to make people feel welcomed and help them to the best of our ability.” Boehm cited the Mankato call center to be one of the best simply because of the area it is in. “We have Minnesota Nice going for us,” Boehm said. “I can always tell when calls get transferred in from other areas because they thank us for being more helpful than the last person they spoke with. I am always trying to go above and beyond when I’m talking with customers.” Boehm has worked for Verizon since November 2011 and said the Mankato location is one of the best possible centers to work at. Boehm said the company does many things for employees that are displaced from work when call centers close. “Call centers open and close all of the time. We are one of the few centers that actually own the building we are in,” Boehm said. “I think that security of knowing we won’t be forced out by rising rent makes us comfortable enough to work with our customers better. We’re focused on making people happy.”

— Nell Musolf

— Gillian Needham

Amber Pietan began her career early, charting and planning her family’s vacations. | John Cross

Traveling full circle

Best Travel Agency — Amber Pietan Travel Agency


30 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Shopping Best furniture store Best of Mankato: Earl Johnson Furniture Second: Rooms and Rest Third: Ashley Furniture HomeStore

Best liquor/wine Best of Mankato: MGM Wine, Spirits and Beer Second: Hy-Vee Third (tie): Cub Foods, Joseph’s Liquor

Best RV dealer Best of Mankato: Keepers RV Center Second: Gag’s Camper Way Third: Kroubetz Lakeside Campers

Best place for women’s clothing Best of Mankato: Kohl’s Second: Herberger’s Third: Sticks and Stones

Best grocery store Best of Mankato: Hy-Vee Second: Cub Foods Third: ALDI

Best place for men’s clothing Best of Mankato: J. Longs Second: Kohl’s Third: Matt J. Graif Clothing

Best jewelry store Best of Mankato: Exclusively Diamonds Second: Williams Diamond Center Third: Patterson’s Diamond Center

Best place for power sports equipment Best of Mankato: Snell Powersports Second: Scheel’s All Sports Third: Starr Cycle

Best place for home entertainment/electronics Best of Mankato: Best Buy Second: DeGrood’s Home Store Third: Meyer & Sons TV & Appliance

Best place for antiques Best of Mankato: Pond Road Antiques Second: Save Mor Jewelry Third: Salvage Sisters

Best home improvement store Best of Mankato: Menards Second: Lowe’s Third: Home Depot

Best place to buy appliances Best of Mankato: DeGrood’s Home Store Second: Meyer & Sons TV & Appliance Third: Quality Appliance & Television

Best new car dealer Best of Mankato: Mankato Motors Second: Snell Motors Third: Heintz Toyota

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1817 Adams St., Mankato • 507.345.8885 MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 31

Pictured are Exclusively Diamonds goldsmiths Doug Horner and Heidi Heil. (Not pictured: goldsmith Doug Schult.) | John Cross Dale Schmitt is the owner of Mankato Motors. | Free Press file photo

A dealership that’s built to last Best new car dealer — Mankato Motors


or the second year in a row, Mankato Motors was named “Best new car dealer” by the readers of the Mankato Magazine. Mankato Motors owner Dale Schmitt attributed such customer loyalty to several factors. “One of our business philosophies is to take care of the customer and success will follow,” Schmitt said. “You have to have happy employees in order to have happy customers.” Schmitt also believes the practice of posting the very best price on all vehicles is something customers appreciate as it removes the price haggling that many people find stressful. Mankato Motors introduced the Best Price concept to the Mankato area after buying out Clements Auto in 2009. Something else unique to Mankato Motors is that its salespeople are non-commissioned. “This encourages our sales staff to show customers vehicles based on their wants and needs. All of our employees are empowered to take care of our customers and encouraged to make decisions as if they own the company,” Schmitt said. “With every decision, we strive to focus on the fact that Mankato Motors only wants to be in business forever.” With that thought in mind, Mankato Motors gives back to the community in a variety of ways including having the American Red Cross bus visit the dealership about every six months to collect blood donations from employees and customers.

Schmitt recalls his first sale

Schmitt has been in the car sales business for a long time. He can still recall his first sale back in 1985. “It was April 1985 at Gonzales Buick in Burnsville,” Schmitt recalled. “My very first day on the show floor, I sold a 1985 beige Buick Century Custom. It was about 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I remember the customers’ names to this day. It seems like yesterday and was a moment I’ll never forget.” — Nell Musolf 32 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

More than diamonds Best jewelry store — Exclusively Diamonds


hen it comes to Mankato’s Exclusively Diamonds, the name does not say it all. “We specialize in diamonds,” owner Sarah Person said. “However, we are a full-service jeweler. If you buy a ring from us, we can size and set it right in the shop. It never leaves the store.“ The shop employs three goldsmiths with more than 70 years of combined experience. “We are the only place in the area that has a laser welder,” said Person, who has been in the jewelry business almost 30 years. “We can even weld eyeglasses.” Person especially enjoys restoration repairs. “Women will bring in their mother’s or grandmother’s pieces and we are able to restore them or pull out diamonds and put them in something else,” she said. According to Person, the store also offers complimentary cleaning and inspection, complimentary estimates in jewelry repair and complimentary appraisals of all pieces purchased in store. “I want to make sure when someone buys something from us, they get the highest quality,” Person said. “It is important that when someone leaves with a piece of our jewelry, it’s a piece of art.” Family and community have been a huge factor in the Exclusively Diamonds’ business since day one. “If someone makes a purchase at our store, it makes a difference in the lives of someone somewhere,” Person said. “We serve on the boards for nonprofits, volunteer and donate to fundraisers. Our mission is to serve our local and global community.” That dedication to family and community shines through in Person’s passion for the work she does. “I don’t know what I’d do that I’d love more,” Person said. “I love helping people make their dreams come true with jewelry.” — Lindsy O’Brien

One-stop home improvement shop Best home improvement store — Menards


ob Rifleman has been the manager of the Menards store in Mankato for 20 years, dating back to the days when the store sat at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Highway 22 in Mankato, the current site of Snell Motors. The store has been located at 1771 Premier Drive since 2000. Originally, Menards came to the Mankato market in 1986. Rifleman says the goal for Menards is to be a “one-stop shop” by adding groceries to the hardware and home improvement line up around 2008 Last year, that addition was increased by adding more groceries, adding health and beauty supplies, and increasing the pet and bird feeding area. Many people are surprised to see all the items available in the store, according to Rifleman. He says even he is awed by the variety of food, health and beauty and other items offered for sale. Another aspect of the quality of the shopping experience at Menards, he said, is the knowledge of the employees. “We are very diligent in training all our team members here so they can provide the very best guest services possible,” Rifleman said. Menards headquarters is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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he people of Mankato agree that J. Longs is the area’s go-to store for men’s fashion. “I think we’ve been successful because we try to make the whole shopping experience super simple for men, “ said Matt Long, who runs the store with business partner Aaron Jones. “We also like to have fun and get to know our customers. The first time a customer comes into our store, he’s a visitor. By the second time he comes in, he’s part of the family.” The actual Long family has been involved with men’s fashion in Mankato for more than 25 years. “I grew up in my parents’ Knight’s Chamber stores,” said Long. “Now it is fun to see my 3-year-old daughter running around here.” In terms of products, J. Long’s has it all. “We do everything from underwear to top-end suits,” Long said. “We are the only provider in the area authorized to carry Tommy Bahama.” “And we carry clothes in every price range and every size,” Jones added. Jones and Long took over the business about four years ago. “We ran cross-country together at Mankato West High School,” Jones said. “We are Mankato boys at heart.” When asked about the latest men’s fashion trends, Long and Jones light up. “In suiting and casuals, we’re seeing trimmer models,” Long said. “Suits are less boxy with less of a shoulder pad. And patterns are big in dress shirts right now — stripes, florals and everything in between. The era of the solid suit shirt is gone for now.” “Another trend is patterned flip cuffs on shirts,” Jones added. “Wing-tip shoes are back in style and popular in every color.” Both Long and Jones agree that their priority is helping men navigate the process of shopping for clothes. “Fashion can be very daunting for a lot of guys,” Jones said. “We like to take that on for them, make it easy. We like to help men find the right clothing for every day as well as all the special occasions of their lives.” — Lindsy O’Brien

34 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

‘Easier, healthier, happier’ Best grocery store — Hy-Vee


ith more than 50 years of company experience combined, the Mankato Hy-Vee store managers are excited that Hy-Vee was named “Best grocery store” — but they aren’t surprised. “Our success is based on many factors,” said Jeff Thompson, manager at the downtown location. “It comes from our community involvement, for example, along with our focus on customer service, our health and wellness programs, and just the high quality of our product.” The company’s motto is: “Making lives easier, healthier, happier.” One unique way that Hy-Vee stores work toward achieving that motto is by keeping dietitians on staff at each store. “The dietitians can walk through the store with someone who is gluten intolerant and suggest products,” said hilltop Hy-Vee manager Dan Vondrak. “They do seminars and go out into the community.” “The dietitian works in conjunction with the pharmacy,” Thompson added. “If someone has diabetes, for instance, we can help that person learn how to better live with that condition in a variety of ways.”

Another successful initiative in the Mankato area has been the Fuel Saver program. “With Fuel Saver, Mankato residents have saved more than $800,000 in a year and a half,” Thompson said. “We are always looking for more ways to provide customers with fuel savings. And our downtown gas station is full service and has a car wash.” The hilltop store has seen a bit of a dent in store traffic with the road construction on Highway 22, but manager Vondrak isn’t worried. “We will persevere and come out the other end,” Vondrak said. “The construction is one of the pains that comes along with living in a growing community.” Both managers seem to agree that it is the customers and employees that make Hy-Vee a success. “The biggest thing we need to do is thank our customers,” Vondrak said. “We have fabulous employees and even better customers. We are blessed and lucky.” — Lindsy O’Brien

Gateway for getaways Best RV dealer — Keepers RV Center


ith customers varying in age from early 20s to late 80s and a large radius spanning from Wisconsin to South Dakota, Iowa to Canada, it is no wonder that Keepers RV Center has seen increased business in the past three years. “People always ask who our typical customer is, but we can’t answer that,” said Lisa May, co-owner of the family business. “There is a huge variety in our customer base. RVs are for anyone.” Whether starting with a pop-up camper or upgrading to a travel trailer to take family vacations, a new trend on the rise for retiring baby boomers is luxurious cottage travel trailers. These trailers are for the experienced RV enthusiast who wants to have a permanent place to come home to each summer. According to May, this trend is most commonly seen in retirees who move south for the winter but want to keep their roots in Minnesota. “They still want to come home for the summer and visit their grandkids and families while also having a permanent residence down south,” May said. May has also seen a large increase in middle-age customers who are simply looking to unwind with their families after a difficult work week. “People work really hard and they value their family and relaxation time,” May said. “An RV represents getting away from it all.” Camping provides the option of seeing the different landscapes of Minnesota; an RV is like a summer home on

Jack and Lisa May are the owners of Keepers RV Center. | John Cross wheels. Even if you can only travel 10 or 20 miles away, camping is still a getaway. “There is a lot to do and see in Minnesota – bluffs, woods, lakes, rivers, prairies. You can camp near a city and go to amusement parks or casinos. Or you can go to a state park and have a more rustic experience with hiking and kayaking. There really is something that Minnesota can offer for every RVer,” May said. — Jill Roesler

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 35


Best insurance agent Best of Mankato: Aaron Hatanpa, State Farm Second: Lonnie Bristol, State Farm Third: Steve Hasse, State Farm

Best waiter Best of Mankato: Eric Schugel, Pappageorge Second: Tyler Nibbe, Neighbor’s Italian Bistro Third: Andy Conn, Loose Moose Saloon Best waitress Best of Mankato: Layla Pappas, Pappageorge Second: Carrie Zeldenrust, Red Lobster Third: Katie Meyer, Wagon Wheel Best family physician Best of Mankato: Dr. Chaun Cox, Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato Second: Dr. Dan Anderson, Mankato Clinic Third: Dr. John Benson, Mankato Clinic Best chiropractor Best of Mankato: Kuch Chiropractic Second: Back to Wellness Clinic Third: Mankato Chiropractic Best financial planner Best of Mankato: Eugene Braam, Eugene R. Braam Accounting Second: Deena Lindstrom, Primerica Third: Ryan McKeown, Wealth Enhancement Group Best auto mechanic Best of Mankato: Lynn Austin, Austin’s Auto Repair Center Second: Nick Zuehlke, Nick’s Car Care Third: Joe Miller, Miller’s Modern Garage

The good doctor

Best family physician — Dr. Chaun Cox, Mayo Clinic Health System


r. Chaun Cox grew up in North Dakota and has been practicing family medicine in Mankato for nearly 11 years. He practices at the Mayo Clinic Health System at Northridge in North Mankato, though he has also practiced at the Eastridge Clinic in Mankato. His two specialties in the practice of family medicine are sports medicine and geriatrics. Though those interests may seem to be at opposite ends of the patient spectrum, Cox said they are actually closely related. “There are muscular-skeletal injuries in older patients, too,” he said. His goal lies in preventing injuries. While, he said, people 36 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Best dentist Best of Mankato: Gary Eichmeyer, Commerce Drive Dental Group Second: Dan Osdoba, Oz Family Dentistry Third: Tom Pooley, River Valley Dental

Best accountant Best of Mankato: Eugene R. Braam Accounting Second: Milbrett, Dauk and Co. Third: Kitchenmaster, Klooster and Begalka Best Realtor Best of Mankato: Jen Wettergren, NuStar Realty Second: Karla VanEman, American Way Realty Third (tie): Jen True, Re/Max; Jason Beal, JBeal Real Estate Group Best photographer Best of Mankato: Daniel Dinsmore, Daniel Dinsmore Photography Second: Mandy Benson, Mandy Benson Photography Third: Nissa Sugden, Nissa NaKia Photography Best radio show/personality Best of Mankato: TJ & Lisa, 93.1 Second: Stunt Monkey, 96.7 Third: Johnny Marks and Cari, 96.7 Best local band Best of Mankato: City Mouse Second: IV Play Third: Home Free Vocal Band

need to be active, they also need to also be realistic: “I tell them to start slow, go easy, have realistic expectations and not be hard on themselves. Watch for signs of pain, and ward it off.” Cox said the rewards of medicine are many and he particularly remembers the first time he delivered a baby. “That was an ‘aha’ moment for me. I still have those moments,” he said. Cox said that being a doctor may appear glamorous from the outside, but there is a lot more to medicine that goes on behind the scenes. After seeing and treating some 22 patients a day, there is still paperwork, dictation, computer work and research. While it may seem an easy task to master, Cox said he could never serve as a doctor alone. “I work with a great team, from the nurses, the front desk people, the lab and X-ray technicians, my peers and mentors” and everyone else in the process, he said. “That includes the patients and their families.” — Jean Lundquist

Five things you never knew about City Mouse

Thank you for voting Northern Comfort as Mankato’s Best HVAC Business!

Best local band — City Mouse

1) City Mouse’s first performance took place circa May 1971 at the Holiday Inn North (now Best Western Hotel) on Highway 169. They were just a duo back then — Billy Steiner and Bobby Drengler. 2) They were almost Pepsi tunesmiths. In early 1972, at Drengler’s urging, they recorded a country-tinged Pepsi jingle, flew out to Los Angeles on their own dime, pitched the song and nearly landed the gig. “We got close but no cigar,” Steiner said. “The usual — day late and a dollar short. They said it was too country.” Steiner and Drengler can still hum the jingle’s melody and hook on command: “Whoa, whoa, whoa/you’ve got a lot to live/and Pepsi’s got a lot to give.” 3) They also nearly landed a contract with RCA that same year, traveling to Chicago to meet with label executives. But a day earlier, the record giant figured it had filled their countryrock quota after signing Pure Prairie League. “A friend of ours who we were staying with told us, ‘You made the big mistake of having a meeting on a Friday afternoon,” Steiner said. “They were looking at their watches, getting ready to go to Lake Michigan for the weekend.” 4) Practice? No thanks. No need. Depending on which band member you ask, the sextet hasn’t held a formal rehearsal in nearly 30 years. Why? Because they’re just that good. 5) Many have tried — some still haven’t given up hope — but so far all efforts to write an authorized City Mouse biography have failed. “You’ll have to wait until we’re dead,” at least one City Mouser has been known to say. If that’s the case, here’s hoping the final word on this venerable Mankato institution isn’t written for a very long time. — Drew Lyon

Back: Tim, Travis, Jason, Mike, Derek, Korey, Lori; Middle: Jesse, Josh, Alex, Jay, Chris, Brooke, Greg; Front: Rick, Lucas, Peggy, Keith

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 37

Another Choice for Grades 6-12: Kato Public Charter School By Shannon Turner

It’s where you want to be. Before shying away from the words “charter school,” take a moment to explore the benefits of this tuition-free public school. Charter schools take the benefits of a public school and seamlessly blend them with innovative methods that excite students and offer them opportunities to continuously reach for more.

Charter schools accommodate students at all levels, so those ahead of the game can graduate early and those who have fallen behind can catch up quickly. Small class sizes, capped at 17, allow staff and students to get comfortable with one another and begin to open up the possibilities of what a learning experience can really be.

Kato Public Charter School, formerly RiverBend These schools offer a customized learning Academy, brings the next level of innovative experience with individual attention, so each education to Mankato, providing a fresh method student can pursue their education without the and a proven approach. limitations of a standard, single-paced classroom.

Kato Public Charter School will open its doors to the public August 11, 2014 for an open house, allowing the community to explore the area’s latest public school option for grades 6-12. Attendants will have the opportunity to meet the staff, tour classrooms, learn more about the school, and enjoy on-site activities and snacks. The August 11th open house will be held at the school, located at 110 N Sixth Street in Mankato from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year is now open. Interested applicants can access registration forms online at

Space is limited, so act quickly to experience Kato Public Charter School and the possibilities it has to offer. For more information visit the Kato Public Charter School website at or call for a personal tour at 507-387-5524.

Dr. Keith Kuch has been a chiropractor in Mankato for 25 years. | John Cross

Healing hands

Best chiropractor – Keith Kuch


r. Keith Kuch has been a chiropractor in Mankato for the past 25 years. He has seen patients as young as 3 days old as well as those well into their 90s. Mankato Magazine spoke with him about being named “Best chiropractor” by its readers. Mankato Magazine: What are the most common reasons people see a chiropractor? Dr. Kuch: By far, the most common reasons people see chiropractors is for neck and back pain. With that said, we successfully treat headaches, sciatica, disc problems, sports injuries, and work-related injuries, and many other health related issues. MM: How long does a typical session last? DK: The length of time necessary for a treatment varies tremendously depending on the needs of the patient, the technique employed by the chiropractor and even the particular chiropractor. It’s not uncommon for a chiropractic adjustment to take only five to 10 minutes. In fact, one of the comments I hear from patients quite often is the relief that a visit to the chiropractor doesn’t have to take so long and interfere with their day so much. MM: Once a person begins seeing a chiropractor, is it necessary to continue for a long time or is it possible to see you on an as-needed basis? DK: That depends on what the needs of the patient are and also what the goals of treatment are. Some patients prefer to utilize chiropractic on an as-needed basis, and others are interested in trying to not just receive pain relief, but rather correct the problem to the best of the body’s ability. And quite honestly, some patients will present to the office looking for just pain relief but after establishing a level of comfort with the chiropractor and seeing that the same condition keeps coming back, will often opt to try to stabilize the condition instead of just pacifying it. 40 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MM: People seem very stressed these days. Can seeing a chiropractor help with such things as stress, poor sleep and tension headaches? DK: I often share with patients that everyone has stress in their lives. But not everyone suffers o u t w a r d symptoms of their stress. Oftentimes, a patient will have underlying spinal j o i n t dysfunctions, or subluxations and then, when stress is increased in their lives, it’ll manifest with tension headaches or sleep challenges. Receiving a chiropractic adjustment to clear the subluxations does indeed provide very nice relief of those stress-related symptoms. Usually quite dramatically, and fast! MM: What do you enjoy most about your career? DK: I decided to become a chiropractor to be able to help people. Even after 25 years, I still get goose bumps when I get to witness the incredible effect that chiropractic has. People that had felt that they were going to have to live with the pain for the rest of their lives. People that had tremendous debilitating pain, and are provided relief. Parents being able to sleep during the night, because now their baby is sleeping. These things still give me goose bumps and always will. MM: Why do you think the readers selected you as best chiropractor? DK: I think people appreciate a doctor that genuinely cares about them, and develops a relationship with them. I’ll typically know their children’s names, their hobbies and interests, what type of work they do. And conversely, they’ll know when I’m in my next Merely Players play or know of my motorcycle adventures. Of course, paramount to developing this relationship with the patients is the ability to successfully manage their condition, including referring them to a specialist or maybe another chiropractor if indicated. Mankato is so blessed with the health care that’s available in our community. We’ve got a world-class medical community, as well as a number of excellent integrative services available, such as massage therapy, yoga, acupuncture and health clubs. I also feel the Mankato area is very blessed with an incredible collection of chiropractors of which I’m proud to call my colleagues. — Nell Musolf

Sinking teeth into change Best dentist — Dr. Gary Eichmeyer


r. Gary Eichmeyer of Commerce Drive Dental has been a dentist in North Mankato for the past 39 years. He has seen several changes in the world of dentistry over that time, from the introduction of computers to more comprehensive dental insurance. “When I started in 1975, computers were not in use in dental practices,” he said. “Today, we have over 30 different computers networked together in our office making access to information much easier. Also, dental insurance was in its infancy back in 1975, whereas today dental insurance is very common. We even have a dedicated employee to handle all our insurance needs and questions.” Working with his patients and helping them with their oral health problems is the reason why Eichmeyer still enjoys coming into work. He says that there is a mental as well as a physical challenge in trying to work in such a small, sensitive area as the mouth. “Our dental philosophy has always been to put the patient first. I have also enjoyed working with the most incredible staff ever. With 23 employees, we have had very little staff turnover and there are several staff members that have worked with us for more than 25 years. The staff is definitely a very important part of our office success,” Eichmeyer said. Something that many patients don’t think about is that dentists need to take care of their own oral health needs, too. Eichmeyer recalled that when he went to see his son, who is a dentist in Golden Valley, to have some anterior veneers in his mouth, he tried to give his son some professional advice on how he thought the job should be done. “Finally he said to me, ‘I know how to do this so either shut up or find a new dentist.’ You learn a lot when you are on the

Realty royalty

Best Realtor — Jen Wettergren

Mankato Magazine: How long have you been selling real estate in Mankato? Jen Wettergren: Full time for 11 years and I am not going anywhere. I feel fortunate to have made this my lifelong career because I absolutely love what I do. MM: What is the first thing a homeowner should do when they decide to put their house on the market? JW: Contact a real estate agent with the Realtor designation. These Realtors follow both ethical and fiduciary duties and guidelines they have pledged to uphold, which sets them apart from those agents who do not carry this designation. Find out from your Realtor what the market in their area is doing and if the demand is high. How fast will the home sell and be prepared for your next move when your home sells. Get a CMA (comparative market analysis) done on your home. This will help to educate you on the market and why the neighbor’s house may have sold for more than the suggested price the Realtor has given on your home. MM: How does a seller choose the right Realtor? JW: Interviewing Realtors is important to make sure you are working with someone that understands you. It is key for the Realtor to know the area you are selling in. One of the biggest

Dr. Gary Eichmeyer pictured in Belize during one of several mission trips the longtime dentist has taken. | Submitted photo receiving end of dental work,” Eichmeyer said. Eichmeyer said he plans to retire in a year or so. After that, he will continue to participate in volunteer dentistry overseas and has so far been on five mission trips to Ecuador and Belize. Eichmeyer said: “I am going to miss the professionalism that I currently have with Dr. David Clause, Dr. Jessica Kuryla and our newest dentist, Dr. Tim Jernberg. When I do retire, there is no doubt in my mind that I am leaving Commerce Drive Dental in good hands.” — Nell Musolf things I hear from sellers is they need to be in communication with their agent, so find out how they will provide that. Ask someone who has just bought or sold a home how their experience was with their Realtor. Referrals are big in this industry. Will the Realtor provide feedback to sellers on showings both positive and negative? Ask what the company will do for marketing your home. Make sure you choose a Realtor who will work for you from start to finish and be available through the process. MM: What are some of the lesser-known things that a Realtor can do for a homeowner that a homeowner might not be aware of? JW: Many Realtors will help give suggestions from minor to major improvements you can do to get your home ready to put on the market now or in the future to get the maximum price for your home. Realtors can help to stage your home to maximize the space and appearance. Radon is becoming a big part of real estate transactions so talk with your Realtor about how this may affect selling. Depending on a buyer’s loan program there are certain things your home needs to be approved for these specific loans. A Realtor can help make you aware of these things so the repairs or updates can be done to make your home qualify for these loan programs. — Nell Musolf MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 41

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Mon - Thurs: 8:30 - 5:30 Friday: 8:30 - 5:00 (507) 388-7009 1402 N Riverfront Drive (Next to the Holiday Station) MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 51

Garden Chat By Jean Lundquist


Sow lucky: Foretelling garden success

his year I’m going to have the best garden ever! And it all has to do with four things, and the first three are chickens, wire mesh tunnels and compost. I know I told you about my first catastrophe with chickens in the garden. Weed barrier paper, straw mulch and seeds were all mixed together after a few minutes of the chickens scratching around in the garden. I learned from that experience and this year, it should all come together perfectly. Back then I raised bantams, or banties. They are like the feral version of chickens. I offered shelter and sometimes they’d take it. I offered food and sometimes they’d eat it. But they were pretty independent birds. Now, I raise birds whose breed I can identify. They go into the chicken coop at night, come running for a treat when I call “here chicka chicka chicka,” and follow me around the yard if they think I have something in my hand that might contain food. The good thing and the bad thing about this is that they congregate in the coop and that’s where a lot of their “fertilizer making” takes place. As we all recall, last winter was a beast. I only got to clean the coop out one time during the January thaw. So this spring ... well ... it was not pleasant. As I struggled to clear it out, I remembered how many times I’ve asked Lar to build me a bigger coop. I needed more chickens, I told him. There are so many breeds I haven’t raised, I said. After holding my breath as long as I could, I ran out of the coop this spring and pleaded with him, “Never let me have a bigger coop than this! PLEASE!” Then I went back in and worked on the chore some more. The benefit of all that chicken manure went directly into the garden. There was a lot to go around, so I didn’t worry about burning it with too much fertilizer. But for a change, the whole garden got fertilized. Next came the compost. The soil in the garden is very heavy clay, so the compost is the ideal soil amendment. (Remember, if you have clay, don’t add sand – you’ll get cement.) So, I bought four yards of compost. Four cubic yards of anything you’re planning to move by hand is a lot. With a scoop shovel and a wheelbarrow I set to work. And work I did. I had compost in my eyes, my nose, my mouth and wind-driven into my skin. Then I remembered we have a tractor. I’ve driven the tractor and operated it at times to raise and lower the bucket for Lar — but I’ve never worked with it before. I was nervous, but distributing the last two yards of that compost was a breeze compared to working with the first two yards. The planting of the garden is always the most 52 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

work and the least satisfying part of gardening for me. All that bending and stooping and stretching, and nothing to show for it until the seeds sprout a week or so later. Last year, a dear reader offered me some wire mesh tunnels her husband had used in the garden to keep varmints out and away from eating seedlings. They work to keep chickens out, too. When she first gave them to me, I wondered what I would do with all of them. But as it turned out, I had just barely enough. I initially didn’t think I needed to use them on the potato hills, but after the chickens scratched them out and ate the potatoes, I discovered they work like a charm protecting the potato hills, too. So those three things are making me predict the best garden ever. As for the other thing that foretells good production in the garden? A perfectly formed four-leaf clover that grew in the greenhouse this year. (For a while there were two, but I fed one to my canary.) This has got to be the perfect storm for a great garden season M

“The proof is in the clover. This is my lucky season.”

Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder.

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By John Cross

y the time July rolls around, the crops of southern Minnesota have long since been planted. The rural vistas that only two months earlier were just bare ground now are decorated with rich, emerging greenery. In July, the soybeans and corn that march across the countryside in precise row hold the promise of a good harvest. But only a promise. It will still take weeks of good weather, of dodging wind and hail, and avoiding early frost, before the crop is made and a bin-buster is assured. M

54 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 55

That’s Life By Nell Musolf

Joie de vivre! (At least until the officers arrive on the scene)


h, summer. The time to mow the grass, grow a tomato or two and take off on a vacation, hopefully to someplace more exotic than the Wisconsin Dells. I love taking a vacation just about anywhere, although family vacations when our sons were growing up weren’t without a challenge or two or 10,000. One of our more memorable family vacations occurred the year Mark and I decided to drive to Sioux Falls for the weekend. I can’t quite remember why we chose Sioux Falls other than the fact that it was within driving distance and we had never been there. We went in the winter and the drive was highlighted by who could spot the biggest snowdrift before anyone else. W i n t e r probably isn’t the ideal time to visit Sioux Falls. It was bitterly cold and the wind swept the four of us down the streets with a force that seemed even stronger than in Mankato. Everyone’s eyes and noses ran and no one could agree on what they wanted for dinner — something that is not at all unusual in the Musolf family where I have been known to cook four separate entrees far too often. After much heated discussion, we finally agreed on carry-out pizza and returned to our hotel room for an evening of food, swimming and checking out the local telephone book to see if anyone in town had the same last name (none did). Joe and Hank fell asleep around 9 and shortly thereafter Mark’s and my trouble 56 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

began. A little history is needed here. My husband has the ability to make me laugh at the most inappropriate of times and he delights in doing it. When we were in college, he used to make me laugh so hard during lectures that the professor would stop lecturing and ask me if I was all right. Mark has done this to me at church, concerts, our children’s schools and any other place where it is guaranteed that I will humiliate myself. The night we spent in Sioux Falls he was on a roll and I was, as usual, giggling to beat the band. Now, mind you that there were two small children in the room, children who slept soundly through their mother’s laugh fest, so I don’t think that I was yukking it up too loudly. But apparently I was because a little after 10:00, there was a sharp rap on the hotel room door. Mark and I looked at each other. “Who can that be?” Mark asked. “Room service?” “We didn’t order anything,” I pointed out. The knock came again, harder and more loudly so Mark answered it. Standing in the hallway were two of Sioux Falls’ finest. Mark’s eyebrows instantly shot up toward the ceiling. “May I help you, officers?” he asked. “There’s been a complaint of noise coming from your room,” one of the policemen said in a stern voice reminiscent of George C. Scott playing Patton. “Is there a domestic issue going

on?” asked the second officer, a burly dead ringer for Ed Asner. “What? A domestic issue?” Mark’s voice rose to panic level. “What are you talking about? I never hit my wife!” The two police officers exchanged glances. “May we talk to your wife?” the Ed Asner lookalike questioned. “Honey, there are two police officers here who want to talk to you,” Mark called across the room to where I was huddled on top of one of the queen-sized beds. I joined the little group at the doorway, my last giggle drying up in my throat. Both officers looked me up and down, undoubtedly taking in the mascara smudged underneath my eyes, my unkempt hair and traces of pizza sauce around my mouth. I was not a confidence inspiring sight by a long shot. “Everything all right here, ma’am?” George C. Scott asked in a most solicitous tone. For a very brief moment the temptation to get even with Mr. Make Me Laugh Even at Funerals was strong indeed but fortunately for Mark my sense of wifely devotion overrode my desire for revenge. “Yes!” I brightly assured him. “My husband never hits me!” After a few more questions, the officers finally must have decided that we were just a couple of goodnatured kooks and left. “Well,” Mark said as he bolted the door behind them, “apparently no one in the state of South Dakota has a sense of humor.” Joe woke up at that moment. “Could you two keep it down?” he requested. “I’m trying to sleep.” Taking his advice, Mark and I kept our mouths shut and our laughter stifled until we were safely back in Minnesota where joie de vivre is a little more acceptable. M

Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato.

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507.469.8276 MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 57

What’s Cooking By Sarah Johnson

Green beans: Best when burgled


ecently a memory resurfaced from the dim mists of time about the summer of my childhood when I was convinced I was the world’s greatest sneak. I would spy on my older sister as she sang pop songs to her mirror. I would secretly monitor my parents’ conversations. I would wear sunglasses in the yard but really be checking out the neighbors’ cookout. Sort of a 3-foot-tall, female James Bond in a 1970s small town where nothing vaguely interesting ever happened. It was a recipe for frustration and when I inevitably got bored with those activities, I moved up to … theft. I was far too Lutheran to steal something of real value, but one category of stuff struck me as more of a challenge and a dare: gardens. Why, the food in those places practically threw itself at your feet as you walked by. The fruit trees bent their branches over the sidewalks begging you to release them from the weight of their labors. The tomato plants reached out to offer you a taste of their bounty. Lettuces and asparagus and spring onions all called softly and seductively. And so it began. I would gather a couple of my most like-minded (read: juvenile delinquent) friends and we’d set off at dusk to case the joints. One neighbor had apple trees that he sprayed for bugs; another had a pear tree that produced tiny but delicious fruit. One lady kept raspberry vines going by her garage; another grew rhubarb; a third loved her sour cherry tree. We learned their ripening schedules and helped ourselves, all the while acting like miniature ninjas. I must admit it was the world’s greatest fun in the days before cable TV and Internet. Now, stealing delicious fruit is possibly understandable given the sweet-craving appetites of children. Stealing mud-stained vegetables we wouldn’t think of eating at home is an entirely different matter. Why we would grub around in the dark for a scraggly carrot or raw potato – we even thought to bring a salt shaker – is beyond me today. Perhaps the danger, the risk of getting caught was the seasoning needed to make these filched foods most palatable. Once we boiled up a whole pot of stolen baby potatoes and scorched our mouths eating them too hot. You’d have thought our parents weren’t feeding us at home, but, of course, we had refrigerators and cupboards full of storebought food. Too legit for us, the pirates of the parsnips. My favorite garden food to steal, however, was always the king of garden vegetables: the green bean. I loved green beans then and I love them now. Also known as string beans, they’re grown and adored pretty much all over the world where crops can be grown. They’re related to other beans such as navy, pinto and kidney, but with green beans we eat the unripe pod instead of the typical large, dried bean from within. And they’re loaded with healthful benefits such as antioxidants and carotenoids. We didn’t know that back then and wouldn’t have cared. We just knew they tasted good raw and weren’t too buggy.

58 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

So if I could get my paws on a handful of green beans, my day was complete, the Artful Dodger in faded Keds and freckles hitting the Big Time. We only pilfered gardens for one summer; the next year some other mildly illegal activity must have lured us away, or we finally realized that the taste of dirt wasn’t that great and went back to eating food that was washed. I ate my green beans raw back then like the good little animal I was, but these days I prefer them cooked any number of ways, from sautéed to deepfried to steamed to pickled. My childhood thievery didn’t lead to a full-fledged life of crime, but it did give me a lifelong appreciation for fresh garden produce, a consequence that’s been definitely beneficial. So, maybe I’m forgiven by now. I hope my long-dead-and-buried neighbors had a chuckle over their mysterious losses instead of getting mad. And for my parents’ sake, I hope they never suspected this towheaded tomboy who liked to roam the neighborhood barefoot at dusk, stealing their beans.

Sesame Tempura Green Beans This is an easy, delicious green bean tempura recipe. Fresh green beans are deep fried to crisp, golden perfection and dipped in a sweet and sour sauce. Oil for deep frying (2 quarts) 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ cup sesame seeds 12 ounces beer ¾ pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed Salt, to taste Dipping Sauce: 3 tablespoons soy sauce 3 tablespoons lime juice 1 teaspoon white sugar Heat oil in deep fryer to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sesame seeds and beer until smooth. Roll the beans in the flour mixture to coat. Deep fry the coated beans in small batches until golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes per batch. Drain on paper towels. Salt to taste. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, lime juice and sugar to use as a dipping sauce. M

Sarah Johnson is a cook, freelance writer and chocolate addict from North Mankato with three grown kids and a couple of mutts.

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Securities offered through National Planning Corp. (NPC), Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through The Sherwin Group, Inc.; a Registered Investment Advisor. The Sherwin Group, Inc and NPC are separate and unrelated companies. MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 59

Happy Hour

By M. Carrie Allan | The Washington Post

An American amaro


mericans drinking bitter boozes often seem to be one of two types: those into the cocktail revival (bitters, after all, are one of the four ingredients listed in the first known definition of the cocktail) or the triple-dog-dare-you crowd. Frat boys have been hazing each other with Jagerbombs for decades, and Jagermeister is essentially a German amaro. Jagerbombs have been around long enough to evolve from the relatively benign Jager-dropped-in-beer to the depressant/ stimulant mix more common today, Jager-dropped-in-Red Bull. (Kids, listen to your Auntie Alcohol: Don’t drink Jagerbombs. Jagermeister is a complex, fascinating liqueur that deserves more respect than the Jagerbomb provides, and you don’t want to waste good Red Bull. Not when so many toilets need cleaning.) I’d prefer to think the growing interest in amari tracks not only with the cocktail revival but with Americans’ turn of late toward bigger flavors. Our recent obsession with Sriracha, kimchi and fermenting seems to signify a growing adventurousness in what might be termed our national palate. It’s a palate that should welcome a homegrown amaro.


1 serving Note: This bubbly, bittersweet cocktail is friendlier than its nomenclature might suggest. It’s excellent for summer evenings and it works nicely with other strongly bitter amari (such as Fernet) as well. Chinotto, a bitter orange Italian soda, is available at many Italian markets. Ingredients Cracked ice 1 ounce Amaro delle Sirene or other strongly bitter amaro 1 ounce vodka 1 1/2 ounces chinotto bitter orange soda Orange wheel, for garnish Steps Fill a rocks glass with the ice. Add the amaro and vodka. Top with the bitter orange soda. M Garnish with the orange wheel. Nutrition Per serving: 190 calories, 0 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugar




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60 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 61

Day Trip: 4th

of July


By Leticia Gonzales

Fireworks —

on stage, in the sky

Live music accompanies annual Red, Hot and Boom event


here is something magical about a large group of people coming together to enjoy great music, food and fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July. The City of Mankato gives people the chance to do just that at the annual Red, Hot and Boom celebration at Riverfront Park. Jeff Lang, promotions director at Radio Mankato, has been helping with the event since it was moved to the Riverfront Park location five years ago. It was previously held at Blakeslee Field at Minnesota State University. “A huge crowd came out the first year,” Lang said. “Riverfront Park is a beautiful location.” Lang said the event draws around 5,000 people in the park alone. “I think it has been growing every year,” he said. Spectators can also watch the fireworks show from Veterans Bridge and surrounding areas — which increases the crowd to upward of 10,000. Before the fireworks light up the sky, the 10-piece Powerhouse rock band will put on an entertaining show to get the crowd moving. “We play pretty much a variety of music from pop to swing, to R&B, funk, some Motown,” said Howard Mock, the band’s bass guitarist and vocalist. “We just do a lot of different stuff.” Although it’s the band’s first year to play at the event, Mock, who is also the owner of Rhapsody Music in Mankato, said the group is no stranger to large events. “We have been one of the few bands to consistency play at Ribfest the past 12 years,” Mock said. “The last of those several years have been at Riverfront at that same stage — and it’s just awesome. I don’t think there is a venue that compares to that park. It’s a beautiful park and beautiful stage.” Powerhouse has been a regular performer at Mankato’s Ribfest since 2002, which is one of Mankato’s most well-attended annual festivals. “People really seem to enjoy it and that is

62 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Red, Hot and Boom lights up the night. | Pat Christman

why I think they have had us at Ribfest the past few years, because we appeal to such a wide audience,” Mock said. “We are a pretty high-energy band, too.” Powerhouse was formed in 2002 and is entering its 13th year together. From an early age, Mock said he was drawn to the sounds of horn bands. “Pretty much most of my life, I have always loved Chicago, and Blood, Sweat and Tears, and the Buckinghams — bands like that,” Mock said. “I was so taken back by the dynamics of the sound. It was such a huge sound.” The Beatles also greatly influenced Mock’s musical interests when they came to the United States in 1963. “Music just always had such an importance to me,” he said. Having owned a music store since 1984, Mock used his connections to find the musicians necessary to sustain Powerhouse. Prior to that, he had performed with a group called Crimson Velvet (and several follow-up iterations). “I just knew that music would always be a part of my life,” Mock said. In addition to its instrumentalists, Powerhouse features two female vocalists, Linda Keisler and Brenda Kopischke, from Elysian. “They are really active on stage and put a lot of effort into the show,” Mock said. “They always give 110 percent. They are constantly moving on stage.” Above all, Mock said the group is excited to play at the Riverfront venue. “I think people around here know what Powerhouse is, but if you haven’t seen us before, just be ready for a dynamic sound and a dynamic show,” he said. M

If You Go What Red, Hot and Boom

When July 4; Powerhouse concert at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. Where Riverfront Park Admission Free Notes Fireworks will be synced to music from Radio Mankato stations Hot 96.7, Minnesota 93 and 94.1 KXLP Classic Rock. Lawn chairs, blankets and coolers are welcome; no glass bottles or grills.

Nearby celebrations If you can’t make it to Mankato for the Red, Hot and Boom celebration, there are many area towns that have planned their own patriotic party:

Elysian Fourth of July Celebration

Elysian is celebrating 130 years with four days of food, music and events on July 3-6. For a complete event listing, visit Friday, July 4 • Medallion Hunt ($100 cash prize): First clue posted at 10 a.m. at tent and at • Lake Francis Boat Parade: 10 a.m. (starts east end of Lake Francis) • 29th Annual “Bob Childs” Turtle Races: 12:30 p.m. (registration at noon; bring your own turtle) • Kiddie Parade: 1:30 p.m. on Main Street Saturday, July 5 • Kid’s Fishing Contest: Ages 2-12 can register at 9:30 a.m., fishing from 10-11 a.m. Bait and lunch provided. • Bean Bag Tournament: 11 a.m. • Cribbage Tournament: 1 p.m. at American Legion (bring your own board) • Kid’s Bingo: 2 p.m. at the fire hall • Legion chicken dinner: 5-7 p.m. at American Legion • Fire Department Bingo: 6:30-9 p.m. • Fireworks: At 10 p.m. over Lake Francis Sunday, July 6 • Pancake Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to noon at fire hall • 20th Annual Elysian Car, Motorcycle and Tractor Show: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Main Street • Flea Market: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Kid’s Petting Zoo: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. near library • Kid Power Pedal Pull: 12:30 pm

Waseca’s Lakefest Music Celebration

Lakefest Music Celebration on the Fourth of July turns Clear Lake Park in Waseca into a small-town fiesta. The one-day event features food vendors, beer garden, family-friendly activities, musicians, boat parade and fireworks display. • Lakefest Freedom Run: Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. at Clear Lake Park. The 1-mile kids run/walk begins at 8 a.m. and the 5-mile run/ walk around Clear Lake starts at 8:30 a.m. • Live entertainment begins at noon with Sandra Lee & The Velvets and also includes 3:30-4:30 p.m. Jerome Broughten & Fiddlin’ Louisa Byron (3:30-4:30 p.m.), Jeremy Poland (4:30-6 p.m.), Randy Zimmerman (6-7:30 p.m.) and Steve McCloone Band (7:30 p.m. until fireworks). • Boat Parade: 4 p.m. • Fireworks: Begin at dusk

St. Peter’ Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration July 4, 2014 St. Peter is hosting its 44th OldFashioned Fourth of July celebration this year. The event kicks off with an 8K run and 5K walk event, followed by a 90-unit parade on Washington Avenue. Minnesota Square Park hosts food vendors, music, an art fair, and activities for children as well as a hot dog eating contest, a comedian/magician act, pony ride, water slide and kiddie train. The celebration ends with a fireworks show at the Nicollet County Fairgrounds • Run/walk events at 7 a.m., parade begins 10 a.m. • Activities at Minnesota Square Park: Noon to 4 p.m. • Fireworks Show: 10 p.m.

Good times at St. Peter’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. | John Cross MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 63

Coming Attractions: July 1 - “Remembering Our Heroes,” concert by Mankato Area Community Band 7:30 p.m. — Lincoln Park (corner of Lincoln, Grove and Broad streets) — free — Proceeds from treats and beverages benefit Boy in Blue Memorial project

4 - Lakefest Music Festival in Waseca Music from noon to until fireworks at 10 p.m. — Additional activities include boat parade (4 p.m.) and kids activities — Clear Lake Park lake-fest

4 - Red Hot and Boom: Mankato’s Fourth of July 5:30 p.m. -- Riverfront Park -- free

5 - Mad Ripple Hootenanny 5:30 p.m. -- Mankato Brewery -1119 Center St., North Mankato -- free --

4 -- St. Peter Old-Fashioned Fourth of July 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. -- Parade on S. Washington Ave. -- Activities in Minnesota Square Park -- Fireworks at Nicollet County Fairgrounds -507-934-3400

10-12 & 16-19 -- Highland Summer Theatre: Hairspray 7:30 p.m. -- Ted Paul Theatre, Minnesota State University -- $22 adults, $19 senior and youth -- 507389-6661 10-13 -- Madelia Park Days Thursday: a variety of family activities -- Friday: parade and fireworks -- Saturday: live music and Madelia River Run -- Sunday: fireman’s pancake breakfast -- For full schedule, visit www.visitmadeliamn. com

20 -- George Thorogood and the Destroyers 7 p.m. -- Vetter Stone Amphitheater -$30 in advance, $35 day of show -- 800-745-3000 25 -- Hot Jazz for Decent People: The Dan Duffy Orchestra 7:30 p.m. -- Arts Center of Saint Peter -315 S. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter -$10 -- 507-931-3630 26 -- Blues on Belgrade Festival 12-9:30 p.m. -- Belgrade Ave., North Mankato -- free 30 -- Jason Isbell 7 p.m. -- Vetter Stone Amphitheater -$25 -- 800-745-3000

19 -- MAD Girls Roller Derby 6 p.m. -Verizon Wireless Center -www.mankatoareaderbygirls. com

Vikings training camp begins The 2014 Verizon Vikings training camp will be held once again on the campus of Minnesota State University. Players report to camp on July 24 and hold its first team practice on July 25. On Aug. 2, the team will hold an evening practice presented by Northland Ford in Blakeslee Stadium followed by a team introduction and fireworks. The team will break camp on Aug. 15. For more information, visit Adrian Peterson signs autographs during training camp. | Free Press file photo 64 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE






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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 65

Your Health

By Claudia Menashe | The Washington Post

Another reason to stop avoiding that colonoscopy


o one really expects to go to the doctor for shoulder pain and end up with a cancer diagnosis. Well, maybe those of us who are hypochondriacs would, but my husband certainly didn’t. Yet that’s exactly what happened to him. John Anderson, my husband of 15 years, died in September 2012 after a five-month battle with colon cancer. He left behind our two children, now nearly 7 and 11, and my stepdaughter, a 33-year-old from his first marriage. John was 59, and, no, he didn’t have a colonoscopy — until it was too late. Sometimes it’s the first question that people ask when they learn our news: “Did he ever get a colonoscopy?” or, even worse, “Didn’t he get a colonoscopy?” Why, despite knowing the facts about colorectal cancer screening, didn’t he? That question will plague me for the rest of my life. And it tortured John from the moment he was diagnosed until the day he died. Colon cancer is one of the cancer success stories. There are various screening methods that can identify colon or rectal changes that may lead to cancer. Tests such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy can find premalignant polyps. These polyps can be removed during the procedure. These tests can also find cancer in its earliest stage, when it’s most treatable. But unfortunately, our family wasn’t part of this success story. According to experts, those considered at average risk for colorectal cancer should begin regular screening at age 50. When John turned 50, I reminded him to get an annual physical and a colonoscopy. He got his physical but no colonoscopy. We had the same conversation maybe half a dozen times over the years. He had physicals. Each time he’d come home with a fecal occult blood test kit and a colonoscopy prescription. But he never followed through with either. To encourage him, I would invoke our family (“Do it for the kids; they need you”), my own screening habits (“How would you feel if I didn’t get my annual mammogram?”), the data (he was a behavioral scientist, after all), the Katie Couric effect (a celebrity whom he liked and respected) and his risk factors (age, weight, diet). In the end, was my nagging just noise? One month shy of his 59th birthday, John finally got that colonoscopy. It was after shoulder pain, initially diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury, led to side pain, which led to a sonogram, which revealed tumors on his liver. Apparently his enlarged liver or a liver tumor was pressing on his diaphragm, which was causing referred shoulder pain. Who would have thought? 66 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

John Anderson, left, with Erika Anderso n, after a five-month battle with colon ca Claudia Menashe, Ben Menashe Ande rson and Leah Me ncer. | Family photo

J o h n ’s diagnosis: stage 4 colon cancer with inoperable liver tumors. Cancer that had started in his colon and spread to his liver. Unless John’s cancer responded to treatment, there wasn’t much hope. At some point during his treatment — when we still had hope that the chemotherapy might work — I asked John: “Why didn’t you get a colonoscopy?” This was one of many emotional “what if” conversations that he and I had, typically late at night, when the house was quiet. Sometimes initiated by him, sometimes initiated by me, these topics were raw and gut-wrenching. Scary but difficult to ignore. And I knew that particular question was like salt in a wound. There would be no answer that would ever heal a thing or make a difference. But still, I had to ask him. “Why didn’t you get a colonoscopy?” He didn’t have a definitive answer. None of it really made sense, he admitted. And our hearts broke with the reality that no answer could matter, that there was no excuse. It was too late. During the painful discussion when John’s oncologist had to tell us that nothing more could be done, John calmly said, “I should have gotten that colonoscopy.” His oncologist — very compassionately and honestly — said not to go there.

Celebrating 51 Years in Business

enashe Anderson at botto

m; John Anderson di


But John and I couldn’t help it: We knew the truth. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives. And it might have saved John’s. M Menashe is a vice president at Ogilvy Public Relations, where she serves as an on-site contractor at the National Cancer Institute. She lives in Washington.

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Open House Saturday, July 26 • 1:00-4:00p.m. Southern Minnesota’s Newest & Largest Wedding Shop! Pampered Perfection!

You’re invited to experience the grandeur and uniqueness of our Peruvian Horses. Defined by a smooth gait for riding comfort, Peruvians combine a willing temperament, strength and stamina with beauty and rarity. This breed offers versatility for all types of riding. Pediatric Therapy Services, Inc. will be doing a Hippotherapy demonstration.

Breed Demonstration & Drill Team Performance 2:00 p.m.

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Eugene R. Braam Accounting Thank you for voting us Second Level of the New Ulm Event Center 507•354•GOWN Make your appointment today at

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Join the fight against Cancer! Relay For Life of Blue Earth County July 18, 2014 6:00 pm - 1:00 am Ray Erlandson Park corner of Victory Drive and Main Street, Mankato, MN for more info please call: 507.720.0742 - Discover Chiropractic

6:00 pm - Opening Ceremony 6:20 pm - Survivor & Caregivers Lap 9:15 pm - Luminaria Lighting Service 1:00 am - Closing Ceremony MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 69

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70 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Named Minnesota’s Top Marathon Worth Traveling for by TripAdvisor

OCTOBER 18 & 19, 2014 5th Annual Mankato Marathon Mankato Marathon is the Midwest’s boldest race, showcasing a dynamic course and determined racers. This exceptional course features a vast countryside run at the beginning and culminates in the beautiful, yet challenging Mankato river valley. There’s a race for every runner—a full marathon, relay, half marathon, 10K, 5K, KidsK, Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash. A host of accompanying weekend activities abounds for the whole family. The Mankato Marathon is a USATF certified course, making it a Boston Marathon qualifier. Be bold. Register now for this exceptional race. Join the community and like us on facebook!

THINGS TO DO Sport&Health Expo Speaker Series Kidz Zone

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5K3.1mi 10K6.2mi 26.2mi 26.2mi/4 13.1mi FULL MARATHON MARATHON RELAY HALF MARATHON

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 71

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Bike Helmet sAfety Ralley 1. Beth Elmer (left), a Mayo Clinic nurse, helps Kiera Fischer, 3, put on a helmet. 2. Joe DeLory helps size Jordan Roemhildt for a bike helmet. 3. Diana Stoermann is a dietitian for the Mayo Clinic and was teaching children to “stop drinking candy.” 4. Mayo Clinic nurses Alisa Hlavac, Gretchen Fischer, Danielle Grundman and Lindsay Hennek show children what the emergency room is like. 5. Zoe Williams of Mankato tries 2 on a bike helmet. 6. Dylan Dunigan of Mankato gets sized for a bicycle helmet. 7. Laura Klatt tries on a helmet during the event.





72 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE



Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Mankato Walk to Defeat ALS


1. Volunteers Trevor McCauley (left) and Ryan Vonwald signing up walkers on the day of the event. 2. Team Johnny’s Walkers stopped for a photo during the walk on the Red Jacket Trail. 3. Dan Ganske and his dog, Molly, waiting for the walk to begin. 4. Tony’s Troopers team member Tucker Trimbo of Henderson,. 5. Team Sue’s Friends pose for a photo during the walk. 6. Mankato Moondogs mascot Muttnik greets participants as they show up to the event. 7. Mankato West High School served as the starting point of the walk.







MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 73

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

City Art Meet and Greet on the Street 1. Cynthia Markle with her sculpture, “Picking Tulips.” 2. Chris Kilbane of Minnesota stands by his sculpture titled “Solar Harmony.” 3. Two women admiring a sculpture of a fat bike. 4. Kimber Fiebiger of Minneapolis with “Mr. Eggwards.” 5. Jaque Frazee with his sculpture, “Jumping Through Hoops.” 6. Jerry and Sandy Crest of North Mankato viewing a sculpture titled “The Rhino,” by Dale Lewis of Minnesota. 2 7. Gretchen Spear looking at a sculpture entitled “Radiance.”



4 5


74 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix 1

Dr. anNette Parker Installation 1. Hundreds gathered for the event at Courtyard Marriott in Mankato. 2. President Parker chats with Dave Knopick at the reception. 3. Parker was joined by President Richard Davenport of Minnesota State University. 4. Parker shakes hands with Brian D. Fors, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at South Central College. 5. Guests toast Parker on her new endeavor as South Central College’s new President. 6. A five-piece band entertained the crowd during the reception.






MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2014 • 75




By Pete Steiner

The old North End: Part 2


ome of my earliest pieces in this space were about Places That Are No More. We talked last month about the old North End, how it’s always been home to small, independent auto repair shops. Jerry Olinger told me it was around 1954 when his shop on Washington Street was the first in town to get an oscilloscope. Even 60 years ago, cars were starting to get more sophisticated. The old North End has also always featured neighborhood-type bars, gathering places for “regulars.” There was the old Stahl House bar, now the Wine Rack, which featured pictures of historic Mankato hanging on the walls. There was the Oleander, of course, granddaddy of them all, and the S and S Tavern, now converted to the Coffee Hag. And then there was the infamous Bodega, which by the time I took a job there, had moved from its tucked-in location near the old Salet’s department store to the 500 block of North Riverfront. Long notorious, it hosted a cast of characters worth of a Coen Brothers’ movie – or maybe one by Sam Peckinpah? Some of the toughest guys in town hung out there, but if you kept to your own business, you had no trouble. I worked there as a bartender for exactly one week. Saw things in that short time I’d only seen before in movies. Some guy tried to mess with one of the regulars’ girlfriends. He was escorted into the men’s room by two other guys and a lot of grunting and banging and concussive sounds emerged before they came back out carrying the social offender, who was laid out on a bench to recuperate. The night I quit, a guy who’d had way too much to drink was hassling the wife of the owner. She was also tending bar that Sunday. The guy was screaming at her, threatening her. Sweet little, kind little, naïve little Pete tried to intervene, suggesting, “Hey, maybe you should just let her alone …” “Who the f--- are you?!” came the reply, “Get the f--- outta my way or I’ll knock your f---in’ teeth out!” Which he probably could have done, except some of the regulars then intervened and indicated he might be better off chilling and going home. His odds against them were considerably poorer, so he took their advice. By the next day, however, I had reached the conclusion that bartending at the Bodega was probably not my calling. I told them I was done. •••• Old Town and the Armory, the Oleander and Washington Park – those, along with the Lincoln Park neighborhood, represent the closest approximation to “old Mankato,” as our thriving city – and no, it’s not a “town” anymore – sprawls eastward across the highlands away from the river that gave it birth. All the construction this summer in our main commercial district along Highways 22 and 17 affirms that, when it comes to development, highways are 76 • July 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

now more essential than rivers. Except, of course, when it comes to that crucial little commodity, water. •••• I didn’t grow up there, but there are things I get nostalgic about as I stroll the streets of the North Side. It’s a record shop and a lighting store now, but I remember when the corner of Riverfront and Rock Street was dominated by Mahowald’s Hardware and Sporting Goods Store. It was headquarters for guys who were hunters or handymen. It was also headquarters for bicycle repairs. A makeshift wooden ramp led up from the main floor to the back room where Schwinns and Silver Kings were worked on. But I cherished Mahowalds most in the spring when dad would take us in to the adjacent sporting goods store before Little League season to browse for ball gloves. You’d touch them all, pick some up to try on, check the pocket, inspect the webbing. You’d notice which star – Duke Snider or Henry Aaron or Mickey Mantle – had let them put his name on the heel. Which would it be, the Rawlings or the Wilson? •••• I hit the only over-the-fence home run of my short career when I was 11, a three-run shot to right-center. Dreams of being the next Lefty Haefner — until I had to admit I couldn’t hit the curveball and I switched to tennis. •••• Two old school buildings on the North End have been converted, one into a business center, the other into Mankato’s Islamic Center Even Nostradamus wouldn’t have predicted such diversity for River City if he’d been forecasting in the 1950s. But it’s a good thing, isn’t it? I’m liking all the downtown progress. Even though they tore down the building that successively hosted two of my favorite younger years hangouts – the Hurdy Gurdy and T.J. Finnegan’s – I’m excited that cars driving along the valley on 169 will now observe a distinct skyline emerging, with the new Tailwind building rising to complement the Hilton and the Verizon Wireless Center. This small-town boy doesn’t need to go to the Twin Cities for culture as often as he used to. (Next month: How changes to the old North End helped create the Bar-Muda Triangle.) M

Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

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Vanderberg Clean is proud to be voted Best of Mankato 2014. We appreciate the continued support of our family, friends & customers. From our family to yours, THANK YOU!



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