Sharing Olde Fashioned Christmas Cheer

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Written by By Kim Zabel




Co-owners Kristin Alexander and Adrianne McNiff have been nearly inseparable business partners since 2007. But it hasn’t always been that way. Both wanted to open a traditional coffee shop, and both saw a need for one in the Mantorville area, so they decided to combine their talents. Adrianne has a degree in the culinary arts, and Kristin has a degree in marketing. Both spent years in their fields before joining forces. 

“It was like fate,” Kristin says. “We were both taking a risk. We didn’t really know each other very well, but we both had the same dream so we decided we were going to do it, hoping it would work.” The traditional coffee shop model quickly expanded to include all-day breakfast, gourmet coffees, homemade desserts and an ever-expanding menu. 

Kristin and Adrianne have felt supported and accepted by the Mantorville community. “There are a lot of women business owners in Mantorville. The local paper in Kasson used to have a huge section devoted to them,” Kristin says.

Much of their success is formed through the combination of Kristin’s marketing know-how and Adrianne’s culinary skills. “I am a pretty darn good baker,” Adrianne says. “We have really good pies and desserts here.” 


Karrie Berg and RaeLynn Mattick became business partners three years ago. RaeLynn worked as a stylist at Creative Change and was renting her styling chair there but was looking for more. Karrie wanted to expand the business, so they became partners. In addition to hair, the salon also features spa services such as manicures, pedicures, massage, waxing and dermaplaning. 

Unlike Kristin and Adrianne, Karrie and RaeLynn had been friends for years before the partnership. “Karrie actually did my hair when I was a kid,” RaeLynn says. “She did my first highlight!”

“We are very approachable and friendly. I think one of the biggest stigmas with salons is that it’s intimidating to walk into them, but we get complimented all the time on how welcoming and homey it feels here,” she says. That welcoming attitude is evident throughout the Mantorville community as well. “No one is really in competition with one another. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed,” RaeLynn says. 


Lynnette Nash is a people person. “This is who I am and what I do,” Lynnette says. “If I am not at the shop, I miss people. I’m the kind of person that will go out into a crowd and start talking to the people around me.” 

Lynette has the support of her family to help her do what she does. Her mom purchased the confectionery shop in 1989, and Lynnette bought it from her four years ago. Her mom still works in the shop, dipping chocolates by hand, and Lynnette’s daughter, Alexa, plans to come into the business when she graduates with her degree in food and consumer science. 

“This is very much a family thing. If I’m busy, my son comes here to help. My husband is here too. It’s all about doing the product and doing the product well,” she says. 

“The interesting thing is that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist here in Mantorville. Everybody just supports everybody,” Lynnette says. 

Mantorville invites everyone to celebrate Olde Fashioned Christmas on Saturday, December 2 with a candlelight tea, caroling and sleigh rides. You can even take the trolley to Mantorville with your favorite group of friends for Olde Fashioned Christmas from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register at or call 507-421-0573.

Editor’s Note: Established in 1854, Mantorville was listed on the National Historic Registry in 1975. 

County Seat Coffeehouse
1 Fifth Street West
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Creative Change Hair Studio
516 N Main Street 

The Chocolate Shoppe
420 North Main Street

Finds on 5th
3 5th Street West

Mantorville Art Guild 
521 North Mantorville Street 

Hubbell House  
502 N Main Street


Kim Zabel works as a wellness instructor at 125 Live and the Rochester Area YMCA.



She grew up watching her grandmother make rugs, and now Lori owns her grandmother’s loom as well as her great-grandfather’s loom. Lori is the chosen one in her family to carry on the rug making tradition. 

“I am proud of my heritage, proud of my rugs and proud to be a farmer,” she says.



Besides her rug making business, Lori is the owner-operator of Feltis Farms in Stewartville. She grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and wheat—not to mention she has French Charolais cattle, chickens, peacocks, ducks, pheasants and geese. She also runs a CSA that provides eggs, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, tomatoes, rhubarb and nine different herbs for her customers. “We are a working farm, not just a hobby farm,” Lori says. “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here.” 



Travel Insurance: Peace of Mind for Unexpected Travel Changes

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Written by Catherine H. Armstrong

Spring Break is fast approaching, so families and students may be looking to escape the blustering cold of Minnesota in favor of more moderate temperatures. But what happens if weather or other personal factors creep up and your travel plans are delayed or cancelled completely?  The solution for all things is to take advance precautions, and travel is no different. By considering the advantages of travel insurance, you can rest easy that any change of plans can be only temporary.

Marcy Jacobson, owner of Adler’s Travel, is a strong proponent of travel insurance. “Clients buy insurance on themselves, their homes and cars; they need to insure their vacations, as well,” she states. 



A Day in Decorah with or without Kids

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Written by Gina Dewink

Just 70 miles southeast of Rochester sits an alluring town with heritage so rich that it’s gained national notoriety. Thanks to its Norwegian-American charm, “Forbes” magazine named Decorah, Iowa one of “America’s Prettiest Towns.” Whether you’re interested in its natural beauty or its thriving art scene, pack up the family (or leave them at home) and spend a day in Decorah.


“When I’m asked to describe Decorah, I tell visitors it’s vibrant, historic, quaint and filled with energy,” says Charlene Selbee, executive director of Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Selbee’s admiration for the town of around 8,000 residents is clear when asked to name her favorite thing about Decorah. “The art community,” she replies immediately.

Decorah’s main street, Water Street, is lined with local shops. Agora Arts features fine crafts and art created by over 250 American artists. Ace Kitchen Place is a proud supplier of Scandinavian heritage cookware made in Iowa. As their website explains, “If you need help with kransekake, krumkake or lefse, head to Ace Kitchen Place.”



The Twin Cities: Insider's Guide

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

Pssst! Wanna rock the Twin Cities like a local? There are a multitude of unique and awesome things to do in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. There are hidden gems, places the locals enjoy, but protect, much like a fisherman never reveals the exact location where he’s reeling in the keepers.

I lived in the Twin Cities for 25 years and have some insights to share, so you can truly expand your horizons as you visit the Twin Cities for a day trip or a weekend getaway. There are oodles of things to do, and these suggestions are in no way all-encompassing.

What you do, of course, depends on your interests and how you like to spend your time. Here is just the tip of the iceberg of ideas for exploring and enjoying your visit to the Twin Cities. 



International Travel – Independently or with a Group

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

International travel is a great way to open your mind and learn about other cultures and the history of the region you are visiting. Traveling internationally can be a bit overwhelming. In addition to being disoriented upon landing at an international airport and making your way through customs, there can be jet lag, language barriers, transportation challenges and currency confusion. 

You can travel internationally on your own or with friends, family or your significant other. Independent travel allows you to really explore a region and truly immerse yourself in the culture. You can decide which hotel you want to stay at, which attractions to visit and where to dine. You are completely in charge of your travel experience. 

If independent travel is not your style, group travel is a great option. Group travel is desirable for many people because the logistical details are handled by the tour director traveling with you, who is familiar with the region. Plus, you have travel companions that add to the ambiance of the tour.  


If you're looking for entertainment this summer, why not explore some of the eclectic small towns around Rochester? There are too many to mention in just one article, so take a day trip or weekend away, and let us know what you find! 

Due North

Zumbrota stands out as a fantastic small town only a half-hour drive north of Rochester. Zumbrota is notable not only for being the home of Minnesota's last authentic covered bridge, but also for the quaint downtown area, numerous historic buildings and wide array of great independently-owned shopping opportunities. 

In the background of the many art festivals, fashion shows and other exciting annual events that Zumbrota hosts is a stronghold of locally-owned shops. A trip to Zumbrota promises no end of tempting handcrafted,
heirloom-quality goods, from the gorgeous shoes and handbags at Luya Shoes and Other Fine Things, to the handmade jewelry, paintings and other artisan goods at Crossings at Carnegie. While you're visiting, check out the historic State Theatre and the History Center or book a night for camping in the Covered Bridge Park. 



Rollin' on the River: Passion Test Helps Women Find Purpose

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Written by LuAnn Buechler Photo by Samantha Boos, Queen of the Castle Magazine

Water ski days are just one of the summer of water activities an hour east of Rochester on the wide spot of the Mississippi River known as Lake Pepin. Float on a boat (rafts not recommended) to feel as free as Huckleberry Finn on the mighty Mississippi River. 

There are floating and flying options galore around Lake Pepin. The Pearl of the Lake paddleboat out of Lake City is great for groups or a romantic sunset cruise. Brand new to the area is exhilarating Eagle Hang Gliding where you and an instructor take to the thermals to glide above the water. Sailing is a long-time favorite, and both WIMNSail and Sail Pepin will take you sailing out of the Pepin, Wisconsin marina. 

Further down the River, in Alma, Wisconsin, docks Fun ‘N The Sun houseboats. You can rent the houseboat and spend a few days or a week on the water exploring and relaxing. This is one of a numerous ways to explore the river without having to own a boat.



Getaway to Chicago: The Paris of the Prairie

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Written by Cindy Mennenga

With the release of his poem “Chicago” in 1916, Carl Sandburg put Chicago squarely on the map. The poem celebrates the proud working class residents of Chicago and the impact the city had on the growth of this country. The poem also vaulted Sandburg to celebrity status in Chicago.

Chicago is commonly known as the “Windy City,” and most folks assume the nickname refers to the epic winds that blow off Lake Michigan and whistle through the cavernous skyscraper-lined city streets. But, in fact, the moniker was a result of the many brash and long-winded politicians of yesteryear. Chicago is also lesser-known as the “Paris of the Prairie,” as city planners, a century ago, had great plans to design the city similar to Paris. However, when the Great Depression hit, much of the plan was abandoned.   

Chicago itself is a study in contrasts—a metropolitan oasis nestled between the aquamarine beauty of Lake Michigan and the corn fields of the Midwestern plains. Chicago is an amazing city, truly a world unto itself. 


If you enjoy traveling and you are age 55 or older, you may be delighted to know that Home Federal Savings Bank recently created its own travel club and whisked members away on its first regional adventure last fall. The travel club is very popular already, and they’ve only just begun.

Home Federal’s Jubilee Travel Club offers members a variety of travel options: day trips, regional trips and extended trips. Many members go on several trips each year because they love the diversity of trips offered. Home Federal’s travel club attracts a variety of travelers: singles making new friends on the trip, girlfriends enjoying a vacation together and couples enjoying time with each other. One thing all of the travelers have in common is their eagerness to have a great time and make amazing memories.   


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