small business

Episode 134: 1 Million Cups Rochester with Live.Give.Save. and Jeb Taylor Knives

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This week on the podcast we listen in to some storytelling from the June 1 Million Cups Rochester. 1 Million Cups is an event that occurs every Wednesday across the nation to caffeinate entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups Rochester takes place the first Wednesday of every month at 9AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen event space. This month we heard from two great entrepreneurs: Susan Langer, CEO of Live.Give.Save and Jeb Taylor, Founder of Jeb Taylor Knives. This was an amazing display of the very diverse entrepreneurship taking place in our city, so listen in to learn more!


Links from the podcast today:

1 Million Cups Rochester


Facebook: @1MCRochester

Twitter: @1MillionCupsRST

Instagram: @1millioncupsrochester




Facebook: @spavenow

Twitter: @livegivesave

Instagram: @spavenow


Jeb Taylor Knives


Facebook: @jebtaylorknives

Instagram: @jeb_taylor_knives


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Artist:

Today’s podcast is brought to you by:



Facebook: @liveatomnow

Twitter: @LiveAtomNow

Episode 132: From the Edge with AJ, Jan, and Shanna


Today on the podcast we share our latest in the “From the Edge” podcast series where we sit down with different innovators in the community and talk about trends in entrepreneurship. This month we chat with Jan Hagenbrock, Founder of LiveAtom a business that helps small businesses grow through website development and lead generation, Shanna Lunasin, a nonprofit entrepreneur who also manages the MBA program at the University of Minnesota in Rochester, and AJ Montpetit, Founder of WRKSHOP, a healthcare marketing business. We talk about many topics on the podcast today including minimalism, over commitment, the basis of the 8-hour workday, and outcomes-based work. We had a great conversation on the show, so take some time to listen in!


Links from the podcast today:



Facebook: @liveatomnow

Twitter: @LiveAtomNow


University of Minnesota-Rochester Labovitz MBA Program


Shanna’s personal website:




Twitter: @wrkshp_mn


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license ( Artist:

Episode 130: Leah, Eileen, and Tyler with Canvas and Chardonnay

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Today on the show we sit down with the owners of Canvas and Chardonnay Leah Joy Bee, Eileen Bruns, and Tyler Aug. Canvas and Chardonnay, located in the heart of historic downtown Rochester, is an “art and community space where people of all ages, however you identify, are welcome.” The space offers numerous art classes, live music, yoga, a book and crystal emporium, and much more. On the podcast today we talk more about Canvas and Chardonnay, discuss how the business has grown since this trio purchased it last May, talk about plans for the future, and learn what current initiatives taking place in Rochester’s innovation community these entrepreneurs think everyone should know about.  


Links from the show today:

Canvas and Chardonnay


Facebook: @CanvasandChardonnay

Instagram: @canvasandchardonnay


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (


Episode 125: Laura Elwood and Chamberlain Concierge & Lifestyle Management

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This week on the podcast we chat with local entrepreneur and Rochester native Laura Elwood, founder of Chamberlain Concierge & Lifestyle Management. Chamberlain was launched three years ago mainly as a limousine service. Since that time, the business has expanded its offerings to include a concierge menu based on client needs. On the podcast today we talk about the growth and development of Chamberlain over the last few years, lessons Laura applied to the business from her experience in hospitality and travel, and her love for solving puzzles.


Links from the show today:

Chamberlain Concierge & Lifestyle Management


Facebook: @YourChamberlain

Instagram: @yourchamberlain


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (


Episode 120: Kristin Pearson and Pearson Organics

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This week on the podcast we chat with local female entrepreneur Kristin Pearson of Pearson Organics. Pearson Organics is a small organic vegetable farm growing four acres of diverse vegetables for the Rochester area. The business mainly sells its produce through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. On the show today we talk with Kristin about Pearson Organics, how she originally got into farming, and how she’s been building her business over the last two years.


Links from the show today:

Rochester Rising’s Mental Wellness: Goal Setting and Time Management Workshop:


Pearson Organics


Facebook: @PearsonOrganics

Instagram: @pearson_organics


Thanks to our sponsors for making this podcast happen! This podcast is brought to you by:

Alsbrook Accounting


Episode 115: Talking Business Development with the Realty Edge Team

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Today on the podcast we chat with Dan Kingsley and Kyle Swanson, co-owners of the Realty Edge team, a residential real estate business in Rochester, Minnesota. This interview is part of our #Emerge video series. Check out the abridged version of this show, video-style, on our website! Today on the podcast we talk about Dan and Kyle’s excitement in regard to the growing brewery scene in Rochester. We also chat about their approach to brand development and brand message with Realty Edge, the value of a social network in growing a business, and how they’ve been able to implement a team-based approach with their company.


Links from the podcast today:

Realty Edge Website:

Facebook: @TheRealtyEdgeTeam

Twitter: @realtyedgeteam


Thanks to our sponsors for making this podcast possible. Today’s show is brought to you by:


Facebook: @Brandhoot

Twitter: @Brandhoot

Episode 109: How to Maintain Customer Relationships and when to Cut Ties

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Today on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneur, licensed realtor, and real estate investor Zoey Jantsan to discuss customer relationships and how to recognize when it’s time to cut ties. On the show today, we talk about:


o   How Zoey manages her customer relationships, especially with the long-term clients she sees in real estate.

o   How she turns leads into clients.

o   Zoey’s methods to keep in touch with clients including texting, emailing, and calling, which she finds a natural fit. She also does “old school stuff” like sending handwritten notes to clients.

o   How to recognize when a point is reached in a customer relationship when it’s clear both parties needs are not being met.

o   We talk about how Zoey tried to acquire “any and every” client in the beginning phase of her business.

o   She explained how, later on, she learned to perform a risk assessment of her time to decide if what she could give would meet a particular customer’s needs.

o   The value of prioritizing what you do in your business and how this also affects your personal life.

o   How to personally move on and pick yourself up after a “failed” customer relationship.

o   We talk about the value in setting expectations early on in the customer relationship.

o   Zoey chatted about past experiences that helped her understand what processes and procedures she needed to have in place in her business to establish better expectations with her clients.


You can find out more about Zoey on the web at, on Facebook @CharlieandZoey, and on Instagram @charlieandzoey_realtors.

Episode 106: Offices at China Hall


This week on the podcast we travel to Offices at China Hall for a chat with the owners of that business, Bucky Beeman and Peter Andrews. The Offices at China Hall is Rochester’s newest coworking space, located in the heart of downtown Rochester right across the street from the Minnesota BioBusiness Center. This coworking space is situated on the second floor of a building, which originally was a china store as well as office space at another point in its lifetime. The location has likely been unutilized since the 1950s. The Offices at China Hall is a coworking space that includes a conference room, kitchenette, and six private offices. Bucky and Peter are open to using the space for events and for general support of Rochester’s entrepreneurial community. They see the space as a natural next step for businesses that need to graduate from the open coworking concept.

“We really want to create that sense of community for those that want more than just an office without having a neighbor that they can go and talk to.” -Bucky Beeman, Co-owner of Offices at China Hall

Episode 103: Janessa Nickell and Sacred Circle

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Today on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneur Janessa Nickell and learn about her brand-new business Sacred Circle. Sacred Circle is a space for people to learn, connect, grow, and understand more about themselves through introspection and reflection. Today on the podcast we talk about:


·       The energy that Janessa sees in Rochester’s entrepreneurial community right now.

·       The need for authenticity and being able to form deeper connections with ourselves and with others.

·       The initial classes and programming offered by Sacred Circle.

·       What the transition from a long-term career to full-time entrepreneurship with Sacred Circle has been like.

·       Janessa’s personal mission with Sacred Circle, which was born to reduce major burnout in her own life and has resulted in a significant shift in her mind set over the past year.


“I’m encouraged to look around and see how people are willing to take risks and are willing to try something different and build something unique.” -Janessa Nickell, founder of Sacred Circle

Episode 101: Abbey Sass with Civil Sass Hops


This week on the podcast we check in with Abbey Sass of Civil Sass Hops. Civil Sass Hops is a hops yard on a third-generation family farm in Chatfield, MN, owned by Abbey and her husband Jake Sass. Civil Sass Hops is a woman and veteran owned business. On the show today, we sit down with Abbey and talk about:


·      Her introduction to southeast Minnesota as a Kansas native and the rural tourism she sees taking place now outside of Rochester.

·      How the dichotomy of the name Civil Sass Hops reflects the culture of the business.

·      The history of hops growth in Minnesota.

·      The value of fresh hops in local beers.

·      How hops factor into the beer brewing process.

·      Abbey’s career as an interior designer, designing hotels nationwide.

·      Her husband Jake’s entrepreneurial passion from a young age and how they collaborate as a husband/wife team to run Civil Sass Hops.

·      The importance of open and honest communication in running a business.

·      The next steps for Civil Sass Hops, including an expansion of acreage and increased collaboration efforts, both with new breweries and with markets that might be just a bit unexpected for hops.

Episode 70: April Dahl and Dahl Dance


This week on the podcast we travel out to Dahl Dance studio to speak with owner April Dahl. Dahl Dance is a professional social dance studio that teaches nineteen different dances, including swing and Argentine Tango, to adults. April and her husband Gary opened up the studio in 2005 in Rochester and have been operating the business for thirteen years. This week on the podcast, we talk about Dahl Dance’s move to their brand-new space, what it takes to successfully run a business for over a decade, and the studio’s involvement in the Rochester Dancing for the Arts program this spring.

“Just remember when you’re running a business that it’s all about the relationship.” -April Dahl

Episode 54: Edward Cohen and EZ2See Products

This week on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneur Edward Cohen and talk about his small business, EZ2See Products. Edward is legally blind and has difficultly reading text. For himself and others with vision difficulties, the large print calendars on the market just were impractical and the numbers were still difficult to see. To make his life easier, Edward created his own portable large print calendar, which ended up quickly turning into a business. On the podcast today we talk about Edward’s journey to launch EZ2See Products, the things he’s learned along the way, and what he thinks his business needs in order to grow.

“I’m not in the medical profession. I don’t change people’s lives… .It just kept gnawing at me. This might be a way that I could give back to my community.” –Edward Cohen, Founder of EZ2See Products

Episode 48: 1 Million Cups Rochester with Pure Rock Studios, ROCKchester, and Carpet Booth Studios

Today on the podcast we listen in to some audio from the very latest 1 Million Cups Rochester. This month was a very special, music-focused 1 Million Cups. The event had one main pitch from Ryan Utterback of Pure Rock Studios and mini pitches from two entrepreneurs in the music community. Pure Rock Studios is Rochester’s premier music and lesson facility, offering live group classes, performance opportunities, and ways for local musicians to connect with Pure Rock students. Dylan Hilliker of ROCKchester and Zach Zurn of Carpet Booth Studios also told a bit of their story at the event. ROCKchester is an all local music festival that was developed to give teens a place to play live music. Carpet Booth Studios is Rochester’s only studio providing recording, production, and composition session work.

“Art knows the gaps and how to fill them. And so do entrepreneurs.” – Dylan Hilliker, Founder of ROCKchester.

Episode 40: Ali McDowell and AM Fitness

This week on the podcast we talk with Ali McDowell, a young female entrepreneur bringing her in-home and online personal training service, AM Fitness, to Rochester. AM Fitness offers a range of in-home services including rehabilitation, pre- and postnatal fitness, sports performance, fat loss, and nutritional guidance. Online services incorporate individualized weekly workouts and nutritional programming. Listen in today as we talk about the ins and outs of launching a new business in Rochester and the direction that Ali sees fitness headed in the future.

“The thing with entrepreneurship is, my biggest takeaways are risk. Take big risks and be really patient and realize that things are not going to happen overnight.” –Ali McDowell, Owner of AM Fitness

Episode 39: Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship Examines Startup and Small Business Activity in Minnesota

This week on the podcast, we take an in-depth look at the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, a new set of indicators to measure entrepreneurial activity coming out of the Kauffman Foundation. This index analyzes entrepreneurial trends in three different categories: startup activity, main street entrepreneurship, and growth entrepreneurship. While several methods exist to measure startup and business activity, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship takes multiple data points into account to thoroughly examine the spectrum of “economic dynamism”, from the percentage of new entrepreneurs and businesses forming, to the number of businesses experiencing long term success.


Further reading on measuring entrepreneurial activity:

Episode 34: Looking Towards the Future- Entrepreneurship in Rochester

New Data Suggest Minnesota Struggles to Create New Entrepreneurs and Startups, Dominates in Small Business Activity

Episode 37: Sarah Pacchetti and FireFly

This week on the podcast we talk with local business owner Sarah Pacchetti. Sarah is the owner of FireFly, a unique barre fitness boutique in the heart of downtown Rochester that merges an urban vibe with a Midwestern welcoming atmosphere. FireFly is a BarreAmped certified studio and was the first Pound certified venue in Minnesota.

“I would say that you definitely have to be stubborn. There’s so many times when you’re starting a business that you just want to give up. …So you just have to have that stubbornness to see it through and know that it just takes time.” -Sarah Pacchetti (on starting a small business).

Photo courtesy of FireFly.

Episode 32: The Rochester Startup Part 14- Breakdown of Rochester's Coworking Spaces

This week, we wrap up “The Rochester Startup Series,” taking an in-depth look at coworking spaces in Rochester and the people working within them. In today’s podcast, we hear from the owners and managers of the four coworking spaces in Rochester including: Carrie Moscho of Rochester Area Foundation, Xavier Frigola of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, Tessa Leung of The Vault, and Jamie Sundsbak of Collider Coworking.

All four leaders in the business and entrepreneurial community agreed that there are strong expectations of growth in the for-profit and not-for-profit community, especially with the Destination Medical Center initiative. Rochester’s entrepreneurial community right now is just starting to gain the critical mass that it needs to push forward, but it still has a long way to go. The emerging Southeast Minnesota Angel Fund could significantly help the growth of the startup and entrepreneurial community.

This series is sponsored by:

Episode 26: 1 Million Cups Finally Arrives in Rochester

1 Million Cups has finally arrived in Rochester. The inaugural edition of 1 Million Cups Rochester took place this morning at 9AM. The event will be held the first Wednesday of every month, at 9AM, in the Bleu Duck Kitchen event space. 1 Million Cups is a national, educational event for entrepreneurs that is based out of the Kauffman Foundation.

Here’s how to keep in touch with the 1 Million Cups Rochester community:

1 Million Cups Rochester Page




Featured Rochester Rising story: Two Mayo Graduate Students Developing Automated Solution for Cell Culture

Episode 24: Ryan Utterback and Pure Rock Studios

This week, I got to sit down with Iowa native and current Rochester resident Ryan Utterback and learn about his journey building and growing Pure Rock Studios. Pure Rock Studios is a music lesson and entertainment center in northeast Rochester that custom fits lessons to fit the needs of its students. Utterback and his team of fourteen professional musicians place an emphasis on live performance, if the students want to gain this experience. Utterback himself is a professional drummer. He spent several years studying and working as a musician in Hollywood and plays in the local country band County Line Drive.

You can catch the Pure Rock Studios students at their Winter Showcase Saturday February 4th from 1-7PM at Wicked Moose. In this week’s podcast, Ryan and I chatted about Pure Rock, the value of performance, and the future of the local music scene in Rochester.

This week’s featured Rochester Rising article: Rochester Rising and Collider Coworking Bring Rochester’s First Racing Team for Entrepreneurs to the City

Click here to join the Risky Business Racing Team.

Click here for the Risky Business Facebook group.

Rochester Rising Episode 17: Roundtable Failure Discussion

This week, I got to do a special roundtable podcast discussion with some local entrepreneurs to talk about the things that no one wants to: failure, fear, and the struggles associated with entrepreneurship.

Here is the esteemed roundtable:

  • Nick Moucha: real estate agent, entrepreneur, and stay at home dad.
  • Shruthi Naik: research associate at Mayo Clinic and co-founder of Vyriad, a startup in Rochester that engineers virus for cancer therapy.
  • AJ Montpetit: local entrepreneur and designer.
  • Amanda Leightner: founder at Rochester Rising.

During the discussion, we defined business failure and talked about how we have failed ourselves in our entrepreneurial endeavors. We also spoke about fears that hold people back from starting their own business and talk about doubts that have held ourselves back.

Want to hear more? There is an extended version of the podcast available to Rochester Rising Patreon supporters.