Female Entrepreneurship

Episode 144: Sheryl and Vincenzo with Love in a Tuscan Kitchen


This week on the podcast we get to chat with local innovators Sheryl Ness and Vincenzo Giangiordano. Sheryl, a native of the Kasson area, grew up a local farm girl and amassed over thirty years of experience as a nurse at Mayo Clinic. Vincenzo, a native of a town called Abruzzo in rural Italy, is a trained chef and worked all over Italy learning traditional Italian cooking before settling in Tuscany. Vincenzo lived in this region of Italy for fifteen years running a restaurant with two other business partners.  Today he makes the fresh pasta at Terza and runs his own business, called VinChef Cooking, providing cooking classes, private dinners, and other chef services. Today on the podcast we talk about the major risks this husband and wife team have taken in their careers to live out their dreams. We also chat about Sheryl’s book Love in a Tuscan Kitchen describing her travels and life in Italy as she made some major decisions in her career and met and fell in love with Vincenzo over his chocolate cake!


On the podcast today we talk about:

·      The universality of food.

·      How Sheryl took a chance on love and moved from Rochester to Tuscany, where she lived for six years.

·      The difficulties and hard work Vincenzo and his business partners put into their restaurant in the Chianti region of Tuscany to keep it running and pay their taxes.

·      Vincenzo and Sheryl’s move back to Minnesota to be closer to Sheryl’s family and Vincenzo decision to leave his restaurant.

·      Sheryl’s book Love in a Tuscan Kitchen describing her relationship with Vincenzo and the people, food, and traditions of the medieval Tuscan village, called San Gusme, where they met and lived in for several years.

·      The intentional risk taking and unexpected choice making by both Sheryl and Vincenzo to create a better life for themselves.

·      The value of following your heart.

·      The process of getting a book published and how Sheryl and Vincenzo are currently promoting her book.

·      The Rochester restaurant and pop-up food scene.


Links from the podcast today:

Love in a Tuscan Kitchen

Website: https://www.loveinatuscankitchen.com/?fbclid=IwAR1wpnxr77396dM_ERO5r64EdhNFPQHl0PcC4qoyOmt3T5wefNiPSJzz7zU

Facebook: @loveinatuscankitchen

VinChef Cooking:

Facebook: @vinchefcooking

Music Attribution: Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/

Today’s podcast is brought to you by:


Website: https://liveatom.com/

Facebook: @liveatomnow

Twitter: @LiveAtomNow

Episode 142: Shari Mukherjee with Spiced up Mom and MasterChef

Photo courtesy of Shari Mukherjee/MasterChef.

Photo courtesy of Shari Mukherjee/MasterChef.

This week on the podcast we chat with local food innovator Shari Mukherjee. Shari runs the food blog Spiced up Mom and is currently in the top seven of Season Ten in FOX’s MasterChef. On the show today we talk about: 

  • How marrying her husband ten years ago sparked Shari’s passion to learn traditional Indian cooking.

  • Her experience with food blogging and journey to learn cooking.

  • Some of Shari’s worst cooking disasters.

  • The value of learning from mistakes.

  • The use of Shari’s food blogs My Fancy Pantry and Spiced Up Mom to share her cooking experience and lessons learned.

  • Her decision to try out for Season Ten of MasterChef and journey to the top seven.

  • The friendships she’s created on MasterChef.

  • How the MasterChef experience has taught Shari that she can do difficult things and how she’s dealing with negative feedback from the show.

  • Shari’s future plans, including potential pop-up shops at Figue.


Links from the podcast today:

Spiced up Mom

Website: http://spicedupmom.com/

Twitter: @SpicedUpMom

Facebook: @spicedupmom

Instagram: @spicedupmom

Music Attribution: Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/


Episode 140: Linda and Amy Lorber of Figue


This week on the podcast we welcome the mother and daughter team of Linda and Amy Lorber! This pair owns and runs Gardenaire, a business that uses organic products to produce and sell teas, spices, syrups, shrubs, drinking chocolates, and marshmallows. The Lorbers are now expanding into a retail space to celebrate food with their latest endeavor, Figue.  


On the podcast today we chat about:

  • Amy’s first foray into entrepreneurship with a jam company.

  • Childhood memories of food.

  • Organic growth of Gardenaire and the challenge of finding commercial kitchen space in Rochester.

  • The goal of Figue to allow people to celebrate food through local food products and cooking classes.

  • The wealth of food knowledge housed in Rochester.

  • The canine business mascot Mr. Rusty Buckets.

  • Local resources and tools useful for growing a business in Rochester, including the SBDC and peer groups through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Rochester Farmer’s Market.


Links from the podcast today:


Website: https://www.gardenaire.co/

Facebook: @thegardenaire

Twitter: @thegardenaire

Instagram: @thegardenaire


Music Attribution: Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/


Today’s podcast is brought to you by:

Alsbrook Accounting

Website: https://www.alsbrookaccounting.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Alsbrook-Accounting-PC-188399485212470/

Twitter: @AlsbrookAccntg

Episode 136: From the Edge with Beth and Kathleen


Today on the podcast we share our latest in the “From the Edge” series discussing trends in entrepreneurship. For this chat we’re joined by local entrepreneur Beth Fynbo, Founder of Busy Baby Mat, Kathleen Harrington, President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, and as always Jamie Sundsbak, Community Manager of Collider Coworking.


On today’s show we chat about many different trends we’re seeing on a local and national scale including:

·      Collaboration between entrepreneurs, even those in direct competition.

·      A local increase in minority and women entrepreneurs.

·      The presence of collaboration within healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems.

·      The value in “putting yourself out there” as an entrepreneur.

·      What is an entrepreneur?

·      Simple ways that everyone can give back to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

·      The value of an entrepreneurial ecosystem to reduce loneliness and to accelerate early stage companies.

·      The value of small businesses as economic drivers.

·      The strength of shopping local.


Tune in to the show today to not miss out on this great conversation.


Links from the podcast:

Busy Baby Mat

Website: https://busybabymat.com/

Facebook: @busybabymat

Twitter: @busy_baby_mat


Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce

Website: https://www.rochestermnchamber.com/

Facebook: @RochMNChamber

Twitter: @rochmnchamber


Rochester Rising Communication Session, Mental Health: https://www.facebook.com/events/2437009946576323/


Investor & Innovator Forum: https://web.cvent.com/event/43b7a103-156f-4fc9-b9c9-4038d10e17fe/summary


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/


Today’s podcast is brought to you by:

Alsbrook Accounting

Website: https://www.alsbrookaccounting.com/

Facebook: Alsbrook Accounting PC

Twitter: @AlsbrookAccntg

Episode 135: Jim and Crystal Whitmarsh of Trail Creek Coffee Roasters

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This week on the podcast we sit down with husband and wife team of Crystal and Jim Whitmarsh, owners of Trail Creek Coffee Roasters. Trail Creek Coffee Roasters is a small business that started out of a garage and has recently transitioned into a shared commercial space in downtown Kasson. The business aims to provide small batch specialty coffee roasts and has a passion for connection, community, and global impact.


On the podcast today, we chat about:

·       The value Jim and Crystal found in working with the local organization Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA).

·       How the pair took advantage of Minnesota’s Cottage Food Exemption act to sell their product for several years and build up a customer base before pursuing a commercial space.

·       How the pair was set up on a blind date over 15 years ago during college and spent much of their early relationship in a coffee shop, which fueled their dreams to one day own their own coffee business.

·       How Jim taught himself to roast coffee with online videos and a vintage popcorn machine.

·       The transition to being “all in” in the business.

·       The need to budget more time and money than expected when building out commercial space.

·       The value of growing a business in a sustainable manner.

·       How they’re dealing with fear of failure.


Links from the podcast today:

Trail Creek Coffee Roasters

Website: https://www.trailcreekcoffeeroasters.com/

Facebook: @trailcreekcoffee

Instagram: @trailcreekcoffeeroasters


Investors and Innovators Forum

Website: https://web.cvent.com/event/43b7a103-156f-4fc9-b9c9-4038d10e17fe/summary


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/

Episode 127: WE Forum: Women in Leadership: Building on Your Strengths


This week we break down a recent women’s entrepreneurial event in the community organized by Christine Beech of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Heather Holmes of Rochester Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI). This panel event was focused on “Women in Leadership- Building on your Strengths.” The panel featured five amazingly powerful women in the community including: Melissa Brinkman, CEO of Custom Alarm/Custom Communications; Lisa Clarke, Executive Director of the DMC Economic Development Agency; Kathleen Harrington, President of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce; Kim Norton, Mayor of Rochester; and Cindy Steinhauser, Director of Community Development with the City of Rochester. This was another amazing and much needed event for women entrepreneurs that touched on many topics including self-deprecation in women, tokenism, the value of mentorship, bad bosses, not asking permission, and embracing power to enact change. 

If you missed the event, of course listen in to this podcast for a recap! You can also watch the recorded Facebook live stream on the WE Forum #rochmn Facebook page.  


Links from the show today:

Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/

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

Website: https://yourchamberlain.com/

Facebook: @YourChamberlain

Instagram: @yourchamberlain


Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/

Episode 124: Strong Women Creating Value

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This week on the podcast we wrap up our “Strong Women Creating Value” Series for Women’s History Month, sharing the stories of four strong female leaders in the community. Each of these women was nominated for the series from their peers based on their valuable contributions to the community. Join us today as we hear the stories of Christine Beech, Executive Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies; Danielle Teal, Founder of Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere; Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker, Owners of MedCity Doulas; and Stacy Lequire, Owner of Vitality Chiropractic.

Join us on our website at for more stories about these strong women!


Links from the show today:


Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies


Facebook: @kabarasmumn

Twitter: @kabarasmumn


Caring Acts of Kindness Everywhere

Facebook: @cakerochmn


MedCity Doulas

Website: http://www.medcitydoulas.com/

Facebook: @medcitydoulas

Twitter: @medcitydoulas

Instagram: @medcitydoulas


Vitality Chiropractic

Website: https://www.vitalityrochester.com/meet-our-doctors/

Facebook: @vitalitychiropracticandmassage


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: https://www.facebook.com/events/575164749665204/


Pearson Organics

Website: https://www.pearsonorganicsfarm.com/

Facebook: @PearsonOrganics

Instagram: @pearson_organics


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

Alsbrook Accounting

Website: https://www.alsbrookaccounting.com/

Episode 112: Ritz Crafters with Danni, Michaelene, and Shelly


Today on the podcast we sit down with three entrepreneurs and talk about handmade goods! This week we chat with Danni Trester, organizer of Ritz Crafters, and local makers Michaelene Karlen of Ballerina Botanicals Organic Skincare and Shelly Daood of Bound to be Creative. Michaelene is a professional dancer and Miss Minnesota 2018. She founded Ballerina Botanicals a few years ago with her mom after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Shelly always felt the need to be creative, leading this mom of three to start selling her handmade, one-of-a-kind hats, even some right off her head.

Today we had a great time recording this four-person podcast (the first that I’ve ever recorded solo!), which included the lights in the room frequently turning off as we were serenaded with dog toys in the background.  

Today on the podcast we talk about how these ladies got started with their maker-style businesses and what strategies they’ve used to grow their companies.

 We also chat about Ritz Crafters, a new-to-Rochester indie craft show coming to the city February 9th. This event will take place at the 4H Building at the Olmsted County Fair Grounds, showcasing new ideas and unique, technical crafting skill sets. Forty-five different vendors will participate in the event.


Links from the show today:

Ritz Crafters: https://www.ritzcrafters.com/

Facebook: @RitzCrafters

Instagram: @ritzcrafters


Ballerina Botanicals and Organic Skincare: https://www.ballerinabotanicals.com/

Facebook: @BallerinaBotanicals

Instagram: @Michaeleneaballerina


Bound to be Creative: https://boundtobecreative.com/

Facebook: @boundtobecreativeshop

Instagram: @boundtobecreative


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

o   The Musicant Group

o   Website: http://www.musicantgroup.com/employment.html

o   Twitter: @musicantgroup

o   Instagram: @musicantgroup

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 www.CharlieAndZoey.com, on Facebook @CharlieandZoey, and on Instagram @charlieandzoey_realtors.

Episode 107: 1 Million Cups Rochester with Beth Fynbo and Busy Baby LLC


This week on the podcast we listen in to the audio from the most recent 1 Million Cups Rochester featuring local mom, veteran, and founder Beth Fynbo of Busy Baby LLC. Inspired by her father’s welding business, Fynbo always wanted to start a business, but just needed to find her passion. After graduating from high school, she spent ten years in the US Army “living an exciting life with a lot of twists and turns.”

“But the biggest twist of all came last year when at age forty I had my son and I found my passion. I wanted to start my own business because I wanted to have control of my own life so that I could be more present in his,” explained Fynbo. 

As a solo entrepreneur, Fynbo is in the pre-revenue, pre-manufacturing stage of Busy Baby LLC with the startup’s flagship product, the Busy Baby Mat. This product is a 100% FDA approved silicone placemat that suctions to the bottom of surfaces and contains a proprietary tether system to attach baby’s toys, utensils, and other items so they remain connected to the mat and not on the floor. The Busy Baby Mat has been market tested by local babies. After getting this initial product to market, Fynbo plans to develop upgraded mats, such as products with LED lighting. The business could also expand the original product to secondary markets, including adults with Parkinson’s disease and children with sensory sensitivities. Now, Fynbo is seeking funds to finish her current production run. She’s also learning how to list the Busy Baby Mat on Amazon and is locating a manufacturer for initial packaging of the Busy Baby Mat.

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 95: Mackenzie McCormack and Orangetheory Fitness Rochester


This week on the podcast we sit down with Orangetheory Fitness Rochester Owner and Studio Manager Mackenzie McCormack. Orangetheory Fitness is a one-hour total body workout focused on endurance, strength, and power using heartrate-based interval training. The fitness studio is set to open this fall in the Apache Mall. Orangetheory Fitness just opened its 1,000th studio this July.

Today on the podcast we talk about:

·      What you can expect from a session at Orangetheory Fitness.

·      The need Mackenzie saw in Rochester for the fitness studio.

·      What the process of opening an Orangetheory Fitness franchise was like.

·      Mackenzie’s lifelong desire to open her own business.

·      The process of finding real estate for the business in Rochester.

·      The buildout and renovations that were needed in the Apache Mall space.

·      The lessons Mackenzie’s learned over the past year working to open the business.

Episode 91: Lynn Bounds and Edge Fitness


This week on the podcast we got to record off-site with one of my favorite business owners in the community, Lynn Bounds Founder of Edge Fitness. Edge Fitness was launched 3.5 years ago in Southwest Rochester as a unique gym experience and continues to evolve in its offerings. Today on the show we talk about:

·      Edge Fitness’ Zumba on the Plaza events taking place this summer.

·      The importance of work/life balance.

·      Lessons Lynn has learned in business and about herself in growing Edge Fitness over the past few years.

·      Lynn’s personal motivation for Edge Fitness to further personal wellness at an affordable level.

·      Being kind to yourself and taking time for self-care.

·      Business resources in the community.

·      The importance of reaching out and asking for help when you need it.

“If you really have a drive for something or a passion for something, you can make it happen. …You need the passion, anything can be learned.” -Lynn Bounds, Founder of Edge Fitness

Episode 85: The Ladies Behind The Commission


This week on the podcast we sit down with Grace Pesch and Crystal Heim, ladies on the Executive Board of The Commission, a young professionals group in Rochester, Minnesota. This week on the podcast we talk about:

·      Events and initiatives going on the community that Grace and Crystal are excited about, including new ownership of Canvas & Chardonnay and The Commission’s Salute to the 4th celebration.

·      Their work to develop and launch women-focused events in the community, including monthly women’s happy hours and their first roundtable discussion, which will take place on June 12th.

To learn more about these events and other initiatives and networking opportunities from The Commission, check out their Facebook page.

“I want to meet more awesome women because I feel like when I go out to networking events or I want to get engaged with other business and entrepreneurial people, I find myself meeting a lot of men. …But I also want to see a lot more women out there.” -Grace Pesch

Episode 77: Zoey Jantsan and Miss Minnesota, RE/MAX, and Chamber of Commerce


This week on the podcast we sit down with entrepreneur Zoey Jantsan to hear about all her latest endeavors. Zoey is the former Miss Minnesota US International. She’s also entering into her second year as a real estate agent with RE/MAX and is the current chair of the Women’s Roundtable for the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

We had a very full discussion on the podcast today including:

·      A chat about a new community kindness initiative in Rochester that Zoey is a part of, called Read Roch, to connect members of the community through books.

·      Other initiatives going on right now that Zoey is excited about including the upcoming Paws and Claws Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser, EarthFest, and the Rochester Flag Project.

·      What Zoey’s experience was like as Miss Minnesota and how it impacted her public speaking.

·      Zoey’s passion for animal and environmental conservation.

·      The challenges she’s faced in growing her real estate career.

·      The importance of space for business women to share ideas.


“When you’re running and you’re starting a new project, and when you’re starting a new career, no one knows that that’s what you do besides you at that point. And to go from there to have the whole community or have the whole clientele know that’s what you do and that’s what sets you apart, I think that’s the biggest hurdle [to growing a business].” -Zoey Jantsan

Episode 75: Talking with Jim and May of Spanish and Go


On the podcast today, we share the full audio from our latest #Emerge video, talking with local entrepreneurs May Larios Garcia and Jim Fricker of Spanish and Go. Spanish and Go is “your resource for learning real-world, travel Spanish” through a series of blogs and videos. This business developed by blending together Jim and May’s passions for teaching, travel, Spanish, and recording. Now, Jim and May spend their time traveling back and forth between Rochester and Spanish speaking regions both inside and outside of the US to inspire their audience to feel ready to land and be able to talk and engage with the local Spanish culture.


Today on the podcast we chat about:

-how May and Jim both developed their love for Spanish.

-their purpose and mission behind Spanish and Go.

-where their next travels will take them.

-their newest product launching soon, Travel Spanish Confidence.

-how they’ve been able to successfully, and rapidly, build up their audience.


“I love teaching and I’ve always been in love with connecting with students….Since I was five years old, I said I wanted to be a teacher.” -May Larios Garcia

Episode 72: Talking EatRochMN with Cheyenne and Katie


This week on the podcast we talk with the ladies behind EatRochMN: Cheyenne Labott and Katie Zupancic Wymer. EatRochMN is a food blog and popular Instagram account started about one year ago where the girls tour through the Rochester food scene, creating meaningful connections and making Rochester feel a little bit more like home. The EatRochMN Instagram account recently hit 1000 followers as Cheyenne and Katie continue their food adventures around the city. This week on the podcast we talk about what drew these transplants to Rochester in the first place, the growth of EatRochMN over the past year, and what they’re looking forward to in Rochester’s food scene this year.

“We just want to keep eating. So, the more that we can get out there, the better!” -Katie Zupancic Wymer