2016 Small Business Success Stories


Ten modest-sized Minnesota companies are making a big impact.

by Gene Rebeck

January 3, 2017

What makes a small business successful? Each of the 10 Minnesota companies profiled on the following pages can answer that question in its own way. But as these stories also reveal, there are common patterns, and these companies offer lessons that businesses of all sizes can learn from. These small businesses have succeeded by seeing—seeing opportunities others missed or ignored, seeing when a tried-and-true business model has grown tired. They know their customers well, and they know their needs. They’re nimble and creative, and they’re rarely discouraged. And each has earned the distinction that Twin Cities Business is honored to recognize.

Artistic Finishes

Artistic Finishes Inc.

A residential hardwood-flooring maker bounces back from the recession by going lean.

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Carlson Capital

Carlson Capital Management LLC

For this financial services firm’s business model, philanthropy is good business.

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Claire Givens

Claire Givens Violins Inc.

For four decades, this stringed instrument shop has been in tune with its customers’ distinctive needs.

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Elite Medical Scribes

Elite Medical Scribes

This fast-growing firm lets physicians and other medical staff focus on their patients instead of on data entry.

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Fireaway Inc.

Its innovative, cost-effective fire suppressant has strong sales. Now it’s being positioned to better take advantage of global demand.

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Mackenthun's Fine Foods

It’s more than a century old—and it’s Minnesota’s newest supermarket chain.

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Manna Freight

Manna Freight Systems Inc.

What sets this small company apart from big guys like UPS and FedEx? Delivering big items.

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Renters Warehouse

Renters Warehouse

After nearly doubling its revenue last year, the property management company is expecting to have its most expansive year ever in 2017.

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Tech Dump

Tech Dump

This technology recycler not only beats its competitors—it helps people with criminal records rebuild their lives.

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Warrior Manufacturing

Warrior Manufacturing LLC

A banker transforms a sleepy steel fabricator into a dynamic global enterprise.

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2016 Small Business Success Stories Finalists

Finalists for 2016.

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Small Business Success Stories Dinner and Awards Ceremony

Wednesday, January 11
Hilton Minneapolis

5:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception
6:30 p.m. Welcome and Dinner
7:30 p.m. Awards Program

$100 per ticket
$800 per table of eight
Corporate sponsor tables available

For more information, contact Hailey Johnson at 612-373-9584, hjohnson@tcbmag.com

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