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Dodge County is a beautiful county full of rich farmland. Even though it is primarily rural and has a relatively small population, the county boasts many viable businesses in its communities and on its rural properties.

Besides the robust farming enterprises, these businesses include the McNeilus companies in Dodge Center, the grain elevators with million-bushel silos in Hayfield and Kasson, health clinics, an airport, grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, retail outlets, beauty salons, bars; the list is as extensive as any urban community’s.

There are also many opportunities for businesses headquartered on farms besides or along with raising crops and livestock.

Limited rural businesses are home occupations operated out of accessory structures, with certain limitations. Agritourism is a type of business that allows people to visit a farm for recreation, entertainment, education, or certain other activities. Events could include for example, everything from participating in farming activities to viewing natural attractions, to harvesting your own food.
Agritourism Tourism Products could be sold to the public which might include livestock or products raised on the farm. The person that oversees these activities might be an Agritourism Professional and could be paid for their role in the business.

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Smiling Moose – Coffee Shop and Gifts nearing one-year anniversary

In May of 2021, Kim White opened her gift shop/café across from the Mayo Clinic in Kasson at 408 West Main St.

Kim said that from day one, the community has welcomed her with open arms and supported her endeavors to make a success of this unique store with products from local producers as well as delicious drinks, sandwiches, ice cream, pastries, and soups.

“The community has been phenomenal. Everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive, and we’ve been busy since we opened,” she said.

She uses locally roasted coffee and offers gifts for all ages from babies to adults, home décor, and Kasson Mantorville gear, to name a few. Much of her merchandise is from Minnesota businesses including soaps, honey, greeting cards, jewelry, and health and beauty items.

Kim and her husband Steve decided Kasson was the ideal location to move after living in Alaska for nine years. After the pharmacy closed, they decided to purchase the building and open a gift shop/café. They worked together to remodel the former pharmacy building which they purchased in the fall of 2020.

Kim also has owned gift stores in Pine Island, Delta Junction, and Skagway, Alaska. This is her seventh gift store.

“My two grown sons, Chris and Tym, sometimes think I’m crazy,” she joked, when she told them she was opening another gift store in Kasson. “Shopping is my passion,” she said, and her passion and energy fill this store with delightful merchandise and a charming ambiance.

There are tables set up both inside and out - for when the weather warms up - and the tables often hold members of local clubs or groups of friends who drop by to visit, browse for a quick gift, or grab a drink and bite to eat.  

Kim employs nine people currently, and will have four additional during the summer. She employs two full-time kitchen managers and one retail manager.

Why is the store named Smiling Moose?

“Well,” said Kim, “I really like moose and one day in Alaska, a young moose walked into our back yard and got quite close. I was able to get a picture of him and he looks like he’s smiling at me.” That picture is in the store and it’s easy to see why she chose this name.

Coffee and food are available from 7a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday and the retail portion of the store is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The store’s phone number is (507) 634-2244, the email is smilingmoosegifts@gmail.com, and the Facebook page is Smiling Moose Gifts.

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(l to r) Owner Kim White and her retail manager Diana Kohrt stand near the Easter display at the Smiling Moose – Coffee Shop and Gifts, 408 West Main St., Kasson.
Updated 3/29/2022
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