Andrea Miehlisch, at left, has been named as the new executive director of the Lanesboro Local Marketplace. Enid Watson has joined the staff at Lanesboro Local as the local foods specialist.
Andrea Miehlisch, at left, has been named as the new executive director of the Lanesboro Local Marketplace. Enid Watson has joined the staff at Lanesboro Local as the local foods specialist.
Nancy Martinson, board president of Lanesboro Local Marketplace, has announced that Andrea Miehlisch, assistant to former Store Manager Linda Hazel, has taken on the duties of executive director of the Marketplace. Joining Miehlisch in the Marketplace is Enid Watson. Watson will be the local food specialist and will work with food producers around the area to expand availability and selection of locally produced edibles.

In her expanded role, Miehlisch will guide all key functions of the non-profit's management. Miehlisch will be the go-to person for Marketplace customer and vendor queries.

Since joining Lanesboro Local during the 2011 season, she has been integral to funding the non-profit via grant writing, fundraisers and membership initiatives. Miehlisch is also the voice of Lanesboro Local's newsletter and other communications, as well as organizer behind educational programming.

Although Miehlisch began her employment officially in the summer of 2011, she has been a supporter of local foods and the concept of regional self-sufficiency since Lanesboro Local was first organized in 2009. She volunteered to help with the clean-up of the gas station at Parkway and County Road 8, Lanesboro Local's first retail home, and she joined as a member early on.

"I like the people and the effort," she announced with a big friendly smile. The running dialog with new and current customers is her favorite part of the job. Sharing the unusual stories behind the merchandise is another aspect of retail that Miehlisch enjoys.

"Attractive, unique jewelry created using rubber inner tubes is such a different and popular seller. Also, rope baskets by fiber artisan Lori Hungerholt of Root River Baskets in Rushford make beautiful, sturdy shopping carriers that our regular shoppers are thrilled to get their hands on," Miehlish continued. "And there are also the new garden items, like garden hods that John Carlin has been creating, reasonably priced and unique to the Marketplace - selling as fast as he can make them."

Watson's background includes years as an owner/retailer of children's stores and decades as a stockbroker. A key focus of her retail experience was developing strategic merchandise assortments.

"But food has always been my avocation," Watson remarked. It's a category of merchandise that compliments her lifestyle.

Watson's role at the Marketplace will be to expand the selection of key food items that bring customers in and create ongoing retail and know-your-farmer relationships. A few current items that are strong assets include the line of dairy items from Kappers Big Red Barn, the winter-grown greens from Liz Belina, fresh local farm eggs and grass-fed or pastured meats.

Watson has already started refining systems for sales analysis to keep the Marketplace selection aligned with customer wants and needs. In addition, Watson plans to initiate new offerings of packaged bulk items, more like choices in co-op stores, to add unique traction to Lanesboro Local's draw.

Watson encourages customers to watch for further information about bulk foods. "Please drop an email or leave suggestions at the Marketplace for foods you'd like to buy or for items you'd like to produce and sell through Lanesboro Local," she said.

Contact Watson at Contact Miehlisch at Or call the Marketplace at (507) 467-2944 during winter store hours: Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lanesboro Local is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the exchange of local food and artisan goods through its retail Marketplace and networking website. Initiatives include education, mentoring, linking producers and consumers through effective networking, product sourcing and retail marketing.