Mary Pederson traded the Mall for small

Mary Pederson, American Business Solutions

After working all hours at her Mall of America retail job, Mary Pederson and her husband decided their young family would be better off in Pope County.

The county, in west central Minnesota, is where the couple grew up. Mary moved away for 20 years for school and work and “just having fun.” Then she got married. She and her husband have two small children and sought a quieter, safer life for them. They began looking for jobs and a place to live near Glenwood or Starbuck.

They found both. Mary became a sales support representative for American Business Solutions, a Glenwood-based distributor of office products with sales representatives nationwide. With a degree in sales and marketing from Ridgewater College, she sees a chance to grow with the company. And they found a place to live, a hobby farm near Starbuck where they have already started a garden and plan to raise chickens.

“I want more time with my kids, and my parents still live here,” Mary said. “Life comes first, work comes second.”

They can fish for walleye and northern pike on Lake Minnewaska, find places to hunt and breathe the fresh air, she said. Meanwhile, they’re fixing up their farmhouse and just enjoying life.

Steve Henning