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Seen and Heard: Store turned out to be a ‘real job’

September 17, 2018

Sharon Su brought home two blue ribbons for baking from the Minnesota State Fair.

Rochester native Tiffany Piotrowicz dreamed of owning a bookstore when she was a little girl.

Even though the bookstore dream never materialized, it seems retail was Tiffany’s destiny. She started selling shoes at age 15 (back when there was a Foot Locker at the Galleria). Tiffany left town to continue her education in Winona, earning both an undergraduate and master’s degree in English. Upon returning to Rochester, she continued selling shoes, convinced that “retail was a stepping stone to a ‘real’ job.”

TerraLoco, a local running store, opened in August 2012, and Tiffany began working at the store in January 2013. When August 2015 rolled around, circumstances allowed Tiffany to buy the store. In her three years of ownership, Tiffany has truly put her mark on the community.

Eight years ago, Tiffany participated in her first athletic race, a triathlon. She finished second to last, but she was hooked. Last fall she ran her first trail race, a 10K. Next week she will run her first trail Ragnar, an overnight, team relay race.

Owning a business that encourages an active lifestyle, Tiffany meets people at all stages, whether they are just beginning a journey from sedentary to active or to compete professionally. And having been a beginner herself, she easily connects with the newly active. Tiffany, too, remembers feeling “intimidated” and thinking, “Will they judge me?”

While TerraLoco may not have an official “manifesto,” Tiffany does. And what “drives” her to be her healthiest (movement, good nutrition, caring for her mental health, and creating community) is something she wants to share with others. She said, “We sell shoes but offer so much more.” It seems Tiffany has found her real job.

Cake for ride?

When Sharon Su, a software developer, moved to Rochester 13 years ago, she experienced the Minnesota State Fair for the first time. Growing up in Pennsylvania, where there is no state fair, she said, “I truly didn’t understand how big it was.” Her first year she simply attended, but after visiting the Creative Activities Building and seeing “the amazing entries,” Sharon had state fair fever.

Sharon considers herself a “serious hobbyist” when it comes to baking. Whether it is bread, pie, or cake, she loves to bake. And she does have a favorite: chiffon cakes, because “I enjoy eating them.”

So naturally Sharon began entering the baking contests at the Minnesota State Fair. It is now her official end-of-summer tradition. This year she submitted 15 items and came home with two blue ribbons, one in the whole grain bread category and one for gluten-free pie (Sharon’s was apple).

As if planning and perfecting recipes and baking isn’t work enough, participants still have to get everything to the fairgrounds. Already thinking ahead to 2019, Sharon is wondering if any Rochester folks would like to carpool to the fair.

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