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Ann Thompson opened Billy Maple Tree’s to feature the works of artists in the region nearly eight years ago. She knew the area was home to many talented artists, and was confident that Milan’s growing identity as a community supporting the arts would help draw customers. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

Arts Economy creating a future in Upper Minnesota River Valley

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When Ann Thompson opened a store in Milan featuring the works of local artists, there were some who thought she was taking the kind of financial risk more often made on Wall Street than the Main Street of a town of only 369 souls.


She felt otherwise.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335