In 2007 a small group of business owners and citizens from our town of “Fairmont MN” formed the multimedia company, Our Story Productions. With a goal to share all aspects of the life lead in our small town, our first project was the television show “Destination Small Town” To draw attention to our television show and to increase our web presence the decision was made to develop talk shows produced by a fictional television station (KLUK TV) located in the fictional Sweet Swine County. While viewers were entertained by the zany antics of the talk shows, KLUK TV reporters and Sweet Swine County citizens would report in with stories about real businesses and points of interest they had visited in our community. First aired on cable television in Southern Minnesota and on our website we soon begin to expand our coverage throughout Minnesota and later the Midwest!Much to our surprise businesses from throughout the Midwest begin to contact us to see if we would do stories about their businesses! We shared with our community that together we could not only share all aspects of the life lead in our town, but become the best source of information about the life lead in the small towns of the Midwest!

Today with over 60 volunteers and a staff of four OSP continues to produce the TV show “Destination Small Town” aired in over 1,000,000 households on cable TV and on our websites, YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest pages. To date we have featured nearly 3,000 businesses in over 900 small towns, in 9 states of the Midwest! DST is now working with the communities to include regional pages that enable visitors to learn about the points of interest that they will want to visit and County Pages spotlighting the founders, business people, volunteers, entrepreneurs and military personnel who served their community and country.

Meet the Staff

  • Jeff Rouse

    Raised on a farm outside a small town in Northern Iowa Jeff found life not limited by its size, but instructive in becoming part of a community! He found with neighbors and friend sharing a common history and memories it creates a bond not found in larger communities! But with entertainment options limited, like so many of his generation he watched a lot of TV, not to date him, but Jeff will be the first person to tell you that he only got two black-and-white channels on TV on the farm unless he climbed up onto the roof and changed the direction of the antenna. His fascination with movie history really began at age 10 when he switched channels from the Lawrence Welk Show to find the classic film, The Invisible Man, playing on the other. He was instantly hooked on old movies. From then on, Jeff has developed such an expansive knowledge about showbiz trivia that his wife calls him, "A constant source of useless information!" Jeff used this knowledge to develop several businesses. In 1984 he opened his first retail store in Denver Colorado specializing in Hollywood memorabilia called Cinema Graphics. Building upon that venture, Jeff formed Star Struck Enterprises that included additional stores in the well-known resort community of Okoboji, Iowa and Fairmont MN.

    After developing a wholesale division that took him on the road throughout the Midwest he visited many small towns and was amazed to discover the lifestyle he grew up with was still there!

    The need presented itself that the small towns he was visiting had businesses and points of interest that needed to be shared! So in the summer of 2007 he invited his fellow business owners and citizens from his community to volunteer to form OUR STORY PRODUCTIONS. Through a variety of TV programs and a website called “Destination Small Town” OSP highlights the lifestyles we share in rural America, promoting the idea “It's not just the past but the present that becomes OUR STORY”

    For OUR STORY is just that—the story about us, the people of the Midwest.

  • Denise Rouse

    • Co-Producer, Costume and Set Designer
    • Our Story Productions / Destination Small Town

    Denise Rouse brings razzle-dazzle to every facet of life! Raised on a farm in Southern Minnesota, Denise parlayed her farm-girl sensibilities into creative small-town business ventures that garner admiration far and wide. As a mother of five children and grandmother to six, Denise’s favorite mantra is, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” There can be little rest for someone with so many hobbies that include gardening, thrift-store shopping, embellishing used vehicles, repurposing old furniture, belly dancing, entertaining, practicing Reiki, and, and, and. In to this mix, Denise combines the operation of her two very popular consignment shops in Fairmont, Minnesota called, “Hollywood Babe” and “The Giddy-up Boutique.” Before opening those stores, Denise owned an antique and gift store for 15 years. Denise also writes the local monthly newspaper column “Inhale Fashion...Exhale Style”

    Fans of the soap opera, As The Corn Grows, recognize Denise as portraying the character of Prairie Ann, who also is a host of the hit talk show, The Women of Sweet Swine County. Off-stage as a co-producer to the TV show Destination Small Town Denise takes on many duties including designing and decorating the sets at OUR STORY Studios, and still finds time to produce the much-publicized local annual summertime events—the Fairy Ball and Mad Hatter Tea Party. When she was younger, Denise thought maybe a career in politics was in the cards. But it didn’t take long for her to discover that being a mother and a wife is much the same as a being a politician, except you don’t travel as much! Denise will be the first one to tell you that life isn’t about the number of breaths you take, it’s about the moments that take your breath away! Her innate spiritual connectedness and joie de vivre radiate within her ability not to take herself too seriously. As Denise Rouse tells everyone within earshot, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been!”

  • Chelsea

    Chelsea, the ultimate multi-tasker, keeps the Our Story office running smoothly with a bit of sass! Raised in southern Minnesota, Chelsea has long been making things happen! Taking care of her grandmother from the age of 14 while working and going to high school, Chelsea graduated from school with high honors and still found time to get into some trouble -- talk about your multi-tasker! Inspired by her grandmother and some other mentors along the way, Chelsea worked nights and weekends enabling her to get a degree at Rasmussen College in Mankato. Throughout all of this Chelsea has found time to be a mother of four. Chelsea and her man Tom enjoy fishing, hunting, and all things outdoorsish!

  • Shelly Abitz

    • Camerawoman, Film Editor, Program Writer
    • Our Story Productions / Destination Small Town

    As a principal at Gemini Studios—a video production and media education studio in Fairmont, Minnesota—Shelly Abitz is the behind-the-camera wizard for DST TV. Shelly’s technical background in graphic layout, commercials production, instructional DVDs, athletic event capture and broadcast, book illustration, and logo design, has creatively expanded into writing, filming and editing a gamut of DST’s programs. If you see it on our TV shows, Shelly probably shot it! In her world, there is little rest! Shelly has illustrated two wonderful children’s books—Bushy Tail Squirrel’s First Day Out and Jenny and Me. She also serves as executive producer of a local cable-access show called, “Close to Home.”  While accomplishing all of this, Shelly also writes, directs, shoots and acts in the role of “wife and mother” in her own family.

Our Volunteers

DST wishes to acknowledge all of the incredible volunteer who give of their time and energy to share the lifestyle lead in the small towns we call home! Each bring their own unique talents to jobs that vary from Field Scout or Photographer to Voice-Over Artist or a Actor who portrays a lovable, zany, and unforgettable character on our various TV programs. Their belief in this Midwestern way of life is evident in the excitement they eagerly exhibit to each of the projects we endeavor to take on!

  • Mark Anderson
  • Tom Dodge
  • Bonnie Fjelstad
  • Dan Mensing
  • Dianna Anderson
  • Chuck Hounshell
  • Joan Suhr
  • Sarah Morphew
  • Al Morphew
  • Ed Powers
  • Jenne Abitz
  • Dave Alm
  • Kerry Hodnefield
  • Dale Hansen
  • Betty Wiederhoeft
  • David McKnight
  • Archie Farnham
  • Sam Hillmer
  • Danielle Kainz
  • Leo May
  • Kim Hansen
  • John Grimm
  • Steve Fisher
  • Randy Martinson
  • Michelle Ehlers
  • Wanda Nelson
  • Michele Bisbee
  • John Sorenson
  • Norma Conn
  • Betsy Landsteiner
  • Benjamin Landsteiner
  • Kathy Franzen
  • Jeff Hagen
  • Ron Affolter
  • Kati Powell
  • Logan VonFeldt
  • Keith Kenney
  • Alice Nowicki
  • Bill Busse
  • Doug Wollam
  • Jerry Schimmel
  • Jerry VonFeldt
  • Leonard Anderson
  • Stacie Gerhardt
  • Haley Welker
  • Jenny Sorenson
  • Chris Bauman
  • Beverly Gerhardt
  • Jude Edling
  • Carol Carlson
  • Jodi Edlin
  • Linda Roggow
  • Bowdie Bentz
  • Dave Smith
  • Claudia Schaaf
  • Jane Vader
  • Lenny Tvedten
  • Lorrie Krosch
  • Samantha Rouse
  • Adrien Vader
  • Cathy Hounshell
  • Mike Foster
  • Bruce Abitz
  • Heidi Villeneuve Schlomann
  • Connie Richards Anthony