• Newspaper
  • Community
  • History

    The Mower County Shopper is a free-distribution shopping news publication that is distributed weekly to more than 18,000 homes in Austin and the surrounding area. In addition to shopping news it includes many inserts from retailers around the Austin area.

    The Mower County Shopper was founded in 1964, when Austin residents and merchants decided the city’s trade area should be enlarged to enhance the continued growth of the town. The early circulation of 5,000 copies was mailed to rural areas of South Central Minnesota and North Central Iowa.

    With advertisers reporting immediate results, the Mower County Shopper quickly grew from 8- and 12-page editions to 16 and 24 Pages. It also began inserting preprints. Within six months circulation soon to 17,000 copies per week.

    In August of 1978, the Mower County Shopper merged with Shopper Enterprises, Inc., to become part of the SEI Network. Since 1974, circulation has steadily increased and now reaches more than 18,000 homes.

    In September of 1995, the Mower County Shopper was sold to Boone Newspapers, Inc. The Mower County Shopper is in the process of growing again. It is publishing a Spanish-language shopping guide called El Matador


    Serve our market’s residents and businesses by distributing advertisements and shopping information to every household in Mower County.


    17,500 average weekly.

  • Market

    Austin is located in southeast Minnesota, 10 miles north of the Iowa border and 80 miles south of the Twin Cities. Austin is headquarters for Hormel Foods Corp., has its own public and commercial TV station and is located along Interstate 90.


    Mower County: 39,327

    City of Austin: 24,763


    Austin experiences each of the four seasons, with winter lasting a bit longer than the other three.

    Major employers

    Hormel Foods, agriculture, Quality Pork Processors Inc., Austin Medical Center, retail.


    Austin Public School: High school, middle school, four elementary schools.

    Riverland Community College’s main campus is in Austin. Campuses also are in Albert Lea and Owatonna.


    The history of the County starts with Jacob McQuillin and his family settling in what was to become Mower County in 1852. By 1855 the population had grown enough to merit official formation as a county.

    On March 1, 1856, Governor Willis A. Gorman signed the act organizing Mower County and named it in honor of John Edward Mower, a member of the territorial legislature. A temporary board of three county commissioners was appointed and first met in Frankford.

    Disagreement about the location of the county seat evolved between Frankford and Austin. The County records were stolen by settlers armed with rifles, revolvers and knives. The dispute was settled in favor of Austin by a vote of the people in October of 1856.

    There were 374 votes cast. The first courthouse was built in 1868, which was the same year the number of commissioners on the County Board expanded to the current number of five. The Courthouse has been added to and remodeled several times in its history.

    Currently the County operates a number of facilities throughout the County providing service to the citizens with the courthouse in Austin remaining the main facility. Claim to fame: Home base for Hormel Foods Corp., makers of SPAM and other popular food products.


    Austin has many social and civic groups in which to take part; From the Austin Arts Center and the Austin Symphony Chorus to the YMCA and bowling leagues, Austin has something for almost everyone.


    Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, golf, boating, fishing, hunting, hiking, bicycling

    Area information

    Austin Area Chamber of Commerce
    329 North Main St. #102
    Austin MN 55912

    (507) 437-4561