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Forbes includes 6 Minnesota companies in top small business list

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The Business Journal combs through Forbes' new list of the nation's top 100 small businesses and found six based in Minnesota.

The magazine in its list ranks the best-performing public companies in the U.S. with sales under $1 billion.

Among them: No. 3 Proto Labs, an online quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts for companies looking to build prototypes and do short-run productions. The 14-year-old company had $143 million in sales.

The others on the list:

14. Clearfield Inc., of Plymouth. Designs, manufactures and distributes fiber optic management products.

21. Winmark Corp., Minneapolis. Franchisor of four resale store concepts, like Play It Again Sports.

37. Data Link, Eden Prairie. Designs, deploys, manages, and supports infrastructures like servers, storage and networks.

69. Northern Oil & Gas, Wayzata. Acquires, explores, develops and produces oil and natural gas properties.

87. Select Comfort, Plymouth. Bed manufacturer and retailer.

Last spring, a nationwide survey that measures the business friendliness of each state gave Minnesota high marks for making it easy to start a small business.

One survey over the summer ranked Minneapolis third behind Denver and Boston among the top places for small-business employees.

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