By Cassidy Johnson
Choosing to eat locally, as opposed to non-local food sources, is better for your health, the environment, the local economy and it creates a sense of community. With this in mind, it is vital to educate the world of the importance on eating locally to secure more livable cities all over.
When you buy foods that are locally grown, you are helping maintain farmland and green space in your area. When foods are shipped, they are leaving a huge carbon footprint, but local farmers use practices and energy that only allow for the food to have minimal environmental impact. On average, the fresh food that we bring into our homes travel 1,500 miles to get there. Buying locally eliminates the need to transport foods and use fuel guzzling transportation. This is just another way that we can all work together to help fight against climate change and help save the environment.
Tom Hagen, the small business owner of Toasty's sandwich shop in Duluth, Minn. said, "For an environment or community to stay strong, the quality of life needs to be high and that is effected by small business tremendously."
The money you spent at local farms, growers, artisans, locally-owned purveyors, and restaurants all stay close within your community. Buying locally will help to strengthen your local economy instead of being handed over to a corporation in another city, state or country. Since the food moves through fewer hands, more of the money you spend tends to get to the people growing it. After money spent on transportation, processing, packaging, refrigeration and marketing, farmers only receive 20 cents of each dollar spent. For farmers who sell to local customers, they receive full retail value.
Shopping locally also creates a connection to the people who grow and raise the food because you now where it is coming from. You are building a connection with people of the community and creating more food sources instead of building a connection with a supermarket. The benefit is social and psychological, but ultimately, you are getting the benefit of fresh locally grown food. Small businesses better accommodate the needs of the community because they are more aware of the demand for certain items.
"They formulate and change markets, forcing us into less and less choices over time. Small business change with the market and environment and emerge from within the environment based on the local demand," said Hagen.
In order to make Duluth a more livable city, we must recognize how vital it is to place importance on shopping locally and supporting local food sources. So, next time you are going out to get fresh foods and goods, make sure to consider the best option for your community and environment by choosing to shop local.
by Cassidy Johnson
The success of local businesses thrive community support. Duluth is known for its vibrant downtown filled with small locally owned businesses that have proven over time the impact Duluth citizens have on how well these businesses sustain their success. It is important to recognize these small local businesses, so, listed below are just a few that contribute to the Duluth economy.
Lake Superior Art Glass is Minnesota’s premier glass art gallery representing over 60 national glass artists. Dan Neff, the owner of Lake Superior Art Glass, began blowing glass in 2003 in the basement of his home. Dan was presented with the opportunity to expand his business in 2011 by the Greater Downtown Duluth Council’s “Go Downtown Grown Downtown Great Space Giveaway.”
“Knowing that what you put into the business you will get out. If you work as hard as you can and do whatever it takes, you will be successful. It’s also rewarding to watch it grow,” Said Neff.
Duluth Homebrew Supply is the Northland’s largest inventory of equipment and ingredients for beer, wine, cider, kombucha, and cheese. Katie Hagglund and Kelly Katoski, business owners and founders both believe that the key to building great relationships is to bond over making great beer sparking their small business aspirations. They plan to continue expanding their business and expand their inventory bringing in more locally resourced items.
Vikre Distillery was created by Emily Vikre and inspired to use Duluth’s natural resources to make spirits. The unique nature and culture of Duluth are what inspired Vikre to start the Distillery. She grew up in Duluth and wanted to have her business located next to what inspires her, Lake Superior. Vikre worked for a full year trying to master the distilling process and she still says that her favorite memory was when they had finally made a batch of gin that genuinely tasted like gin. Although they still had a long ways to go it was a huge milestone and step in the right direction.
Clover Valley Farms vision is to enhance the quality of life for the Duluth Community through enhanced farming practices. Business owners Cindy Hole and Jeff Hall use farming practices that lead to better environmental quality and a rich array of whole foods, while keeping balance between work and things that keep us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually renewed. They started their business from a hobby of farming chickens, ducks, and turkeys along with planting their own fruits. They applied for a two year grant from the USDA and that was what ultimately got their business started. They are now known for their unique fruit vinegars in which they learned to home brew.
Mainstream Fashions for Men was started by two guys who had been in the men’s fashion industry for years before they decided to open their own business. Ben Mark and Tom Henderson have dedicated their lives to bring high quality and unique mens fashion to the city of Duluth. They love Duluth for its sense of big city feel while still holding onto the small town appeal touting friendly neighbors and a supportive community. It seemed like the perfect place to start their own business and so they did and it continues to be succesful.
Sir Benedicts Tavern on the Lake is ran today by Josh and Kaila Statts but was founded by Barb and Jack Arnold who completely refurbished a boarded up gas station into Sir Ben’s. Sir Ben’s was the first craft beer bar in Duluth also serving great food and live entertainment. They believe that the Duluth economy is continuing to improve and they would love to see Duluth local businesses continue collaborating and sharing their success throughout the community.
These are just some of the local small businesses in Duluth that continue to serve the community with a unique variety of accommodations. Entrepreneurship proves over and over again that it fuels Duluth’s economic innovation and prosperity therefore, as a community we must always remember to shop locally and support these businesses that give back and support our community in return.
by Erik Rosvold
A closer look into one of Duluth, Minnesota's highest economic boosts: Tourism.
by Cassidy Johnson
Cities all over America have one thing in common — they thrive on the success of small locally owned business. Duluth is no exception, and probably more the rule.
In Duluth you will find an extremely eclectic business community ranging from locally owned small businesses to larger businesses with reach far outside Duluth. Like many communities across the nation, especially those who attract seasonal visitors, Duluth loves their locals; in fact a website Duluthloveslocals.com exists just to boast and promote local businesses and how they work to progress the “Duluth culture.”
One of the prime reasons Duluth boasts trading with their local businesses is the dollars spent there normally stay in the city unlike many larger “chain” businesses where the money is three times more likely to move out of the local community. When you have a city with such attraction it is logical that businesses should support that unique flavor.
According to a retail study contracted by the City of Duluth the following accolades have been written about this unique city:
· Best Place to Live (Outside Magazine) June 2014
· One of 6 Best Vacation Destinations to help your work (Forbes)
· One of “The Best Places for Business and Careers 2013” (Forbes Magazine)
· Top Port City (Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA)) 2011
· Top 5 Small City for Livability (Money Magazine) 2010
Considering these mentions, it makes sense for Duluth to be a city that thrives on uniqueness and catering to the individual who is looking for alternatives to normal “large box” options. Tourists want to visit businesses that reflect the city and the region, and locals need to support these businesses with the same vigor ensuring the local business economy remains a strong and vital component in Duluth’s economic success.
Not only does supporting Duluth local businesses bring in tourism and better our local economy, but it also serves as an opportunity for low-wage families to move into the middle class by encouraging entrepreneurship. It gives the people of Duluth a chance to be innovative and bring about new ideas to the community. It’s a full circle of helping out those who want to start their own business, and at the same time they help out the community by contributing to a strong local economy. They create more jobs and in many sectors they actually provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Ingrid Hornibrook, who works for the business development department for the city of Duluth, said that, “Supporting local businesses helps the entire local economy. When a shopper buys local, they are helping their neighbor send their child to college. Buying local also creates jobs in our city and dollars in our community.”
By supporting local businesses we support our community allowing for more people to expand their success and opportunities. This is the sense of community that we want to build on and encourage.
I had the opportunity to speak with Lucie B Amundsen, the co-owner of Locally Laid Eggs — a farm that provides pasture-raised eggs in Minnesota, Iowa, and Indiana. She gave a great example of why shopping at local businesses is a much more personal and caring experience and environment.
“I get my glasses at Blink in Downtown,” said Amundsen, “I liked their story and went there.”
Blink is ran by two guys who worked for a chain optometry store. They were tired of selling poorly-made glasses so they started their own business.
A few weeks ago, Amundsen broke her glasses an hour before having to give a big presentation.
“I ran in and they immediately dropped what they were doing saying, ‘Lucie! What happened? Don’t worry,
we’ve got this.’”
They took Lucie’s old lenses and popped them into a loaner frame for her.
“I got out my debit card and they waved it off saying I could pay them when my new frame came in. I don’t think that would have happened with a big chain store. In short, it’s an opportunity to create real relationships and that makes life a lot better.”
If we want to create a more sustainable, diverse, livable, and economical community, then we must put large value on shopping local and supporting and creating small businesses in Duluth.
So the next time you want a piece of art, a cup of coffee, or just plain good conversation about a very unique area — buy local and support those who are the foundation of Duluth’s success.