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.