If Duluth feels like home,
it's because it could be.

#befromDuluth

Hansi Johnson

Purpose

Destination Duluth’s purpose is to educate and inspire people about the quality of place of Duluth, Minnesota, thereby shaping the city and region’s positive growth.

Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company

Alannah Michalski

Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company
Exciting Ways to Explore the Grandeur of Duluth and the North Shore

Hike, Paddle, Ride Adventure Co owners Jake and Maria Miller and their daughter Lynnea (4yr) and son Finley (7yr).  - Photo by Alannah Michalski

New Duluth residents Jake and Maria Miller were looking for ways that they and their two young children could enjoy and explore the beautiful great outdoors in the Northland.

The couple, who met in college, married in 2008 and moved to Duluth in 2018. He works for Cirrus and she is a teacher’s aide at Lakeview Christian Academy.

Maria is originally from Silver Bay, and she recalls enjoying the beauty of the Northwoods and the Lake with her family as a child. Jake is from Idaho and was more accustomed to the mountains and the wide open, sparse desert spaces out West.

Their move to Duluth was a trip down memory lane for Maria, and a new densely- wooded green terrain to discover for Jake. The family started exploring places they could hike, bike, paddle and camp on their own and with friends.

Lynnea Miller and her ride. Photo by Alannah Michalski.

The couple began talking about setting up a website to help others have the information they needed to explore Duluth and the North Shore. Before long they started selecting, mapping, photographing and taking videos of places to include.

“We started with ones that we wanted to try ourselves,” explained Jake. Their first adventure was kayaking on Fish Lake, and the list just kept growing from there. “We love doing all three and often go to locales where there is access to hiking, biking, and paddling,” said Jake.

Their project was the beginning of Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Company. Its mission is to help those searching for paths to hike, trails to bike, or places to kayak near Duluth and on the North Shore. "The goal," said Jake, is to assist people through the “sea of maps, tourist websites, and sometimes less-than-helpful trail ratings and directions.”

The website offers users a wide variety of "package-ready" places to Hike, Paddle and Ride in Duluth and on the North Shore with very specific maps, and information

Breathtaking photos and videos add to the site’s plethora of information. “Doing this website, we get to see, document and explore a lot of exciting spaces,” said Jake. “We work on finding places that are super accessible, not requiring hours to get to.”

Hike Paddle Ride Adventure Co. - Website Photo.

Maria added, “We offer choices for seasoned outdoors people and beginners, and we are loving the feedback from everyone. We are proud of the helpful information offered at what we think is a much-needed site.”

“This is truly a family venture. Since it is so time-consuming, I don’t want to be out in the field on my own. We always look for ways to make it fun for the whole family,” noted Jake.

“Our son even likes to bring a sketchbook when we go out to draw what he sees,” added Maria.

Whether for hiking, paddling, or riding, their ready-made, self-guided excursions are designed to give people the confidence to know where they are going and what they will find when they get there.

Their website offers users “a stress-free, easy to plan, outdoor experience. People just need to select an adventure, view the data, get the directions and go!”

Their current “Hike Duluth” guides include Ely Peak, Skyline, Carlton Trail, Congdon Trail, Kingsbury and Keene, White Pine Trail and Lone Pine Trail.

“We especially love Ely Peak,” noted Maria. “It is an easy trail to get to and the 360-degree view is incredible.”

Gorgeous “Hike North Shore” sites include Oberg Mountain, Day Hill Trail, Lookout Mountain, High Falls, Humpback Trail, Kadunce River, Carlton Peak and Mount Baldy.

For those paddling in either kayak or on stand-up paddle boards, the “Paddle Duluth” section guides visitors to specific put-in and take-out locations. Duluth area bodies of water to paddle include Fish Lake West, Chambers Grove, Grand Portage, Cloquet River, Boyscout Landing and Fish Lake South.

“Paddle North Shore” spots on the site so far are Crooked Lake, Cascade Lake, Timber Frear, Crescent Lake, Toohey and Four-Mile.

Maria Miller and daughter Lynnea. Photo by Alannah Michalski

“Ride Duluth” sites with a variety of difficulty levels featured are Mission Creek, Munger Trail, Keene Creek, Park Point, Antenna Farm, Waabizheshikana Trail, and Skyline.

“Ride North Shore” trails also provide varying degrees of difficulty and include High Climber, Split Rock, Britton Peak, Gooseberry, Jackpot, Cutface Creek and Pincushion.

Each hike or ride adventure comes with driving directions to the trailheads, distance data, an elevation graph, and downloadable turn-by-turn picture directions to guide visitors along the trails.

The site even has links to gas, hotels, rest stops, campgrounds, restaurants, coffee, fast food, groceries, attractions, events, parks, museums, EV charging, banks and more.

The great outdoors doesn't always come with great cell phone coverage. Site users can plan ahead for losing cell service by saving driving directions, turn-by-turn photos, and other information to their phones.

The Millers are enjoying helping people find their perfect adventures. Tourists and residents alike are selecting a multitude of wonderful places to visit, engaging in activities to help stay fit, and creating unforgettable family memories along the way.

Plan your next Duluth or North Shore adventure at www.hikepaddleride.com

 

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Great Lakes Aquarium – Connecting with Water, Wildlife +

Fish, shipwrecks, raptors, mammals, and more. These are just a few of the species and special interests to be explored at Duluth’s Great Lakes Aquarium (GLA).

Featuring fifteen exhibit galleries, GLA guests of all ages can observe animals and habitats native to the Great Lakes, the Amazon River, and other bodies of water around the world. GLA’s mission is to “Connect all people to the water and wildlife of Lake Superior and beyond.”

While there is plenty of programming geared for kids and families, there are several adult-themed events at GLA, too. This includes a summer beer garden, featuring a lovely auditory backdrop courtesy of a Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) quartet. Beer Gardens are Thursday evenings in July and August from 5-8 p.m

Great Lakes Aquarium Beer Garden Thursdays. - GLA Facebook page.

Exhibits and Programming

The GLA’s Executive Director, Jay Walker, explained more about the Aquarium’s wide array of exhibits. “Our Isle Royale exhibit is dedicated to the Great Lakes, so it is filled with native species, including lake trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake sturgeon. The St. Louis River Gallery features walleye, muskies, northern pike, sunfish, and crappies,” he noted. “It also has ducks.”

“Our ‘Shipwrecks Alive’ gallery showcases shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and other parts of the world,” he added. “We have touch pools, featuring corals, anemones, jellyfish, and sturgeon. We also have a possum, skunk, two river otters, and an exhibit called Raptor Ridge, featuring Bogey the bald eagle and Horus the turkey vulture.”

Additionally, GLA guests can observe a special dive team hand-feeding the sturgeon; watch the frisky otters (named Agate and Ore) play; and interact with GLA staff, who often walk around the Aquarium with a variety of critters.

Great Lakes Aquarium submitted photo.

Many of the animals at GLA aren’t able to live independently in the wild. Bogey the eagle and Horus the vulture, for instance, have been deemed “non-releasable” due to flight issues, and wouldn’t survive on their own. So, they will live the entirety of their lives as educational ambassadors, safe and comfortable at GLA. Each animal’s habitat and other needs, including diet and enrichment, are well-researched so they all receive the best care.

The Great Lakes Aquarium is also a huge proponent of teachers and education. There are a complimentary teacher (and home-schooling) resource kits available, and plenty of early childhood programs and day camps for kids.

More About the Leader

Jay Walker, the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Aquarium.

Walker is originally from Alexandria, Minnesota. He had planned to pursue a career in music until one momentous day when he visited an aquarium with his then-girlfriend, now wife.

“I was a music major originally,” Walker explained. “My girlfriend Michelle had family on the east coast. I traveled to meet her family in Baltimore and visited the National Aquarium there, and I was absolutely floored. I loved the exhibits; I loved what we learned. Ultimately, I switched my major.”

Walker has an associate’s degree in aquaculture from Alexandria Technical & Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS). He began his career in 1996 working for Underwater World at the Mall of America.

While his official title was aquarist, Walker prefers the tongue-in-cheek industry term, ‘fish janitor.’ “We cared for the fish, prepped their food, monitored water quality, did record-keeping, and dove in to clean the tanks,” he explained.

When Denny Krenner, a consultant in the industry, told Walker about a new aquarium opening in Duluth, Walker jumped at the opportunity. He was hired in 1999 as GLA’s curator, a role he held from 1999-2007. He was promoted to Director of Operations in 2007 and promoted again to Executive Director in 2019.

Duluth Transplants

As “Duluth transplants,” Walker and his family have ultimately made Duluth their permanent home. “When thinking about Duluth as a place to live, initially it was just about my career,” he noted. “We had considered only staying here for about five years. But it was such a perfect place, and the longer we lived here, the more we loved it.”

Walker and his wife, Michelle, have two children: Cassidy (22), and Ian (20). The Walker family also includes a cat, dog, African Grey Parrot, Cockatiel, and a milk snake. “I love my job, but you will never find an aquarium in my house,” Walker said with a laugh. “It’s kind of like a chef who doesn’t want to go home and cook.” The family lives in the Observation Hill neighborhood.

When he isn’t working, Walker enjoys music, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, and fly fishing. “Duluth is so great,” he emphasized. “Just last weekend, I was at the DSSO. Then, we went out to eat, and within minutes, I could be out in the woods. That is one of the absolute charms of Duluth: there are plenty of cultural amenities, but you can also get away from it all.”

Walker maintains plenty of other professional affiliations, too: he is the finance chair for the Visit Duluth Board; a Board member for the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association and is also an Eco-Rotarian.

Memberships at the Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium, a non-profit organization employs over 50 staff members and receives most of its funding (approximately 80%) from guest visits and memberships. Members can visit the Aquarium an unlimited number of times, and also receive invitations to new exhibit openings and other special events. The GLA receives the rest of its funding (about 20%) through donations, grants, and tourism tax.

The Aquarium is open 364 days per year (every day but Christmas) from 10 am – 6 pm. In addition to regular visits, GLA is available for private parties and weddings, too.

Great Lakes Aquarium submitted photo.

Transformative Experience Possible

Walker is mindful of the transformative experience that a visit to an aquarium can provide. And this knowledge helps him plan future exhibits, events, and the total guest experience. “I always keep in mind that someone could walk through the doors and have the same experience I did,” he said.

Working at GLA continues to be a personally fulfilling career for Walker. “It’s so rewarding to see the people who work for me achieve their goals,” he said. “It gives me such joy.”

“And, I love knowing what we do to promote place-based education, and help people learn about our own backyard,” he added. “Here, you can see it, feel it, and touch it – and these experiences help you understand the world.”

For more information, please visit glaquarium.org.

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Love Creamery - Lovingly Churned & Joyfully Scooped

CeCe Boyle

Lovingly Churned and Joyfully Scooped Ice Cream
From Love Creamery and Nicole Wilde

Nicole Wilde, owner of Love Creamery. Photo by Wolfskull Creative

Eating ice cream is one of life’s great pleasures. Nicole Wilde, the owner of Love Creamery, gets to see the joy her handmade ice cream brings to people, young and old, at both of her “scoop shops” in Lincoln Park and Canal Park.

Wilde was born in Milwaukee and moved to Bayfield in 1998 to be Big Top Chautauqua’s marketing manager. Later, she moved to Duluth to take a position in marketing with Cirrus and a teaching job in marketing and business with UMD.

“I have always wanted to own a business. I decided I wanted to choose a product that people liked and that I could be creative with myself,” she explained.

Working with a fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, various economic development organizations and her own idea for a Main Street kind of revitalization project, she set her sights on a location in Lincoln Park.

In 2018, when she first moved into the space next to Frost River, OMC restaurant was just opening, but there were many empty storefronts and buildings up and down the street. Since then, the Lincoln Park business district has grown by leaps and bounds.

Love Creamery Lincoln Park location - Photo by CeCe Boyle

“I love to see how much that Main Street feeling has come to Lincoln Park. There is wonderful energy with several young entrepreneurs and a real sense of community spirit and mentorship.”

Her new Love Creamery shop opened in Canal Park in June of last year. Wilde says that it too is a vibrant community with businesses working cooperatively together.

Love Creamery Canal Park location - Photo by CeCe Boyle

“We make all of our own ice cream every day in both locations, with small batches, ten quarts per batch. We like to vary our flavors seasonally,” she said.

They have four flavors all the time, dark chocolate, buttermilk vanilla, salted caramel, and Nicole’s personal favorite, mint chocolate chip. They also feature dairy-free and vegan choices at both locations, and they make their own gluten-free waffle cones daily. With their four “default” flavors, they have room for many creative flavors seasonally and throughout the year in their 16 dipping cases.

You can mix your favorite ice cream flavors - Photo by CeCe Boyle

Love Creamery has its own ice cream wagon that they station on Park Point at Sky Harbor, and they use the wagon to cater weddings, graduation and other parties. Their ice cream is also sold at a number of local retailers.

On their website, Wilde noted, “Ice cream and sustainable farming are two of our driving passions. So, we went on a quest to find local farms, businesses and people who share our great passions for community, food and the environment as partners to craft scoops that we believe are responsibly sourced,”

Since she wanted to do a “farm-to-cone model” for their farm fresh ingredients, they have partnered with Autumnwood Family Dairy, Northwind Organic Farm, Duluth Coffee Company, Zenith Tea Works, Glensheen Mansion Gardens, Farm Lola, Northern Soda, Bar Bell Bee Ranch, Positively Third Street Bakery, Saltless Sea Urban Farm, David Rogotske Family Sugarbush and more.

Love Creamery’s creative selections vary frequently, with Wilde, her employees, and even customers coming up with new flavor ideas. Some present and past favorites include salted caramel, chai tea, salted peanut butter Newman O’s cookies, whiskey pecan (with Vikre honor brand whiskey), toasted coconut fudge, goat cheese with brandied cherries, roasted banana chip, vegan maple walnut, vegan lavender, salted honey, honeycomb, milk chocolate and assorted sorbets.

Also on the menu are ice cream flights with tray space for small scoops of six flavors of the customer’s choosing, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, ice cream puffs, floats, shakes and malts. They also serve espressos and affogatos, an Italian coffee-based dessert with a scoop of ice cream and a shot of hot espresso.

Flight of six flavors of Love Creamery ice cream. - Photo by CeCe Boyle

Both of Wilde’s scoop locations and her popups treat their customers, tourists and locals, to an experience in the world of ice cream that is unlike any other place. “We have had tourists who say they come up here from the Twin Cities, just to have our ice cream, and visit some other places while they are here,” she said with a laugh.

On her website, she noted, “At Love Creamery, our goal is to make Duluth’s best ice cream, and we are focused on making every ice cream flavor as delicious as possible. We know ice cream is just better when made from real ingredients. That is why we thoughtfully select every ingredient and lovingly prepare every flavor, every scoop.”

Wilde’s tremendous success was recently acknowledged with Love Creamery being recognized as the 2022 Best Ice Cream Parlor in the Midwest by Midwest Living Magazine.

Of her future plans, Wilde said, ”We are looking at potential spots for other locations, nothing to give specifics about yet.” Wherever Wilde next shares her passion for ice cream, she is sure to have the “inside scoop” on knowing what makes a wonderful treat.

This unattributed quote sums up the essence of the magic of ice cream. “You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that is pretty much the same thing."

For more on Love Creamery, visit their website at lovecreamery.com

 

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Make your move to #befromDuluth

Make your move to #befromDuluth

Video by Joe Fairbanks

If you’re in the market to buy a house, we have great news!

As of this writing, interest rates for home mortgages continue to hover near historic lows.[1] And, if you’re looking to relocate (hint: #befromduluth), in many cases you don’t even have to find a new job. More businesses than ever are offering work-from-home options.

So, in a nutshell, it’s a great time to:

  1. Buy a house, and
  2. Move to Duluth!

Sound overwhelming? We can help! Destination Duluth visited with two individuals who would love to help you achieve all of your Duluth dreams.

Real Estate Agents: One Local; One Transplant

Brok Hansmeyer with RE/MAX Results and Dana Morrison with Results Support Services are real estate agents from The Zenith City Group, based right here in Duluth. Interestingly, Hansmeyer has spent much of his life in Duluth, while Morrison moved here from the San Francisco bay area in 2015. Together, they provide unique perspectives on life in Duluth.

“I grew up in Esko, Minnesota, and attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth,” Hansmeyer said. “I’ve lived in Denver; I’ve lived in Dallas, but my family and I have always come back to Duluth. This is our home.”

Morrison explained that when she and her family were looking for a change, Duluth was at the top of their list. “My husband and I had recently started a family. We wanted to live somewhere we could afford to buy a house, and where we could be close to nature,” she said, adding, “We found Duluth! We purchased a home, and are making really deep roots here in the Duluth area.”

Amenities

While their paths home differed, both Hansmeyer and Morrison are obviously in agreement: Duluth is a pretty cool place. We asked them to provide some specifics, for those who are really thinking about relocating here.

“Duluth is an amazing community,” Morrison said. “Not only are there lots of people who are entrepreneurs, but there are so many things to enjoy with this city. One is the Lincoln Park Craft District – you can go to the Dovetail Café and learn a new folk trade. Or you can go have a beer across the street. Our family also enjoys seeing old films or plays done at the Duluth Playhouse. It’s really a spectacular place to be.” Morrison also noted that her family enjoys the plethora of outdoor activities Duluth has to offer, such as camping and the area’s beaches.

For Hansmeyer, nature - along with Duluth’s “small-town feel” - is a big part of what keeps him here. “When I think of Duluth, it’s a ‘big, small-town,’” he said. “It doesn’t take that long to get to know a lot of people, and I love the outdoors. I love living close to Lake Superior, and going for walks and skipping rocks with the kids. It makes my heart feel alive being right by Lake Superior.”

“With Duluth,” he added, “You’re never far from nature. When you look at the different neighborhoods – East, West, or on the Hill, you’re never very far from the woods or trails. We have a good quality of life. There’s a lack of traffic, plenty of job opportunities, and access to the outdoors, such as cross-country skiing, mountain biking, lake activities, hunting and fishing.”

Duluth also boasts some great opportunities when it comes to education. “People with kids have great options for schools, whether it’s public, private, or charter schools,” Hansmeyer said. “Duluth is a big enough city where there are lots of options for schooling.” Hansmeyer also mentioned the many post-secondary options here, including the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Lake Superior College, The College of Saint Scholastica, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

Duluth is also known for being home to many large employers, and as a great place to receive top-notch health care. “We also have lots of big employers, such as Amsoil, Enbridge, or Cirrus,” Hansmeyer said. “And Duluth offers excellent health care with Essentia Health and St. Luke’s.”

Housing stock

Between its large range of unique neighborhoods and diversity of housing stock, Duluth has something for everyone. “When you’re looking at houses in Duluth, you really have a wide range of options,” Morrison shared. “You can start at $110,000 for a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom starter home, or you can look up to $1.5 million, where you have the 7,000 square foot home with all the bells and whistles. So, there are really options for any person looking to move to Duluth.”

“When you look at Duluth versus a bigger city, say Seattle, a $600,000 house in Seattle would be about half the price in Duluth,” Hansmeyer said. “So, it’s a little bit more cost-effective. Your income isn’t going to drop by half by moving to Duluth, but your housing is certainly going to be cheaper if you’re moving here from most big cities in the U.S.”

Neighborhoods

When considering neighborhoods, how could you possibly pick a favorite, when they’re ALL so amazing?! At Destination Duluth we love them all, but here are some specific enticements to keep in mind.

Duluth’s Far West neighborhoods (Norton Park, Gary, Smithville, and Fond du Lac) are attractive due to their accessibility to the St. Louis River, Jay Cooke State Park, and the Munger Trail. The Lake Superior Zoo is also found on the West side.

Lakeside, Lester Park and Congdon out East all provide super convenient access to the Lakewalk, Brighton Beach, Seven Bridges Road, Tischer Creek and Lester Park. Piedmont and the Heights are known for their amazing views of the hillside and the Big Lake. Think amazing sunrises and sunsets.

And on Park Point, life is literally a beach! Enough said.

All provide quick access to the excitement of downtown or a spin up the hill to run some errands.

For questions about Duluth or any of its unique neighborhoods, Hansmeyer and the rest of the Zenith City Group would be happy to share what they know. “Our team is knowledgeable about the different neighborhoods, and what’s happening in each one,” he said. “We know where home values are, versus where they were two years ago. This knowledge of the area we provide can be very helpful.”

No matter the neighborhood, Duluth has so much to offer, said Morrison, the recent Duluth “transplant.” “If you’re looking for a place to call home that has the small-town feel but all the big city amenities, along with health care and education, Duluth is your place,” she said.

Call the Pros

Well, there you have it: glowing testimonials from real estate professionals: one Duluth native, and one Duluth transplant. Are you ready to finally make the leap, and #befromDuluth? If so, Morrison, Hansmeyer, and the rest of their team would love to help.

“When you work with a member of our team, you’ll find that they’re friendly and want to be helpful, whether you’re in the process of buying or selling a home; whether you’re on day one, just thinking about it; or you’re on closing day and excited to buy a house,” Hansmeyer said.

“We pay attention to details and will help you make wise decisions through the process of buying or selling,” he added. “We’d love to help you find your place to call home in Duluth.”

For more information, please visit livinginduluth.com – a website run by the Re/Max Zenith City Group.

 

[1] Current Mortgage Rates: Compare today’s rates | NerdWallet

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Find a job using NORTHFORCE

Video by Joe Fairbanks

NORTHFORCE – Your Talent Community

In Duluth and the Surrounding Region

In a world where social media is king, many look to well-established websites like Indeed or Monster to recruit talent or search for their next job. But these conglomerates simply can’t – and don’t - offer that personal touch.

But this is Duluth. We are “Minnesota nice,” after all. Things are done a little differently here.

Enter NORTHFORCE. According to Cara Overland, the group’s Twin Ports and Northwestern Wisconsin Strategy & Development Consultant, NORTHFORCE is “A community-supported program that helps retain and recruit talent in the Northland. This includes a ten-county area including the Twin Ports, Iron Range, and Northwestern Wisconsin.”

The organization was founded in 2014, and is based in Duluth. It is a program of Northspan, an economic development organization.

Highly Personal Service

Each person who reaches out to NORTHFORCE, whether a human resources professional, business owner, or job-seeker, will receive a personal e-mail from Overland. She will ask personal, individualized questions about the person’s goals, including a friendly offer to help.

Overland is no doubt an expert in her field. After all, she is a success story herself. “I found this very position on NORTHFORCE,” she shared. “So, I’m a case study and a testimonial myself.”

Options for Job Seekers and Employers Alike

Overland gave a bit more insight into what NORTHFORCE has to offer. “NORTHFORCE helps employers post positions on our job board, and also helps candidates register and create a profile, upload their resume, and get connected with available positions in our area,” she said. “We bridge the gap between employers and candidates.”

Each of the consultants on the NORTHFORCE team are highly familiar with the region and all it has to offer. As such, NORTHFORCE consultants are some of the area’s biggest cheerleaders.

“One of the unique things about NORTHFORCE and our consultants is that we are from the communities we represent,” Overland, who is from Duluth, said. “Duluth is magical,” she added. “It’s a fantastic-sized city. We have incredible employers here, along with our green spaces and natural landscape. People come here on vacation and fall in love with it, and I’m here to help them move here if that’s what they want to do.”

Any Job; Any Company Size

NORTHFORCE can assist people who are seeking any sort of work, whether full-time, part-time, seasonal work, an internship, or freelance gigs. All fields and business segments are represented, too; including health care, hospitality, manufacturing, and many more.

“Whether you’re a big, small, or mid-size business, you get the same attention from me as a consultant, and NORTHFORCE as an organization,” Overland said, adding, “Whether you need a line-level employee or a CEO, we can help you find those people.”

Key Partnerships

One of the ways NORTHFORCE makes successful employer-employee “matches” is through their partnerships with local colleges, universities, and technical schools – in what they call their “Student Connect” program.

For instance, Andrea Chartier is a Career Counselor at the College of St. Scholastica (CSS), and regularly relies on NORTHFORCE services to help her students find employment or internships. “Our partnership with NORTHFORCE has allowed us to really be intentional in supporting the students who want Duluth to be their home, or who want Duluth to be their next step, and need some help building those bridges and connections to employers,” she said.

Chartier also works with CSS alumni, too; many of whom have moved away and are looking to return.

Coming Home

Along with Overland, Chartier is also a huge cheerleader for living – and working – in Duluth and the surrounding region. “I call myself a ‘boomerang Duluthian,’” she said with a laugh. “I grew up in Duluth, and have lived in California, Utah, and Minneapolis, but ultimately decided to come back.”

“It’s an ideal place to raise kids,” she said. “You can be at a park, beach, or forest every day, and you’re not surrounded by hordes of people.”

“You can be a big fish in a small pond here in Duluth,” she added. “I felt I could really make some magic happen here in a way I never felt I could in a big city. It’s such a special, magical place in so many ways. There are a lot of opportunities, a lot of internships, and amazing possibilities.”

Whether you are a job-seeker, or need to find the perfect candidate to fill a role at your business, NORTHFORCE can help. Please visit northforce.org to learn more.

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Rail & Sail Father & Son Photography Team

Destination Duluth
Photographer Profile Series

David and Son Gus Schauer - A Passion for Rail and Sail Pictures

DM&IR SD18 No. 193 leads the 3 PM Duluth Zephyr back to Union Depot (North Shore Scenic Railroad) after a trip to Lakeside. Soo Line caboose No. 1 was added for a nice touch. Rail and sail in true U.S. Steel fashion. June 4, 2022. - By David Schauer

Born and raised in Duluth, photographer David Schauer recalls, “My childhood home was in the upper Endion neighborhood where I could see Lake Superior and watch boats coming and going from Duluth and Superior. That, plus hearing train horns at night, influenced my desire to photograph shipping and railroads.”

David Schauer aboard the Minneapolis - St. Paul navy ship during the week of its commissioning in May, 2022. Photo by Adam Bjornberg

Through the family’s picture window, he would watch the ships on the Lake and started to be able to recognize them and to remember their names.  His first photograph of a boat was made in April 1978, as the tug Edna G docked in Two Harbors with the Arthur M. Anderson behind it.

Schauer and his family now live in the Smithville neighborhood in western Duluth. He and his wife Laura and have three teenage children; twin daughters Tessa and Greta and son Gus. Their daughters are graduating from Denfeld High School this year and Gus is a sophomore.

Schauer’s son Gus is starting to follow his father’s passion for photography. “One of my great joys of photography is having my son Gus join me in capturing images and teaching him what I have learned over the years. I’m very proud of his work and his ability to understand the art of photography.“

Photo by David Schauer

He explained, “I first began photography in the late 1970s after being encouraged by my parents and friends. I became more interested after taking photography classes in high school and at UMD. I have been a serious amateur photographer since the early 1980s.”

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth with concentrations in finance and marketing. David is self-employed, working as a marketing consultant, and he is also on the board of directors for the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and Lake Superior Marine Museum Association.

Schauer said, “I first began shooting with my mother’s Kodak 110 instamatic and quickly graduated to borrowing my dad’s Nikkormat (Nikon) 35mm camera. I have stuck with Nikon since those early days and now employ a D850 digital model. As for a favorite lens, it has to be my 28-300mm zoom. I find the versatility of that lens is hard to beat. I’m also an FAA certified drone pilot and use a DJI Mavic 3 for aerial images.”

Along with his camera equipment, he totes along a tripod and flash unit for low light situations and extra charged batteries on his photo “safaris.” He also uses a radio to monitor marine, railroad and aviation frequencies.

Photo by David Schauer

For processing digital images, he uses Adobe Photoshop for post-processing of digital images. He explained, “I try to keep processing to a minimum, similar to the old school ‘burning and dodging’ that I did in the darkroom on black and white images decades ago.”

He has had numerous images printed in magazines and books. He has also authored seven books on railroads. Some of his work was featured in a gallery exhibit at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum last year.

Schauer enjoys photographing ships and trains in the same frame when possible. He has found several sites where railroads are in close proximity to docking facilities.

Photo by David Schauer

“For both ships and railroads I find photographing around the Twin Ports offers a wealth of vistas and activity,” Schauer said. “It is a great place if you like the combination of rail and sail. I greatly enjoy photography during what is called ‘blue hour’ before sunrise and after sunset. The color change in the sky can be dramatic during that time.”

The Blatnik Bridge during the "blue hour" - Photo by David Schauer

He added, “I try to capture images that are creative or different versus standard angles. The drone has helped quite a bit in that regard. Photographing during blue hour and in changing weather conditions can produce distinctive images.”

While his primary focus is on railroad and marine photography as his photo watermark suggests, he also enjoys general landscape/cityscape images and industrial subjects.

“Being a native of Duluth I love to showcase the beauty of the area, and Destination Duluth is a premier social media venue to help accomplish that. I’m honored when one of my images is selected for viewing and it is rewarding reading all of the positive comments, Schauer noted.  Since becoming a Destination Duluth contributing photographer in January of 2017, David has become one of the top three photographers, with a mind-boggling 6.5 million views of his photos on Destination Duluth.

“There are a number of current photographers in the area that produce stunning work that I follow, many of them contributing to Destination Duluth,” he said. “When I was young and just starting, photographers such as David Plowden, Richard Steinheimer and Philip Hastings were among many that inspired me to look beyond the common ‘point and shoot’ mentality of photography.”

David’s images have been published in Lake Superior Magazine, Fans of Know Your Ships, North Star Port, Lake Superior Marine Museum Association’s Nor’Easter, Lake Superior Railroad Museum’s The Junction, Trains Magazine, Railfan & Railroad Magazine, plus numerous books.

Schauer says he does not usually sell his photos, however, if someone has a specific interest they can contact him via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/david.schauer.37/

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The Story of Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

Bending Traditions (and Making Great Beer!) Since 2013
The Story of Bent Paddle Brewing Co. – Shared by Co-Owner Laura Mullen

 

Laura Fryberger Mullens - Submitted Photo

Like many native Duluthians, Laura Mullen wanted to experience life elsewhere for a while before settling down. But, the siren song of Duluth – including the chilly climate and “perfect beer-brewing water,” among other enticements - ultimately brought her home.

Today, with a husband, child, her parents living nearby, and a busy career as the co-owner of a successful business, Bent Paddle Brewing Co., Mullen’s roots are planted deeply right here in Duluth – which is where she plans to stay.

Education

After graduating from Marshall High School in 1997, Mullen completed her BA in Behavioral Science & Law from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2001. She then decided to move to Savannah, Georgia, with a friend.

Mullen worked as a professional event coordinator for the Savannah College of Art & Design from 2001 to 2004. But she knew Georgia was just a temporary stop on her journey.

“I didn’t love the heat,” Mullen said with a chuckle. “I’m one of those people who likes the climate here – I like the cold.”

After returning to Minnesota, Mullen worked for Minnesota Monthly magazine in Minneapolis. She later founded Laura Mullen Event Design in Minneapolis in late 2004. In total, Mullen has planned over 250 events – primarily boutique weddings, craft beer festivals, and art openings and galas - during her career, ranging from 8 to 15,000 attendees.

Chance Encounters

While organizing a small, non-profit beer festival - Arborfest for the Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul - Mullen met a variety of beer brewers from across the state. One of whom was her future husband, Colin Mullen, who is originally from St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

At the time, Colin – who got into home brewing during college after the experience of enjoying a Magic Hat #9 “blew his mind” - was brewing at Barley John’s Brew Pub in New Brighton, MN.

As the relationship blossomed, the Mullens became friendly with another couple in the beer industry – Karen and Bryon Tonnis. Bryon was also a professional brewer, while Karen worked for Sysco Asian Foods. All four possessed the entrepreneurial spirit needed to start a business.

The foursome put their heads together and decided to open a brewery in Duluth. “At that time, there were no production breweries of scale in Duluth, and we saw an opening,” Laura shared. “Also, I remember Bryon saying that Duluth water was perfect for brewing – it mimics the water tables of the Czech Republic – where Pilsner beer was born. And, it contains the same minerals.”

Interestingly, the Tonnises and Mullens were married just nine days apart. And, their children, Adella Mullen and Liam Tonnis, were born three days apart. “I saw other people starting a brewery and having a baby in the same year, and I thought it was crazy,” Mullen said. “But we did it. We moved to Duluth when Adella was one month old. My parents helped a lot with the baby and getting our business up and running.”

Bent Paddle

Bent Paddle Brewing Co. – which has grown to a 15,000-barrel production brewery - opened its doors in 2013. The mission of Bent Paddle is to brew craft beer with a concentration on sustainability for the business, the employees, the environment and the greater community – all while “Bending the Traditions” encountered, for a more unique and interesting craft beer experience.

Originally, the brewery and small taproom were housed under one roof - at 1912 West Michigan Street. But the operation quickly outgrew its available space, and another, adjacent building, at 1832 West Michigan Street, was secured for a larger taproom. The upstairs (measuring in at 7,500 square feet) serves as office space, while the lower 7,500 square feet serve as a taproom and shop selling Bent Paddle merchandise.

Bent Paddle Brewery, Taproom and Offices. - Submitted Photo.

In addition to offering plenty of space for patrons to stretch out and enjoy a pint, there is space available at the taproom for private events. Another amenity is the fact that the brewery’s outdoor patio and green space, called The Lawn, are pet-friendly.

Currently, Bent Paddle employs 43 people, including the four owners. In addition to her role as co-owner, Laura Mullen is also the VP of Outreach and Marketing.

The Bent Paddle Team - Submitted Photo.

The Beer

Bent Paddle currently offers five year-round (sometimes referred to as “flagship”) beers for distribution: Venture Pils, Bent Hop IPA, 14° Degree Amber, Black Ale, and Cold Press Black. Other regularly available distributed options include Kanu Session Pale Ale, Wilderness Tuxedo varieties (sour beers) and barrel-aged options.

Additionally, another 15-20 selections are created annually by Bent Paddle’s pilot brewer, Neil Caron, for the taproom, and sold by the glass, growler, or crowler.

Bent Paddle beers are sold in liquor stores, bars and restaurants across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Bent Paddle beers have won dozens of awards since the brewery opened, however, the two most recent include the gold medal for Altbear (a German-Style Altbier), and a bronze medal for Bent Hop (in the International IPA Category) – both given through the World Beer Cup 2022.

After nine years in business, Bent Paddle’s top five beers are undergoing a rebrand of sorts. Each beer’s packaging will now depict a different iconic local Lake Superior beach view. Some cans showcase well-known North Shore vistas - like Split Rock Lighthouse or Duluth’s hillside viewed from Park Point - while others shine a light on lesser-known lakeshore spots like Ioan’s Beach. On each box, customers will find a set of geo coordinates to the exact beach location of the beers’ artwork.

2022 Brand Refresh. - Submitted Photo.

Personal

In addition to operating a thriving brewery, Laura Mullen is actively engaged in the Duluth community. She serves as a local election judge, and currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Marshall School, Duluth’s 1200 Fund, the DECC, and Duluth Bell Bank.

The Mullens have one daughter, Adella, and several pets: a dog named Hilde; two Siamese cats, Clover and Riley, and a hedgehog named Piper. The family lives in Duluth’s Hunter’s Park neighborhood, and enjoys walking, biking, dancing, enjoying good food, and visiting the Brule River. Laura also enjoys supporting other local beverage producers, including Vikre Distillery.

Home

After the herculean effort required to get the brewery up, running, and successful, witnessing the fruits of their labor is incredibly rewarding for Bent Paddle’s owners. Mullen and the rest of the leadership team receive a jolt of excitement every time they see someone purchasing Bent Paddle beer or wearing Bent Paddle merch.

“You get this little thrill every time you see people walking out of a liquor store with our beer, or ordering it at a restaurant,” Mullen noted. “It’s like we’re seeing that we’ve exported the water of Lake Superior into a product people love. It’s fun to watch.”

Despite giving life a go in a couple of other locations, Duluth is the only place that is truly home for Laura Mullen. “I’ve always said how much I love Duluth and I always wanted to move back,” she noted. “And, funny enough, Colin always said he wanted to meet a Duluth girl. I truly feel like we’re home in Duluth.”

 

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John Heino has a passion for photography, travel, and music

John Heino

Destination Duluth
Photographer Profile Series

John Heino has a passion for photography, travel, and music

John Heino 

Area photographer John Heino cites famed American photographer, Ansel Adams, as one of his icons. Adams once said, “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Heino echoes that philosophy with every shot by continuing to “make” his photographs uniquely his own.

Photo by John Heino

Although John Heino was born and raised in Duluth, he said that after high school he had wanderlust and wanted to get out and see more of the country. After several years, he came back to Duluth to go to school, get married, and raise a family, and realized, like Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz,” that “There’s no place like home.”

Heino began, as he called it “an old-school photographer,” when he was an art major at UMD in the 80s. He learned his craft, first developing his own film “old-style” in the dark room, and later transitioning to digital, despite some of his original skepticism.

Photo by John Heino

Recalling one of his earliest mentors, he said, “I had an amazing photography professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, a guy named Joe Boudreau. He had come here to teach from New York City where he was a fairly big-time photographer. He taught me so much that helped me to shape my perspectives on photography.”

While Heino started out as an art major, he explained, “I changed to a communication degree and later a master’s in management.” While he went into business for over three decades, he still was pursuing his passions for music and photography.

Photo by John Heino

Taking piano lessons as a child and joining bands starting when he was fifteen, John later began playing keyboard with a group called the “Centerville All Stars.” He has been playing with this classic rock group for 43 years, performing everywhere from local bars to outdoor venues, including at Sturgis.

He noted, “I’ve always felt like the guys in “The Centerville All Stars” were born to play together, and all these years later, we still have fun. We call it being on the “I-35 Tour,” playing in either in Duluth or Minneapolis or many places in between.”

Even with his career and his music gigs, John kept photography as an important part of his life. Learning more in the digital realm, investing in better equipment, and taking advantage of all that the region has to offer for fabulous landscapes, he loves to spend his time in retirement going on photo expeditions.

John says he has so many interests that carry over to his photography. He does, however, especially love photographing landscapes and wildlife, particularly birds.

For the sheer beauty of landscapes with the rock formations, and of course, the Lake, the Northland is his favorite photography locale. “I love it all, waterfalls, sunsets, dramatic clouds, blue skies, and ice formations,” he said.

Heino has two more recent favorite photos, one of Cross River close to Schroeder, and a photo of a Lewis Woodpecker that he says he is especially proud of, noting, “The woodpecker was hard to find. I spotted a nest on a trip out West and was able to capture one of the birds in mid-flight.”

Louis Woodpecker. Photo by John Heino.

Travel, tied to his photography, is another of John’s passions. He says Layne Kennedy is one of his most inspiring mentors who taught him about combining his love of photography and travel. ”He is such a talented photographer who has worked for ‘National Geographic.’ He does great photo tours; one of my favorites was a trip with him to Havana, Cuba.”

Heino also notes a few other photographers, Dennis O’Hara and John Alexander Kay, as being inspirational to him. “Both of them are great human beings, as well as being wonderful photographers,” he said.

While John does sell some of his work from his Facebook page, he does work with Smugmug to sell much of his work as well. Over the years, Heino has had some big commercial clients for his photography including the University of Minnesota Clinics and Surgery Center, Holiday Inn, Alerus Bank, Memorial Hospital (Cloquet), among others.

John has also been excited to contribute photos to Destination Duluth. “I’ve been contributing from the very beginning—no idea how many photos. It's been a mutually beneficial relationship. I pick up followers from the exposure, and I appreciate the value of Destination Duluth as a citizen who wants to see our economy grow.”

Photo by John Heino.

Soon John will have a new photo subject in his life when he and his wife welcome their first grandchild. “I am so excited to become a grandpa,” he said.

Like famed American photographer Imogen Cunningham, who once said, “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I am going to take tomorrow,’” John Heino is always looking ahead to that next shot, that next inspiration for another stunning photograph that only his trained eye can see in exactly that same way.

Photo by John Heino.

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Margi Preus and Chris Monroe - Northland Story Tellers Extraordinaire

Margi Preus and Chris Monroe - Northland Story Tellers Extraordinaire

The Northland is rich with many talented area authors writing across all genres. Two award-winning local authors who work in young adult and children’s literature, Margi Preus and Chris Monroe, are wonderful storytellers whose fame has extended to wide circles outside of Duluth.

Around the World with Margi Preus

Margi Preus - margipreus.com

Margi Preus has a varied background in theater, writing and teaching. “Before I started writing books for young readers, I had a lot of oddball jobs: I taught swimming lessons in remote Alaskan villages, was a groom at a horse race track, have been an adventure travel guide, a professional note-taker, a dance instructor, a teacher of fiction writing—also children’s literature—and for a large portion of my grown-up life, the artistic director of a theater company in Duluth where I still live,” she said.

She added, “Writing is now my main job, and I can often be found doing just that in my ‘little house in the backyard.’”

Preus is the author of the Newberry Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book “The Clue in the Trees,” part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series.  She has written several other stand-alone books, featuring what she describes as “spies, sleuths and scoundrels.”

Heart of a Samurai - by Margi Preus

Besides the prestigious Newberry Award, her books have won other multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads and translated into many languages.

According to Bookpage, “Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. . . Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.”

Margi does an enormous amount of research for all of her books. Her Heart of the Samurai was inspired by her Sister Cities work involvement and another of her books, The Peace Bell. Research for Samurai also led her to travel back to Japan.

“My ancestors were all from Norway but emigrated a long time ago. My book ‘West of the Moon’ was inspired by my great-great-grandmother’s diary as she emigrated from Norway in 1851,” she explained. “It’s not actually about her, but about a young girl she met on the sailing ship coming to America, a girl traveling all alone with no one to meet her in America.”

Her newest book, Lily Leads the Way is set on Lake Superior where Lily, a little sailboat, must get out of the way of Tall Ships, off the Lake and under the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Lily Leads the Way - by Margi Preus, illustrated by Matt Myers

Preus does virtual and in-person visits to classrooms as well. The biggest praise writers can receive is from their readers. One from a 6th-grade student whose class Margi had visited, wrote her, “Now I like to read because of you.” And another who said, “You inspired me to write my own book.”

“I love to watch kids respond to the magic of reading, and I love being a part of that,” Margi said.

Chris Monroe and the Handy Little Monkey

Chris Monroe - Author and illustrator of children's books and Emmy award winner. Photo submitted.

Christine Monroe is a cartoonist, illustrator and author, known for her weekly comic “Violet Days” which ran for over 20 years in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In 2016, she won an Emmy Award for her animation artwork for "Kevin Kling: Lost And Found.”

“I wanted to be an artist since I was in kindergarten. I remember doing a pencil drawing of a rabbit and thinking ‘this looks so real to me.’”

In high school, she was the art editor The Duluth East High Birch Log yearbook.  After graduating, she went on to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. After doing illustrations for magazines, catalogs, and newspapers for many years in the Twin Cities, she decided to move back to Duluth with her young son.

Monroe’s real breakthrough came with her illustrated children's books, including seven books in her “Monkey with a Tool Belt” series. Chris and her son talked about who should be the “hero” of her book and thought a monkey would be perfect. “We discussed that monkeys are funny and that a monkey could use tools,” she said.

Monkey with a Tool Belt - By Chris Monroe

At the Lerner Publisher’s blog, Monroe said, “The whole series started when I worked part-time at a family hardware store (Marshall) in Duluth for a long time. I wanted to create a fun character that used tools–I used what I knew and put a creative spin on it. ‘Monkey with a Tool Belt’ stuck in my head as a great title, and a monkey worked well as the character because a monkey has good technical skills!”

Reviewer Jennifer Robinson wrote, “Seussian tools and inventions in a Richard Scarry-like town, delivered with a comic strip flavor via panels and sketches, and featuring a main character who is utterly unique and irresistible, ‘Monkey with a Tool Belt’ is everything that a picture book should be.”

In 2020, Netflix released an animated series featuring Chico Bon Bon. Now in its fourth season, Netflix describes the show as “an ultra-silly comedy for preschoolers about the mechanical world and the way things work. Armed with tools and engineering smarts, monkey mechanic Chico Bon Bon and his Fix-It Force help the people of Blunderburg solve all of their problems.”

Monroe has also exhibited her oil pastel drawings and comics at the Duluth Art Institute, Tweed Museum of Art, Rifle Sport Gallery, WARM, Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Palazzo Sclafani and other galleries.

Chris also enjoys visiting classrooms and sharing her love of writing and illustrating. “I am so fortunate to be one of those people who could follow my dreams,” she said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but I have done the hard work to get where I am. I feel like I have come a long way from weighing nails in a hardware store!”

Chris Monroe at a Chico Bon Bon book signing. Photo submitted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Minnesota Marshmallow Lady

The Minnesota Marshmallow Lady
S’Mores and More!

One of the traditions of summer and early fall is sitting around a campfire or fire pit with dear friends, toasting marshmallows and then squishing them between two graham crackers, with a big piece of Hershey’s candy bar thrown in for good measure.

Entrepreneur Amy McMillan loves that tradition too, but she has taken it in a new direction. In the summer of 2020, she was chatting with friends around a campfire about how there should be more than just plain, white marshmallows, and that someone should “invent” varieties of marshmallows with different flavors.

Amy McMillan - The Minnesota Marshmallow Lady - Submitted photo.

She started thinking outside the box to come up with what she called “the Juicy Lucy” of marshmallows, “stuffed” with a variety of delicious flavors. The idea behind The Minnesota Marshmallow was born, and McMillan’s business has taken off since then.

Growing up in the Twin Cities, Amy had a whole different career plan in mind after high school. In 2009, following in the footsteps of her father who was a Marine, Amy joined the Air Force.

After her basic training in Texas, Amy had active duty in South Dakota, Colorado and California. During that time, she also earned two associate's degrees and a bachelor’s degree.

Amy McMillan father Mac McMillan, and her brother, Josh Quigley pinning her stripes on for her promotion. - Submitted photo

Moving to Duluth in 2017, she took a job with the 148th Fighter Wing, where she worked in finances, human resources and recruiting. She relates, “I absolutely fell in love in Duluth, decided to stay and bought a house.”

After much experimentation with her marshmallow recipe and flavors, she started to bring some to share at the 148th. The overwhelming reaction to her gourmet marshmallows there inspired her to try to make this business a go.

She first sold them for a Labor Day sale she did in August of 2020. She quickly sold out and decided that she should explore how she could turn this into a full-time business.

Taking the S'More to a whole new level with a Minnesota Marshmallow - Submitted photo

She credits the Entrepreneur Fund for all their help, and to mentors Andy Packingham and Amanda Cunningham at Mike and Jen’s Cocoa, and Annie Sitek, the Cupcake Lady.

Working out of her home kitchen at first, Amy found she needed more space and began working out of the commercial kitchen at Johnson’s Bakery in Duluth.

She recently moved to the commercial kitchen at Proctor Speedway. “I love that we are able to work there Monday through Saturday every week and not have to take down everything the way we did before,” she said.

She has also added an employee to help with packaging and labeling, and eventually with marshmallow making. She also hopes to add a few other employees in the next several months.

Starting with the first small batches she ever made of orange cream, hot fudge and peanut butter, Amy says now the sky is the limit with ideas for flavors for her handmade delights.

Some of people’s favorites have been Mint Cookie, Uffda, made with sea salt caramel, toasted coconut and hot fudge, Salted Nut Roll, Moose Tracks, You Betcha Brownie, Rum Chata, Peppermint Bon Bon, Donut Madness, Arctic Mint Brownie, Salted Caramel Brownie, Butter Beer and Birthday Cake.

For those wanting even more of a marshmallow adventure, she came up with the Fat Elvis, peanut butter and banana, and what she calls “boozy” flavors, made with scotch, bourbon, and Bailey’s.

Her seasonal treats have included Easter flavored Limoncello and Jelly Beans; Red Velvet for Valentine’s Day; and Pumpkin Spice, Apple Caramel, and Honey Bourbon Pecan Marshmallows for sweet potato casserole topping for the holidays.

Amy says that in addition to s’mores, the gourmet marshmallows can also be used in baked treats, in cocoa, and just on their own as a sweet treat.

The Minnesota Marshmallows are available at several retail outlets including Johnson's Bakery, Piedmont Milk House, Bridgeman's, Vintage Hideaway Marketplace, Bailey's Builds, Louise's Place Cafe & Pantry Provisions in Two Harbors, Cedar Barn in Superior, 506 Salon, North & Shore, and The Hull.

Amy plans to add more retail locations, as well as offer marshmallows for sale on her website. “I have opened online sales and shipping through our Facebook page,” she explained. “We should also have our website up and running soon” at MNMallow.com

Another way to sell the product has been with her Marshmallow truck that she has taken to a variety of events, including the Apple Festival in Bayfield, the Duluth Junk Hunt, and this summer to the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Marshmallow truck - Submitted photo

McMillan was nominated for the Noteworthy Start-up Award. A nomination statement on her behalf read, "Amy McMillan took an idea and acted on it. Her marshmallows are amazing, and she has grown incredibly fast from introducing her product in 2020 to a business that has allowed her to go full-time and to work on scaling up to meet demand. It's a fun product that has captured people's attention and left us wanting more of her wonderfully unique marshmallows!”

Amy McMillan - The Minnesota Marshmallow Lady. - Submitted photo.

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