Garage Starts - Strengthening, Supporting, and Empowering Entrepreneurs

Garage Starts - Strengthening, Supporting, and Empowering Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are often relieved to learn that many of the world’s largest and most successful companies had humble beginnings. While anyone willing to start a business usually possesses ambition, work ethic, and “hustle” in spades, many initially lack the resources and business savvy needed to successfully launch their company. Enter Garage Starts.

Located in Two Harbors, Garage Starts launched two years ago. Its mission is to “strengthen, support, and empower entrepreneurs.”

And, that title?

“We got our name from the place where some of the world’s most successful businesses began – in people’s garages,” said Matt Barrett, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing. He noted global giants Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft as a few aspirational examples who started in a garage.

Services offered

Garage Starts can provide assistance to businesses trying to get off the ground, or even help established businesses operate more smoothly. “We take people looking to start a business or those who need support, and help them get through the initial stages of launching and growth,” Barrett said. “Clients sometimes have a business idea, or come to us with a business they’ve had for 30 years that just need traction or was affected by COVID-19.”

Garage Starts can help business owners with many things, including:

  • Weekly structure and strategy meetings
  • Business projections
  • Writing a business plan
  • Figuring out financing options
  • Sourcing vendors
  • Building up stock
  • Handling logistical and operational details
  • Fractional relationships, where a member of the Garage Starts team will hold a specific position within the company for a time
  • Tracking metrics, and more

Typically, a business partnership with Garage Starts lasts somewhere between 18 months and two years. “We can continue after that, but it’s usually more organic, as needed, or on a set schedule,” Barrett said.

Thus far, the company has supported about 30 clients, representing a wide variety of business segments, including food manufacturers; construction; the service industry; e-commerce retail; brick and mortar retail, and physical product manufacturers.

The team at Garage Starts feels confident that they can assist just about any business. “Generally speaking, business is business,” Barrett said. “At the end of the day, it all runs on the same principles.”

Personal connection

Barrett himself is no stranger to the roller-coaster of the entrepreneurial world. A passionate outdoorsman, he developed something called the Duck ID App, which helps users identify duck species. Today, the app is available on Google Play, with about 10,000 users.

“Similar to how many businesses are started, I had a problem,” Barrett explained. “I searched for a solution and couldn’t find one. So, I created one.”

Barrett also brings a background in sales and sales management to the table.

The Team

In addition to Barrett, the Garage Starts team has three other employees. Barrett explained their various roles.

“Chris Swanson, the head coach, brings vision, leadership, and focuses on the big picture. Calvin Luhrsen handles the operations side. He meets with business owners week in and week out and introduces them to funding agencies. And, Sarah Koster handles our logistics side.”

Deeply meaningful work

For Barrett and the entire Garage Starts team, the work of supporting entrepreneurs is a calling. “I look at it as a ministry,” Barrett said. “It’s not unheard of for people to be in tears in our office. Literally, every entrepreneur we work with tells us they’re scared, lonely, or overwhelmed. They often say, ‘I feel like I’m on an island here.’”

“And, I get the amazing opportunity to tell them they’re just like everyone else, and it’s just a matter of getting through it,” he added.

“We have an opportunity to help people find success and balance. You can run a successful business without sacrificing everything else in your life. We are truly motivated by helping people.”

Are you trying to launch a business, improve your current business, or need some advice for recalibrating your company in a post-COVID world? Please visit The entire team looks forward to helping you.

Back to Top
Next Post:

Visit the Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Previous Post:

Enjoy a Bird’s Eye View of Duluth

Website Brought To You By:

  • Essentia Health
  • City of Duluth Minnesota
Other Supporting Partners
© 2021 Destination Duluth