Ursa Minor Brewery- What's Your Guiding Light?


Ben and Mark Hugus dreamt of owning and operating their own brewery someday.  They didn’t realize that a brewery would be in their future during their trip to Italy. The two brothers decided to make their dreams a reality. Once they were back, Mark started working at a few breweries to learn about the business of crafting beer and four years later, Ursa Minor Brewery was born.

What’s in a Name?

The name for Ursa Minor Brewery is something special to the Hugus brothers. If you are up to date on your astrological signs, Ursa Minor is the constellation better known as the Little Dipper, which contains the North Star. “The North Star is the guiding light for people” said Ben, “That’s what craft beer and the craft beer community has been for us in our lives.” Ben, Mark, and their good friend Andrew Scrignoli (who will be the General Manager) will be the guiding light for Ursa Minor Brewery as construction has started to create the vision they had long dreamed of. The new brewery will be in Duluth’s Lincoln Park craft district, which seems fitting for the type of beer that will be served.

What’s on Tap?

This brewery is sure to be unlike others that are local to Duluth. With the ever-changing selection of craft beers combined with wood-fired pizza and a great place to sit outside and enjoy the sun, Ursa Minor Brewery is a place for everyone (even your dog!). “We want the brewery to be a very welcoming place” said Mark, who is the Director of Brewing Operations. There will be room for seating outside as well as a few tables inside for those who want to take in the smell of the wood-fire pizza. These are the magic ingredients that will make a taproom centric brewery.

With a five-barrel system the brewery will be able to turn over beer fast, which means that customers can look forward to a different selection of beer each time they visit. To start there will be twelve tap lines of hand crafted beer and in the future Mark would like to have about twenty tap lines. The variety of beer that will be produced includes IPA's, Porters, Stouts, Pales, and even Sour beers. What makes this brewery so special is that their mission is to create an unforgettable experience for customers that makes them feel almost like they’re at home. The thing that excites Andrew most about the brewery is "The community that will hopefully grow around it. We want to be a place that hosts community events.” Events such as a “group bike ride, a race, a Christmas party, or just a nice sunny day to meet with friends” is what excites all the three about opening Ursa Minor Brewery.

Grand Opening

With construction underway Ben, Mark, and Andrew are planning to unveil their dream to the Duluth public by mid-July.  You can run, ride your bike, walk, or drive down t2415 W Superior St Suite B in Lincoln Park! While there will be a large media presence surrounding the new brewery, Ursa Minor will be searching for an intern that would like to do digital and social media marketing for them. This position would include taking video of their brewing operations and spreading awareness about the company through the Duluth community. Although it isn't paid, there is a good chance the intern will receive beer (must be 21+) and maybe even some pizza!

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Duluth Pottery & Tile


Karin Kraemer, owner of Duluth Pottery & Tile, was a born artist.  “I was gluing stuff to my mom’s carpet since I was four years old”, says Karin. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Karin has a biology background but always wanted to do art.

In art school, in Colorado, she did an internship in a glass blowing studio.  She has a BFA and a MFA in Art, and worked in glass blowing studios in Minneapolis.  Karin started working with clay around 1990, while living in West Virginia with her husband.

Karin moved to Duluth in 1998, working and doing art at the Duluth Art Institute.  In 2001 she incorporated her own work as a business.  She said the Entrepreneur Fund was enormously helpful with helping her put together a business plan.

In 2008 Karin started doing wholesale to business and more commercial business work.  In 2009 she was talking with Tom Hanson about making mugs for Duluth Grill.  Karin made 100 mugs, which Duluth Grill immediately sold.  Tom ordered more mugs, and that helped her grow her business.

In 2015 Tom Hanson and Chris Benson (of Frost River) started talking to Karin about moving her business to Lincoln Park (she was in Superior at the time).  Karin looked at most of the buildings in Lincoln Park, and ended up buying the 1924 Superior Street location in February 2017.  After a lot of work she opened her doors on October 2017.  At this site Karin has her art, and other artists feature their art there too—it is primarily a ‘ceramic art gallery’.  “Duluth has a large number of professional clay artists, and we’d like to be that go-to place for finding their work.”

Karin creates many clay art pieces, and she also does custom tile work, both contemporary and reproduction work.  “If a person has a few tiles missing from an old tile piece, I can duplicate those missing tiles.”

Check out Duluth Pottery’s web site at, and they are on Facebook too.

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Your Guide to Clyde Iron Works

Clyde Iron Works Facebook


Looking for historic Duluth architecture, a night out singing along at a concert, delicious wood fire pizza, local brews, or a tasteful event venue? Clyde Iron Works offers all of these options and more!  Clyde Iron Works is a restaurant, bar, and event center conveniently located two blocks off I-35 adjacent to the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and across the parking lot from the Duluth Children's Museum.  Expanding on their location, General Manager Matt Lepak states, “The whole Clyde Park project was a catalyst to the entrepreneurial investment in Lincoln Park.  It is rewarding to see confidence in the neighborhood community growth and steadily become a thriving business and retail destination again.”

Clyde Iron Works dates back to 1889 and was a prominent manufacturer of hoists, cranes, and other heavy machinery.  During WWI and WWII they created massive machinery that aided in the war.  Over the years crew numbers dwindled, foreign competition emerged, and in 1986 the company left Duluth.  In 2010, under the ownership of Duluthian Alessandro Giuliani, they reopened as a restaurant, bar, and event center having Clyde history part of the guest experience.  Walking in the building, natural light spews though dozens of windows which highlights the brick walls and steel beams.  The transformation from an industrial factory to now an event venue is amazing.

Clyde, being very kid friendly, has open spaces for kids to play games like bean bags of chess.  Families can learn about the building’s history from vintage images and catalog ads on display throughout the restaurant.  There are two 1940’s hoists and a 15-ton crane visible when you walk through the front doors.  Two other buildings that were part of the Clyde Park footprint have been restored for useage today too! These include the Goldberg branch of the Duluth Boys and Girls Club along with the Duluth Children’s Museum.  Matt Lepak also says, “Clyde’s revitalization efforts have been internationally recognized and awarded for its environmental, economic, and social impact of the Lincoln Park community as a whole.”  You must check out these beautifully restored, historic buildings.

The importance of keeping brews local is seen at Clyde.  On tap guests can expect beers from Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.  Neighborhood breweries like Lake Superior Brewing Company, Bent Paddle Brewing, Hoops Brewing and Castle Danger Brewing are all showcased on tap.  Beer goes perfect with a burger, and their most popular is the mouthwatering bacon and smoked cheddar steak burger.  Other fan favorites include the 14-spice porketta sandwich and guests have mentioned their Rueben is the best in Minnesota. From their array of sandwiches to handmade pasta to wood fire pizza, everyone in your family will find something tasty to try.

In addition to food, Clyde hosts many concerts of all sorts.  Artists and bands like Brandi Carlisle, Trampled by Turtles, Bret Michaels, Hairball, 38 Special and many others have performed there.  Within the community, Clyde hosts artists for Homegrown Music Festival and other local bands.  Clyde Iron Works will undeniably change your music, dining, and event experiences!

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Who's On First?


“When I was growing up, kids were to be seen and not heard. That has slowly changed over the years, and now I love to hear what the youth has to say. That’s why I still own this team. Everyone has something to bring to the table.” – Mike Rosenzweig


Baseball enthusiast and owner of the Duluth Huskies, Mike Rosenzweig, has had the same mission since 2011 – give back to the youth. It’s this sense of community that makes the Huskies one of Duluth’s premiere athletics team. Headquartered at iconic Wade Stadium on the outer edge of Lincoln Park, the Huskies serve as an intermediary between West Duluth and East Duluth.


“Duluth started here. This is where the city began.”


Who would have thought that an old WPA project dating back to 1941 would eventually become a fulcrum for a thriving cultural Duluth ecosystem? The mission of the ball team extends out further than ticket sales, a packed stadium, and a few trophies. The mission begins and ends with contributing towards the community and adding a necessary zeal to its constituents.


“We try to up our game every year. We pay attention to our fans.” – Greg Culver, GM


So what’s new with the Huskies? Turns out a lot! Aside from the additions to the coaching staff and rosters, the organization expects to see growth in all aspects. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Wade Witas well, a collaboration with Lincoln Park’s very own Bent Paddle Brewery that’s sure to quench your thirst on any hot summer’s afternoon! Visit the Duluth Huskies website at for more information on ticket sales and other local happenings.



Get ready for the show!


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Duluth Indoor Sports Center: A New Home for Sports

UMD Tennis


Arrowhead Tennis Center has proudly been the home of indoor tennis courts in Duluth since 1972, but the time has come for a revamping.  In November of 2017 the building’s management and name changed, now sporting the name Duluth Indoor Sports Center or DISC. Prior the facility was centered around tennis, but now is the home of MN North Volleyball and has pickleball leagues, catering to more athlete’s needs.  The University of Minnesota Duluth, College of St. Scholastica, and UW-Superior tennis teams continue to practice here, but with rapid growth of MN North, the organization needed to say goodbye to their old home Marshall High School, and hello to the DISC.

Expected future events include volleyball camps, tournaments, training sessions, and adult leagues.  Other teams like UMD Lacrosse and Gitchi Gummi Soccer benefit from the practice space as well.  Updates such as MN North Volleyball sponsors proudly hanging their banners and a new building sign outside showcase new exciting changes.  With more events and tournaments scheduled, the building purchased bleachers for spectators and sport court flooring for volleyball games.

With numerous rooms geared towards fitness, Duluth Indoor Sports Center is more than just four courts.  Cross training, aerobic, Cybex, weight, and fitness rooms are under the courts available for members to use.  Fitness classes including yoga and PIYO will start this month. MN North Volleyball families and tennis enthusiasts are eligible for reduced-priced memberships, so families can work out while their children practice their sports.

Weekly tennis tips like this and more information about the new changes and happenings can be found on the new Duluth Indoor Sports Center Facebook Page.      

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Hometown Pride in Every Stitch

DLH Clothing

DLH Clothing

How It All Started

DLH Clothing was created in the fall of 2014 by Mike and Sarah Smíšek, after a simple conversation on their couch. They wanted to create a line of apparel that celebrated the pride they had for Duluth without being touristy or gimmicky. “Within an hour we had a name and a rough idea for a logo.” Similar to a good friend’s nickname, using the abbreviation DLH puts the focus of the brand on the spirit and feeling of the Twin Ports instead of the word ‘Duluth’.

Mike also started Šek Design, here in Duluth, where he further developed his graphic design skills. A rough draft for a logo was created within an hour after the idea for the company sprouted. "The logo is primarily inspired by the hillside and its buildings which gradually descend to meet the shores of Lake Superior. The overall shape of the logo hints at northern Minnesota’s ‘arrowhead’ region, which includes the beautiful north shore,” explained Mike. Extensive creative thinking and inspiration from local structures, landscapes and characteristics of Duluth is what makes DLH Clothing special.

Stories Between the Lines

Each item produced encompasses an aspect of Duluth, from the steam that rises from the streets, to a map of Duluth shaped into the great state of Minnesota. Each shirt has its own story that is told from the point of view of a Duluthian. The cleverness of their products is what makes them stand out. The brand projects "inside jokes" that only people who live in Duluth or those who know the culture will understand. Simply put, "It's more fun to us when there's more depth."

For the Smíšek's, this company is a way for others to show off a piece of the Northland and wear that hometown pride feeling. The passion, heart, and uniqueness that flows through their company is apparent in everything they do. The brand lives and breathes the life of a Duluthian and immerses itself in the culture. Sarah talks about the down-home aspect of the company, "If we say, 'go to a concert and wear your favorite t-shirt' we're going to be at that concert."  They don't suggest things to do or see just because they think you should, they suggest activities because they too are enjoying the same things. Those who are loyal to the brand appreciate the realness, authenticity, and participation in the community that is intertwined into the company.

Brainstorming new ideas, pushing the limits, and challenging the creative mind is what motivates the Smíšek's to deliver a one of a kind brand experience. New designs take time and putting together the perfect combination to represent Duluth with a deeper meaning behind the print means that product ideas are always next in line for production.

Where Can You Find DLH Clothing? 

You can shop online or in store at their location above the Electric Fetus in Downtown Duluth. You can also stop by any of these ten retailers and pick up your very own local sweatshirt, t-shirt, camp mug, or whatever else may catch your eye:

Represent Duluth everywhere you go with DLH Clothing!


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The Duluth Folk School: Fostering Creativity

Duluth Folk School


Meet Bryan French!


Bryan is the director and co-founder of the spectacular Duluth Folk School, Duluth’s very own community hub were creativity intertwines with practicality and a grassroots environment. Located at 1917 W Superior St. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the DFS seeks to equip people with real life skills while harboring the values necessary for community growth.


The Duluth Folk School's Mission

The Duluth Folk School brings people together to work with their hands, and to learn skills, arts, and crafts that help build a healthy, sustainable community through experiences that are stirring, long-lasting and fun!


“So… what exactly is a folk school?”

Great question! Traditionally speaking, a folk school is an area of learning where an emphasis is placed on handmade goods, homegrown passion, and a nurturing spirit of societal unity. Stemming from a Nordic worldview on craftsmanship, folk schools have spread across much of the U.S. in quite some fashion. What the Duluth Folk School does differently is add a strong level of fun and excitement that’s sure to leave a lasting impression!


Classes Offered

“Okay I’m listening, what’s offered at the DFS?”

From knitting to woodworking, learning the basics of kayaking, and even trying your hand at making your own Kimchi, the possibilities are endless! Classes are taught by a multitude of talented and accomplished instructors who are there to guide you along as you explore your options. Price ranges vary upon the activity, but each event is guaranteed to exceed your return on the investment.


But wait, there’s more! In addition to the classes being offered, the Duluth Folk School is working to add a café where coffee is freshly brewed and conversations cultivated. Live music is in store too, as well as a community kitchen and a marketplace that’s sure to encourage you to buy local.


Find Out More

“All of this sounds amazing! Where do I sign up?”


We knew we’d get you on board! You can check out more information about the Duluth Folk School by clicking on the link here:


Want to find out more about what classes are coming up? We’ve got you covered!


Work with your hands, build community, and have fun!


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Bent Paddle Brewing Company: Bending the Traditions


Bent Paddle Brewing Company strives to give customers a more unique craft beer experience by concentrating on sustainability for the business, employees, the environment, and the greater community.

If you haven’t had a chance to stop by Bent Paddle Brewery, I highly recommend you do so.

Four Individuals, Two Couples, One Dream

Bent Paddle Brewing Company, founded by Colin Mullen, Laura Mullen, Karen Tonnis, and Bryon Tonnis, conceptualized in 2010 and opened in 2013, when the four decided to pursue their dream of starting their own craft brewery. Bryon and Colin together have over 30 years of professional brewing experience. Karen has over 12 years of distribution and operations experience and Laura has experience with outreach and events after running an event design company since 2005. Together, the four knew they had a future in the brewery business. The combination of a passion for craft beer and hands on experience working in the craft beer industry are two big contributing factors to the company’s success. With the rise in demand for craft beer, they knew they had an opportunity waiting for them.

BPBC Background

The two couples share a passion for the outdoors and canoeing – the Boundary Waters and the Brule River are a couple of their favorite spots. Prior to Bent Paddle, Bryon brewed at Rock Bottom Brewery in Minneapolis where he used a bent shaft canoe paddle to "mash in." While working his last day at Rock Bottom, Byron’s paddle broke in half, ultimately sparking the origin of the brand name, Bent Paddle Brewing Company. The duo felt the “bent paddle” symbolized the brewery’s location in Duluth, along with the northwoods adventurous vibe.

With a unique and meaningful name, the four made it their goal to produce beers that are drinkable, yet balanced with an edge of originality- ultimately “bending the traditions” of the classic style they represent. With the great brewing water of Lake Superior, they knew the city of Duluth would be the best location to host their brewery. A few of their recommended beers are the Kanu, Venture Pils, and the Cold Press Black Ale. In addition, along with their wonderful neighbors, such as Frost River and Duluth Grill, Bent Paddle has continued to bring in more foot traffic and activity into the Lincoln Park Craft District with brewery tours and their taproom.

New and Improved Taproom Now Open

It has been an exciting year of renovations and the two couples are thrilled to announce the opening of the new and improved taproom. Bent Paddle has partnered with other organizations within the Duluth community to put together an incredibly unique taproom. A few of these organizations include: Bentleyville USADuluth Barrel Works, and Loll Designs. They created a fun and relaxing environment for families and children (and dogs) to enjoy both inside and outside. Founder, Laura Mullen mentions, “even the bathrooms are pretty awesome." All four founders could not be more excited for what the future has in store for them and their new taproom.

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Kneading the Best


Duluth’s Best Bread, a quaint bakery located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, truly lives up to its name. Robert and Michael Lillegard opened the bakery in October of 2015 and have kept their ovens warm ever since.  The brothers chose the bakery's location based off the fact the space used to be a Pizza Parlor, and amenities such as the deck oven and kitchen space were already set up. They now love being part of the craft district in Lincoln Park and being right down the street from Duluth Grill on 27th and 3rd Street.  

Michael, at a crossroads for his career path, decided he wanted to pursue something hard and interesting like opening a bakery.  Michael obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, which was “hard and boring.” With business guidance from his brother Robert, the duo has found great success taking a childhood fantasy and making it their reality.  

After baking all night from 11 p.m. -4 p.m the following day, the excitement of seeing fresh baked bread in the morning is worth it. Michael takes pride in the baker’s skills they have acquired for crafting loaves with such a high moisture content.  European sourdough loaves of bread, German pretzels, croissants, and multitudes of gourmet homemade poptarts are what you should expect when walking into the bakery.

The two brothers stress the importance of natural ingredients with each loaf only containing flour, salt, water, and wild yeast.  The bakery itself is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 6 a.m. - 1 p.m, but the local Whole Foods Co-ops carry their bread while local eateries and breweries like Hoops Brewing, Blacklist Brewing, and Endion Station sport their Big Fat German Pretzels.  Next time you feel the urge for a ginormous pretzel or some fresh baked bread buy local at Duluth’s Best Bread!

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How To Follow Your Passion: Read, Research, and Move to Duluth

“Duluth, MN -- America's Best Outdoor City in 2014” was the headline I read in an issue of Outside magazine. Usually, people read these articles and just think, "Oh, that’s nice. There is a city in Minnesota that is number 1. I should think about making a trip up there to visit." You never really think about moving to a new city because of an article you read in a magazine.  Yet the notion of “America’s Best Outdoor City” left an impression on me, as I love spending time outdoors. It is my passion. It is what I love to do.

My name is Kevin Wood, and until September 2015 my wife, Katie, and I were living in Winona, MN. We were both teaching there. I taught career exploration along with health classes at a public high school and Katie taught 1st Grade.  

You Want to Do What?!?! 

Life threw a curve ball at us when I decided I wanted to leave the security of a full-time job as an educator in a school that I enjoyed in order to pursue a career in financial advising. Crazy!!!! I know. 

I missed the business world. I used to own an exterior painting business in college and I missed the excitement of growing a business and meeting new people. It is a thrilling experience to be a part of a service that can benefit a community. 

Choosing a Community 

All of a sudden we were faced with an imminent decision, where do we want to make our home?  

We thought critically about this question. What city would be most attractive to live in, to start a family, to find a church and eventually establish us as part of the community? The story from Outside magazine reappeared in my mind. Although I wasn’t completely convinced this was our journey's end just yet. I felt as though I had to do some research to solidify my thoughts.  

I did what any good millennial would do and ran a full-fledged Google search on Duluth, MN. I read about the remarkable goal to build 100 miles of continuous trail within city limits known as the Duluth Traverse.  I researched the Duluth school district and learned it ranked higher than most other Minnesota schools.  Last but not least, I learned that Duluth has more green space within city limits than any other city. All three were huge draws to come and live in the Zenith City, and thus finally after much deliberation, we made the decision --- Duluth is the place to be! 

Did We Make the Right Decision? 

Ever since moving in September 2015 we have only questioned our decision one time, and that was when a city squirrel ate the potted avocado tree off the front porch of our central hillside apartment. Inconsiderate city squirrels aside, Duluth has been an amazing city to live in these past few years. We have met incredible people and have participated in various community events such as the Northland Trail Series, Duluth Farmers Market, and the Holiday Parade. 

We couldn’t be happier about making the move to Duluth. It is a new life adventure that only seems to get better and better as times goes on.

---Kevin Wood
Edward Jones Financial Advisor

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High School Theater Rocks!

Brandon Wagner

I love theater! Whether it is a local middle school production of Seussical or Hamilton on Broadway (yep, I saw it with the original cast), the magic of theater always captures my heart, soul, and imagination.

As a high school and community theater director in Duluth for over thirty years, I have seen all of the wondrous things that happen when you gather a group of talented performers and designers together and starting from a bare stage move to a glittering opening night.

Duluth’s two high schools, Denfeld and East, both have active theater programs, as does the Duluth Playhouse with their teen program. For this piece, I had a chance to chat with Peter Froehlingsdorf who has directed at East for the past four years and produced twelve shows.

He says, “I am honored to be a high school theater director at East. The success of the productions speaks highly to the quality of educational programs the students are receiving from our public school educators. Families considering a move to Duluth have a great number of opportunities within our system to choose from. The theater program being just one of many programs for their kids to find success!”

Part of their theater season at East is to do a full-scale musical. Their show this past fall was Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”

“This was truly a community event. We had huge crowds turn out, filling over 700 seats at East High School four nights in a row. Not only was I busting with pride, but so were the students, parents, and faculty at East!” Froehlingsdorf says.

Besides entertaining audiences, high school theater helps kids to find their niche, a smaller place in the midst of a big high school that can help them make friends and develop their talents at the same time.

“This past fall, I had two sisters new to East participate in “Beauty and the Beast.” After the show was over, their parents expressed that it was because of the experience their girls had in our theater program, that the tone for their year was set. They felt they immediately had a place they fit in, found friends who they shared a common interest with, and a sense of community to turn to,” Froehlingsdorf says.

He adds, “I have to say, that the goal I had in mind was to make the program something the school could really be proud of, something that was not just for the theater kids, but for everyone, the students, the school district, and the community.  It has become just that.”

There is also a carryover into the community theater programs. Froehlingsdorf notes, “Speaking locally, I have many students who participate in both the high school theater and the local Playhouse shows and classes. It’s rewarding to see students enjoy the theater outside of their high school program. Duluth certainly has plenty of theatrical outlets for these students to try if they want to!”

Whether you are the proud parent of a “theater kid” in a show or an appreciative audience member being wowed at the level of talent onstage, high school theater is a vibrant part of the rich cultural tapestry that Duluth has to offer.

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Another Opening, Another Show!

Achter Productions

For over 100 years, starting with its humble beginnings in a small church in 1914, the Duluth Playhouse in all its various reincarnations and venue changes has been entertaining local audiences. The hundreds of shows since its modest start have been at the heart of the city’s cultural identity.

The Playhouse takes one of its most gigantic leaps forward with the February 1 opening of the smash Broadway musical hit “Mamma Mia” in their new home in the renovated NorShor theater.

The Meaning of Community Theater

On the occasion of the Playhouse 100th anniversary, I wrote their commemorative booklet as part of the anniversary events. The voices of those who love the Playhouse still resonate with me, as each person I chatted with and included in the booklet had their own take on the meaning of community theater in Duluth.

Playhouse veteran actors Bob and Selma Goldish, who sadly both passed away this past year, shared, “Meeting everyone in each production, terrific people of all stripes and levels and ages whom we would probably never have met otherwise, tightening old friendships, sharing meaningful memories . . .Personally finding a welcome common interest and activity we could do together was wonderful.”

“Some of the happiest moments of my life have been in this place,” said actress and director Julie Ahasay

Former Mayor Don Ness said, “For a century, the Playhouse has grown and evolved with the city, and it will forever be a center for community engagement and exploration.”

Introducing the 'New' NorShor Theater

Now, that growth and evolution will blend the historical roots of downtown Duluth’s past on the site with all the up to date theatrical bells and whistles, to become the city’s theatrical hub in the totally renovated NorShor theater.

The different uses of the building have seen some highlights, lowlights, and then it became an empty blight on Superior Street. After the 30 million dollar, sixteen month project, the NorShor will be a glorious venue for a generation of new audiences.

The building will be home to the Duluth Playhouse productions, as well national theatrical touring shows and musical acts, local music, opera, and theater groups and will even serve as a rental space for private parties and events.

“Our new NorShor home will once again be a source of pride for our community," says Christine Seitz,” Playhouse Executive and Artistic Director.

Becoming a Heart for the Arts Community

The first Playhouse production in the new space, “Mamma Mia,” will star Broadway actress Jen Burleigh-Bentz, playing the leading role of Donna Sheridan. She was in the Broadway production for four years.

“Not only am I just tickled pink to play Donna again, but I am really thrilled to be part of the opening show for the newly renovated and recovered NorShor for the Duluth Playhouse - it's IMPRESSIVE - So much history, what a treat!” says Burleigh-Bentz.

In his first role in the Playhouse with “Mamma Mia,” actor Derek Bromme says, “I can't adequately describe to you what it feels like to be part of something this momentous for the Duluth community. We as the cast really feel a responsibility to give the audiences something special. We want this new theater to be a beacon of excellence and a heart for the arts community . . .”

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Passing on Duluth's Values to the Next Generation


Duluth Heritage Center Banner Unveiling 2017 from Swiftkurrent on Vimeo.

Commitment. Courage. Honor. Hard Work. Integrity. Sportsmanship. Team Work. Dedication.

These eight values, combined with compelling images of athletes in motion, are proudly displayed on eight brand-new banners at the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Sports Center (EHDHSC). The banners, commissioned from talented local artist Tim Cortes, represent the standards of conduct that went into building the facility ten years ago, as well as the much hoped-for end goal intended for the kids who play here.

“These eight beliefs aren’t just words on a page,” says Patrick Francisco, Chairman of the DHSC Foundation. “They are truly the values that drive the people living in this community.”

It Began with a Vision

While the EHDHSC is the proud home for three Duluth high school hockey teams, it is so much more. Here, you can play soccer, lacrosse, take a yoga class, or even rent the facility for a birthday party. “This is a community place,” Francisco shares.

It all started when Duluth’s Peterson Arena burned down in 2004. While this left a huge hole in the community, and one less place to get out on the ice, Francisco and others knew that if it was to be rebuilt, the community deserved something more than simply a replacement.

The result of a $20 million-dollar investment, completed with a shocking 70% of its construction costs handled by private funding, the facility opened its doors in 2007. Today, this multi-use community facility is home to the Dave Goldberg branch of the Boys & Girls Club, Duluth Area Hockey Association (DAHA), two 200 X 85’ hockey rinks (Sill & Seitz Arenas), Giuliani Hall, the City of Duluth’s Recreation Program, and more.

A Healthy Partnership

In June 2016, Essentia Health, a health system serving patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho, and headquartered in Duluth, became a major community partner with the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and the health system’s name was added to the facility name.

This partnership opened the door to many more programming options at the EHDHSC, including multi-generational, community wellness education programs to foster youth development, family education, senior health, healthy living, and social responsibility.

For instance, free community yoga classes are now held at the EHDHSC. It also hosts health and wellness activities like concussion prevention, smoking cessation, and flu shot booths.

“The facility has breathed new life into the neighborhood and surrounding community,” says Essentia Health CEO David Herman, MD. “At Essentia Health, our mission is to make a healthy difference in the lives of the people we serve and that commitment is shared by those who lead the EHDHSC. Because of that, the partnership is a perfect fit for Essentia.”

Focus on the Athletes

The health and safety of the athletes who play at EHDHSC are the top priority of everyone involved. “We’re privileged to work with 250 Northland teams and 25,000 student-athletes as the Official Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team for four local universities and 15 area high schools,” says Kristi Schmidt, Essentia Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.

“We provide care before, during and after both practices and games. Working together, we prevent, diagnose and treat everything from minor sprains to injuries that could end a student-athlete’s season. We’re committed to keeping student athletes like the Duluth East Greyhounds, the Proctor Rails, the Denfeld Hunters, the Hermantown Hawks and the Superior Spartans, just to name a few, healthy and in the game.”

Hockey and So Much More

Beyond hockey and the community education programming offered through Essentia, there is something for everyone at the EHDHSC. Summer sports programs, soccer, lacrosse, and open skating are all part of the fun. Dog shows, flea markets, auto shows, and activities for ISD 709 have all taken place inside the facility. And, of course, the Clyde Iron Works restaurant is directly next door; a convenient option for hungry hockey players and their parents.

But, above all, the EHDHSC is a place where a child, no matter their socioeconomic status or background, is welcomed and accepted. Here, while they play, they learn the bedrock of Duluth’s values, including commitment, courage, honor, hard work, integrity, sportsmanship, team work, and dedication. “The EHDHSC is simply Duluth’s heart on display,” Francisco says.

DHSC - Short from Miles Hanon on Vimeo.

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Whatever Your Career Aspirations, This Organization Can Help


Ah, work. Whether you love it or loathe it, earning money is just one of those things you gotta do. While many of us dread the daily grind, work becomes much more bearable when you’re doing something you’re good at, or, dare I say, actually enjoy.

Today, we’ll introduce you to NORTHFORCE – a regional workforce development organization helping people become happily employed in the Northland. Whether you’re relocating to Duluth, or are a long-time resident looking for a new gig, NORTHFORCE can help match you with your perfect career.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Developed and managed by APEX and Northspan economic development groups, NORTHFORCE is a regional workforce development initiative that officially launched in February 2014. Ian Vincent - Marketing Coordinator for NORTHFORCE, shares, “With our aging population and growing economy, it was apparent that our communities needed help filling the 25,000 new jobs that will exist here over the next decade.”

NORTHFORCE tracks and posts career and internship opportunities in the region, including the North Shore of Minnesota, the Iron Range, the Twin Ports, and Northwestern Wisconsin. Along with hosting these career opportunities, they also match candidates in their database with these jobs.

Since its inception, NORTHFORCE has attracted 4,200 users, and celebrated 120 successful job placements. Individuals interested in being matched or kept up-to-date with opportunities in their desired field can create free profiles and upload resumes at

Help for Duluth Transplants

NORTHFORCE offers a wide range of services for anyone looking to live and work in Duluth and the surrounding region. Communication Specialist Josie Strom shares, “Some people hop on our website to create a profile, upload their resume, and find the perfect job for them based on factors such as their areas of interest or how far they want to commute each day.”

“Others,” she continues, “Would like a second set of eyes to glance over their resume, or are new to the area and need an introduction to a specific Duluth company. No matter what a job seeker’s needs are, we can help them - or at least point them in the right direction.”

Partnerships with Local Colleges

NORTH FORCE is also dedicated to recent graduates and young professional placement and retention. While maintaining close relationships with regional college and university career service counselors, the team has played a key role in the Lake Superior College Strategic Planning sessions, regularly presented to college classes, and continued to advocate for internship opportunities for regional students and grads.

NORTHFORCE’s latest endeavor, Mentor Connection, has been among its most successful. A partnership with the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica, the program is flourishing. With over 55 industry-specific pairs of college students matched with local professionals, these mentees and mentors participate in events dedicated to building the mentees’ professional networking skills and personal connections to the community. Mentors also gain coaching and leadership skills along the way.

Tips for Landing Your Perfect Job

“When we hear about success stories,” Strom says, “A common thread seems to be that the person landed the job because they really researched the place where they wanted to work before they applied. Make it clear during the interview why you ARE (not would be, not might be) a great fit for that specific organization. If you’re enthusiastic and can really visualize yourself in a specific role, your interviewer will have a hard time giving the job to anyone else.”

“And, when it comes to landing that interview in the first place, be sure your resume is tailored and flawless (especially spelling and grammar) before you apply. A simple oversight can cost you the job, even if you’re completely qualified.”

Whether your perfect job is a 9-5 with full bennies, or a freelance gig with funky perks, consider checking out NORTHFORCE - Duluth’s matchmaker for jobs!

To learn more, create a free profile, or upload your resume, please visit

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Spirit Mountain: Duluth's Year-Round Recreation Destination


The name Spirit Mountain has become synonymous with great skiing.

Since 1974, Spirit has helped Duluth grow its reputation as a hub for skiing – including downhill, cross-country and snowboarding. As a result, Spirit Mountain recently proclaimed Duluth "Minnesota’s Best Ski Town!" We at Destination Duluth couldn’t agree more!

But, while there’s no doubt the skiing is amazing, Spirit Mountain offers so much more. With activities ranging from mini-golf and fat-tire biking to an alpine coaster and zip line, Spirit Mountain is Duluth’s year-round recreation destination.

A Positive Impact on DLH’s Economy

Perched atop a glorious hill overlooking the city of Duluth, the St. Louis River, and Lake Superior, Spirit Mountain was founded in 1974 by the Minnesota Legislature. With a mission of providing recreational activities to promote tourism and preserve the environment, Spirit Mountain is now a top destination for both winter and summer recreation.

44 years later, the “ski economy” now makes up a good chunk of Duluth’s economy. Duluth has several unique stores that specialize in selling and repairing ski and snowboard gear. Even our thrift shops are full of ski equipment.

So, even if your budget is a little tight, you can still hit the slopes!

Endless Winter Fun

Brandy Ream, Spirit Mountain's Executive Director shares, “If you are lucky enough to call yourself a local or are aspiring to be a ‘weekend local,’ you have come to the right place. Spirit Mountain offers the 2nd highest vertical in the state. With over 700 acres of skiable terrain, Spirit Mountain has been voted the Midwest’s Best Terrain Park two years running. We also feature 22 km of Nordic trails, and are a trail head for the Superior Hiking Trail.”

Whether Mother Nature is being stingy with the snow, or a tiny young skier is just getting started, Spirit Mountain can meet any challenge. “We feature a variety of terrain, 100% snowmaking (referring to the skiable area able to have artificial snow applied), two chalets, and extensive learning programs,” Ream says. “We are the perfect place for every skier: beginner to expert.”

Beyond the skiing and snowboarding, winter is also a great option for tubing and fat-tire biking. “Winter also ushers in our snow tubing experience that we kick up a notch on the weekends with our glow tubing,” Ream says. And, Spirit Mountain even offers downhill, lift-served fat biking during the winter months.

Year-Round Activity

Duluth’s splendid summers signify the kickoff to Spirit Mountain’s Adventure Park. Featuring an alpine coaster, zip-line, mini-golf, jumping pillow and scenic chairlift rides, there are plenty of activities to get your adrenaline pumping.

And, there are tons of mountain biking opportunities. “Our downhill mountain bike trails are nationally recognized, and offer trails rated from beginner to expert, plus a skills park and pump track,” Ream says.

And It's an Easy Drive Home

Ream shares, “From enjoying the ski hill after work to shredding the mountain bike trails on the weekends, Spirit Mountain allows one to stay active, focus on time with friends and family, and yet still be able to drive home every night. We truly are your destination for incredible experiences.”

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