In 1986 Dan Cruikshank and Jeff Knight started Granite Gear after the two were on a paddling trip in the boundary waters. The business has grown into an internationally respected brand of outdoor gear.
Dan decided to start on a new venture. “Being an entrepreneur, Granite Gear was going great, but it was just getting so big that it was really time to pass that on to somebody that had more experience running a bigger company,” Dan told the Duluth News Tribune.
With entrepreneurship in his blood, Dan and his wife Kristen have launched Spokengear, a new cyclery and outdoor shop in Two Harbors. The new twist for Dan was joining his wife Kirsten to combine a coffee café with the cyclery and outdoor shop. Cedar Coffee Company and Spokengear recently opened their stores, tucked away on 6.4 acre wooded property they purchased from the city of Two Harbors. They are located about a mile off Highway 61 in Two Harbors on County Road 26 (Turn at the SuperOne and it’s just down the road on the right).
They have a commitment to other local businesses, with Duluth Coffee supplying their coffee beans, beer brewed by Castle Danger, local farmer’s markets for baked goods, jams and more. A variety of freshly made breakfast and lunch items are served along with the full-service barista 7 days a week.
Cedar Coffee and Spokengear crew (Left to right) Mark Alsum (and Wyatt) Bike Mechanic, Erin Currier, Kitchen Manager, Brian Moriarty, Coffee Manager, Kirsten Cruikshank, Proprietor Dan Cruikshank, Proprietor, Owen Cruikshank, IT Manager
According to a new study conducted by ValuePenguin.com, which looked at 15 different data points grouped into three categories in order to determine the best U.S. cities for music fans, Duluth ranked 25th out of 200 cities studied.
Duluth ranked ahead of the major cities of NYC, Chicago, LA and even New Orleans. The 3 categories in which the 15 data points are divided were "The Band," "Crowd" and "The Intangibles," with Duluth placing 2nd in “The Crowd” category.
Mark LaTour contacted the UMD Center for Economic Development (UMD CED) to receive Small Business Development Center (SBDC) consulting assistance a number of years ago. At that time he and a partner wanted to discuss starting a HVAC/sheet metal fabrication business. They were young ambitious men ready to start their entrepreneurial journey.
After a period of time Mark’s partner decided not to pursue this venture and he was left without a business partner. Mark however had a life partnership. His wife Becky, had a full time job as an accounting controller and owned a tax preparation business. They decided Becky would leave her job so that husband and wife could start what is now Sheet Metal Solutions, an HVAC contractor and metal fabricating shop.
UMD CED helped the LaTour’s on their entrepreneurial journey by assisting with developing financial projections, a business plan and advising on the different types and entities in the lending process. Business consultant, Curt Walczak, encouraged them to keep going and became a sounding board for Mark and Becky as they experienced these trials. From finding a building, financing problems, and navigating the world of business regulations Mark and Becky have overcome the ups and downs of starting a business.
"The SMS team's passion truly shows in their work at Tavern on the Hill. Their ability to get things done quickly and professionally is second to none." –Cullen Flaherty, Vice President of Operations, Black Woods Group, Restaurants & Catering
Mark and Becky are honest, hard-working, and tenacious in making their dream come true. They reflect the culture and work ethic that is inherent in the Duluth community. They have worked hard to start and grow their business and still make time for each other and their two young boys. They can be admired for their values and work ethic.
Becky LaTour expressed her gratitude, "We are so very proud of this! Our business consultant Curt Walczak and the UMD Center for Economic Development have been nothing short of a blessing to us. It's been an interesting (almost) 3 years as we've learned how to navigate the world of business ownership and purchasing a building. Every day we continue to learn and grow as a team. Thank you to all of our friends, family and customers whom have been there to support us. Words cannot express our gratitude."
The UMD Center for Economic Development works with approximately 800 clients a year throughout Northeast Minnesota at no cost to the entrepreneur. The financial analysis provided to many businesses in the region results in more than $15M of capital infusion each year. CED services also include start up assistance, business plan development, cash flow management, website development guidance, business valuation, succession planning, export assistance and more. CED is helping entrepreneurs and businesses grow and succeed in Northeast Minnesota with office locations in Duluth, Ely, Grand Marais, International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Virginia. Duluth is a strong entrepreneurial community and this is just one success story of many.
We love sharing stories about the great things going on in our community and surrounding areas. Why? Because it is Destination Duluth's mission to share those stories with others..
The excitement in Duluth continues to build. A few weeks ago we wrote about entrepreneurship being alive and well. In fact, not only is it alive we are happy to report it is flourishing. Another story that really warms our hearts and proves we are moving in the right direction with entrepreneurial spirit comes again from the University of Minnesota - Duluth. UMD has the Entrepreneurship Program and the UMD Entrepreneurship Club.
This club has decided to run a contest similar to Shark Tank and encourage even more entrepreneurship. The two students Abraham Tuomi & Tori Seymour backed by the UMD Entrepreneurship Club have put this all together. They have the goal of fostering entrepreneurship throughout the UMD student body, but also throughout the community of Duluth. Students who are in an entrepreneurship program are teaching others how to be entrepreneurs through a fun event. The community in turn is supporting UMD students. This is the new Duluth..
The UMD Entrepreneurship Club invites you to the
UMD Shark Tank Event
Tuesday April 26th from 4:00 - 6:30 in the Marshall Performing Arts center at UMD.
There are student monetary prizes for the winners and audience prizes as well, along with free light snacks and refreshments for all who attend.
Here are some of the ideas that will be presented at this inaugural event.
Miller Creek Market
Brasov Bakery & Cafe
There is a lot of excitement around Duluth these days. It has been fun to be a part of the excitement at Destination Duluth. Our digital promotion has taken off, and many people comment daily that they can’t wait to visit or move to Duluth. We see businesses opening, jobs being created, ideas being shared, and people being intentional about moving to our community. While some say it is not happening fast enough, we recognize that each of these situations represents a brick in a strong wall.
One thing that stands out to us is the amount of entrepreneurs that are starting businesses in our community. Many of these businesses we have not even heard about. Some are providing services online and to people outside our community. It is fun to think that they have been busy creating a diverse and strong economy in Duluth.
The University of Minnesota-Duluth has also taken the opportunity to create an entrepreneur program. One of the classes requires the students to start a business.
Recently, a group of UMD students in the Entrepreneur Program class, tweeted that as part of their class project, they are selling T-shirts and donating the proceeds to Destination Duluth. They love what we are doing and needed to pick a nonprofit for their assignment. The business is called Explore Duluth. They used social media to promote it and have had some really nice success. In the not too distant future, these entrepreneurs will have ideas to solve big problems we face in our world. We can’t help but smile. Young entrepreneurs learning right here in Duluth. Students supporting local organizations and local organizations supporting students. Entrepreneurship and community collaboration. Wow! For Destination Duluth, it doesn’t get much more exciting than this.
Please click below to purchase a T-Shirt from these students and their Explore Duluth project.
Christopher Swanson is Co-Founder of Destination Duluth and CEO of PureDriven. PureDriven is a digital marketing firm located in the beautiful community of Two Harbors, MN where Christopher resides with his wife Rebecca and five children.
The Twin Ports is probably best known for a couple things: undisputed beauty and its postindustrial economic apocalypse. In the 1980s, it once sported the billboard, “Will the last one leaving Duluth please turn out the light?”
But the light remained on and recently you’ve likely heard it buzzing, sparking even.
I’ve long held that the distance between the Twin Ports and the Twin Cities isn't just measured in mileage. There's something nearly quantifiable in the attitude spread. Perhaps in a place with fewer cubicles to fill, the entrepreneurs and creatives have more space to stretch out; do their thing.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. Writer James Fallows in a recent Atlantic magazine feature highlighted Duluth in his article about rebounding America. He cited industry leaders such as Cirrus Design, Loll, Epicurean and our high quality of life — as noted by our hard fought Outside Magazine award win. (It was worth the callus on our clicking finger, as we’ve been on more “Top Places to Visit” lists than ever.)
In Locally Laid, a memoir about starting our so-named egg farm, I write about Duluth like its a character, like a friend of mine. And one that’s been vital to our success. It felt like the community saw in us the same “unlikely to succeed” under doggedness as Duluth itself. We became the little chicken that could -- the flightless bird that soared.
All these business and artists might have been able to succeed elsewhere, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to move to find out.
Lucie Amundsen is the author of Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm — from Scratch. She’ll be bringing her dog & poultry show to the downtown Minneapolis Library, April 14th at 7pm, as part of a panel in the Talk of the Stack series. April 14th, Lucie will at the main Duluth Public Library on April 14th at 6pm. (Disclaimer: there will be no actual dogs or poultry shown.)
When people talk about Duluth as America’s Outdoor Adventure City, a distinction given to Duluth from Outside Magazine’s Best Town contest, they naturally think of the many ways our incredible natural resources intersect with the lives and values of the people who live here.
Positive Energy Outdoors is a not-for-profit organization with a clear mission: encouraging people and animal powered exploration of the outdoors with an emphasis on teamwork, healthy risk-taking, and positive communication. Positive Energy Outdoors is a vital regional ambassador and one of the important and exciting reasons why families should consider Duluth a destination not just for vacations, but a destination for life.
PEO’s programming offers the excitement people expect from outdoor recreation adventures—dog sledding, kayaking, rock climbing, skijoring, camping, and more—but there’s a value component as well. Positive Energy Outdoors actively helps people thrive through outdoor education—a blend of physical skill building, positive social interactions and time in nature. The organization’s founders, Stephanie Love and Blake Cazier, have established themselves as experts in the field of outdoor education — and are some of the most experienced instructors and consultants about maximizing the outdoor experience as an educational opportunity in our region. Young children and teens are given the tools outdoors to become natural and capable future leaders. Younger children learn from their teen peers and teens learn how to responsibly mentor and act as leaders for those younger than they are. Adults take time to recharge and reconnect while letting go of screens and stress.
Positive Energy Outdoors helps participants of all ages learn to value the outdoors and share how to become more responsible stewards of the natural world we find all around us in Duluth and the region. The instructors of Positive Energy Outdoors and the thousands of people it serves every year do that while having a lot of fun with youth and teen camps, mushing with an incredible kennel of sled dogs the community loves, working with area schools and youth serving organizations, and visiting preschools to encourage a lifetime of outdoor exploration and adventure.
Both Stephanie and Blake are proud to have chosen Duluth as their destination for life. They’re even more proud to live at that perfect intersection where their love and passion for outdoor adventure meets their values as professional outdoor educators.
Positive Energy Outdoors welcomes you to get positive and feel the energy. Catch us online at outdooredventures.org.
Kayak and Bike Festivals Are Worth Checking Out This August
The next two weekends will provide some outstanding opportunities to authentically experience and celebrate the Northland’s greatest assets.
The 18th annual Two Harbors Kayak Festival, taking place on August 8th and 9th along Burlington Bay, is a proven winner for the entire family. Ski Hut, the organizer, has arranged an array of activities are geared toward serious kayak racers, enthused amateurs, and those who hitherto have only stood ankle-deep in the Gitche Gumee but have longed to venture further.
“We're not there to intimidate you,” Ski Hut rep Ted Klehr says. “It's just fun for families.”
Competitive races are offered at distances of 5, 10, and 18 miles. Beginning level instructional clinics and tours are available for people of all ages as well. Additionally, a fleet of kayaks and stand up paddleboards will be available for adults and children to demo each day. Live music, food, craft beer, and local exhibitors round out the activities on shore. Visit http://kayakfestival.upnorthmn.net for a full listing of events.
The Kraus-Anderson Bike Duluth Festival, overlooking the awesomeness of the St. Louis River estuary, is also an action-packed event that is suitable for the entire family and for all ability levels. Plan on spending much of Saturday, August 15th at Spirit Mountain (events conclude with a race at Lester Park on Sunday) to experience an event celebrating Duluth’s world-class bike trails. Imbued with earthiness, this festival is fun, quirky, and original.
Ted Klehr says it’s a good time for families.
“The kids’ races were great last year,” Klehr says. “It’s just fun to have the bike people together. The fire department even came out and played games.”
Watch daredevils attack a treacherous downhill course that provides plenty of spectating opportunities. A plethora of races and touring opportunities also exist for kids and adults who want to join the action. There are options for all skill levels.
High-end mountain bikes are available for you to demo and drool over, including $5000 mid-life crisis easing, full-suspension fat bike rides that will have you grinning from ear to ear.
Numerous events, including admission to the festival itself, are absolutely free. Some of these are not only entertaining, but are absolutely hilarious, such as the klunker bike toss. The adult strider relay should also be worthy of a good laugh. Imagine numerous “grown-ups” competing on tiny kick bikes with the pedals removed. Add in the best craft beer that this town has to offer, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a good time.
Lacking the touristy kitsch that nobody wants or needs, even the Expo Village sounds worthy of a walkthrough. Interesting and eclectic booths actually promise to inspire more biking activity along with a unique experience. So if you don’t have your plans for the next couple of weekends, you definitely do now!
If ever you were looking to get in on the ground floor of an up and coming neighborhood, now would be the time. And West Duluth would be the region. But you better hurry! Businesses and homebuyers are going to be snatching up the commercial and residential real estate in the next couple of years, which means prices are eventually going to rise.
Before you raise a skeptical eyebrow at the once failing region, earlier in 2014 Mayor Don Ness announced a financial support plan for the revival of West Duluth. You can learn more about his vision here. This is a large region within Duluth Proper and consists of anything between Lake Avenue and down to the St. Louis River Corridor. With this new confidence in these addresses with a “W” in them, smart investors are going to take advantage of the following:
From waterfront property to homes with a view, you can find that and everything in between in West Duluth. Here are some neighborhoods to check out:
Goat Hill will give you a view and walking access to Enger Tower Park and golf course.
Piedmont has world-class mountain biking trails included in the Duluth Traverse.
Lincoln Park gives you convenience to downtown West Duluth restaurants, bars, and shops.
Morgan Park has adorable bungalows and easy access to waterfront along the St. Louis River, which is also a great place to spend your weekends boating!
Entrepreneurs looking to open up shop are able to find affordable storefront locations all along the western blocks of Superior Street. You’ll join other successful businesses, such as:
Frost River Trading – An outfitter crafting their canvas and leather camping, hunting, and leisure designs all in house.
Bent Paddle Brewing – A craft brewery with a taproom you’ll find packed nearly every night of the week.
Lake Superior Brewing – Duluth’s long-standing craft brewery celebrating their 20th year this year.
Heritage Sports Center – Actually located a block off Superior Street, the Heritage Sports Center gives kids in the region a place to practice and play hockey.
Clyde Iron Works – Right next door to the Heritage Sports Center, Clyde is a popular restaurant converted from a steel mill.
Outdoor recreation extends far into west Duluth. The predictable waters of the St. Louis Bay provide opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing. Trails connect to the network running through the rest of the city, and Spirit Mountain provides year-round fun.
Over the last ten years West Duluth has become a region to invest in. There’s a lot of pride about what’s going on here. So, if you turn your nose up at the possibility of putting roots down in the region, you might get some serious shade from those who call the area home. But that will only be right before we invite you out to change your mind with a beer.
Thanks to the generous contributions of over 125 photographers, we’ve gotten to see some of the most awe inspiring photos all in one spot on our Facebook page.
One of those photographers is Amy Peterson of SAK Photography. We contacted her in April of 2014 after we came across her “Safe Harbor” photo. Little did we know, this was also right around the same time Amy’s mom went into remission and Amy was diagnosed with a completely different type of cancer. “Safe Harbor” was her outlet.
Amy was down at the pier with some girlfriends wrapping her mind around the news of being diagnosed with breast cancer. While they were there, Burns Harbor came into port. It was an icy, cool, and dreary April day after one of our coldest winters on record. Everything about that photo was reminiscent of what was going on in her life right then. But it might not be what you think.
Standing at the pier when a 1000 Ft. Laker comes into port is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. It’s like watching a skyscraper float silently through the water on its side. As it approaches you’re sure that there’s no way the ship will fit the narrow entry of the canal. Watching it glide by, it seems the captain has effortlessly and perfectly alined the boat between the cement walls of the canal.
Standing so close you could almost touch the boat, it’s completely soundless as it glides by. Everyone watching with you is speechless. Until you see the crew. The real live men and women it takes to keep our shipping industry active. They wave at the crowd gathered and in unison, the land lovers wave back and cheer, happy for the safe return of the men and women on the ship. In the midst of our celebration the massive, bellowing, bone shaking ship horn blows three times; one long and two short. After a moment's rest, the Aerial Lift Bridge blasts its familiar voice in response, reassuring that, yes, the seamen and women have safely arrived in Duluth.
Gathered around her friends, and taking in this symbolic, iconic event that sets Duluth apart form any other city in the world, Amy realized that she was in a safe harbor of her own. It was in the warm embrace that moment gave her on that chilly April day that made Amy choose joy. It was love, joy, and happiness that were going to help her through her recovery and it shows through in her work.
I had no idea of the back-story when I bought this print at a Destination Duluth silent auction. But there was something about the photo that spoke to my husband and I. And so, now in our home, we can relive the moment of a ship coming into port every day. And that’s the part about living here we love most.
If you'd like a print of your own, simply send Amy a message via her Facebook page.
When we moved to Duluth I didn’t anticipate how quickly we would make new friends. Additionally, the friendships and people we have met are some of the most genuine people out there. These people also possess the entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with the desire to make Duluth into their own personal dream world. And here, in a town of 89,000, it’s easier than you think to personalize Duluth to your liking.
Mayor Ness has always been a proud supporter of local music and Ellipsis.
Brittany Sanford was one of the first people I met when we moved here. Actually, Aaron and I met Brittany at the “Meet Patty Duke” event during the Duluth Superior Film Festival. That’s also when I was introduced to Ellipsis, Brittany’s outlet via Facebook and Twitter to inform followers of local music and art events around Duluth.
I began to see Brittany at different events around town and noticed she knew the same people I did, as is the way it goes in a small town. We really got to know each other when we came together with other Duluth entrepreneurs to figure out how to boost our online community. That’s when Brittany had an idea for Destination Duluth.
She suggested I have other Duluthians take me out and show me what Duluth is to them. A brilliant idea! When Brittany was getting ready to move to Minneapolis a couple of years back, she had different friends show her what Duluth meant to them. Thankfully she came back after just a couple of months in the big city so she could share this idea with me.
Obviously the first installment has to be from Brittany’s Ellipsis Duluth Presents: My Duluth party she threw over the weekend. So, here’s what Duluth is to Brittany, creator and manager of Ellipsis:
Brittany’s Duluth is a love for all things local, especially music. But not just one genre of music!
My Duluth was hosted at the Red Herring, Duluth’s newest music venue. Brittany gathered three of some of her favorite bands as the lineup for the evening:
The evening was a compilation of local music, door prizes donated by businesses Brittany has promoted via Ellipsis throughout the year, and hosted at a locally owned bar.
Brittany & Mayor Ness announcing door prize winners.
Using Ellipsis, Brittany shares with us daily all of her favorite things around Duluth. Her My Duluth party was a successful compilation of some of her favorite Duluth things so she could share them with us face to face. Hundreds of Duluthians came together that night to support Brittany and local music.
The Red Herring was packed from 10pm – 2am because Brittany saw a need for someone in town to promote local music and art in Duluth. She took the reins and created Ellipsis. Over the last year, she has grown her Twitter following to over 750. That’s the kind of thing that’s possible in Duluth. There are opportunities if you create them and there are people to support your dream.
Ellipsis has become a real live fixture for our local music community. Stay tuned; big things are coming for Brittany.
Congratulations Brittany on your success with Ellipsis!
Hartley Pond Taken with an iPhone 5S by Ingrid Hornibrook
Part of living in Duluth is having access to miles and miles of trails. Another part of living in Duluth is not fighting traffic when the urge to hit a trail comes at 6pm. That's what I did today. After a long day of not getting everything done that I wanted to, my dog seemed to know what I needed before I did. So, I looked into his pleading, bored eyes and we hopped in the car and drove to Hartley Park.
When I got to Hartley I was wound so tight that I was sure my head was going to snap off. But nature. That's what I needed and I knew it. So did my dog.
First, I stopped to admire the pond. The view was breathtaking with the sun setting behind the hill, shimmering upon the calm waters. The kind of calm that only seems to come at dusk. Ducks were quietly drifting about, their impending long journey south not even entering their little duck minds.
An attempt at being artsy. Taken with an iPhone 5S by Ingrid Hornibrook
I followed the trails to the right of the pond. For a nervous moment, I thought I was lost. Being this was my first time to Hartley, that was completely possible. But, despite my horrific sense of direction, I found the pond again. I happily disposed of a full dog poop bag and grabbed another for insurance. That's what I love most about Duluth parks - an abundance of poop bags and plenty of places to dispose of said poop. One less reason to choose "plastic" at the grocery store.
I took the bridge over the pond and ran into a volunteer taking surveys of park users. I told him that I blog for Destination Duluth and he kindly asked that I say "hello" to a few people that he knew for him. I took a quick survey, he marked me down as "one woman hiker and a dog" and Jim (my four-legged buddy) and I were on our way.
From there I went right again and I quickly felt like I was in the wilderness. So much that after about 30 minutes, I was officially not on the right track anymore. Convinced that I was on a mountain bike specific trail, I stepped to the side as I began to take out my map. By this time I was getting hungry, so imagine my delight when I encountered 3 mountain bikers.
I took a left. Taken with an iPhone 5S by Ingrid Hornibrook
"When you get to the pine trees, take a left."
I apologized for being on their trail and they were quick to inform me that the trails were for any sort of use. The woman in their group asked if I was lost and I pointed in the direction I thought I should be headed. The male let me know that direction would be another 45 minutes, and so the woman told me to head back the way I came from and said, "when you get to the pine trees, take a left." Not interested in exploring new terrain at this point, I obliged and gave them a big thank you.
I smiled to myself and felt myself swell with gratefulness as I pondered this friendly encounter. On my way back to the parking lot, I said "hello" to a couple of women walking a massive, but friendly black lab and stepped to the side as some teenagers sped past me on their mountain bikes. Actually, I have no idea how old they were. Everyone younger than me looks 12. But what I loved about them is that every single one of them thanked me for stepping aside and wished me a good evening. That made me happy.
A fort in the woods. Taken with an iPhone 5S by Ingrid Hornibrook
Hartley is such a beautiful place. I found nature, friendliness, community, and evidence of kids playing in the woods. Most of all, I found peace - even though I still didn't get everything done that I needed to. But that's okay.
After 15 years away from Duluth, Jamie Lind moved back in February, 2014. Coming from California, it wasn’t her choice, and so she put a time limit of 3 years on her stay here. But after only 6 months, she says she could see herself in Duluth indefinitely. Here’s Jamie’s story of why she came back and what’s getting her to stay.
When she was 16, Jamie’s brother got married and started having kids. She was living here with her parents and attending Central High School. However, her brother and his family lived in Arizona. Because her parents wanted to be near their grandkids, they uprooted and they moved Jamie to Phoenix. A few years later Jamie moved again and found herself loving life in California as a tech in an ER and getting into film production and attending the latest shows.
Eventually Jamie’s parents moved back to Duluth without her. Aside from visiting, she never saw herself back in Duluth. But it was family, again, who got her to relocate. Her mother’s fatal illness made it more important than ever for Jamie to be near family.
“This year was a fluke.”
Moving here to be near her mother in the last months of her life during one of the coldest winters on record definitely wasn’t in Jamie's plan. But she made the very intentional decision to make the most of it.
Through getting out and about in the community, Jamie rediscovered how great the people are. Initially she was worried she would be stuck at home with nothing to do. However, almost immediately, Jamie was able to get involved with Renegade Theater Company to help out with auditions and had the honor of helping with Homegrown this year.
“Duluth has been completely, shockingly amazing.”
Especially with the support Jamie has received in opening her own yoga studio, Yoga Health. She brings together her medical expertise, passion for natural healing, and entrepreneurial spirit to create fun and intense classes. Jamie describes Duluth as a place where small business owners can thrive.
“The community is strong and I’m so excited to see what happens when people work together.”
To Jamie, community and family are at the forefront of her mind this year, not money. Her goal with her business and in the Duluth community is to see what’s possible when the limit of money isn’t the focus. She has set her intention for the year on creativity, inspiration, and music. Duluth is the breeding ground for all of that and the perfect place to see what can happen.
Jamie followed her destiny and it brought her to Duluth. She’s so thankful for following this new path, as she can get involved with this second renaissance Duluth is experiencing. It’s amazing what happens when intentions are focused on passion.
Last night I heard Tin Can Gin perform on the pier at Glensheen Mansion. Had I been wearing socks, they would have been blown off. Having never heard the band before, I was initially just excited to be a part of history at Glensheen’s first ever concert on their pier. However, after just a few notes, I quickly realized that I may have been witnessing one of the very last intimate shows this talented group of bluegrass musicians will perform, because they are the next Trampled by Turtles.
A Bold Statement?
There’s no need to split your loyalty between two Duluth born bluegrass bands because Tin Can Gin has their own distinct sound. In some songs, like “Walking Along the Edge”, I feel like I’m hearing the voice of Green Day but with a Northern twist. Even when they did their version of “Wagon Wheel”, I knew I wasn’t hearing the same old song, albeit a great song, covered by yet another band. Tin Can Gin is happy, heart warming, fun, and playful with a steady bass beat to anchor the banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar in their fast paced melodies. Their unique North Shore flavor permeates every song, just like their lightheartedness.
Where to See Them.
Tin Can Gin’s stage presence is fun. There’s just no other word for it. They’re grateful to their audience and show it with their witty repertoire. You feel like you’re part of something special as the band members laugh and joke with each other on stage. You can see it for yourself this weekend when they perform at Howling Moon Music Festival at Bayfront Festival Park. Specifically, Tin Can Gin plays on August 2nd at 1pm. Hurry up and catch this band before we have to share them with the rest of the world!
Go and "like" their Facebook page right now. You'll be glad you're on top of everything they have going on!
When I informed my husband that we were going to the concert at Glensheen last night, I knew it was going to be a beautiful evening. Who doesn’t like to listen to live music on the shores of Lake Superior? The ambiance of being surrounded by the history of the mansion – that’s a separate post in itself – was enough to stand alone as a mark for an once-in-a-lifetime evening, but Tin Can Gin made it magical. Great job guys, and gal, don’t forget all of us back home when you hit the big time!
In an article shared by our friends at Perfect Duluth Day, it has been determined that Duluth is among one of the happiest places in the U.S.
Myself having drank of the Zenith City Kool-Aid – brewed with Duluth water – I wanted to learn more about this statistic, so I clicked through to read the full article, "How Happy is Your City?", written by Mark Prigg on Daily Mail. Aside from showing the world, yet again, that Duluth is paradise, the study conducted by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research also showed that unhappiness correlates with places that have a higher potential for monetary gain. At last the long debate can be put to rest! We now know that money does not equal happiness.
When I moved to Minneapolis, my top two reasons were for job opportunities and monetary gain, while sitting in traffic came in at a close 3rd. When neither job opportunities nor monetary gain panned out, I had to be honest with myself; I was not happy, which resulted in uprooting and moving back to the real life theme park that is Duluth. Not for money, but for lifestyle.
As a result, I'm happier and more positive, making my freelance writing work more enjoyable and frequent. Which begins another debate for which I have a theory: happiness equals opportunity, but a happy state of mind is necessary in order to recognize and seize those opportunities.
Let’s be honest, it takes a little extra work to live in Duluth; you have to really want it. But it's completely worth it! We have icy hills in the winter that cause our version of traffic jams and weather that’s a little challenging to predict. So why would anyone stay here and what makes us so happy?
Think of a challenge you’ve overcome. Got it? Good.
Now, remember how empowering it felt when you conquered that mountain. When the hills are too icy to drive on, Duluthians strap on their snowshoes and walk to work through our parks, hop on a fat bike to float on top of the snow, or glide along on cross country skis. And thanks to our unpredictable weather, dressing in layers will always be “in” in Duluth. The constant climatic shifts also make it perfectly acceptable to attend business meetings in functional outdoor gear, as one proud Duluthian, Lucie Amundsen of Locally Laid Egg Company, illustrated in her essay published in Duluth Superior Living about our city winning the recent "Best Place to Live" contest, sponsored by Outside Magazine.
There’s no room for complacency in Duluth, making this one empowering place to live. If we don’t like something, we change it. If we want to do something, we do it. We don’t have to wait in line, wait in traffic, or wait for the right time. We just make it happen and feel proud. And that makes us happy. After all, if we wait for the perfect conditions, we wouldn’t get anything done. Thanks to our weather, Duluthians know this better than anyone.