Despite the weather outside, there’s a spot in Northeast Minneapolis that always feels like a tropical oasis. Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge first opened in in 2003. The owner, Leslie Bock, found a niche and certainly went for it. Today, it’s still a destination for out of towners and locals.
Stevie Ray has always been funny. In fact, he performed for the first time when he was just nine years old. He got the bug and the rest is history. Stevie went on to do something that was certainly not “normal”. He got a degree in humor. Yes, humor. It was so rare that he had two advisors and even had to do special curriculum to make it happen. It only makes sense that in 1989 Stevie started a spot where others could laugh, too. That’s when Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret began.
For thirty three years, Simonson's Salon and Spa
has been helping folks feel and look their best. Simonson's started in Anoka. Today, there are also locations in Maple Grove and Coon Rapids.
Gartner Studios is based in Stillwater, but it’s making its mark all over the country. Greg Gartner started the company back in 1998. He wanted to make customizable holiday cards for folks from their home computers. One side had a design, the other was left for personalization. Many people worried the idea would fail, but it was a success.
Northfield, Minnesota is a cute and quaint town that has several unique businesses. That includes a spot called Makeshift Accessories. Owner Devin Johnson takes what many of us might consider trash and he brings it to life.
While most of us are still sleeping, the folks behind St. Paul Bagelry
are up and at ‘em early making delicious bagels. And we’re talking a lot of bagels. They make some three thousand bagels every day.
Rustica Bakery is a go to for many folks looking for that sweet fix or good cup of coffee. It has a special feel of a neighborhood hot spot and that’s exactly what has made Rustica Bakery so popular. It has locations in Minneapolis, Edina and Mall of America. It will soon open a fourth location in Wayzata.
Total Luxury Limousine has been in business for almost 30 years, but it has come a long way from those beginning days. It was started by Dave Murray. He owned one limo and kept it in his family garage in Woodbury. He used it for weddings and events. Back then, limos were harder to come by. So, he drove it, maintained it and booked the events. Fast forward to today and the company is booming.
It was March of 2013 when we first met the team behind the company, “Love Your Melon”. The team really only consisted of Zach Quinn and Brian Keller. Two friends who went to St. Thomas together. They were in an entrepreneurship class and as part of their class project, they started “Love Your Melon”.
Araya Jensen is a woman who is passionate about art and people. She runs Willful Goods. It’s a store in Minneapolis that features all sorts of wooden pieces that are made for her. She then adds unique designs with paint that she hand makes. Each piece is unique and has its own story.
Manhattan Toy Company is based right here in Minnesota. Their office in downtown Minneapolis is where all the toy magic begins. Designs and color trends are researched. Ideas are then brought to life with toy designers on hand. They take a concept to reality. From there, the designs and drawings are sent off to a factory to get them made. They are then shipped back to Eden Valley, Minnesota. That’s where they are all packaged up and shipped out all over the world to places like Asia, Australia and Canada.
Coborn’s has been a family run business for five generations. It started back in 1921 as a produce market, but over the years has certainly changed. There are one hundred twenty retail locations across the Midwest. There’s also a delivery service. The company’s revenue is $1.4 billion.
General Store of Minnetonka has become a hot spot for shopping. The store is filled with just about everything you can imagine - cooking items, food, clothing, decorative items and fun gag gifts. The store has been around since 1984. It originally began as a way to showcase all sorts of artisans for the holidays. It quickly became popular and people wanted more.
ACME Comedy Company is celebrating twenty five years of business. In that twenty five years, hundreds if not thousands of comedians have come through to showcase their talent. Comedians like Robbin Williams, Kevin Smith, and Louis C.K. have all performed on the stage. On Monday’s newbies can also showcase their talents in open mic night. The night is free for guests.
Dairy Queen has been home to delicious frozen treats since 1940. Today, there are Dairy Queens all over the country. It started when a father son duo came up with their soft serve recipe and contacted a friend who had an ice cream shop. The owner of the shop said they could have an “all you can eat” trial run. More than 1,600 servings of ice cream were given out. The rest is history and that same recipe is still used today.
Back in the 1980’s Halloween was not as popular as it is today, but it was certainly the start to something big. Now, adults love getting in on the craze of costumes. But it isn’t just Halloween that is big business for Jim Berg and his business partner. They opened Twin Cities Magic and Costume thirty years ago.
For most of us, shoelaces seem more like a necessity than anything. But for a group of three guys in Minneapolis, shoelaces are a fashion statement. It’s a chance for the usually conservative guy to show a little flare on his feet.
For nearly 25 years, Vertical Endeavors has been helping kids and adults climb to new heights. It was in 1992, when Nate and Pam Postma decided they needed an indoor rock climbing facility to train for competitions. There was nothing like it here. So, Nate started doing a ton of research. He traveled all over the country looking at similar facilities and asking the owners just about every question he could think of.
Dave and Diane Hallstrom love their hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota. They say it’s unlike any other city because of its feel, its people and what it has to offer.
It’s a family tradition for folks all over the Twin Cities. Sever’s is synonymous with good old fashion family fun. For twenty years, it has been a destination. Today, it’s so much more than just a corn maze. There’s food, games, two massive corn pits, pumpkins and more.
Knoke’s Chocolate and Roasted Nuts
has become a destination for both locals and tourists. It’s a cute and quaint shop in Hudson that has everything from chocolate and caramels to ice cream and roasted nuts.
The city of Robbinsdale is a tight knit community. The city’s downtown has several unique businesses that attract folks from all over the cities. Many of them are run by husband and wife teams.
Every Wednesday we feature a company that stands out. We take you inside for a unique look at places like General Mills and Schwan’s Company. Emily has three newer companies that stand out for their product idea and their story.
The Corn Roast Stand at the Minnesota State Fair has been around since 1985. When it first started, it was Brad Ribar that believed it would be a big fit from the start despite some nay Sayers. Today, around two hundred thousand ears of corn are sold during the run of the fair.
Versatile Vehicles has been in business for 31 years. It has three locations. The company is in Savage, Prior Lake, and Brainerd. This “Good Company” has also provided the American dream for the Accad family.
Sleep is a big problem for many Americans and there’s one company in Minnesota that has made it their mission to help millions of people get the right kind of sleep. Sleep Number is part of Select Comfort which is based in Plymouth, Minnesota. It has certainly gained popularity over the last several years, but the Sleep Number story dates back to 1987.
It wasn’t that long ago when when Erin Seidl decided she wanted to make her own natural soaps. She had been on the hunt to find a product that worked well and wasn’t happy with them. So, she got a kit online and starting making it. Before she knew it, she was heading to what she calls a bath and body boot camp in California. It was then when she started to take what she learned and began tweaking recipes. She was adding and subtracting and coming up with her own fragrances. Family and friends were hooked. In 2010, Suds was born.
We Minnesotans love it here and that is certainly the case during the summer. We like to soak up the nice weather and you can’t talk about summer without mentioning fishing. Wayzata Bait and Tackle is a mom and pop shop that has been helping folks fish for more than forty years. The family run business started in 1973. It was just in the back part of a building when it opened. A couple of years later, it expanded to what it is today. It’s still in the same location off of 394.
Cambria is a Minnesota based company that has been here since the beginning. It was started by the Davis family who has always been known for its entrepreneurial spirit. Cambria started in 2000, but its history dates back to the 1930’s.
is based in Forest Lake. It's known for its unique approach to making all sorts of creative pieces of art. Art that is used for play and creativity. Themed Concepts has work in zoos, amusement parks, water parks and businesses all over the United States.
Birchwood Café has been a popular restaurant in Minneapolis for twenty one years, but its history goes back years before. In 1926, it started as a dairy and was owned by Cy and Del Bursch. Business was good for some time, but then in the 1940’s it was converted into a grocery store called Birchwood. It was a place where people would go and Del and Cy always knew your name. It was a place where families would stop by just to say hello.
Stewartville, Minnesota is a small town just twelve miles south of Rochester. It’s also home to a family run company that has made its mark in Minnesota and in seventeen other states.
For 17 years, Tommy’s Tonka Trolley has been a staple in the west metro. But it wasn’t until about 12 years ago that things really started to take off with Tommy Drummond’s business. Tommy sells Sebastian Joe’s ice cream, but that’s not the only thing that attracts people summer after summer.
Debb Masterson has always been a foodie and she has always loved tinkering with different spice blends, but it was when her sister needed help that she decided to start her own company. Her sister, Lucy, spends her days at the Interact Center for Artists with Disabilities in Minneapolis. When Debb found out that Interact needed some financial help, she decided it was time to help. Deb started Minnesota Nice Spice. A portion of proceeds go to help Interact.
Schwan Food Company started in March of 1952. Marvin Schwan and his family ran a local dairy. Business was struggling. So, Marvin packed his 1946 Dodge panel van with dry ice and ice cream and drove around selling it to families. He sold all fourteen gallons. Marvin was just 23 years old and he was on to something.
Afton Alps is certainly a popular destination for skiers, but it started on a much smaller scale decades ago. On December 21, 1963, Afton Alps opened. It was thanks to some farmers who saw 300 acres of land as an opportunity to get the community involved in skiing. The first day it was open, 37 people came to visit.
Jeremy Exley and his buddies are big fans of playing dice games, but when the weather turned nice Jeremy didn’t want to play inside. So, he looked for dice games that could be played in the yard. He could only find plastic dice or those fuzzy dice that people hang on a car mirror. Determined to find something that would work, Jeremy decided to make his own out of wood. His family and friends knew he was onto something. He made more and before he knew it, he was selling several of them.
Summit Brewing Company is celebrating a big anniversary. The company was started by founder Mark Stutrud 30 years ago. It was a big risk back in 1986, but that risk has certainly paid off. Summit Brewing Company really helped pioneer the craft beer scene. Today, Summit has produced 46 different beers and is available in 14 states.
Kowalski’s Markets dates back to 1983 when Jim and Mary Anne Kowalski opened their first store on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. Jim was working for Red Owl and it was that same store that they took over. They got a loan and used whatever money they had to start the business. Just three years later, they bought Red Owl Country store in White Bear Lake. The rest is history. Today, they have 11 grocery stores.
Angie’s Boomchickapop was started by Angie and Dan Bastian. They were making their product at home in a garage and they thought if they sold their kettle corn, they could have something fun to do with the kids while also saving money for their college education. They started selling it at fairs and festivals. Then, they got into a few grocery stores. Soon, the Twins were calling. Before they knew, Angie and Dan were selling what was then known as “Angie’s Kettle Corn” in thousands of stores.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has a long history of providing talented actors a place to perform to perfect their craft. Loni Anderson and Amy Adams used to perform here. It has been around since in 1968. It was originally started by Herbert and Carolyn Bloomberg. They were huge fans of theater and loved seeing shows in New York on Broadway.
In March 1941, O’Gara’s opened its doors in Saint Paul. O’Gara’s has always been a hot spot for people who want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s one of the busiest spots around the cities year after year. Jim O’Gara opened it in hopes of finding a good spot for folks to come eat and drink for a reasonable price. It worked. 75 years later, O’Gara’s is the oldest bar in the city that still sits in the same location.
W.A. Frost sits on the corner of Western and Selby, but long before there was a restaurant there was a pharmacy. It was owned by W.A. Frost, a man who came from New York and made Saint Paul his home. He was also one of the creators of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.
Emily takes us inside Caribou Coffee's headquarters in Brooklyn Center to show us around and to see why this Good Company is still growing.
Nicole Jennings is like a lot of moms. She loves her kids and her husband, but after her fourth child, she lost her sense of self. So, she decided to do something that she loved. She turned her love of fashion into a business.
Old Log Theater has been around for 75 years, making it the oldest running professional theater in Minnesota. Shows were first held in a small horse barn. In the beginning, the shows were only held in the summer. Eventually, they became so popular that more shows were added and a bigger theater was built in the 1960’s. Today, that’s the same theater that folks still head to Excelsior to enjoy. Old Log Theater sits on 13 acres of land. It’s just a short drive from the cities. The property still has the original barn where shows were held. You can also see the old log cabin that gave the theater its name.
General Mills is celebrating 150 years. Most of us know at least some of the company’s products, but you may be surprised to see what happens inside its headquarters in Golden Valley. There are more than 3,000 employees at General Mills, but several thousand visitors also come through the company.
General Mills has been around for 150 years. It started in 1866 when a man by the name of Cadwallader Washburn built a flour mill in Minneapolis. He saw the Falls of Saint Anthony as an asset to his mills. So, he used them for power. Just a few years later, the mill exploded from flour dust. That explosion lead to a newer, bigger mill that was also much safer. At the time, it was the biggest mill in the world. During that time, Washburn teamed up with another businessman by the name of John Crosby. They named the company Washburn Crosby. A lot changed over the years. In 1928 the company became known as General Mills when four mills combined. The rest is, as they say, history.
Tracy Dyer spent much of her career at Best Buy doing marketing in the innovation group. She called it one of the best jobs. While doing some research, women all over country kept complaining about the same thing. Why does Best Buy have masculine laptop bags, but doesn’t have anything for women? Tracy enlisted the help of people on her team and they tried to come up with some better versions. Tracy started sketching, but when the bags were brought back, they still weren’t what women wanted. So, she left Best Buy and started her own company, Urban Junket in 2008.
is in Brooten, Minnesota. Brooten is a small town of only 750 people. The town is small, but the business is big. Max Bats makes 40,000 wood baseball bats every year.