There is a new craft culture blossoming in our neck of the woods on the west end of Superior Street—
and it is thanks to the skilled craftspeople making things that people want to buy, visionary business owners that are willing to take calculated risk, and a city willing to help help with funding and resources. Minnesota Public Radio visited the area recently and found “Craftsmen, backpacks, beer build hope in a needy Duluth neighborhood”. The article is paired with a roundtable discussion “Conversations of the Creative Economy” set to take place April 20 here in the neighborhood, at Clyde Iron Works restaurant. Several of the key players of the newly formed “Lincoln Park Craft District” will likely discuss what the draw is to our neck of the woods, along with the challenges of making a craft business work in our current economy.
Our neighborhood in Duluth’s Lincoln Park has been getting some press lately…. and it’s good news! When we moved into our current building in 2011, news coverage of the neighborhood often included lights and sirens, but now those are increasingly being replaced with pictures of construction equipment, grand openings, and quotes like "This is economic development at its finest, it's exporting products around the country, and importing capital into Duluth.”
Lincoln Park has a lot going for it. We see why people want to live, work, and visit here. It is a crossroads of main traffic channels situated right in the middle of Duluth. There are classic buildings, that have been neglected in recent decades and now wait to be repurposed. There are new incentives for business to grow in the neighborhood, spurred by a new program to “Advance West” into Lincoln Park, and it’s working! Take a look at what the Twin Cities Business Magazine found of the craft culture developing here.
For us here at Frost River, we love having great neighbors that make things people want. The Duluthian, our Chamber of Commerce magazine, visited us at the shop and found lots of good stuff happening. Read about it here. The Frost River Trading Co. storefront continues to impress new visitors, and brings return visits. Many shoppers are well fed and happy, just coming from the brand new restaurant across the street, the OMC Smokehouse. We can tell when the Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Tap Room is open, people stream through the back door, on their way to or from a growler fill or a pint of craft beer. The handcrafted shoes and leather bags at Hemlock’s Leatherworks provide a complementary contrast to the rugged and woodsy packs and bags that we make in our shop. Motorcycle entourages rumble past the shop on two wheeled pilgrimages to Aerostich, whose custom protective suits have a loyal following. Duluth Pottery staff and contractors are working hard to renovate the neighborhood paint store into a pottery studio to host art, classes, and retail. The Duluth Folk School has all sorts of classes for people to get “hands on” in Lincoln Park, too.
It’s an awesome time of renewal and renovation in the neighborhood.
There are more shoppers and visitors now than there have been in years. There’s even a community mural going up on the side of the building this summer. It could be said Lincoln Park is “blooming”.
With all the good that's happening, and the easy access from downtown Duluth, Highway 53 and Interstate 35, there’s no reason not to come over and see us sometime… we’ll have the coffee pot going!