COVID-19 can’t stop new Carlton County businesses – Pine Journal

HomeBusiness

COVID-19 can’t stop new Carlton County businesses – Pine Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a monumental challenge to even the most seasoned business owners in Carlton County, but was even more daunting to those lo

Hutchinson vetoes coronavirus bill to refund business fines – WREG NewsChannel 3
Northeast Philadelphia business owner searching for vandal who tagged her restaurant – WPVI-TV
With interest in electric trucks on the rise, Rivian gets set for business in Seattle area – GeekWire

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a monumental challenge to even the most seasoned business owners in Carlton County, but was even more daunting to those looking to open businesses in 2020’s unprecedented environment.

Despite the challenges, Cloquet and Carlton County saw a variety of new businesses open or change hands over the past year. From salons to restaurants to even a new day care in Esko, business owners braved the wild waters of the pandemic in order to provide unique and needed services.

Many of the businesses received an outpouring of support as they tried to gain a foothold in a difficult situation for any new business. Some people offered donations to help keep the businesses afloat during the shutdown and a local church partnered with another to provide a needed service in Esko.

Here is a recap of some of the businesses that opened during an extraordinary time.

RELATED:

RELATED:

Crowned Salon, Cloquet

Sarah Faust technically opened Crowned Salon in Cloquet’s West End in October 2019, but spent most of the next seven months closed.

One morning a few weeks after opening, she arrived to find the store flooded by a burst pipe. After a brief closure, Faust was able to return to work, but it wasn’t long before the coronavirus forced Crowned to close for more than two months.

When Faust returned, her clients were masked, and she was conducting temperature checks before they entered the store.

During the closure, though, Faust’s clients did everything they could to support the fledgling business. Some purchased gift cards and products while other Cloquet businesses, like Bearaboo Coffee Escape, offered Faust gift cards to keep her properly caffeinated during the shutdown.

When Crowned reopened, Faust added stylist Mandy Weaver and customers were eager to return.

Even after a second COVID-related shutdown of more than a month last fall, Faust said customers stayed loyal and Crowned has been so busy they are currently unable to take new customers. The salon is booked through the beginning of April.

Sweetly Kismet Candy Store, Carlton

The Sweetly Kismet Candy Store was intentionally positioned away from Highway 210 in Carlton so it could be seen by motorists on I-35. From the interstate, a 40-foot banner advertises the shop on its roof. (File / Pine Journal)

The Sweetly Kismet Candy Store was intentionally positioned away from Highway 210 in Carlton so it could be seen by motorists on I-35. From the interstate, a 40-foot banner advertises the shop on its roof. (File / Pine Journal)

As restrictions loosened on businesses and the area prepared for a different sort of Fourth of July holiday, John and Ashley Parrott of Wright opened their destination sweets shop, Sweetly Kismet Candy Store.

The pair started construction on the store in January 2020 before the pandemic took hold, but they were forced to open in decidedly different circumstances. Still, Ashley Parrott estimated the store — visible from I-35 at Highway 210 — saw more than 2,000 customers during the opening weekend June 26-28.

The Parrotts are no strangers to adversity, though. In 2018, their home was ravaged by a fire, leaving the kitchen severely damaged and smoke damage throughout the home. The family was home, but John, Ashley and their three children were not injured.

As they recovered from the fire and worked staggering hours at the store to prepare it for opening — often working past midnight before going home — the Parrotts relied on their faith as a pillar in their lives.

“So when it came to this it was just something we relied heavily on God for,” Ashley Parrott said. “He’s taken care of us through every other situation we’ve been presented with and we really had to have faith that this was going to happen and it’s worked out beautifully.”

Sweetly Kismet finished its first season at the end of 2020, but the Parrotts plan to reopen in early April 2021.

Growing With Love Childcare Center, Esko

Amanda Groth worked nearly 12 hours a day for most of the summer to help get Northwood United Methodist Church in Esko ready to host her Growing With Love Childcare Center. (File / Pine Journal)

Amanda Groth worked nearly 12 hours a day for most of the summer to help get Northwood United Methodist Church in Esko ready to host her Growing With Love Childcare Center. (File / Pine Journal)

Opening a day care center is a tricky proposition in any environment, but when compounded with a pandemic the task becomes monumental.

Amanda Groth did just that, transforming the basement of Northwood United Methodist Church in Esko into a child care center for up to 68 children — including eight infants and 10 toddlers.

The center is a partnership between Groth and the church to address a need in Carlton County. A 2020 survey showed the area seriously lacking in available child care. An estimated 240 infants and toddlers — about 31% of the total infant and toddler population in the county — need care but do not have a spot at a child care center or family provider.

Groth met Northwood Pastor Brian Cornell at a town hall in January 2020 to develop solutions to the child care shortage in Carlton County. The pair exchanged information, and by May the church approved a partnership to host Growing With Love. Groth had approximately four months to prepare the church and get all the required approvals to open Growing with Love.

Groth opened the child care center Oct. 5 and currently has 31 children enrolled. Even better for her and her students, they haven’t dealt with any pandemic related closures since opening.

Washington Avenue Laundromat and Car Wash, Cloquet

Mike Prachar (left) and his daughter Andrea King  recently opened Mike's Cafe and Pizzeria in November in Esko after Eskomo Pies closed in late October. Until March, the pair owned and operated Mike's Western Cafe in Duluth. (File / Pine Journal)

Mike Prachar (left) and his daughter Andrea King recently opened Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria in November in Esko after Eskomo Pies closed in late October. Until March, the pair owned and operated Mike’s Western Cafe in Duluth. (File / Pine Journal)

The Washington Avenue Laundromat and Car Wash in Cloquet didn’t open during the pandemic, but long time owners Paul and Jan Myers decided to retire in 2020, creating an opportunity for Tony and Ashley Anderson.

Tony Anderson — a plumber with AM Mechanical Plumbing and Heating in Duluth — had performed some maintenance work a couple years earlier and the Myerses mentioned they would be looking to sell the business when they retired.

Ashley Anderson works for Essentia Health in Duluth, but she and her husband were looking for a business opportunity closer to home in Carlton County.

The Washington Avenue Laundromat seemed a perfect fit because Tony Anderson’s family has a history of owning laundry and dry cleaning businesses. His grandparents, Charles and Donna Anderson, owned a pair of dry cleaning stores in Duluth in the 1950s.

Even when adding in the attached self-serve car wash, Tony Anderson has the experience to maintain the business better than most people.

The Andersons weren’t looking to make any major changes, but hoped to make some to give the interior of the store a makeover.

Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria, Esko

Mike Prachar (left) and his daughter Andrea King  recently opened Mike's Cafe and Pizzeria in November in Esko after Eskomo Pies closed in late October. Until March, the pair owned and operated Mike's Western Cafe in Duluth. (File / Pine Journal)

Mike Prachar (left) and his daughter Andrea King recently opened Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria in November in Esko after Eskomo Pies closed in late October. Until March, the pair owned and operated Mike’s Western Cafe in Duluth. (File / Pine Journal)

Mike Prachar operated Mike’s Western Cafe for 38 years, but the pandemic spelled doom for the Lincoln Park institution.

Prachar said he and his daughter, Andrea King, tried to do take-out for a short time, but the restaurant was not set up for delivery. What’s more, with just 12 booths, operating at 50% capacity simply wasn’t profitable, so Mike’s Western Cafe never reopened.

Prachar wasn’t ready to retire and had heard Eskomo Pies owner Pete Radosevich was looking to sell. He took the opportunity to lease the space and keep a sit-down restaurant in his hometown of Esko.

Even better, with Radosevich still owning the building and operating his law office next door, he was able to help train Prachar and King, and remains available to help out if they need it, Prachar said.

Mike’s Cafe and Pizzeria was blitzed with take-out and delivery orders this fall and had not yet opened the dining room when Gov. Tim Walz’s second shutdown order began last fall. When restaurants were allowed to reopen, the pizza parlor welcomed customers back for dine-in service.

The restaurant opened with a limited capacity Jan. 20 and have added some old favorites from Mike’s Western Cafe to their menu of pizzas, burgers and sandwiches.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: