New and Notable Business Updates

The creative entrepreneurs of the North Shore and Gunflint Trail are continually reinventing ways to serve and attract people to their businesses. This annual roundup of what is new, renovated, or reinvented is something to be celebrated. 

2023

  • AmericInn by Windham Tofte is completing a property improvement plan which includes updating all decor and furnishings inside the hotel as well as upgrades to the exterior and utility systems. 
  • Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts has a lot going on! We have re-opened our newly remodeled indoor pool. That was a big investment and the feedback has been superb. We now have a Tesla Supercharging station at Surfside Resort. Guest rooms are being updated and remodeled on a continuing basis. We are offering new resort activities this year, including candlemaking (a huge hit with this weather!), snowshoeing on Caribou Lake this winter and stand-up paddleboarding in summer. We also launched a new and exciting menu at the Bluefin Grille. 
  • Clearview General Store completed renovations to our rental apartments and store space, including window replacement and integration of mini split heat/AC units. Exterior renovations include new painting and lighting. We've also added a new beverage cooler in the store for Hemp/THC beverages. 
  • Cook County Curling Club is more active and engaged than ever! We have improved our website and are offering a new Facebook link to assist with membership recruiting. The Club has also refurbished our curling stones to add significant longevity and performance to our curling activities.  
  • Do North Marketing has added staff to increase our capacity and offer new customer services. We now offer additional promotional tools for North Shore businesses that include email marketing services and social media influencing. We've established a new collaboration with Destination Duluth, expanding North Shore Explorer's social media reach by 1.2 million views. We are also working with Two Harbors-based non-profit  Above and Beyond with U to research and publish accessibility information for North Shore visitors with mobility challenges.
  • Drury Lane Books completed the painting of the store exterior (after installation of all new siding and windows the previous year) along with many other minor projects. We've also added a new picnic table on the rock lawn between the store and the lake. And we have returned to a full schedule of events including full moon readings, author talks, summer outdoor story hour, and more.
  • Eve's Place Lakeside Cabins has remodeled the bathrooms in all four of our cabins. Owners are now managing the business on-site.
  • First & Second Thrift Store  has a new look and a new location. Our space is more organized and bright, and our downtown location is bringing more customers in the door.
  • Gunflint Historical Society and Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature Center has added a new building and exhibit featuring a "Trapper's Shack," interpreting the role of trapping for both Indigenous people and early European settlers.  We've also added a small planetarium for our Dark Sky programming.
  • Hungry Hippie Tacos  launched a new menu at our Grand Marais Shop featuring a new lineup of handcrafted, perfectly curated tacos for guests to choose from, along with our popular standard menu items and specials.
  • Joy & Co. welcomed three new businesses to its retail space; Boreal Soap Company, Grand Marais Tea Company, and Superior Stones.
  • Joynes Ben Franklin remodeled the interior east wall with high quality aluminum reinforced slat wall on the lower half for displaying product. We've also added a soffit (with lighting) using white pine timbers from Hedstrom's Lumber to create a northwoodsy feel. With this remodel, we also put in a new dressing room in the men's department that takes on the look of a cabin you'd find on the north shore. We continue add new products, including Boundary Waters Coffee, Blue84 Souvenir Clothing Line, Red Wing Shoes and a few new toy lines.*We have various new lines coming in for 2024 in the women's department, toy department as well as the shoe department (one super exciting one if all goes as planned!!). Be on the lookout for some fun announcements!
  • Loon Lake Lodge renovated the bathrooms in family cabins 5 and 6. We will also be offering a brand new sauna on-site (guest use only) which should be completed by April, 2024.
  • Low Light Experiences registered our LLC and officially formed our business this year! We started taking customers on guided night hikes and providing some next-level stargazing! We also purchased helmets and accessories, magnifiers, filters, a tripod setup, and another night vision device!We formed an unofficial collaboration with the Marshall W. Alworth planetarium out of UMD Duluth, offering stargazing parties in Grand Marais and up the Gunflint Trail. We also collaborated with Visit Cook County for the 2023 Dark Sky Festival, offering stargazing parties!
  • Lutsen Trail Breakers Snowmobilie Club's newest endeavor is to encourage younger trail users to learn trail maintenance and responsibe stewardship of our forests.
  • LutZen Massage Sudios added a new seasonal location in Grand Marais. Now in three locations (two in Grand Marais and one in Lutsen). We've also expanded our massage services, to offer additional options including Thai Fusion sessions for couples.
  • North House Folk School launched Framing the Future, a multi-year commitment to improve our campus. As part of the project we are replacing our little yellow house with a new building that will include two classrooms (generating 100 additional classes per year) and also a new school store (more than doubling the its size). The project also moves staff offices back to the center of campus and creates a new living space for our growing internship program.
  • North Shore Artists League artists took part in two new metro-area exhibitions, introducing  patrons of these galleries to the talented arts community of the North Shore.
  • North Shore Winery has added parking to our lot. We've improved the surfaces in our production space to make cleaning and sanitation easier. And we are partnering with food trucks and Sisu and Loyly Nordic Saunas to bring more businesses to our property in new partnerships. 
  • Pine Mountain General Store assumed management of Pine Mountain Campground.  Ever expanding store inventory, adding fuel availability for the winter snowmobile season.
  • Skildum & Company LLC added an SSTS license to our general contracting services, this allows us to install septic systems in conjunction with building custom homes and developing properties. We have also started a gravel mining operation on a leased MNDNR parcel to offer raw and processed aggregate products to our earth work services.
  • Solbakken on Superior welcomed new resort manager Mark Savoie.
  • Thomsonite Inn on Lake Superior has fully renovated four of our rooms (and they are gorgeous!). Definitely at a boutique hotel level. We've also added a wood-burning container sauna for guest use.
  • Voyageur Canoe Outfitters completed cabin renovations.
  • World's Best Donuts enlarged the entrance area to allow customers to come back inside to order their donuts and giving our employees more room to serve them.