Faces of Duluth tells the stories of the people behind Duluth’s iconic attractions, hidden gems and everything in between. Traveling to Duluth? Learn the locals’ tips and tricks for seeing all the city has to offer.
Duluth is full of independent small businesses that offer unique items and services. These shops and restaurants are a large part of what defines Duluth. Mallory Moore created Duluth Loves Local as a way to support and showcase these entrepreneurs and their impressive gifts, crafts, food and more. We caught up with Mallory to chat about how Duluth Loves Local does just that and hear how the efforts for the upcoming Duluth Winter Village are coming along.
What’s your Duluth story?
My family moved to Duluth when I was in 4th grade. I lived here through graduation at St. Scholastica and then moved to Oklahoma City for 6 years. When I moved back to be closer to family, I fell in love with the city again! It’s even better the second time around.
What do you love about Duluth?
Obviously, the lake is on the top of the list and all the beautiful spots we have in town. But what really surprised me when I moved back was the movement that was starting for entrepreneurs. Opportunities, support and the guts needed to start a business are so interesting to me.
What are some of your favorite things to do in Duluth with guests from out of town?
I usually plan activities outside around meals we want to eat. I enjoy going up the shore to New Scenic Cafe and Moon Market and explore that area. Or going to Lincoln Park for Bent Paddle and OMC Smokehouse followed by shopping. Also stopping by Dream Cloud Coffee and walking around Canal Park then going to the beach.
There are also so many trails to explore and views to take in no matter the season!
For those who aren’t familiar, what is Duluth Loves Local?
We are a small group that really, really loves Duluth and the people who choose to start and grow their businesses here. We have social channels where we highlight local businesses and share what we love here. We also started the Duluth Winter Village.
How did Duluth Loves Local get started? What is its mission?
We got started when I moved back from Oklahoma City. I would ask friends and family what was new since I left and they sometimes struggled to come up with anything. So, I started to look around myself and found a bunch of places that locals weren’t really aware of yet. It was a while ago so businesses were still learning the ropes of social media and didn’t necessarily have the time to post. We thought if we’re already going to be out eating/shopping/supporting local, we could post as we go! We’ve fluctuated and evolved over the years but have always been volunteer-based.
We want everyone to be part of Duluth Loves Local – and you already are if you support local businesses. When you buy products and services from independent and locally owned businesses, you’re supporting the Duluth economy, but best of all, you’re supporting your friends and neighbors!
What is a typical day like for a member of Duluth Loves Local?
We do a lot of communicating with business owners and the shopping community throughout every day – whether by phone, email, or on social media. But no two days are the same, which keeps things fun and always lends itself well to being available for interesting opportunities.
There is also always some level of Duluth Winter Village planning happening, but it really gears up at the end of summer. Last week I had coffee and a meal at the new Duluth Coffee Kitchen breakfast spot. I was meeting with business owners about their participation in the Duluth Winter Village and plans for their storefronts. I got to share about the Duluth Coffee meal on social media. From there I went to the DECC for in-person Duluth Winter Village planning. We were finalizing plans for an all-new indoor family area that I am very excited for!
What do you love about working with Duluth’s small businesses and their owners?
What don’t I love! I think they are just so impressive and brave and smart. The owners could have started a business anywhere and they started here because they love our city and want to make it better with their products and services. I love connecting people together, too. I’ve never made an introduction with a small business owner and had them brush off the intro or not been willing to help when asked. That’s what I love about small business owners – they are so busy but so invested in making Duluth better that they always try to pitch in.
You’re gearing up for the annual Duluth Winter Village. What can visitors expect from this year’s event? Is there a way to know what vendors will be there?
We are! We will have our village outside on Harbor Drive at the DECC, a large tent of local makers and the Yule Hall inside will have so many great food & drink options. There will be free ice skating both days 3-5pm and new this year is a large indoor family area with a brand new Hollybeary store by Hucklebeary, where kids can go into a tiny, kid storefront to pick out a wrapped gift for a grownup in their life.
Come on down to the DECC December 2-3 for the holliest, jolliest time! And don’t forget to post your fav places and tag #duluthloveslocal so others can see what’s good here!
What are some Duluth-y items that would make great souvenirs and/or gifts? (This can be year-round ideas or specific to the Winter Village.)
So many! We’ve got so many amazing products here so it’s hard to narrow down but a couple favs are:
- Apparel from Flagship
- Art from Bailey Builds and Friends
- Candles from Natural Light
- Art & Accessories from Hucklebeary
- Pottery from Duluth Pottery
- Ornaments from Lake Superior Art Glass
- Coffee from Dream Cloud or Duluth Coffee
How can visitors support Duluth Loves Local (and the small businesses in Duluth) year-round?
That’s the big question! How to support small businesses.
Spend your money locally when you can. Share your favorite places in person and online. Be nice to staff & owners of small shops. Be a member of our group and look for new places you’ve never been and try them out.