How entrepreneurs and a P3 revitalized a post-industrial neighborhood in Duluth, MN

In the long-struggling Lincoln Park neighborhood of Duluth, Minnesota, a public-private partnership (P3) created a successful restaurant called Clyde Iron in 2010. It was born in a long-shuttered eyesore that once was a home of local heavy industry, and many see it as one of the major catalysts of the neighborhood’s rebirth.

Now, Clyde Iron has been joined by the instantly trendy OMC Smokehouse, a new eatery on in the heart of the Lincoln Park Business District. And the microbrewery, Bent Paddle, is just a block away.

Frost River’s store

And then there’s Frost River, a manufacturer of packs and other handcrafted soft goods, such as backpacks. Frost River is a vital part of the neighborhood revitalization and Frost River’s owner, Christian Benson, is one of the leaders who has attracted loyal regional and national attention to Lincoln Park. … We’re working hard to draw even more positive attention to western Duluth.”

The president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce,David Ross, says “The revitalization of Frost River parallels the revitalization of the Lincoln Park Business District.

Anyone who doubts Lincoln Park’s revitalization can recall the once-unlikely transformation of Canal Park, which was a junkyard before becoming the heart of Duluth’s robust tourism scene.

Where Canal Park has become a magnet for visitors, Lincoln Park can be more for Duluthians and Northlanders. And the rebirth is still happening.

Inside the Frost River factory.

From the Frost River website:We handcraft heritage waxed canvas packs, bags, luggage and accessories in Duluth, Minnesota, USA— softgoods that are generation-proof, reliable, and purpose-built for function to the standards of those who came before. Everything we make is built by hand in our workshop on West Superior St. at the headwaters of Lake Superior, and the doorstep to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Using old-world craftsmanship and the highest-quality raw materials like waxed canvas, premium leather and solid brass, we make quality, timeless gear you’ll use for years.

Frost River is built on the heritage of canoe-country ideals, that get-up-and-go, do-what-needs-to-be-done, expedition mindset. We’re in it for the long haul, and we make gear that’ll go along with any of your adventures. Whether for an hour, a weekend, an entire season, a full wilderness year, or into the next generation, the gear we make is built to hold up to the task and get better with age. Our bags are tough, difficult to wear out. We took generations of necessity and turned it into something that is somehow new and old at the same time. A new tradition. An old innovation. Made in Duluth, Minnesota.”

See full article in the Duluth News-Tribune.

See Frost River website and photo credit.

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