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Hidden Gems: Local Businesses & Creatives You Should Know

Every day we have a choice. We can support an up and coming podcaster, try a new family-run restaurant, join a boutique gym started by a local fitness champ or we could keep giving away our money to the handful of giants who already control so much of our commerce. Our daily decisions impact the kind world we live in; if we want a world where small businesses are growing and artists and creatives are thriving then we should support them with our time, money and attention. We’re proud to highlight inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs each week in Hidden Gems series.  Check out some of our latest local gem features below.

Jade Glasgow

Hi! Thanks for chatting with me. I am a flow artist, aerialist, and model based out of Minnetonka, Minnesota. I grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota and moved to the Twin Cities seven years ago. The thriving arts scene in the city was a big factor in my decision to move here. I kept finding myself coming back to catch live music while I completed my psychology degree at NDSU in Fargo, and fell more in love with Minneapolis with each visit. I first discovered flow arts, and specifically hoop dance at a music festival in 2014.  Read more>>

Joey Lee

I’m a young black bisexual women from Compton, California. Like some people, everyone around me knew I was gay before I did, or at least before I was ready to admit it. I say before I was ready to admit it, because growing up black and a Christian (only attending church on specials occasions lol), anything gay, bi, or trans, etc. is consider a sin and you’re going to hell. I remember being 7 or 8 years old having a nervous butterflies in my stomach type feeling, when I saw the 1st girl I was attracted to and had a crush on. Read more>>

Barb Kellogg

My interest in nature photography is hard to pin down as to when it started. I can think back to some pretty film images of oak trees I took in a park during college in the 80s. But then the camera was set aside for other pursuits (like education, a job). And you might remember how digital cameras really sucked in the beginning. So I just had zero interest in them. But I can tell you when the fire re-emerged. Read more>>

Maddie Spott

I’ve wanted to be a copywriter for as long as I can remember. When I was about 7 years old, I would set all my stuffed animals out on my bed and use them to put together commercials for things in my room… So besides being a weird kid, you could say I’ve been passionate about this industry for a while. I went to school at the University of Minnesota Duluth, majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Media, and used every chance I got to create ad campaigns for class projects. Read more>>

Shawn Nicholas

I worked as an RN for nearly 7 years. I really enjoyed helping others and I learned a great deal in that time. However, I was rarely comfortable in that role, and I always felt like I was meant to do something else. During this time my wife Lisa and I started traveling. During one of our trips to a national park I saw a rented campervan for the first time. Almost immediately I fell in love with the idea and envisioned epic cross country road trips in a self sufficient campervan.  Read more>>

Cindy Siewert

The idea for Wood From the Hood came to Cindy and Rick Siewert as they watched an old Ash tree being cut down in the backyard of their Minneapolis home. Losing their neighborhood tree was hard enough, but hauling it to a landfill was not an option. With a family history in the commercial cabinetry business since 1965, the Siewert’s knew the life of this tree didn’t have to end because it was being removed. Read more>>

Sydney Wetterberg

I started doing free senior photos for friends and family when I was in high school. I always loved the idea of capturing a single moment to create a memory but never thought of it as a career. As I walked into my senior year of college at Minnesota State University- Mankato, I was unsure if I would use my psychology degree. I love working with people but this area did not feel right. I began exploring my options and countless photographers began showing up on my social media pages or even be brought up in conversations I was having. Read more>>

Daniel Docherty

I’ve been training and racing for about half my life now and it’s always been an experience that I have appreciated, grown from, developed relationships around and it continues to improve my daily life. I want to bring this kind of experience to others and help enhance their training and racing. After many years in the sport, I know most of the ins and outs of training: when to push, when to have fun, when to take a break. Read more>>

Tephanie Delaney

Tephanie Delaney- Creative Business Consultant, digital media strategist, event producer, and Realtor. I am the founder & Chief Visionary Officer of Wild-Eyed VisionAries Consulting & Media Group. I am devoted to empowering entrepreneurs around the world. My passion is economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. In my private practice, I cultivate my client’s business ideas, provide digital asset management and media relations services. Read more>>

Brianna (Bee) Bellach

It all started when I was but 3 years old. On a beautiful hidden gem of land in the small town of Harris MN, a place I call home. My family has rested here since the 1800s, my great grandparents farmed potatoes. The house I grew up in was built here by my grandpa, a man who’s influence I never knew would carry me to where I am today. As a little girl I spent endless hours in the field. Back then it was just a spot of Prarie unbothered by human hands for 70+years.  Read more>>

Anthony Williams

In 2008, I was at a place in my life where I knew something had to change. Up until that time, though I was personally in denial, my family and friends were telling me I was an alcoholic, and I had been making a lot of bad and unhealthy choices for myself. I decided to try working out and was at the gym one day doing my usual workout routine and had some extra time so I decided to check out a yoga class that was starting soon. Read more>>

Blanca Fresno

Beer Experience: Entrepreneur and working as a brewster in the northern Spain (Asturias). I started brewing in 2008 and founded the first brewpub in Asturias. As an evolution of that brewpub, in 2017 I founded a 5.500hl annual capacity production brewery. In 2018-2019 some of my beers got six medals in several international beer competitions (some of them gold). Beer Studies: Specialist in Brewing Beer by Alicante University SPAIN. Read more>>

Sandra Cuadra

Well, it started back in 2016 when I booked my very first boudoir shoot with a studio in Minneapolis. I went in so nervous and with a huge lack of confidence. I had always viewed myself with a negative set of eyes, Everything about my body was wrong and didn’t look like anyone in a magazine or on a billboard, It was a day Ill never forget, I was pampered with getting my makeup and hair done. Read more>>

Cory Horejsi

Over 20 years ago, in 1999, a close family friend of ours, Bob Larsen, started Cars Unlimited. A humble, one man show of a service shop turned car dealership that emphasized family over everything else. My father, Jim Horejsi and Bob became close friends through dirt track racing and for years, Bobby was one of his biggest supporters and sponsors, rarely missing a race no mater where it was. Read more>>

D.H Enterprise

My name is Deeqa Hussein. I was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Canada, and lived in Kenya. I currently live in Minneapolis, MN, and I am a Special Education Consultant and teacher with experience working with children with special needs and their families since 2015. In 2018, I got the opportunity to attend the University of St. Thomas to pursue my masters in Special Education and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) teaching license.  Read more>>

Chase Vibe

My name is Chase Vibe and I come from the Northside of Minneapolis. I am a Hip Hop artist, co-founder (along with Ariel Cherry and Larissa Rines) and organizer of Northside Community Collective (NSCC), youth homelessness outreach worker, and educator. Growing up over north as a poor white kid I was immersed in the beauty of Black culture, specifically Hip Hop which was my window into the world.  Read more>>

Kelsey Geiger

Stickerbook Collective was launched in 2020 by myself and Priscilla Priebe. We have both worked for years in the music and entertainment industry and took the leap to start Stickerbook Collective with the vision of helping creatives grow and achieve their goals. Stickerbook Collective is a women-owned creative agency that specializes in working with artists, influencers, and small businesses alike. We are passionate about working with other female-owned small businesses, womxn artists, the BIPOC community, LGBTQ+, and all with a desire to be bigger and better. Read more>>

Alex Stalberger

In 2017, I had officially graduated and was a certified integrative nutrition health coach. I was wildly excited to change the world. However I quickly realized that life as a health coach was life as an entrepreneur. And life as an entrepreneur was much more than being a health coach. My training did not prepare me for running my own business and immediately felt ill-equipped and lonely. I quickly began reaching out to anyone I could find through Instagram + Linked In who was local and owned their own coaching business asking to meet with them to learn all I could from their experiences. Read more>>

Davar Mcgee

My journey as a filmmaker began with my love for acting when I was a teenager. In 2009, I acted in my first independent film “The Unattainable”. During the process of acting in front of the camera I felt intrigued to write my own film. In late 2013, I wrote my first screenplay titled “Trinity High”. From there I found a great passion for writing screenplays and continued writing various plays, features or short films.  Read more>>

Amy Suda

Answered by: Amy Suda, DCNP & Owner of Skin Rehab Dermatology & Aesthetics Being in mostly medical dermatology prior to 2019, I have always been interested in skin & aesthetic medicine and have had experience in both. Deep down, I knew I wanted to open my own dermatology & aesthetics practice. In 2019, the stairs aligned when Lisa Schuster became available – she has a vast background in events & marketing and knew I needed her to make this work. We sat down (in Lisa’s dining room) and meshed our visions and Skin Rehab was born. Read more>>

Sarah Miller

Since 2021, founder and artist, Sarah Miller has partnered with her close friend and media coordinator, Victor Lindgren, to handcraft beautiful polymer clay jewelry. Sarah grew her passion for this form of jewelry during the pandemic and continues to use this hobby-turned-business to express her creativity and personal style with her local community. Overall, I would say yes, fairly smooth road! There was a bit of a learning curve considering I work full time as a Licensed Athletic Trainer and lacked the experience in business and marketing.  Read more>>

Madeline Nelson

I’ve always had a passion for art and design. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated strategic communication with an emphasis in public relations and minor in marketing. After graduation, I landed a digital marketing and social media management position for a local company. I decided I wanted to branch out on my own and take a risk, following an encouraging conversation with a friend in the business (Meghan Pachocha @styledspacesbymeg).  Read more>>

Chris DT Gordon

3/18/15 I scratched the back of my right hand on an exterior garage wall as I flew my son to our garage (I was helping my wife Becky get the kids in the car as she took them to school and daycare). The cut didn’t bleed, so I put him into the van, kissed them all goodbye, and then went inside to wash my hand and start my day of online teaching. 3/21/15 I woke up to find a lacrosse ball-sized bump on my right elbow. Read more>>

Valerie Kleinhans

Val Kleinhans is a media personality who entered the public eye in 2013 thanks to a career in radio on the air. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Val has lived in Minnesota since 2016. She has since developed a brand with a special focus on style, music, and mental health. Sharing her own mental health struggles on the air inspired her to “keep going” and “continue the conversation.” Val also hosts Very Vogue with Val Kleinhans, which is featured on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Read more>>

Tenzin Lhanzey

I have always enjoyed doing arts and crafts. I started making candles in 2018 purely as a hobby but it wasn’t until the pandemic (2020) that I had time to turned this hobby of mine into a small business. There were many bumps along the way. I would say I struggled the most not knowing how to get my brand out there. Although it has gotten better, it is something that I still struggle with. Read more>>

Corey DeVorak

Avail Ceramics started only a year ago. I was unfulfilled after working in multiple industries and kept asking myself “what am I missing.” Turns out it was being in a studio working with clay, problem solving, and critically thinking about my practice. This was a decade ago so I enrolled in school to study art. After college I started working in the ceramic industry and learning numerous trade skills.  Read more>>

Mattea Godsoe

I grew up in a small town in northern Arizona, and always had a passion for the arts. I loved painting but decided I didn’t want to live the starving artist life, so I decided to pursue photography instead (thank goodness)! I attended Northern Arizona University where I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Photography in 2014. After graduation I still wasn’t entirely certain what I wanted to do within the photography world, but I knew for sure I wanted out of my home state! Read more>>

Jackie Walter

Sprinkles & Confetti was born with a mission to spread joy while making party planning easier to buy for busy hostesses across the country! In 2016 as a mom of two kids under 5 and working in the corporate retail world, I got the entrepreneurial bug and decided to create Sprinkles & Confetti as a side hustle business! Determined to embrace the idea of a one-stop web-based party shop, I really wanted to take the hassle out of hosting so busy moms could get back to enjoying the party instead of spending hours piecing together necessary party goods. Read more>>

Katie Cameron

I started selling take-home clay kits from my front porch in March 2020 after getting laid off from my job in the service industry. This was the same time that everything was shutting down & we were encouraged to stay at home & social distance. I made a post on instagram letting people know they could order clay from me for $10/lb, which included the firing & clear glazing of their finished projects.  Read more>>

Alyssa Boldischar

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. When I was about 7 years old my mom gave me her old film camera. I fell instantly in love with taking photos. I would save up my chore money to buy and develop my film. My passion for photography grew even more in High School when I took a darkroom photography class. I loved discovering the magic of developing my own film. In college I studied art with my main focus in digital photography and pottery. Read more>>

Samantha Fisher Brandon Bennett

The Monstera Plant Co. story started with a random phone call on a Tuesday afternoon. On a trip on the east coast, Samantha called Brandon while enjoying a glass of wine and said, “You want to know what we should do? We should start a plant company together.” We’ve known each other for a little over a decade, and both have a history of loving plants. We met through a mutual friend back in Wisconsin, and we’ve been best friends ever since. As far as being business partners, you could say we complete each other’s ying to the other’s yang. Read more>>

Aaron Litschke

I started off in 1995 as a 15-year old DJ living in Cannon Falls but DJing in the Minneapolis underground and club scene. Back then I was getting a lot of opportunities to open and close out raves and I was excited to have my name on a flyer, most of the time it was in little tiny letters at the bottom of the flyer but it was a start. I remember I was playing shows about twice a month. Early on I didn’t really play any club shows so when I got my opportunity to play at First Avenue at age 16 or 17, it felt like I had finally “made it.” Read more>>

Emily Skelton

When asked what my favorite pass times were from the time I was young to now have always been enjoying the outdoors or creating art. Making art has always be an essential form of expression for me. From painting, and drawing to my teen years discovering digital art. Digital art to me represents photography, videography, and the editing software that brings all the elements to a fished product. Read more>>

Noah Berghammer

I grew up in a town just south of Madison, WI, called Janesville. It wasn’t actually a small town by any means, but it kind of felt like it to me because I had these really big dreams. My entire childhood was filled with sports and even though I always pursued my creative passions on the side, it was definitely secondary to my athletic prowess. Throughout high school, I played my own songs at talent shows and wrote in my journal constantly, but didn’t realize that I could do these things for a career until my freshman of college at the University of Minnesota when I suffered an injury that would evidently force me to put baseball on hold and focus on other things.  Read more>>

Mallory Romportl

I began wood burning decorations for my wedding 6 six years ago. I picked up my mom’s 20 year old wood burner and despite the process taking forever, I fell in love with it! After my husband and I got married, I worked as a para at a school district but my heart wasn’t in it. I told my husband how I felt and that I truly wanted to explore art (mainly wood burning) and his response was ‘go for it!’ Read more>>

Ally Leonard

I have been a photographer for about four years now. I bought my first camera from a friend and after a basic lesson on how to manually operate it, I just started shooting. I wanted to be creative, and started practicing portraits on friends for fun. Soon after I began shooting, more and more people began to ask me if I could create content for them, and things just started to take off from there! Read more>>

Haley Muellerleile

I grew up in Minneapolis and in my early twenties, I got married and move up north and lived there for s few years on a little hobby farm with horses, chickens, a donkey and dogs. I stated working at a vet clinic and really loved working with and surrounding myself with animals. A few years ago, my marriage fell apart and for my safety I had to leave my hobby far, life behind and move back to Minneapolis and re-start in my late twenties. Read more>>

Finneas Taylor

I first really found my love for photography when I was fifteen years old. I can vividly remember walking into this beautiful art gallery and coming across a photographer by the name of Brooke Shaden. When I saw her photography, I was instantly mesmerized by her work, and the way her art told such an amazing story. In that very moment, I was so inspired and wanted to share my own story through photography. Read more>>

Lt Sunnie

My journey as a rap artist began at 19 when I was introduced to audio recording and engineering at a program called Kulture Klub Collaborative. A group named Big Quarters led a studio engineering residency and I showed up on a day where the exercise was to write about our experience on Hennepin Avenue. Downtown Minneapolis is a very busy place especially for teenagers. So, when I wrote my verse I had a lot to say.  Read more>>

Jennifer Lara-Amezcua

My name is Jennifer Lara-Amezcua, I was born and raised in Rochester and still am here now. My parents came to the United States in February of 2001, I was born shortly after in July. Just like everyone else they wanted to make sure their kids grew up in a safe town and were able to receive the opportunities they didn’t have. Coming here not knowing a lick of English would definitely be scary for a 17 and 19 year old but they managed to make their way here in this town. Read more>>

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