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Meet Stacey LaCoursiere of Duluth Studio Market

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey LaCoursiere.

Hi Stacey, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
In February of 2020, we were planning to open a new location for our commercial photography and videography production business, Duluth Studio Co., with room for a local “makers market” to showcase and sell locally-produced goods. However, once the pandemic hit and quarantines were announced, our commercial business contracts were canceled and photoshoots were indefinitely postponed. After a lot of thought and soul searching, we decided to move forward with our initial idea and open our makers market sooner than planned. My husband and I spent months “in quarantine” renovating our new space, 1,000 square feet within a 100-year-old building, and sharing our progress along the way. We envisioned a marketplace for local artists and makers, while also bringing in “Goods that Matter” products from worldwide makers that value fair trade, sustainability and charitable giving.

We finally opened Duluth Studio Market on July 15, 2020, and the response from our community was amazing. Despite the many difficulties of the pandemic, it is so gratifying to see customers in the store, telling how they found us and had to see the place in person. It brought a sense of community and connection during a time that felt lonely for so many of us.

Nearly two years later, Duluth Studio Market has taken over our photo studio space and is going stronger than ever. Our shelves are stocked with over 40 local artists, and dozens of fair trade, charitable and sustainable companies. Visitors come because they love our mission, and they love that there is a story behind every product.

Not only can visitors find unique one-of-a-kind gifts, but quality home decor, apparel and accessories, gourmet foods, gardening decor, and even rare indoor plants.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As with so many businesses, the pandemic has given us a myriad of challenges to navigate. Normally, in retail, you have a rough idea of financial benchmarks to plan for but throughout the struggles of Covid, we have had zero insights on what to expect. From staffing shortages due to illness, to hiring challenges and shortages, we’ve learned to take every setback lightly. And now with talks of a recession, once again we have no idea what the future will bring. Luckily, we are so grateful our community has become even more supportive of locally owned businesses!

We’ve been impressed with Duluth Studio Market, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Duluth Studio Market is located in the Lakeside-Lester Park business district of Duluth, Minn. We provide a creative shopping experience for the community providing an assortment of home decor, local art, apparel and unique gifts for all ages. Products include a curated selection from local and regional makers as well as goods from markers that follow a fair trade, sustainable or charitable mission. Many storefronts in Duluth feature local makers, but there is no one storefront that brings in products that follow a specific set of missions. This is important to us as we believe making more purposeful choices in your buying behavior can help make small steps towards changing the world.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Duluth Studio Market is woman and veteran owned. Its owner, Stacey LaCoursiere, served in the Air National Guard before retiring and starting this new business. Another interesting fact, she also still owns Duluth Studio Company, which specializes in product and real estate photography. This is part of where the “Studio” portion of Duluth Studio Market came from but Studio can also mean, “The study of art” which we found fitting!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Stacey LaCoursiere
Duluth Studio Co.

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