Secrets of Success: Small Business

2020 couldn't bring down these 10 Minnesota companies. Their determined leaders share the strategies and savvy moves that positioned them well for post-pandemic prosperity.
Secrets of Success: Small Business

When the calendar finally flipped to 2021, small business owners everywhere breathed a huge sigh of relief. Anyone who hadn’t gone out of business during the year of the pandemic could congratulate themselves just for staying afloat and surviving.

Twin Cities Business is spotlighting a variety of Minnesota businesses that pivoted, quickly adjusted to the new reality, and made it through the year. 

Some operators actually benefitted from the pandemic. Because many people were working remotely and sheltering in place, everyone was cooking and baking a lot more at home. That was good news for Wrenshall-based Locally Laid Egg Co. Winona-based Wenonah Canoe saw an uptick in demand starting in the summer. Paddling a canoe in the middle of a lake is a great way to socially distance.

Federal stimulus dollars boosted personal savings, to the benefit of the Falcon Heights-based Spire Federal Credit Union. Bloomington-based Hoyo increased sales through effective networking.

Just about anyone who could tapped federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for a business boost. More than 102,000 Minnesota businesses landed PPP loans averaging $110,000.

Beyond dollars, small businesses knit the fabric of community. “We don’t have big bank accounts,” says Sammy McDowell, whose restaurant, Sammy’s Avenue Eatery, in the heart of north Minneapolis, kept beating even during Covid shutdowns. “Even though they make less than some of the bigger chains, [small businesses] still support the community and individuals in the community a lot more than the bigger chains. That’s why I believe it’s important to have them in the community.”

If there’s a common thread among these disparate businesses, it’s a mix of determination and an ability to adapt quickly as markets change. Here’s to better days-—and better business—in 2021. 

Burl Gilyard

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TCB Talks: Secrets of Success

Feb. 18, Noon-1 p.m.

Join us for a virtual panel discussion featuring small business leaders from Finley’s, Hoyo, and NParallel, with expert insights from Bremer Bank. They’ll share lessons learned from a most challenging year and advice to help you plan for 2021. Registration is complimentary at