Feature Image: Parkway Market & Coffeehouse
When Caleb and Blake Lauritsen-Norby were looking to downsize from the Twin Cities, Lanesboro, Minnesota caught their eye. “We visited Lanesboro about four years ago,” said Caleb. “We both come from small towns, and so we really felt at home here.”
Lanesboro, Minnesota lost its beloved supermarket eight years ago. Since then, there have been some marginally successful efforts to bring fresh food back to town. Community Grounds Market closed at the end of 2016. Another attempt was grocery store Beste Byen which originally operated by the nonprofit group Lanesboro Local. Caleb and Blake Lauritsen-Norby bought this store and recently reopened it as Parkway Market & Coffeehouse.
With the help of a loan from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and loan partner CEDA, Caleb and Blake were able to expand the inventory and update their equipment at Parkway Market & Coffeehouse. The store offers a variety of local and organic produce. They stock goods from many local vendors, contributing to the vitality of the community by supporting others.
“We’ve very much kept the focus on local, natural and organic items. We aren’t strict about that and try to offer a wide assortment of basic needs as well,” states Caleb. “And I have a sweet tooth and a soft spot for nostalgia, so we’ve got a wall of bulk chocolate and an assortment of nostalgic candy to complement all of our healthy choices.”
Caleb uses the top floor of the building to sell Lego pieces to collectors around the world in his business, Planet Brick. “We’re able to reduce our breakeven point on a slow afternoon by sorting Lego and taking a break from that whenever customers come in. We’re feeling like maybe that’s a way of cracking the nut of running a business like this in a small town.” Caleb also has a Lego playroom where kids can come after school a couple days a week, or entertain themselves as parents shop. Due to the cost-sharing with Planet Brick, Parkway Market & Coffeehouse is able to be open regular hours, 365 days a year. Customers appreciate this consistency and never have to question when their local market is open.
Caleb and Blake care about keeping the store running because of its importance to Lanesboro. Without the market, residents wouldn’t have an easily accessible avenue to obtain fresh produce. Parkway Market & Coffeehouse continues to be an essential part of the Lanesboro community providing high quality food and a variety of local products.
Contact Parkway Market & Coffeehouse: (507) 467-2500 | firstname.lastname@example.org