Growing Big Ideas Into Businesses - Ruth's Vegetarian Gourmet in Two Harbors, MN

Carly Viegut, Communications Manager

March 2, 2022

Bruce Bacon, Ruth's Products Business Developer

Decades before plant-based meals were trendy, Doris Ruth was joyfully experimenting with simple, wholesome vegetarian recipes in her humble Midwest kitchen. She raised her family in Two Harbors, Minnesota on hearty vegetarian meals, where her son Bruce Bacon recently moved back to to build a business that is inspired by his mom. Now, her recipes are being shared in kitchens across the country.

Building Strong Businesses

Bruce grew up in Lake County, and moved to the Twin Ports where he successfully built and grew two manufacturing businesses. He started Genesis Attachments in the late 1990’s and the company is now identified as a global leader in manufacturing attachments for scrap processing, demolition, and material handling. He founded Exodus Global (previously Exodus Machines) in 2008 with the intent to design, build, sell and service world class purpose-built wheeled material handlines for the scrap industry. The company is now global and has invested in 90,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Superior, Wisconsin. Bruce’s previous business endeavors have created over 200 quality jobs and contributed significantly to the regional economy. Now he plans to do it once again, but this time in his hometown.

Building Business Back Home

Bruce made the intentional move back to Two Harbors to work on his next business venture, Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet, because he wants to develop quality jobs and invest in the community. The company offers frozen food products marketed as "vegetarian comfort food for today’s busy family.” Ruth’s currently employs 10 people and has big plans for expansion. Bruce intends to move production, which is currently being outsourced to Georgia, to Two Harbors in 2022. The expansion of production will be housed in the old ShopKo and create dozens of production floor and managerial jobs. His vision is to employ at least 100 people in Two Harbors and become a $50 million company.

A Partner for Growth

With expansion on the horizon, Bruce identified the need for a financial partner in the funding process for Ruth’s and felt the Entrepreneur Fund was a natural fit due to the history of working together. He shared,

“It’s challenging to get a company off the ground. It takes a vision, a great team, a great product and support from a financial partner. Entrepreneur Fund is a key partner for local businesses in need of financial support to take that next step of growing their business.”

As a successful entrepreneur Bruce also understands that capital is not the only support needed to build a strong business. “The Entrepreneur Fund has a deep well of expertise, not only on the money side, but also on the business managerial side. There’s a variety of business fundamentals that are really very difficult for new businesses to try to develop internally. The Entrepreneur Fund has been really great in assisting with building those necessary systems. The team there is great to work with, and I certainly have had nothing but good experiences working with them.”

Ruth’s Vegetarian Gourmet is currently offered in grocery stores across the region and was recently added to 722 Walmart stories across the country, which is driving the need to increase production quickly. He is also in the process of building the foundation needed to provide institutional packaging that will be offered to hospitals, schools and the U.S. Military.

Building Strong Communities

For Bruce, it’s not only about building strong businesses, but also about building strong communities. “It’s important to me to be a part of building companies that contribute to their community by offering great employment with good benefits and pay that can sustain families.” That’s what he hopes to accomplish building on his mother’s legacy of nourishing her family, friends, and community.

Learn more about Ruth's Vegetarian Gourmet.

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