Transforming the Lincoln Park neighborhood one business at a time

June 27, 2018

Small business signage in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

A visit to the Lincoln Park neighborhood today won’t give you that impression at all. You’ll find a vibrant community with new businesses cropping up all the time. Lincoln Park is a place to grow. So, what happened? What changed?

Short answer? Everything.

And it all started just under a decade ago, when like-minded business owners came together with a simple strategy: brand awareness.

If they could change the perception of the neighborhood’s brand and showcase what is truly special and unique about the area, perhaps things would turn around.

After taking a look at the businesses in the area, one key element stood out. Lincoln Park was full of makers. Quality, handmade leather motorcycle gear from Aerostich since the 1980s. Handcrafted canvas packs and gear from Frost River, which opened a storefront location in Lincoln Park in 2011. Local craft beer from Bent Paddle since 2013.

Branding the Lincoln Park neighborhood as a craft district was the first step in transforming and revitalizing the area.

Driving Change Together - Advancing Lincoln Park

In 2015, the Entrepreneur Fund recognized the opportunity to share the momentum surrounding the transformation of Lincoln Park. After convening a group of prominent small business leaders, the Advancing Lincoln Park group was formed to make the most of collaboration. By working together, area business leaders are strengthening, building and promoting Lincoln Park as destination craft district. Today, Advancing Lincoln Park has grown to over 100 individuals who are dedicated to the area’s future.

Advancing Lincoln Park is invested in three key strategies: recruiting like-minded entrepreneurs, partnering with the City of Duluth and branding the area as a destination craft district. The group holds monthly public meetings, which are a great way to connect with local entrepreneurs, members of the community, the Entrepreneur Fund and the City of Duluth.

To stay up to date on when the next Advancing Lincoln Park meeting will be or to get involved in the organization, send an email to All are invited to attend and help shape the future of Lincoln Park.

Supporting Local Small Business Since 1989

The revitalized Lincoln Park neighborhood has been shaped by ambitious entrepreneurs, many of whom have been supported with flexible financing or strategic services from the Entrepreneur Fund.

Our commitment to investing in local business owners and our community has helped many business owners find success and growth in Lincoln Park. Here are a few examples.

  • After Lynnette Steen of Lynnette’s Portrait Design completed the Be Strategic: Grow Your Business program, she increased her numbers by 24% in the first quarter.
  • With gap financing from the Entrepreneur Fund, Tom Hanson was able to open the popular OMC Smokehouse.
  • After receiving an SBA Microloan, Karin Kraemer of Duluth Pottery was able to receive consulting services from the Entrepreneur Fund to help her grow her business.

For an insider look at some artisan food offerings coming to Lincoln Park in 2018, check out our recent blog post: “The Power of 10”: Entrepreneurs Collaborate, invest in Lincoln Park Craft District.

So many businesses are thriving in Lincoln Park today. It’s been incredible to watch the neighborhood transform into a craft district that attracts visitors from all over the region. Curious to see all the successful businesses in Lincoln Park? Download our Lincoln Park Craft Business Map.

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