Spotlight Business: The Furniture Gallery

Furniture Gallery

Since 1998, Gary and Pam Larson’s Furniture Gallery has provided home furnishing to the Lake of the Woods area featuring  big city style and selection with small town service and prices. The Furniture Gallery is known for their fantastic styles and unmatched selection, drawing customers from as far as two hours away! Pam says,

I wish I had a dollar over the years for every time I get asked “What’s a big store like this doing in a small town?”  I just laugh and say go big, or go home! My thought is more is more! I knew in order to be successful in this type of business, you had to have good inventory, good competitive prices and wonderful showroom displays.”

Pam grew up in a large family in the Baudette area. After graduation, life took her to Port Charlotte Florida, where she became a certified Interior Designer and worked for the next 17 years in the furniture and design Industry.  14 of those years were with Bacons Furniture Gallery, who is now one of the leading furniture and design stores in S.W. Fl.

Upon moving home to Baudette in 1997 to help with aging parents, the Larson’s saw a unique opportunity in a 22,000 sq. feet former school building. The old Lake of the Woods school building came up for sale and Pam saw this as perfect opportunity to put her 17 years of experience in the furniture business to use. Now 20 years later, the Furniture Gallery continues to provide the area with unmatched quality and selection. In addition to the Furniture Gallery, Gary Larson is also the owner and operator of Baudette Builders, Inc.  

Her advice for prospective Lake of the Woods entrepreneurs:

“Successful entrepreneurship involves taking risks…. One of my favorite quotes from “Zig Ziglar” is “your attitude, not aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

While their businesses keep them very busy, the Larson’s also enjoy the benefits of living in Lake of the Woods County including the world class outdoor amenities such as boating and fishing on one of the largest lakes in the country,  the diverse friendly people, and living right on the Canadian border.

“ I get to look right across the rainy river from my kitchen window and say “that’s another country”!  We are so blessed living in God’s country.”

The Furniture Gallery is located at 111 3rd St NE, Baudette, MN 56623. For more information, visit their website at or on Facebook at

Maple Gate Apartments Now Ready for Renters

Article & Photo Credit: Northern Light Region

The new Maple Gate Apartment building officially opened over the weekend in Baudette.

The 24-unit building is located at 510 1st Street NW and is owned and operated by the Baudette Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA).

HRA Executive Director Janice Nelson along with board members held an open house on Sunday to allow the public to tour the new complex which features two one-bedroom apartments which rent for $725 per month, 14 two-bedroom apartments at $850 per month and eight three-bedroom apartments renting at $975 per month.

“Heat, water, sewer and garbage are included in the rent,” Nelson said.

“There is also on-site laundry facilities and off-street parking.”

At Sunday’s open house, Mayor Rick Rone was given the honor of officially opening the new building.
“This has been a long time coming,” Rone said.

“Lack of housing is a major issue for us. The state came through with a $500,000 grant which helped make this a reality along with the city, county and HRA all working together we finally made this happen.

Those in attendance enjoyed refreshments and cookies. The Enchanted Cottage provided table decorations for the event.
For more information on the new apartments, or if you are interested in renting, you may call the HRA office at 218-634-2422, email to or visit their website at


SandPieper Design, Inc.

SandPieper Design Websites


For Katie Pieper life in the Lake of the Woods Community is the right choice for her and her family. Katie loves the area and helping area business tell their story. She uses that inspiration to fuel the creativity that makes her design business, SandPieper Design, so successful.

Katie is originally from Missoula, Montana but ended up going to high school in Coon Rapids, MN before venturing north to go to school at Bemidji State. It was there she met her husband, Chris Pieper, originally from the Lake of the Woods community. After marrying in 2004, she and Chris moved to the Lake of the Woods where she fell in love with tight-knit community, the big lake, the great school district, and most importantly, the people.

“We live where people go to vacation all year round. After work we have the luxury of hopping in the boat and taking our kids fishing. Ultimately I love raising our kids in a safe community where families watch out for each other. Don’t they say it takes a village to raise a family? This is what we have here!”


SandPieper Design Websites

With a background graphic and website design, Katie saw a great opportunity to start her own business in Lake of the Woods and SandPieper Design Inc. was born. SandPieper is a multifaceted design firm that specializes in digital and print marketing. As a digital marketing professional, she helps customers develop, build, and design custom websites and offer secure website hosting. This includes website design, social media campaign management, search engine optimization, any other service needed by businesses to achieve their online marketing goals. On the print side, SandPieper creates custom design logos, brochure, posters, flyers, banners, business cards, window decals, signs and much more! Helping local businesses make big impressions is what inspires Katie to keep growing her business.

“I love the fact I can help small to large businesses have the look and feel of marketing from the cities in our small town. To be able to see their signs, logos and marketing materials all over the place is a pretty neat feeling to know you are helping them make an impact and grow their company.”

Her advice for anyone considering Lake of the Woods:

“There are so many opportunities for growth in this community from shops, boutiques to services and contractors. Come to a chamber meeting and visit with the locals. There are lots of great people to help you make your ideas a reality!”

To learn more about SandPieper Design’s work or to contact them to request a quote, visit their website at

SandPieper Design


1, 2, 3 Business Startup Guide

Dear Perspective Business-Owner and Entrepreneur:

Thank you for considering starting a business in Lake of the Woods County, I think you will find that Lake of the Woods is a region that is open for business, and willing to assist and support you.

We know what an exciting time it can be to start a business. As excited as you are about starting a business, we are equally excited for you! As a community, we want to support you and help you be successful.

Starting a business can be confusing and stressful as well. To help, we want to make this commitment to you- you will not be alone. The Lake of the Woods Economic Development Authority (EDA) is specifically targeted to help entrepreneurs just like you. EDA staff will work with you to help you work through the process of starting a company here. From assessing your idea to applying for licenses and permits, we will be there to help.

This guide – 1, 2, 3, Start-Up – is meant to help you get started. It contains contact information and other resources that you will find helpful in starting your business. The goal of the guide is to not only make the process of starting your business easier and more seamless, but also to help you evaluate your idea so you have the best chance of success. Thank you again for starting a business in Lake of the Woods. Remember, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

CLICK HERE to download 1, 2, 3 Start-up Guide.


Ryan Zemek

A Better Pace of Live

Hometown Hardware

A Better Pace of Life and a Growing Business led the Blodgett’s to “Get Hooked for Life” in Lake of the Woods.

Rick and Joyce Blodgett’s decision to move back home was an easy one. After leaving the community and living in the Twin Cities for 5 years, the Blodgett’s soon found themselves using all their vacation time to come back to Lake of the Woods to get away from the hassles of living in the metro. Looking for a better pace of life and to be closer to their families, the Blodgett’s moved back to the family farm.

“We enjoyed living in the county and having the opportunity to fish and snowmobile. Most importantly we had the opportunity to raise our kids in small town near our families.”

Upon moving home, the couple worked a number of jobs in addition to farming. It was during this time that Rick and Joyce saw the potential to meet unmet needs in the community and purchased Hometown Hardware in 2008. Because of their long hours and excellent service, the Blodgett’s were so successful that they found themselves bursting at the seams of their 4,800 square foot downtown location. Due to their space restrictions, Rick had to limit his inventory although his research showed the demand for more was there.

“We got to the point where we had no space to add any new items, we ended up having to hang some items from the ceiling.”  

Rick and Joyce saw an opportunity to grow their hardware store and fill a recently vacated building and moved their hardware store to the former Ben Franklin building on Highway 11. The new building was nearly five times their space allowing them to expanded their hardware inventory, and add items such as more lawn & garden items, patio furniture, and a variety section, which was lost from the community with the Ben Franklin closing.

Coming up on 10 years of owning Hometown Hardware, the Blodgett’s noted the community’s support for their store was tremendous. Loyal customers, a commitment by other area businesses to purchase locally, and even help moving to the new location by the Lake of the Woods High School’s athletic teams made the transition seamless.

Hometown Hardware will be celebrating a 10 Year Anniversary on June 9th, 2018. They are located at 804 Main Street West, Baudette, MN. Check out their website at or their Facebook page by searching Hometown Hardware.


Arnold’s Gift: “Father” of Willie Walleye Makes Donation

Willie Walleye
Article Credit: Doris Knutson
Managing Editor Northern Light Region
In the latter part of the 1950s, an idea that originated in the mind of Baudette Arnold F. Lund, Sr. was soon to become a reality as construction began on the 40-foot, two-and-a-half ton fish statue that now sits on top of the hill at the Baudette Bay.
Now, almost sixty years later and over a decade after his death, Lund’s legacy lives on not only in the iconic Willie Walleye statue but in local organizations that continue to prosper thanks to his generosity.
Recently, the Lake of the Woods Industrial Development Corporation, a longtime benefactor of Lund’s generosity, presented a check for $10,000 to the Willie Walleye Restoration Fund.
Lund is credited with revitalizing the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which, although it had been established in 1962, had been dormant for many years until Lund became involved in the organization in 1987. Under his watch, the IDC accomplished many things.
“Rome would have been built in a day if Arnold had been involved,” said Chuck Tischart, IDC secretary/treasurer.
In 1988, Lund gave the IDC land, buildings and equipment to develop an industrial park. Additional land was later purchased to add to the park.
The industrial park now has city water, sewer and natural gas and has been the home of a variety of businesses over the years, including carpet and flooring businesses, trucking businesses,  a recycling center, the ANI hormone plant, the Lake of the Woods Humane Society, and more.
Before his death in November of 2006, Lund set up numerous funds to benefit the community, including an economic development fund, an education fund, and a park fund. Annuities also benefit local organizations such as the IDC and the Humane Society.
Lund also set up a scholarship for Lake of the Woods High School seniors. The stipulation to this scholarship is that, following graduation, the student must enroll in and attend a vocational or technical school.
It’s fitting that Lund’s generosity should come full circle with this latest gift toward the renovation of the area’s beloved mascot.
Lund first brought his idea of a statue that would represent the world-class walleye fishing in the area to the Baudette Civic and Commerce Association. By April of 1958, a blueprint of Lund’s idea was completed and within a month, concrete footing had been poured and work started on the giant fish that would become one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the state.
Work continued on the statue through 1958 and finally, during Walleye Days in June of 1959, the finished statue, by that time named Willie Walleye, was dedicated.
After standing proudly atop the hill for over half a century, in the last several years Willie had begun to show his age. After much deliberation, the City of Baudette chose to replace the statue with a new, low-maintenance fiberglass version of Willie.  Late last year, the Baudette-Lake of the Woods Chamber of Commerce began a fundraising drive to raise $110,000 towards the new version of Willie Walleye.
“The generous donation from the IDC put us well over our goal,” said Willie Walleye Fundraiser Chairperson Mike Hovde.
“This is such a great way to honor Arnold Lund, whose idea it was to construct the original Willie Walleye in the 1950s.”
According to Hovde, the total amount raised has passed $120,000. This includes the city’s contribution which went towards the down payment to allow construction to begin on the new fiberglass statue.
At this time, the statue is scheduled to be completed by mid-June. The Sparta, Wisconsin company’s representative has told the city council they hope to have the statue completed and loaded onto a truck bound for Baudette by June 15th.
“Although we passed our goal, donations are still welcome,” said Hovde.
Extra funds will be used for landscaping the area, possible lighting and signage improvements as well as improvements to the park. Some funds will be set aside in a maintenance fund for future upkeep of the statue.
Donate to the Willie Walleye Restoration Fund online at or mails checks to:
Willie Walleye Fund,
c/o Baudette-LW Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 659
Baudette, MN 56623
Willie Walleye