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TWO HARBORS - A Minnesota senator came to Two Harbors to discuss the challenges local businesses face.
From design, to cutting fabric, and embroidery, one Two Harbors’ company makes packs fit for every occasion.
“Started the company in 1986, pretty much without anything,” Jeff Knight, CEO of Granite Gear, said.
And they’ve grown ever since, thanks to the niche market their packs serve.
“The hardcore users out there. People doing the Appalachian trail, will use our packs, mountaineers have used a lot of our products over the years,” Knight said.
Not to mention, current contracts with the United States military.
However, as Minnesota Sen. Al Franken stopped by the shop to discuss challenges local businesses face, one of their main concerns was broadband capabilities.
“Over a third of my day is sitting in front of a computer trying to be connected, doing the research, doing the social media, the online sales, and even communicating with our suppliers and our customers,” Dan Cruikshank, COO Granite Gear, said.
“A basic infrastructure question, so innovative businesses like Granite Gear can reach the entire world with their products and have enough bandwidth here to do it anytime of day,” Sen. Al Franken said.
Another issue Sen. Franken addressed was the lack of skilled workers in Minnesota.
“D.E.E.D. did a study that said that 30-50 percent of manufacturers in the state has jobs that they can’t fill,” Sen. Franken said. “That’s a sin, when you have jobs that could be filled, but people don’t have the skills to fill them.”
Luckily, Granite Gear is fully–staffed, but they hope improvements to infrastructure will allow their business to continue growing.