Advice from Mom and Pop

Mar 29, 2022

Investopedia defines Mom and Pop Shops as a term used to describe “a small, family-owned, or independent business,” often operating out of a single location.

While the term was originally coined for family-owned general stores or drug stores, today it is used to describe various types of businesses such as restaurants, bookstores, automotives repair shops, insurance agencies, and much more.

Mom and Pop Shops play a vital part in local economies. These businesses often provide higher quality products or services and offer personalized customer service, making them attractive to consumers throughout the area. To support a Mom and Pop Shop is to truly support small business and the community it serves.

As we look through our portfolio, we have noticed that not only do these Mom and Pop Shops bring many benefits to the cities and communities they serve, but they have gained critical experience and knowledge along the way. We’re here to share some of their most valuable insights for small business owners – from the mouths of “Mom and Pop” themselves!

The Spika Sisters - Bekhi (L) and Katie (R)

Hire the right people. A business is just a collection of the people who work there, and finding people who are on board with your mission and vision helps build a strong culture and business. It’s been a huge part of our success.”

– Katie Spika, Spika Design & Manufacturing (Lewistown, MT)

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Get creative. As we encountered new challenges, we try many new things as we can until something works. We were determined that those obstacles will not stop us, and we do whatever we can to be creative, different, or unique.”

– Nicole Dutton, Thunder Coffee (Fargo, ND)

Bearscat - Kevin

“Find a network of people to support you. I have friends that check in on me all the time, send me new ideas or resources, and help me discover new ways to run my business.”

– Kevin Cavanaugh, Bearscat Bakehouse (Bismarck, ND)

lawn improvement

Don’t be afraid to give your goal or dream a shot.”

– Audrey Kankelfritz, Lawn Improvement (Fargo, ND)


“Seek resources, ask questions, and know there are more resources out there than you realize. Search for those best kept secrets. They’re not so secret when you start paying attention.”

– Dr. Brenda King, Lipp, Carlson, Witucki, and Associates
(Grand Forks, ND)

Wild Terra Cider Bar

The way you treat people matters. No matter how stressed you are, be a kind person to everyone. Those are the people who are going to support you and your business.”

– Breezee Hennings, Wild Terra Cider (Fargo, ND)

Jerrys Repair

Understand the risk. Starting an owning a business can be scary. We had to put a lot of money in up front and there was a lot of work involved, but we were confident in our abilities and skills and knew that our community would support us. It was worth it.”

– Jerry Frye, Jerry’s Repair and Alignment (Minot, ND)

Mikkelsen Aggregates

“Make the investment. There’s a lot of small businesses out there that seem to be dying because they won’t make the investment in new machines or whatever they need to expand and grow. You have to put yourself out there and hope for the best.”

– Joshua Lorenz, Mikkelsen Aggregates (Bottineau, ND)

Fischer Family

“Put in the hard work. If you are willing to do what it takes to start or own a business, do it! The rewards are amazing.”

– Drs. Derek and Christy Fischer, Fischer Family Chiropractic
(Williston, ND)

Rustic Oaks

“You can’t plan enough. There will no doubt be barriers along the way, but continue to look at the problems and solutions will arise.”

– Dave and Anne Larson, Rustic Oaks (Fargo, ND)

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“You have to love what you do so much that the struggles you’re going to go through will overshadow the immense amount of work it’s going to take to make it happen. Never in my life have I worked so hard, but what I’ve gained from this experience and this community far exceeds it and I would do it all again.”

– Rachelle Sian, Spectrum Fitness (Minot, ND)

We are so proud of these Mom and Pop Shops, along with the many others who serve our local communities throughout North Dakota, Montana, and western Minnesota.

Thank you for sharing your businesses, your talents, and your words of wisdom with us!