I’m on a trip to my new adopted state, Minnesota. (Perhaps I am a Minnesotan trapped in a Hawaiian body instead of Canadian trapped in a Hawaiian body.)
The first order of business was playing in the U. S. Pond Hockey Championships put on by Haberman and Associates. It featured approximately 200 teams playing on twenty five 150-by-75 foot rinks on Lake Nokomis. To put it mildly, this was a mind-expanding and humiliating, albeit fun, experience for a guy from Hawaii.
While I was there, I also spoke to the University of Minnesota tech entrepreneurs as well as the honchos of the Minnesota tourist industry. Plus, I visited my buddy Marti Nyman at the corporate headquarters of Best Buy and the geeks of GeekSquad.
A real highlight of the trip was shopping for groceries at Byerly’s. No pun intended, but there are many marketing lessons to learn from this organization:
- Amazingly clean, well-lighted, and beautiful facility.
- Great product selection: organic, Kosher, you name it.
- Free knife sharpening.
- Prescriptions in packs so that all the pills you need to take are grouped together in daily envelopes.
- Community center for not-for-profits to use.
- On-site wine store, restaurant, custom gift-basket store, and culinary store, and cooking school.
- Online ordering with in-store pickup or home delivery.
- Conveyor-belt system that you can place your groceries in and then someone loads them in your car.
If you’re ever in Minnesota, you have to check Byerly’s out. Here’s a list of locations. And last but not least, my thanks to Dan Mallin for putting most of my Minnesota trip together—including taking me to Byerly’s.
Wow, Guy, what a great series of pictures and anecdotes. A puck cooler — who knew? Fun to see the geek guys, too.
In the picture titled “this tournament is about 3 things”, you left out #1. What was it?
You seem too reasonable not to be a Canadian trapped in a Hawaiian body.
We’ll always have a place for you here Guy… eh?
Great seeing you here, Guy. My fingers are still thawing from shooting all those pix on Saturday…
Man, you sure crammed a lot of MN experiences into four days! It’s like a freakin’ travelogue :-)
Come back soon.
My wife and I lived in Minneapolis for 4 years before moving to Sheboygan, WI. We absolutely loved it there..and mildly regret leaving. Perhaps someday we’ll move back.
Anyway…I can 2nd your impression of Byerly’s. They are beautiful stores with a lot to offer. If you ever get back there…Kowalski’s is another great local grocer to check out. Same kind of vibe as Byerly’s.
We were living there when BB was building that new HQ…I had to drive by it everyday on my commute. Before I knew what it was I thought perhaps they were building a life-size replica of the Jawa SandCrawler. I think your photo of it really captures the SandCrawler feel.
#1 is drinking beer – of course :)
Guy, come back in March to get a true sense of Minnesota hockey: high school tournaments that draw in the hundreds of thousands, college tournaments, youth tournaments, Wild — it’s our version of March Madness!
I flew into Minneapolis on Saturday and flew right over all those rinks set up on the lake. That looked pretty cool from the air. I wish I had stopped by to watch some of the action. I grew up in MN and now live in NYC. Who knew I could’ve run into you there of all places?
E-Town and Minne are hockey god bros thus the diagnosis is you are a Hawaiian trapped in both.
I love it when somebody mixes me up with my 6 years younger brother Brad in a photo.
O for 9 in 72 hours: but we got to the 3rd stage: Unconscious Competence.
Keep working on your body position on the puck!
All you white people look alike to me.
Sounds like Wegmans, based in Western NY. They’ve been rated one of the top places to work again as well.
This is my old stomping ground (went to college in North Dakota which is just about 4 hours west of Minneapolis), but spent a lot of time there. Being from Hawaii myself it was quite an adjustment, but I grew to love it quickly.
Some of the greatest people you will ever meet, and more fun then you could ever imagine (you have to be creative when it’s that cold outside). Glad you had fun!
Guy, Get Garage to invest in us and I will take you 2 hours north of Duluth to see the biggest hockey stick and go to the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
Man, you are seriously bad luck for hockey teams. I’ll hope I’m playing _against_ you for the next tournament instead of with you
Actually, you’re not even allowed to watch my games. :)
Sounds like a lot of fun, I’ll have to bug you and Rex for the full story.
Yeah, the Sharks gave me season tickets for the Ducks.
Guy you and I are probably the only 2 Japanese people from Hawaii who love hockey.
The Midwest: great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there because it’s too cold. Guess I’ll go shovel the snow off my driveway now.
Seriously though, Minnesota is great, especially the northern half for outdoors activities. Thanks for sharing your trip with us Guy.
I saw Craig Stein (your teammate) today at our offices and he mentioned he was playing with you. I didn’t realize he was actually on the same team – I would have given him crap about losing 4 out.
Glad to see I’m not the only hockey-playing entrepreneur.
Now you’re making me miss Minnesota! I’m from there originally though I’ve been living in Europe for the past couple years. MN is a beautiful place to live and I never realized how much I appreciate the cold (but clear) winters until I came over here to cold, rainy London and northern Germany. I’ll take snow anyday!
But oh, I have to admit. Best Buy makes me furious. They’ve never really grasped the concept of “Minnesota Nice”. I hope your visit was better than my normal experience with them.
Thanks for playing with us on Sunday Guy, we were terrible but it was a lot of fun.
You really need to visit a Wegman’s Grocery store in the northeast. They are based in my hometown of Rochester NY – they are usually voted top grocery change in the US every year. They absolutely have a CULT following.
I’ve never read a blog entry in such a short period of time (one minute) and gulped down so much information in one chug. WOW what a trip. Who knew Minnesota was such a great vacation destination in January? I’ve never even been there, but after one minute, I realize I was supposed to have been born and raised in Minnesota. That state rocks!
Glad you enjoyed MN. I just moved here from Texas so I am still trying to get adjusted to the cold weather. Byerly’s is great, but I second what Chris says. Next time you are in town you should go check out Kowalski’s.
Thanks for the nice words about Minnesota.
Wish I knew you were going to be in Minneapolis.
Our office is across the highway from Best Buy. We could have shown you a couple of more interesting spots, but you covered a lot of ground in a short period of time.
Although you did a great job of covering some aspects of Minneapolis and Minnesota, to bad you did not have time to try ice fishing.
Minnesota is a great place to live and work.
Cold? It’s not cold here. The people are warm, friendly and Minnesota nice.
Great post. I enjoy your blog and admire the work that you have done. I was excited to hear that you will be coming to Kelowna, BC, Canada in the near future. I hope that we can meet and get a pic together. I hear that you are bringing your hockey gear. So how exactly did you become such an avid fan of hockey? I read somewhere that you prefer the wrist shot. That is my shot of choice as well (especially coming down the wrong wing). Great stuff!
Guy – I am sorry that I missed you – it would have been great to finally meet you. As a European-born, naturalized Canadian citizen living in the US who recently relocated from Silicon Valley to the Prairie I can empathize with the identity crisis ; ).
Nice pics, Guy. The Hawaiian boy has come a long way!
Glad you enjoyed your time here in MN. You should ask your friends at Best Buy about how their company acquired the land their headquarters now sits upon.
Just wanted to let you know that now since you spent some time at both places I love the most, which is, Twin Cities and Brainerd, and we also have Northern California in common, I will officially be a substitute player on your “Pond Hockey Tournament Team” when I retire! That is if you’re not too humiliated to go back and give it another try?
As long as I’m the captain of the Capitalist Pigs, you will have a position on the team. I am returning next year for sure. I’ll play defense and pass you the puck. :-)
I’m shivering just looking at your pictures. I remember playing hockey as a kid in Edina, MN. Playing inside was a luxury. We usually didn’t have indoor games until the playoffs. The routine was to skate w/ your line, then go straight to the warming hut until the line in front of you went on the ice. But as a kid you played everyday. There was a rink in every neighborhood and I’d be there everyday after school until it got dark.
Even w/ the cold that beats 10p.m. adult league games at the ice oasis…..
Hockey? Wouldn’t you rather skate with a woman than a stick? Ice dancing is a better way to stay warm. :-) The offer still stands. Teri
Guy – I am a cousin of Bret Hedican and a 2005 Golden Shovel Champion (knocked out in the semi’s this year). Believe me, Sunday’s games are not as ‘fun’ as Friday’s and Saturdays, you’d think we were playing for the Stanley Cup! It seems Fred Habberman has struck a nerve in not only hockey players in the Twin Cities but other players/fans throughout the US in organizing such an event. I’m glad to see you had quite a trip to Minnesota, we need more rugged adventurers such as yourself to travel north in the dead of winter.
I just got one of my knives sharpened at Byerly’s. It looks like they used a machine shop grinding wheel on it. If you have good knives – keep them away from Byerly’s! Otherwise a good by pricy grocery store.
Yeah for Minnesota! You’re post made miss my old home state and your thoughts on Byerly’s made me miss the Saturday mornings when my mom would take me there as a kid and let me sample all the fun stuff they offered for free!
Thanks for visiting frosty MN. I went out to Nokomis the next day to watch the action, but it was too cold! We only lasted about 15 minute in the sub-zero wind-chills before we ‘retired’ to the warming hut.
Maybe I’ll catch your next speech … in Hawaii.
I live in MN and Blog about MN buisness. I have never thought about how great Byerly’s really is. I tend to shop where it’s cheap, but next time I need something Kosher, I will drop in. Thanks for the reminder of how good they are.
I remember thinking Daiea in Honolulu was the most amazing grocery store ever.