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.