“Hey John, did you remember to make the doughnuts?” Kim Lind asked her husband.
He said he had been distracted by an interview with the newspaper that morning and forgot.
The conversation sounded similar to advertisements on a local radio station for their business, B&B Market in Cloquet.
The small gas and grocery store sits at the top of Big Lake Road in an area that used to be known as “Little Canada” in the 1950s due to the number of residents of French descent.
The store was built in 1958 and named "Peachies" after the original owners. It changed ownership several times until Dorothy and Gary “Hawk” Huard purchased the business in 1977. Hawk can still name the residents who frequented his business when he bought it. He also remembers a little store on the corner of Spring Lake Road a block away that closed decades ago.
Kim Huard, a Cloquet Class of 1982 alumna, and John Lind, a Carlton Class of 1981 alumnus, married May 28, 1988, bought a house in July that year and purchased the business from her father Sept. 1.
Soon, children Nick, Becca and Ryan came along to add to the crazy busy life of the small-business owners.
When the Linds purchased the business, there was a barbershop and a beauty shop in what is now their office space.
They made changes, updates and adaptations over the years.
Two houses came down and the parking lot increased. A refrigerator area was added, as was a kitchen for catering.
“Our employees are our backbone.”
In the meantime, the young couple raised their kids and stayed busy volunteering in the community in their spare time.
Employees came and went.
The “coffee crew” that used to meet at the Lemon Tree before it closed in 2016 wandered up to B&B to support them.
"It is so nice," Kim said. She said one of the men drove from Sunnyside just to buy gas from B&B Market.
"We notice that," Kim said.
The kids became active in sports and activities as they grew.
Over the years, only Becca regularly worked in the family business. She is currently active in the catering side of the business.
The couple overcame several challenges over the years.
Their store was broken into in 2001 and a jar containing about $2,500 raised for victims of 9/11 was stolen. More recently, one of their trucks was stolen, as were several Christmas trees.
The Linds sell the trees to raise money to sponsor area families for Christmas.
“We would do anything for anyone,” Kim said. The couple was surprised when customers came in to purchase a tree, then paid it forward by purchasing a tree for the next customer after they heard about the theft.
The couple was also forced to become creative with the business to survive encroaching competition.
A gas and grocery store opened a few blocks away. Then, several big gas station chain stores came to the Cloquet area.
They added the B&B wagon and the catering kitchen in the 1990s. They have grown to five wagons that can be seen around the area at high school graduation parties, Carlton Daze and Disable American Veterans events, among others. They work over 100 events each year.
The couple worked hard and did not take a vacation in the first 10 years of owning the business, although they used to go camping on weekends. They have also never hired a manager. They both spend several hours each morning at their desks, which face each other in the small office.
“We like to be hands-on,” Kim said.
“The business is only as good as the backbone,” John said. “Our employees are our backbone.”
Another saving grace for the small store has been their meat department. It draws people from all around the county as well as outside the county. Meat can be custom cut to the customer's request. They offer 25 types of brats, seasoned chicken breasts and more.
The Linds work an average of 14 hours a day, although it slows to 8-10 hours in the fall.
Another service they offer is grocery delivery. They average about 10 orders per week.
They have been involved on several boards over the years. Kim enjoyed her time with the Education Foundation, Reach and a few others, while John emcees at the Hospital Gala, Deer Hunters and the Blue Jean Ball.
Their tireless volunteering has not gone unnoticed by fellow business owners. They recently had a call to cater a funeral. The caller knew John volunteers to unload the truck for Ruby’s Pantry in Cloquet every month.
The couple enjoys donating to the community that helps support them.
“We try not to say no,” Kim said.
Their son, Ryan, said he would like to see his parents relax.
“They’ll probably cook for their own funeral,” he said.
If they did have one day off, John would like nothing better than to sleep, while Kim would like to spend time with the family.
“With no phones,” Kim added.