It’s nothing new for John Lind to speak at the Cloquet Chamber of Commerce banquet.

Over the last 33 years, B&B Market, the business he owns with his wife Kim, has won the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year award three times. At the banquet Tuesday, Sept. 28, however, John announced he and his wife were selling B&B Market and transitioning away from working at the shop.

The Linds have owned the business since 1988, but they worked at the Cloquet shop for 10 years prior to taking ownership from Kim’s parents, Gary and Dorothy Huard.

During the more than 40 years the couple has worked at B&B, John’s red apron has become iconic around Cloquet. After decades of working every day at the store, though, both are ready to step away.

“It’s pretty much seven days a week here,’ John said. “It takes a lot to run it and I couldn’t have done it without Kim. She did a lot of work behind the scenes that people don’t see.”

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John and Kim are overwhelmed by the community support that has allowed the business to grow and thrive, they said.

The original store was built in 1958, John said, with the Linds making three additions over the years, including a kitchen that started the catering side of the business in 1998.

“The catering is a whole different ball game,” John said. “You’re dealing with customers, but you’re going to their place and serving food.”

Around the same time, they also started the B&B Market food truck that sells hamburgers and hot dogs at Cloquet football games and other local events.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, John’s red apron became even more famous as he helped raise more than $200,000 for the B&B Market “Food Train” to help people in need.

RELATED: B&B Food Train continues to provide food during COVID-19 pandemic

John Lind, owner of B&B Market, accepts $20 from Blake Conklin as his siblings look on. In just over a year, the B&B Market "food train" raised more than $200,000 for people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Contributed / John Lind
John Lind, owner of B&B Market, accepts $20 from Blake Conklin as his siblings look on. In just over a year, the B&B Market "food train" raised more than $200,000 for people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contributed / John Lind

“We had people coming in and donating and it just snowballed,” John said. “It just kept going and going and going ... We had people from the Cities sending us money — we had never met them before. I was just so impressed with it.”

Lind said they received donations from as far away as Texas, Tennessee and even California.

‘A big family’

The Linds said one of the reasons they’ve been successful at B&B Market is the staff.

“We’re all a big family,” Kim said. “Everybody works together and if there’s a problem, like a brother and sister, you take care of it and go from there.”

The Linds have three adult children who have all worked at the market, but it will be a member of the B&B family who will take over the business as they transition away over the next few months.

Jake Richardson has worked at B&B Market since he was 15 years old. Richardson, now 24, hopes to continue the market's tradition of being a small business that helps out in the community.

Jake Richardson takes an order over the phone at B&B Market in Cloquet on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. 
Samantha Erkkila / Duluth News Tribune
Jake Richardson takes an order over the phone at B&B Market in Cloquet on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Samantha Erkkila / Duluth News Tribune

“I want to keep giving back to the community,” Richardson said. "My grandpa, Denny Randelin, was a big service-above-self person ... It’s the small businesses that will help you out, it’s not the big corporations.”

Richardson doesn’t have too many changes in mind right off the bat, but John, noticing his protege was wearing a maroon apron instead of the customary red, asked if that was a change coming.

“No, I pushed the wrong button when I was ordering,” Richardson said.

John said Richardson has already stepped in to do the ordering and scheduling for B&B and the stress might be showing.

“It looks like he’s aged 10 years in the last two weeks” John joked.

In reality, Richardson is looking forward to continuing to grow and expand B&B like the Linds have done for more than 40 years.

“I want to have something that’s mine that I can make a legacy out of like John and Kim did,” he said.