Work is underway to turn a former hair salon into a Superior coffeehouse.
Annette and Mark Jacobson have decided to bring their passion for coffee and baked goods downtown, setting up shop beside Horizon Travel at 1418 Tower Ave. Twisted Pastries Coffeehouse is set to open in February.
Keeping things local is important for the couple, who both hail from Superior.
"We want to have our business here, in Superior," Jacobson said. "This is where we're from. We love the community and we'd love to help make it grow in a really positive direction."
Their business dreams have been percolating for years, and the former Harvey's Family Hair Care space caught their eye.
"I loved the look of it, I loved the look of Tower Avenue, I loved that it was close to Belknap," Jacobson said. "It's really a great neighborhood."
Demolition was complete and rebuilding was on tap last week as the couple posed for a photo in subzero temperatures (8 below zero, according to their cell phones).
The blank canvas will soon develop a homey vibe.
The entrepreneurs envision a cozy, warm shop that invites customers on the go to stop for a bite to eat, a sweet treat and Duluth Coffee products. The menu will feature homemade scones, muffins, baked donuts, specialty cupcakes, Panini sandwiches and smaller breakfast items.
Their fare will include natural, locally-sourced ingredients, mixed into combinations that are anything but traditional. Those twisted flavors are what earned the shop its name.
The business' Facebook page lists recent holiday-flavored cupcakes, from eggnog rum and apple cider to red wine, dark chocolate and beer. A November event for Kintop Chiropractic and Wellness Clinic introduced visitors to Jacobson's chocolate coffee, champagne with a hint of orange and lemon raspberry cupcakes.
Jacobson, who has a master's degree in business administration, plans to offer a limited variety of specialty flavors, which will rotate.
She intends to bring the same twisted flavors to her muffins, scones and donuts. Each goes through a rigorous panel of judges.
"We have our little test kitchen at home," Jacobson said. "It's a lot of hauling it out to friends, where we camp, to work, to events and having people taste and give feedback."
Their children pack some for lunch, enlisting classmates as taste-testers. And Twisted Pastries creates signature batches of cupcakes for events ranging from weddings to business meetings.
Jacobson's passion for coffee and baking is generational. She discovered the joys of baking with her grandmother. That's also where she was introduced to java.
"I've been a coffee drinker since I was a little girl at my grandparents' house," she said.
An early riser in high school, she eventually became the family coffee brewer. Now, she's ramping up the scale of her brewing.
The couple plans to hire up to seven employees.
"We're looking for an engaged team," Jacobson said. "I feel people need to work together to move forward in a business."
They'll be trained to concoct the full range of espresso drinks.
"So all of our baristas will be professionally trained and know all the products and how to create the perfect cup of coffee, whatever that is for you," Jacobson said.
Jacobson said her husband is flexing his handyman talents to build the business of their dreams. She's been working on the financials and baking up batches of goodies for events, whetting the public's appetite for her unique treats.
"We are partners," Jacobson said.
In addition to opening a business, both work full-time and they are raising two children.
"I love a challenge," the Superior entrepreneur said.
With their opening date still up in the air, folks can follow the Twisted Pastries Coffeehouse Facebook site for more up-to-date information, or keep an eye on the Tower Avenue storefront.
Anyone can get an early taste of Twisted Pastries by booking them for an event.
"We've already got orders for summer weddings," Jacobson said.
Call (218) 590-5802 for more information.