Neil Flick is slowly acclimating to North Dakota culture, the avid fisherman already knows what knoephla soup and lutefisk are.
The state is new territory for Flick and his new store, Duluth Trading Co., which is now open. The retail store that features workman's and workwoman's tool and apparel lines, will have a ribbon cutting for the grand opening of its first location in North Dakota at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 22.
The new location, which already had a soft opening for the past week, will be working with professional lumberjacks from DLW Timberworks who will perform at free public shows at 10:30 a.m. and noon as part of the opening.
Even during the soft opening, workers at Duluth Trading Co. were greeting people at the door in with plenty of recognizable elements from other stores.
"It's a good meld for the state in general," Flick said. "Obviously, a hard-working state like North Dakota, it fits in perfectly with our clothing here."
Flick, West Fargo's store manager, relocated from Omaha where he was an assistant store manager. He said Duluth Trading Co. gathered information from online catalog shopping and figured North Dakota would be the right spot for its newest addition.
"It's an opportunity with an expanding area," Flick said. "It was just a great fit for us."
Mayor Rich Mattern said the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Committee approved an application for the company's new store in a meeting in late 2017 and construction began shortly afterward.
Flick said this location will offer popular apparel but the store also incorporates design elements from the local area and North Dakota historical images. The location also has a "Builder's Lounge" which serves as a hospitality area where shoppers can relax and drink complimentary coffee.
The location at 2261 Rustad Lane East in West Fargo was optimal, Flick said, because it is easily visible from the interstate and is in a rapidly expanding city.
"It's a unique experience to come to one of our stores with the products we have and the way we set up our store," Flick said. "What really sets us apart is we're focused on the quality of our service and the quality of our product."
This is the 33rd new store for the company. The company expects to hire 35 to 40 employees for the new 16,000-square foot location. Flick heard workers would be hard to find but didn't have much difficulty finding an all-local staff. He said the reception of the new location has been well met, which he believes speaks to the company's brand including its infamous advertising campaigns.
"That says something about the quality of folks that we had come in, but it also says something about our brand and the culture we have here as a company and a brand," Flick said. "That really entices people to come here and join the neighborhood."
Flick said customers from around the North Dakota borders have been looking forward to an in-state location. Duluth Trading Co. has a devoted "neighborhood" or client base, he said.
"We want people to come in here and feel like they're our next-door neighbors," Flick said. "We're going to give you a cup of coffee, a bottle of water and definitely help you out."