Adding “Technology” to Timber, Taconite and Tourism in Northern Minnesota

Art Unlimited | Angora, MN 

Anna Anderson and Elizabeth Chapman got their start at Art Unlimited as children when they would stuff envelopes for their dad, who founded the company in the early 80’s originally as a print shop. Fast forward and the digital and traditional marketing agency, which specializes in local and national accounts, is now co-led by the sisters. Growing where their roots are, Art Unlimited continues to operate from a secluded, beautiful workspace in the woods near Angora, Minnesota. A town with a population of 229.

In 2004, Anna and Elizabeth stepped into leadership positions with the company. When they began to focus on growth, they enrolled in their first business planning course with the Entrepreneur Fund in 2012. Anna recalls, “It was one of the first outreaches to women business owners specifically”. Since then, they have continued to stay engaged through different trainings, advising programs, and most recently Elizabeth has started a term serving as an Entrepreneur Fund board member.

As the company has grown so has their team, which now encompasses 45 employees and sub-contractors, seventeen of which were hired in 2020 alone. They also continue to prioritize their unique “team-first” work culture, which has led Art Unlimited to be highlighted as one of “Minnesota’s 100 Best Companies to Work For” by Minnesota Business magazine multiple times.

When asked about why they stand strongly behind their decision to offer quality jobs they responded, “We know that when we provide quality jobs with good benefits and good competitive salaries to our region it helps grow the region and helps to make it more attractive for more people to come into the region.” By making the investment, they explain, they are not only positively impacting their business, but the communities of northeastern Minnesota. “We want to make sure that there is a quality job for every gift and talent of our wonderfully talented individuals that live in our area.”

As business leaders specializing in the technology field, Anna and Elizabeth are also advocates for growing the technology industry alongside the existing, traditional industries of northeastern Minnesota. Elizabeth explains, “In our area we hear people say so many times that our region is comprised of 3 “T’s”: timber, taconite and tourism. We strongly believe there should be a fourth “T”: technology.” They believe that as technology is leveraged and the industries grow together, communities will benefit, and the number of quality jobs will increase in northeastern Minnesota.

Art Unlimited continues to be a partner of the Entrepreneur Fund. When asked what makes the organization unique, Anna shared that it’s the long-lasting relationships with small businesses across the region. “There are lenders who lend you money, but there are individuals who really care and are willing to get down in the nitty gritty and say how will this impact your business? How can we ensure that you have success? And to us that is what the Entrepreneur Fund is. They have built a relationship and they’ve said we believe in you.” We agree that these relationships lead to encouraging creativity and innovation from our small business owners to continue to grow the fourth “T” across the region.