October 29, 2018
Duluth, Minnesota – October 29, 2018: The Entrepreneur Fund is pleased to announce that the most recent Mary Mathews Legacy Award was presented to Erik and Jessica Lietz, founders and owners of popular Iron Range restaurants The Whistling Bird in Gilbert, Boomtown Woodfire in Eveleth and BoomTown Brewery in Hibbing on Monday, October 15, 2018. The Mary Mathews Legacy Award recognizes outstanding business leaders in northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin and was created in honor of Mary Mathews, founding CEO of the Entrepreneur Fund.
“The Lietzs are exemplary visionaries and strong business leaders. We’re excited to present them with Mary Mathews Legacy Award,” said Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund CEO. “Together they’ve built a lasting brand that not only exemplifies their vision, but it has blown every projection out of the water.”
The opening of BoomTown Brewery in Hibbing in December 2017 marked the third restaurant endeavor for Erik and Jessica Lietz. Sales after the third quarter already matched what they projected for all of 2018. Today, the Lietzs employ 127 people at the three locations, including a number of salaried, full-time individuals. The rest is a mix of full-time and part-time employees. Several employees work at more than one location, as needed.
The Mary Mathews Legacy Award honors the work of Mary Mathews, who founded the Entrepreneur Fund in 1989 with the goal of creating a vibrant entrepreneurial culture across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The award recognizes the success of small business owners who embody Mathews’ entrepreneurial vision through achieving significant milestones in growing revenues, adding jobs, community impact and community leadership.
“We’re incredibly proud to be receiving the Mary Mathews Legacy Award,” said Jessica Lietz. “Anyone in the restaurant industry knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s been incredible to see BoomTown Brewery take off in Hibbing. We love this region, and we set out to create a community gathering space, a place for everyone. The response has been truly humbling.”
The Mary Mathews Legacy Award recognizes the efforts of local entrepreneurs. Candidates must own businesses in the Entrepreneur Fund’s 11-county region in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin as well as be a client of the Entrepreneur Fund in a financial and/or strategic capacity.
Candidates are also assessed on the following criteria:
- Revenue: The business exemplifies innovation, professionalism and integrity and has shown an increase in gross revenues of at least 10 percent over one year.
- Jobs: The business fosters a positive, fair and supportive environment for all employees and the business has added at least five new jobs or two FTEs to a community.
- Community Impact: The business leads the way through reinvestment, community-minded business practices, and for the greater good of the community.
- Community Leadership: The business serves their community with vision and integrity through innovation, growth, sound business practices, community responsibility and partnerships.
The Entrepreneur Fund presents the Mary Mathews Legacy Award to deserving entrepreneurs throughout the year.
About The Entrepreneur Fund
The Entrepreneur Fund is the resource for entrepreneurs in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The Entrepreneur Fund has fueled more than 14,000 businesses with expert support and funded over $41 million in loans since 1989. The Entrepreneur Fund is dedicated to strengthening entrepreneurship in the region, while also supporting and increasing economic development. Through this strategic approach, the Entrepreneur Fund promotes the entrepreneurial spirit and helps create economic wealth and diversity in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.EntrepreneurFund.org.