HACKENSACK, Minn. (WCCO) — The second stop on this year’s winter lake trip brought Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer to Hackensack, Minn., a town in Cass County with a population of just over 300.
The duo braved extreme cold — with wind chills dipping well below negative 20 Thursday morning — in the three-and-a-half hour drive to the town, which got its name from its founders, who hailed from Hackensack, New Jersey.
The town wasn’t always the vacation hot spot it is now. In fact, in the 1950s, a local businessman constructed a statue called Lucette as a way to bring people to town. Check it out…
Frank & Chris Get A Lesson On Lucette
It may not show in the dead of winter, but Hackensack is home to the world’s largest beekeeping supplier.
Jack and Betty Thomas started Mann Lake Ltd. and never dreamed they’d lead the world in their industry. Out of their garage, the couple grew a company that now ships bee supplies from Hackensack to every corner of the world.
“Many people say, ‘Well, where did you get the name? Where did Mann Lake come from?'” Betty Thomas said. “Well, we live on Mann Lake, and that’s where we started the business.”
As one of the largest employers in Cass County, Mann Lake knows how to keep their workers happy.
“We are employee owned,” Jack Thomas said. “It’s only right that the employees should share in the profits of the company. They’re the ones that built it, they’re the ones that put their heart into it. We were just kind of the coaches.”
In return, those workers keep the customers coming back.
“We treat the customers like we want to be treated,” Betty Thomas said.
Everything a beekeeper needs is produced right at the shop, and everything is also shipped from there. More packages leave the Mann Lake facility than any place else north of Minneapolis.
Frank & Chris Meet The Busy Bees At Mann Lake Ltd.
Hackensack is about 50 minutes north of Brainerd on Highway 371. The town isn’t too busy in the winter, but come summer people flock to the area for its lakes. There’s a whopping 127 lakes in a 10-mile radius from town.
This weekend, it’s “Back to Hack,” a celebration of all the fun things winter has to offer. One of those things is snowmobiling for treasure, which the guys tried out Thursday. If you want to give it a shot, a treasure hunt is planned for Saturday. They’ll also have a huge bon fire, sleigh rides, snow sculpting, and fireworks over Birch Lake.
Frank & Chris Snowmobile For Treasure
With all the lakes, fishing is big business in Hackensack, and if you need some minnows or worms or leeches, there’s only one place to stop: Swanson’s Bait and Tackle.
Frank and Chris stopped by the shop, that’s run by Jim Tuller and his wife Lisa.
Jim Tuller said he left his job as a CFO of a company in the Twin Cities to move to Hackensack.
“We sold our house, bought a house and moved to Hackensack,” he said.
It’s a move he’ll never regret.
“I don’t ever get out of bed and say, Was this a mistake?” he said. “It wasn’t a mistake.”
Frank & Chris Visit Swanson’s
To top off their first night in Hackensack, the guys hit the Legion Club to see what goes into one of the oh-so-popular meat raffles.
Frank & Chris Host Hackensack Meat Raffle
Want more ideas of things to do in Hackensack, here’s some links:
On Friday, the guys will be exploring more of Hackensack. But here’s where they’ll be going in the coming weeks:
Jan. 30 & 31: Dresser, Wis.
Feb. 6 & 7: Waseca, MN
If you know a place they should go, email us here.