By Jason DeRusha

Buying a gift for dad on Father’s Day is always the hardest of any holidays for me. There’s something about dads that can be challenging: my dad always says that he has everything, and he never has any good ideas of things he wants.

So I’ve done the work: finding dad-friendly gifts from Minnesota and Wisconsin companies. Any of these gifts are guaranteed to make your dad happy.

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Taki Watches

Dads love watches, and Taki Watches is a Twin Cities company, run by David Spencer. He created OGI Eyewear in 1997.

For Father’s Day, Taki is taking $30 off the Boone, Penn and Kenwood watches. They feature very stylish designs and bright colors. The watches (on sale) are $69 each. You can also find Taki Watches at Hammer Made in Edina’s Galleria Mall.

Man Law BBQ Tools

Man Law — sounds perfect for Dad, right? It’s a Rockford, Minnesota company owned by Eric Halberg. The Man Law 3-piece wood handle set is awesome: oversized, heavy duty, heavy weight handles, and perfect for dad.

The 3-piece set includes a set of tongs, a spatula and a fork, it costs about $50 on

Minnesota/Wisconsin Booze

You can’t go wrong by getting your dad a special bottle of booze. 45th Parallel Vodka is made in Wisconsin – by a couple of Twin Cities guys and retails at $30 – $40 at local liquor stores.

Prairie Organic Vodka gets its grain from three family farms. It’s distilled in Benson, Minnesota and bottled in Princeton by Ed Phillips and Sons, a Minneapolis company. It’s also delicious.

And Death’s Door Gin is made near Madison, Wisconsin. The organic wheat in the base comes from Washington Island. It’s clean and unique – the perfect spirit for sipping or mixing.

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iPad Stands

Solid Manufacturing Company is in Bloomington, Minnesota. They make a beautiful and minimalist iPad stand from white ash wood. The grains on each piece are unique, because they’re made by hand. Everything they sell is designed and manufactured in the Twin Cities. The iPad stand is just $35.

Pad & Quill is another Twin Cities company, making extremely unique iPad cases from leather, the cases look like books. The Graduate Edition case is two tones of leather, with access to the camera and on-off switch. It retails for $60.

Leather Wallet

A wallet is always a nice gift, but why not get the Dad Billfold from Leatherworks Minnesota in St. Paul Park. The wallet has burnished edges and the quality of a handmade product, it costs $50 and is available in Black, Red Maple, Natural, Tan, Black Cherry.

Ethnotek Messenger Bags

Ethnotek is a Minneapolis company that makes cool laptop bags that incorporate a panel that’s a handmade ethnic textile.

The company partners with local artisans in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia and Vietnam to create the textiles used in the bags. Ethnotek’s team scours the globe for talented artists and her company provides and helps provide a sustainable living for them by buying from them directly (including founder Jake Orak, who does most of the scouring).

Each Ethnotek bag can be customized via the removable front panel called a THREAD. Each THREAD is created from handmade textiles that are sourced in person and purchased directly from the artisan or craft village in which they were created. The THREAD lets people update the look of their bag without having to buy a new one entirely.

I think Dad would love the Vietnam 4 laptop messenger bag. It’s $159, but if you use the code DADSROCK at checkout by Thursday, you’ll get 25% off, so that’s about $120. I also like the limited edition Ghana backpack.

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You can also buy their bags locally at REI, Cliche, ALT, Forage Modern Workshop and Midwest Mountaineering.

Jason DeRusha