Dunbar Creek Bait Co.


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Dunbar Creek Bait Co.

Located in Squaw Lake, MN Dunbar Creek Bait Co. is dedicated to delivery high quality, live bait year round to resorts and shops throughout Northern MN.

Dunbar Creek

Amber Michalek and Spence Haugen own Dunbar Creek Bait Co., and are dedicated to delivering high quality, live bait year round to 17 resorts and 11 shops throughout northern Minnesota covering Itasca, Beltrami, Cass and Koochiching counties.

Prior to starting the business in 2014, Spence worked for Stone Bait Services of Northome, MN under the ownership of James Stone who had been in the industry for over 35 years. James extended his knowledge and expertise to Spence for one year prior to retiring and closing his shop. Amber and Spence obtained all of James's equipment, built a 1600 square foot bait shop on their property, and opened for business as soon as ice went on in November. They were fortunate enough to keep all original clients and add five new accounts in their first year of business. The two of owners work the business themselves with Spence running day-to-day operations and Amber doing the bookkeeping and filling in on deliveries as needed. Dunbar Creek Bait hires one full-time employee to operate a second truck during peek season from May to September. On some days, deliveries travel up to 200 miles one way to fill bait tanks around the state.

In the summer of 2014, Amber contacted the SBDC at the Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) after being referred by her Uncle, a former client. She started working with SBDC Consultant Shannon Benolken who was able to immediately ask and answer questions that were critical to the business planning process. Amber explained, “I feel the most crucial thing that got us up and running by our deadline aside from the business plan was the financial projections that Shannon and I put together.  The bank was so impressed!” Amber was also happy to report Dunbar Creek Bait was within 8% of their projected gross revenue sales for 2015, and the business continued to use the SBDC program through 2016 to adjust their budget accordingly to stay on track for their annual goals.

“I’m forever grateful for Shannon and the SBDC!" said Amber. "I can’t say enough good things about the services they offer.”