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How America Is Putting Itself Back Together

By: The Atlantic, James Fallows | February 22, 2016

Duluth, Minnesota, has become one of the country’s aerospace centers largely because the two brothers who founded Cirrus Design, Alan and Dale Klapmeier, decided that they wanted to spend their working lives amid the same Upper Midwest landscape and outdoors opportunities with which they had grown up. And now another generation of entrepreneurs is choosing Duluth. The Benson brothers, Dave and Greg, grew up in Minneapolis and went to college in the early 1990s at the University of Minnesota at Duluth. If you saw them in Southern California, you might think they were surfers-shaggy-haired, rangy, weathered. Their sports were instead the northern-plains variants: skiing, ice-skating, and skateboarding.

Soon after college, in 1997, they founded (with a friend, Tony Ciardelli) a company called TrueRide, which became a successful manufacturer of ramps, half-pipes, and other ingredients of outdoor skateboard parks. They started the company in Minneapolis but moved to Duluth because it was so much more affordable. They also liked Duluth’s livable scale, and what locals consider its year-round recreational opportunities. (Year-round if you enjoy the cold: When we visited the Bensons’ manufacturing plant, a week after Memorial Day in 2014, the last ice floe on Lake Superior had just melted. But, proving the locals’ loyalty, that same week residents were outvoting people from the likes of Asheville, North Carolina, and Provo, Utah, to win Outside magazine’s online poll to choose America’s â€"Best Town.”)

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