AROUND TOWN: Home-brew supply shop to open on GF’s Washington Street

Michael Pence is an avid home-brewer.

He launched a club of like-minded beer and wine makers about a year ago in Grand Forks. But many of the supplies he needs aren’t available here. Instead, he orders them from Minnesota or elsewhere.

Hoping to change that, and tap into the local home-brewing culture, Pence is launching the Plains and Grains Brew Supply in a strip mall on South Washington Street.

The store will be located in part of the space at 13th Avenue South and Washington Street that used to house the Silver Dollar Pawn Shop, next to Mexican Village. It will open in February, Pence said.

He’s hoping not only to provide grains, kits and any other supplies a home brewer would need, but also classes for brewing novices.

“I know that there are a lot of people in Grand Forks and in the surrounding areas that do a lot of home-brewing, between beer and wine,” Pence said. “I think Grand Forks is a great place to do this.”

Pence, a first-time business owner, said he bought the remaining inventory from a now-closed store in Minot. He said for now, he and one other person are involved in the business.

“The market is going to determine how many people we’re going to have in place,” Pence said.

But Pence said there seems to be a lot of excitement about the business.

“I’ve got people in Fargo that are interested, Winnipeg, and here,” he said. “So it’s all over.”

Valley Dairy grows

The Valley Dairy chain of convenience stores and gas stations is purchasing a gas station across from its own store at the intersection of University Avenue and North Washington Street in Grand Forks.

Company President Monica Musich said she has not decided what will go on the lot, but she has decided what it will not be.

“Just not another convenience store. I already have a convenience store,” she said, referring to the Valley Dairy on the northeast corner of the intersection. She was approached recently by Berger Enterprises in Emerado, N.D., to buy to property on the southwest corner.

Musich said she was considering a coffee bar and bakery for the location, something Valley Dairy has been building up in its other stores. Whatever the use, she said she likes the high-traffic intersection.

“It’s a good corner,” she said, “and I needed some additional space.”

Economic report

Falling agricultural prices were the biggest drag on North Dakota’s otherwise strong recent economic performance, according to new analysis by Moody’s Analytics.

Mostly, the state has seen its economic indicators decline to normal, though healthy, levels, from its frantic growth over the recent boom years, according to the report.

“The pace of job growth has plateaued just below 3 percent year over year, after cooling from a high of nearly 10 percent in mid-2012,” it said. “Personal income growth has similarly decelerated in recent months but remains roughly twice the national average.”

Personal income growth is at 4.4 percent this year, from a high of 18.7 percent in 2012.

Potential pitfalls for growth identified by the report were strained energy infrastructure, including roads, rail lines and pipelines, as well as uncertainty over federal spending.

However, the report summed up its outlook by stating, “North Dakota is in an enviable position and will outperform the U.S. for the next several years.”

Send business tips to Bjorke at and (701) 780-1117 or to Hageman at or (701) 780-1244.


Home Brewing

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