The Entrepreneur Fund announced the first 2018 Mary Mathews Legacy Award was presented to Erik and Jessica Lietz, founders and owners of The Whistling Bird in Gilbert, Boomtown Woodfire in Eveleth and BoomTown Brewery in Hibbing,
“The Lietzs are exemplary visionaries and strong business leaders. We’re excited to present them with Mary Mathews Legacy Award,” said Shawn Wellnitz, Entrepreneur Fund CEO. “Together they’ve built a lasting brand that not only exemplifies their vision, but it has blown every projection out of the water.”
The opening of BoomTown Brewery in Hibbing in December 2017 marked the third restaurant endeavor for Erik and Jessica Lietz. Sales after the third quarter already matched what they projected for all of 2018. Today, the Lietzs employ 127 people at the three locations, including a number of salaried, full-time individuals. The rest is a mix of full-time and part-time employees.
The award honors the work of Mary Mathews, who founded the Entrepreneur Fund in 1989 with the goal of creating a vibrant entrepreneurial culture across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. The award recognizes the success of small business owners who embody Mathews’ entrepreneurial vision through achieving significant milestones in growing revenues, adding jobs, community impact and community leadership.
“We’re incredibly proud to be receiving the Mary Mathews Legacy Award,” Jessica Lietz said in a news release. “Anyone in the restaurant industry knows it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s been incredible to see BoomTown Brewery take off in Hibbing. We love this region, and we set out to create a community gathering space, a place for everyone. The response has been truly humbling.”