The idea for Victual sprang from personal needs: living in a northern, out-state community means that options are limited for some of the specialty foods that we enjoy on a routine basis, whether it be artisanal farmstead cheeses from the US or Europe, or fancy small-batch crackers, or some of the hard-to-find specialty liqueurs used to make some of our favorite craft cocktails. We commiserated with friends and found that every one of us packs the cooler in the trunk with every trip to the Twin Cities to haul our goodies back up north. Why aren’t these foods available under one roof, closer to home? And, with one of us being lactose-intolerant, why isn’t there a super-premium ice cream brand that makes a bunch of flavors of lactose-free ice cream that’s every bit as delicious as regular ice cream? Knowing that more than 20% of the US population is lactose intolerant, why hasn’t the dairy industry figured this out already? If no one else was going to solve our problems, it was up to us to figure it all out. We decided create a hybrid specialty store that focuses on the following product categories: Ice cream, cheese, charcuterie, gourmet, gifts and spirits. If we have identified an ultra-niche, it’s finding products that are either lactose-free or lactose-friendly, even if you’re looking for cheddar cheese popcorn for snacking. And we decided to put it in Crosby, MN. The choice was clear … the town was just voted as one of the best cities to live in America by Outside Magazine and it’s undergoing a remarkable renaissance. There are historic buildings in desperate need of preservation. There’s a booming tourism business spurred on by the local mountain bike trail system. There’s an esteemed medical campus. We’re in a residential area with a nearby high school. And, perhaps most importantly, there’s a huge lake community of folks like us that have always been under-served. Once you visit, you’ll see all kinds of reasons to come back again and again. We’ll have ingredients for pontoon platters and charcuterie boards for when company stops by. You might encounter fresh flowers in the summertime, or even turkey eggs if they’re laying. We have all kinds of refueling snacks for the bikers, hikers and paddlers. You can relax and enjoy your ice cream on our side garden patio open to all. Our ever-changing roster of ice cream flavors will be available in to-go containers in pints and quarts. And, knowing us, we’re bound to have a special cocktail of the week that we’re promoting. Think of it like this: Northern living, improved.

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