Harbor Rails Pub is more than just a pub

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The streets in downtown Two Harbors are home to several businesses. On the corner of First Avenue and Waterfront Drive, you’ll see a newly opened business called Harbor Rail Pub.

"It’s the cornerstone of downtown, it’s the gateway to the harbor, said Heil. It’s got tons of history. It was built in 1888. It’s been a couple of different pubs, it has a lot of history." The pub is open daily at 3 pm with some weekends featuring live music.

Donna Heil is the owner of Harbor Rail Pub and Gertie’s Construction Management Company. Heil is also the owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service. Both of her company are named after her mother, Gertie. Donna is a retired nurse.

The building is not only home to the pub. Above it sits a three-bedroom luxury vacation rental apartment. There is reclaimed wood from the previous apartments that are used throughout the pub. “It’s got a rooftop deck, which faces the harbor that’s breathtaking.”

The apartment comes complete with a fireplace, a sauna, and more. The Harbor Rail Loft is available to rent on Airbnb. The renovation inspired Donna and Chris Fletcher, her partner, to start Gertie’s Construction Management Company.

Harbor Rail Pub can be rented as a small event venue. Up to 50 people can occupy the venue space. Some of the events that can be held there are parties, showers, and other gatherings.

As an entrepreneur, especially for women, it can be challenging. "When you own the building and own everything inside, you do come up with some obstacles because you are a woman, said Heil. A lot of times, I have a partner Chris Fletcher who helps me a lot. A lot of people will talk to him, you know. As you go through the journey, you learn when to speak up for yourself and let things go by you. It’s been fun and challenging and rewarding, and I’m learning a lot every day and every minute."

As time moves forward, Donna hopes that harbor rail pub will be a place that will bring people together for good times.