Small business spotlight: Mike and Jen’s Cocoa
It’s pretty safe to say that Mike and Jen’s Cocoa is the Northland’s favorite hot cocoa.
The business started as a hobby in 2012. Dean Packingham, who owns Mike and Jen’s with Amanda Cunningham, said “it was something I got a little carried away with.”
The first store they were sold in was Duluth Kitchen Company, and now they’re in 1,200 stores.
“Without that support, without a small business taking a chance on us, we never could have even made that first step into retail,” Packingham said.
They named the business after Dean’s kids, Mike and Jen. And they’ve made a point to pay it forward by supporting other small businesses too.
“When we were making the step from a church kitchen, which we only could use for like two hours, to needing more space, we had Duluth Coffee Company, Eric, reach out to us, called me down there, handed me a key, and said, ‘It’s yours after hours,'” Packingham said.
He feels small business is still the backbone of everything they do and the vast majority of the stores in which Mike and Jen’s is sold are small businesses.