5:07 PMThursday, June 15, 2023
Few things are as synonymous with Minnesota summers than grilling in your back yard.
Just ask Bryan Dawson, manager of Welna Ace Hardware in Robbinsdale.
“I think the appeal of grilling is, it’s sort of primal,” Dawson said. “We’ve cooked over fire for generations. Centuries, and I think the taste is, you just can’t get anywhere else.”
Dawson happens to be an expert on this subject, and he’s got a whole store now to prove it.
“We really wanted to be a destination for grilling,” he said.
The business formerly known as Robbinsdale Marine was recently bought by the owners of the nearby Welna Ace Hardware and transformed into the “Birdtown Backyard.”
The space contains a section for bird enthusiasts and anyone looking to upgrade their outdoor patio.
But make no mistake, grilling is the focal point of this building.
“Minnesota doesn’t have a great intrinsic barbecue scene much like Kansas City or Memphis or Texas,” Dawson said. “Our barbecue scene really happens in the backyard, and so it makes sense to try do something like this now when people are spending more time in their back yard.”
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association reports that the pandemic pushed grill sales and usage to record highs, with 70-percent of all U.S. households owing a grill or smoker.
Dawson believes the desire to grill is here to stay.
“I think people are working at home more, they want their backyard to feel like an extension of their home,” Dawson said. “And the grill often becomes the centerpiece of that experience.”
Meanwhile, the Birdtown Backyard allowed them to not only expand their grilling-related inventory, but do a remodel of the original hardware store and grow their paint and garden departments.
“Our expansion is very exciting,” Dawson said. “I think it’s a major investment in the city of Robbinsdale.”
It’s an investment that will help satisfy people’s taste buds.
“We’re here to stay, and we’re here to make this community better,” Dawson said.
The Birdtown Backyard is expected to open sometime in the next few weeks.