A three-generation Newport family business has just been awarded the Newport Business of the Year Award for 2021, by City of Newport Mayor Laurie Elliot.
Founded in 1947 by the grandfather of Brian North and Tricia Hinz, the family business is still going strong more than 70 years later, with the North Pole Restaurant a fixture of the Newport area.
“We would really miss you if you were not a part of our community,” Newport Mayor Elliot told North Pole Restaurant owner Brian North and Tricia Hinz, who runs the nearby pharmacy side of the business. Their grandfather Robert North started out in Newport after graduating from the University of Minnesota college of pharmacy, per an article in the October 16, 1959 edition of The Reporter, a newspaper then serving South Washington County.
Moving from the original business site to go across Highway 61 with a shopping center in 1952, Robert North teamed up with George Fisher, a grocer, and the Highway 61 Shopping Center as it was then known expanded in the fall of 1959, seeking to concentrate and thus stimulate those businesses within Newport. Today, it’s known as the Newport Center.
“And one of the things that I really like about the North Pole is that you’re really the heartbeat of our community,” Mayor Elliot told Brian North and Hinz in presenting the Business of the Year Award. “You’re a place that families can gather and have gathered for decades and decades, so I feel like you’re a little bit the heartbeat of our community,” she said, mentioning the North family’s support of children and education efforts along with seniors and adults as just some of their many contributions to the area. Brian North then gave a recap of how things had started with the family business all those years back, bringing things forward to the present.
“Coming up next year we’ll be 70 years old, and it’s been in our family ever since,” he said, saying that Tricia ran the pharmacy side while he ran the restaurant, “and then we collaborate on a lot of decisions,” North said. Hinz had words of appreciation for Mayor Elliot and Newport as well in accepting the award.
“Like you said Newport appreciates us here and we appreciate everybody in Newport,” Hinz said in accepting the award with Brian from Mayor Elliot. “We wouldn’t be here without the residents and surrounding residents,” Hinz said.