Made in Minnesota

Fluff Piece

Former camp counselor goes retro with North Mallow

By Hannah Wagener
Tue, 2017-05-16 14:24

If you want to start a successful business, go back to what you know. If you’re Mike Nelson, that means making the move from history teacher to marshmallow entrepreneur. The idea for North Mallow, a Minneapolis-based gourmet marshmallow business, was born from experience. “I was a camp counselor for about eight or nine years at the YMCA and always loved s’mores,” Nelson says. “I became a teacher, it just wasn’t for me, and I decided to look into making marshmallows.”

Growing up with his mom as a home cook, Nelson had the background necessary for his next endeavor. “She inspired me to cook my own food and try different flavors and ingredients,” Nelson says. He’s eager to introduce the public to mallows that are made from all-natural ingredients. (Meaning they won’t burn while you’re trying to perfect your s’more game). “I wanted to make sure they weren’t catching on fire,” Nelson explains. “I was always the guy who tried to make them perfectly brown.”

And in 2015, North Mallow launched.

Beginning with connections in the Minnesota business scene, Nelson found a niche creating s’mores bars for weddings. “In the event industry, more and more, they want experiences, not just an event,” Nelson says. “In 2015, we did 12 events. This year, we’ll do over 100.”

Now, Nelson is hoping to grow his online sales, where he has sold four flavors of his artisan marshmallows since last November, including vanilla bean, mocha bean, chocolate chip and caramel swirl. While you can buy his mallows online now, Nelson is hoping to be in small specialty shops this summer and even give the Super Bowl committee a taste of North Mallow.

“We’re kind of that northern dessert that people from around the country really want,” Nelson reasons. “It’s a comfort food.”