Small Business Spotlight: Rapids Brewing Co.

Founded in 2019, Rapids Brewing Co. has quickly become a go-to northern Minnesota destination. Residents and visitors alike frequent the brewpub, located in an historic building in downtown Grand Rapids, to enjoy great food, catch live music, and sample the pubs ever-changing menu of brews and cocktails. 

Rapids Brewing Co. has been partnering with United Way since their founding, participating in initiatives like Dining United and hosting fundraising events such as the Itascamazing Race. In this Small Business Spotlight, General Manager Bill Martinetto discusses how the team behind the brewpub, a Small Business 365+ member, gives back to the community they serve.

Tell us about your business. What is your business philosophy?
We are a brewpub, so essentially a restaurant that brews our own beer. Our goal is to deliver an excellent food, beverage, and service experience for our guests and we strive to provide a fun environment for people to meet, have conversations (or debates), socialize, and be in community with one another.

What is unique about owning and operating a small business in the Itasca area?
There is a real effort to support local in this community. It’s fun to work in a community where people are eager to support and help where they can. Other small businesses are excited to collaborate and help each other. It’s inspiring and rewarding for all.

What advice would you give to other companies looking to get involved in the community?
Dive in! There are many people and organizations in this community doing great things and working feverishly to make this a better place. It is inspiring to get involved where you can and help the effort in any way.

Why are you passionate about your commitment to United Way’s Community Investment Fund?
We live in an incredible community. However, there are still plenty of unmet needs out there.  We want to do our part (no matter how big or small) to help fill those gaps.  We think a community that works together can do remarkable things.  A rising tide raises all ships, as they say.

What is something interesting or surprising that most people don’t know about you?
We do a variety of entertainment and do it often. We’re always trying to be creative with our calendar of events by hosting music artists multiple days a week as well as BINGO and open-mic nights.

What would your older self tell your younger self?
Hang on tight! We opened just a handful of months before the COVID-19 pandemic started. We were shut down and forced to operate in ways we did not plan for while starting up the restaurant. We made many pivots to our business model and product offerings over the first couple years, but as mentioned earlier, this community always responded well to our changes and made a deliberate effort to continue supporting where they could. It was unbelievable! 

Stay up-to-date on happenings at Rapids Brewing Co. by following them on social media or checking out their website

Our Small Business Spotlight series highlights locally-owned small businesses that support United Way’s work in the community through Small Business 365+ membership. Visit uwlakes.org/get-involved/companies to learn more about how your company can support United Way through sponsorships, workplace giving programs, and more.