Crowdsourcing comeback for Hibbing’s Bob Dylan hot spot?

Zimmy's in Hibbing, Minnesota

Zimmy’s Restaurant in downtown Hibbing, Minnesota, closed March 6. Zimmy’s was the primary landing spot for Bob Dylan fans who come to the Iron Range to see the music icon’s hometown.

This week my friends Linda Stroback-Hocking and her husband Bob Hocking launched a crowdsourcing campaign to reopen Zimmy’s, the Bob Dylan-themed bar and restaurant in Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. The campaign uses the Indiegogo platform, and represents something of a grand experiment in saving one of the Iron Range’s most unique night spots.

Zimmy’s, which had been eking out a living in the hardscrabble downtown of Hibbing, closed last spring after a calculation error in sales taxes triggered a chain reaction of financial problems. This summer the restaurant reverted to the bank, allowing Bob and Linda to settle the tax problem separately.

The goal of this campaign is to form a new structure that would allow Linda and/or new partners to join in purchasing the building from the bank, reopening it on surer footing. It’s essentially a crowdsourced economic development strategy and while I have no idea if it will work or not, I know how badly Zimmy’s has been missed since its closure.

I was one of the lead organizers of Bob Dylan Days for 13 years. We were able to hold Dylan Days in 2014 without Zimmy’s, but it was a challenge. The other organizers and I announced that we would be stepping back after this year in hopes that new owners at Zimmy’s or some other organization or group would step forward to organize any future Dylan Days events. This Indiegogo crowdsource fundraiser will either produce enough funds to reopen Zimmy’s as a base of Bob Dylan fan-dom in Northern Minnesota, or it will turn over any proceeds it earns to the not-for-profit fund of Dylan Days, for use by future organizers in re-imagining the arts and culture event.

You can see the fundraising campaign’s video below, or visit the Indiegogo site to donate or find out more.

In truth, this campaign would need a lot of people to join together for it to succeed. But maybe one person reading this sees an investment opportunity that has some heart and soul to it. It is a chance to keep the flame of culture that lit Bobby Zimmerman’s path off the Iron Range, and burns still as a beacon to those who would one day journey to the North Country fair.

(Disclosure: though I did not initiate this campaign, my friend Linda had consulted me about it and I’ve leant my name as a supporter of the project).

Comments

  1. I certainly hope this works out. When businesses close in our small towns and small cities, it starts to look like a 6 year old’s smile: gaps between the remaining teeth (stores.) But when they stay vacant too long, its like the remaining teeth get invisible rot, which eventually cause the underlying structure to deteriorate. Then nobody wants to be around that person or decayed downtown.

    Having worked to support a crowd sourcing project, I’d suggest asking any organizations in the area if they’d be willing to put this on their email list. And ask all the friends to “share” it on Facebook, not just “Like” it.

    Not sure for that money collection project allows the people to see who pitched in. If it turns out like it did here, you’ll find quite a number of donations come from out of the area, hence my suggestion to network far and wide. And you may also be surprised that some locals express some resentment.

  2. After 30 years in business they were unable to calculate sales tax properly? I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it.

  3. Great article with down to earth heat felt feelings. Why not help the little guy aren’t we all in a way in their shoes or in a minute could be. If we found ourselves in this position wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone help out. It really doesn’t take much more than a few dollars for each of us to pitch in and make this place a dream again for Linda , Bob all their employees and especially for the thousands of Dylan Fans! Come on let’s all Donate it will mean so much and cost us so little. Remember this the kindness you give away comes back ten fold!

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