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Two Harbors train-themed candy and gift shop prepares for Memorial Weekend opening

Burlington Station will open May 29, 2021, with a North Shore-themed model train, homemade sugary treats and gift shop.

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People entering Two Harbor’s Burlington Station gift shop will pass under the trestle of a working model railroad. The business, slated to open May 29, 2021, will also house Callie's Sweets Candy Store. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Two Harbors will welcome a sweet new attraction next weekend.

Burlington Station will celebrate its grand opening at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 29, at 320 Seventh Ave., across Minnesota Highway 61 from Lou’s Fish House and Holiday Station.

Owned by 21-year-old Two Harbors native Callie Swanson, North-Shore inspired Burlington Station will have a model train room, gift shop and Callie’s Sweets candy store.

“It didn't really start out as this. It kind of evolved into this business,” Swanson said. “It originally was just going to be a gift store, and we were going to sell a little bit of candy and a lot of furniture and also rent out storage spaces in our building.”

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Muralist Brian Olson touches up one of the works he painted for Burlington Station on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

She and others involved with the project decided to scrap the furniture and storage angle. The former corporate office instead contains a G-scale model train that runs around the 17,000-square-foot building and other train memorabilia. The train tracks are expected to change with time, so visitors may find something new every time they go. Eventually, the tracks are planned to reach 5,000 feet in length.

Murals by Duluth artist Brian Olson depict various landmarks along the shore, including a candy version of ships loading at Two Harbors’ Burlington Bay, plus Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse and Canal Park.

“We want to feel as though you are following the model train along the North Shore,” said Jordan Seidel, marketing director.

Swanson started Callie’s Sweets online last summer after learning to make fudge, caramel and popcorn. In addition to the tasty treats for sale, there will also be live demonstrations, a milk bar and taste testing at the store.

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Jordan Seidel, Burlington Station marketing director, stands in a cafe-style area next to Callie’s Sweets on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

The gift shop will sell home decor, kitchen supplies, clothing, gardening supplies and children’s toys. Most of the items are made in Minnesota. Outside, a patio will be open, weather permitting, for yard games and fire pits.

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Seidel said the location is perfect for tourists to stop through on their way up and down the North Shore.

“Two Harbors has got a lot of things going for it in the community, and it’s just a great place for it,” he said. “There’s a lot of traffic going through town going up the North Shore. Everyone involved in the project is from Two Harbors and we really wanted to have a success story happen where we’re from.”

While Swanson may be a young business owner, she said the feat didn’t intimidate her. Her father, Chris Swanson, owns Garage Starts and PureDriven — companies that coach entrepreneurs and businesses with startups and marketing.

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Tim Aldridge works on installing speakers in the metal ceiling of Callie’s Sweets on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Burlington Station is free for all ages to visit, but there is a fee to view the train room.

“Burlington Station is a place where everyone can tap into their inner child,” Seidel said. “From trains to treats, it doesn’t matter if you are 6 or 65 — you will find something to capture your imagination in Burlington Station.”

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An image of Callie Swanson (center) graces one of the railroad-theme mural at Burlington Station. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Laura Butterbrodt covers health for the Duluth News Tribune. She has a bachelor of arts in journalism from South Dakota State University and has been working as a reporter in Minnesota and South Dakota since 2014.
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