Diane Schmidt

A 5-gallon bucket of carrots, “unwashed and dirty,” and three ice cream pails of chokecherries.

“That’s how my business got started,” says Diane Schmidt, recalling her first sales attempt at the Mandan Farmers Market nearly 40 years ago.

Schmidt was a single mom at the time. She’d haul kids and carrots to the farmers market on Saturday mornings. She can still picture her young boys, in 1986, sitting on the curb while Mom made sales.

Marlo Anderson

Marlo Anderson is living proof there’s reason to celebrate every day. As founder of the National Day Calendar – the official, authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique national days – Anderson has built a wildly popular national brand around celebration.

Anderson’s curiosity popped in 2013, as he searched for information on the internet about the national day dedicated to his favorite snack – popcorn (the movie-theater buttered kind, preferably).


“Not many people get mad at the guy making coffee,” Travis Helfrich jokes.

It’s hard to imagine anyone being mad at a guy like Helfrich, who not only makes good coffee, but helps make the electricity Americans depend on to power their lives. He’s a coal worker, then a coffee roaster. In that order, for now.

While adjusting to a shiftwork schedule in his mid-20s, Helfrich picked up a coffee-drinking habit.

Black Paws Brewing Co.

As the only craft brewery in Devils Lake, the Black Paws Brewing Co. pays homage to the massive, mellow Newfoundland dog. The brewery’s entrance is guarded by a statue of owner Jeb Oehlke’s Newfoundland dog, Riggley, who inspired the brewery’s name and logo.

Black Paws pays tribute to all the Newfoundland dogs the Oehlke family has owned since the early 1990s, when the family acquired their first Newfoundland to use for search-and-rescue missions.

Black Leg Brewery

Nestled on the prairie 25 miles southeast of Bismarck, the historic Black Leg Ranch’s gem is the Copper Jewell Barn, where Black Leg Brewery crafts microbrews.

Home to six generations of the Doan family, Black Leg Ranch is a working ranch, raising both cattle and bison, since 1882 near McKenzie.

“We are a cattle ranch first and foremost, but we also have over 700 head of bison on our ranch,” Jay Doan says.

As of 2018, the back of the barn is home to Black Leg Brewery, with 14 microbrews made with many local ingredients.