We sat down with Peter Jacobson, who co-owns Lands End Pasty Company in Minneapolis, MN. Pasties are traditional Cornish baked goods filled with savory and comforting creations like steak + potatoes and pork + leek, that you can eat on the go. You will have a full meal in hand because there is a bit of apple pie in one of the corners! Their pasties are made in-house with care, from scratch, and are truly “fast food that tastes like home cooking.” Read on to learn Lands End’s story…
Why did you decide to start your business? Tell us your backstory!
Jon, my uncle, had a friend who moved to England. He was always trying to get people to come visit, so my uncle took the opportunity and started visiting once or twice a year. They took a day trip to Cornwall the first time Jon went and he had his first pasty there. He immediately fell in love with the area and the food. He was a little disappointed after he got back to the US because there weren’t many places to find a good Cornish pasty in the area, so he began to make his own. Pretty soon he found himself making them for his friends and coworkers, and over time he got a little carried away. He had always loved to cook, so he started entertaining the notion of opening his own pasty shop. When he finally worked up the courage to go for it, he figured he needed another person to get it going, so he asked me if I would join him on this crazy adventure. We’ve always been pretty close, and I figured it would be pretty exciting and a great opportunity.
Why do you love doing business here in Minneapolis?
Doing business in Minneapolis near the University of Minnesota has been a lot of fun. The shop is entirely run by just the two of us, so we get meet every single customer that comes through our door. We are always up for a chat, so we get to hear a lot of stories (and tell plenty of our own) and the people at the U have such a diverse range of backgrounds. The best part is being in Dinkytown itself. My uncle and I are both from small southern Minnesota towns, but Dinkytown feels even closer knit than they were. We’ve built friendships with so many people in the area. We don’t mind if people stop in and don’t buy anything or bring in outside food, (you can’t eat a pasty every single day) so many of our regular customers will just stop by to say hi and keep us company when they aren’t in the mood for a pasty.
What’s the most helpful piece of customer feedback you’ve received?
Before we opened our shop we had the pleasure of meeting an acting troupe from Cornwall that was performing at a local theater. They had been in the US for several months and were getting a bit homesick, so we offered to make them some pasties. They loved them and were able to offer some minor tweaks to help us get the most authentic Cornish flavor that we could. One thing in particular was the steak and blue cheese pasty they tried. One of the actors wondered if we could find a source for English Stilton blue cheese, which we did, and that turned into a local favorite.
What’s your advice for other business owners or someone who wants to start a small business?
Get to know people that own businesses in the area. They will be one of your best assets. Owning your own business is a huge undertaking, and it is a tremendous help when you have someone to turn to for advice that has already been through it.
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