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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published October 20 2013

Faces of the boom: Sweet products inspired by Bakken crude

WILLISTON, N.D. – Frack Jack pancake mix, Sweet Crude chokecherry syrup and Pipeline Pretzels may be popular stocking stuffers in the Oil Patch this year.

Minot’s Home Sweet Home gift shop has developed a trademarked line of North Dakota-made products and is marketing them to oil companies operating in the state.

“It’s really been a hit with oil companies,” said owner Linda Johnson. “I think we’re going to get a tsunami of orders.”

The idea started when Johnson got a tour of the Oil Patch from her high school classmate Allan Mueller, a Berthold truck driver who hauls oil.

Johnson and Mueller then decided to team up and asked vendors who make Pride of Dakota products if they could rebrand them with oil-related names.

“We believe so strongly in the Pride of Dakota products,” Johnson said.

Frack Jack pancake mix comes from a vendor in Center; Sweet Crude chokecherry syrup comes from Harvey; Seismic Salsa, Bakken Sunrise coffee and Bakken Gold chocolate bars are from Westhope; and Pipeline Pretzels are from Minot.

Additional Bakken-themed products are in the works by other North Dakota vendors.

“It’s just sharing a little bit of wealth all across the state,” Johnson said.

Johnson and Mueller have been meeting with oil companies and suggesting the products for corporate gifts. The products can be purchased individually or in baskets with clever names such as “The Derrick” and “The Pumpjack.”

“Keep the money in our state to support small businesses,” Johnson said.

Mueller continues to haul oil five days a week and helps with the gift shop business or marketing on the weekends.

They displayed their products at the Pride of Dakota showcases in Williston and Dickinson and the Norsk Hostfest in Minot. They also joined the North Dakota Petroleum Council and are attending oil shows to market their products.

They are expecting more online orders this year through their website, www.ndgifts.com.

“It’s really been a lot of fun,” Mueller said. “We’ve got a lot more potential for the business.”

Home Sweet Home, which is located along the Souris River in a 114-year-old Victorian house, had to be evacuated twice during the 2011 flood. The shop had its worst year of business that year as the community recovered.

But 2012 was Home Sweet Home’s record year, and this year is poised to exceed that, which Johnson attributes to business she’s seeing related to the oil boom.

“Our business is now thriving and growing because of the Bakken,” Johnson said.