Chelsea Pusc prepares to close Gunflint Mercantile and transition to new business, The Chocolate Dog
Kalli Hawkins

Chelsea Pusc prepares to close Gunflint Mercantile and transition to new business, The Chocolate Dog

After 13 years in business, Chelsea Pusc will close Gunflint Mercantile in downtown Grand Marais this Saturday, Feb. 17.

Pusc is preparing to embark on a new small business venture that will bring a long-awaited dream to fruition.

Her new business, The Chocolate Dog, will start as an online business that provides delicious homemade dog treats for the four-legged loved ones in our lives.

“I wanted to add dog treats to Gunflint Mercantile for probably six years,” Pusc said. Despite having a commercial kitchen and adequate space, she said, “I never had time to add that to my mix.”

She said she was ready for a change after working seven days a week for the past 13 years. “I needed it. It felt like I needed to make a change in what I’m doing.”

Pusc said once she closes Gunflint Mercantile, she hopes to focus on selling dog treats online by this spring. She plans to have the dog treats available at a few small businesses in Grand Marais and local summer markets.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever,” she said. “I just figured I’m just gonna go for it and just do it.”

As the business evolves over time, she plans to travel around Minnesota to sell her goods and eventually offer chocolate truffles and treats for people, too.

“I’m really looking forward to having the freedom to go around and go where the people are and not be tied to the brick and mortar that I have here in town,” she said.

One of the most rewarding aspects of owning and operating Gunflint Mercantile for the past 13 years has been the people, customers, and Grand Marais small business community, Pusc said. “It’s been a happy place that people like to come into.”

In addition to preparing for the small business transition, Pusc will be moving out of Cook County shortly. Pusc and her husband are moving to Deer River, Minn., near Grand Rapids, and her new business, The Chocolate Dog, will be based out of Deer River.

Reflecting on her time in Grand Marais, she said, “Thank you for all the support. I couldn’t have done any of this without like the community of Grand Marais, the small business owners, everybody.”

Gunflint Mercantile will be open every day this week from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The last day will be Saturday, Feb. 17. Fred, the infamous Gunflint Mercantile moose will be moving to his new home at Visit Cook County later this week.

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Chelsea Pusc as she prepares to close Gunflint Mercantile this Saturday and transition into her new business, The Chocolate Dog. Audio from the interview is below.