The year 2019 has come and gone, and by many measures, was an eventful year in Borderland. The Journal has compiled a list of local business happenings over the last year using our past reporting and input from the public – including coming, going, and significant changes.

Coming: new businesses that opened locally in 2019

Studio B Flooring

    • Opened in June in the former Ballan Furniture building on Fourth Street.
    • Owned by Dawn Wilcox.

Border Boost

    • Herbalife nutrition club offering meal replacement shakes and teas.
    • Opened mid-July on Third Street.
    • Operated by mother-daughter duo, Cheryl and Lacey Bocnuk.

Beyond Aesthetics

    • Skin studio and day spa.
    • Opened August on County Road 21.
    • Operated by Jill Bradburn.

Northern Skin Rejuvenation

    • A non-surgical medical spa.
    • Opened September on Fourth Street.
    • Operated by Kathi Henrickson and Emily Nicholson.

Ballan’s iSpace

    • A collaborative coworking space.
    • Opened in December in the former Ballan Furniture building on Fourth Street.
    • Owned by Patti Ballan.

AJ's Lake Country Storage

    • Opened in 2019.
    • Owned by Tom Kellner.
    • Located on Highway 11 East.

Rainy Lake Vacation Campground (Rainy Lake RV)

    • Located on Highway 11 East.
    • Opened in 2019 for its first summer of operation.

Other businesses that joined the International Falls Chamber of Commerce in 2019:

  • Dazzleberry Candles, scented wax and candles
  • Conigliaro Design, graphic design and marketing

Going: businesses that left the area in 2019

Ballan Furniture

    • Owner Patti Ballan retired in January after 29 years. The business opened originally as Ballan-Jensen Furniture in 1964.
    • Plans for the space: currently houses Ballan’s iSpace and Studio B Flooring.

UnitedHealth Group

    • Announced closure of local office in early 2019.
    • Many staff to transition to working remotely.
    • Plans for the space: currently unknown to the public.

Tim Horton’s

    • Closed abruptly in May after two years in the community.
    • Plans for the space: currently unknown to the public.


    • Closed in July after being a part of downtown International Falls since 1989.
    • Plans for the space: building now houses Northland Sales and Service.

Frostbite Finds

    • The thrift store closed its doors in September after five years.
    • Plans for the space: still owned by KOOTASCA.


    • Closed its doors for good on Dec. 15 after 38 years.
    • Plans for the space: currently unknown to the public. The Journal reported in December that Mayor Harley Droba said local officials have been working with a group to reform the 83,000-square foot building.

The Loon’s Nest

    • Convenience store on Highway 11 East, closed in 2019.
    • Plans for the space: unknown, currently vacant.

The Woodland Inn

    • Located in Ray, closed in 2019.
    • Plans for the space: currently unknown.

Major changes in 2019: moving locations, new ownership, new services

  • Corrin’s Plumbing & Heating purchased by Shannon’s Plumbing and Heating in January after more than a century in Borderland.
  • The Heinle and Gruber family become owners of Thunderbird Lodge in April.
  • Rainy Lake Grill in Ranier reopened in May after renovations.
  • No Place Like Home Again relocates to Eleventh Street in May, the fourth time the business has moved in the last decade, but the first time it has moved to a location that isn’t a rental space.
  • Northland Sales and Service has taken over the Sears building since the Hometown Sears closed. It has been a part of the building since 2007 but now has expanded.
  • The Sports Shop owners put business up for sale in July. Milt and Karen Layman have owned The Sports Shop since June 1995.
  • Magpie & Magnolias moved its location to Third Street next to the Coffee Landing.
  • Boyum Performance began offering snowmobile rentals.
  • New owners at Hilltop Motel, Ryan and Amanda Schmidt.
  • Jean Corrin begins offering reflexology in the Falls in November.
  • UPS relocates to the business park in International Falls in November after being in its previous location for 27 years.
  • New owners at Jackpine Savage Grill in Littlefork began in December.
  • Swanky Gifts on Rainy (formerly Swanky Sweet Pea) moved from Ranier to Third Street in International Falls in December.
  • Rainy River Veterinary Office and Rainy Lake One Stop underwent major renovations in 2019.
  • Loni’s Top That moved its location to County Road 115.

The future seems bright, looking ahead to 2020. Below are some businesses in the works scheduled to be open or make significant progress in the new year:

Best Western on Highway 53 in International Falls

    • Construction slated to begin in 2020.

Cantilever Distillery and Hotel

    • Set to open in January 2020  in Ranier.
    • The project started by Marty Goulet, Kalan Wagner, Duane Cridland and Patrick Bracken has been in the works since 2014.

Littlefork Childcare Pod Project

    • No opening date announced but will be in the Littlefork Care Center of St. Francis Health Services and offer multigenerational care in a single facility.

The Nomad Motel 

    • Slated to open January 2020.
    • Located in the former Knight’s Inn building in International Falls
    • Owned by Myles Wilcott and Jamie Pryde, current owners of the Bayview Motel and Neighbours Modern Diner in Fort Frances, Ontario.

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