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Boreal Community Media

Timber Coffee Company in Silver Bay fills a community and visitor need along the North Shore

Apr 14, 2023 09:55AM ● By Content Editor
All photos by Maddy Marquardt

By local author and writer Maddy Marquardt for Boreal Community Media - April 14, 2023

Spend a morning sitting in Timber Coffee Company and you’ll hear a lot. You’ll hear the sound of the espresso machine, soft music and locals laughing, but over and over again you’ll hear the same phrase— “we’re so glad you’re here”.

Tucked between Duluth and Grand Marais, Silver Bay was founded in the 1950s when the Taconite mine was opened under Reserve Mining Company. According to the City of Silver Bay, It wasn’t until 1956 that the town saw its first shipment of taconite pellets, and in the same year the opening of the post office and elementary school.

It wasn’t until 2022, 66 years later, that Silver Bay saw its first coffee shop. Sporting both classic drinks with coffee roasted at Fika Coffee in Lutsen and nods to the local culture like the Bean & Bear Latte, Timber Coffee is perfectly situated to become an essential stop for North Shore visitors and a meeting place for community members. 

Katelyn Goutermont, owner of Timber Coffee Company, told Boreal Community Media how she wanted to open a coffee shop in Silver Bay for years. 

Timber Coffee Company’s drink menu.

According to Goutermont, “It was a now or never moment that launched Timber Coffee. We decided to check out the old print shop when it came up for lease with the unlikely intention of pursuing this back-burner dream of mine. The day we walked into our space it just clicked and (despite the concrete floors, drop ceiling, and 70's wallpaper) we could see the potential. The vision really developed as the project took shape and progressed.”

Filling a community and visitor need 

With just a few places to eat in Silver Bay and no other coffee shops, Timber Coffee meets a unique community need; it’s a place to grab your morning coffee and fresh cinnamon roll, but it’s also a place to gather. Timber Coffee is symbolic of a shift away from a place built primarily to support the Reserve Mining Company, and toward a community shift — a town uniquely situated halfway up the North Shore that is able to embrace both visitors and invest in its own thriving and varied culture (all while honoring the area’s history).

When asked about the community reception of Timber Coffee, Goutermont said the reception has been “extremely enthusiastic, with a hint of frustration, when the project dragged on for two years. But it's been nothing but positivity and appreciation.” 

Timber Coffee Company from the outside. 

Since its opening in October 2022, Timber Coffee has certainly provided a place for the Silver Bay and North Shore community to sit and read, use the wifi, conduct meetings, host clubs, and more. 

On Mondays, a Sip-N-Stitch group welcomes all to drink coffee and knit, crochet, or practice needlecraft. In the mornings, people filter in and out, grabbing a latte and a muffin on their way to work.

In owner Katelyn Goutermont’s own words: ”I have a passion for quality and creating an atmosphere for connection. I wanted to create a space that cultivates community. My goal is that everyone who visits Timber Coffee feels welcomed and experiences consistency and quality in everything we serve.”

Community in the building

Timber Coffee Company’s commitment to building community begins with their own family, and Timber Coffee Company is family oriented through and through— even in the walls.  

When asked about the name Timber Coffee, Goutermont explained, “My husband and I own and operate Goutermont logging, and when it came time to pick a name, ‘Timber Coffee Company’ felt like a perfect fit. The shop is full of wood that my husband cut, my brother-in-law milled and my dad and father-in-law installed.”

Together, Katelyn and Casey Goutermont have owned and operated Gountermont Logging since 2010.

Timber Coffee Company’s Hammerschlagen table. 

Tucked in the corner of Timber Coffee Company is this Hammerschlagen table. According to Samara Goutermont, Timber Coffee employee and Katelyn Goutermont’s sister-in-law, this unique table was wood-burned and handmade by Tim Goutermont, uncle to Casey and Samara, from a tree he’d cut in his yard years ago. 

Hammerschlagen table compared to the logo– serendipitously, the logo was designed before the table was made.

After seeing the Timber Coffee logo and recognizing that the wood split in the Timber Coffee logo almost perfectly matched the natural split in the wood from the tree he had been saving in his garage, Tim Goutermont made and gifted the table to Timber Coffee. 

Community in the food

Timber Coffee’s commitment to family and community goes beyond the space and into the coffee and food itself. The coffee and espresso served are sourced from Fika, a Lutsen-based artisanal roaster, and tea from Zenith Teaworks, a Duluth-based small-batch tea blender. Baked goods are made from scratch every morning, with Goutermont’s parents in charge of the baking. 

“I'm blessed to have parents that have taken on the baking here at the shop. Fresh from scratch was a big part of my vision,” Goutermont explained. “We're making everything from homemade pie filling to authentic sourdough bread.  My mom likes to say [that] the key is we follow the recipe and use lots of butter.”

Morning baked goods selection at Timber Coffee Company.

Timber Coffee’s current baked goods selection includes muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, hand pies, cookies, biscotti, cheddar bacon biscuits, bagels, and bread all made in-house and from scratch. Recently they’ve started offering soup and bread on weekends, and Goutermont hopes to add breakfast sandwiches to the menu in the near future. 

A nod to the local area 

Signature drinks include the Bean & Bear Latte, a twist on a miel, with vanilla in addition to steamed milk, espresso, honey, and cinnamon. The name, Bean & Bear, is a nod to the particularly popular local hiking trail, the Bean & Bear Loop. 

Especially popular in the fall, this nearly 7-mile loop treats hikers to views of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains, the iconic double lake overlook of Bean & Bear Lakes, and views of the small town of Silver Bay tucked between the lake and the highlands below.

Hiking the iconic Bean & Bear Loop near Sliver Bay, Minnesota.

Timber Coffee is just a mile and a half drive from the Bean and Bear trailhead. Portions of this hike are along the Superior Hiking Trail, a 300-mile hiking path throughout the highlands of the North Shore, and along Lake Superior, spanning from Duluth to the Canadian Border. Many of the more difficult, and scenic, sections of the trail are between Beaver Bay and Lutsen, making Silver Bay a natural gathering point for hikers looking to enjoy the trail. 

Furthermore, the nearby Tettegouche State Park was the fourth most-visited state park in Minnesota in 2021 according to the Minnesota DNR, with over half a million visitors. The popular state park features several impressive waterfalls, Lake Superior cliffside overlooks, beaches, excellent hiking, climbing, camping, skiing, and more. The nearest place to grab a cup of coffee and a snack? Timber Coffee, by miles. 

About Maddy Marquardt

Maddy Marquardt has lived and worked as an English teacher in Armenia, worked as a sea kayaking guide on Lake Superior, and lived in a handful of small towns along the Great Lakes coasts. She's been published as a co-author in Scientific American, but today mostly writes about trails and the outdoors, and why the way we talk about nature is important. You can read her short nonfiction on that very subject, Nick Adams Dies in a Diner (Nominated for Best of the Net 2021) in Pidgeonholes literary magazine.

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