Have you heard of staycations? They are a great way of discovering your local community and seeing it through the eyes of an outsider.  Today is “Small Business Saturday” and I celebrate what can be found in my local community. You take the time to discover what your town has to offer without traveling hundreds of miles. You can take this idea to any town you live in. Take the time to discover those local gems where customer service is alive and well!

I was contacted by a friend who was planning a staycation in Fargo with her gourmet wine club. The days were broken up and each couple was in charge of a part of the staycation. She had participated in an “Amazing Race Chicago” for work and wanted to try it in Fargo. If you have seen the “Amazing Race” on CBS, you know it is a race comprised of couples who have to solve clues to find the next location and then perform a task at that location. To pull off the “Amazing Race Fargo”, she needed help as she wanted to participate and she knew she couldn’t if she was part of the planning. She turned it over to me and I literally ran with it.

They have been a tight knit group for many years now….many have tried to break in and be part of this group, but all have failed. I figured this was my perfect opportunity to really show them what I can do to add to their already fabulous group……here is my audition:

My parameters were simple….stay in downtown Fargo. I knew right away what to do and to what stores I wanted to go and ask for help. Let me start by saying….today is “Small Business Saturday” and every single one of the businesses I contacted was willing to help. No business turned me down. They were all fabulous to work with and they all had fabulous treasures within the walls of their business. Without giving too much of what I did away….as I don’t want to ruin the surprise for any other group that wants to do this….I want to thank all of the businesses that were so generous.

Below you will find the list of participating businesses and links to their websites and a little bit of information as to what services they provide.

The Kilbourne Group: Kilbourne Group was founded in 2006 by Doug Burgum with the mission of providing thought leadership on the revitalization, smart growth and redevelopment of Fargo, North Dakota’s downtown core. The Kilbourne Group team shares the vision of retaining and carrying forward the history of Fargo through the restoration of historic buildings and the creation of new buildings that honor the past and inspire the future. Exceptional commercial and residential properties available from Kilbourne Group include downtown Fargocondos, loft apartments, retail, office and commercial space and Minnesota getaway lake properties

Mosaic Catering and Mezzaluna:First  and foremost a catering service, but also offering seasonal cooking  classes as well as special occasion dinners. They are dedicated to  designing menus based on every clients needs & desires. Their menus  are composed through the chef’s personal inspirations, utilizing  quality ingredients.

Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre : They provide theatrical and educational opportunities to enrich and engage the greater community.

C. Lizzy’s: A mother/daughter team who gather inspiration from each other and are following their artistic talents. Together they are creating hand made art work.

The Candy Bar: A nostalgic candy store specializing in old fashioned candy from the 1900’s to today.

Josie’s Corner: Located at 524 North Broadway, this little gem of a bakery and lunch spot makes everything from scratch and is named after the owners grandmother….what is not to love?

Zanbroz: With the rise of coffee franchises, big box stores, and the internet in the mid-1990’s, the stores’ selection evolved into a wide variety of gifts: bath and body, fine pens, toys, cards and stationery, jewelry, novelty, handmade papers, kitchen gadgets, tea, coffee, home decor … and we’re probably forgetting something. Oh yeah, books. Why dig through the piles of a clearance dumping ground that the big box bookstores have become, when every book on our shelves has been selected for a good reason? Truly, something for everyone on your list, including yourself.

The Fargo Theater: Built in 1926 as a cinema and vaudeville theatre, the beautifully restored  Fargo Theatre is now the premiere destination for cutting edge independent and  foreign film. The theatre is also Fargo’s hottest downtown venue for concerts,  plays and other live events. In spring of 2009, the Fargo Theatre opened a  second screen as part of a multi-use urban infill project. The Fargo Theatre is  a 501 (c) (3) non-profit management corporation and was placed on the National  Register of Historical Places by the United States Department of the  Interior.


To Joyful, Simplified Living,



MS. Simplicity



MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at


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