In a manufacturing facility a few hundred feet from Stryker Bay in West Duluth, Greg Benson leads a company dedicated to making outdoor furniture “for the modern lollygagger.” Before launching Loll Designs, however, Benson built skateboard ramps. He started out in his neighbor’s garage and eventually worked with municipalities to design and implement custom skate parks. The excess materials turned out to make attractive and durable Adirondack-style chairs, and a new business was born.
“A lot of people assume that I must have been a skater, but really I enjoy hiking, kayaking, camping and being outdoors much more,” Benson says. He and his brother Dave, both University of Minnesota Duluth graduates, along with Tony Ciardelli , founded both Loll and Epicurean, a company that makes cutting boards and other kitchen products. They sold TrueRide in 2008 to a California company and took what they had learned and ran with it.