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Wonderful season for Pride of Dakota

This story is condensed version of the original story "Wonderful season for Pride of Dakota" published in the November issue of North Dakota Living magazine. If you would like to read the complete version, pick up a copy of North Dakota Living or subscribe here.

by Nancy Jorgensen

Melissa Ahnon is a one-woman sewing dynamo, filling orders for her Baby Button Tops line
Melissa Ahonen is a one-woman sewing dynamo, filling orders for her Baby Button Tops line. (Photo by Layne Mudder)

For merchants doing business under the Pride of Dakota brand, like the holiday song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” These merchants typically operate year-round, but the Christmas season is when Pride of Dakota merchants shower the state with gift possibilities.

Pride of Dakota (POD) merchants Melissa Ahonen, Lincoln, and Joey Cote, Dickinson, see POD enthusiasm swell at this time of year. Another POD businessman, Marlo Anderson, Mandan, attests to the brand’s enduring value for his growing information technology services company.

Ahonen, a member of Capital Electric Cooperative, Bismarck, operates Baby Button Tops, sewing hats and headbands from her home in Lincoln. She will display her Baby Button Tops line at the Holiday Showcase in Bismarck, Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

Joey Mote operates Memories by Joey in Dickinson’s business district and is amply stocked with products and creations for many Pride of Dakota merchants. She is eager for Dickinson holiday shoppers to stop in her shop to sample and purchase any of these products.

Marlo Anderson’s business service Zoovio, is a valuable part of his Awesome 2 Products, which offers an array of computer and information technology services. Zoovio is a rapidly growing service which copies videotapes and stores them on the Internet. Zoovio is available in the region’s drug stores and Radio Shack outlets.

Joey Mote creates Pride of Dakota gift baskets starting at $15, and she ships. Find Memories by Joey at 646 Second St. W. in Dickinson, at, or call 701-290-8101. At, click on “Retailers.”

Ahonen, Mote and Anderson are modern-day participants in the POD movement, begun by the N.D. Department of Agriculture in 1985. Launched primarily to help farm families sell food items developed from their crops, membership has flourished beyond farmers to many other commercial lines. The current POD merchant network stands 475 strong, including artisans, manufacturing, personal care, publishing and service organizations. They range from one-woman operations featuring the likes of Melissa Ahonen and Joey Mote, to expanding, multi-employee and service businesses like Marlo Anderson’s Awesome 2 Products.
The cost of participating in the Pride of Dakota marketing program ranges $50 to $300, depending on the business’s employee numbers.

Retail outlets as far away as South Carolina shelve Ahonen’s work, but most customers buy online from, Facebook or and, where purchasers should click on “Artisans and Gifts.”

Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcases
During November, take in a Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase at one of these locations:

• Nov. 10-11, Minot State Fair Center
• Nov. 16-18, Fargo Civic Auditorium
• Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Bismarck Civic Center

Hours: Fridays (Fargo and Bismarck): 4-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sundays, 11a.m.-4 p.m.

Admission: $2 (get a reusable bag) or $1 if you bring your own reusable bag.
For more information, go to:



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