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About Us

Benders: Our Family Serving Yours

Benders is a local, family owned and operated store located in northern MN. At Benders, we are committed to bringing our best to our team, customers, and personal growth.

Our founding principles of delivering exceptional service and offering top-quality selections continue to guide us today.

Each of our three stores offers a distinct hand-selected mix of products, unique flavor, and a wide selection of brands and styles with quality and comfort at the forefront of design. Our stores showcase casual clothing for men, dress-casual clothing and accessories for women, and the largest assortment of quality shoes for men, women, and children in the area.

We encourage you to explore each of our stores and give us a try.

When you visit a Benders store, you’ll encounter a welcoming atmosphere, an up-to-date selection of quality shoes and apparel, and excellent service from friendly, knowledgeable staff.

When shopping for shoes, our staff will give you the full sit-and-fit experience: we will measure your feet and ask questions to help you narrow down the options to find the right shoe for your needs.

We hire people that like to help others, and then we help them obtain the knowledge they need in the shoe and clothing industry by providing an extensive training and practice when first hired, but the training never really ends. We provide monthly product knowledge trainings and our vendor reps arrange live trainings as well to stay on top of the new technologies released.

We also have a Customer Service trainer that provides individualized support and tools to each staff member year-round so that we maintain our high standards of customer service. 

It has become difficult to find a retailer that doesn’t sell online at this time, but at Benders we firmly believe that our customers are most satisfied and receive the best service and fit when they can see the details in the product up close and feel the materials and how it fits, all while getting the personalized service from our knowledgeable staff (which are in fact real human beings!). 

2023: Celebrating 50 Years of Benders


First Generation

In 1973, the Benders purchased Stenborg Shoes in downtown Grand Rapids, MN. Angie (a department store clerk) and Roland (an insurance salesman) Bender were transplants from Crystal, MN and had little starting knowledge of the shoe industry, but what they lacked in shoe knowledge they more than made up for with grit and determination.  

Pictured above right, Roland Bender, Angie Bender, and Barbara Seibert (former staff member) in the original Grand Rapids Benders Shoes location (which is now the Benders Gift Shop in Grand Rapids). 

Three years after opening in Grand Rapids, the Benders opened a location in downtown Hibbing in 1976.  

Roland and Angie Bender after they first opened Benders Shoes in 1973.

Second Generation

Roland and Angie’s oldest son, Craig Bender, was the next to take over the family business in 1984.

Craig has spearheaded a lot of changes during his 40+ year ownership:

  • He purchased Hopperton’s Gift Shop in Grand Rapids in 1991
  • Clothing was added to the product mix in 1999
  • JC Penny’s sold their retail space to Craig in 2003. He then moved the shoe and clothing part of the store into the old Penny’s location and Hopperton’s Gift Shop next door where the original shoe store was. 
  • He opened a location in Duluth in 2013, which carried men’s and women’s shoes only.
  • In 2022, the Duluth location moved to an expanded retail space and now offers clothing and gift items as well.   
Craig’s younger brother Brian and his wife Linda were also key players in the Bender expansion. Linda worked in the store from 1982 until her retirement in 2023. Brian, with his construction education and background, was integral in the renovations of the Grand Rapids store, the Hibbing stores, and both Duluth locations. 
Both Brian and Linda managed the store operations in Grand Rapids, while Craig managed the Hibbing store. 
Craig Bender, second generation owner of Benders.

Third Generation

Craig’s two nieces and nephew are the third generation of owners, buying into the business in 2023, 50 years after its inception. 


Pictured below are Kayla Lorentz, Craig Bender, Tara Paulson, and Reed Bender.