Smugglers' Inn started as a theme restaurant in Blaine, Minnesota and has become, if not a legitimate advertising agency, then a viable agency alternative with two dedicated ad employees, Carol Henderson, art director and Jarl Olsen, copywriter. Read the whole saga in these posts or click the pirate to follow the entertaining tweets of our dishwasher, Pongo. Who may or may not be an orangutan.!/PongoTryHard

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Smugglers’ Inn nearly tops list of best places to work.

#1 ranked ATV and RV Corral offers its employees limited health care benefits. La-dee-dah.

Ever the innovator, Peter Lundquist and his Anoka County Shopper have published another top ten list. “The 10 Best Places to Work in Blaine/Coon Rapids” found in this month’s Shopper announces to the world what we’ve always known; mainly, that when it comes to providing meaningful work in a stimulating atmosphere, Smugglers’ Inn has no equal. Sure, there are places that pay better. Bob’s Produce Market. 15-Minute Lube. Red Robin Auto Body. Wendo Industries. ATV and RV Corral. Donner Realty, of course.

Yes, there were additional categories where we fell down in relation to the other nine businesses on this list, but why dwell on the negative? Chances are, you didn’t come here because you hate Smugglers‘ Inn. Those people hangout at, AdBusters, or one of the other sites that have called us out for being flesh-peddling ghouls, sinister manipulators of human behavior, or homophobes. We are not homophobes, for the record. We just don’t agree that because we have a pirate-y name, we have to be speaking out for the gay pirate community. As a matter of policy, we do not inquire as to the sexual orientation of anyone applying for a job at Smugglers’ Inn, although if the first thing a new waiter or bartender does upon being told his uniform will consist of an open collared shirt with puffed, 3/4 sleeves and a maroon vest with a sash is say that they have the perfect shoes to finish the ensemble, we generally skip the speech about how it’s not cool to harass the cocktail waitresses.

It was our commitment to equal opportunity hiring, in fact, that most impressed Mr. Lundquist, who knows full well that in Blaine, diversity means ordering off the KFC and Taco Bell menu at the same time. Smug’s also received bonus points for being in a glamor industry (advertising, not food service) and for providing a benefit no other business could claim, FREE SODA.

Given all of these positives, you would think that Smugglers‘ Inn would be THE place to work in the Blaine/Coon Rapids area. You would think so, but according to the Anoka County Shopper, you would think wrong. ATV and RV Corral scored highest overall among employers in this survey.

“How is this possible?” we asked, given that The Corral’s mechanics labor in a windowless back room under florescent light, exposed to carcinogenic petroleum byproducts that could ignite at any moment?

One word: health care.

The Corral was alone among businesses surveyed in that its eighteen full-time employees have access to subsidized emergency medical insurance. The health care factor, according to Mr. Lundquist, tipped the scales in favor of the sports vehicle dealership and away from America’s favorite ad agency/restaurant. We’re sure this was the case, just as we’re sure that the Corral’s decision to run a full-page, color ad in the same issue of The Shopper had no influence on editor Lundquist. Ol’ Pete, we should point out, offered Smugglers’ Inn a 40% discount on a full-page ad in the same Best Places to Work issue. An offer we respectfully declined.

No matter. We have our sights on a higher prize. Turns out that AdAge Magazine, whose circulation dwarfs that of the Anoka County Shopper, publishes their own version of a Best Places to Work issue. Owing to the unlikelihood that anyone from AdAge will be coming to Blaine, Minnesota, on a fact-checking mission, Smugglers’ Inn may just get our number one. After all, how many advertising agencies can boast an on-premise masseuse, 24-hour car service, a daycare facility, weekly pilates instruction, an olympic lap pool or a heli-port? Not to mention free soda.