Jim Wright brings a taste of the Wisconsin woods to the corner of Mississippi Street and Old Central Avenue whenever he parks his truck in front of the A Backward Glance antique shop and lines up bottles of maple syrup on the hood.
Proceeds from Wright's syrup sales go to The Wilderness Fellowship Ministries, which operates a Christian camp in Frederic, WI. That's also where the syrup comes from. The ministry puts out 1,750 taps each March, Wright said. Cabins at the camp are available for rental but no one is turned away for lack of ability to pay.
On Tuesday a syrup customer stopped within minutes of Wright setting up shop, he said. He obtained permission from A Backward Glance's proprietor and stays away when the store is open, so as not to block the view of the tiny shop from potential customers. (Although he noted the high snowbanks are doing a pretty good job of that on their own.)
Wright, a retired truck driver who goes by "Grandpa Jim," does regular volunteer work for the Wilderness Fellowship Ministries, sometimes bringing his syrup sales to fundraising fairs at churches and other events. To contact him about syrup or events, call 651-633-5910.