The box launched this month by Excelsior native Alan Haskins
The Tonka Box launched this month, a box concept that showcases businesses and products from around the Lake Minnetonka area.
The $75 hand-selected box features a variety of local items, including oatmeal chocolate chip bites from Heavenly Hunks, apple cinnamon peanut butter from Cheryl’s Nut Butters, Heather’s dirty goodness original spice from Heather’s Dirty Goodness Spices, boundary waters blueberry cookies from Kakookies, a Lake Minnetonka candle from Lakehouse Candle Co., Eden Apples from MN Harvest Apple Orchard and a 12-ounce stainless tumbler and Lake Minnetonka sticker from Nimble Impressions.
Tonka Box creator and Excelsior native Alan Haskins isn’t new to the box concept. In 2020, when his marketing agency Nimble Impressions slowed down during the pandemic, he and others put together the Uff Da! Box. The box focused on local, fun products that were “Uff Da!” inspired. After that box’s success, they also put together a Love Minnesota Box with items from across the state. Both were a part of a growing family of box concepts under the parent company, Elevated Boxes.
Haskins’ aim in creating the Tonka Box was to get even more local, he said. He researched locally-made items and meandered through the cities to seek out local items to include in the box.
“Hopefully (buyers) get a really cool gift, first and foremost,” he said. “But then I think hopefully they see a greater sense of connection and supporting local. I think somebody might buy it just for the heck of it, but hopefully they will see that there’s a connection to other small businesses.”
Another important element of the Tonka Box was its carefully curated box design, which he hopes people save and use for another purpose.
While Tonka Box is not a monthly subscription but rather one pre-made box, Haskins is looking for other businesses to collaborate with. Businesses can either request to be a partner in the box or to include an item in the box.
In order to maintain a retail price of $75, he is looking for local items as close to the shores of the lake as possible that retail for less than $20 and will complement the other items in the box.
“Not only when you buy the box are you supporting the Tonka Box and my hope with it, but there’s eight to 10 different small businesses in there that for every sale, it trickles down and benefits them,” Haskins said.
While creating the boxes, he said he’s discovered so many items that he would have never found otherwise.
“These small brands just do not come up on people’s radar in the shopping experience in the course of a day or a year. They’re too obscure and they don’t fall on large retail shelves very often,” he said.
For Haskins, Tonka Box is a passion project about reconnecting with businesses and he’s glad to be able to help small businesses.
The Tonka Box pre-made boxes are on sale currently and ready to ship out at any time. They are currently running a special for 20% off or $15 off with code tonka20.
Tonka Boxes can be purchased at https://tonkabox.com/shop-tonka-box/.