Letter from Linda Stroback of Zimmy's in Hibbing, March 1, 2014.
Dear Rolling Stone, My name is Linda Stroback, and I am the proprietor of Zimmy’s restaurant, the unofficial Bob Dylan museum and community arts center in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota. Since opening in 1982, we have communicated with Bob’s sons Jesse and Jakob, and have had the blessings of Dylan’s late mother Beatty. Dylan “insiders” like Dan Kramer and John Cohen have also told us that Hibbing speaks to Bob’s roots and that we have honored his life and accomplishments at our establishment. I am contacting Rolling Stone in hope that they can shed some light on the American nightmare we are currently living through. In short, we are in danger of closing because of tax debt. The State of Minnesota, after chasing our and other small businesses for extra tax revenue, found some outstanding taxes we owed. Rather than allowing us to pay the debt in installments, they pulled our liquor license, which effectively cuts our business off at the knees and sets us up for imminent failure. This tale is not ours alone—the once-vibrant town of Hibbing sees more businesses closing every month, and looks more and more like a ghost town. Our business supports tourism, and that flies in the face of the dominant local mining industry and its circle of influence. Thirty years ago, we planted the seed of this place to honor Bob Dylan, and to provide a venue for poets, writers and artists. Every May, during the Dylan Days celebration, Zimmy’s is the center of activity — people from across the globe come to our establishment to celebrate and connect with the roots of Bob Dylan. And now, because of our state’s fiscal shortfalls, small businesses like ours become the targets, and threaten to destroy 30 years of work in 3 months. What happened? How did the government become the enemy of small business? I am hoping that Rolling Stone might think our story worthy of coverage as an example of how crushing taxes threaten small businesses throughout the country. The fact that we have a deep connection with Bob Dylan's hometown and are the closest thing Hibbing has to a Dylan museum only adds to the resonance our story might have for RS readers. Please get in touch with your thoughts, and hurry — it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there. My phone number is 218-969-3049. Loyal RS readers and subscribers, Linda Stroback & Bob Hocking at Zimmy's E-mail: zimmys AT mchsi.com