612 Sauna is a cooperative dedicated to facilitating a welcoming, inclusive sauna culture through hosting excellent community-based sauna experiences.
We will build communities where individuals are more welcomed, connected and healthy.
Spawned from a facebook group and sauna sessions hosted by our founder John Pederson, the Co-op was formed in 2016 following kickstarter campaign. Today we have over 200 members and own and operate a mobile sauna unit at residencies around the greater Minneapolis area.
Check out this Podcast interview with 612 Sauna Society Founder John Pederson to learn more about how and why we became the nation’s first community-owned-and-operated mobile sauna.
How it works
How it works
The Co-op’s Member-Owners gather every spring to elect a Board of Directors. The Co-op’s Board of Directors is composed of five seats with staggered two-year terms and is responsible for executing the organization’s mission of creating and sharing a transformative Sauna experience with the Twin Cities community. We work with our members, community partners and volunteer team to create and share a transformative sauna experience, this year at the epicenter of winter family fun in the Twin Cities, Loppet Trailhead center!
For more information about our voluneer program, please email email@example.com.
Since its founding in 2016, the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative has partnered with dozens of local businesses and neighborhood organizations to provide thousands of reservations at The Forge mobile sauna. The Co-op held its first elections for the Board of Directors in April of 2018.
The story of the 612 Sauna Society began in an expedition tent called The Surly. Camped underneath the mighty auspices of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, right there on the century old trading floor, the tent was often used by Members of COCO (a collaborative coworking space) for lunch ideation sessions. There, future Sauna Meister John Pederson tossed out the idea that he might pivot his current tiny house project, instead creating a mobile sauna.
In that moment, you could feel the flames of tradition rekindled, completely reimagined. A movement was born.
John (JP) went on to finish that little mobile sauna with the help of Hack Factory tools (a non-profit Makers’ space in South Minneapolis) and a ton of Community support. It would be called The Firehouse. Rollerblading ahead of his brother’s truck with a 15’ measuring pole, JP made sure The Firehouse made its way safely to its next home, and immediately began hosting sessions that would grow in frequency and depth – each magical night producing at least one new Sauna Enthusiast, and memories forever.
In the winter of 2014 it was obvious that something special was happening. Architects Molly Reichert and Andrea Johnson designed and created Little Box Sauna – bringing striking design to cool places throughout the Twin Cities. Restaurants, cafes, breweries, Lake Como – even Nicollet Mall. But soon, the thirst for bench time outgrew the available seats. The Sauna Society would grow to over two thousand participants in the winter of 2015-16!
In the fall of 2017, dozens of volunteers started laying the groundwork for a Sauna Cooperative – a business model designed to bring the joy of Sauna to as many people as possible throughout the Twin Cities. Through this planning and discussion, it became evident that in order to become a workable reality, the 612 Sauna Society would first need to own its own Sauna while simultaneously building a core of strong financial and volunteer supporters. It also became evident that there would be no better way to do this than to build our very own Sauna – together. Cooperatively.
We rallied support through a successful Kickstarter campaign to build an urban sauna space dubbed “The Forge.” The 612 Sauna Society Cooperative was then formed to own and operate the space, making it the first community-owned and operated mobile sauna in the country.
Since its founding in 2016, the 612 Sauna Society Cooperative has partnered with dozens of local businesses and neighborhood organizations to provide the Twin Cities community thousands of hours of warmth, wellness and connection. The Co-op held its first elections for the Board of Directors in April of 2018 and opened its doors at the Loppet Trailhead for the 2018/19 sauna season.
Board of Directors
Megan McDonald, Chair
Christine Smalley, Treasurer
Michelle MJ Johnson