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Meet our Minnesota Broker: Bear Island Land Co, Inc.

After years of working as a land surveyor for the U.S. Forest Service, Charlie Chernak knew what he wanted to do: start a real estate company.

Charlie Chernak

He already dabbled in real estate, so why not focus on selling property to other Minnesota folks who share his passion for hunting, fishing and the outdoors?

Now, more than 20 years later, Chernak’s company, Bear Island Land Co., is a thriving real estate operation in Ely, Minnesota. Bear Island’s eight real estate professionals sell many types of property, with a special focus on meeting the needs of the recreational buyer.

Bear Island’s recreational buyers tend to be Minnesotans who have a tie to the area. Many are folks who grew up locally and then left, but now want to reconnect by purchasing a recreational property for their families. And many area deer hunters want to own the property where they have their deer camp.

Ely is a 4-1⁄2-hour drive from Minneapolis and a 2-hour drive from Duluth, making it convenient for outdoor enthusiasts who want to come up for a few days and enjoy their properties. Deer hunting is a big draw, followed by grouse hunting, and the area also offers a variety of other recreational activities.

Bear Island is the largest real estate company in the Ely area, with approximately 300 listings, and takes pride in how it combines a personal touch with skill in technology. In addition to running a top-notch website, the company connects with buyers through such social media channels as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and is now using a drone to get quality property photos from the air.

But no technology replaces the need for a personal relationship with a buyer – one that is centered on trust. “It is up to us to understand everything involved in how someone wants to use a property, and then be ready to help,” Charlie says. “They may want to know who to talk to about financing or to understand a municipality’s rules. If we don’t know the answer, we get the buyer quickly to someone who does.”

Bear Island has enjoyed a longtime, successful relationship with PotlatchDeltic and is currently showing  approximately 100 PotlatchDeltic listings.

“We can always tell a buyer with confidence that PotlatchDeltic property has been cared for, and that there won’t be any surprises,” Charlie says. “The quality of the experience is shown by how many PotlatchDeltic buyers later buy adjoining properties.”

Chernak and his staff never stop learning, always thinking about ways they can help buyers. “While I loved doing surveying work, real estate has proven to be even more rewarding.” Charlie says. “There is nothing better than helping people buy PotlatchDeltic property that will become a legacy for their family.”

For more information about Bear Island Land, Co. or its PotlatchDeltic land listings:
943 East Sheridan Street | Ely, MN 55731
Phone: 218-235-6239 Website:
Email: :

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