Aldi in Superior, WI | CDINDULUTH

Aldi is moving forward with their plans for a new Duluth location.

The discount supermarket chain has filed their plans with the City of Duluth's planning commission for an 18,553 square foot freestanding location at the corner of Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow drive. The store would utilize the chains most recent "version 7.0 prototype" design.

Aldi announced their interest in the Duluth market nearly two years ago. Their first Twin Ports location opened at 4429 Tower Avenue in Superior last November and has been a great success. That success immediately had Aldi working on plans for a Duluth location. The chain says Duluth could even hold the possibility for more than one location in the future.

In Duluth Aldi will occupy a space at the Village Mall that is currently a parking lot in front of Hobby Lobby and Savers and adjacent to Grandma's Restaurant.

Right now the Village Mall shopping center is going through a renovation including a completely new parking lot, a new facade for Savers that will match Hobby Lobby's, and also the addition of a drive through drop off area for Savers. PetSmart also has plans to open at the center and is currentlyconstructing a 19,000 square foot store in the remaining Kmart space next to Hobby Lobby. That store is expected to open in Spring 2017.

More details on this exciting project will be made available soon.



The interior of a Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bros Bagels location | Caribou Coffee

The first co-branded location for Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels will open November 9th at 2100 London Road in the new Endi mixed-use development.

The location will be the first retail tenant to open within the building which is nearing its completion and expects to welcome its first residents home this fall. Two other retail spaces have been spoken for in the development, a Papa Murphy's location will open in one (the fourth location in Duluth) and a local optometrist will open an office in another.

There still are a few remaining retail spaces within the complex that the developer hopes to fill with tenants that will benefit the building's residents and also the surrounding community.

While this is the first co-branded location for Caribou and Einstein it is not the first, nor is it the last location for the companies within the Twin Ports. Caribou Coffee currently operates four locations within Duluth while Einstein Bros has one location at the College of St. Scholastica. Another co-branded Caribou and Einstein Bros location will open in the coming months on the ground floor of the new Kenwood Village development. 

The new location will be open Monday through Friday from 5am-9pm, Saturdays from 6am-9pm, and Sundays from 6am-8pm.



The Pita Pit store prototype design | Pita Pit

“Fresh Thinking, Healthy Eating” is the mindset behind a new fast casual restaurant that is setting up shop in Downtown Duluth. Pita Pit plans to open their first Duluth location in the new Maurices headquarters at 425 West Superior St. in November.

Pita Pit was founded in 1995 in Canada by John Sotiriadis and Nelson Lang. The duo wanted to open a fast casual restaurant that offered a healthy alternative with a Mediterranean inspired menu. In just 15 years Pita Pit grew from one single location to over 500 locations in 11 different countries. In Minnesota the company currently has three locations including one at the Mall of America in Bloomington and two others in Mankato and Brooklyn Park.

Think of Pita Pit as the Subway of the Pita world. Customers begin by selecting a type of meat, such as philly cheesesteak, falafel, chicken souvlaki or other Mediterranean inspired meats. From there they can add toppings by choosing from a selection of cheeses, vegetables and sauces.

When Pita Pit opens in November the street level of Maurice’s brand new headquarters will be completely leased with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union filling the remaining spaces. One 6,100 square foot office or retail space remains on the skyway level.




A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall   |   F.Y.E.

A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall  |  F.Y.E.

A new entertainment store selling music, movies, games, CDs, DVDs, vinyls, fan merchandise and more is about to make the Miller Hill Mall it's home. F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) will open the doors to it's new store on October 21st.

The entertainment retailer will be moving into the space that was left vacant when Wet Seal closed their location at the mall after the company declared bankruptcy. It's been almost two years since Wet Seal's closure and that space has yet to find a permanent tenant... until now that is.


Now if you are thinking to yourself that F.Y.E. reminds you of a retailer that went by the name of Sam Goody (which had a location at the Miller Hill Mall about a decade ago) then you're on the right track. Why? Well, F.Y.E. is what Sam Goody turned into.

Both companies were owned by Trans World and in 2006 it was decided that Sam Goody would cease operations with a large number of their locations closing, including the one at the Miller Hill Mall. The locations that did remain open however were rebranded as F.Y.E.

The former Wet Seal space | CDINDULUTH

Interior of a new F.Y.E. location | F.Y.E.


F.Y.E. struggled after the recession in 2008 like many retailers and closed a number of underperforming stores. In recent years the company has been looking for ways to stay competitive in the market and in 2015 revamped their image and their store offerings by introducing an entirely new F.Y.E. store. 

Today customers will find not only CDs and DVDS but rather tons of pop-culture merchandise and a large selection of vinyls. That large selection of vinyls is one of the biggest things that has put F.Y.E. back on the map in recent years. As all styles and trends come into the spotlight again, vinyls have ultimately swept the stage becoming extremely popular with the millennial generation.

F.Y.E plans to open their Duluth location later this month with the Miller Hill Mall mall officials stating Friday, October 21st as the anticipated opening date. Once open it will be the first location for the retailer in Northern Minnesota and their second in Minnesota.



Construction is officially underway on Duluth's second big-box pet supply retailer.

PetSmart will call Duluth home next spring when their location opens in the last available space that was left vacant when Kmart closed their Duluth Heights location. 88,000 square feet of the space was leased to Hobby Lobby which opened their first Northern Minnesota location in the space in 2013.

PetSmart is a direct competitor of Petco, which already has a Duluth location less than a mile away in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center. PetSmart's new 25,000 square foot location will sell pet supplies along with small household pets such as rodents, snakes, amphibians, and fish, and will also include a grooming center.

Photos of the construction progress of PetSmart can be viewed by clicking the link below. Hover over the "Construction Galleries" tab at the top of your screen to see other projects currently under construction within the area.



Craving a German pretzel and a German sized beer to wash it down? Your wish could be granted soon.

New Bohemia Wurst and Bierhaus is looking to expand to Duluth. The only problem is that they have yet to find the perfect place to call home. We spoke with Brian Ingram of New Bohemia who explained that the company is currently searching for a suitable location to open within Twin Ports. 

Not familiar with New Bohemia? We'll fill you in.

The restaurant and bar opened their first location in Minneapolis' Northeast neighborhood in 2012. Since then the company has expanded to include 6 locations within the Twin Cities and also a food truck.

Interior of a typical restaurant | New Bohemia

New Bohemia is known as a "New American Craft Bier Hall" where the restaurants often feature 36 local and international beers on tap and a number of food items including of course... Germam sausages. How many types of sausages? 24 to be exact.

We've all had sausage before, however we're not sure that we have all had the sausages featured on New Bohemia's menu. They include sausage such as Smoked Elk, Alligator Bayou, Rattlesnake, Rabbit and Jackalope. 

None of those fancy your appetite? Don't worry. The menu also features classic sausages, burgers, Belgian style fries, salads, and of course potato salad. Oh yes, and how could we forget, there's trivia on Thursday nights!

Now let's talk about New Bohemia's love for the community.

New Bohemia is special because they really love the local community. As in, REALLY, love the community.

Their love includes the locally sourced meats they serve on their menu and the fact that they typically give 28 of their 36 taps to local breweries, with some of those beers being created just for New Bohemia.

We can cross our fingers that New Bohemia finds a place to call home soon within our community. If you want to make that search easier you can always suggest a location by contacting us here

Until then, take the time to visit New Bohemia's and learn a little bit more about them. You could visit their website here.

EntreeNew Bohemia

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Crooked Pint Ale House plans Duluth location; New tenants announced for Kenwood Village

Crooked Pint in Minneapolis  |  Crooked Pint

Crooked Pint in Minneapolis | Crooked Pint

Twin Ports Residents, raise your glasses. A new pub is coming to town.  

Crooked Pint Alehouse, a nouveu styled urban pub, will open their first Northern Minnesota location at Kenwood Village come Summer 2017. The 4,958 square foot location will take up the largest ground floor retail space and will feature a patio with seating for 76 on the corner of Arrowhead Road and Kenwood Avenue.

Cooked Pint is a Minnesota chain of restaurants based out the Twin Cities that currently has 4 locations within the state. They’re known for their pub fare and for having a huge selection of beers on tap with most locations having atleast 32 available.

Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location  |  Duluth Planning Commission

Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location | Duluth Planning Commission

Now while the restaurant may be a chain, you’ll most likely forget that when you step in the door. Crooked Pint restaurants feature rough-sawn oak floors and pub styled furniture. It’s meant to feel like a neighborhood restaurant and anything but a chain.

The Duluth location will feature a large bar centered within the room with seating for 30. We're sure this place will be a MAJOR hit with the local college students and residents alike.


Two additional tenants were also announced for the Kenwood Village development when the developer filed their plans with the Duluth Planning Commission. Those plans will go under review at next weeks meeting.

Kenwood Village Development | Duluth Planning Commission

Little Caesar’s will open their second Duluth location on the ground floor in a 1,291 square foot space. The first location for the company in on Michigan Street in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new location is expected to open in Spring of 2017

Duluth Teachers Credit Union will move their location from 1358 West Arrowhead Road into a new 2,271 square foot space on the ground floor. The new branch is expected to open sometime in 2017.

Don't forget the other previously announced tenant. Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels will open a dual branded location within development also. The 2,500 square foot location will be located on an end-cap on the ground floor and will feature a drive-thru.

One remaining 2,300 square foot retail space is available within the development. Could our dreams of getting a second Chipotle location come true? Let’s cross our fingers.



A Cinnabon "kiosk" location  |  Cinnabon

A Cinnabon "kiosk" location | Cinnabon

Craving one of those delicious, warm Cinnabon cinnamon rolls? Yeah, the ones you were use to getting at the Miller Hill Mall over 5 years ago when a location graced the food court. Well, you might be in luck.

Cinnabon has begun the search for a new franchisee to open a location at the Miller Hill Mall. Oh, and they're ready in immediately. That's how the company's website lists the opportunity for a new store at the Miller Hill Mall. If your interested, you can apply for more information here.

Dual branded location | Cinnabon

But wait, there's more.

Focus Brands is the parent company who owns Cinnabon and a number of other food establishments, one of those being Auntie Anne's.

The Duluth News Tribune has reported that Auntie Anne's in also interested in opening in the Miller Hill Mall although the company's website does not list the mall as an available opportunity. Occasionally the company will build dual branded stores that include both a Cinnabon and an Auntie Anne's.

It's interesting in that Focus Brands is looking to re-enter the Twin Ports market. The last Focus Brand company within the area, Schlotzky's Deli, closed in the Holiday Center last year. Focus Brands also owns Carvel, Moe's Southwest Grill, and McAlister's Deli, none of which have MInnesota locations at the moment.

Moe's Southwest Grill has had two Minnesota locations, the last of which closed last year due to "operational issues." The company is looking to open 35 locations within the Twin Cities and additional locations in Southern and Northern Minnesota.



Sears has made three new "opportunities" available within the Twin Ports for retailers, developers/investors, and real estate brokers.

Sears Holdings Corporation, the real estate portion of the Sears/K-Mart company, has made available last three properties within the Twin Ports. This includes their 86,611 square foot K-Mart store at 215 North Central Ave in West Duluth along with their 98,938 square Sears store and the attached 9,131 square foot automative center at the Miller Hill Mall.

Throughout the state of Minnesota Sears Holdings has listed 11 K-Mart stores, 2 K-Mart Automotive Centers, 10 Sears stores and 10 Sears Automotive centers as available. Overall 33 properties were made available within Minnesota, one of those properties being the Sears flagship location at the Mall of America.

Available Sears Auto space highlighted in red


As competition from online retailers and new retailers heats up Sears and K-Mart have seen a continued decline. This has resulted in a number of closings in the past few years with one of those being the K-Mart location near the Miller Hill Mall (now a Hobby Lobby and soon a PetSmart). More recently the company has begun to re-evaluate their company's real estate to see which properties the company can relieve themselves of resulting in large savings.

In some locations across the country Sears is downsizing their stores, many of which are over 100,000 square feet, to around 40,000 square feet leaving the rest up for redevelopment.

In some cases British retailer Primark is snatching up the extra space and opening some of their first locations within the United States. In others cases malls are using it as an excuse to expand their retail offerings with new retail space along with renovations.


With the K-Mart space being listed in West Duluth it implies that that store would close. There is a chance the a real estate company could purchase the space and rent it back to K-Mart which would relieve Sears from a number of costs associated with owning a building rather than leasing it.

If K-Mart does close, it would be the biggest retail space to become available in the West End in decades and it would be a prime opportunity for a redevelopment and re-positioning of the Spirit Valley Shopping Center.

At the Miller Hill Mall the closing of Sears would be a major hit... or a major gain depending on the way you look at it. While the automotive center seems like it might be a little tougher spot to fill at it sits at the back of the mall, the Sears space is another story. 

You might not have noticed it but there is a MAJOR lack of space at the Miller Hill Mall recently. The downsizing of Sears or a closure could result in a huge opportunity for the Miller Hill Mall to expand it's retail space. 

All three spaces are available for inquiries here. In the future when more information becomes available on the potential future uses of these spaces you'll be able to find it right here on CDINDULUTH!



The day is here. Mills Fleet Farm will officially open the doors to their brand new Hermantown location tomorrow morning at 7am.

This will be the company's first Twin Ports location and second in the Northland. The 183,000 square foot store will open at the corner of Loberg Avenue and Market Street. The area surrounding it has been pegged as "Hermantown Marketplace" and is expected to see substantial retail growth in the future with Fleet Farm kickstarting that growth.

Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location)  | Mills Fleet Farm

Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location) | Mills Fleet Farm

Hermantown's location will sell thousands of items including sporting and hunting goods, farm supplies, clothing, home improvement items, and much more. There's even a seasonal garden center. 

That's not all though. There's also an auto service department, outdoor lumber yard, gas station with 16 filling stations, a car wash and even a kerosene dispenser.

The new store will employee between 150 and 200 people and will be open Monday through Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturdays 7am-9pm, and Sundays from 8am-pm. The gas station will be open daily from 6am-10pm.



A new MedExpress location in Arkansas | The Cabin

The number medical facilities in Duluth is about to grow. This time plans are for a new urgent care center to serve the Duluth Heights area.

MedExpress has filed plans for a new 4,713 square foot, 7 room medical facility at the corner of Myrtle Street and Central Entrance in Duluth. The new building would be constructed on what currently is an empty lot next to Residence Inn.

The 4 floor, 92 room Residence Inn extended stay hotel opened in Duluth about four years ago. The hotel was intentionally constructed at the back of the site so that the high profile corner could be put up for sale with hopes that a restaurant would later be constructed. Those plans never came to fruition and the site has remained vacant since the hotel's opening.


MedExpress is a national leader in urgent care delivery that "provides high-quality, fast and affordable care to those seeking medical treatment for illness and injury" according to their website. Their urgent care centers are open 12 hours a day, 7 days per week and operate on a first come first served basis which means no appointments are offered.

MedExpress was founded in 2001 on the East Coast and today has over 150 locations in 15 different states. The company has aggressive expansion plans that will easily double their current number of locations within the next ten years with a large focus on the Midwest.


While there currently are no MedExpress locations in Minnesota, the company does have big plans for the state and is currently planning 19 Minnesota locations in the following cities.

Andover, Arden Hills, Bemidji, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Cloquet, Duluth, Eden Prairie, Golden Valley, Hilltop, Lakeville, Mankato, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Rochester, Roseville, Saint Paul, and last but not least, St. Cloud.

The company currently has four job postings listed for the Duluth location on their website, this includes three postings for Physicians and one posting for a Nurse Practioner. The same four positions are available for the Cloquet location and in addition a Center Manager position is also a available for that location. Click here to see these job postings on their website.



A recently opened Golden Corral location in Las Vegas | Review Journal

Have you ever been to the Best Buffet in the USA? Probably not since the nearest location of the place that bills itself that is about 4 hours away in Wisconsin. Soon that drive will be cut in half.

Golden Corral announced last week that it plans to enter the Minnesota market after decades of waiting when their newest location opens in August in Maple Grove, a second location will open in Maplewood in October. Both locations will open in former Old Country Buffet spaces.

Old Country Buffet is largely what kept Golden Corral out of Minnesota. The buffet chain was the second largest buffet chain in the United States and began in Minnesota in 1983. It's tough to take a company's home turf. 

That was until last year when parent company Ovation Brands filled for bankruptcy and closed over 100 locations across the country. The closings brought the total number of locations for the company down to 127, a relatively low number compared to the 347 locations that were open just a few years prior.


We spoke with Dale Maxfield about the future expansion of Golden Corral in Minnesota. He knows what's in store (literally and figuratively) as he is the franchisee who is responsible for the openings of the Maple Grove and Maplewood Golden Corral locations.

Dale is a Minnesota resident and is by no means a stranger to the buffet business. In 1990 he became the VP of Operations for none other than Golden Corral's competitor, Old Country Buffet. He stayed in that position for 15 years and exited the company in 2006 just two years prior to Old Country Buffet filing their first bankruptcy. 

Today Dale owns four Golden Corral locations in Indian, Iowa, and Nebraska. 

Interior of a golden corral location | golden corral

While the locations in Maple Grove and Maplewood will both open in less than 90 days, there are already more locations in the works. Potential future locations elsewhere in the state include Rochester and Woodbury where Old Country Buffet also previously had locations. The Twin Cities area could eventually become home to five more Golden Corral locations when all is said and done.


 "I know the Duluth market and like it a lot" Dan told us when discussing if a Duluth location could be in the foreseeable future.

Duluth is for sure on the maps. In fact, Dale is very aware of the Twin Ports market and also very aware that at the moment it's buffetless (we're making that a word). Old Country Buffet's closed in June at the Miller Hill Mall being part of Ovation Brand's latest list of mass closures which included all the Old Country Buffet locations in Minnesota except one in Burnsville.


Old Country Buffet left a large retail space in the Miller Hill Mall vacant. Mall officials are certain the space will be filled quickly due to it's high visibility and also due to the large amount of continuous space (it's hard to find space at the mall these days). 

Will Golden Corral take over the space as the company is doing elsewhere in the state? It's not in the plans now. "Duluth is a great market for Golden Corral and I will be searching for a location" Dan explained to us, however at the moment nothing has been leased within the market.

Golden Corral currently has four prototype designs with the smallest being a 7,751 square foot location with seating for 276 people and the largest being a 14,155 square foot location with seating for 520 guests. The smallest location would be the most likely to fit in the former Old Country Buffet space.

We will continue to monitor Golden Corral's expansion into Minnesota and their search for a suitable location in Duluth. To suggest a location for Golden Corral, contact us here.


A project nearly a decade in the making is finally underway.

On Tuesday a press conference was held at the NorShor Theater in Downtown Duluth with notable individuals such as Mayor Emily Larson in attendance.

The reason? The keys to the property were officially being handed over marking the start of a renovation and restoration project of Duluth's oldest and most historic theater, a project in the making since the early 2000's


The NorShor Theater was constructed in 1910 and back then it wasn't called what it is today, rather it was the Orpheum Theater. As a Classical Revival styled theater the NorShor stood out as one of the most luxurious theaters in Northern Minnesota.

For most of the early 1900's the NorShor was the premiere place for Vaudeville performances within Duluth and was also one of the first movie theaters within the city.

Current state of the NorShor Theatre | CDINDULUTH

Come the 1940's and the Orpheum Theatre emerged in a new form having been renovated in an Art Deco style and also having been renamed, now being called the NorShor Theater. The crowning element of the theatre's design was a 125 foot tall tower gracing the exterior, clad in porcelain and covered in over 3,000 lights.

Decades later once the 21st century hit the NorShor was in a far different light having long exited it's glory days. It operated under a number uses in the early 2000's, most of which used the space in every way that was not originally intended with the most notable being a strip club.

However in 2010 a glimmer of hope appeared when the Duluth Economic Development Authority purchased the NorShor Theatre and a few adjacent buildings for $2.5 million. It marked the beginning of a long planning process for full renovation and restoration of the building.


That plan is finally becoming reality.

Estimated to cost $30.5 million dollars, the NorShor Theater will bring new life to the recently designated Duluth Arts and Theater District which includes a number of thriving restaurants, bars, shops, and even two independent movie theaters.

Sherman Associates now owns the NorShor Theatre and will be responsible for the redevelopment of the property. They're not a new company to the Twin Ports, in fact they're also the company behind the renovation of Greysolon Plaza and also the development of the building that is home to the Sheraton Hotel and 311 Superior Condos.

The renovation of the NorShor Theatre will create a state-of-the-art 700 seat live performance theater in the Art Deco style.  Sherman Associates also plans to bring back a bar and lounge to the building which will take note from the 1940's Milk Bar that once existed within the NorShor.

The project is expected to be completed in December 2017 and soon after the Duluth Playhouse will move in. After seven years the Playhouse is expected to take full ownership of the building.



Duluth. It's a place with great restaurants, great views, and... great medical facilities

Thousands of Twin Ports residents are employed by the areas hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities. Even with all those professionals in the medical industry there are relatively few places for those employees to purchase their most essential piece of work attire; their scrubs.

Well, today is a new day and things are about to get a little easier. 

Scrubs Direct will officially open their doors to their newest location at the Burning Tree Plaza in Duluth at 10am this morning. The Duluth location will be the second for the company which also has a location in Maplewood Mall in St. Paul.

What Scrubs Direct prides themselves on is high quality and personal service. At their stores you'll find the latest in scrub uniforms, medical accessories, and professional shoes. Customers can find the newest styles including Cherokee, Barco, Grey's Anatomy, Wink, White Cross, Dickies, Peaches and many other others along with shoes from Dansko, Alegria, Sanita, and others. 


It's a family owned business. It's as simple as that.

Started in 2008 by Max and Kristin Ericson, Scrubs Direct opened their first location in St. Paul, MN at the Maplewood Mall. That first store was just the start.

From that single retail location the couple developed a "mobile store" that was able to travel around to any medical facility selling the latest in scrub uniforms along with medical accessories and professional shoes. That mobile store helped spread the word of Scrubs Direct.

Why Duluth?

It's a natural progression if you think about the business model. Duluth is home to thousands of medical employees not to mention hundreds of medical students. There's a need for scrubs and that's clear.

It's also close to home for Max and Kris who are originally from Minong, Wisconsin. It's a win win.

More importantly, with Duluth's medical industry growing with each new year it was a perfect fit for the couple when they began to think about where to expand their business next.

While the Burning Tree Location is away from the core of Duluth's medical facilities it's in an emerging and growing area of Duluth. There are a number of dentistry offices and medical facilities located in the surrounding area with larger medical facilities such as Essentia Health's Hermantown Clinic right down the road.

St. Luke's also recently began construction on the new Miller Creek Medical Clinic that will open next year at the corner of Mall Drive and Loberg Road behind the newly opened Holiday Inn Express and Suites.

Scrubs Direct

Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat 10am-6pm|  Tues, Thur 10am-8pm|  Sun 11am-4pm

Address: 5115 Burning Tree Road #302  |  Duluth, MN 55811  |  Phone: 218-722-1012

Website  |  Facebook Page



Interior of a typical Jo-Ann Fabrics location | AUE

As one fabrics and crafts store departs the Duluth market, another will soon enter.

Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts will open a new location at the Burning Tree Plaza in the former Hancock Fabrics space next year. The 17,682 square foot location will soon be vacated once Hancock Fabrics closes their only Duluth location at the shopping center.

Hancock Fabrics opened in Duluth in 1998 after taking over Northwest Fabrics and Crafts which had operated in the space previously. While the Duluth location was very successful, others within the company did not do as well due to increased competition by retailers such a Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Interior of a Jo-Ann Fabrics location in St. Petersburg, Florida | AUE

 In early April Hancock Fabrics announced that it was going bankrupt and would close all 185 remaining locations across the country once all the merchandise had been sold. As of today the Duluth location is still open and does not yet a set closing date.


It all starts with a job listing, or four in Jo-Ann Fabrics case

On May 31st the company posted Store Manager, Assistant Store Manager, Key Holder, and Team Member positions on their website for a location at the Burning Tree Plaza (if you're interested in the jobs they can be found here). The job postings confirmed that company was entering the Duluth Market with additional sources confirming that the company will replace Hancock Fabrics.

Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts most likely isn't an unfamiliar company to most in the Northland. It's actually a store that has been on the wish-list for many for quite some time.

Having opened their first store in 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio Jo-Ann Fabrics has grown into the "leading national specialty retailer of crafting, decorating, and sewing products" in the country with over 850 locations nationwide.

The average store ranges from 10,000-25,000 square feet in size and to date the company employees over 23,000 employees across the country. 

We'll have more information the new Duluth Jo-Ann Fabrics location in the coming weeks.



Aldi will be setting up shop in Duluth. Finally.

Aldi officials confirmed last week that the company is in the final negotiations to build a free standing 19,000 square foot location in the Village Mall in Duluth Heights on a site that currently is surface parking for the mall.

If you're unfamiliar with Aldi, read our post here to learn just about everything you could want to know about the German based grocer that does things a little differently than similar businesses within the United States.

Current parking lot where the new Aldi location will be construction | CDINDULUTH

The new location in Duluth will be similar in design to the company's location that opened on Tower Avenue in Superior last fall. 1 story in design, the Duluth location will be around 19,000 square feet with 12,000 square feet of selling space, making it slightly larger than the Superior location.

Aldi would like to begin construction this fall with an opening planned for Summer 2017. While the company can confirm no additional stores are planned for Superior, they say a second Duluth location could be in store (literally) for the future.

This news comes on the heels of the announcement that PetSmart will open a 25,000 square foot location in the last remaining space at the Village Mall. The center will also receive facade upgrades to make all storefronts match along with an entirely new parking lot. You can read more about this announcement here.


Punch Pizza may have Duluth in its future

Ever heard of Punch Pizza? If you said no, you're missing out. It's a local Twin Cities chain of fast casual pizza restaurants that are known for their neapolitan styled pizza.

Punch crafts their pizza the traditional Italian way, so well in fact that the company actually is certified V.P.N., a designation given only to a select few pizzerias outside of Naples, Italy who are the best of the best. 

Founded by John Sarrano, the first Punch Pizza location opened on February 5th, 1996 in St. Paul's Highland neighborhood. In 2002, after partnering with John Puckett and his wife (the individuals responsible for creating a little coffee shop called Caribou Coffee), Punch opened their second location. Today, there are nine extremely successful Twin Cities locations.

Nine locations? That's not the stopping point for Punch Pizza, oh no, that's just the beginning.

There's more to this place than just pizza

While Punch Pizza is obviously known for their delicious Neapolitan styled pizza that is cooked to perfection in an 800 degree wood burning stove in just 90 seconds, the company has also made the news, nationally we might add, for another reason. 

In 2013 Punch Pizza raised their minimum wage for all new hires to $10 in order to attract the best talent and ultimately retain the best talent within their restaurants. The move gained the attention of President Barack Obama who even mentioned Punch Pizza in his State of the Union Address that year. Since then the minimum wage at Punch has been raised to $11, above the state of Minnesota's minimum wage of $9.  

Now where does Duluth come into the picture?

This past week the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal published an article on the recent growth of Punch Pizza within the Twin Cities market along with some of the company's future plans. While Punch has added a number of locations in the surrounding suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the company has yet to venture far from home (St. Paul).

John Puckett stated in an interview with the MSPBJ that Punch will open their 10th and 11th locations in Eagan and Vadnais Heights come Fall 2016. After that the company will continue to look for additional growth opportunities with the next areas of focus being Duluth, Rochester, and even potentially out of state in Madison, WI.

Those cities, hundreds of miles away from the original Punch Pizza location, would happen if an ideal situation occurred (there's a lot of moving parts). Based on the success of Punch to date, there's no doubt in our mind that Punch will be able to make those plans come to fruition.

So consider this our heads up Duluth, years in advance.

If you go to Punch the next time you're in the Twin Cities we suggest trying the "Palermo" pizza (it's to die for). Oh yeah, make sure you don't forget to get that side order of focaccia!


PetSmart plans Duluth location

Rendering of the Duluth PetSmart location | Duluth Planning Commission

Fido need a new toy? Don't worry, soon there will be another retailer in Duluth for all your pet's needs. PetSmart is planning a 29,000 square foot location in what is the last remaining retail space available in the former K-Mart space at 1734 Mall Drive.

PetSmart currently has 16 Minnesota locations, most of which are in the Twin Cities. The Duluth location would be the first Northern Minnesota location. The company is a direct competitor to Petco, which currently has one Twin Ports location at the Stone Ridge Shopping Center, about a mile away from the planned PetSmart location.

What began as small retail company with two locations in 1987, PetSmart has since expanded to include over 1,400 retail locations in Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. To date the company employs over 53,000 individuals and posted a revenue of nearly $7 billion last year. 


In 2013 Hobby Lobby opened a 55,000 square foot store in part of the former K-Mart space, leaving 29,000 square feet of additional retail space located to the left of theirs available for lease. This space is where PetSmart plans to call home in Duluth.

Interior of typical PetSmart location | PetSmart

NCD Duluth SC, LLC has submitted plans that will go before the Duluth Planning Commission's meeting on May 10th that show PetSmart taking ALL of the 29,000 square feet of remaining space. This would be quite large for a PetSmart as their store locations tend to average between 18,000 and 27,000 square feet in size.

PetSmart is known as a "one stop shop" when it comes to pet needs. In addition to the thousands of pet products for sale and small animals and fish, some locations feature pet grooming while others also feature Banfield Pet Hospitals and PetHotels, a fancy name for pet boarding and daycare. Those last two features are what truly set PetSmart apart from their competitor Petco. 

The renderings for the Duluth PetSmart location show only signage for grooming on the exterior, typically all of the services mentioned above would have exterior signage. At the moment it is unclear if all services will be offered at the Duluth location however it is very likely considering how much how large the location will be.

We will have more information on those specifics soon.


But wait, there's more.

Plans that will presented to the city also show alos a renovation of the current Savers storefront to match the Hobby Lobby and PetSmart storefronts. PetSmart and Savers facades are designed to match what currently is the Hobby Lobby facade.

The entire parking lot for what is now called "Village Mall" will also be entirely replaced with all new curves and pavement, quite a bit of foliage, and designated medians separating the parking lot into parking areas for each tenant instead of one large sea of parking spaces as it currently is.

The entry from Mall Drive and Maple Grove Road will also be enhanced resulting in Grandma's Saloon and Grill's parking area being separated by medians and foliage from the main parking area for Village Mall.

One interesting detail shown is a large area of parking that will not be replaced closest to Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow Drive. It's listed as a "future submittal" in the landscaping/parking lot plans.

Another interesting detail is the pylon sign for Village Mall that is planned for Mall Drive. It shows space for Savers, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart... and an additional retail space. Problem is is that there isn't another available retail space for lease as all all buildings will be 100% leased once PetSmart opens.

Landscape plan showing PetSmart location and area of parking lot to not be replaced | Duluth Planning Commission


So what does this mean?

The future submittal for "Parking Lot #3" could mean that the developer/property owner is possibly looking at constructing an additional retail building on the parking lot that is not slated to be replaced.

Parking Lot 3 lines up with the far edge of the current building on site and would be prime area for additional retail space ranging most likely in the 20,000-40,000 square foot range. This building would most likely "box in" the parking area.

The plans for Village Mall show 568 parking spaces once all lots are replaced which is more than enough space for the three retailers on site. This also would enough space to allow additional retailers to locate on site.

While plans have not been solidified for what is referred to as "Parking Lot #3" we will be sure to keep you updated if any future plans are released.


Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels plan two Duluth locations

What's better than one? Two. Of course we have two reasons for that.

Reason One: When it comes to coffee and bagels, it's a given that the two belong together. That's why Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels have teamed up to open co-branded stores across the country.

Reason Two: It's great when that coffee and bagel duo decides to open a location within Duluth. It's better when they open two.


Kenwood Village | United Properties

We announced a few weeks ago that Caribou Coffee would open a location at Duluth's newest luxury residential building, Endi, at 2120 London Road. 

At the time it was unclear if the location was to be a standalone concept or one that was co-branded with Einstein Brothers Bagels. Caribou Coffee has been expanding their co-branded locations for last three years with a number of locations in the Midwest, including seven in Minnesota.

Soon after we posted our article job postings (if you're interested, look here) began to surface for a co-branded location at 2100 London Road confirming that Einstein Brothers Bagels would also be coming to Duluth.


Today the Duluth News Tribune revealed that Caribou Coffee would also open a co-branded location at Kenwood Village, a new mixed-use development at the corner of Kenwood Avenue and Arrowhead Road. 

A few years back Bruegger's Bagels, another bagel chain that Caribou Coffee had opened co-branded locations with at the time, was to open within the space with Caribou Coffee. However in 2014 it was announced that Caribou Coffee and Bruegger's Bagels would end their relationship and not open any additional co-branded locations. This was due to a number of reasons, however soon after a new partner was selected: Einstein Brothers Bagels.

This means that the location at Kenwood Village will also be co-branded as a Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels location. It will feature a drive-thru, as will the London Road location, which currently none of the three Duluth Caribou Coffee locations have.

Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels will open first at Kenwood Village in October and then second in Endi in late fall or early winter 2017. 

A Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bageks location in Woodbury, Minnesota | Caribou Coffee


While Duluth, along with Minnesota, is quite familiar with the Minnesota based coffee chain Caribou Coffee, Duluthians might be a bit more unfamiliar with Einstein Brothers Bagels. 

Einstein Brothers Bagels began in 1995 in Golden, Colorado. The bagel shop was created by Boston Market as a way for them to service breakfast foods. Currently the company has nearly 800 locations across the United States including nearly 30 in Caribou Coffee co-branded locations. The company partnered with Caribou Coffee on that concept in 2014 upon the departure of Caribou Coffee's bagel partner, and Einstein Brothers Bagel's competitor, Bruegger's Bagels.

Exterior of a recently opened Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels location in Grand Forks | Grand Forks Herald 


Build-A-Bear Workshop to renovate Duluth location

Build-A-Bear Workshop's newest store design | MDS

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is planning to freshen up their Miller Hill Mall location at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway by bringing the company's newest store design to the Twin Ports.

Planning for a Duluth Build-A-Bear Workshop® location stretches all the way back to 2011 when the company made it public that it was opening a location within the Miller Hill Mall. In October 2014 the Duluth location finally opened at the Miller Hill Mall in a space that formerly housed Torrid, a plus-sized women's clothing store.

When the construction barricades for Build-A-Bear Workshop® came down it was somewhat surprising to see that not much had changed architecturally from what was in place from the tenant before, which is very unlikely for the company's new stores. The company's signature yellow and blue tones covered the space in a fresh coat of paint, however the space didn't feature the whimsical bear land (to it's fullest extent) that customers often find within their stores.


On March 9th construction bids were submitted by various companies for $299,999 worth of work on behalf of Build-A-Bear Workshop® at the Miller Hill Mall. That's more than just some fresh paint on the walls. It's a full renovation.

Last year Build-A-Bear Workshop® debuted a new store prototype design that has now begun to be rolled out across the country. The company had previously been hurting in sales and was looking for new ways to engage customers, while elevating the brand. The solution was in their store design.

Build-A-Bear Workshop at Mall of America | MDS

Mall of America was one of the first locations to receive this design in the country. It's far more modern than the previous design and uses the blue and yellow colors in block formations. This means that instead of the facade being clad in both colors like it previously was, it now is clad in custom blue metal that was designed and crafted just for Build-A-Bear Workshop®. With the exterior being blue, the interior naturally takes on the yellow color, allowing the company to main their roots while introducing a simpler and cleaner look.

Duluth's 2,154 square foot location will be completely renovated from head to toe, well, ceiling to floor, including a new storefront and all new interior. Inside customers will be able to create characters by using a number of interactive stations along.


An interactive storefront will allow customers to engage with digital signage embedded in the facade that can change depending on the seasons, holiday, and special events. Directly inside there store will be the Choose Me station where guests will find all the characters Build-A-Bear Workshop® has to offer. From there they'll move onto the Love Me station which uses an interactive digital table that allows guests to add unique traits to a heart that is then placed within their character.

Hear Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Hear Me station uses an interactive touch screen with a number of sounds that can be inserted inside the character, even allowing guests to put their favorite music or their own voice on a chip that can be inserted into the character. How cool is that?

From the Hear Me station guests move to the Stuff Me station where their character is filled with stuffing and becomes that adorable, huggable character they've always wanted. New to Build-A-Bear Workshop® are SCENTIments, allowing guests characters to smell like bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, or even chocolate chip! Don't let the family dog get too close when you get home or you might find yourself visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop® again quite soon.

Logically the next step is to close the seams and complete the character. Here's what's REALLY cool. Build-A-Bear Workshop® now has a program called "Find-A-Bear ID" which inserts a barcode within each character. This allows the character to be reunited with their owner if ever lost as the person who finds it can bring it to any Build-A-Bear Workshop® and the owner will be notified. 

This barcode also generates a unique code that guests receive on their character's birth certificate... yes, birth certificate, that allows their character to come to life online where they can play games and do all sorts of things with their new friend.

Name Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Fluff Me station is where guest's characters can take a bath in a digital bath tub (hello 21st century) which can recognize items placed in it and response with sensory effects. Naturally the character will need some clothing because who let's stuffed animals go naked these days? Just visit Dress Me station which includes tons of character clothing and Match Me technology which allows guests to see what's new and also suggest outfits.

Last by not least, it's time to visit the Name Me station. Here guests use a viewfinder that reveals all the attributes and personality traits within their character. A name is picked and a birth certificate, which even includes a photo of their character, is created.

Now it's time to head home... but not too quick! Visit the Take Me Home station which resembles a Build-A-Bear Workshop Cub Condo® to receive your membership and reward program details, along with the birth certificate you printed, and of course the Cub Condo carrying case for your character to ensure they're safe for their travels back home.

You never know so much went into building a stuffed animal did ya? Now you know. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop® will most likely move to a temporary space within the mall while renovations are completed. Construction will begin this Spring with a completion in Summer 2016.