Posts in Retail
A NEW LOOK AND EXPERIENCE FOR SKYLINE LANES

Bowling Lanes | Skyline Social & Games

After a multi-million-dollar renovation and a 6,000 square foot expansion, Skyline Social & Games is ready for their official grand re-opening tomorrow, September 27th.

Skylines Lanes has occupied the same site at 4894 Miller Trunk Highway for over 20 years. Tomorrow a new chapter will begin as Skyline just recently completed a massive renovation that not only introduced new branding and an upgraded atmosphere, but also new experiences and games.

When visiting Skyline Social & Games you’ll noticed a refreshed interior that features an industrial vibe not only in the bowling lanes but throughout the entire building. During the renovation the restaurant was also updated and its bar expanded (which now includes 36 different types of beer on tap).

With the remodel two large entertainment options were also added which include duckpin bowling and a virtual reality experience.

Now if that virtual reality experience peaked your interest let us fill you in a bit more on what exactly it is. Called “Hologate”, the VR experience last about 8-minutes and can be experienced with a total of four players of all ages. The experience puts you on an exhilarating adventure in a new dimension where “you’ll fight robots, zombies, and dragons, or even challenge each other with virtual snow balls” according to the company’s website.

Hologate VR Experience | Skyline Social & Games

Arcade Area | Skyline Social & Games

It’s not the only new game that’s been added though, 30+ new arcade games have also been added each with digital card readers.

The renovation and re-branding comes at a perfect time as Skyline has been busier than ever. From May to October they host nearly 3,000 different players during weeknights who come for volleyball, bocce ball, bean bags and spike ball. In the winter the types of events switch to include indoor bowling leagues which include craft beer bowling, poker bowling leagues and more. Skyline also hosts a number of different private parties throughout the year that include corporate events, graduations, reunions, birthdays and more. As a part of the renovation those birthday parties have only gotten better as “glow” party rooms and black light bright rooms have been added.

Sounds like we just made your Friday night plans, right?

Skyline Social & Games is located at 4894 Miller Trunk Highway and officially reopens to the public on Friday, September 27th.

 
AT HOME, THE HOME DECOR SUPERSTORE, LOOKS TO HAVE ITS SIGHTS SET ON DULUTH

A large space that was recently vacated by Shopko may already have a new tenant lined up to fill it.

At Home bills itself as “The Home Décor Superstore.” The company appears to be planning a new store within a 119,842 square foot space located at 801 W Central Entrance. The space was being marketed up until recently when the listing was taken down.

What exactly is At Home? It’s you dream store when it comes to home goods.

Stores carry over 50,000 unique items including furniture, home décor, wall décor, rugs and just about anything else you would need for your home. And when it comes to the stores, they’re massive. Think six times the size of a TJMaxx or a HomeGoods store (if you missed our post, HomeGoods is also opening in Duluth soon).

After we were notified last week that individuals working on the project were in the city recently, we reached out to At Home to see if they could confirm the Duluth opening. “It is too soon to provide any additional information about this store” a company representative responded with. Key words there are “too soon” and “this store.” To us that looks like a confirmed location.

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At Home currently has 185 locations across the United States and is expanding with the goal of reaching 600 locations in total. Currently there are two At Home locations in Minnesota within the Twin Cities area with one location being located in Burnsville and another in Blaine. The Blaine store is the most recent store to open and when it opened in 2016 it filled 138,000 square feet of space that previously was home to a Wal-Mart. That’s quite the superstore when you consider that At Home’s typical store is around 120,000 square feet (meaning Duluth’s former Shopko space is perfect).

If… more so when… At Home opens in Duluth it will add some competition to the already somewhat heated home décor market. The new store would be located directly next to a Pier 1 Imports and just down the road from HOM Furniture, Schneiderman’s, Slumberland and the planned HomeGoods.

Recently, Pier 1 Imports posted a dramatic loss in sales and announced that they are planning to close 57 or more locations around the US. No word yet on the fate on the Duluth location or the impacts that At Home could have on it.  

Depending on when construction begins, At Home could open as soon as the end of this year. We’ve asked to be notified when more information is available and will be sure to post it here on our website once it is.

 
HERE WE GO AGAIN. COSTCO APPARENTLY SCOUTING FOR DULUTH LOCATION

Could Costco be coming to Duluth… this time for real?

Multiple sources are stating that Costco is working with a local real estate company to find a suitable site for building a new store within the area. At the moment it is rumored that three sites are in the running with one site in particular, at the corner of Haines Road and Arrowhead Road, having been named.

The site located at 4699 W Arrowhead Road has been listed for sale for a number of years by Holappa Commercial Real Estate. In total the site covers 54.2 acres which is much more space than what Costco typically would need. Costco stores on average are around 150,000 square feet which requires anywhere between 20-30 acres of land. However, the company does have some locations that around 250,000 square feet which require extra acreage. Now, just because there are 54 acres of land that doesn’t mean Costco would need to take all it and therefore could easily carve out a perfect acreage amount for their store.

4699 W Arrowhead Road  (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

4699 W Arrowhead Road (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

Costco is still expanding in Minnesota. The company just yesterday opened a brand-new 162,000 square foot store, the second largest in the state, in St. Cloud. Another, even bigger store, has been announced for the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan and is expected to open in late 2019/early 2020. Currently there are 10 other Costco locations within the state of Minnesota with the closet to Duluth being located in Baxter.

Costco plans to open 20+ new stores this year and is currently planning another 20 or more locations that would open by 2022. Duluth is currently not listed as a planned location.

Rumors of Costco coming to Duluth have been swirling for a number of years. We actually originally posted about the rumors back in 2016 when the company was said to be opening a store within the market that year or the following.

We have yet to hear of the other two sites within the area that Costco could potentially be looking at. As always, we want to remind our readers that at the moment this only a rumor. But hey, rumors become reality sometimes. Just take the recent confirmation of HomeGoods opening with Duluth as an example. 

We will be sure to post more information on our website about Costco coming to Duluth once more information is available. Until then, take a moment to check out our Development Map to see all of the other exciting projects under construction and planned for the Twin Ports.

 
CHUCK & DON'S OPENING FIRST NORTHLAND LOCATION
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Duluth, you’re about to get a new pet store and we think you’re going to LOVE it.

Chuck & Don’s will open their first Northland location in Duluth this fall. The new store will be located in The Jigsaw retail development that will be constructed at the corner of Miller Trunk Highway and Anderson Road.

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Founded in 1990, Chuck & Don’s began as a small retail shop by Chuck Anderson and Don Tauer. The two were destined to open a pet business together as at the time Chuck owned a dog kennel and Don owned a dog training school next door. The two joined forces and opened their first Chuck & Don’s location in Eagan, MN.

In 1993, Bob Hartzell became a business partner with Chuck and Don. Over time the three expanded their business from it’s single Minnesota location to over 45 locations within the Twin Cities, Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

WHAT MAKES CHUCK AND DON’S DIFFERENT?

Chuck & Don’s is committed to doing “what’s best for the customer and community” according to their website. They offer a large selection of quality food and treats, toys, pet accessories and more that have all been hand selected by Chuck & Don’s pet experts.

Team members at Chuck & Don’s are beyond knowledgable. They’re friendly, there to help and will go out of their way to ensure that you and your pet have everything you need.

When it comes to pets the place doesn’t just cater to dogs and cats. They also stock plenty of items for birds, reptiles and other small household animals truly making the place a one stop shop for pet owners.

When it comes to comparing Chuck and Don’s to other retailers the biggest thing you’ll notice right away is the size of the store. Chuck and Don’s locations range anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet. To put that in perspective, their store locations are about a fifth of the size of your local Duluth PetSmart.

Now, don’t let that fool you. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they won’t have anything and everything you need for your pet. In fact, they’re one of the best pet retailers to check out for specialized products that are hard to find anywhere else.

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THE LOCATION

Launch Properties is developing the retail project that Chuck and Don’s will call home. The project will have 21,700 square feet of retail space split into three different buildings. Chuck & Don’s will occupy 4,000 square feet of space within one of the multi-tenant buildings.

The project is the second in the area for Launch Properties. The company constructed the retail center kiddy corner to the site that today is home to Aspen Dental and Starbuck’s. One additional 2,500 square foot retail space within that development remains to be leased.

Mid-America Group is responsible for the leasing of The Jigsaw project. If your business would like to be Chuck and Don’s neighbor you can find more information on the retail development here.

Chuck & Don’s will open later this year at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road.

 
RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS PROPOSED FOR W CENTRAL ENTRANCE SITE

Duluth's retail core may become even more... retail... That is if one developer's plans are approved by the city.

Launch Properties is proposing a new commercial development at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road. The development company is currently building a commercial development across the street that will include an Aspen Dental, a new Starbucks location, and additional retail space ideally situated for a restaurant.

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Plans for their next commercial development include 17,200 square feet of commercial space. That space will be broken down into three different buildings that will in the end include both retail and restaurants depending on how leasing pans out.

Currently plans show a 6,800 square foot building that would house one retail space and two restaurant spaces. The next building include a freestanding 2,700 sqf restaurant building that would have a drive through (Raising Cane's, please). Lastly, there would be a 7,700 sqf building that would ideally be split between one retail space and two restaurant spaces.

Entry to the retail development would be provided by a one way access from W Central Entrance heading towards Downtown. Both entry and exit lanes would also be available off of Anderson Road. 128 surface parking spaces would be provided within the commercial project.

Launch Properties' proposed commercial development is heading through the City Planning Commission at their September 11th meeting. If you'd like to provide input on the project before then a meeting with the developers will occur today at 5:30pm at the Duluth Heights Community Recreation Center (33 West Mulberry Street).

No tenants or renderings for the project have been released yet. The expected timeline for construction is Spring 2019 through Summer 2020. As more information is provided we will be sure to post it here at The Development Tracker | Duluth. 

 

CARIBOU COFFEE PLANNED FOR CENTRAL ENTRANCE
Former BP station during partial demoliton ///  Mix108

Former BP station during partial demoliton /// Mix108

There has been a question circulating around town for the last few months. What is happening to the former BP gas station at 2 E Central Entrance? Two words. Caribou Coffee.

Local developer Kleiman Realty is currently renovating the building in preparation for Caribou Coffee to set up shop. This will be Caribou's seventh Duluth location and it will be just one mile from the Stone Ridge Shopping Center location and less than two miles from the Miller Hill Mall location. We've reached out to Caribou Coffee to see if this by chance might be a relocation but chances are that it is most likely not.

Why not? Competition is getting hot.

Recent additions to the area such as Dunkin' Donuts and the ever so present chance that Tim Horton's might enter the market are really changing the market.

To make things worse for Caribou Coffee, Starbuck's has recently been investing significantly in new locations within the area. Just a few years ago they opened a new location along Woodland Avenue, remodeled their Downtown location and later this year will open a new location along Central Entrance (no word either on if that will be a relocation of the current location along Central Entrance or not). Recent news we've heard is that three other locations might be introduced within the Twin Ports within the next two years.

Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Currently the details on the new Caribou Coffee location are scarce. Multiple permits have been pulled out for the renovation and work has been happening for the last few weeks. A Fall opening is expected.

Whether or not this location will be a dual branded store like ones that have previously opened in Duluth is unclear. Caribou Coffee recently made some revisions to their expansion of the Coffee & Bagels chain where they partner with other chains such as Bruegger's or Einstein Bagels (among others). The partnership is still happening but going forward there is much more of an emphasis on the Caribou Coffee part of the partnership.

We will keep you all updated with any additional details that we become aware of. Until then, dream of those Northern Lite Coolers that might just be a step closer to you depending on where you live.

 

TOPPER'S PIZZA PLANNING TWIN PORT'S LOCATIONS
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Topperstix. If you haven't had them, you've GOT to try them. And good news Duluthians, soon you'll have the chance to.

Topper's is a pizza chain known for their delicious ToppersStixs. They're basically breadsticks... but so much better. They come in SEVEN different types, including garlicstix, pepperonistix, tacostix, cinnamonstix, baconstix, chocolate baconstix... along with the regular Toppstix which is simply a cheese topping.

Hold up though, that isn't all that they have though.

The joint also serves bone-in and boneless chicken wings and of course, PIZZA. The pizza options are endless ranging from build-your-own all the way down to Mac N' Cheese pizza. What sets Topper's pizza apart from others are their wild choices, their fresh ingredients, their late hours, and the fact that they typically deliver within 25 minutes. Talk about fast.

Based out of Whitewater, WI, Topper's currently has 15 Minnesota locations making Duluth their 16th. The first Minnesota Topper's location opened in 2012 in Rochester, not far from the Mayo Clinic.

SO WHO'S BRINGING TOPPERS TO THE TWIN PORTS?

A local real estate developer, Jordan Decaro, along with John Matko, who previously was a chef at Essentia Health's Heartstone Cafe and the Northland Country Club, will be the ones behind the new Topper's locations.

The first of which will be in East Duluth.

Located at 1231. E 9th Street, the space previously was home to David Kortier Harpmaker, a business that had been located at the site for nearly 20 years. The harpmaker won't be going far, space at the back of the building currently is housing their business and will be for the foreseeable future.

Topper's will open in the front half of the ground floor of the building. The space will house the kitchen, ordering area, and a few seats areas for guests. In addition, there will be a bit of outdoor seating too that can be used during the early Spring and Summer months.

EXPANSION WITHIN THE TWIN PORTS

The East Duluth location won't be the only one for long as Jordan and John plan to open two additional locations within the Twin Ports later this year. The first of which, or second depending on how you look at it, will open in Superior later this Summer while a third will open in West Duluth or Lincoln Park later this fall.

The East Duluth location is expected to open later this Spring when they can gaurentee that most of the college students will be within the area. Topper's feeds off of college campus', especially during their openings. The first 50 individuals in line will receive free pizza for an ENTIRE year.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on when Topper's plans to exactly open because let's be honest, who doesn't want free pizza for a year?

 

COULD A SECOND TARGET BE IN DULUTH'S FUTURE?

Could Target’s newest small format store design be coming to Duluth? New renderings of BlueStone Commons may provide a hint.

Yesterday we posted an article about plans submitted to the city by the developers of BlueStone Commons. Unfortunately at this time those renderings provide few details for the project besides the fact that it would be much larger than expected. Depicted are an 11 story residential building along with a large freestanding retail building adjacent to it

While developers last year stated that they would like to attract a grocery tenant along the lines of Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site it appears that while that large retail space would be perfectly suitable for them that it could in fact be a home to another retailer. Target.

You might be a frequent Target shopper like us and therefore might be saying to yourself how would a Target fit in such a small space. The answer? Target’s new small format store design.

In 2014 “Target Express” debuted in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood with the 20,000 square foot store being about a sixth of the size of a typical Target location. While the "express" part of the name has been dropped from the concept as the expansion of the store design continues the basic business model remains. Small stores ranging between 16,000 and 30,000 square feet that can fit in to densely populated areas.

Flash forward to today and there are over 20 of these small format stores either open or in the works across the country.

Target's Dinkytown location | Target

SOMETIMES SMALLER IS BETTER THAN BIGGER

Rendering showing the retail space planned for BlueStone Commons | Planning Commission

The new small format stores offer the “best” of what Target has to offer. What that means is that instead of finding 15 types of toilet paper, you might only find 8. Same goes for all of the departments within the stores. You also may not find ALL of the departments that you would find in a typical Target location as the stores are built for the demographics found in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In Minnesota there currently are two of these small format locations open, one located in Minneapolis' Dinkytown neighborhood while the other is in St. Paul’s Highland neighborhood.

While the Dinkytown location is geared towards college students, the Highland location is geared towards the surrounding neighborhood of families and adults and includes Target’s upper-end Threshold brand along with a focus on wellness and family products. A third small format location will open next year in a new mixed-use development in the heart of Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood called “Revel”.

Duluth’s BlueStone Commons would be a perfect fit for a new small format Target as it is close to both colleges and dense neighborhoods, a demographic that this small format model was originally built for. While Target recently closed their location in Superior there has always been sources stating that Target was looking to open a second Duluth location, ideally in East Duluth. As noted by one of our readers the renderings provided by BlueStone Common’s developers show the retail space including a bright red canopy along with the signature red Target spheres in front of the store. Could it be the first hint?

While renderings don’t always depict what will in the end become reality, they do provide a good insight in to what tenant’s developers are looking to attract to a site or those tenants in which they may already be in negotiations with. To bring even more truth to a potential Target at BlueStone, recently various sources have reported that Target has been seeking construction bids within the Twin Ports. Could this be for a new location at BlueStone Commons or could it be for improvements to their location near the Miller Hill Mall? Time will tell.

As more details become available on BlueStone Commons and their exciting final phase, whether that includes a Target or not, you’ll be sure to find them right here at CDINDULUTH.

BLUESTONE COMMONS PLANNING BIGGEST PHASE YET

An aerial showing a mass diagram of the final phase of BlueStone Commons | Duluth Planning Commission

BlueStone Commons final phase of development will be its largest phase yet.

The final phase, tentatively called BlueStone Vue, might actually give a little more meaning to the word “view”. Developers last year stated that they were working on plans for a mixed-use building that would include at least 100 residential units along with an undisclosed amount of retail.

While it seemed at that time that developers were proposing a building that would be comparable in size to BlueStone Lofts and BlueStone Flats, the other two residential buildings within BlueStone Commons, we see now that plans have grown significantly.

Plans have been submitted by the developers to the City of Duluth’s planning commission requesting a height variance for the site. Plans show an 11 story residential building standing 123’ feet in height along with a larger retail building sitting adjacent to the residential tower.

Now before you think that might be out of a scale for the area, take a look at the site section diagram below. There you will be able to see that the building would actually be no higher than the tallest adjacent buildings such as the Mount Royal apartments and the Grigg's residential hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

A section diagram showing the height of the new building with the surrounding buildings in the area | Duluth Planning Commission

Doran has constructed a similar residential building in both size and function within Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood called “The Bridges.” It too stands 11 stories tall and features 211 residential units aimed at students enrolled in the University of Minnesota. It seems that Doran might be looking to take a similar route with a building of the same scale here at BlueStone Commons.

MORE RETAIL

As mentioned above, there will also be retail space within the final phase. It appears that there will be a larger amount of retail than originally expected as mass studies show a big box anchor retail space that would be constructed in front of the new residential tower. While no specific details have been made available regarding the size of the retail space it looks to be around 25,000 square foot (think about the size of a Michael's store) and also seems to be designed for one large retailer.

Now what could that tenant be? It seems logical that BlueStone Commons could see the addition of a grocery store of some type within the development. Developers had stated years back that they would like to lure something along the line of a Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site, something that would benefit not only the residents within the project but also the surrounding area. 

Requests for more information have been sent to Doran regarding this new exciting project. The project will officially go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their November 15th meeting.

 
F.Y.E. TO OPEN MILLER HILL MALL LOCATION
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.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST?

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.

A NEW LOOK FOR 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.