Duluth News Tribune, May 2010
2008 Economic Development Association of Minnesota Award Winning Project (EDDIE)
DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Heritage Sports Center and the Boys & Girls Club are already there. Clyde Park Restaurant and Event Center is open. The new Duluth Children’s Museum
is on the way.
These developments are providing major boosts to the city’s Lincoln Park community. The impact already is being seen with the Sports Center and Boys & Girls Club, which are drawing people from all over the city.
So what better time to help these and other Lincoln Park enterprises by identifying the potential customer markets, local leaders say. “It will help you in making business choices,” Helen Dunlap, a consultant for Local Initiatives Support Corp., told a group of business and community leaders at the Harrison Community Club on Monday. Dunlap explained the aspects of the study to the two dozen people gathered there.
“It’s more of an economic development plan,” said Pam Kramer, LISC’s executive director. “What can be done to support what’s here and what’s coming? How do we grow jobs? And how do we grow business opportunities in Lincoln Park?”
Besides the revitalization of the Clyde Iron Works block, Dunlap said Lincoln Park is a unique combination of residents, light industry and retail including a hub of furniture stores.
“Alone, they would struggle,” she said. “But collectively, it’s a host of opportunities.”
Preliminary findings show the potential customer base goes beyond the 6,000 residents and 5,000 employees of the community’s 440 businesses. It also includes the customers outside Lincoln Park who come to shop for furniture, building materials, hobby and sporting goods, automobiles and parts and for home improvement providers. It also includes potential tourists who will visit Clyde Park and the new children’s museum.
It also found that people are not coming to Lincoln Park to buy clothes, appliances and general shopping nor to eat and drink. Moreover, neighborhood residents are going elsewhere for that, as well.
“Furniture dollars come in and food and drinking dollars go out,” Dunlap said. Randy Brody, a partner with Aerostich, said the final results — expected later this year — can be used to attract businesses to the area.
“It really gives you a profile of the entire business and residential community in Lincoln Park,” he said. “It’s valuable to any Lincoln Park business. For us, it also helps us understand where the neighborhood is going. And it’s important for those interested in locating here.”