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Thoughts on Duluth’s job market?

I’m seriously considering relocating myself and my family to Duluth. It’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. After a great deal of thought and reseach I really do believe we’d be happy there. I read through a blog on PDD about why people like living in Duluth and I think I smiled like an idiot the whole time!

My last major concern at this point is the job market. I’m alarmed that I can’t find jobs listed in your newpaper. Only links to jobsHQ or other job seach engines. We are coming from an area that doesn’t have a great job market so my standards are probally pretty low but we can’t live somewhere where there’s nothing! 

I am a licensed practical nurse and it has never dawned on me that I’d have trouble anywhere. There always seems to be jobs for me. My husband, however, has no degree and has always worked in industrial/warehouse/forktruck kind of places (think John Deere).  He recenty lost his job and there is really no reason to stay where we are.

Any thoughts on the current job market? Thanks for your time.

84 Comments

edgeways

about 8 years ago

Duluth's job market is traditionally pretty tough, there is no doubt about that. It is one of those things (along with the winter) that keeps our population in check.

Having said that, there are a fair number of medical jobs here. St. Luke's, SMDC (now Essentia), are the biggest employers, but there are others, including outlets in Superior, Cloquet, Two Harbors... etc. 

I won't say it'd be easy, there are a few nursing programs in the area and they are always full, so there is a steady flux of new blood into the system, but with luck you should be able to find something.

Timk

about 8 years ago

Welcome back (welcome home).

Carla

about 8 years ago

Jobs are possible to find -- blue collar jobs more likely on the Iron Range. But, very generally speaking, if you want one, you can find one. But it might not be the right one until you are here for a while and make contacts.

msweet

about 8 years ago

Mnjobworkforce website always has healthcare jobs ... one of the few jobs around. Good luck. It's also a reference town. If you don't know people it's hard to get your foot in.

B-man

about 8 years ago

Try this site.

https://www.minnesotaworks.net/

If you have a log in already great, but it only takes 15 minutes to set one up.

Type in the zip code (55802 is downtown) and any keywords and presto, jobs!

We are always eager to welcome someone who is willing to work.

doubledutch

about 8 years ago

I agree that as an LPN you shouldn't have too much trouble finding work here.  

I've worked in manufacturing (in Superior) for ten years, so I know there are those industrial/warehouse/forklift kind of jobs around here.  It's tight right now, but not impossible.   

The jobs get snapped up quickly - we have guys stopping by here all the time, dropping off resumes and "just checking" when we're not even hiring, so when we do need someone, we look through the resumes we already have, or think, "What about that guy that stops in every week, not the creepy one, but the friendly and apparently smart one."  

With so many people looking for work, we don't need to advertise, and that's probably typical of many employers, so no jobs in the paper doesn't necessarily mean no jobs.

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

A lot of local businesses don't post newspaper ads anymore, and instead just do their hiring via their websites.

TopOfTheHillMan

about 8 years ago

Stay where you are. Duluth's job market is always a challenge to secure a position in.  It also pays less than other markets.  I've been here 25 years and the best jobs I have had in Duluth have been jobs that did business in other markets.

Tveter

about 8 years ago

Blue collar is tough. There is work around, but be willing to work crazy hours. Save your money for the slow winter months, as hours can get cut and heating bills can soar.

Tomasz

about 8 years ago

The Duluth job market is has been tough for about the last 20+ years because of people like you.  I don't say that with any malice or anger, but it's true.  Duluth is a desirable place to live because of the lifestyle it affords.  Relatively cheap housing, beautiful landscape and a symphony of seasons -- often in the same day.  There's a finite supply of jobs, and if people really want to be in Duluth they'll take whatever they can get.

Fair warning -- the market is tough.  Competition is fierce.  It's definitely an employer's market.  Jumping from company to company is rare as people tend to hold on to their positions for a long time.

We had to leave Duluth during 2008 because of the recession.  Will we ever come back?  Hard to say.  But there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about Duluth.

Ruthie

about 8 years ago

With a medical background you should be able to find work with more ease than you otherwise would.  I agree with Tomasz, good jobs here are hard to find and this is the kind of workforce that holds on to their job (you'd think more employers would look at this and locate here).  

If you are coming from a metro area be prepared to be offered less than you are making currently.  It takes a commitment to make a go of it here but it is a commitment that is well worth it. You won't find a city anywhere else that gives you the beauty that you have here, the outdoor opportunities for recreation and there is a growing and vibrant arts/music scene here as well.  

I hope you make the decision to come to Duluth.  We need more people who say 'I love Duluth but...' to make the commitment and move to the place they love.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

Do it. Make whatever sacrifice necessary. I'm so amazed that anyone would rather live somewhere like this:

   

It will be July, and you will be laying on the beach with your family watching sailboats and thanking yourself.

dbb

about 8 years ago

The gist is that Duluth is a great place to live but be prepared to make sacrifices professionally to be there.

adam

about 8 years ago

2nd Carla, B-man and Broman.

People are your best asset for employment here.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

For what it's worth, Forbes just published its ten "Best Cities For Finding Employment." Duluth did not make the list, but Minneapolis is #1.

Now how much would someone have to offer to get me to move to Minneapolis? I'm thinking about $700,000 per year with Thursdays through Sundays off and six weeks vacation on top of it. That might persuade me.

zra

about 8 years ago

Third to the aforementioned ... the sacrifices you make are minuscule compared to what the area has to offer.

Patience and perseverance are rewarded with jobs, though maybe not one that'll make you wealthy. That money's spoken for. (ha!)

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

Wow. Now I really have a lot to think about.

Thank you for the time to read my post and I really do appreciate all of the insight. Not exactly what I was wanting to hear, but I guess I didn't ask to be told what I wanted. 

The ecomomy is rough because of "people like me" stung a bit. Even if there was no malice involved. I would like to add to that, that my intention is to move there and be a productive member of society not a leech sucking up the jobs and scenery. I want to live there to be a part of what most of you seem to know is an amazing area. 

That being said, I can't do that if we won't be able to pay our bills.  The area we are currently living in is pretty stunted as well with decent paying jobs few and far between. I'm not coming from a city with gold paved streets.

But I'm not eager to financially cripple my family or force my husband into a $10-an-hour second-shift job. However, Duluth is amazing! I see myself kayaking, sitting on the shores of the lake and hiking to the waterfalls. What could possibly be better!? Oh and I love winter! Here people whine about the snow, I think it's beautiful and would love to live around like-minded people. Snowmobiling, not hiding inside waiting for the severe heat and humidity of summer!

Big breath -- OK, so I'm rambling now. I'll definitely look into the suggestions on here. Thanks!

fro

about 8 years ago

Medical industry is definitely in growth mode here in Duluth. But the big medical corporations are also fiscally conservative. So they are hiring, but as a new hire expect to work long, hard hours. See Tomasz above -- lots of people are hanging tough right now. This is true for non-contract (salaried) folks, and also for those in union jobs.

Still, great lake, great music, you can't lose.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

pbroman-OMG where is THAT!! Who would want that! LOL

msweet

about 8 years ago

Come to Duluth. People love to feed the seagulls.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Don't mind Tomasz, he's got a great perspective, he left.  

I've thought about it maybe 1,000 plus times but so far I have not had to.  

If you are against $10/hr warehouse jobs and crappy shifts as an LPN working in a nursing home it's true you probably shouldn't come because that is where you are both likely to start.  

But still ... as an almost lifelong Duluthian I welcome you.  We need people here who love this place.  Love (certainly not money) is what makes this town.

dbb

about 8 years ago

@zra

The thing about sacrifice is that it's subjective. It was more than I was willing to give so I left.

doubledutch

about 8 years ago

Yeah, I really don't get how the Duluth job market sucks because of people who want to live and work here.  That makes no sense.

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

I view wages in Duluth as having a "cost of living tax". Yes, many people could move down to the twin cities and make a lot more money, but I love Duluth and no raise in salary could move me south. I am willing to have a little less in my paycheck in order to live in this awesome town.

TimK

about 8 years ago

My dearest friends live in the TC or Chicago and nearly all hate where they're living. There's a difference between making a living and living- and everybody's got their own take on both. As a musician, I have to tour out-of-state to make my money, but I love knowing that the drive back home means Duluth.

Ruthie

about 8 years ago

At 3 pm on a summer Sunday afternoon, while I watch all the 'Citidiots' stacked up like cord wood at 26th Avenue East trying to get on the freeway for their drive back to the 'burbs, I think to myself ... sure glad I don't have to do that!  And then comes Monday through Thursday when a person gets the city back from the tourists for a few days and I breathe a breath of the cool, clean fresh air, I drink a swig of the best water on earth and I say to myself, 'ain't it a wonderful world.'  The sacrifices are worth it!

todobrillante

about 8 years ago

Straight out of The Duluth Quarterly (magazine published by the city) is a mention that Duluth was 12th out of about 400 metro regions for expected job growth according to some nerdy economists. Rochester is even higher, so that might be a good bet for health careers, but the setting isn't as great and the culture isn't as ... ah ... unique. 

Richard Florida: Where the Jobs Will Be

Emily

about 8 years ago

Dearest Tim, we don't hate Chicago. We love our neighborhood. We just have to move because we can't afford Chicago. We can't make enough money to survive. We're hoping that we can change that in Duluth.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

The one constant I really seem to notice is that almost all of you seem to love your town. That is really saying something. I'm confident that if anyone where I'm from cared enough to even start a blog, it would be full of negative comments and complaints.

And really, how could you not love it, all else aside, it's incredibly beautiful.

I wonder at this point if the low wages and lack of opportunities that are talked about on here are Duluth being compared to larger cities? I understand that wages in Duluth will be lower than Minneapolis. I currently live two hours from Chicago. I would make much more money in Chicago, but I wouldnt live there for anything. The traffic alone makes me ill. 

Is the overview of the job market in Duluth maybe a bit jaded because it's being compared to the cities?

zra

about 8 years ago

It's all about happiness and what you make of what you got.

IMO, and coming from a position that I could be making a bit more money than what I do now at my primary trade (press operator), the return on your personal investment is much higher spent in a place where you can enjoy year round what most people only get to visit a couple of times a year.

If your priorities involve the appreciation of aesthetics over monetary gain, Duluth is the right place for you.

If your priorities are to make tons of money ... well, the statement answers itself.

You'll hear a lot of grumbling about how shitty the roads are or how the city administration is running us into bankruptcy ... or much ado about really ... the same problems that every other city in the United States is facing right now.

In the end it doesn't matter. We live here because we love it here.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

Oh yes, all cities essentially have the same problems. It would be dumb of me to assume otherwise.

The less than great job market aside, I love Duluth too. I believe it may be the perfect enviorment for me (hopefully my family agrees with this). 

Relocating is scary but how else do you know if you could be happier elsewhere? I fear that if we don't just do it, I'll regret it.

I may have to run some addresses and areas by you guys at some point.

Shana

about 8 years ago

I've lived all over and loved it.  If you want to move you're right, you'll never know if it's the right thing to do until you do it.

But for the love of the lord, the job market up here freakin' sucks balls.  If you have any other options consider them well.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

sucks balls hu? damn :)

ruby2sd4y

about 8 years ago

Buy my house so I can leave. 
19+yrs is enough. 
My sentence is up and I'm ready for parole.

...and agrees with Shana and others on the ball-sucking job market, AND piss-poor payscales, nepotism, etc., here.

Miles A Broad

about 8 years ago

I'd like to dedicate this trailer to all Duluthians

ruby2sd4y

about 8 years ago

That's JUST what it's like here, only with WAY more than double the drinking!

Lucie

about 8 years ago

We came to the Twin Ports a little over two years ago for a job. That position has since evaporated and now we own a house and are struggling to find steady work. 
I don't mean to be a downer, I don't think this is what you wanted to hear, but really I wouldn't come without a job in hand... and a back-up plan.

Lucie

about 8 years ago

And all that being said, we really love the city, the pace and the people.

Timk

about 8 years ago

I think skills and experience still work for landing a job in the right field. It is hard to judge the job market based on comments like "sucks balls" without knowing what kind of specific jobs they are talking about. If they are nurses and warehouse workers, give them credence. But if they showed up with a bachelors degree in graphic design, keep looking for facts as opposed to opinions which aren't relevant to your own situation.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

Agreed, Tim.

If you want to work in Duluth, you can find work. It might not be some sexy tv-producer job or fancypants corporate latte' bullshit, but there IS work if you want to work. The real question is if people want to do the work that's available, and usually they don't. I know of several places that hire all the time, but the jobs aren't fun and they don't pay that much. So, the type of work to be had is simply a matter of perspective. You will have to settle for less of a powerhouse career, but you will be paid back much more with a high quality of life in a great community (in my humble opinion).

The second part of this is again, a matter of perspective. You can get way more house for the money here. My home in Duluth would cost roughly five times more in San Francisco - even in a congested area not in the suburbs. You make less here, but you don't have to spend 2 hours a day in traffic breathing burning fossil fuels dealing with people whose only goal is to get 2 cars ahead of you. In the commuter city life, all you see is cement ramps to your left and right, highway overpasses, tailpipes, and crabby people. No glorious lake view at 7AM on your way to work. Barely any trees. Just cement, exit ramps, cars... etc. ISH! Seriously. This. Hours a day. So, if you look at your perspective, in Duluth you may have to live in an 85-year-old home, but you will probably be able to see the water from your bedroom. You'll be able to walk home (maybe for half the year), or drive 5-10 minutes for anything you need. 

I've lived here my whole life except for one year in Minneapolis. If I could change anything about that, I'd take back that year in MPLS. Even without skills in my 20s, I always fed my family and lived decent. It was often paycheck-to-paycheck, but you get to know people and you find work or you make your own work. It's harder to accomplish, but I still think life is way better here if you look at the global view. The first year or two of transition will be tough, and it seems most people pull the ripcord JUST before finding the right people and the right jobs. It just takes longer here, but it's so worth it in the end.

Jim

about 8 years ago

Hmmm. Lot's of opportunity in the medical field and government sectors- they are Duluth's biggest employers. Think about it- getting a gov job that allows 8-4 hours with better than private pay, benefits, etc. All pretty sweet. Medical field is a bit tougher. You'll probably be relegated to working for the Country owned nursing home until something opens up at one of the two monster non-profit hospitals in town. Beyond that, good luck. Lots of local business people are making career changes and going to sell cars at one of  the dozen or so dealerships. Housing isn't cheap here. If you want to live in a crime infested area of town you can probably get by cheap. Lots of the people who write on this blog live in an "artists" co-op called Washington. They offer cheap communal housing and a chance to brush elbows with some of Duluth's, well, whatever. 

The truth is that Duluth/Superior is a wonderful place to live if you can get past the liberal weenies that are trying to make it into a hippy commune for the dumb and dumber. Once you get past that layer, there is a good population that is fighting for sustainable jobs, a robust economy and sound fiscal management of the public coffers. Can't say that it will get better, but based on the recent elections, we're slow-ly getting there!

pbroman

about 8 years ago

Take Jim's (ahem.. troll) advice. If you don't like artists, or icky dirty people that live downtown and prefer to live in a gated community where you will be safe from minorities and socialists, then Duluth is not for you. 

Jim I suggest you look into moving here:
http://i.imgur.com/BEmwU.jpg

Perhaps more your style.

Housing isn't cheap here??

1st listing in Duluth Real Estate Craigslist:
http://duluth.craigslist.org/reb/2281907776.html

vs. 

1st listing in San Francisco Craigslist:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/reb/2281902766.html

Duluth, for the win! Double the square feet, double the bedrooms, half the crime, HALF the price. BAM!

TimK

about 8 years ago

If you grew up a hillbilly, you might think the housing market was "not cheap." Regardless of how awesome a place might be, there will always be some drooler that insists upon leaving a turd in the pool.

Jim

about 8 years ago

Sorry pb (ahem...no need to censor), but comparing San Fran Sicko to the People's Republic of Minnesota isn't a fair analogy. I'd love to show you a comparison on medical or labor jobs in SF and Duluth from Craigs list, but (SURPRISE!) there isn't any decent full time listings in Duluth. There was, however, a posting from someone asking for moving help, as they were relocating to the Twin Cities.

Maybe PB you'd like to live here, as this seems to be more your style: http://soliloquiesinspace.blogspot.com/2009/07/learning-to-commune-icate.html

As the last word, you are right about housing prices PB. Half the price in Duluth as compared to your bastion of hippydom. But, you failed to leave out the most critical part of the puzzle, just like all of your roomies do when discussing anything to do with the economy. You need money to buy a house (I know, spare me the Fannie Mae jokes my conservative friends. We already know that people like PB destroyed the housing market). Even if you buy PB's central hillside ghetto shack, your 8 buck an hour job at the County nursing home will eventually become more than a place to work.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

Hahaha. Awesome.

I'll give you this one:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0105643/

I've met much better trolls. If you had been better, perhaps you'd have been given this one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEo7H9tqSM

Anyway, thanks for the laughs.  : )

-=P.

Jim

about 8 years ago

Doesn't surprise me in the least PB. Obviously you're a bit of a rube at this. Here's back atcha...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUo8RhvgFB0

pbroman

about 8 years ago

Hahaha. again. 

Guess I don't need to respond. You are doing a well enough job making a fool of yourself. Well done!

-=P.

girlfromnorthcountry

about 8 years ago

Yeah, comparing Duluth to San Fran is really not working for me.  Anywhoo, I'm moving to the cities, or, "the metro", as I've been told is the correct moniker.  I love Duluth but there's more job opportunity, and better choice of affordable housing in the Twin Cities.  If you want to compare, see what $800-850 a month gets you, Duluth vs. Twin Cities.  

Minneapolis: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/dak/apa/2282056816.html

Duluth: http://duluth.craigslist.org/apa/2274137454.html

sorry St. Regis.

rnarum

about 8 years ago

Newspaper? What newspaper? Unfortunately our newspaper has been hi-jacked by the mouth of the right wing... and is in a not-so-slow decay/death... 

Jobs? There are jobs. It may not be the greatest landscape for jobs, but as has been mentioned here before... Duluth is a way of life. 

If you want to SPEND all of your time driving to a house in the suburbs that you can't afford... DON'T move here.

If you want to SHARE your time with your friends and family... well... then perhaps this is a place worth considering? 

I laughed at the non-dreamers as they graduated from college... saying things like... "I really love Duluth, I wish I could find a job here..." 

Typically they muttered this only because everyone else muttered this. 

What is your time worth? How long does it take me to ride the bus 1.5 miles from my home to my work place? How long would the same commute take... even if I were to live within five miles in a different city? Time is worth much more than money. Who can ever say they have enough time? 

And for the non-Duluthian's... where do they go when they vacation? Why not just live here instead...

And what about your husband... well... perhaps there isn't an easy job for him... however... I would bet that with a just a bit of effort and some ingenuity... he'd be able to find enough satisfying work via craigslist... at least... enough to tide him over until the next big thing?

My view... Welcome to Duluth. Welcome home.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

@girlfromnorthcountry

Wow. That is expensive for that part of Duluth. Amazing anyone would pay that. One of the homes I own, I rent out sometimes. It's a 3 bedroom with a nice lake view in Chester Park with a garage and nice amenities, and I charge 795. It's twice as big as my friend's house in North Minneapolis and he pays $1500. Perhaps condos like the one you are looking at are a much better value down there. That does look like a pretty good price. I still couldn't stomach living there though. At least not for long. I have a lot of friends down there too. I just can't stand spending a minimum of an hour a day in traffic, and just seeing flat urban landscape everywhere I go. Good luck though with your move! The good thing is if you need to get outta there once in awhile, duluth is only 2 hrs away.

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

Please don't let our resident troll scare you away - he needs to bring his politics into everything and is a very, very, very small minority of the people who live here.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

@girlfromnorthcountry. Also, you're right about comparing Duluth and SF. My point though was just that you make a lot more money elsewhere, but it also costs way more to live there. My wife and I are going to Norway for a few weeks in May for vacation. That's the ultimate example. You make four times more there, but pay four times more for everything as well. Our friends there probably make twice what their counterparts here would make, but the people here have bigger houses, nicer cars, and better services.

I took several of my employees to a tech conference in San Francisco last year. We went out to the restaurants and clubs, and it cost 11 dollars for a domestic bottled beer! You can get the same for 2 bucks here. I've always thought beer prices are the best measuring stick of these kinds of things. haha.

patty

about 8 years ago

As someone who has chosen to live here, I can honestly say it's worth any effort.  Sure, you probably won't make a huge salary; but you won't have to spend a huge amount to commute, buy food, or find entertainment.  And, really; it's about the people and environment.  This is a great city with so much more to offer than most any other location; especially for average income people.  Most people who live in big metro areas don't attend theater, because they can't afford it.  Never see their local orchestra because tickets are north of $100.00 a seat, and don't often visit great local eateries, because those prices are as crazy.  And, they don't know the Mayor, their city councilors, or their state representatives.  But, around here, the options are unlimited for entertainment, you can be involved in political or civic endeavors, and there are great houses for a lot less than in most other areas of the country.  Our rents are out of line, but buying a house; if you have that luxury, is a good deal.

Claire

about 8 years ago

GFTNC, I'd rather live in the St. Regis close to downtown and everything it offers than live in Burnsville's suburban hell, and spend my life in my car. I was just on a road trip -- Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee. Got caught in traffic in all three. How people deal with that every day, I don't know. I found it unnerving. And I never saw a view in my trip that equalled the incredible view I have looking down the hill from my house.

Like I've said before, and others have said so eloquently here: find something you love doing. The money to live on will follow. For instance, a local bookstore just closed. There must be someone who wants to follow their dream and open a new one, right? I strongly feel, with telecommuting becoming more commonplace, more people will be able to live somewhere like Duluth. 

Like TimK says so well, this is a great city, with some amazing people, gorgeous scenery, and an arts scene that rivals much larger cities. I'd rather raise my kid here than in some of the other cities I've lived in, and I've lived in some desirable places.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

I already love you people. I'm sitting here at my shitty desk at my shitty job that I hate, reading this blog instead of doing my work that's piling up and I'm laughing my ass off!!

Thank you

Bad Cat!

about 8 years ago

One of us! One of us! :D

girlfromnorthcountry

about 8 years ago

Claire, I love you!  And I love Duluth!  But I cannot afford to live here.  I love the people of Duluth, the spirit and fierce pride, and I absolutely love seeing that lake every day.  I love how involved the citizens are with what's happening in local government and their neighborhoods.  But the fact of the matter is, your home is where you make it.  There are beautiful parts of other cities too, as well as fantastic citizens and neighbors elsewhere.  I'm sure the OP will be able to find good employment here, and one day make their love affair with this wonderful place come true.  My turn is just about over.

Claire

about 8 years ago

Farewell, GFTNC, we'll miss you.

Wes Scott

about 8 years ago

I don't live in Duluth but if I don't visit often I feel empty. I would love to live
there even during the winter. It's a great place, warts and all. Some of the characters give Duluth a lot of character. Always something interesting going on and something to do. Then there is the nature aspect of the area. Andrew's lake volcanoes on his shore is a perfect reason to love Duluth. If you want skiing it's right there. I could stare at the lake all day. Jobs are just jobs, they aren't a life. Duluth is life.

Claire

about 8 years ago

It's all a trade-off. I have colleagues in NYC who work their asses off -- 7 pm isn't unusual. When I visit them, they brag about the views of the Hudson River from their offices. I'm always very polite and agree they have amazing views, wow.

spooman

about 8 years ago

There is a job market in Duluth; as previous bloggers have mentioned, it takes a while to figure out who the movers and shakers are.  I'd highly recommend having a back-up plan ESPECIALLY if you or your husband are planning on seeking employment in a unionized field.  Simply put, when/if the layoffs come: Last in, first out.  Your union won't hesitate to drop the hatchet on you in order to protect their own hide.

@Claire: If a bookstore closed because it couldn't make it financially, why would you want someone to open another one?  Granted, you're a book junkie--I get that.  You want a local shop to frequent.  Clearly you don't understand business: You need to make a PROFIT in order to remain open.  Sadly, your "do what you love" mantra doesn't hold any water unless there's actually a demand for the products and/or services being provided.  Too many college students (especially at UMD) buy this load of crap from their advisors and end up with a worthless degree and an education that has very few practical uses in real life.  And we wonder why students pack up and leave Duluth after walking for graduation: They need to make enough money to pay off their $50k+ in loans.  It's not brain surgery, it's common sense.

zra

about 8 years ago

Part of the problem is that most retail space downtown normally goes for upwards of 15 bucks a square, which makes it far too costly for a lot of smaller profiting businesses ... it's not necessarily due to demand, or lack thereof. It's overhead and the cost of keeping a storefront open.

Claire

about 8 years ago

Spooman, Northern Lights WAS making a profit. Anita closed her store for many reasons, including her mother's death and the brave new world that's been created b/c of e-books that she could not embrace b/c of what's going on with her personal life. Believe it or not, people are opening bookstores right and left, including a woman I'm in touch with who's moving from NYC to Detroit and opening a bookstore. 

Foolish, you say? I don't think so. I firmly believe if you are smart and creative and willing to work hard, you can succeed in whatever you set your mind to. It's a matter of offering goods or services people want and knowing how to deliver.Spooman, have you ever run your own business? I have. And it was quite profitable. I make less money now, but I have more flexibility. Don't tell me I don't understand business.

 I've always felt this town has too few entrepreneurs and too many people expecting someone else to be their rainmaker. You Spooman are a perfect example of this defeatist attitude.

Claire

about 8 years ago

Zra, another reason Northern Lights closed -- the landlord was raising the rent. Whoever owns that building in Canal Pk is a gouger. I looked into office space upstairs from Northern Lights 10 years ago and was totally turned off by the rent they wanted to charge me, and that they expected me to do the renovating to suit on top of that. No thanks. I prefer my little office in Temple Opera. One thing about Ringsred, he kept things affordable for entrepreneurs like me.

spooman

about 8 years ago

@Claire: If that bookstore was so profitable, she shouldn't have had a problem finding a buyer.  But alas, you mention that rent was going up......meaning that it wasn't as profitable as you insinuated.  And given your political stances, you clearly don't understand business.  Otherwise you and your hubby wouldn't be protesting against pro-business legislators.  Anyhow......

This town has--or has had--numerous entrepreneurs.  The NIMBYs and environmental terrorists do their best to keep them from doing anything worthwhile in this town.  I currently run my own business, and I'm damn good at it.

As for Ringsred: He's nothing more than a commercial property slumlord.  His buildings are dangerously outdated and a blight on the east end of downtown.  The best thing he could do for all of Duluth is sell off all of his interests to people that will actually restore those historic structures instead of letting them rot.  It figures that you run in the same circles as him.

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

Are you this rude dealing with customers at your mysterious business, Spooman? 

Consider that rhetorical. I've heard enough.

zra

about 8 years ago

If he says anything about drinking the Kool Aid, I'm gonna puke.

Claire

about 8 years ago

I just don't think sending half-dressed young women to "clean" houses counts as a legitimate business enterprise... but, hey, what do I know?

Bob

about 8 years ago

@RKTTK5

Surburban Chicago is a horrid place to be, so I don't blame you for looking elsewhere. 

I absolutely love Duluth, but I would caution anyone against moving there without fully understanding the implications of leaving your current home. 

First, have you calculated the cost of moving? It's never cheap, and I'm guessing you are not in a career position where someone will pay for your move. Hiring a moving company or (god forbid) renting a moving van is only the tip of the iceberg.

Forget about searching for jobs in the newspaper and on web sites. It's a waste of time. Research companies where you think your want to work, and then research the names of leaders and potential hiring managers (try www.linkedin.com or the company web site). Send a cover letter and resume, which will include your request for an informational interviews. Schedule a few days in Duluth to interview with people in Duluth with the idea that you are not interviewing for a job, but you are making connections now with the possibility of talking at another time. Be aggressive.

adam

about 8 years ago

2nd research your targets.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Whoa, GFTNC leaving hits pretty close to home.  I don't blame you I have been close many times myself but so far we are making it.  I mean we're still occasionally digging through the couch for change to make it from paycheck to paycheck to make it but we are making it.  I hope you can end up staying, Girl.  

Did anyone mention MN works dot net?  Or Minnesota's Job bank?  Those are good places to find some jobs.  The DNT is simply too expensive for most employers to post jobs on.  Word of Mouth is also key.  Not a bad idea to contact the Chamber of Commerce, DT council, Human Resources Depts at big employers and ... well, PDD to try for some personal connections.  Most jobs I've gotten (and even not gotten) have been due to personal connections and relationships.  But that's actually true everywhere as far as I know.

zra

about 8 years ago

sheesh...that's a tough loss...
sorry to hear you're having to go, really.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

At risk of feeding a (possible) troll, I will say that I agree with some of the things that have been said about business and entrepreneurship on this thread.  As for Northern Lights I think it was sad to lose that store in this town, but Amazing Alonzo's (for example) was there before NorLights, and it is still there now, they pursue a different business model in a different location.  Then again, another very different business model, Sunhillow Books, unfortunately didn't make it either, though. So whether Duluth is a good place for small business (read JOB/WEALTH CREATION is an open question if you ask me).

Without a single doubt I can say that the reason I have been able to make it financially is due to some supplemental income coming in through micro-business enterprises.  It's a lot of work but it can be done.  A business DOES inherently exist to make money, but social entrepreneurship is a valid practice and it is also valid, as Claire says to "do what you love and the money will follow." Except it might not be A LOT of money.  

Good luck considering your options RKTTK5, you've got a lot to think about and you've given us a lot to think about, too.

zra

about 8 years ago

User end stores like Sunhillow are especially susceptible to the economic drives, I think. I might be wrong, but it seems like books fall under one of those "luxury" items that often get moved to the "maybe next time" list when times are hard. And with pushes to raid every public service possible to squeeze every last dollar out of them, libraries are going to start having to close too. It's already happened in Duluth.

wildgoose

about 8 years ago

Books, a luxury?  I know what you mean Zra but I can't imagine a life without books.

Claire

about 8 years ago

Actually when you consider the cost of a book and how much entertainment you get out of a book in terms of time -- as opposed to movies, for instance, you get more bang for the buck out of a book.

Claire

about 8 years ago

Couldn't agree with you more, Wild Goose. Money does bring happiness to some extent, but I always feel bad for people who hate what they do, but persist because the pay is good. and I always admire people who parlay a really cool idea into a money-making venture. Look at PDD, for example. And I just interviewed someone who left a really great job "with the phone company" years ago and now writes DIY books on how to build stuff in your backyard, like catapults and potato cannons. He told me he's the happiest guy in the world.

Re Sunhillow Books, I didn't go in there very often, being a big NL fan, but it did seem that the lack of walk-by foot traffic might have been a major factor in its demise. Too bad, when it was so close to the hospitals; I don't know if Kate tried to do any promotions at the hospitals, there's a captive audience there. There's a bookstore in Chicago that's doing really well by opening outlets inside hospitals, Macy's, and at O'Hare.

That's a big plus NL had going for it-- walk by foot traffic. In fact, Anita told me that, in summer, most of her customers were tourists, the locals would stay away, but then descend on the store the rest of the year. 

I'm glad that the Bookstore at Fitgers is stepping up to try to fill the gap left by NL's loss, but I do think a bookstore could succeed in Canal Pk, as well, or close enough to CP to get the tourist traffic. There are smaller towns than Duluth that support multiple bookstores.

pbroman

about 8 years ago

@RKTTK5, In Duluth you will also find a bunch of really nice people who will ramble on for days and days about the same topic. We are a bit more detail oriented than most towns, I guess. It's how we roll!  ; )

zra

about 8 years ago

We had a crazy train once, and the Geek Prom is a perennial favorite, as is the Homegrown Music Festival, too.

peaceNic

about 8 years ago

Perhaps some inspiration for RKTTK5:
After moving here from the east coast this past fall, I must say that this city (and especially the lake) has taken me. I don't know if I will ever be able to leave. I had thought that my husband and I would live here for awhile, a couple of years and then move back to my family out east. But now that we are here, I can't imagine leaving. We arrived without jobs or housing. Luckily, we knew a couple people in the area that were willing to house us while we made our transition. And it's true, we don't make a lot of money. But money isn't what drives us. We make enough to get by while enjoying the best nature/city combo I've ever witnessed (although Oregon has a few towns that could compare). And the music and arts scene is just awesome. By the way, in case you're curious as to how someone from the Mid-Atlantic region ended up here, my husband is originally from a small town in the southern end of the state and had always wanted to live in Duluth.

Rachel

about 8 years ago

After eleven years of romping through the woods, staring at the greatest lake, going to shows, and hanging with fabulous people; I moved from Duluth to Chicago. It was a difficult decision, but it was either stay and keep working three part-time jobs, or move and have one that pays almost twice as much as the three combined. 

I love where I live now; but I think it's a difference between loving a place and being IN LOVE with it. I will always be in love with Duluth; which is why I (and my Yooper-bred boyfriend) will always have eyes peeled to the north for opportunities that will pay the bills.

Miss you, Duluth. Don't change too much until I can come back.

adam

about 8 years ago

Two Crazy Trains. The $3k price tag and a 300 person maximum made it difficult to pay all six bands and cover costs. But it was awesome.

zra

about 8 years ago

Hell yeah it was! And don't let any of those slackers out in Cali or elsewhere try to snowball ya...*we* started that shit. Right here. Everything else is like lookin' at a xerox.

RKTTK5

about 8 years ago

Wow thank you everyone for all this insight into your wonderful city.

I'm all for moving to Duluth. I can live with a moderate income and quite frankly, I'm not above 3rd shift in a county home.

However in the meantime, my husbands been accepted into the local carpenters apprenticeship. I don't know about up there, but here that's a great opportunity. After 4 years of working and included education, he'll be a journeyman. 

Any thoughts on journeyman carpenters demand in Duluth? 

Looks like we're stuck here for awhile longer much to my dismay! 

-so sad in dirty Illinois!

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