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West Duluth Posts

The Slice: Tom Napoli’s Tortoise and Hare Mural

Artist Tom Napoli recreates Duluth on the side of the Tortoise and Hare Footwear store in West Duluth.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

West Duluth bar scene adding Boreal House

Katie Fast, left, and Julie LaTourelle stand outside 330 N. 57th Ave. W. The two women purchased the former home of RJ’s Coffee Den and plan to open a new bar in West Duluth. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

Two women plan to open a new bar later this fall in a West Duluth neighborhood that boasts some of the oldest drinking establishments in the city.

Katie Fast and Julie LaTourelle, operating as K & J Industries LLC, recently purchased the former RJ’s Coffee Den at 330 N. 57th Ave. W. The century-old building is being remodeled and is expected to reopen as the Boreal House in late November.

Beaner’s Central becomes Wussow’s Concert Cafe

West Theater struggles through restoration, opens June 21

Work on the West Theater marquee continued on June 19, two days ahead of a grand opening event.

The West Theater looked nothing like its movie palace glory days when Duluth Reader publisher Bob Boone bought the building in 2016.

Postcards from Duluth Motel

According to this postcard, Duluth Motel sat in some mysterious forest, perhaps offering the only toilet available for miles and miles. In reality, “Northwest’s Most Luxurious Motel” was near Denfeld High School and surrounded by West Duluth homes and businesses. A lush, undeveloped hillside was indeed in the distance, though not very similar looking to the illustration on the postcard.

Kmart gone, Spirit Valley hopes to rebound like Lincoln Park

The Spirit Valley business district sits just east of I-35 and includes a variety of businesses along Grand and Central avenues including the Super One grocery store in the foreground. (Photo by Cory Fechner, Liftoff Aerials)

The Spirit Valley business district in West Duluth took a serious hit in 2018 when Kmart closed but business leaders and city officials believe the area is ripe for a makeover that could match successful redevelopment work in Lincoln Park.

Barmuda Triangle of West Duluth

Sure, you’ve heard stories of mysterious and unusual disappearances in West Duluth. What exactly happened to old so-and-so last night? Well, there’s a good chance your friend slipped into the Barmuda Triangle.

West Theater renovation adds second theater property

Duluth Reader publisher and West Theater owner Robert Boone has purchased 321 N. Central Ave., next to his West Theater renovation project. The building, constructed in 1913, is the former Alhambra Theater and most recently housed Interior Tomato, a hydroponic gardening store.

An alternative weekly newspaper publisher currently renovating a West Duluth movie theater has purchased a second historic but mostly forgotten theater adjacent to his current project.

Postcard from Fairmount Park in 1948

This postcard of Duluth’s “municipal zoo,” now known as Lake Superior Zoo, was mailed 70 years ago today — Sept. 8, 1948.

So long, West Duluth Kmart

The Kmart store in my neighborhood closed last weekend. Now there’s a giant empty space in the Spirit Valley Mall in West Duluth, with a faded area above the doors where a sign once read: “Big Kmart.”

It took more than 30 years for the store to run itself out of business, and I’d probably need a degree in finance and a long look inside the books of parent company Sears Holdings Corporation to ever understand. How does a neighborhood’s only department store — a place that’s known for always having lines at the cash registers — go out of business?

The answer to that question might be that retail stores are struggling in general, and any store with massive overhead costs that provides a lousy shopping experience doesn’t stand a chance. And the West Duluth Kmart was a lousy shopping experience.

The lines at Kmart perhaps weren’t due to the high volume of traffic, but instead the understaffing at the store. Target or Wal-Mart might have a dozen checkouts open at once; Kmart seldom had more than two.

Ice Cream Delicacy in West Duluth by Denfeld

I tasted T-Icy Roll Ice Cream yesterday at 4602 Grand Ave., next to an old favorite, Zhong Hua.

Cancer battle pushes sale of iconic West Duluth store

Joel Russell stands outside Central Sales, a surplus store his family has owned for more than 30 years.

An iconic and ruggedly unique surplus store in the heart of West Duluth has been put up for sale as its longtime owner prepares to fight a serious health issue.

Van Vick Paper Box Company of Duluth

The cribbage board above might not have been made in Duluth, but the box it came in was manufactured at 4902 Oneota St. in West Duluth.

Irving Park renovation work starts next week

Construction is ready to begin at Irving Park in West Duluth. A news release from the city’s Parks and Recreation division specifies May 7 as the date KTM Paving, Inc. will launch the first phase of a $1.1-million revitalization plan.

Duluth Store Equipment

The Duluth Show Case Company, doing business as Duluth Store Equipment or simply Duluth Equipment, was a maker of display cabinets using the “Duluth Method” or “Duluth Unit System of Sectional Store Furniture.” Read the ad copy to determine what that might mean.