Dunkin’ Donuts selects Central Entrance for first location

Yes, you did just read that headline stating that Dunkin’ Donuts has actually established the location for their very first location in the Northland and potentially only the SECOND location in the entire state of Minnesota. Your donut and fresh coffee deprived eyes have not decided you and yes, you’re right… you should feel proud right now to be a Duluthian. Let’s all just take a moment to gather our excitement and prepare to read further.

Plans were presented recently to the Duluth Planning Commission by Land and Lease Development for a new 2,450 square foot free standing Dunkin’ Donuts location to be constructed at 104 West Central Entrance. That site currently is home to Warehouse Liquor which has been open for 20+ years in that same location. This particular Dunkin’ Donuts location is unique in the fact that it will feature a drive thru which is guaranteed to be successful in Northern Minnesota especially during those winter months. 

Citizens of Duluth this is the moment where you should feel quite proud to call yourself a Duluthian as this will be the FIRST not only free standing Dunkin’ Donuts location in the state but also the FIRST to feature a drive thru within the state. Now that is simply luxury at it’s finest. 

Now lets get down to those niddy and gritty details. Currently Land and Lease Development is looking to have the alley that abuts this site vacated in order to allow more parking. They feel it is necessary for additional parking to be on site as this first location is expected to be very successful due in part to its location within the heart of Duluth on one of the busiest corridors in the area. The minimum number of parking spaces allowed for the Dunkin’ Donuts based on the building square footage would be 12 with a possible 50% expansion to 17 total spaces. Land and Lease Development would like to include 22 spots on site and would need the adjacent alley vacated in order to do so. The alley would however not be entirely closed off and would still have access through the Dunkin’ Donuts site to Central Entrance.

While the site itself has enough parking to meet the minimum requirements set forth by the city of Duluth the developers are still looking to include more as area fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway have almost twice as much parking as technically needed. The developers fear that the success of the business will cause customers to park in nearby business parking lots as there will not be enough parking on site for all Dunkin’ Donuts customers. A formal plan has not yet been presented for the specific details of the building itself but is expected to be within the next month. 

It doesn’t sound like there should be any hiccups or issues regarding this development sailing through the planning commission after alterations are made regarding the parking if the developers choose to do so. If all goes according to plan we could see construction start this winter with an opening in late spring or summer as these buildings tend to go up quite quickly.

We’re working on getting you more details and will of course have the plans for the building itself as soon as we can get our development crazed fingers on them. Until then, check back to CDINDULUTH for all the latest in development news in the Twin Ports. 

Check out our previous post on Dunkin’ Donuts expansion into Duluth and Superior. We’ve also posted about Dunkin’ Donuts plans to expand in the Northland which you check out here.


Massage Envy Spa plans Duluth location

Who doesn’t like to be pampered? Well Duluthians, you’ll soon have the ultimate place to do so and in an ever so convenient location. Yesterday plans were officially solidified for Massage Envy to open their 27th Minnesota location right here in Duluth on Maple Grove Road in Duluth Heights. It’ll be the company’s first foray into Northern Minnesota, a seemingly untapped market for affordable massage therapy. 

What exactly is Massage Envy? They’re a “pioneer and national leader of affordable massage and spa services” according to their website. The company was launched in the early 2000’s but opened their first Massage Envy Spa location only in 2003. Since then due to their shear success the company has expanded to over 1,000 locations within the United States alone. Talk about growth.

Massage Envy Spa’s goal from the start was to “promote a healthy lifestyle through affordable massages” and the company soon found out that that was of great interest to the general public. From massages to facials, Massage Envy seems to do it all and for both and women in a setting like none other for FAR less than it’s competitors. 

We talked with Scot Ziessman, the franchise owner of a Massage Envy location in St. Cloud and also the proud owner of the Massage Envy location set to open in Duluth next month. When asked about what sets Massage Envy Spa apart he said it’s the fact that it’s “upscale, very nice, professional and still very affordable.” An affordable massage is something that basically is unheard of in the Duluth area and something we here at CDINDULUTH believe will be welcomed with open arms and aching backs. 

Massage Envy Spa to date has given over three million facials and seventy-five million massages. Needless to say, people really enjoy the concept. Their mission to “provide a pathway to wellness through professional, convenient, and affordable massage therapy and space services” clearly has found great success within the United States. The St. Cloud location alone completes at least 65 massages a day and currently has over 1700 members. Part of the Massage Envy’s success is also the ages in which they do massages including seniors and even children as young as eight years old. 

Memberships are available at $59.99 a month and have a wide variety of options. There’s the ability to have a family member add-on, split massage times from an hour down to half an hour in order to have more visits and also the option to share massages with a friend or family member for just an additional $10. There’s an additional bonus for you too if you refer a friend and they become a member. If that happens then you’ve struck gold as you yourself will receive a FREE one hour massage. Talk about a good deal! “With Massage Envy the first time you come into our clinic it’s just $39” Scot explained. By having such a low cost for a first visit you’re really able to experience all that Massage Envy has to offer and ultimately decide if a membership is right for you.

The Duluth location will be opening on Maple Grove Road in Maple Square, a retail building owned by Platinum Properties. Massage Envy will take 3,800 square feet of space on the second level and feature 14 massage rooms and 2 couples rooms with the ability for both massages and facials. The two couples rooms will be unique to the Duluth location in the fact that there are two of these rooms available and also that couples have the option to have a massage and facial, or both within the same room.

The Duluth location will also be one of the larger Massage Envy Spa locations in the state and will be the first to debut a new prototype design. Stevie Paulson who is one of the owners of the building told us “the build out will be unbelievable and customers will think they are in Las Vegas.” It’ll ultimately be one of the nicest day salon spas in the area, if not the entire city.

The Duluth location will employee 20-25 employees when it opens including 15 massage therapists. The location is also looking to fill sales associate and esthetician positions. If you’re at all interested in applying make sure to contact Tammy at 320-420-7800.

Massage Envy will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 10pm, Saturdays from 8am-8pm and Sundays from 10am – 6pm meaning they will be open for 90 hours a week ensuring you can basically get a massage at any point during your day. There will be no need to work around those 8-5 business hours like other massage therapy locations that are ever so conveniently scheduled during your own personal workday.

Massage Envy will begin construction immediately and plans to open by mid November. 

Burger King plans location at Sugar Maple Crossing

Another retail building is officially underway with a commemorative ground breaking ceremony today marking the start of construction. Sugar Maple Crossing at the corner of Highway 53 and Sugar Maple Drive began work last week on the next phase of their development, a 5,000 square foot retail building towards the very front of the site.

We’ve been discussing the project for the last few months with Stevie Paulson who is one of the developers behind the project. The 5,000 square foot retail building is part of the larger 27,300 square foot development that was originally planned for three phases but will now be completely finished within the second phase due to pure success. We’ll have more information regarding the new office component later this week.

Burger King will occupy roughly approximately 3,200 square feet of space within the new retail building. They will abudt the portion of the building closest to Highway 53 and will also feature a drive thru. Burger King is working with Platinum Properties on an exterior design that will mesh the surrounding developments design with Burger King’s newest prototype. It will technically be the fifth Burger King location in the area.

If we look back at the reign of Burger King you’ll notice a bit of a downsizing and a retreat to the backlines in their presence in the Duluth area. The area originally had six locations and now that number sits at just three. While the location on London Road is undergoing a rebuild, the location in the Miller Hill Mall along with the Canal Park location closed in the early 2000’s.

Back in May 2013 GNT development bought all the Burger King locations in the area. Their plan was for an entire revamp of the brand including renovations to all locations and the additions of multiple new locations within the area. It appeared that Burger King was going to make its come back and that McDonald’s would finally feel the heat from its competitor re-entering the Northland has a viable player in the burger industry.

Last year we saw significant renovations occur at both Duluth locations, the most substantial being at their Central Entrance location. Then in last fall it was announced that Burger King would rebuild their London Road location in order to accommodate a new prototype and additional retail space for a Caribou Coffee location (read about that development here). The new location at Sugar Maple Crossing will be roughly the same size as the new location being constructed on London Road.

Construction on the retail building that Burger King will be housed in will happen at a rapid pace. The hole for the building has already been dug and footings will be poured next week. “Our goal is to have a roof on by October 20th” Stevie explained to us which means walls will begin to rise early next month. An opening for Burger King could be seen as soon as early December with some sources saying by December 1st; we were assured by Paulson that they “will open by the end of the year” regardless.

Sugar Maple Crossings will announce an additional tenant for the retail building in the coming week. All we know at the moment is that the additional retail space will house a eat-in restaurant of some sort. The brand currently does not have a presence in Hermantown but does in the greater metro area. 

The announcement for Burger King and the additional restaurant will mark three openings for the development in the coming months. Dickey’s BBQ Pit will also open next month (you can read about it here) in the first phase of the Sugar Maple Crossings. Kwik Trip will also open across the street in early October. 

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH in for the latest in development news regarding Sugar Maple Crossings and the entire Duluth area!

Build A Bear Workshop to open October 10th

We first broke news that Build A Bear Workshop was coming to the Miller Hill Mall when CDINDULUTH was taking our very first steps as a development reporting community back in 2008. We continued to talk with corporate representatives on the location in Duluth including with Maxine Clark herself who happens to be the founder of the company. In July of 2012 we reported that plans had become official and in July of this year we reported that the opening would officially happen this October. Well folks, Build A Bear Workshop will officially throw open their doors to a children’s paradise on October 10th at 10am

Build A Bear Workshop has been in the works for over six years and throughout that time the company has changed their planned location to various spaces within the mall. The permanent home for the company will be in the space that formerly housed Torrid which closed up shop last month. Torrid’s store location closed due to underperforming sales about two years after their opening in 2012.

Work has started on outfitting the space now in order to make it into the iconic, brightly colored and whimsical space that Build A Bear Workshop is known for. We reported on the new prototype store design that the Duluth location will feature back in July (if you missed the article you can read it here). Not only will the Duluth location be top of the line in design but it will also probably be one of the most technologically savvy stores (besides an Apple store of course) that you’ll see around. 

If you’re interested in working for Build A Bear Workshop they are now officially hiring for the Miller Hill Mall location. For a sixth year in the row it was voted one of the top 100 companies to work for so we’re assuming it’s a pretty fun job. The Duluth location is currently hiring sales associates, part-time and full time assistant managers, and a store manager. Apply here if you’re interested in working with children each and everyday to make an un-BEAR-ably cute friend. 

Let the countdown begin to creating your.. we mean your child’s… perfect stuffed animal!

Dickey’s BBQ Pit plans October opening

Delicious BBQ from a brand new fast casual concept will soon be gracing the Twin Ports come October. Dickey’s BBQ Pit has set an early October opening date for the company’s first location in the area. We talked with Landon and Sharon Wiser, a son and mother duo, about their franchise that will be opening in Hermantown next month.

While the location has been under construction for quite some time there is good reasoning for it (don’t worry, we’ll explain later on). Landon Wiser firmly stated that “we should be open by early October” when we began discussing their new location.

So what exactly brought the Wiser duo to their current state of owning a Dickey’s BBQ Pit franchise? “We’re originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and I was working as the general manager at a Dickey’s BBQ location there.” explained Landon. “That’s where the Dickey’s idea came from” and from there the rest is history! Well, not yet.

Dickey’s BBQ in Hermantown has actually been planned for almost two years now. Originally the location was owned by a different set of franchisees. “September of last year we signed our franchise agreement” Landon explained. That’s a few months after Landon and his mother took notice of the available franchise and swooped in. “My mom was looking for a new opportunity so I told her to go check out the franchise and pretty soon we were signing papers”. 

So why Duluth for the Wiser duo? Well, after looking at a franchise in Maple Grove Landon suggested Duluth’s franchise as he soon was heading to college at UMD. “I’m just a student and I am going to do Dickey’s also with my mom” Landon cheerfully explained. While that may be true Landon we don’t think you’re just the typical college student. Most college students are busily figuring where to go out this next weekend…not busily planning for an opening of their first franchise. We have no doubt that with such a bright set of minds behind this Dickey’s BBQ location that there will be plenty of success. After all, what’s more powerful than a mother and son duo? We don’t think anyone would want to challenge that.

You’re probably adding things together now and starting to wonder though why it is taking so long for Dickey’s BBQ Pit to open if the franchise agreement was signed over a year ago. The flat out reason? Sometimes you just can’t predict the way that construction will go. “Our biggest delay has been a setback due to a plumbing estimate” Landon told us when we asked on the matter. We were told that the contractor for the project will return on site this week and construction will pick up rapidly and be completed in a few weeks time.

Something else we were a little curious about too was why Landon and Sharon had chosen to save this particular location instead of opening something directly in the retail core of the Miller Hill Mall area. “One of the things that caught our eye initially was that everything seems to be moving this way” Landon said regarding the specific location of their franchise.  “In this area the only real restaurant is McKenzie’s which is a sit down restaurant” Landon explained. “We’re trying to bring a fast causal concept to the area.” He also noted that having a Kwik Trip location next door in the future was an added bonus as they tend to be a destination and draw customers from all over the area. The hope is that customers will fill their vehicle with a tank of gas and fill their stomachs with a plate of delicious barbecue from Dickey’s BBQ Pit. 

After all this time of waiting there has to be something special about this Dickey’s location, right? After all, good things come to those who wait, right? Yes, they do and as a matter of a fact there is something special. Besides the fact that this location will be the first in the Twin Ports there’s also another feature that sets it apart. “We’re one of the only drive thru locations in the state as of last week” said Landon. That has to be a sigh of relief for northlanders for when those frigid winter days come rolling in. While barbecue is huge in the south, the Wiser duo also think it’s also pretty big up north. That convenience of a drive thru window will ensure that no form of precipitation or temperature will keep area residents from getting their delicious ribs, a side of coleslaw and some cornbread while on their way up north.

Dickey’s BBQ Pit is currently hiring for all positions. “We don’t have servers because we’re just like Chipotle where you go through a line” Landon said to us when asking about what type of positions will be available. What that ultimately means is that there are positions available in the block (meat and food prep), pantry (sides and back of house) and as a cashier (front of house). This location also is looking for someone to fill the position of assistant manager and is looking for a few line cooks. Visit our contact us page and we can get you in touch with Landon and Sharon if you’re interested in applying.

There also will be a job fair this Thursday, September 19th from 11am to 5pm at the Hermantown Chamber of Commerce at 5094 Miller Trunk Highway. You’ll be able to apply on site and meet with Landon directly. If you can’t make it to the job fair just contact Landon and he’ll set up a time to meet with you personally.  

We’ll have more details on Dickey”s BBQ Pit as the opening date gets closer. As always, check back at CDINDULUTH for the latest in development….and… well… BBQ news too! 



Caribou Coffee proposes freestanding London Road location

It seems like a battle might be brewing (no pun intended) between two of the nation’s most popular coffeehouses. This time it’s Minnesota’s own Caribou Coffee looking to win over the hearts of coffee lovers in East Duluth.

With Starbucks having recently opened their first Duluth location to feature a drive thru at the nearby Shops at Bluestone in May, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise when news broke this week that Caribou Coffee was proposing a fifth location within Duluth; a location that also will feature a drive thru ( also a first for Caribou Coffee within the city of Duluth). 

The new 2,558 square foot location, proposed to be built on the corner of London Road and 21st Avenue East, is the final retail component in the greater redevelopment of the Burger King site. Earlier plans for the redevelopment included not only a rebuild of the current Burger King on site, but also some sort of additional retail component. News on what that exactly meant changed quickly from involving a Kwik Trip location to involving a retail center with multiple tenants. At one point it was even hoped that housing would be included with the redevelopment. However, we now see that plans for the site include a freestanding Caribou Coffee location that will surely delight many morning commuters!

The Burger King that is currently (or was) on site will pretty much stay in the same location when it is rebuilt. The drive thru will move from the back of the site towards the front, while the newly constructed restaurant will feature the newest Burger King prototype design. Yet, there is still that larger than necessary parking lot to deal with. That’s where the proposed Caribou Coffee comes into play.

Caribou Coffee’s location shows a drive through, along with space for a possible patio in front. The overall plan for the redevelopment makes much better use of the site by thoughtfully planning the placement of each building in order to maximize parking and traffic flow on site.

The plan for the redevelopment is set to go before the Duluth Planning Commission on August 12th. If all goes well, construction could begin before the end of summer with a completion date sometime in late fall or early 2015. 

Build A Bear Workshop planning Miller Hill Mall location

It looks to be official, Build A Bear Workshop will officially be coming to the Miller Hill Mall this fall on October 3rd.

Don’t believe us, no really, we think we can be quite certain! Check out their website here! We first gained knowledge that Build A Bear Workshop, the iconic custom built stuffed animal store, was looking at the Duluth market for a new store almost six years ago. They first began searching for a suitable space at the Miller Hill Mall before the recession hit, but then, as with all retailers things were put on hold. 

With over 400 locations nation wide and the motto “Where best friends are made”, Build A Bear Workshop is a one of a kind type of store that is guaranteed to make your child or grandchild’s day, week, month, or sometimes even year. People don’t go to the workshop simply to get a stuffed animal, they go for the experience… and might we add that it is quite an experience. New stores have been updated even more so to feature new and exciting technologies that will better connect with children of the modern day. Yes. Technology like touch screens that help in the assembly of a teddy bear. We’re beginning to wonder if this is more so for the kids, or to give the parents something to do too! We’re not complaining!

Now what makes Build A Bear Workshop truly so special? You get the fact that you build your own stuffed animal, but what we don’t think you get is the extent to which that process goes. What the store is known for is custom built bears (and now other various stuffed animals) in which a child selects every aspect of it’s appearance. Literally every single aspect.

First you select your bear or stuffed animal type, then you go to a machine that’s filled with white stuffing in which a worker helps you fill your bear, bringing it to life. You then take a little heart, make a wish upon it and then put that heart inside your bear or stuffed animal, giving it a heart beat and soul. Some of the options even include speaking elements that can be put inside the bear so that when the bear is hugged it speaks. But it doesn’t end there, because let’s be honest, a child’s stuffed animal cannot be naked these days! That’s when you go to small section of the store that features all the clothing elements what could possibly need or imagine. Yes people, you are then going to dress the bear.

It’s quite the creative process and one that has put Build A Bear Workshop on the maps, making it a destination store. While one can imagine that a purchase from this store is not cheap, it’s really the experience you’re paying for. You’re not running in and out grabbing whatever stuffed animal looks good. You’re taking a 45 minute journey to create your child’s perfect stuffed animal. So when it comes down to it, it’s worth the money.

So now that you know a little about the company, you might be excited to find out that Build A Bear Workshop looks to be opening a store at the Miller Hill Mall on October 3rd. The exact location is not clearly stated, however we do have a few speculations. Originally they had wanted to open in the center court in the space the houses Pro Image, or even one of the jeweler spaces. The most logical space now might be the former Trade Secret and Select Comfort spaces that could be combined into one space one Victoria’s Secret moves their temp location out. Otherwise Build A Bear Workshop could easily open a location in the other temp Victoria’s Secret location where ” A Dollar ” store use to be near Sears. 

Whatever the space maybe, it appears as if a lease has been solidified and after many, many, MANY, years of planning, Build A Bear Workshop soon will be delighting the creative minds of children all around the city of Duluth and surrounding areas. In other words, parents… start saving now!

If you have time, check out a quick video of the new store and process of bringing a stuffed animal to life. It’s quite neat to see. 

More shops coming to the Shops at Bluestone

With all retail spaces filled… it makes sense to start planning the next phase! Well, that’s just what’s happening at the Shops at Bluestone, Duluth’s newest (and arguably the most talked about) retail development in quite some time. This is the new retail center near the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Shops at Bluestone has six tenants (seven with the Tavern on the Hill) including Starbucks, Chilly Billy’s, Northern Communities Credit Union / Kat’s Eyes Optical, Waxing the City and the soon to be first Qdoba location in Northern Minnesota. The roughly 10,000 square foot retail center was completely leased before construction had even finished. Now developer Mark Lambert, the man responsible for the entire Bluestone Commons development, is on to planning Phase II of the successful retail center.

The second phase of the Shops at Bluestone will include two retail buildings, one that is 5,100 square feet and the other will be 5,400 square feet. To give you a size estimate, it’s a little larger than Phase I if you don’t include the Tavern on the Hill space. Phase II will be built south of Phase I on land that is currently home to about six homes. All homes will be razed in order to make room for the new retail buildings.

Now, if you’re thinking what in the world could call this space home… we will hold off from pulling out the “2014 Retailer Almanac (Deluxe Edition)” of restaurants and stores that have yet to call Duluth home…. because to be honest, there is quite a list. What we will probably end up seeing with Phase II is not the idea of “if ” they can fill the space, but rather the idea of what retailers end up getting the CHANCE to call the Shops at Bluestone home. We’re quite certain there will be no issue in attracting new retailers to the space based on the success of the current businesses in place.

One thing that we can assure you is that we can kill two rumors right away for the site. The first is that a Walgreen’s was slated for the site that Phase II is to be built on. There is simply not enough room for that one to be true. Unless some significant alterations happen to the site plan before construction starts, it’s not possible. It’s not to say that Walgreen’s couldn’t still be a part of a later phase? We’ll stay on the lookout.

The other rumor that was floating around was that this next retail component of the Shops at Bluestone could be home to the first Trader Joe’s location in Duluth. Not true. We’ll squash that one without hesitation… with a somber heart we might add. We are NOT saying that Trader Joe’s is not coming to Duluth (we actually just spoke with a few sales associates at a couple of locations who say that company is actively looking at the north (hint, hint) for expansion), but once again, there simply isn’t enough room for a Trader Joe’s in Phase II.

So long story short… what retailers may we see calling this place home? It wouldn’t surprise us to see another fast casual restaurant (Panera Bread anyone?) along with another financial institution of some sort. Also, some type of smaller clothing retailer aimed towards college students would be a logical choice. That’s a trend that has been starting to pop up in retail centers near universities across the country within the past year.

With those two rumors being addressed, the second component of retail for the Shops at Bluestone will begin construction in this summer with an expected completion in Spring 2015. Future phases for the Bluestone Commons development will most likely include more retail on the former Woodland Middle School site (Walgreen’s or Trader Joe’s maybe?) along with the potential for additional housing units. 

PROJECT REVIEW: Duluth Trading Co.

Duluth. The company that bears our city’s name in their own name has finally returned to their roots.

On May 9th, Duluth Trading Co. marked the opening of the company’s fifth and newest location in the Woodrush Building at 300 E. Superior Street (across from the Sheraton Hotel). We stopped by to witness in person the store that seems to be the talk of mail order catalogue household; whether that be the household of a tradesman, tradeswoman, or your everyday Joe and Jodette.

Now, we know a good deal about Duluth Trading Co. and their history. We also know a good deal about their expansion plans and their overall operations as a company. What we didn’t know was just how well built their stores are. Honestly, the downtown Duluth store is absolutely beautiful. It’s rustic with a taste of north woods design… and if you’re from up north, you completely just understood the design reference we just made.Entering the store, one will see that it’s filled to the brim with everything and anything one could desire from Duluth Trading Co. Really, there’s a lot of items so give yourself a chunk of time to explore. From t-shirts to shorts, gardening gloves to overalls, it’s all there. There’s also no shortage of footwear, especially those Wild Boar Mocs, tradesmen gear and workshop materials. If you feel like all the shopping and product gazing is starting to where you out, then you’re in luck. There’s a really nice lounge area complete with a flat screen TV, free coffee, and even two computers to complete online orders through. So take a break… rest… rejuivante… and then begin phase two of shopping.

In store you’ll find lots and lots of wood, industrial styled lighting, and tons of those great Duluth Trading Co. graphics covering the walls, still hand-drawn as they have been for the past 20 years by the one and only Rick Kollath. After all, Duluth Trading Co’s advertising is one of the things that has caused the company to become so well known and one of the things that truly sets them apart from the rest. One design feature that caught our eye from the moment we walked in was the great vintage looking “Duluth Trading Co.” sign in the very back of the store, a design element we think was a very wise investment. The walls feature exposed brick, while the floors feature large wooden planks.  It’s a shining retail gem on Superior Street. A place we hope begins a new retail development surge on that end of Downtown. 

What’s the one thing that we really took away from our visit to Duluth Trading Co? The sales associates. They were out in the masses and were helpful as can be. Not only did they know their products like the back of their tradesmen (and women) hands, but they were also cheerful and excited to be there. There’s nothing better than a positive shopping environment where there are people who not only want to be at work, but also love their job.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Duluth Trading Co’s newest location in Downtown Duluth yet, we suggest you get on that. There’s free parking in the First Street Ramp behind the Sheraton Hotel (make sure you bring your ticket for validation), not to mention on street parking. 

Our last words. Well done Duluth Trading Co. and welcome home.

Costco puts Duluth on their radar for 2016

Yes. You read correctly. If you’re a Costco lover, and we know you’re out there, we’ll give you a moment to wipe the tear that was recently shed.

Duluth is officially on Costco’s radar for a location to open tentatively in 2016.  Ok, it may be two years off, but hey… We wanted to give you a fair warning because after all, you’re probably going to need to add that addition to your home in order to store all those good savings you’ll encounter. That’s right. It’s time to create your own personal… Costco mini-warehouse. 

Unfamiliar with Costco? We don’t blame you as there are no locations in Northern Minnesota and they’re relatively new to the Minnesota market. So then, you’re probably wondering…what IS Costco like? Two words. Sam’s Club. Literally… almost to T. Except (like the Walmart / Target color scheme) you’ll find a red theme spread throughout Costco stores, polar opposite of the blue seen in Sam’s Club locations. You’ll also find a whole new “house brand” by Costco called “Kirkland’s Signature Brand.” While Sam’s Club is still the largest warehouse retailer in the U.S. store count wise, Costco has the largest total sales volume out of any warehouse retailer in the U.S. We’re talking total annual sales near $97…billion.

Costco works essentially the same way as Sam’s Club. You’ll find low prices and items in bulk. The stores tend to only carry one brand of a product, meaning you aren’t going to find eight brands of toothpaste. You’ll find one, or maybe two if the house brand has a toothpaste product of their own. Oh yeah, your package will also probably include three tubes of toothpaste because let’s be honest… it never goes bad, right?

Costco works on a member basis like Sam’s Club… meaning… you’ve got to be a Costco member to shop there. Memberships start at $55 a year and each member can bring up to two guests. However, the member is the only person allowed to pay for the purchases. There also is only ONE credit card accepted; American Express. All other payments must either be debit card based, otherwise by cash or check, or a Costco Cash Card.

One thing that Costco is known for (something that sets them apart from Sam’s club) are their in house services. Yes, they have the typical services like a photo center, pharmacy, liquor store, food services, gas station and optical center… but Costco also has investment brokers, a travel agency, insurance agents, and even construction services.

Currently the company has over 450 locations in the U.S, including eight locations in Minnesota (six in the Twin Cities area, one in Baxter, and one in Rochester). 

So what does it exactly mean when we say Costco has Duluth on their radar for 2016? It means that the are actively looking at the Duluth market for a new location. The company is currently looking within Duluth to find site large enough to construct the typical 150,000+ square foot store. However, good news is that they feel as if they are close to securing a space and therefore hope to have a location open in Duluth by 2016. Have a site in mind? Let’s Talk.

So Duluthians, consider yourself warned. Costco is coming. Begin your preparations for savings now.