Brooks covers business and the economy for the Duluth News Tribune.
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The Duluth Winter Village returns for its second year next weekend, bringing more than 40 local businesses to Glensheen Mansion for a craft-focused outdoor market. The free festival runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3 and features vendors in wood cabins, live animals, carollers, lakeside campfires and food and beverages — plus a free outdoor yoga class at noon Dec. 3.
Just as it took an extra taxpayer push to get electricity to rural areas, so too will rural internet service be delivered on the backs of the collective. Thousands more rural Minnesotans and businesses will soon have access to high-speed internet with the help of $26 million in state grants for 39 projects around the state. More than $3.5 million is bound for Northeastern Minnesota projects.
After thousands of noisy exhales and concerted keystrokes, Wednesday is the deadline to submit public comments on the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement. If everything stays on schedule, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will decide by the end of April whether to approve the pipeline and what, if any, conditions to place on approval.
Eileen Brown traces the edge of a red velvet cake with buttercream while a dozen kitchen staffers scurry around her, a familiar red-and-white logo on their black shirts. She's baking again. And she couldn't be happier. A few weeks after the unexpected closure of her bakery of 22 years, How Sweet It Is, Brown has joined the Duluth Grill, bringing recipes and staff and high expectations for what comes next. "I'm so excited. I didn't see this coming," Brown said last week. "We're going to hit it out of the park."
The Number: 8
If Maurices was simply reacting to retail's upheaval before, it's trying everything to lead the way these days. "The climate has changed, and there are lots of lessons that have been learned," said George Goldfarb, CEO of the Duluth-based women's apparel chain. "It's so important to just keep testing new programs in this environment." Some of those tests have turned to testaments: an integrated web/store shopping experience; a loyalty rewards program; a personalized sales approach using artificial intelligence; proactive discounting.
Nearly seven out of 10 Americans are expected to shop this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday draw down consumer bank accounts and boost retailers' bottom lines. "Consumers will benefit from competitive promotions both in stores and online lasting the course of the weekend, allowing them to find the best gifts at the lowest prices," federation president Matthew Shay said in a statement.
Area restaurants could miss a few deliveries while Sysco drivers in Minnesota picket in support of striking workers in Kansas. About 300 Teamsters Local 120 members in Minnesota have extended a picket line from Olathe, Kan., where 40 Sysco workers are without a contract three years after voting to form a union.
Businesses to city: We need housing for our workers. City to businesses: We got you. The District Flats apartment complex near the Miller Hill Mall is well on its way to opening 72 new units of middle-income housing thanks to a private-public partnership spurring on the development. The $14 million project was made possible in part by a $500,000 city and county tax abatement and a $1 million grant from the state.
The iron ore trade was up again in October thanks to a hearty domestic appetite and inflated international exports. U.S. lakers increased iron shipments by 9.4 percent last month, while Algoma Central Corp., Canada's largest ship operator, said it has seen a 20 percent increase in its dry-bulk business this year largely propelled by ore.