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The Memo: What to know in business this week for Oct. 29

The Number: $8.1 million

That's how much Northeastern Minnesota families stand to gain in household income "if child care needs are met," according to a recently released study by Wilder Research and the Center for Rural Policy and Development. On top of that, employers are seeing a 13 percent productivity dip because of the notable lack of child care spaces and options in the region. Unless more folks go into this business and/or employers start hosting or sponsoring it, we're going to need some sort of industry-wide disruption to pick up the slack. Who's going to be the Amazon of child care?

The Word: "The Halloween Industry Association (HIA) was formally incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c)(6) trade organization to promote and build the celebration of Halloween in the United States. HIA represents businesses involved in the manufacture, importation or distribution of Halloween products including costumes, decor, novelty items and party supplies." I bring this up because I told a class at UMD last week there is an association or group related to every conceivable topic, and I keep proving myself right. Just as I found the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and the National Parking Association, so there is the HIA. Have a happy Halloween.

The Lead: The closing of Sears and Kmart in Duluth resulted in the loss of about 85 jobs, according to layoff notices submitted to the state this summer. Yet amid this big-box breakdown, there is still an abundance of similar jobs, according to state job vacancy data. There were 613 retail sales openings in Northeastern Minnesota in the middle of the year — which on average paid about $10.79 an hour.

The Happy Hour: Brewers and industry experts around the state ranked Bent Paddle as one of the top 10 breweries making the best beer — and their favorite taproom, according to a survey from Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. "The industry" also took shots at overly sweet milkshake IPAs, glitter beer and "noobs opening a brewery with no experience in brewing." There goes my side hustle.

The Meeting: The big dinner

If you're going, you better have tickets already — the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce's 148th annual meeting and dinner is Thursday night at the DECC, and as of this writing there is only limited seating available for those who call 722-5501, per the chamber's website. Al Hodnik, CEO of Allete, will give this year's keynote talk — hopefully he's been working on material to top last year's performance by then-Canadian Consul General in Minneapolis Khawar Nasim.

The Memo is a weekly roundup of things to know, ya know? Send business news of all kinds to and give Halloween-ready reporter Brooks Johnson a call every now and then at 218-723-5329.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks is an investigative/enterprise reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329