After decades, a tearful goodbye at Duluth's skywalk popcorn stand
Friday was the popcorn stand's last day in the skywalk.
There were too many farewell messages to fit on just one card.
So the employees from Duluth's Allison’s Hallmark Shop used several cards, stuffed into one envelope, to share their well-wishes.
The recipient of the cards was Jan Dahlberg, the woman behind the long-established popcorn stand in Duluth's skywalk.
Friday was Dahlberg's last day. The popcorn stand had been sold and the new owner has plans to remove it from the downtown Holiday Center over the weekend — leaving the skywalk without popcorn.
"I was in shock. I was devastated," Dahlberg said. "I think this place will be missed."
No one's really sure when the popcorn stand made its debut in the skywalk. Friend Colleen "Coke" Sellon, who's often sitting with friends next to the stand, estimates it's been there for 35-40 years.
According to the Holiday Center's website, it's been a skywalk staple since 1983.
Dahlberg has worked in the stand for nine years, and received notice Thursday that the stand would be closing. Mike Amendola purchased the skywalk popcorn stand three years ago. He told the News Tribune Friday that the skywalk stand hadn't been profitable and that he will now focus his efforts on maintaining the Canal Park popcorn wagon that he owns.
“The closure doesn’t affect the stand’s sister location in Canal Park, which will remain open during the summer,” said Amendola, who refurbished the Canal Park popcorn wagon last year for $16,000.
Dahlberg's not sure where she will land next. "Being 76 (years old) doesn't give me a lot of options," Dahlberg said. Amendola said he's offered Dahlberg the opportunity to work at the Canal Park location when it opens this summer. Amendola said he also cut Dahlberg an extra paycheck due to the abrupt closing of the skywalk location, which happened so quickly because the new owner wanted to remove the stand on Sunday.
Passersby took notice of its upcoming closure, with many stopping in their tracks to say goodbye or buy one last popcorn.
Two employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield shared that their coworkers love the stand's cheese popcorn, and would frequent the stand several times a week.
Dahlberg shared that the stand gave her the opportunity to meet people she wouldn't have otherwise. Two women walked by the stand for years, never stopping. Then one day Dahlberg simply waved and said "have a good day." Ever since then, they wave at one another when passing by.
"(Today), they held my hand and said, 'we'll miss you. And I said, 'I'll miss you guys,'" she said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated at 5:35 p.m. on Feb. 28 with comments from popcorn stand owner Mike Amendola. It was originally posted at 4:11 p.m. the same day.