Downtown Duluth business "thrilled" with Carlson verdicts

By KBJR News 1

October 8, 2013 Updated Oct 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The future of the Last Place on Earth, and its owner Jim Carlson, are largely dependent on the outcome of Carlson's upcoming sentencing.

But it isn't stopping downtown Duluth businesses from breathing a sigh of relief one day after Carlson was found guilty of 51 of 55 counts related to synthetic drug sales.

Last Place on Earth's next door neighbor Sheldon has seen everything the head shop has to offer as far as the problems that have come with synthetic drug sales.

While they were hopeful that the jury would find owner Jim Carlson guilty, Chief Financial Officer Mark Fredrickson has this reaction to the verdict:

"We are thrilled. Yesterday was a vindication of that, it was a huge win for Duluth, a huge win for downtown, and it's a huge win for our business," said Fredrickson inside ShelDon Tuesday.

While Fredrickson says the immediate problem of the head shop's at times unruly clientele was solved with its closing in the summer, he adds that the latest verdicts bring great promise for his business's future.

"Now we can do things like say, 'maybe we want to improve our property,'" said Fredrickson, "and we know that it's an investment that will have a return to it if we decide to do it."

...a move that Duluth Chamber of Commerce President David Ross strongly encourages.

While the future of the Last Place is not set in stone yet, Ross says he's confidant the location will be up for purchase sooner than later.

"That building, I believe, is going to be an opportunity for anyone of us who might be interested in purchasing that, because it will not continue as the Last Place on Earth," sad Ross, standing outside the Chamber Tuesday.

In Federal Court, it could be decided by Judge David Doty whether the building itself was part of Carlson's criminal activity.

That means the building could be forfeited by Carlson the same way a car involved in drug deals could be forfeited.

Carlson is scheduled for sentencing in three weeks.

He will be held in custody until then.

Billy Wagness
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