Print Shop Near Last Place on Earth Loses Thousands in Revenue

By KBJR News 1

October 12, 2012 Updated Oct 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland’s NewsCenter) --- A downtown Duluth print shop claims its losing thousands of dollars each day in business because of violent and disruptive behavior surrounding the Superior Street synthetic drug store "Last Place on Earth."

Many businesses feel the lawsuit filed yesterday by the Duluth City Attorney's office, is a good step in a bad situation.

ShelDon president Dean Baltes claims he's losing up to $2,000 a day in business because of the disruptive activity near his store.

"It started out around $500 a day a year ago, but now it's between $1,500 and $2,000 a day that we are losing in over the counter revenue,” Baltes said.

He says his clients tell him they don't want to walk through the crowds waiting in line to buy drugs.

"It's a very unsavory crowd and it seems to continue to get worse," Baltes said.

He says his employees call authorities anywhere from 3 to 10 times each day for disruptive behavior that includes fights, shouting, public urination and vomiting, as well as aggressive panhandling and derogatory comments from some of the smoke shop patrons.

Graphic video released by the City of Duluth is an example of the behavior Baltes says he sees each day.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness recently blogged that he wanted Shop owner Jim Carlson to take responsibility for the problems his business causes.

"He is making a lot of money and externalizing all of his costs onto the citizens of Duluth, onto this community and is kind of just washing his hands of any of the effects," Mayor Ness said.

Jim Carlson has said he doesn't like the scene outside his store either.

"I think they're a nuisance myself,” Carlson said. “I wish they weren't there but I can't get rid of them, the police can't get rid of them."

Baltes says while the lawsuit the city filed this week is a step in the right direction, the damage is already done.

"It's become a gathering place,” he said. “Even when they stop selling that, if Jim ever stops selling synthetic drugs, they've gotten used to hanging around down here.

Last Place on Earth Owner, Jim Carlson was not reachable Friday for comment.

Jennifer Walch
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