Shuttered Headshop Sparks Neighborhood Peace

By KBJR News 1

August 2, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 7:05 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- It has been 2 weeks since a restraining order closed the doors of Duluth Head Shop Last Place on Earth, and businesses and Northlanders have taken notice.

Store Owners and downtown shoppers tell us that there has been a different atmosphere downtown, and they say it has been good for business.

However, it may be too soon to tell if that is due to recent events like the Tall Ships bolstering business, or if it is a more permanent shift.

Many stores along Downtown Superior Street report that the area has been calmer and more family friendly since the store closure.

A change from the chaotic and off-putting environment they say existed when Last Place was doing business.

Mayor Don Ness also says that the city has seen a dramatic change.

"People are walking, and enjoying that part of downtown. The businesses in the area have reported that their sales are up, and that it just makes all the difference in the world," said Mayor Ness.

Nearby storeowners say that they have seen a boost in their businesses.

"People are coming back and enjoying the block again that had left. So we're thrilled. At this point we hope things stay the way they are," said Brad Nelson, Marketing Director for Tycoons.

Since Last Place has been closed managers at Tycoons say that their lunches have almost doubled.

"It's almost like flipping off a switch. Ya know, we see problems whenever he is open and selling the synthetic drugs. We see all sorts of problems in the area and we know that that operation is kind of a magnet for people from a 3 hour radius," said Mayor Ness.

AJ Axtell, a Duluth resident, says that when she came downtown for a lunch meeting she scored a parking spot in front of Last Place on Earth, somewhere she says she wouldn't normally park.

"People are much more comfortable coming downtown, they can walk the street, park downtown, and not have to, ya know, always be strategic about finding a ramp or having a safe path, a route to get to where they want to go," said Axtell.

Brad Nelson, Marketing Director for Tycoons says that as long as the sale of synthetic drugs is not allowed in Duluth then their staff will remain happy.

Despite the Mayors optimism we weren't able to get statistical or even anecdotal evidence from the police or hospitals that show there has been a change in crime statistics or emergency room visits, but they will be evaluating those statistics and will be able to tell us more after the weekend.

Elsa Robins