All but one or two independent pharmacies are left in Duluth, all the others have closed in the face of Walgreens, Target, Wal-Mart, and other big box stores.
Happily, local breweries are flourishing.
Sadly, there is only one independent new-books bookstore left, all the others are used books only.
Happily, independent restaurants seem to be popping up and flourishing.
Sadly, independent coffee shops are losing to the chains. The latest is Bixby’s in the Mount Royal Shopping Center. It had been around before we moved to Duluth in 1999. This fall, the latest owners were featured in a neighborhood newspaper. The owners were optimistic even with a Caribou and a Starbucks within five minutes walk away.
Today, when I went to Bixby’s, there was a sign on the counter that it would close on January 1. Although the staff was being cheerful to the customers, I think I heard a bit of sobbing from at least one of them. Consider that the staff were mostly college students who had to work to keep up with their bills. Losing a job in the middle of the school year is a bit hard to take.
I could go to a coffee shop/restaurant on our block, but that doesn’t give me much of a walk. I could go to an independent pizza shop/restaurant in the same building as Bixby’s for coffee, but it just doesn’t seem like a coffee shop. I don’t think it would be a place where we would stop for coffee for the trip to Brimson.
I guess I can’t complain too much because I didn’t go to Bixby’s as much as I used to. Two of my coffee buddies died and the other moved out of town. Plus, as I’ve gotten older I’ve walked the mile to Bixby’s less frequently, often wimping out because of rain or snow. I didn’t drive there much either because the whole point was the exercise and the comradary.
Big-ga boxes, big-ga boxes, all made of ticky-tacky, all-a look the same!