Every holiday season is a big one for locally-owned businesses, but many in downtown Duluth know this one will be especially important as the city gets ready for a massive construction project in 2018.
Some say they're hoping this usually busy shopping stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas could help buffer a potentially slower summer with the start of the first phase of the Superior Street reconstruction project.
Ed Barbo, who owns Ed Barbo's Columbia Clothing, is located on 3rd Avenue and West Superior Street, which is where the construction project is expected to begin in mid-April. Luckily for Barbo, Kristi Stokes with the Greater Downtown Council said the first phase should wrap up before 2018's holiday season.
"They say only three to five days will we not be able to come through our front door," Barbo said. "That's a small price to pay ... We're just going to have to have our customers be more versatile."
Meanwhile just two doors down from Barbo's, Jack Seiler of Security Jewelers said they're looking forward to the project and hope it might even encourage more people to come downtown.
"We're looking forward to the street scape," Seiler said. "We're not dreading it. It's going to be great. Duluth is going to have a brand new, shiny Superior Street, and the fun part is going to be seeing what's underneath pipes. Who knows what they're going to find that's 125 years old. It'll be an adventure for people to come downtown."
According to Stokes, the Greater Downtown Council has plans to help the businesses through the construction phases. Those plans include more marketing during the holiday season, an increase in way-finding signs in the skywalk, plus free parking for the first hour in seven downtown parking ramps.