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Big changes for three Superior street staples in 2022

For more than a century, a brick building has been perched on the corner of Superior Street and First Avenue East.
Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 11:14 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2021 at 11:27 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - For more than a century, a brick building has been perched on the corner of Superior Street and First Avenue East.

Now, it’s home to Hucklebeary, Chinese Dragon, and Old Town Antiques and Books.

For Huckleberry’s owner, this building was the beginning of a journey.

“It gave me the opportunity to get started, and I felt so fortunate for that,” said Emily Ekstrom, owner of Hucklebeary.

According to Ekstrom, she started her business there as a three-month pop-up shop and grew a customer base that allowed her to stay open for the last four years.

For Carol Jouppi, owner of Old Town Antiques and Books, her time in the building goes back even further.

“We have been here for over 30 years, I would say about 35 years,” said Jouppi.

Both learned in mid-December that the building’s California-based owners want them to leave.

“In the envelope, it said that we had to vacate by January 31st,” said Jouppi.

Hall Equities purchased the building in 2019.

According to these Northland business owners, they knew Hall would eventually plan to demolish the building, but that was delayed due to the pandemic.

Now, two of the businesses are scrambling to find new homes.

“I am in the search, looking for another building, which is very hard,” said Jouppi.

For Huckblebeary and Old Town, they’re looking for new spaces but not in a new neighborhood.

“I, too, would like to stay downtown,” said Ekstrom.

And according to the Greater Downtown Council, they won’t be alone in their search for properties.

“We have reached out and shared our support for them, working however we can, connecting them with additional property owners,” said Kristi Stokes, the Greater Downtown Council President.

For Stokes, the mission of the council is clear.

“The main thing is we want to make sure that we can help them find a new home in our downtown,” said Stokes.

It’s a finale for the building but a brief intermission for two of the Northland businesses.

According to Old Town Antiques and Books, their last day for customers in the store will be January 15th, 2022.

For Hucklebeary, customers have until Valentines’ Day to stop into the store.

The owners of the third business in the building, Chinese Dragon, plan to close their business and retire.

The last day their business will be open is December 31st, 2021.

KBJR 6 reached out to Hall Equities for a comment but have not heard back.

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