Business Owner Gets Creative Asking City for West Duluth Snow Removal

Al Kosters made hand made signs to put on the snow bank outside Spirit Valley Antiques

DULUTH, Minn. – As the snow keeps coming, the piles grow and grow across the Northland.

In West Duluth, business owners are now upset about the five foot tall snow banks between their storefronts and the street.

One of those business owners is getting creative with how he gets the city’s attention.

“They’re over five feet tall,” said Susan Coen, President of the West Duluth Business Club. “We have some business owners that are some short little women and we can’t even lift the snow to get it to the top of the snow bank anymore.”

Along Grand Avenue, snow is piled so high some can barely see over the top.

“When you’re driving by and your eyes see something fun you want to stop and go in and look at it, but with the snow bank you’re not seeing anything fun but more snow to shovel,” said Coen.

That lack of visibility has led to a decline in business for some shops in West Duluth.

“Yesterday we had a six dollar day which normally would have been a two hundred dollar day,” said Al Kosters, owner of Spirit Valley Antiques.

Kosters says he has contacted the city multiple times to get the snow removed, but that hasn’t happened yet.

He’s now posted hand-made signs on the snow bank to get the city’s attention. One sign refers to the “Himalayas” of Grand Avenue as “Duluth’s newest tourist attraction.” Another tells patrons to “Support your locally owned businesses because the city doesn’t.”

“It is partially for the fun of it but I also felt if I can’t get any response, to me it’s a gentle way to make a statement,” said Kosters of the signs.

The same snow piles were cleared from Downtown Duluth and Lincoln Park weeks ago, making West Duluth business owners like Kosters feel slighted.

“It’s disappointing to see that they aren’t doing more to promote us or help us as much as they do the other areas of the city,” he said.

The city responded to the situation saying: “We’re committed to reviewing our snow removal responses to better reflect a fair and equitable response to snow events moving forward.”

City officials also told business owners that the recent sub-zero temperatures and repeated snowfalls have delayed their snow removal efforts.

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