Waters of Superior to Close, Noting Difficulties Due To Pandemic
DULUTH, Minn.– A popular canal park business for the last two decades will be closing its doors for good later this fall. The reason for shutting down is financial difficulties due to COVID-19.
Waters of Superior has been an icon in Canal Park since the store opened in 2000. Providing not only a unique shopping experience but also an opportunity to showcase local artists.
They’ve been a hybrid store, selling clothes, gifts and jewelry, along with an art gallery where many local artists have displayed their paintings, photos, and other works.
“It’s a chance to be shown in a beautiful space and have of course the tourists that are coming through Duluth and the convention business. So they get exposed to people who are coming from all over the country,” said Co-Owner Craig Blacklock
After shutting down in March, sales this summer are only about a third of where they are normally at with less activity due to the pandemic. And with an uncertain winter ahead, management made the tough decision to close after October 25.
“It just became too risky coming into the wintertime knowing that we’d have months and months of losses before any possible comeback,” said Blacklock. “So we’re getting out while we can still pay all of our bills.”
Becky Hamerly is an employee at waters of superior. She loves interacting with everyone in the store and the opportunity to sell sustainable clothing brands. But her favorite part is getting to be around talented artists in the Northland.
“You learn a lot about someone’s process. How they make their art and you can also see people from different backgrounds and their ability to make art,” said Hamerly.
Customers from near and far have come to waters of superior to get a unique look at what’s there. And regulars will miss the experience they get when inside.
“All the artists come together and create some beautiful work and you can always just come down and get inspired and find something special for a gift,” said longtime customer Nancy Minea. “And it’s really sad because it’s just one of my favorite places.”
As store employees prepare to close down, they can’t thank the community and artists enough for the support they’ve had over the years.
“This is really bittersweet having to close. My wife has been in tears a number of times over it because it is a special place for so many,” said Blacklock. “It’s become a landmark for Canal Park and for Duluth.”
The store will be having a closing sale starting Friday until they close in late October. All of their items will be anywhere from 20-30 percent off. All artists will still receive payment for their original prices.