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Community businesses rely on their neighbors

DCN Correspondent

Just a few miles north of UMD, on the outskirts of Duluth, is where Woodland community can be found, a small neighborhood in a big town.

Most of the local businesses are owned by members of the community, and are kept in business, in part, because of support from local consumers.

“The ladies know most of [the customers] by name,? Steve Preston owner of Falk’s Pharmacy said.

Preston is a Duluthian and owner of all eight Falk’s Pharmacies in Duluth.

In a time when the economy is having its share of problems, the unemployment rate in Duluth is reaching 6.2 percent according to U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Because of this, Woodland business owners are appreciating the business from locals.

“Most of them have been coming here for probably about thirty years,? said Falk’s Pharmacy employee Nancy Ness. “Same day, same time.?

So how much of the Woodland Falk’s pharmacy business comes from locals?

“Pretty much all of it, 90 percent comes from the area,? Preston said.

Preston said that since prescriptions are a necessity, the store has not suffered as bad financially as other stores might during this economic downfall. However, consumers have cut back on purchasing other items that the store offers.

“Gifty stuff and novelty stuff, forget it,? Preston said. “You can see it is affecting people.?

Falk’s Pharmacy, along with other local businesses like Sammy’s Pizza and Denny’s Ace Hardware, are locally owned and continue to stay in business with help from the support of the Woodland community.

Steve Perrella, along with his four siblings, own four Sammy’s Pizzas across Duluth. He has owned the Woodland location for 16 years and lives only a few miles away. Perrella talked about the economic stress of his restaurant.

“It has slowed some, especially this last month,? Perrella said. “Half of [our] customers come from just the Woodland area.?

Denny Moran, owner of the local Ace Hardware, has also been a Woodland business owner for years.

“I bought it in 1974,? Moran said. The store has been in Woodland since 1929 and plans on staying for years to come. Moran is passing ownership over to his son, but plans on continuing work at the store according to Moran.

Moran hopes to “help out so he can have some time off,? he said.

According to Moran, a lot of Denny’s Ace Hardware customers are regulars that come in for things they need day to day, and are known by name to store employees.

Moran also said that Denny’s Ace Hardware is seeing business from Duluthians, who used to shop at the recently closed Daughtry’s Ace Hardware.

“We haven’t see it yet,? Moran said of the business downfall. “We are far enough away that people don’t want to drive to Menards.?

Going to the hardware store for home repairs has also helped business, according to Moran. “A lot of people are trying to fix stuff instead of buying it.?

Another source of business comes from women.

“Fourty to 45 percent [of customers] are women and they’re regulars," Moran said.

A lot of people don’t think women shop at hardware stores but they would be surprised to see how many women do go to hardware stores. They are working on “arts and crafts and projects,? Moran said.