Like many midwest Rust Belt cities, Duluth has historically been dependent on a small number of out-of-town employers to sustain its economy. The problem is that when employers close facilities, the economy crashes hard and is slow to recover.
This happened in Duluth in an economic downturn in the 1980s. People had to leave the city to find work. I remember the billboard on I-35, which read, “Will the Last Person Out of Town Please Turn Off the Lights”.
This is when I returned to Duluth. It took a while, but we did learn our lesson that we had to lessen our dependence on large out-of-town employers. One way to do this is to focus on the creation of new start-up businesses.
In my 35 years of law practice in Duluth, I have helped thousands of new businesses get started and grow. During the past few years, the number of new business start-ups has been on fire in Duluth due to a greater number of young people moving to the City. This brings a new energy to the city and sustained growth.
The thing about helping a new start-up business is to recognize that new entrepreneurs face a lot of costs, and so legal services have to be affordable and the new owner has to see the immediate benefit of the services. Having done this work for a while, I can introduce new business owners to other business owners and resources that can make an immediate difference.