Mayor Jim Paine | Photo Credit: Business North

Mayor Paine Speaks Out About Retail


Paine bets on relationships, experiences

Superior Mayor Jim Paine doesn’t mince words when explaining his business views, which some might consider out of the norm – at least for their generation.

Mayor Jim Paine | Photo Credit: Business North

Mayor Jim Paine | Photo Credit: Business North

For instance, the closure of Younkers at Mariner Mall wasn’t unexpected, he told a Tuesday Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, and it’s unlikely the store will be replaced.

“It was a model of retail that wasn’t working – at least not the way in which it did in the 80s or 90s. It was in a mall that really was not a mall anymore. It had transitioned into a business center long ago,” said Paine, who described himself as “a new urbanist.”

Elected mayor at age 35 to succeed senior citizen Bruce Hagen, he admits he’s been criticized for not eagerly addressing the closures of Younkers, Target and Kmart (the latter two shut down before he was elected).

“We cut the levy two years in a row, but people still continued to focus on retail,” he quipped. Paine said he pushes back on those who fear the closures spell doom for the city’s retail future. His goal, Paine explained, is to educate people about ways in which Superior can have a healthier retail climate than so-called big boxes offered.

“Retailing is not leaving. Retail is changing pretty significantly, and I think it’s for the better,” said the mayor, who also challenged the value of “buy local” campaigns. He freely admitted to shopping online and, voicing words that many Superiorites detest, confessed to shopping in Duluth.

Continue to read this article in BusinessNorth.

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