Archive: Duluth’s Lost Jobbing Industry

If you’ve ever enjoyed a craft spirit at Vilkre Distillery inside the Gowan-Lenning-Brown building or a craft beer at Hoops Brewing inside the old Marshall-Wells Hardware office/warehouse, then you have visited most of what remains of Duluth’s once-thriving Jobbing industry, which today would likely be called “wholesaling.” Duluth once had a city of warehouses along the waterfront adjacent to railroad tracks and slips for large freighters where products—typically hardware or groceries—would be received and shipped to all the points on a compass. In fact, during the first half of the twentieth century Duluth was one of the largest wholesaling centers in the nation, and Marshall-Wells claimed to be the largest hardware wholesaler in the world. Learn about Duluth’s lost jobbing industry here.

Duluth’s Gowan-Lenning-Brown wholesalers was developed though a merger of the Clarkson-Wright and Gowan-Peyton-Congdon companies. (Image: Zenith City Press)