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Paul Kieffer moved his Red Wing Shoe Store to a spot near Hwy. 52 so that folks driving by could see it and, perhaps, stop.
But then in 2005, sound walls went up. “By the time you see my store, you’re past the exit.”
So Kieffer asked the Minnesota Department of Transportation, or MnDOT, for a small sign. It said no. He appealed to a special committee. They said no, too. So Kieffer went to the Legislature — again and again.
Kieffer argued that the barriers gave people no time to exit, cutting his sales by 15 percent.
But MnDOT said highway signs are reserved for such things as gas, food and lodging, MnDOT’s Peter Buchen told legislators in March. “Traffic signing is not intended to be an advertising device.” Giving this business a sign would set a troubling precedent, he argued.
But legislators disagreed, and the little bill authored by Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, found its way into the transportation bill last session. Last month, Kieffer got his sign, which he paid for himself.
The small marker says, simply, “RED WING SHOE STORE EXIT 58.”
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