DULUTH -- Duluth's Last Place on Earth was shut down ignominiously in July 2013, and its owner, Jim Carlson, is still serving time for the mind-altering products he was convicted of selling out of the shop, including "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana.
While federal agents seized all those drugs, as well as many of Carlson's other assets, some less illicit merchandise, as well as signs, remained. When the dust settled and agents had finished their work, Carlson's son, Joseph Gellerman, gathered that stuff and placed it in a storage unit.
But after a while, he stopped paying the storage facility, and Gellerman was given formal notice that he had to settle up or forfeit the contents of his storage unit.
The memorabilia and merchandise will be going up for auction 5 p.m. Jan. 8 at Sellers Auction in Superior, Wisconsin.
Christina Greene, who manages the auction house, said the sale will be an adults-only event, due to the nature of some of the items to be put up for bid. She said it just wouldn't be appropriate to have children in the mix when bongs, other smoking paraphernalia and sex toys are being offered for sale.
Greene said the storage unit was a large one and its contents filled a 24-foot trailer from top to bottom.
"We have hundreds of albums, everything from '70s rock to disco and whatever else they carried. I know for certain there are a lot of adult items and also all the smoking items, as well as stuff like Bob Marley T-shirts, throwing stars, black lights and posters. But most of it's packed in boxes right now in a 40-foot container behind our building. So, we won't know exactly what we're selling until next Thursday, when we unpack everything and set it out," she said.
Sellers Auction has two intervening auctions that will precede the Last Place on Earth event.
"We're going to make it a party. I'm getting a keg and some champagne. We're calling it date night. We'll be selling all the PG items first. Then we'll take a little 15-minute intermission. So, if anybody doesn't feel comfortable sticking around for the other stuff, they can go," Greene said.
"What else are you going to do on a freezing Saturday night in January?"
Some people still wax nostalgic about Last Place on Earth in the days before it began trafficking heavily in synthetic drugs. Therefore, Greene said she's not surprised there has been such interest in the approaching auction.
"We're not at all trying to make light of the situation. I wasn't living here at the time, but I understand that there were people that died due to synthetic drugs. It was a tragic turn, and that's why he (Carlson) is where he is right now. We obviously didn't have anything to do with that, and we're just trying to help out the owner of a storage facility that got stuck with all this stuff," Greene said.
In keeping with the business owner's wishes, Greene declined to disclose the operator's name.