HARRY’S BAR IN HILL CITY IS ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT COURT DECISIONS THAT COULD STOP THE PROJECT AFTER SEEING HOW LINE 3 WORK HAS IMMEDIATELY HELPED JUMPSTART THEIR BUSINESS AFTER TOUGH COVID-IMPACTED 2020
(HILL CITY, MINN) After surviving 2020 and the adverse economic impact COVID had on their business, the owners of Harry’s Bar in Hill City are not only seeing a dramatic increase in business from Line 3 construction workers, they are now launching a food truck. Harry’s Bar is a family owned and operated business that was founded in 1991 by Harry Hilton. Harry passed away a few years ago and the business is currently run by his children. Construction work on the Line 3 Replacement project started in December and now employs more than 3,000 workers.
“Last year was hard and an incredible challenge for our family and our business because of the pandemic and how it shut so many things down,” said Randy Ihle, Harry’s Bar Manager. “We counted on the construction of Line 3 to jumpstart our business in 2021. It has already done more than that. Line 3 and the people here to build it have helped us bring people back to work and given us a chance to grow our business by launching the food truck. As exciting as it is to see the positive change, we are also concerned this could reverse itself if court decisions stop the project.”
The Minnesota Court of Appeals is now being asked to consider a legal challenge that has the potential to delay or stop Line 3 construction work until other lawsuits challenging the project’s approval can be heard. The Line 3 project is the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history and has been reviewed by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years. The process started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration. Enbridge submitted their application for the replacement of Line 3 to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2015 as part of the company’s integrity and maintenance driven program.
Harry’s Bar said they have experienced good business since the beginning of Line 3 construction. With COVID-19 restrictions being semi-lifted, they expect to see an even larger increase by being able to open up their dining room. The idea for a mobile food truck was developed as an expanded way to serve pipeline workers who are coming to the bar and restaurant in the evening to order take-out meals for the following day.
“Seeing people buy meals for the next day challenged us to see if there was a way to make it possible to get them hot meals during the day, instead of having to get the food the day before,” Ihle said. “We put our heads together and felt that by bringing good hot food to where they were working would be an ideal situation for the construction workers. The idea we can go from barely making it through a tough year to now starting a new business endeavor shows how much Line 3 has really changed things for us.” The custom mobile food truck will open for business on January 12th.
Workers on the project across the 14-county route are now doing the initial phase of construction. When Line 3 construction is fully operational, more than 4,000 union members will be working to replace the 340-mile Minnesota section. Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion to fund work across 14 counties.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics study estimated that that Line 3 will support 2,800 retail/hospitality sector jobs and 1,600 local supplier/manufacturer jobs. The study also shows indirect positive economic impacts will include more than $160 million in non-local worker spending on meals, lodging, and incidentals while working in the study area.
“We’re very much counting on the extra business from Line 3 to continue as this project moves forward,” Ihle said. “We’ve promised people their jobs are coming back and for those who’ve moved on, we will hire new people. In our community, local businesses are doing very well with the influx of new customers to the area. The town is humming. We are now watching to see what decisions the judges make and really hope they understand how much Line 3 means to the people who live and work here.