By Skip Daverman
MINNEAPOLIS – Several weeks since the giant mouths appeared, the Twin Cities have become ghost towns as residents have left and businesses have shut down.
“It’s just not worth it,” said Starbucks manager, Todd Kemp, whose shop is a mile from the Minneapolis mouth. “The mouths yell sporadically throughout the day. There’s just no peace and quiet anymore, and no one is here. I have bad enough hearing as it is.”
Residents within a 2,000-foot radius of each mouth were ordered to evacuate for their own safety by the National Guard while everyone within a mile radius were strongly encouraged to leave as well. Most are staying with friends and family in the suburbs or at hotels. Some towns, and parts of the Twin Cities, are taking in children into their schools for the time being. Despite the difficulties, some are seeing a silver lining.
“I know they’re shut down, but business is booming here,” said Mary Waller, store manager of Albertsons in Mankato. “It’s not just my store, but the whole town is getting a boost economically. Obviously, this is only temporary, but we’ll take it.”
Many of the suburbs are indeed seeing a boost in their local economies, and some businesses are taking in employees from their downtown offices if they can. “We’re a tough people,” said Mike Jennings, auto technician for Midas in St. Paul and now Woodbury. “If we can handle Minnesota winters, then we can handle giant mouths screaming at each other.”