MOA Employees Near Radio Row Having Busy Week

Justin LaRue, store manager at the Pepper Palace at Mall of America, looks on Wednesday with Radio Row for Super Bowl LII in the background outside the store. Photo: KSTP/Frank Rajkowski
Justin LaRue, store manager at the Pepper Palace at Mall of America, looks on Wednesday with Radio Row for Super Bowl LII in the background outside the store.

January 31, 2018 09:13 PM

Justin LaRue knew going in this wasn't going to be a typical week at work.

After all, most weeks don't bring hordes of national – and even international – media members to the front door of his shop.

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But that is the case this week at Mall of America where Radio Row for Super Bowl LII is located just outside the entry to the Pepper Palace, the hot sauce store where LaRue works as store manager.

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"It's been crazy," he said Wednesday, glancing out at the crowd watching guests make the rounds of various radio programs. "We've gotten a lot of foot traffic already, and it's really been picking up today. I'm sure that's only going to continue."

It's certainly been good for business.

"Oh wow, it's like a gift," said LaRue, who had already had several media outlets – including one from Philadelphia – swing by the store. "You can't beat the exposure we're getting."

PHOTO GALLERY: Wednesday at Radio Row

The people-watching hasn't been bad either.

"We've seen some famous people walk by," he said. "(Former NFL quarterback) Kurt Warner has strolled by a few times. We've seen (former NFL running back) Tiki Barber. A few other people."

On the other side of Radio Row, Shari Winslow and her co-workers at Beef Jerky Experience have had a busy week themselves. In fact, the expected crunch is why Winslow, who normally works at the Eagan location, is on duty at Mall of America this week.

RELATED: International Media Enjoying Super Bowl Week, Even if it's Cold

"The energy has been great," she said. "And it's been funny to see our store on the news. We've even seen it on ESPN. It's been a lot of fun.

"We had some of the Patriots coaches stop by. Other than that, we haven't really had a lot of famous people in here. But we've seen a lot of them walking by."

Of course, working at Mall of America means employees are no strangers to out-of-town customers or big crowds.

And Bishara Sahoury, who works at an eatery near Radio Row, said this week hasn't yet reached manic levels.

Minnesota's Moment: KSTP's Super Bowl Page

"It's nowhere near as busy as it is here around the holidays," he said. "But it's picking up. I'm sure this weekend is going to be really busy. Especially as the temperatures drop back down below zero (as is forecast for Thursday).

"Then everybody who is outside today is going to want to be back here in the mall."

Credits

Frank Rajkowski

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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