Dec. 22, 2011
Duluth clothing store employs human mannequin
for the holidays
By Christa Lawler
The mostly unflappable, sharply dressed figure
is gazing at the presents beneath a Christmas tree that shares the
closet-sized space. And Dan Doyle, the mannequin, can hear you through
“It’s hilarious,” Doyle said.
“People go by and come back and have arguments
about if I’m real.”
This is the first modeling gig for Doyle , who
is on vacation from his job in pharmaceuticals and said he can always
be talked into a new
adventure. Last time, this open-mindedness found
him performing stand-up comedy. On Monday, Doyle spent the majority
of his two-hour lunchtime stint standing still in a glassed enclosure
and making subtle shifts when he didn’t hear approaching footsteps.
“It’s just something fun to do,”
Doyle said. “I’m friends with the owners and they wanted
to do something different for the holidays.”
Some people don’t notice him. Some give
him a look without registering that he’s real. At least one
passerby called it “creepy.”
“Is that real? It’s too realistic,”
said Matthew Gerard, walking past with two friends. He said he regularly
checks out the store’s display.
“You always do a double-take,” said
Darin Hanson, who works nearby and had noticed Doyle in the case
One passerby was especially interested in Doyle
“Is that Daddy in there?” Liam Doyle
, 3, asked his mother, Michaela Doyle , the model’s wife.
Doug Melander, co-owner of Mainstream, had live
mannequins in displays at a similar-style store he owned at Miller
Hill Mall years ago. His wife, Ann, mentioned doing it again, he
said. He likes the juxtaposition of the downtown clothing store
that sells serious items like suits having such a whimsical display.
Melander said he and co-owner Tom Henderson are
clowns who enjoy their clients and enjoy having fun.
“If you can’t have fun with what you
do …” Melander said.
“Then go home,” Henderson finished.