Denfeld News

Dec. 22, 2011
Duluth News Tribune

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 the glass.

“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 before.

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.

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