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25 posts from May 2011

May 31, 2011

Roch. cheese shop to scoop up Wisconsin ice cream

In case you were too busy relaxing during the holiday, here's some from my column that appeared Saturday/Sunday about ice cream being on its way to northeast Rochester.

The topping? It is from the dairy state of Wisconsin.

A Rochester shop known for its fresh cheese from the Badger State is adding a big scoop of ice cream to the mix.

Countrycreamery Country Creamery, a retail satellite of the Ellsworth Coop Creamery in Ellsworth, Wis., hopes to be spooning up Flat Pennies brand ice cream from Bay City, Wis. yet this week, says Beth Ingli of the Ellsworth Coop.

Country Creamery opened at 3120 Wellner Drive N.E. in December and started bringing in fresh shipments of cheese and butter from Ellsworth, known as the Cheese Curd Capital of the World.

"The cheese business is going really well, but we'd like to get a few more people in here," says Ingli. "We feel the Flat Pennies ice cream, plus having the movie theater (Paragon Chateau 14) so close, will bring in families in here."

This is the first franchise location for the railroad-themed Flat Pennies ice cream shop.
Expect premium soft-serve ice cream, shakes, sundaes, banana splits and smoothies, among other creamy creations, when Country Cream does a "soft serve" opening Wednesday.

Flatepenniesicecream And ice cream is not all that the addition of the new Flat Pennies brand is bringing to Rochester.

The menu will also include brats, hot beef sandwiches and jumbo hot dogs from a luncheon menu.

"It is a nice fit, bringing it all together," she says.

To handle this new churn of Wisconsin edibles, Country Creamery is adding between six to 10 people to its current staff of four.

"We had 64 people apply for jobs and we got a lot of very qualified candidates," says Ingli.

While Flat Pennies ice cream and food will fill out Country Creamery's menu, Rochester's herd of curds fans will still be able to get their fixes of fresh cheesy nuggets.

The creamery outlet store sells more than 80 types of cheese, including curds, along with milk and butter.

George Rownd of Braasch Commercial Real Estate handled the deal that brought the creamery into the former Zadeo's Pizza space near Whistle Binkie's North.

Bacon Cheese Brat Burger + Rochesterfest

Glancing at the latest Rochesterfest newsletter, my hungry eyes fell upon an item that stopped me like a clogged artery.

The Med City's annual week-long bash is known for its selection of delicious festival treats, some healthy and most that are ... less than that.

 One new vendor called Berry Kabob will serve up a fruit pizza covered with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and white and dark chocolate. Then there’s the Berry Kabob, which is comprised strawberries and bananas on a stick.

Sounds like a pretty good choice for people looking for something a little better than fried cheese curds (My must-have fest food).

But the fruit treats are not all that Berry Kabob will be cooking up. This one tips the scale so far to the other side that it even intimidates a reckless devourer of fried foods like myself.

Here's the description from the newsletter:

If you’re looking for food that will fill you up, be sure to try a Meateater, one of the Meat-Eater-300x225
new items that will be served up on vendor row at Rochesterfest 2011. Berry Kabob, one of the six new vendors, takes a brat to a whole new level. Their brats are wrapped with cheese, a hamburger is wrapped around the brat and cheese, two slices of bacon are wrapped around the brat and then everything is deep fried to a rich golden brown finish.

Uh... yeah... Could I get some gravy on that, too?

May 26, 2011

MetaFile didn't buy all of Bigelow Homes center

Here's a tidbit to clarify a detail about a software company's acquistition of a northwest Rochester commercial complex:

In Wednesday's column I wrote about MetaFile Information Systems, Inc. buying a two-story, commercial complex in northwest Rochester from Bigelow Homes.
One thing I did not make clear is that sale did not include the offices of Terry and Carla Nelson's Olmsted Financial Group.

In 2005, the Nelsons bought 1,600-square-feet of the building at 3428 Lakeridge Place N.W. for their financial planning business.

MetaFile's acquistition of the complex this month does not change anything for the Olmsted Group office, which remains under the Nelsons' ownership.

IBM cuts jobs this week

A round of national IBM layoffs hit the Rochester campus this week, but the total number is unclear.

Ibm Unofficial sources say at least a handful of jobs were cut in Rochester. Some estimate more than 200 jobs were cut company-wide by the Armonk, N.Y.,-based company.

Documents given to laid-off employees, collected by Alliance@IBM, show about 100 positions cut from Global Technology Services sites, another 70 from Systems Lab Services locations and almost 50 from the Global Business Services unit.

Cuts were at IBM facilities in North Carolina, New York, Georgia, California and Rochester, according to media reports.

The technology giant, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, declined to confirm or even discuss specific numbers. In response to inquiries, IBM spokesman Douglas Shelton e-mailed its typical statement: "IBM re-balances its skills and resources throughout the year to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of our clients. IBM does not comment publicly on details of its staffing plans or local headcount."

Big Blue no longer provides year-end reports of employee population at each campus. The last time it issued an official number, IBM reported that it had 4,200 employees in Rochester as of Dec. 31, 2008. In 2010, the company stopped releasing the number of workers it has in the United States. It now only releases the total number of its worldwide work force.

"I would have thought they might wait until the anniversary celebration was over," says Lee Conrad, national coordinator for the Alliance@IBM group in Endicott, N.Y. "Lots of people wont be celebrating; only the execs will."

May 23, 2011

Iraqi president in Roch. for Mayo Clinic check-up

Here's some from an article I have about Iraq'a president being in town to to go to Mayo Clinic.

I know he has been out and about at various public places in Rochester for a week or so. Does anyone have any good stories or photos from sightings?

Check out my full story here.


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is undergoing "a routine check-up" at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, the Embassy of Iraq in Washington, D.C. confirmed on Monday.

210511024727 Unofficial sources have been reporting sightings of the Middle Eastern leader in Rochester for about week. It is unclear when he arrived in Minnesota.

Talabani is not traveling with any other Iraqi leaders and plans to stay in Rochester until Wednesday, said Rory Sheehan of the Iraqi embassy.

Mayo Clinic spokesman Bryan Anderson said that Mayo had no information or comment about Talabani's visit.

Talabani has had a long relationship with the clinic. In the fall of 2009, he traveled here for a medical visit, and he underwent a reportedly successful heart surgery at the clinic in August 2008.

Many Herff Jones/Lifetouch jobs to leave Lewiston

A while back, I chatted with Lifetouch, Inc., the company that has purchased the photo division of Herff Jones, the school photo firm.

Map_of_lewiston_mn That purchased includes a large facility in Lewiston that had once employed more than 300 people. Herff Jones cut 200 of those jobs in 2009.

Lifetouch did not have many details to offer yet, but it seemed upbeat about the more than 100 remaining jobs in Lewiston.

Then I started getting anonymous calls for Lewiston workers saying the picture is not that bright. Herffjoneslogo2010

I checked back in with Lifetouch and found that there are definitely less jobs in Lewiston's future.

Here's some from an article I wrote about all of this plus some perspective from the longtime businessman who runs Lewiston Auto:


The city of Lewiston will have fewer jobs by the end of the year after the acquisition of one of its larger employers.

Lifetouch Inc., which recently acquired the former Herff Jones photo facility in Lewiston, plans to transfer or eliminate many of the more than 100 jobs based there, although the total number that will leave isn't clear. The new owner, however, does plan to maintain a sales office with an undefined number of workers.

A1--Lifetouch-Logo Lewiston's supporters say the community will weather this as it has much larger job losses in the past.

"No town can afford to keep losing things, but I think we'll be able to get some of that stuff back, maybe even stronger than Herff Jones was at the end," said Lyle Nienow, president of Lewiston Auto. " I don't feel like the future is so dim that Lewiston is going to dry up and blow away."

In fact, he points out even though Herff Jones slashed more than 200 jobs in 2009, Lewiston's population increased by 9 percent over the past 10 years, to 1,620, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

"Many of those people stayed here. I think that says something," Nienow said.

Of course, it was a tough economic hit for the city.

The current concern is Lifetouch's intentions toward the more than 100 workers remaining in the former Herff Jones buildings.

The administrative departments based there are considered redundant, because those services already are handled at the new owner's headquarters in Eden Prairie.

"Over time those administration functions will transfer to Eden Prairie," said Kelvin Miller of Lifetouch."We have no specific timetable, but we would like to have most that accomplished by the end of the calendar year."

In fact, a handful of Lewiston people are already driving to work in Eden Prairie, he said.

Textile Care rolls out expansion plan

Amid all of the weird weather this month, it looks like a torrent of business paperwork is swirling around Rochester as building sales are closing and construction permits are rolling in.
Tidbits here seem to hint that more is on the way, particularly in the rapidly heating up core of the Med City.

Here's one deal thatTextilecare is already documented:
• Rochester's quiet giant of a commercial laundry, Textile Care Services, submitted a building permit request Friday for a more than $88,000 addition to the mezzanine of its facility at 225 WoodlaRochestererailke Drive S.E.

  The 90-year-old company specializes in cleaning linens — an estimated 30 MILLION pounds of lines a year — for health care facilities and hotels in the area.

It is owned by Sunstone Hotel Investors, which also owns the Rochester hotels like the Kahler Grand, the downtown Marriott and Kahler Inn & Suites.

Look for more details on this project soon.

May 16, 2011

Positive results + Mayo Clinic linked Belgium biotech

Here's an update on the Belgium biotech - Cardio3 Biosciences - that is Cardiousing Mayo Clinic research as it attempts to develop a way to repair congestive heart failure using a patients' own stem cells.

Cardio3 Biosciences licensed research and technology from Mayo Clinic back in 2007.

Here's some from an announcement that just came out today:

Cardio3 BioSciences "will present Phase II clinical trial data of the flagship product C3BS-CQR-1, at the EuroPCR Meeting in Paris on Wednesday, 18th May. This is the first-in-man use of lineage specified stem cells for the treatment of heart failure.


The trial demonstrates that heart failure patients improved heart function and exercise capacity at 6 months following treatment of C-Cure, an innovative stem cell therapy based on the Company’s “Cardiopoiesis” proprietary technology. Moreover, feasibility and safety of the C-Cure treatment regimen were established.

This is the official word on Cardio3's current relationship with Mayo Clinic:

Mayo Clinic owns an equity position in the company. Mayo Clinic, and the inventors of the technology, Drs. Andre Terzic and Atta Behfar, have a financial interest. While no royalties have accrued to date, Mayo Clinic has rights to receive future royalties which will be shared with Drs. Terzic and Behfar in accordance with the Mayo Clinic Royalty sharing policy.

The Company's current relationship with Mayo Clinic is essentially based on the Technology License Agreement, through which the Company acquired at arms’ length rights to the majority of its current intellectual property portfolio and which has created a long-term research relationship with Mayo Clinic.

 Cardio3's breakdown of its investors on its website shows Mayo Clinic controls 27 percent of the company's capitalization.


May 12, 2011

New auto shop revvving up

A new sign went up Wednesday marking the arrival of a new auto repair shop under the ownership of a familiar name within the Med City car crowd.

Here's a little bit of what I'll have in print Friday.

That's Jeremy and Jeana Babcock in the pic in front of their new sign.

A new full-service auto repair shop is revving up in northwest Rochester.
Babcock Jeremy Babcock is doing extensive remodeling to transform a former tire shop at 5335 N. U.S. 52 into Babcock Auto Care.

Babcock, who previously worked with Automotive ProCare on Civic Center Center Drive, says he hopes to open the full service repair center by at least early July.

The 10,600-square-foot shop has nine service bays. Babcock is setting up two of those for quick lube fast oil changes.

Med City bar to change hands

It is time for another round as a pair of new owners steps behind the bar at a Rochester nightspot.

After seven years, Mickey Clark is turning over Mickey's Irish Saloon to new owners so he can focus more attention on his other businesses.
"It is kind of hard. We built all of this," Clark says. "It has been a lot of fun, but it has been a lot of work."

He is handing over the helm of the bar at 1605 Civic Center Dr. N.W. to Dean Rich and Scott Mayer, both of Rochester.

Rich, who is leaving his position as general manager of the GuestHouse International Inn & Suites, ran as a candidate for the Rochester City Council in the last election. Incumbent Bruce Snyder defended his seat against Rich.

"I've wanted to run my own business for probably about 25 years," he says.

Expect the duo to tweak the inside and outside of the bar, but keep the name and most of the approach that Clark created.

"Our intent is to make it into as much of an Irish pub as possible and create a real neighborhood place like Cheers," he says.

While Rich is excited to take the reins of Mickey's with Mayer, this is not exactly how he imagined his first business.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd own a bar, but this is the great opportunity that came to us," he says. "I think it is a win/win for us and for Mickey."

Clark agrees with that.

"Dean and Scott will do real well," he says.

The growth of his other other businesses, particularly Clark Parks and Play, were key to his decision to sell.

Parks and Play installs large playground equipment in parks in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

That means its four-man crew is often away from Rochester for up to three weeks at a time.

The rub for Mickey's is that all four — including two of Clark's sons — are bartenders at the saloon. They also do work for Clark Concrete and Fight Nation, a fight promotion business.

As the growing park business has taken the crew out of town more and more, that has meant more work for Clark and his wife.

"We had to cut back on something," he says.

For his part, Rich hopes this new project will put him on a path similar to Clark's that ends up with multiple businesses.

"This is good place to start growing my empire," he says, sounding like he is only half joking.