News Business Sports Entertainment Life Obituaries Opinion
Jobs Homes Cars Classifieds Shopping

Search PB Blogs



« August 2011 | Main | October 2011 »

29 posts from September 2011

September 30, 2011

Mayo Clinic employees and pay

Here's an interesting little tidbit about the pay of Mayo Clinic employees.

In 1999, only 17 percent of Mayo Clinic's employees surveyed said they were satisfied with their pay.

In 2011, that number rocketed up to 82 percent.

Mayo Clinic says it was not paying more money that made the difference. It was communicating more that made everyone happier about their pay.

"We didn't suddenly start paying everybody more. It was a focus on communication… transparency," says Karmen Reid, Mayo's director of compensation in an interview with a group called World At Work. "You can never communicate too much."

The Compensation Café blog picked this up and wrote a little about it.

Here's the World At Work interview.


$2M hotel upgrade projects to start next week

Construction crews will launch major projects totaling an estimated $2 million next week in Rochester at two hotels across from Saint Marys Hospital.

SpringHill Suites and Courtyard by Marriott, both owned by Willmar-based hotel developer and operator Torgerson Properties and along with local businessman Marc Carpenter, are slated for extensive remodeling.
 Rochester's Weis Builders is handling the projects in tandem with the goal of completing them both by the end of the year.

SpringHill Suites, 1125 Second St. S.W., will see its 86 rooms upgraded and its lobby MarriottRochesterrevamped.

"It'll be a thorough guest room update," said Dennis Wallenta, Torgenson's vice president of hotel operations. "By the time we're done with everything, it will feel like a brand new hotel when you walk in."

The walls, floors and most of the furniture will be upgraded. This follows the addition of new TVs and beds last year.

The crew will start working on the rooms — one floor at a time — next week, said project manager Todd Severson.

Look for SpringHill's lobby area to also get re-worked, including the removal of the fireplace.

"We are making changes designed to bring people down out of their rooms," Wallenta said.

West of SpringHill a couple blocks, Courtyard By Marriott, 161 13th Ave. S.W., has its own makeover as a Starbucks Coffee bistro area is being added to the Saints On 2nd restaurant and bar.

This is part of a brand-wide initiative to re-vitalize Courtyard's food service and add more guests amenities.

However, fans of Saints on 2nd and the popular Chef Pat Reding shouldn't worry about the changes taking away from the atmosphere or Reding's food.

"We'll still have everything we have now. We're just adding to it," Wallenta said.

Saints on 2nd at the Courtyard is a unique feature and its success is a standout among the brand's locations, he said. So Reding's specialties like the blackened steak sandwich and sticky chicken fingers will stay put amid Courtyard's new bistro/lobby area design.

September 29, 2011

$290M sale of Crenlo finalized

The sale of one of Rochester's largest manufacturers — Crenlo — became official today as a $290 million deal closed.

Crenlo employs about 650 to 680 people at two facilities.

Crenlotruck The new owners have said not how this sale could impact Rochester's workers, though local leaders called it a "positive development" when the sale was announced at the start of this month.

Dover Corp., the $5 billion Illinois-based conglomerate that owns Crenlo, sold the Rochester industrial cab and enclosure maker along with Paladin Brands of Iowa  to International Equipment Solutions, an affiliate of KPS Capital Partners of New York City.

"We are pleased to announce the completion of the sale of Crenlo and Paladin," said Bob Livingston, Dover's president and CEO in a statement. "While both of these companies have strong market positions, their sale is an important step in Dover's long-term vision of strengthening the portfolio, improving margins and reducing our exposure to construction related end-markets. This transaction also provides additional financial capacity to continue Dover's expansion plans in our key growth spaces through both acquisitions and internal initiatives."

Founded in Rochester in 1951, Crenlo makes cabs for construction and agriculture companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere, as well as electronic enclosures under the EMCOR brand.

Crenlo, which was under the control of independent Minnesota owners for much its 60 years, was acquired as a subsidiary by Dover Corp. in 1999.

The return of the Redwood Room

Here's more on the return of Rochester's Redwood Room. I have more in my column print today.

Remember when Coca-Cola replaced its original soda with New Coke?

Its loyal customers loudly demanded to have it switched back  until the classic Coke formula returned.

"This is kind of like that," says Dave Currie of the decision to bring back one of Rochester's most beloved romantic restaurants, The Redwood Room.

Creative Cuisine, the creators of original Rochester eateries like City Café and Newt's, closed the distinctive basement nightspot at 300 First Ave. N.W. last September and replaced it with Pazzo Italian.

While Pazzo has done OK, it hasn't connected as deeply with customers as The Redwood Room had.

"We've heard the most fan outcry we've ever had when we've changed a concept," Currie says. "The Redwood Room was doing fine when we closed it, so we decided let's listen to our market and do what they'd like."

The plan is have the Redwood Room up and running again by mid-October.

September 27, 2011

Reeling in a legend — The return of The Hot Fish Shop

Here's some from today's column. Look for the full deal in the print edition.

For the record, this deal was reeled in by George Rownd of Braasch Commercial Real Estate. Thanks to Bucky Beeman for the pic.

Its batter and tartar sauce were legendary among its fans during its 68 years as a Winona landmark in the shadow of Sugar Loaf Bluff.

And now a father and son duo are bringing the Hot Fish Shop, which closed in 1999, back to life in northeast Rochester.

Joe and Rick Coshenet hope to open the new incarnation of the seafood restaurant by early 09262011hotfishshopsignNovember at 3456 East Circle Drive N.E., where the Dish It Up Diner operated until last week.

"I want our food to be great like it used to be," says Rick Coshenet, who worked with his father at the Winona restaurant. His great-grandfather Henry Kowalewski opened it in 1931.

Expect the new place to serve walleye, shrimp, scallops and cod all coated in The Hot Fish Shop's original batter.

Don't worry, Dish It Up fans. It hasn't gone away. Owner Heather Tlougan is returning her business to its roots. She is still offering her heat-and-serve meals and desserts for sale at the Rochester Produce grocery on Second Street Southwest.

September 26, 2011

Ex-Pannekoeken is flat as a ...

09262011Pannekoeken2 The way is now almost clear for Buffalo Wild Wings to swoop in and build a second Rochester location.

And the former Pannekoeken Huis  restaurant in front of the Crossroads Shopping Center is, in the words of my lightning quick colleague Jeff Pieters, "Flat as a pancake."

A Dutch pancake, of course.

09262011Pannekoekendemo1 Remember this demolition of the 27-year-old building is a step on Tom Graf's path to buBWWild a new 6,000-square-foot, stand-alone Buffalo Wild Wings as a southern sister to his first one in the Northwest Plaza.

Tasos Psomas closed that Pannekoeken in August, though the downtown location is still cooking.

Thanks to my ever-vigilant freelance (free) photog, Todd Schwarz, for these spot news pics.


Beloved Roch. restaurant team to return

In case you missed it in the Biz Buzz parrt of my weekend column, a return to life is cooking for a much-mourned Rochester restaurant:

Logo_redwoodroom(7542)_300X200 The cries of disappointment and lamentation rang throughout Rochester when the doors closed.

It seems they did not go unheard by the powers that be.

The word on the street is that a comeback of one of the Med City's favorite little romantic restaurant is starting to heat up

Stay tuned for the return of... The Redwood Room.

September 23, 2011

Mayo Clinic plans could make proton center into skyscraper

Here's an interesting item. Like it did with the Gonda Building, Mayo Clinic has conceptual Phase II plans that could add up to 17 floors to the under-construction Richard O. Jacobson Building. If that plans becomes reality, it would grow the Jacobson Building to 19 stories above downtown Rochester.

Here's some from my article on these futuristic plans. Look for the whole deal in today's print edition:


09172011jacobsongroundbreaking Even before dirt started moving at the site of the new $185 million Richard O. Jacobson Building last week, Mayo Clinic was sketching out plans to possibly grow the project into a 19-story skyscraper.

Phase II maps out plans for building a 17-story tower on top of the Jacobson complex, Mayo spokesman Joe Dangor said. With 19 stories above ground, the building would fall just two floors short of the Gonda Building's 21.

Described as "a conceptual phase," Mayo Clinic has no timeline for the project or an estimate of what it might cost.

Proton_Night-Full_Donor_Steel If built, Phase II would swell the project's square footage from 220,000 to 750,000, Dangor said, citing Dr. John Black, chairman of the construction committee. The building then would be comparable in size to Mayo Clinic's Eisenberg Building.
The Jacobson Building, being built at the southwest corner of Second Street Northwest and First Avenue Northwest, will house four treatment rooms for pencil-beam proton radiation therapy for cancer patients.The building will include two floors above ground and two levels below for the massive nuclear equipment required for the "pencil beam" proton treatment.

September 22, 2011

The Belgians are coming - Mayo Clinic-linked firm opening Roch. subsidary

Here's some from a piece I whipped up today about a Belgium biotech company, Cardio3, opening a U.S. office in the US. I've have been following these guys for years.

They are a pretty interesting firm.

The whole story is in today's print edition, including more about the potential of what this could mean for Rochester.


After years of talks, a Belgium company that uses stem cells to repair the heart is coming to Rochester in what local officials hope will be the start of a cluster of regenerative medicine firms here.
Cardio3 BioSciences, which is based on Mayo Clinic-licensed research by Dr. Atta Behfar and Dr. Andre Terzic, uses a patient's own stem cells from bone marrow to repair heart damage.

Clinical trials with patients in Europe have shown positive results. Now the company is establishing a subsidiary in Rochester to begin trials in the United States.

"What is unique about this is it's Mayo intellectual property that they are commercializing, which they took to it Belgium … and now it has come full circle back to Rochester," said Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. President Gary Smith. "That is a big thing … a very big thing."

September 21, 2011

Hy-Vee grocery to expand parking options

Before you can cart it, you need to park it.
Rochester grocer Hy-Vee in the Barlow Plaza is adding parking to hopefully make filling your shopping cart easier.

When you consider that the store's staff has doubled in the past 13 years, Hy-Vee's sat  ellite greenhouse has grown and the challenges of removing snow have increased, parking spaces have become premium real estate.

  "It is pretty simple. The town has grown, and the lot hasn't," says Mike Long, who manages the grocery store off Civic Center Drive.

To add almost 180 parking spaces to the mix, Hy-Vee has purchased 45,000-square-feet of land west of the store behind the nearby Mickey's Irish Saloon. Rochester developer Don Prow provided the land.

Hyveeparking That puts the new lot on the other side of the 16th Avenue Northwest spur that ends between Hy-Vee and Mickey's.

 While this is not intended directly for customers, the expectation is that is will open up existing spaces in front of the store.

Long says the new lot will be used for employee parking, to house the seasonal lawn and garden areas and to pile snow.

"Customers ask me why we put the lawn and garden center out front, when they'd like to park," he says. "We try to listen to our customers. We want to leave the best parking spaces for our customers."
Has the opening of the new Barlow Events Center by the store helped spur this?

"No. This was in the mix way before that," Long says. "We're just a growing business."

Just the growth of the store's staff has eaten up parking spaces. Hy-Vee now has about 145 employees at the Barlow location.

When the new lot will be available is unclear, since the building permit was submitted just last week.

But since Long and his team are looking for a place to pile snow, I'd guess they'll try to get it paved before the inevitable white stuff starts to fall.