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10 posts from December 2011

December 30, 2011

Auction house makes a bid for more growth in 2012

An unconventional Rochester auction house is making a bid for growth in 2012 with a new home that almost doubles its space.

After seeing its sales spike by 100 percent this year over 2010, Krause Auctioneering is moving to the lower level of the Schmitt Music building at 1765 U.S. 52 North.

KrauselogoRon Krause, auctioneer and co-owner, says this move will give his rapidly growing business about 3,000 square feet to receive, store, prepare and ship auction items. That's almost twice the 1,600 square feet in its existing spot at 497 37th St. N.E.

He expects to be calling auctions from the new location by Sunday.

A new home is not the only change at Krause Auctioneering. A new co-owner — Bob Klein of Rochester — has joined the operation as its chief financial officer, with Krause serving as CEO.

This is all follows a very successful year for the Rochester auction house that saw it tally a "hammer price" of about $293,000 in sales.

At this point, the staff was grown to 11. That's up from just two last year.

"Once we're settled in the new place, we hope to add more," Krause says.

While he has overseen auctions— in person and online — for years, It is a new hybrid of the two that is spurring the business boost.

Don't expect the traditional auction with a crowd seated in front of an auctioneer.

All of the auctions are online now, through the company's website

However, there is a unique twist that sets Krause apart from eBay and other online auction sites. Many of the online auctions are "live," with Krause doing the traditional price calling to acknowledge and spur bids on camera as people all over the country and the world vie to buy an art sculpture, necklace, comic book or whatever.

December 29, 2011

Four Kmarts to close in Minn.

A "partial" list of the Sears and Kmart stores that are closing came out today.

While Kmarts in Willmar, Duluth, New Hope and White Bear Lake are getting the ax, Rochester's Kmart was not listed.

Sears Holdings Corp. has said it will close as many as 120 Sears and Kmart stores. I Kmart-officet is good news for Rochester that neither the Sears nor the Kmart stores were listed.

However, this list of stores to be closed was labeled as "partial." They survived this f irst round, but they could have to duck duck the ax in later rounds.

I'll keep an eye on it. 

Bar to morph into food-focused tavern

To kick off the new year, a long-time Rochester nightspot is getting a new name and a new focus.

The Break Room at 1635 U.S. 52 N. is busy re-creating itself this week. While it is closed at the moment, the staff hope to re-open as Syler's Tavern by New Year's Eve at the latest, possibly sooner.

"We're expanding our menu and adding dinner. There has been a shift in the marketplace and there is a lot more competition for customers," says owner Troy Wing. "We have a good cook and a large kitchen. I think we can compete very well with entrees like our braised short ribs."

He describes the new Syler's as a comfortable atmosphere where people can relax and have a good meal or a drink. The remodel of the tavern should open up more seating space and Wing says it will eventually grow to seat about 150 later in 2012.

This change puts the focus on what Wing says has always been a little-known strength of his establishment: its food.

"We create our own sauces and cook our own recipes," he says. "Many people have told us our spinach and artichoke dip is the best they've ever had."

Look for steak, seafood, pork chops, stuffed mushrooms and more on the new menu.

Kiger's back and the blog is breathing again

I apologize to you all for abandoning this blog for so long.

I took a vacation and was pretty tied up even before I left. The result was that Kiger's Notebook was left barren for the longest stretch, since I launched it in March, 2005.

I couldn't stay away completely, so I did pop back in to do the CostCo piece and a few columns here and there.

RedjeffMost of my time away was spent on the banks of The Wabash in Indiana. A place Verizon as well as the rest technological world evidently do not know exisits. While I did zip out a few Tweets and email responses when the moon was in the right place, I was mostly out of the loop.

I apologize to everyone who sent me emails, voice messages, Facebook notes and direct messages on Twitter. I'll try to catch up. More than a 1,000 unread emails have piled up.

Anyway, I'm back now and revved up for the new year.

Please keep letting me know what you are interested in and passing along any business tips you might hear.

Look for lots of action on here in as 2012 kicks into gear and thank you for reading.

December 12, 2011

N.W. Roch. center sells for $925,000

Here's a follow-up tidbit about the ex-SEMCIL building on Rochester's North Broadway that will house a Mayo Clinic-driven child abuse program.

A northwest Rochester building sold for $925,000 at the end of last month, which is the latest in a series of recent changes for the complex.

The complex at 2720 N. Broadway was sold on Nov. 30 by the nonprofit, Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living Inc., according to Olmsted County records.

A Rochester company called Nan's Legacy LLC bought the building.

This ownership change comes on the heels of an announcement that a new Mayo Clinic-driven program plans to move into the complex as a tenant.

Construction is already underway to transform it into a facility to work with victims of child abuse.

Here's how an statement from Mayo Clinic describes the project: "The Mayo Clinic Child and Family Advocacy program," working with child advocacy organizations in the community, will open a new facility dedicated to responding to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and put the needs of the child victims first."

Depending on construction, the goal is to open the center in early 2012.

SEMCIL recently moved out of the complex into a newly built one at 2200 Second St. S.W.

That's the address where the Rochester Area Foundation used to have its office before that nonprofit moved downtown. By the way, look for Foundation related news in my print column today.

Mayo Clinic owned the Second Street S.W. building that the Foundation formerly occupied. Mayo sold it to SEMCIL for $695,000 in 2010.

SEMCIL scraped the building off the site and built a 13,500-square-foot center that recently became the active base of operations.

December 09, 2011

Eclipsed tanning salon to rise and shine again

Here's one part of my tease about two businesses with changes "heating up" in Rochester.

Look for the whole column in today's print edition.


While it has been eclipsed for about eight months, a north Rochester location of a local tanning salon chain is on the rise.

381199_186940501393618_100002330077970_432167_569770127_nLook for Sun Place Tanning to re-open its salon at 4200 U.S. 52 North by the end of December. That will bring the Sun Place back to the full strength — three Rochester locations — it had before they all closed in March.

In April, Jennie and Geno Rebellato acquired the business and re-opened the salons in the Crossroads Shopping Center a187453_100002330077970_8114789_nnd on Wellner Drive Northeast next to Andy's Liquor.

And now it is time for the third one to heat up again.

"Customers have been asking about it. It's time to bring it back," says Jennie Rebellato.

She says the revived U.S. 52 North salon will have 17 tanning units, bringing Sun Place's total tanning units to 47.

December 06, 2011

Nupa to double down in Rochester with two restaurants

Here's a taste of my column in today's print edition about the new Nupa coming in Rochester. Look for the full serving in print.

Thanks to the eagle-eyed and ever-alert Jim Miner for spotting this and taking the pic. I appreciate the help, Jim.


A second helping of an original Rochester restaurant is cooking.

Nupa2Nupa Mediterranean Cuisine, the creation of Ted Paizis and George Psomas of Mac's Cafe and Restaurant, launched in 2009 at 1035 Civic Center Drive N.W.

Since then it seems local diners have really developed a taste for Nupa's Greek, French and Italian food served in a quick-casual style. That has led to a problem that most businesses wish they could have — more customers than seats.

"As it is now, we barely have enough space some days for all of the people who come in here to eat," says Paizis. "The demand is there for another Nupa."

To help serve that demand, they are creating a second Nupa, which will have double the seating of the current location.

The new place is under construction in a 2,600-square-foot space near the Crossroads Hy-Vee grocery store in southwest Rochester. It is located in part of the former Hollywood Video store front by Papa Murphy's Pizza at 410 Crossroads Drive S.W.

December 02, 2011

Biobiz and bar tidbits on Roch. council agenda

Taking a glance at the packet and agenda for Monday's Rochester City Council agenda, I spotted a few interesting items.

• BioMold, a Rochester firm created by Mayo Clinic Ventures, is signing a lease for 2,801-square-feet of space in the Minnesota BioBusiness building.

It looks like this firm uses a proprietary mold process to make "suture anchor screws and interference screws used in various orthopedic surgerical procedures."

It will start with 7 workers and "two work cells" and it is estimated as growing to 12 to 14 employees and "eight work cells" in the "medium term."

• A liquor license for El Buen Vino was applied for a location at 1831 24th St. N.W.

• It looks like a name has been decided on for the new restaurant opening in the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center. A transfer of the Apache Catering liquor license to Wildwood Sports Bar and Grill is in the packet.

This is the restaurant being spearheaded by Chef Jim Nicholas.

Look for more news related to that complex to break early next week.

IBM server sales top lists, look good for Roch.

Big Blue's server sales are tied to Rochester with so much of the Power systems line of servers originating here.

That said, IBM was still on the top of the list for server sales for the third quarter, according to two analyst reports. However, IDC and Gartner don't agree on the specific numbers,

I5+family+pictureGartner says IBM leads with 29.7 percent of the server market with HP close on its heels with 29.2 percent. IDC says Big Blue and HP are in a dead heat with them each tallying 29.8 percent of the market.

Either way, IBM is doing OK on servers and the analysts say sales are up compared to 3Q 2010.

IDC says overal server shipments were up by 4 percent and revenue is up by 4.2 percent.On the other hand, IDC reports rocketing up by 7.2 percent and revenue climbing by 5.2 percent.

I have no idea why they vary so wildly, but it all generally still looks pretty good.

What this all adds up to for Rochester is hard to measure, but it is definitely more positive than seeing server sales drop.

December 01, 2011

Teresa's restaurant closes, new place to open

Here's some from my column in today's print edition PLUS a little video of me rambling on about it.

Look for the full piece in print.

A Rochester restaurant closed for good Wednesday. However, the closure sets the stage for a new eatery to open nearby before the end of the year.  

The signs for Teresa's, the restaurant in the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center at 1517 16th St. S.W., came down, and construction crews began dismantling it.

The hotel, owned by the Dan and Terri Penz family, plans to expand its conference and banquet space into that area of the center.

While Teresa's is gone, don't expect executive chef Jim Nicholas to be idle. Nicholas is working with the Penzes to create a new restaurant in another part of the center.