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20 posts from April 2012

April 30, 2012

New owner of ex-Pump-N-Munch....?

Last week I started hearing some about a possible sale of the former BP Pump-N-Munch C-store at South Broadway and 16th Street, but I didn't have a chance to dig for details. 04292012expumpmunchonsbroadway

Then the ever-sharp-eyed Jack Van Sickle spotted a "Sold" sign there over the weekend. So after brunch at Denny's on Sunday, I popped by to get a pic (with my surprisingly patient kids in the car).

This is an interesting deal. Of all of the Pump-N-Munches that closed in the summer of 2009, this is probably the spot with the highest profile.

I remember when that one switched from being a Conoco to BP. And I was there the day the they pulled the tanks and tore down one of the pump shelters.

John Jensen and Jack Briggs of Kato Inc. owned all of them at that time. Since then, most have been demolished or re-purposed.

• The Elton Hills one was leveled to make way for Family Video.

• The 37th Street one became a Subway sandwich shop.

• The Country Club Manor one transformed in an Andy's liquor store.

• The Salem Road one was cleared away to make way for a future Think Mutual Bank branch.

• The 15th Avenue one shifted gears as a used car dealership and now houses the Opa Opa! greek cuisine eatery.

The one by Famous Dave's near Civic Center Drive remains standing and empty.

So the question on the table today is who bought the South Broadway one and what do they plan to do with it. 

I'll hopefully have that answer soon. stay tuned.

April 27, 2012

Jeweler preparing to shine on Broadway

A new sign on Broadway shows that a new jewelry shop is getting ready to shine.

04272012broadwayjewelryJohn Hasseler, a jewelry, goldsmith and artist, is preparing to open Broadway Jewelry and Visual Arts at 325 S. Broadway at the corner of South Broadway and Fourth Ave.

I wrote about Hasseler and his new project back in March.

His move into that high profile spot was made possible when Cheri Brinson moved Cheri's Boutique out of the space and across the intersection become a store-within-a-store at Art Bitz in the Riverside Building.

Broadway Jewelry joins other nearby art businesses, including Cheri's, Artbitz and Carson Framing among others.

Back in March, Hasseler predicted that "Rochester is going to have a little art district downtown."

April 26, 2012

New eco-friendly auto repair shop growing fast

It looks like work on the new Joe's Auto Care on Civic Center Drive is really speeding along this week.

In case you don't remember, I wrote about this project a couple of months ago.

Here's some from that column as a refresher:

Look for a new automotive repair center with an eco-friendly focus to sprout up in northwest Rochester.

04242012joesautocareJoe Peter plans to plant a new 55,000-square-foot repair center at 1420 Civic Center Drive, after the former Valvoline Oil Change building on the site is demolished and cleared away.

Longtime Rochester food fans might remember the history of that spot. Peter says he's been told that's where the legendary Henry's Hamburgers stand was located.

Peter's plan is to build this second repair shop to complement his nearby Joe's Auto Care that is tucked away at 923 Sixth St. N.W., near the People's Cooperative/Good Food Store grocery.

The pair of repair centers will both be branded as Joe's Auto Care, though the new one will probably have a slightly different name to show its commitment to using products and procedures that are environmentally friendly.

April 24, 2012

Soma Intimates unveiled in downtown Roch.

Looks like the opening of Soma Intimates in Shops at University Square in downtown Rochester slipped by me.

04242012somastoreopeningSoma, which is owned by the same company as Chico's women's clothing store, sells a full line of women's lingerie and sleepwear.

It moved into and renovated the 2,100-square-foot storefront on the mall's main level. Sopra Sotto, the Italian import shop, last occupied that spot.

This puts Soma about directly under its sister store Chico's, which is on the second floor.

More on CostCo - its $1M gas kiosk

Costco_gas.b6udr1115y8k4wkkksowg8c04.6ylu316ao144c8c4woosog48w.thFollowing up my Monday column on CostCo's permit application for the $17.34 million shell of its 152,934-square-foot store in northwest Rochester, the permit for Costco's associated gas station canopy and kiosk was filed Monday. 

The gas station and kiosk project is valued at pretty much $1 million even.

If you had some sort of emergency last night and didn't read my column, here's some from it:


Look for action to ramp up soon on Rochester's 19th Street as work on the massive new Costco store and latest Kwik Trip kick off.

Two early building permits for the 152,934-square-foot Costco store were filed with the city of Rochester this week and are starting to wend their way through official channels.

For the record, Costco's complex adds up to more than 3 acres of retail under one roof.

One permit application filed Wednesday listed the value of the Costco project at $17.34 million. By comparison, the structural shell of the Mayo Clinic's plan to build four additional floors on top of the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center is valued at $16.7 million.

Another Costco p04242012costcoworkermit filed the same day was for three retaining walls — 375 feet, 140 feet and 160 feet in length — estimated at about $50,000.

Costco's plans to build in the new commercial development at 19th Street Northwest and West Circle Drive first rolled out in December. Costco has six warehouse stores in Minnesota, all in the Twin Cities area. This will be the first in the southern part of the state.

Kwik Trip's real estate arm, which is also working on a new convenience store there, is driving the 108-acre project in northwest Rochester.
Meanwhile, Kwik Trip's plans for its own new convenience store and gas station, which will stand very near to Costco's, have also started through the city permit system.

The La Crosse, Wis.-based chain plans to build a 5,770-square-foot station with a car wash. It's valued at $1.48 million, according to the main building permit.

April 23, 2012

Quilt shop, Cub host grand opening bashes

Two Rochester businesses - Pine Needles Quilt & Sew and Cub Foods - have celebrations planned for this week.

Pine Needles Quilt & Sew, Rochester's new quilt store at 1300 Salem Road, opened up shop on April 18.On Tuesday, the owner of Sweden's Bernina International sewing machine manufacturer will be at the store for a meet-and-greet and to autograph attendees’ sewing machines from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Cub Foods at 1021 15th Avenue S,E. is hosting a grand opening at noon on Wednesday celebrate its renovations of the past few months.

The store has undergone sweeping changes to offer customers expanded product variety, maximum produce freshness, and the finest full-service deli, bakery and meat departments.  The store also features a new 24-hour refrigerated Grab-n-Go section, energy efficient technologies and added customer conveniences to enhance the entire in-store shopping experience for customers.
To celebrate this grand reopening and underscore Cub’s ongoing commitment to the Rochester community, Cub Foods will donate $1,500 to Riverside Elementary School; $1,500 to Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf; and $1,500 to Slatterly Park Neighborhood Association. These contributions will be presented during the ceremony.

Will employees picket in IBM in Roch. Tues.?

Alliance@IBM members and supporters are calling for informational pickets at IBM sites Tuesday to call attention to job cuts and off-shoring.

Uniglobalunion_ohThis is sort of a real world version of the protests held a few years ago in Second Life.

Does anyone know if any pickets or protests are planned in Rochester on Tuesday?

Or are there any counter pro-IBM events planned in response to these?

6a00d83451cc8269e2010535c75537970b-piI'm interested in possibly covering if something on either side of this issue is happening here in Rochester.

Here's some the description from the pro-union Alliance@IBM group about the event:

IBM no longer releases headcount numbers by country because it is the evidence of massive job shifting.  The Alliance estimates that the IBM US employee population is now at 95,000 down from 132,000 in 2005. Meanwhile IBM employee numbers worldwide, especially in low-cost countries continue to increase.
The Alliance calls for:
• No tax breaks or incentives for companies that shift jobs off-shore and terminates US workers.

• Full disclosure of IBM job cuts and where the jobs are being shifted to.

• An end to shifting work offshore and firing US workers.

April 20, 2012

Oronoco's dream comes true


For years, it seems the people of Oronoco collective have had one dream, one wish.

All they want is a convenience store/ gas station.

Today that dream came true.

Yes, Virginia, really there is a C-store coming.

I'll have all of the details soon.

Time for tax collectors to pack up and move

Remember when I wrote the Internal Revenue Service moving its office in Rochester?

I don't really either, heh. However, my files show that I did just that in January.

I wrote that the tax collectors were moving their Med City office from the third floor of the Brackenridge Skyway Plaza at 21 Second St. S.W. to the City Centre commercial complex at 310 S. Broadway.

The Rochester office of the IRS now encompasses much of the third floor of the Brackenridge Plaza. That puts it a level up from Newt's Express in the skyway. It IRShas been there for 22 years.

Now that this year's main deadline is over, they are turning their focus to moving. I got a note this morning from my pal in the IRA, Carrie Resch.

She says the IRS will close its Second Street office on April 27 at 11:30 a.m. and re-open in the new spot on Broadway at 12:30 p.m. on April 30.

The IRS is moving into 6,074-square-feet of space on the second floor of the City Centre complex. The lease term will be 10 years, seven years firm. The Rochester office covers 11 southeastern Minnesota counties from the Mississippi River to Interstate 35 and north as far as Red Wing.

Here's Resch's quote about the shift:

"The new taxpayer-friendly location is more accessible, provides a greater number of private meeting spaces and includes a lobby for waiting taxpayers."

By the way, this move clears the way for Mayo Clinic to move into its space. In January, I checked with The U.S. General Services Administration (I think I caught them between Las Vegas junkets. Heh).

Deborah K. Ruiz of the GSA responded to the request with an email. To the question of why the IRS is moving from the Brakenridge Plaza, she responded:

"The current space was originally considered for procurement, but we were informed by … Bishop Management that the Mayo Clinic needed our space for expansion and no other viable space was available at the current location."

April 19, 2012

One man's Facebook page is another's plea for White Castle

OK, so this has been out there since January. But I just noticed it or maybe just remembered it....

Anyway, this one is for the Med City Slider fans out there and I'm not taking about Honker baseball (Though that Slider and Honker baseball are awesome, right Litz?).

 Brandon of Rochester runs a Facebook page called,"Bring White Cast le to Rochester."

Here's what he has to say to those in their steamy ivory tower:

This is my feeble attempt to get WC's attention. :)

I moved to Rochester from the Twin Cities 4 years ago & I have finally come to my breaking point. I am so tired of having to drive to South Saint Paul to get White Castle.
All I want are some of those amazing Mozzy Stix, a couple Chicken & Cheese sandwiches and an order of Chicken Rings within a 10 minute drive from my house. Is that too much to ask?

Seriously White Castle, we have 4+ colleges in Rochester - that means a lot of starving college kids. PLUS Winona is nearby & they don’t have a WC… hence, more starving college kids. If you build a WC, they will come.

Pl 6a00d83451cc8269e20162ffca1c47970d-250wius my two sons ages 6 &4… they LOVE your kid’s meals with the Chicken Rings and Fries. They eat it better than any other fast food meal out there. Seriously.

See look at that, BOOM, market research done.

Hard to argue with that logic. heh.