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« January 2013 | Main | March 2013 »

11 posts from February 2013

February 28, 2013

Mayo Clinic adds DC/NYC PR firm to rachet up 'thought leadership'

Vt-brothers-3colInteresting. It looks like Mayo Clinic is contracting a high-powered PR firm, Widmeyer Communications, to promote public appearances on a national stage for CEO Dr. John Noseworthy and other Mayo Clinic leaders.

Actually, Mayo doesn't call it promote. They say 'thought leadership.' I'm not certain exactly what that entails. I don't believe surgery is involved, but I could be wrong. Heh.

I should point out that I'm very impressed by Mayo Clinic's in-house communications team in Rochester. Very sharp, efficient and GadeChris06A_NEWprofessional people as well as patient with annoying journalists. I'm not sure what Widemeyer can do that they can't. I guess we'll find out.

Here's some from a PRWeek article by Virgil Dickson that quotes Mayo Clinic's Chris Gade. I remember way back when Chris was merely a spokesman.

“We're an organization with a 150-year history in medicine, medical research, and education. As healthcare continues to change, we want to continue to be a resource for healthcare in the nation and around the world,” said Chris Gade, chair of the division of external relations at Mayo Clinic. “One way to do that is identifying the appropriate forums and places for thought leadership.

Mayo hired Widmeyer based on work it did for other clients. The contract is for one year. Gade declined to disclose the firm's budget.

February 27, 2013

A window on Mayo Clinic's business accelerator plans

It is getting close to the big reveal of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator in the City of Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center.

02272013mayoaccelerator1The plan, as I understand it, is to announce the new tenants - possibly eight - in the 2,500-square-foot center at RAEDI's annual meeting on Thursday. Remember this new twist on a business incubator is designed to house early biotech start-ups as well as venture capitalists. The tenant names have been kept hidden from anyone outside of Mayo Clinic and the usual insider crowd of public figures.

And yet this morning, a couple of venture capitalist firms' names are as clear as glass as being part of this private/public project.

Sanderling Ventures and Versant Ventures are up on the window, along with Mayo Clinic Ventures, the City of Rochester and RAEDI.

The California-based firm has a lot of experience working with Mayo Clinic and Mayo-related companies, like Torax and Naviscan.

02272013mayoaccelerator2I don't know as much as about Versant Ventures, but it is also based in California. However, it also has an office in Minneapolis.

Here's some background on the accelerator:

Mayo Clinic is giving $100,000 to turn the unused space, which is owned by the city, into offices. RAEDI will handle the management and leasing of the space.

HGA, which was the architect firm for the building, handled designs for this space. Lots of glass walls, I hear. Rents are expected to range from $13 to $15 per square foot.

February 25, 2013

Shoppes on Maine poised for growth as Mercedes readies for opening

While downtown and the northwest quadrant of the city have been seeing a lot of action in recent months, one shouldn't forget southwest Rochester.
The sprawling Shoppes on Maine commercial development on Rochester's South Broadway may not be exploding with growth, but it seems to be bubbling along.

It was car dealership Rochester Toyota that first put what was an empty field on the map in 2006. And now another dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Rochester, is gearing up to hit the gas again for the area that I once labeled as "Rochester 2.0." Yeah, I know… Sometimes I'm a little over dramatic. Heh.

02242013mercedesofrochAnyway, look for the lights to go on inside the shiny glass walls, and the doors of the dealership to open in late March.

That should bring in more traffic to that area and, in turn, attract the interest of more businesses.

Look for Cherry Berry frozen yogurt to sweeten the deal as a new franchise should start serving in the strip center in front of Lowe's. It will be next to Portrait Innovations, which is a photo studio that is going strong since opening in 2008. I recently messed up and misreported that it wasn't open. It is very open and seems pretty busy, too. I'm sorry about that.

Miracle Ear is also very active in the Minnesota Lakes Dental building. It recently moved out of the Sears store in Apache Mall to join the Shoppes on Maine mix.

Of course, there have been some places, such as the more than 30,000-square-foot Best Buy store and the nearby Mattress Firm store, that have emptied recently.

However, one of my sharp-eyed spies let me know last week that the "For Lease" sign has been taken off of the ex-Best Buy, and lights were on inside.

Does that mean a deal is starting to surge to plug in a new business there? I'm not sure, but I'll keep an eye on it.

February 23, 2013

Rochester Roadhouse deal as 'dead as a doornail'

When I asked my long-time source Travis Doster about the status of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant slated for northwest Rochester, he summed it up pretty quickly.

"The deal is as dead as a doornail," he said with a sigh.

Whhaaa....?

This was the plan to build a 6,995-square-foot restaurant in the parking lot of Rochester's Northwest Plaza shopping center near Sam's Club and Walmart.

Neon-texas-roadhouseAfter years of searching for a spot in Rochester as well as a misfired attempt at opening in the Miracle Mile shopping center, Texas Roadhouse thought it had the Med City locked up. It had plans and permits in hand.

But somebody left the gate open and the cattle stampeded.

The Roadhouse just needed the blessing of its future neighbors — Walmart and Sam's Club — to be able to start construction. That's where it fell it apart.

As other Rochester restaurants have discovered (I'm looking at you Buffalo Wild Wings), parking issues can be a tough obstacle to overcome.

Walmart signed off on the project without an objection, but Sam's Club wasn't sold on the idea of having a large restaurant in the heart of the area where its customers park.

"We're very disappointed. We love the area and we think it is a great fit," says Doster. "We were fairly confident this would work."

So could Texas Roadhouse try to lasso another spot here? Or does this mean the steakhouse chain is now ready to stop beating a dead horse and head for greener pastures?

"We're spent so much time and effort there, it is hard to say what we'll do next," he says. "If any of your readers have any ideas for us, we'd like to hear them.

There you go, Roadhouse fans. The ball is in your court.

February 22, 2013

Highlights of Mayo Clinic's 2012 financials

Here are a few random, fun facts from Mayo Clinic's 2012 financials:

-----------

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_up• Spent on charity care: $83.4 million, up from $61.8 million in 2011.

• Spent to support Medicaid: $321.7 million, up from $260.4 million in 2011.

• Revenue from retail pharmacy sales: $149 million, up from $134 million in 2011.

• Revenue from technology commercialization, health information and medical products: $34.1 million, down from $40.4 million in 2011.

• Revenue from cafeteria sales: $28.8 million, down from $30.3 million in 2011.

• Cash and cash equivalents: $59.6 million, down from $141.3 million in 2011

• Earned incentive from federal government for introducing electronic medical records: $44.7 million

February 21, 2013

S&P lowers Mayo Clinic outlook on "weaker" performance

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has lowered its outlook on debt issued by and for Mayo Clinic, citing Mayo's "weaker operating performance" in 2012 and unexpected debts.

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_up"We revised the outlook to negative to reflect our opinion of Mayo Clinic's weaker operating performance, especially in the second half of 2012, and additional debt with this issue, which we did not expect and did not include in our last rating analysis," said S&P credit analyst Martin Arrick in a statement issued today. "In addition, Mayo Clinic had to absorb multiple impacts from a sharply lower pension discount rate for the second straight year that, in turn, drove large pension contributions limiting growth in unrestricted cash and investment and lowering unrestricted net assets while raising pro forma leverage to levels we consider high for the rating."

Download S&P rating of Mayo

S&P reaffirmed Mayo's AA long-term rating on Mayo's $300 million series 2013 taxable bonds and reaffirmed ratings on other debt issued for, or guaranteed by, Mayo, according to the statement. The reaffirmed ratings were based on the clinic's "solid revenue growth," debt service coverage and growth in unrestricted reserves.

But the statement says Mayo's "overall leverage and unrestricted net assets were hurt by the very large pension charge for the second year in a row due to a lower discount rate. Nevertheless, net patient service revenues and revenues overall improved significantly, as did unrestricted reserves despite a large cash contribution to the pension plan."

Mayo officials have scheduled a press conference to discuss its 2012 financial results for Wednesday in Rochester.

Costco = Rainmaker for Roch. development

Bringing businesses into a new development can sometimes be a hard sell.

07262010kwiktripsign19thstreetHowever, once you have a big Costco store sitting in the middle of the property, all of that changes. Businesses seek you out rather than the reverse.

"We're at the cool stage now where we can pick and choose," says Hans Zietlow, of Kwik Trip, who is in charge of the 108-acre commercial development at 19th Street Northwest and West Circle Drive.

While the deals are still in the works and he can't name names yet, Zietlow says Rochester can expect a lot of dirt to be moving this summer.

If I was a betting man, I'd say we'll have four or five construction projects going on out there," he says. "They will all be stand-alone buildings."

Any more hints?

"They all are national names … we should have some pretty cool names," Zietlow says.

I guess I'll need to keep at eye on that quadrant, when the ground thaws and construction season heats up again.

February 20, 2013

Downtown Roch. spot to get 'scrubbed'

Look for a downtown Rochester spot to get "scrubbed.

"Trademark Uniforms Inc., which has a scrubs, medical and culinary wear shop in South Dakota, is opening a store at 112 First Ave. S.W. in Rochester.

2968_WNEBOwner Scott Mehlhaff said his primary supplier, Cherokee, had been looking for someone to fill the void left when Scrubs & Clogs by Mia & Fia closed last year.

"Our name bubbled up. Of course, we weren't going to pass up an opportunity to come to Rochester," Mehlhaff said.

He said he hopes to open the Med City version of Trademark Uniforms by mid-March. The store is moving into the space recently vacated by the About Face beauty boutique. It will be staffed by a team four when it opens.

"I really wanted to make sure that we'd be in downtown, if we're going to be in Rochester," Mehlhaff said. The First Avenue location puts his store a couple blocks from the bulk of his customer base, Mayo Clinic's downtown campus.

The deal to put Trademark there was brokered by Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate.
2702_WHTS
One catch to the storefront is, at 900 square feet, it is much smaller than his South Dakota store.

"We're going to have to be very selective about what lines we display," he said. "Of course, we're much different than a standard retail store, though we certainly like walk-in customers."

That means Trademark likes to work with groups and often goes to their customers to offer "fashion" shows and group fittings.

In addition to traditional medical scrubs, Trademark also sells lab coats as well as "whites" for chefs and cooks.

Mehlhaff, who has visited Rochester to bring family members to Mayo Clinic for medical tests, said he is very excited about opening a store in the Med City.

"We really love how welcoming the city is. It is great," he said. "I know it sounds corny, but coming here is so comfortable that it is kind of like coming home."

February 18, 2013

McNeilus parent, OshKosh, lands $381M military contact with UAE

While its U.S. military busines plunged by 21 percent during the first quarter, Oshkosh just had a massive $381 million blast of military business from The United Arab Emirates.

Oshkosh, which owns truck maker McNeilus Cos. in Dodge Center, recently signed a contract with the UAE for 750 "mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles," according to media reports.

OnxTgG8JcoBPnQlAtclDn0GpLThe Oshkosh contract is the largest among a total of $1.4 billion or 5.2 billion dirhams defense deals, announced by the UAE today.

This is an interesting turn for a company that recently reduced its military business, which once represented about 60 percent of its sales.

It probably will not have any direct impact on McNeilus, which makes refuge trucks and cement mixers locally.

The UAE deals are  interesting from an international persective, because they also include the sale of U.S.-made unmanned drones to a Middle East country. The Emirates are buying an unknown number of Predator drones, which are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for $196 million.

"UAVs are significant for any armed forces in present times. There is a lot of demand for these," stated Major General Obeid al-Ketbi at an arms exhibition in Abu Dhabi, according to Reuters news service.

McNeilus parent, OshKosh, lands $381M military contact with UAE

While its U.S. military busines plunged by 21 percent during the first quarter, Oshkosh just had a massive $381 million blast of military business from The United Arab Emirates.
Oshkosh, which owns truck maker McNeilus Cos. in Dodge Center, recently signed a contract with the UAE for 750 "mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicles," according to media reports.
The Oshkosh contract is the largest among a total of $1.4 billion or 5.2 billion dirhams defense deals, announced by the UAE today.
This is an interesting turn for a company that recently reduced its military business, which once represented about 60 percent of its sales.
It probably will not have any direct impact on McNeilus, which makes refuge trucks and cement mixers locally.
The UAE deals are  interesting from an international persective, because they also include the sale of U.S.-made unmanned drones to a Middle East country. The Emirates are buying an unknown number of Predator drones, which are known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for $196 million.
"UAVs are significant for any armed forces in present times. There is a lot of demand for these," stated Major General Obeid al-Ketbi at an arms exhibition in Abu Dhabi, according to Reuters news service.