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11 posts from May 2013

May 30, 2013

Dirt moving for new hotel in south Rochester

LaquintaatshoppesonmaineDirt is starting to move in the Shoppes on Maine area for the construction of the new La Quinta Inn and Suites hotel

PLC Inc., a hotel development firm out of Fargo, N.D., is building it, just east of the Rochester Toyota car dealership.

The new $4 million, 50,212-square-foot hotel will have 83 rooms.

May 29, 2013

Boutique to surface after decades under downtown Rochester

After decades under the streets of downtown Rochester, Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs is surfacing with two new locations to complement its subway shop.

Originally opened as Le Sac by Diane Domino in the Zumbro Hotel in 1973, Exquisite Leather has moved several times in the Med City's downtown. For many years, it has been based in the subway of the Kahler Grand Hotel.

Documents+080Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs is a women’s boutique featuring clothing, jewelry, purses, luggage as well as leather and fur coats.

Now, owner Lisa Ihrke, Domino's daughter, is bringing the business up into the sunlight by opening an Exquisite Leather boutique on the Peace Plaza at 100 1st Ave. S.W. That's the former T. Welke & Co. space, which was the Baby Clementine storefront prior to that.

Ihrke, with general manager Lynne Riley, said she hopes to open that new street-level shop in early June.

"This spot has some of the greatest foot traffic in the town," said Ihrke of choosing the place for her second Rochester store. "And the building owner, George Psomas (owner of nearby Mac's Restaurant), has been great to work with."

Once that shop opens, Rochester will have a pair of Exquisite sites, but Ihrke won't be done until she has a trio. She also has purchased the Nordic Gypsy building at 20 Historic Third St. S.W. and said she plans to open her third Exquisite Leather store there this fall.

So why the triple play in the Med City?

"First, we love Rochester. I had a store in the Twin Cities, but we closed that and decided to focus completely on Rochester," she said. "And Rochester needs more retail."

Once everything is up and running, Irhke expects to have up to nine people working at the three stores under Riley's management.

May 25, 2013

Rochester coffee & tea shop's Kickstarter campaign in final sprint

It looks like Chris Holloway's Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 to finish off his new downtown Rochester coffee house project is kicking it into high gear in the final hours.

Holloway is working on Press – Coffee and Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway. It's next to the new Canvas & Chardonnay.

919951_461209513958518_2025146667_oWith about a day left in the campaign, the tally is at almost 14,000. A few more "Benefactor Club" pledges might put him over the top.

His prospective shop is in the middle of a stretch of old classic downtown buildings from the 1800s. Think exposed brick and old hardwood floors.

His hope is to be able to start pouring in early June. It'll stay open at least until 10 p.m., maybe later.

Holloway has lined up Roastery 7, a well-known artisan coffee roaster in Brooklyn Center, Minn., as the pipeline to supply the jolt juice.

63569_450578815021588_1633857665_nHere's an unexpected behind-the-scenes twist: Holloway doesn't drink coffee himself. However, he is a big fan of tea. So he is pretty excited about the recent move of one the area's largest tea importers — Mandala Tea — from Winona to just a few blocks north from him.

"Mandala Tea will provide flavorful loose-leaf tea for all of our teas, including the iced teas," he says. "I didn't want to spare the expense on the coffee or tea. We'll have the best coffee and tea in town."

After the two main drinks, a coffee shop also needs to have food. Holloway is in talks with People's Food Cooperative to provide an array of morning pastries, deli sandwiches and salads for lunch, and desserts for late-night snacks. People's is a future neighbor of Press, building a new grocery store with its own eatery a few blocks to the south. And if the arrangement with People's doesn't work out, Holloway is considering other local options.

He expects to have seating for about 40, plus a few more on a small back patio. Soon he'll start hiring his staff of about 10.

Unlike corporate caffeine chains, the plan is to create a unique atmosphere that invites customers to linger, chat, collaborate or just recharge.

Holloway has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the final $15,000 he needs to get Press open. Backers will receive a wide range of rewards, depending on their level of investment.

Give $10 and you get a decal and your name on the Founders Wall. Give $1,000 and you get free coffee or tea for life. There are many levels of rewards in between.

It won't be the rewards, though, that he believes will convince people to give.

"I have confidence that people will see value in this project. I think they will really want to help make it happen," says Holloway.

May 24, 2013

Hormel to Rev things up with new snack wrap

Here's some from a pice by Keith Nunes on (A website with protein. Heh.) about Austin's favorite Fortune 500 company, Hormel Foods.
The maker of Spam is rolling out a new snack wrap line called REV.
REV branded snack wraps are being shipped to retailers nationwide and the company plans an advertising campaign in July to promote the new product. The new line is viewed by the company as a way to improve sales and operating income within its Refrigerated Foods business segment.

Hand_product“We are excited about the potential growth that our new Hormel REV snack wraps will bring to our Refrigerated Foods sales,” said Jeff Ettinger, chairman, president and CEO in a conference call with financial analysts on May 23.

The REV line of products will feature eight varieties, including: pepperoni, ham and cheese, peppered turkey, Meat Lovers Pizza, Italian style ham, hot pepper ham, Italian style, and spicy Italian style. Each wrap features a combination of meats, mozzarella cheese and a flatbread wrap.

Each 3-oz serving features between 15 grams and 18 grams of protein, a nutrition component that is called out on the package.

“We believe the investment we are making in the REV snack wrap rollout will establish the foundation for a beneficial new product platform for the Refrigerated Foods group,” Ettinger said.

During the second quarter of fiscal 2013, ended April 28, Hormel’s Refrigerated Foods segment had operating profit of $54,680,000, up 3 percent from $53,009,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. The segment had sales of $1,011,370,000, down 2 percent from $1,031,975,000.

Ettinger said the decline in the business unit’s sales was attributable to the planned reduction of slaughter levels at its hog processing operation and from exiting a feed sales business.

Mayo Clinic partners biotech firm to form OncoSpire Genomics

In the warm afterglow after the DMC celebrations, Mayo Clinic is rolling out a new partnership with Rutherford, N.J.-based Cancer Genetics Inc. to create a joint venture called OncoSpire Genomics.

Here's some from a piece in the New York Business Journal this week:

"… OncoSpire Genomics, hopes to discover and commercialize 11064403-cgi-pr-picturebiomarkers for multiple types of cancer, focusing on projects in the Biomarker Discovery Program at Mayo’s Center for Individualized Medicine.

Cancer Genetics said they'll start by focusing on hematological and urogenital cancers, among others.

OncoSpire will be based in Rochester, Minn., and will be equally owned by the two partners. Cancer Genetics will contribute operating capital and commercial expertise; Mayo will contribuProfilePhotoste clinical and laboratory expertise.

“Our investment in OncoSpire Genomics represents the potential for a paradigm shift in patient management that can result in more efficient use of health care resources, ultimately improving the cost structure of cancer diagnosis and treatment,” Cancer Genetics Chief Executive Panna Sharma saind in a statement. 

New #rochmn Second Street eatery, juice bar to put emphasis on fresh

Thanks to Emmett Sandberg and his Blogchester blog for the pic of the Tonic sign.
Nicci Sylvester likes to get fresh.
Soon, Rochester and its visitors will be able to get fresh meals and healthy drinks from Tonic, Sylvester's new cold-pressed juice bar and organic food restaurant.

Sylvester, who many people know from her time working at Chester's and Pescara restaurants in downtown Rochester, hopes to open Tonic in September at 1217 Second St. S.W., directly across from Saint Marys Hospital.
"We'll have about 10 fresh cold-pressed juices. We'll be able to add Greek yogurt, coconut yogurt or bananas or whatever to make them into smoothies," she said. "We'll also be able to add chia seeds, flax seeds or other proteins to the juices for vegetarians or anyone else who wants a healthier drink."

Expect a lot of the food to be locally grown and produced, with much of it coming from vendors at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market. Tonic also will use organic products, whenever possible. The ever-changing menu will identify where everything came from and if it's organic or not.

Taking fresh to a new level, Sylvester plans to grow wheat grass right in the 48-seat eatery, so it can be harvested and juiced in front of customers.

"Being truthful on the menu is extremely important to me. It will be labeled. We'll have meat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free …," she said. "Whatever free you need it to be, we're all about it."

Look for steel-cut, baked oatmeal with fresh fruit, homemade granola bars and yogurt parfaits for breakfast, plus a full lunch and dinner menu with wraps, sandwiches and dishes such as vegetarian lasagna and some specialties reflecting Sylvester's Ukrainian background.

She plans to offer lunch delivery. Customers will be able to order meals and drinks as well as pay via a free smartphone app.

Tonic also will offer what Sylvester calls HMRs — home meal replacements. Customers will be able to order a full meal served in a real pan. Customers pay a deposit for the pan and are reimbursed upon the pan's return.

"We see this as an eco-friendly and responsible way for somebody to feed a healthy and hot meal to their family that is fresh and fabulous," said Sylvester. "And it'll taste great."

She expects to staff Tonic with about 20 employees.

May 22, 2013

Roch. Golf Carts drive across the street to new digs

Rochester Golf Carts took a short jaunt across the street this week to move into a much larger space, which means owner Loran Hoppe and his team have more room to play.

Golfcartcustom1Hoppe's business cruised from 1706 Third Ave. S.E. to 1701 Third Ave. S.E. That little trip gave the growing operation something it really needed — more space.

"We went from 3,000 square feet of space to having a more than 5,000-square-foot building. We've doubled our inventory," Hoppe said.

Nick Pompeian of Realty Growth Inc. worked with Rochester Golf Carts to line up its new home.

It was just three years ago that Hoppe moved his then-hobby business out of his garage. Now, he and four others work in his shop and showroom.

As the name suggests, Rochester Golf Carts sells new and used golf carts. In 2012, it sold about 130.

However, it does more than just sell carts. Rochester Golf Carts can transform a simple cart into whatever the owner wants. Recent custom projects have included turning carts into a 1957 Chevrolet, a 1965 Mustang and a 2010 Camaro.

Golfcart2Hoppe and his team can do special painting, add rear seats, install mag wheels or even put in lift kits to make a humble golf cart into a unique ride.

The shop even offers golf cart limousine services for weddings.

Monday was Rochester Golf Carts' first day in its new club house, and it was a busy one.

"It was nonstop," said Hoppe. "But we're working with toys, so we're having fun."

May 16, 2013

Rochester founder says Tenex is growing quickly

When pro basketball player Pau Gasol of the L.A. Lakers needed damaged tendons in his knee removed this week, his doctor opted for a noninvasive treatment developed by Mayo Clinic instead of the traditional surgery option.

TX1_handpieceGasol now is one of about 5,000 patients that have been treated with Tenex Health Inc.'s TX1 instrument, since the firm took its specialty needle system to market at the start of 2012.

Dr. Jagi Gill, of Rochester, founded Tenex in 2009, and it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in 2011. Since then it has quickly been gaining traction and is now listing "multi-millions" in sales.

"We moved past the 'Will it work?' and 'Can we make it?' stages. Now we are building a sales team and working a marketing message," Gill said.

Tenex now is selling the system to doctors. The firm has 12 sales representatives, and he hopes to grow that number to 40 by the third quarter of 2013.

Gill began his career in Mayo Clinic's Department of Neurology. He has since worked at Boston Scientific as well as a number of biotechnology start-ups.

Tenex's one-time use, disposable handpiece was developed and commercialized in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. Tenex licenses technology from Mayo Clinic and in turn, Mayo owns equity in Tenex. Images

"The folks at Mayo have been very helpful," he said.

The TX1 system uses ultrasound technology to treat damaged tendons or soft tissue in elbows, knees, ankles, feet and shoulders. Unlike surgery, patients can walk out after what is often a procedure no longer than 20 minutes.

"It is well-tolerated and safe as an injection," says Gill.

That and the quick recovery are making Tenex very popular with athletes, people with work-related injuries and patients who simply "want to have an active lifestyle."

Gasol is not the only celebrity who has discovered Tenex. TV and radio personality Ryan Seacrest has also has his elbow treated with the TX1 system.

At one point, Tenex looked at Rochester, nearby Elk Run and even Willmar, Minn., as possible locations for a manufacturing facility. In the end, the decision was made to acquire the California company that handled the early manufacturing on a contract basis.

So why not do the manufacturing in Rochester?

"The challenge that any company would have in going here is that there isn't a lot of experience in terms of engineering, manufacturing, production, quality systems," says Gill.

He explained that medical device hotspots, not only have a medical system or university for generating ideas, but also "They have an imbedded group of people that know how to turn on an infrastructure."

May 13, 2013

Private Wealth mag: "Mayo Clinic Targets Ultra-Wealthy"

Here's some from an interesting article headlined "Mayo Clinic Targets Ultra-Wealthy" posted a couple of weeks ago by Private Wealth magazine. The piece was written by Raymond Fazzi.

The Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s most prominent hospitals, is starting to flex its muscle in the field of medical concierge services for the wealthy.

OB-KS600_NetJet_D_20101104082044The Rochester, Minn.-based hospital this year started to ramp up efforts to market its Preferred Response service—a membership program that provides medical transportation and emergency services all over the world—to business travelers, travel clubs for the wealthy and other segments of the ultra-affluent market. The expansion of Preferred Response comes three years after the hospital launched its Medallion program, a concierge medical service that devotes a team of doctors to its subscribers’ primary medical care needs.

The push comes at a time when some of the nation’s top hospitals are looking to the well-heeled to increase revenues and make greater use of their more expensive, high-tech medical capabilities. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, for example, has offered a similar concierge transportation service for years.

“Prominent hospitals are looking at any ways they can to leverage expertise to generate revenue streams,” said Dr. Clayton T. Cowl, Preferred Response medical director. “Access [to medical care] is going to be the key.”

The drive to market Mayo Clinic Preferred Response to the wealthy is based heavily on the public’s desire for medical access. The program has been part of the Mayo Clinic for more than a decade, originally as a service for dealing with in-flight medical emergencies. The program has since grown more expansive, with the ability to coordinate care and transportation when members are facing a medical emergency far from home.

“The idea is, we want to create a relationship—not just a doctor visit or two a year—no matter where you are in the world,” Cowl said.

Cutting The Line
As President Barack Obama’s health reforms start to kick in, bringing millions more people into the health system, increased waiting times for appointments and treatments are expected to become larger issues with patients.
The selling point for Preferred Response and other medical concierge services is that they allow those who can pay a premium to basically cut in line, according to industry experts.

“Ultimately, we’re in an era right now where lots more people are going to have insurance and the key I think is going to be access and connectivity,” Cowl said. “In a time of need, you don’t want to be fumbling around asking which of these 14 numbers I need to dial.”

The base membership fee for Preferred Response is $650 per year for individuals and $800 for families. The fee does not include hospital and doctors’ fees, according to a hospital spokesman.

With two around-the-clock medical teams, Preferred Response deals with emergencies throughout the world, ranging from instances where a subscriber fell down a flight of stairs in Turkey to another where a member suffered from a heart attack while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico. In one recent episode, a member suffered a punctured lung while on a bicycle tour in China. Preferred Response arranged for his treatment and transportation a few days later to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Cowl said. 


I remember when Mayo Clinic launched its relationship with NetJets back in 2003.

Mayo Clinic will now provide in-flight medical advice and assistance to people flying NetJets airlines.

The agreement, announced this week, gives NetJets employees and passengers access to Mayo Clinic support all day, every day. People on a NetJets flight can call a dedicated phone number to speak to a critical-care flight nurse or physician.

Additionally, all NetJets flight crews have received instruction in the use of special, Mayo Clinic-designed emergency medical supplies.

NetJets, based in New Jersey, is the largest provider of fractional aircraft ownership offerings in the world. NetJets currently manages 512 aircraft. This year, NetJets fractional aircraft owners will fly more than 250,000 flights to more than 140 different countries.

May 10, 2013

Collaboration rolling toward Rochester streets

While it isn't street-ready yet, several of Rochester's public transportation businesses are trying to put together an alliance to pool their resources and ultimately improve the experience getting from Point A to Point B in the Med City.

Details are still being hammered out and nothing is finalized yet, but it sounds like it will probably happen.

Roch streetsI chatted with someone involved with deal. He wasn't comfortable being identified yet, but he did offer a few insights of what might be coming down the road.

The businesses involved would retain their individual identities. However, they will join forces to handle needs they have in common, fleet maintenance in particular.

"The alliance wants to ensure a seamless experience for customers by providing a prompt, efficient and more consistent transportation service across all product lines," he said. "A world-class medical center deserves a world-class transportation system and we intend to deliver."

That sounds like a lofty goal that fits well with Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

One interesting element is that it involves many types of transportation as well as bringing direct competitors together under the alliance's umbrella.

While these local businesses might not make it all the way to their targeted destinations, the journey itself sounds like one that could improve what happens on Rochester's streets.

I'll keep tracking this one. Stay tuned.