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March 18, 2014

Mayo Clinic's new full court press

Mayo Clinic is going beyond the role of sports trainer on the bench and is stepping onto center court with its latest business play.532836c8a1ddb.image

The Mayo Clinic name is now prominently emblazoned across the front of the jerseys of the Minnesota Lynx professional women's basketball team, part of a huge sponsorship deal announced Monday.

Mayo's name will appear above the player's number in the spot where the team name used to be located. Boost Mobile, which sponsors the entire league, has its logo below the number, as it did in previous years. The Lynx logo now appears as a small patch near the collar of the jersey.

No financial terms of the multiyear deal were released.

The Womens National Basketball Association began allowing "branded" or "marquee" jerseys in 2009. The Lynx are the sixth team to lock down such a sponsorship. In 2010, Microsoft’s Bing search engine paid more than $1 million to place its name on the WNBA jerseys of the Seattle Storm. People familiar with WNBA sponsorships estimated the Mayo Clinic deal is at least "seven figures."

TimberwolveLynxMayoLogosThe sponsorship is part of "a strategic collaboration" with the Lynx and the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves that includes the development of a new training facility and sports medicine center to be called Mayo Clinic Square.

"This is another block in the relationship we're building," said  Dr. John Wald, Mayo Clinic's medical director for marketing and public affairs. "From our perspective, this is one of the key components in this relationship that allows us to move out into the Twin Cities, raise awareness and build more relationships."

The agreement also includes Mayo Clinic's name on the Lynx practice jerseys and signage at the basketball court. In 2015, Mayo Clinic will become the medical provider for the Lynx. TRIA Orthopaedic Center will continue to serve as the team's official medical team until then. TRIA also provides care for the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Twins.

Wald emphasized that the sponsorship displays Mayo Clinic's expertise in sports medicine and training, and the Lynx organization is a good fit with Mayo Clinic's values.

"We believe it was the right thing to do to put Mayo Clinic's name on those jerseys," Wald said.

Mayo Clinic is certainly not the first non-profit medical center to have such an arrangement with a professional sports team. However, none of the top four professional leagues — NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB — allow sponsors' names on game jerseys.

IEG, a leading sponsorship consulting firm, reported in 2013 that of all sponsorship deals made by hospitals, about 72 percent involved sports. About 12 percent were for arts/entertainment, and 8 percent were for "causes."

The Mayo Clinic-Lynx collaboration comes as the WNBA league hit its best game attendance and television ratings in team history at the end of the 2013 season.

The 2014 season begins in May and runs through August. The Lynx are scheduled to play six games to be televised by ESPN2.

January 22, 2014

It's hailing taxis in Roch.

Rochester's Yellow Cab rolled out a bunch on new Prius V hybrids Tuesday to much fanfare among local business leaders and Mayo Clinic.

YellowcabpicI trotted out to the first leg of Yellow Cab's Prius tour at Rochester Toyota. Fairly interesting. Here's a link to that article.

I had reported in June that Yellow Cab planned to switch over to hybrids. Back then, Med City Taxi was part of the transportation alliance that bought Yellow Cab. So two of Rochester's three cab companies were under the same corporate umbrella ... for a while.

Best Ride, the updated version of the transportation alliance that rolled out the new cars Tuesday, does not include Med City Taxi owner Tim and Tina Fliehr as before.

That means Rochester truly has three cab companies, Yellow Cab, Med City Taxi and Rochester Taxi, vying for the predicted DMC boom in bodies trying to get around this city.

The websites of the firms seem to put that growing competition on display.

• Yellow Cab -  yellowcabmedcity.com

• Med City Taxi - medcitytaxi.com

• Rochester Taxi - Rochester Taxi seems to only be on Facebook. It bills itself as the "people's taxi company."

Yellow Cab's use of Med City in its web address struck me as interesting and seemingly superfluous.

YellowcabwebsiteAnd then there's Yellow Cab's slogan on its website:

"Yellow Cab, your med-city taxi"

MedcitytaxiHhhmmmm.... sounds familiar. Heh.

As a side note to this little deal, I'd like to point out that my editor despise the use of the phrase Rochtaxi"Med City" to describe Rochester.

Using it in proper names is OK, but saying something like "The Med City is all aflutter with buzz about Mayo Clinic's DMC" is a no-no.

It was probably my overuse of the catchy phrase that caused it to fall out of favor. Sorry about that.

What do you think of Medropolis instead? Heh.

January 04, 2014

Sign guy ready to brave cold temps

You've probably seen Paul La France or one of his co-workers standing at an intersection in the past few weeks holding an eight-foot-tall Sears Going Out of Business sale sign.

While drivers in heated cars go by, the sale sign holders stand along the streets in five hour shifts for $8 an hour.

SignguyThis is the final weekend for the Sears sign holding gig and it's going to be a brutal one to be out in the frigid weather.

On Saturday afternoon, it was a "balmy" 17 degrees. La France was huddled behind his sign at the intersection of South Broadway and U.S. 14.

"Yeah, I'm kinda freezing. My feet are frozen even though I have three pairs of socks on," said La France, while trying to see through eyeglasses that had iced over from the cold. His voice was muffled by his camouflage mask covering his face.

Despite the forecasts of historic frigid temps moving into the area Sunday, he planned on another five hour shift standing at the corner with the sign. La France describes himself as homeless.

"I'm not a panhandler. I don't want to beg," he says. The cold weather, however, has inspired some drivers to stop and give him hot chocolate or even hand warmers.

He makes it clear that he's not looking for handouts. This is his job, even though it's one that not a lot of people would be eager to take on. La France dismisses suggestion that it's not an easy way to make $8 an hour.

"I've had worst jobs," he says.

October 18, 2013

Mayo Clinic decides to keep employee classifieds

Following an outcry from employees, Mayo Clinic has reversed its plans and now will keep its popular internal classified ad listings alive.

"In response to employee feedback, Mayo Clinic will launch a new, more efficient employee classifieds system on Monday, Nov. 4. The new system will be available at all locations across the institution," said Mayo spokesman Bryan Anderson.

Mayo-clinic-rochester-minnesotaMayo Clinic announced in September that it would pull the plug on its internal classified ad listings on Oct. 30, but that announcement spurred an outcry from fans of the classifieds.  
Employees have long been able to post free ads that would be seen only by other Mayo Clinic employees. The print version of the free classifieds were discontinued several years ago, but the classifieds continued to thrive on the clinic's intranet.

The Mayo ads were known as a place to find a good buy. The housing classifieds, particularly apartment or house rental ads, also were popular with Mayo Clinic's mobile workforce.

Anderson said the original decision to end them was made because the classifieds were not "a strategic imperative" and Mayo employees could use other free classifieds online.

After employees responded that they wanted to keep the classifieds, Mayo Clinic looked at its options to handle the service in "a less resource-intense way" than in the past, according to Anderson.

"The new system will be more technically sustainable and will include a large selection of categories, including ride share and research studies, to support work-related needs," he said.

August 09, 2013

Rochester's 'Dirty little secret'

DeparturesarticleSince today is the first official meeting of the newly established Destination Medical Center Corp., I was looking at some travel articles on Rochester and Mayo Clinic.

I stumbled across a "Special Report" by Departures magazine, which is an American Express publication.

It was written by Aimee Lee Ball for this year's March/April quarterly issue, so it is pretty up-to-date. What makes this notable is how the article characterizes the community and Mayo Clinic.

It actually starts with a Mayo Clinic doctor talking about how many people try to smuggle monkeys onto an airplane. "Monkeys on a Plane" would probably be a better movie than "Snakes on A Plane." Heh.

Anyway, here are a few excerpts:

There’s no Ritz-Carlton in Rochester, Minnesota—no Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental or Peninsula, either—and the city’s idea of an Italian restaurant is the Olive Garden. This is the dirty little secret behind any visit to the Mayo Clinic: You’ll get world-class medical care, but it’s the badlands for eating or sleeping.

When asked about where to eat, one Mayo physician advised, “My house,” and shared the name of a well-stocked market three miles away.

----------

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_upMayo has been an iconic (and ironic) name in health care for more than a century—a place surrounded by cornfields but considered the gold standard or the last-chance saloon by royalty (both actual and media-ordained).

--------------------

Everyone at Mayo seems to have drunk the Kool-Aid, including the electrician who frets about the most convenient placing of outlets and the cleaning woman who declares that she saves lives (if she’s keeping the room free from infection, she’s right). “We’re not known as the heart place or the cancer place or the knee place,” says Dacy. “We do all those things, but we’re known for comprehensive care, and people work together in this collegial way. The customer service philosophy is powerful. We have a dress and decorum committee—you won’t see unshaven doctors in scruffy scrubs like on the TV shows, and the reason is to respect patients.” Monkey bites and all.

November 05, 2012

Of hot dogs and hotels

It weighs five tons, is 11 feet tall, is 27 feet long and has four wheels.

What is it? The most famous food-shaped vehicles in history, of course, the Wienermobile. The iconic vehicle that is as recognizable as the Batmobile, Bigfoot or the Mystery Machine is rolling along the Med City's streets yet again.

05012012weinermobileVery early this morning (the Daylight Savings switch had me out a lot later or earlier than usual. Heh.), I spotted massive fiberglass hot dog proudly parked across Second Street Southwest from Saint Marys Hospital.

Even more interesting than the brightly-colored vehicle was the hotel sign at 1211 Second St. S.W.

In a column last week, I teased that a Med City hotel was looking at making a change. That seems to have happened, since the sign over the Oscar Mayer car says Aspen Suites instead of Staybridge Suites.
05012012weinermobile
The 83-suite hotel, along with the Fiksdal Hotel, is owned by Blue Stem Capital of Sioux Fall, S.D., and Glen Fiksdal of Rochester.

I guess I should stop hotdogging and give them a call to find out the details.

 

October 05, 2012

Glimpse of the past as Broadway biz gets facelift

Downtown Broadway caught a brief glimpse of Rochester's past as a long-time business started working on a new, updated look this week. Construction crews started working on the facade of Kathy’s Pub at 307 S. Broadway Thursday. As the green Kathy's awning was taken down, they uncovered the old Hollywood Bar neon sign.

The Hollywood was one of Rochester's most venerable nightspots going back at least to the 1940s. It was known for its 90-foot-long bar that was staffed by an "all-girl" crew. Offering live music six nights a week, it was the home venue for the local music legends, the Parrish Brothers band.

It later became Kathy's Pub with Kathy and Gus Chafos as the owners. Matt Murphy and Matt Teal bought it in 2003, but kept the Kathy's name.

10042012kathyspubhollywoodbarjkMurphy says the classic Hollywood sign that dates back to Rochester's "Mad Men" days has been put into storage for the winter, while it is decided what to ultimately do with it.

Meanwhile, the entire front facade of Kathy's is getting a face-lift from the sidewalk all the way up to parapets by the rooftop patio.

"We're going to restore it back to the old look," says Murphy. "The bricks will get cleaned. It'll get fresh paint. They are restoring the parapets. And a new, updated awning is coming."

The hope is to finish the renovation work within about a month. A facade improvement grant from the Rochester Downtown Alliance is paying for half of the $30,000 project.

A new neon glow is in the works to light up Kathy's sometime next year. Murphy says Schad Tracy Signs is working on a new design that will look similar one at The Griffin Cocktail Lounge in Las Vegas. Look for that project to come to light in the spring.

June 22, 2012

The geometry of collaboration — 'Cubists' bring co-working to Rochester

They may be square, but the Cubists coming to downtown Rochester are on the level.

Think of it as your office away from home with a new angle.

06222012thecube1jkA group of business people are shaping up a new co-working space called The Cube, which describes the blockiness of their small building at 717 South Broadway. That's behind the Rochester Area Family Y parking lot.

Spearheaded by David Hewitt of Mama Meg's Frozen Novelties, the details of this project were hammered out by a collection of 15-20 local entrepreneurs.

So what is co-working?

"Coworking is the social gathering of a group of people, who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same space," said Hewitt.
06222012thecube2jk
In Rochester's Cube is a 360-square-foot office space where members, who all own and run small creative businesses, can get out of their home offices or coffee shop booths and work next to similarly minded people.

It is designed to encourage collaboration and creativity.

The "Cubists" signed up to work there, at least part-time, are Erik Giberti of AF-Design, freelance designer/marketer Sarah Miller, Nate Nordstrom of BrandHoot, Beth Ebnet of Trio Marketing and Events, Bucky Beeman of Snappy Stop and Hewitt.

The space can accommodate about eight people, along with a conference room seating for five. Very few members will be working there every day, so that allows for a larger pool of members.

It features a business broadband network, wireless printing with scanner, copier, a white-board wall, member-only events, coffee and Mama Meg's ice cream sandwiches.

"This has been a dream of mine for some time. It is really quite exciting," says Giberti, who has trying to bring the idea of co-working to Rochester for three or four years. "The time just wasn't right until now."

For the online application developer who has worked out of his Rochester home for the past years, being part of The Cube means he'll have a place to go on occasion to work and brainstorm with other creative people.

And when Giberti needs focused, "heads-down" work time, he still has his home office.

Why do this instead of just leasing a small office or a cubicle somewhere?

"What is really interesting in the co-working model is the creative and interaction that you have by not having those boundaries," he says.

June 08, 2012

Will ex-311 be Ground-ed?

It looks like the rumors may be true.

Since 331 Bar and Grill closed its doors in March, there has been buzz about Ground Round rolling back into Rochester into that space.

06082012groundround:331This morning I spotted the Snappy Sign's clown standing in front of the 331 Bar and Grill at 7386 Airport View Drive S.W. with this message:

"Ground Round is Coming Soon."

While that sounds pretty definite, I'll check this out today.

If true, this is the latest plot development in the story of the Rochester's airport restaurant.

When it closed three months ago, it was owned by two brothers from Chicago, Tom and Jimmy Karabatsos

The Karabatsos duo originally bought the main restaurant at the start of 2009 from local developer Andy Chafoulias.

The restaurant was originally launched as The Hangar by a group of local developers led by Chafoulias in 2002. He later sold it in 2006.

The Hangar did not make it under the new ownership. Chafoulias bought it back in early 2008 and relaunched it as 331.

Chafoulias developed most of the businesses surrounding the airport, including the Rochester International Event Center and the 72-room hotel now under the AmericInn brand.

When I talked to him in March after the 331 closure, he wouldn't say yes or no to the idea of taking the controls of the restaurant for a third time. However, he was seriously considering the possibility.

May 02, 2012

Take-and-bake dough biz to close

After about two years since it first arose on the Rochester scene, a take-and-bake frozen dough business will soon close its doors.

Ads and announcements this week say that U-Bake is closing with a possible final day of around June 15. Here's some from one of those messages:

We will continue to offer BIG SAVINGS to you through approximately mid June, 2012.  Please redeem any U-Bake, Rochester gift cards promptly.  Stock up and enjoy those savings!   It has been our pleasure to serve you, and, as always, thank you for your business!

U-Bake, which is owned by Dianna Baker is located in a 2,000-square-foot spot in the Crossroads Plaza anchored by Walgreens . That'09082010ubake1jks the center  where Maid-Rite recently closed and Jimmy John's gearing up to open.

The concept of U-Bake is all about conveneince. It has about 20 freezers full of frozen, bake-at-home products, including about 59 kinds of cookies, about 30 types of breads, 18 pies, 15 pizza crusts, croissants and cinnamon rolls.

It also carried specialty meats and cheeses from around Minnesota.

I'll check to see if I can find out any more on this.