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280 posts categorized "Breaking news"

September 18, 2014

Rochester shoe firm advances as a finalist in Martha Stewart competition

A Rochester couple hopes Martha Stewart finds their American-made shoes "a good thing" now that their Well Bred shoes is finalist in her annual competition.

Get_photoJorge Gomez and Krisa Ryan run Well Bred shoes from their home in Rochester. While working as a designer for a large company, he saw the terrible conditions in Chinese shoe factories. That inspired him to create his own company and contract small American firms to make his shoes with only materials from the U.S.

Well Bred took its first steps two years ago and the pair have been very busy designing and marketing their line of men's shoes. Their shoes are sold through a variety of specialty retailers, including the MartinPatrick3 men's store in Minneapolis. Well Bred shoes can also be purchased directly from their online shop. People attending the Rochester Art Center's upcoming Art Bash will see a pair of Well Bred shoes among the silent auction items.

At the urging of their customers and other companies with similar philosophies, they entered Martha Stewart's American Made Contest. The annual contest chooses the top company in four categories - Style, Food, Crafts and Design.

GlencoefrontThe couple say they are humbled to be chosen as a finalist in the Style category.

"The great thing about Martha Stewart's American Made contest is that it brings together a lot of people from the close knit group of makers," said Gomez. "A lot of the people in this we know from the trade shows."

Now it is up to online voters and the contest judges, the executive editorial team of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Nine winners will be chosen by the judges and online voting will decide the final winner.

The online voting runs through Oct. 13 on Martha Stewart's website. The winners will be announced on Oct. 17. Part of the prize package includes attending Stewart's American Made Summit on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.

"The national exposure would be huge for a small company like us," said Ryan.

September 11, 2014

Nu On U to close its doors to pursue new opportunities

After a four year run on North Broadway, a women's clothing resale store called Nu On U is preparing to close up shop as its owner takes on new projects.

48006_153372731356200_2669327_n"We're going to be sorry to say good-bye to Rochester. Business has gone well. It has been a terrific location," said Donna Gates, who has helped her daughter Kisa Bisek run the 1,600-square-foot storefront in the Dison Cleaners Center at 200 N. Broadway.

For Med City old timers, that's the spot that previously housed Wireless Toyz and Hobbit Travel back before that.

They have launched a "going out of business" sale. Gates says they plan on selling everything, including many of the store fixtures and mannequins.

Unlike when many stores close, this closure is not about slow sales. The resale shop was Bisek's brainchild and now she's ready for something new.

"My daughter is being offered other business opportunities, so it's time to shut this down," Gates said.

Nu On U was at the forefront of the surge in resale and consignment stores in Rochester, when it opened in August 2010. It purchases gently used girl's and women's clothing, shoes and accessories with the intent to resell them. By listening to its customers over the years, the store earned a loyal following.

When announcing the closing, Nu On U encouraged its regulars to patronize other similar Rochester shops like Kismet, Refashion, Danielle's Consignment Boutique and Size It Up.

September 10, 2014

Workers at Lakeside Foods to lose jobs when Hormel ends contract

PLAINVIEW — About half of the year-round workers at Lakeside Foods workers learned last week that their jobs at Plainview's largest employer will be ending soon, as Austin's Hormel Foods pulls its contract with the plant.

4965162612_d023537c6b_oWhile the Manitowoc, Wis.-based Lakeside isn't releasing the number of jobs being cut, insiders are estimating that between 75 and 90 workers will lose their jobs when Hormel Foods pulls its production contract at the 650,000-square-foot plant.

Lakeside executives have previously said the Plainview plant employs about 80 full-time people, plus about 85 others that work solely on the Hormel contract. The Hormel contract with Lakeside to produce its Top Shelf products was a year-round contract.

Hormel says it plans to move that production to other facilities by late fall.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but moving the operations to other facilities within our company will provide greater production, purchasing and distribution efficiencies," said Donald J. Temperley, Hormel's vice president of Grocery Products operations, in a message this morning.

When the plant is packing seasonal vegetables, Lakeside's employment swells to a temporary peak of about 270 workers, who work 60 to 70 hours a week to get the fresh vegetables canned and frozen.

Plainview Economic Development Director Judith O. Jordan said when the community's largest employer loses such a major contract and needs to cut positions, it's a serious situation.

"We are all concerned about how this impacts Plainview. We hope Lakeside will be able to identify a new co-packer to work with to replace the Hormel production," she said.

The Lakeside Foods facility in Plainview is just one of eleven food processing plant in the Lakeside system. The Plainview facility is also one of six distribution facilities.

September 09, 2014

114-year-old family farm sells for $1.85 million in NW Roch

Since the city of Rochester surrounded his family's 114-year-old farm, developers and real estate agents have regularly talked to Jim Till about selling his island of prime real estate on 19th Street Northwest.

After years of turning down offers, Till sold the remaining 28 acres of his family farm to Jack Remick for $1.85 million last week. Remick also owns Rochester Athletic Club across the road from the farm.

540f1b17a71bf.image"You look back, you hate to leave, but you've got to go sometime," said Till of selling the farm that he has lived on for all of his 61 years. "It's just time to hang it up."

Remick calls the purchase an investment at this point.

"It's a nice piece of property. I don't really have any specific plan for it," he said. "Some of it is across from the club, and some is across from Lourdes (the high school built on land he donated). I would be very interested in what goes in out there."

Till has six months before he needs to move out. He plans to move to his other farm, outside of Byron. He'll continue to farm more than 300 acres with his brother, Charles Till.

Till bought the farm from his mother, Leone Till, in 2006. The house on the farm, which has been expanded and remodeled several times over the years, was originally built in 1900. Till's grandparents lived there. The family has photos of his father, who was born in 1910, as a baby in front of the house. Jim Till grew up on the farm with his eight sisters and his brother.

The family milked cows and raised fields of corn and alfalfa on their farm and on nearby leased fields. In the 1980s, the brothers each bought farms near Byron.

While the Till farm was originally outside of the city, development slowly encircled it.

West Circle Drive started bringing a lot more activity to the area. Manufacturers such as Crenlo and Pemstar/Benchmark built there. Mayo Clinic expanded into that part of the city. The leased fields on the corner of 19th Street and West Circle Drive, where the Tills grew alfalfa for their cattle, was shaped into a commercial development by Kwik Trip for Costco and other businesses.

"For a long time, there wasn't a lot of traffic. Now, it's just traffic all of the time," said Till.

After Costco went in, he moved the dairy cattle to his Byron farm, which means he has been spending a lot of time on the road going between the two farms.

"The only ones profiting were the gas companies and tire companies. It has been a lot of hassle," he said.

The surge in activity in the area also brought crime. Till has been burglarized a number of times in recent years, which prompted him to install gates and move many things to the Byron farm. He then had a stroke about four years ago, which slowed him down.

"I always said I'd sell when the offer was enough to laugh all the way to the bank," he said. "Well, it was just time to sell, though I'm not laughing too hard."

September 05, 2014

RAEDI brings on Holmes to fill new marketing position

Preparing for the rollout of its regional five-year plan, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. has hired Heather Holmes to fill a new marketing position.

RAEDI announced the hiring of Holmes as vice president of marketing this week. Holmes, a long-time Rochester marketing professional, will start the new job on Sept. 15.

RAEDI President Gary Smith explained that his board decided to create the new marketing position to help with the introduction of the Journey To Growth economic plan that RAEDI and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce have been working on for the past year.
10654081_10204675785082933_99753887_n
A steering committee of 26 business leaders from Olmsted, Dodge and Wabasha counties has been working on the $150,000 project. The plan, which reaches beyond Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center intitiative into the region beyond Rochester, focuses on three major themes:  expanding and diversifying the economy, optimizing the regional talent base and developing a more cohesive and connected region.

Smith anticipates that the plan should be completed in the next few months, and said that Holmes will help introduce it to the area when it's ready.

"For the past couple of months, we've been doing a national and local search to fill this job," he said. "Heather's a good choice, because she knows who we are and believes in what we're doing."

Holmes comes to RAEDI from the Rochester software firm, Metafile. She also worked in marketing for KAAL-ABC 6 and Corporate Web Services.

"It is an exciting time for our great city, and I'm thrilled to have a front row seat. I can't wait to get started," Holmes said about her new role.

September 04, 2014

Pending real estate deal spurs flower shop move

Flowers By Jerry will soon move its Third Avenue shop because a pending real estate deal could change scenery on the high-profile Rochester corner.

04092014flowersbyjerrybuckeyeOwner Kevin Patton says the sale of his building at 410 Third Ave. S.E. is in the works along with the adjacent Buckeye Liquor building, which he also owns. Robert and Diane Satterwhite own Buckeye and lease the building from Patton.

Patton is shifting his business offices and the floral design from the Third Street shop to Flowers By Jerry's other location by Silver Lake. That change could happen by the end of this month.

"We're consolidating that part of the business, but we're also branching out," said Patton said.

Patton is opening another store, Flowers By Jerry Lux Floral Boutique, in the TJ Maxx Plaza in southwest Rochester to replace the Third Street location. As the different name would suggest, this new location will be a new take of the standard flower shop.

Patton describes it as mix of a floral store with a women's clothing boutique with clothing, jewelery and home decor.

The floral boutique will be located just outside the entrance of TJ Maxx. Flowers By Jerry will move into the 2,500-square-foot space left open by Fox Nails' recent move to a new spot on the other side of the atrium.

If everything goes as planned, it's expected to be ready to open by the start of November, if not sooner. With all of the changes, Patton anticipates he may eventually need to add a new part-time position or two to his current staff of about 20.

While all of these plans are moving forward, details about what will happen on the corner of Third Avenue and Fourth Street are scarce at this point. The sale of the Flowers By Jerry and Buckeye Liquors buildings could close by the end of this month. However, Patton isn't discussing the buyer or any other details until it officially wraps up.

Given that corner's proximity to downtown and the Olmsted County Government/Rochester City Hall, some are speculating that the purchase of those two buildings is a sign that a developer wants to build a new commercial center, restaurant or hotel.

August 25, 2014

Re/Max Results realty zeros in on new Rochester 'home'


After months and months of "house" hunting, a large real estate office seems to have found a new home in Rochester.

Remax_exterior-2Re/Max Results, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based business with more than 60 Realtors based in Rochester, has been shopping for either a building or a spot to build one here to replace its office complex at 4600 18th Ave. N.W. for quite a while. Various deals, including one for a commercial complex, were rumored at various times to be close to happening.

While the organization has not confirmed its plans yet, an application for a building permit last week seems to signal that the long-anticipated project now is moving forward.

Plans for a two-story, 18,000-square-foot office complex to be built overlooking West Circle Drive Northwest by 26th Street Northwest were submitted to the city planners on Aug. 21 under the title of "Re/Max building and parking lot."

Brian Schoeppner, of Rochester, filed the application. The owner is listed as the 14-year-old West Circle Drive LLC, which has an address of Suite 101 at 4115 26th St. N.W.

Re/Max Results, described as the largest locally owned and operated realty company in the Midwest, entered this market in February 2012, when it purchased Re/Max of Rochester along with Re/Max Realty Source of Austin from Duane Sauke.

Owned by John Collopy and Marshall Saunders, Re/Max Results operates in Minnesota and Wisconsin with more than 800 Realtors. The firm describes itself as the16th largest brokerage in the United States.

The plans for the new real estate office listed G-Cubed, of Chatfield, as the engineering firm for the project and Rochester's The Urban Studio as the architect for the project.

Since the application for the new Re/Max Results offices were just submitted last week, it's unclear how long it will take for the project to be approved by the city or for construction to begin.

August 13, 2014

Consignment boutique teeing up move to new Broadway store

Danielle David's Rochester consignment business has outgrown its shop and its name once again.

What started out as Danielle's E-Shoes in a small spot back in 2009 quickly moved into a space double the original space with "& More" tacked on to the business name.  An expansion soon followed and the "E" was dropped.

Now she is teeing up to move Danielle's Shoes & Consignment Boutique to yet another larger store at 1920 South Broadway, next to Golf Headquarters. She plans to move from her current spot at 1310 Seventh St. N.W. in the Northgate Shopping Center at the start of September.

"It's very exciting," said David. "I'll have much better visibility there."

To555814_336424926406363_33872887_n make room for her boutique, Golf Headquarters owner Ed Martens is slicing about 2,000 square feet off of his well-known golf shop. The change won't affect Martens' other tenants, Broadway Veterinary Care and an Edward D. Jones financial services office.

With the changes in retail driven by the Internet, Martens says he will condense his store into a 5,200-square-foot space.

"We'll specialize more, focusing on the brands that are most popular in Rochester," he said.

Martens says his staff will continue to work with shoppers to custom-fit each and every club in their bag instead of the more common practice of adjusting the fit based on one or two swings of one club.

"To battle the Internet, we've got to go out and give that extra special service," he said.

Of course, the Internet is the foundation that David built her business on by starting out by selling on eBay. While she still does that, the name-brand consignment of clothes, purses, jewelry and, of course, shoes, has grown.

With the additional space in the new location, she'll be able to stock more clothes in every size category as well display more clothes for many age groups.

The expansion on her offerings with a continued focus on upscale items drove her to make the latest addition to the business name.

"We want to let people to know what this is. We're a boutique," said David.

August 06, 2014

New northwest Rochester McDonald's to open next week

Courtesy Corp., which owns the six McDonald's restaurants in Rochester, plans to open its new northwest location on Aug. 14.

05082014newmcdonaldscostcoThe still under-construction McDonald's stands in front of the Costco warehouse store, facing West Circle Drive Northwest.

It will replace Courtesy Corp.'s long-time restaurant on the U.S. 52 North frontage road near 19th Street Northwest. That location closed earlier this week in preparation for the opening on the new restaurant.

When plans for the new restaurant were announced last year, Courtesy Corp. President Rick Lommen said the old McDonald's had about 65 employees on staff. He anticipated that number could grow to 80 or 90, when the new one opens.

The company spent $1.32 million to buy the land in the 108 acre commercial development, which is owned  the real estate development arm of the Kwik Trip convenience store chain.

Lommen explained that McDonald's thought the restauran05082014closingmcdonaldst would do much better in the rapidly growing area at the corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest.

"I just believe that long-term that is going to be an outstanding development, and it will show significant growth for years to come," he said.

Conversely, the longtime location on the U.S. 52 Frontage Road lost much of its visibility and customer traffic when the highway was updated a few years ago.

Courtesy Corp. is not the only company that's banking on the growth in that northwest development that's exploding around Costco and a Kwik Trip station.

A 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites are both under construction near the new McDonald's. Discount grocer Aldi also recently announced its own plans to build a second Rochester store in the same area.

A St. Paul-based developer,TJL Development is working on plans for a 2,500-square-foot building to be occupied by a co-branded coffee and food business as well as a 4,000-square-foot store for a national retailer.

August 05, 2014

European publisher closes Rochester office

An European publisher of auto repair manuals told local employees this week that its Rochester office is closing following the company's decision to back out of the U.S. market.

Maidenhead, England-based Autodata originally moved its U.S. headquarters to Rochester in 2005. The company, which focuses on providing technical information for mechanics, had 15 people working at its 4,000-square-foot office at 6301 Bandel Road N.W. until last summer. That's when it cut its staff in half.

Autodata online coverThere were six people working for Autodata in Rochester until the firm let four employees go this week. Two staffers will remain on Autodata's payroll to continue to support some large contracts from home, though the office is expected to be completely closed by mid-August.

"We've had to take the rather drastic decision to close office in Rochester. It's no reflection on the efforts of the staff, who did great job for us," said Autodata CEO Rod Williams, who flew to Rochester from England to deliver the news in person.

Autodata_logoAutodata takes a different approach than similar U.S. publishers. Instead of focusing on specific models, it creates manuals based on a subject like airbags or transmissions, and then includes information for all vehicle models, including those no longer being made. The information is constantly updated. It provides up-to-date technical information for about 17,000 vehicles made by more than 80 companies, though the bulk of the manufacturers are based in England, France and Germany.

Williams says the company, which remains successful in Europe and Australia, struggled to win over the U.S. market. It had some ups during its run here, he said. This office grew from four employees in 2005 to 16 by 2007.  In the end, it just wasn't enough to make the Rochester office sustainable.

While Autodata's long-time owners did sell the company to two investment firms in May, Williams says the change only hastened the closing of Rochester.

"Sooner or later, it was going to come, unfortunately," he said.

The rapidly changing world of publishing added more challenges to Autodata's push into the U.S. The first year that Autodata made more from electronic products over printed manuals was in 2007. Since then, the industry's move to away from print has rapidly picked up speed. Print manuals shifted into CDs, then DVDs and eventually online.

"The world has moved on from books," said Williams. "By the end of the year, we'll be wholly online in Europe. We've already been completely online in Australia for many years."