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1639 posts categorized "Early info/ more to come"

July 02, 2015

Goodwill store proposed for northwest Rochester

A Minneapolis developer is proposing to build a 28,000-square-foot Goodwill thrift store near Costco in northwest Rochester.


The Driessen Group, led by Vince Driessen, has filed plans to build a store at the corner of 19th Street Northwest and Scott Road Northwest. That's the 19th Street entrance to the Costco commercial area. The store is slated to sit opposite the Kwik Trip station across Scott Road.

Goodwill plansThe plans describe the project as a Goodwill store. However, Goodwill Minnesota Retail Marketing Director Mary Beth Casement cautions that the nonprofit has not committed to any such store yet.

"We do not have a signed lease, so your best source is the developer rather than Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota," said Casement in an email.

Driessen has not yet responded to a request for comment about this project.

It's common for developers to build stores with a plan, and then lease or sell them to nonprofit organizations or corporations.

Driessen recently built a 33,000-square-foot Goodwill store in St. Paul, which opened in March.

The plans, drawn up by DJR Architecture Inc., of Minneapolis, show a building with 13,730 square feet of retail space and 8,787 square feet of office. It also includes 4,955 square feet of warehouse space.

In 2008, a Goodwill store with 15,000 square feet of retail space was built at 239 28th St. SE near the Broadway Commons commercial area. The nonprofit organization moved into it after leaving its old Rochester spot at 660 37th St. NW.

It's unclear if this proposed store would be a second location or if it would replace the 7-year-old southeast store. A second store seems the most likely possibility. Salvation Army opened a second northwest location in 2014.

June 26, 2015

A taste of the East Coast coming to Med City

The flavor of the East Coast is on its way to southwest Rochester.

Joe Phillips is cooking up a new eatery called Jersey Jo's to serve up "authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and more."

FireShot Capture - Order Online - http___jerseyjos.com_order-onlineHe hopes to be able to open Jersey Jo's by mid-July at 187 16th Ave. SW. Cousins Subs is moving out of that 1,600-square-foot spot in the Shoppes on Second commercial center at the end of June. That address will put him just a couple blocks away from Mayo Clinic's St. Marys Hospital and many hotels.

Phillips, a software programmer who will continue that profession remotely from the restaurant, said this new project started very simply.

"I couldn't get a cheesesteak anywhere around here that I liked," he said. So after years of looking, he finally decided to open a place of his own.

Phillips plans to "import" many of the ingredients for the Jersey Jo's signature cheesesteak sandwiches from the East Coast to create as authentic of a flavor as possible.

In addition to Philly cheesesteaks, Jersey Jo's also will serve cold hoagie sandwiches, chicken wings and a trio of specialty burgers. The meat will be sliced on-site, deli-style for each of the made-to-order sandwiches.

While he has long worked in the technology industry, Phillips knows his way around a kitchen from years in restaurants during college.

Phillips' vision for Jersey Jo's is to create a laid-back place like the small mom-and-pop corner shops he remembers from growing up in New Jersey.

"I want to offer a nondiscriminatory place for people to come and feel welcome while they have some good food," he said.

He expects to have about eight people on staff.

 

June 12, 2015

Checking in with Sonic

Hopeful rumors of a Sonic Drive-in opening in Rochester have been buzzing around… again.

I called Oklahoma City, Okla.-based burger and shake chain in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 to see if car hops and cherry limeades might be on the way to the Med City.

Sonic-drive-inI've never received an answer that made local Sonic fans happy. And unfortunately, the 2015 call did not turn out any differently.

"We do not have any signed contracts or any under construction drive-ins there," said Sonic's Communication Manager Jason Acock. "I don't see any plans right now of opening up in Rochester."

However, there's always a possibility. Sonic has opened a number of drive-ins in the Twin Cities and in nearby Wisconsin in the past eight years.

"We're open to looking all over the county right now. We're looking to expand everywhere," said Acock. "Hopefully, somebody will step forward and a franchisee will want to open a location up there."

May 27, 2015

Manufacturer shopping for Roch. location?

The chatter on the streets these days is that a new manufacturer is seriously looking at the possibility of setting up shop in Rochester.
Stock-photo-18292216-kinematic-gears-question-symbol
While no names have surfaced yet, the buzz is that this manufacturer could need up to 250 workers and 200,000-square-feet of space.

If that is even close to accurate, this could be a big addition to Rochester's goal of becoming more economic diverse.

We'll keep an eye on this to see if this interested company decides to move ahead with a Med City project.

May 22, 2015

Updated version of Hillary Nutcracker comes out for new campaign

An updated version of the famous (or infamous) Rochester invention, the Hillary Clinton Nutcracker, is hitting the streets this week as the presidential campaign heats up.

1-hillary-nutcracker-in-the-boxThe 9-inch-high nutcracker with "stainless steel thighs" originally was created and patented by Frank Freeman in the basement of his Rochester home in 2008.  He sold the functional device in his Little Bear Trading Post store in the Apache Mall as well as nationally.

While Freeman's company, Damn Handy Products, now is based in Arizona, he still distributes his products from Minnesota. He also is considering opening another store in the Apache Mall, if he can work out a "new concept."

"It'll be phenomenal," said Freeman of how he anticipates the nutcracker will sell with Clinton walking away with the Democrat nomination. "Last time, we sold well over a quarter of million units and she wasn't nearly as popular."

In 2008, it sold for $19.95. Now the tag is $29.95.

This version of the nutcracker features Clinton wearing a pink blazer with a campaign button that reads "Hillary 2016 -- It's Crunch Time." It's already on sale at hillarynutcracker.com. The first shipments from China arrived in Minnesota this week to the company's fulfillment center. Freeman says they already have shipped out about 70 dozen orders to five stores and it will be featured on the cover of at least two national specialty catalogs.

Of course, many people find the product distasteful and insulting. When Urban Outfitters started selling the last of the 2008 nutcrackers for $60, it spurred many media sourc8-hillary-nutcracker-introes like the New York Post and Huffington Post to decry the site for selling a "sexist" product. Vox.com posted a story that said the $60 price tag “seems like $54.05 too much for something you might find in a very, very sexist Happy Meal.”

Freeman and his partner, Gibson Carothers, say the nutcracker is not meant to be mean-spirited.

"It's up to you decide whether that is good or bad. The headline on the box is simply"It's Crunch Time, America!" We think it's all in good fun," said Carothers. "Of course, we expect cries of sexism from some feminists. But we expect, and are already starting to feel, a more balanced reaction this time around."

The pair say that women's opinions about the original nutcracker changed over time. In the end, they estimate that one-third of buyers were Hillary Clinton backers. They hope that sentiment will continue to grow this time around.

"They started to see that a nutcracker could be seen as a tough, fearless leader. Realistically,
is the country going to elect a woman not perceived as tough?" said Carothers.

"I think a lot of people feel that it is pro-Hillary. The humor on the box is slightly more pro-Hillary this time," said Freeman.

Political feelings aside, they say the bottom line is the nutcracker is supposed to be funny. It's in the same spirit as their Smash Mute TV remote product, which features a giant button that can be pounded to mute "politicians, talking heads and erectile dysfunction commercials." 

May 19, 2015

Southeast auto business to build a new, bigger shop

A long-time, family-owned auto shop is shifting gears to build a new home in southeast Rochester.

Tilson's Auto Repair, owned and run by Ben Tilson with his two sons, hopes soon to start construction of a new eight-bay, state-of-art shop on an open lot at 1740 South Broadway. That puts them between the 63 Club bar and Advance Auto Parts.

TilsonsThey hope to have the new almost 7,000-square-foot facility completed and ready to open this fall, possibly as early as September.

The elder Tilson has been repairing Rochester vehicles since 1984. In 2004, he moved into the four-bay shop in the Kmart building at  843 Third Ave. S.E. Now 11 years later, he needs a larger place with more visibility.

"The market changed. The dynamics have changed with DMC (Destination Medical Center)," he said. "As Rochester grows, we grow."

In the current location, he has six on staff including himself and his sons, Joe Tilson and the younger Ben Tilson. Once the new shop is completed, they hope to add four to six more employees to the staff.

The new shop will give the Tilsons access to some vehicles that are difficult to deal with now, added the younger Ben Tilson.

"We'll have bigger doors, which will make it a lot easier to work on bigger vehicles," he said.

The new location still will keep the shop in the area where they have long served customers.

"We wanted to stay in general area. Southeast is home," said younger Ben Tilson. "We want to be the predominant family-owned shop on this side of town."

April 14, 2015

New barbecue place is cooking in southwest Rochester

The smoke signals say that a new flavor is on the way for southwest Rochester.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit is slated to fill the remaining 2,000-square-feet of the new Aspen Dental building at 1300 Salem Road SW in front of the TJ Maxx Plaza, says franchise oDickeysaspenwner Josh Laber.

Dickey's is a quick casual chain known for its smoked meats and Texas-style barbecue. The Dallas, Texas-based restaurant firm has about 470 restaurants in U.S. with eight in Minnesota.

"We're hoping to be able to open the doors by mid-summer," said Laber.

He'll be ready to launch "his second career" as soon as he wraps up his current one with the Rochester Police Dept. Laber has served as a Rochester police officer for the past nine years. He's slated to work his last shift as an officer this week.

While Rochester does already have several barbecue choices with Roscoe's, John Hardy's and Famous Dave's, the Labers believe Dickey's brings something new to the mix.

"My wife and I (Natashya) have been looking for something for the past few years. We always thought something was missing," he said. "Dickey's serves up good slow cooked meat at a fast pace that's good for the lunch crowd and for dinner."

Now the Labers and their five children cooking up a new restaurant, which will have its own drive-through window. They estimate that they'll need about 20 employees to staff the new Dickey's.

Expect to see Josh Laber at Dickey's as the owner and operator. Natashya Laber will continue to teach at John Marshall High School. Laber said he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, but at least it will now be for his own business.

The Aspen Dental building is owned by Rochester's Forsons Investments, which also owns the TJ Maxx Plaza.

April 02, 2015

Cardio3 announces plans for IPO in the U.S.

Cardio3 Biosciences, the Belgium-based biotech firm building a manufacturing facility in downtown Rochester, has announced plans to issue stock in the U.S. Logo cardio 3

Cardio3 BioSciences, which works closely with Mayo Clinic and has its U.S. headquarters in Boston, Mass., confidentially filed  "a draft registration statement" with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this  week about its intention.

The eight-year-old regenerative medicine company  is already publicly listed on the European stock markets of NYSE Euronext Brussels and NYSE Euronext Paris. However, issuing an IPO in the U.S. would significantly boost its finances and garner the firm a lot more attention.

Such a move could benefit Mayo Clinic, which owned 2.69 percent of Cardio3, as of March 3. Mayo Clinic first acquired equity in Cardio3  in 2007, when it licensed stem cell research by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Andre Terzic and Dr. Atta Behfar. Its cardiopoiesis technology repairs patients' hearts by re-programming their own stem cell to regenerate cardiac tissue.

This week's  statement stressed that the possibility of a Cardio3 IPO is still in the very early stages.

"The timing, number of shares and price of the proposed offering have not yet been determined," according to the firm.

This filing follows last week's financial report that showed it lost $18.1 million in 2014, up from the $15.9 million it lost in 2013.

That annual report also highlighted "a non-exclusive preferred access agreement" signed with Mayo Clinic in October that cleared the way for Cardio3 to build a facility in the City of Rochester's Minnesota BioBusiness Center building.

"With this agreement, Cardio3 BioSciences agreed to give preferred consideration for Rochester, Minnesota to the U.S. to build a manufacturing facility for the production of C-Cure, at a facility located adjacent to the campus of the Mayo Clinic, and the Mayo Clinic agreed to periodically review with Cardio3 BioSciences its portfolio of regenerative medicine technologies, including in the areas of cardiology and oncology, with a view towards future potential licensing," according to the Cardio3 report.

March 13, 2015

Long-time beauty salon to close its doors

Di7zMMxi9So the Answer Man reported today that a Rochester hair salon icon is closing its doors on Saturday, after 55 years of curling, cutting, dying and styling in the Med City.

Don Williams and Nick Bowlus founded the Fashion-aire Beauty Salon back in 1960. Now the shop at 1121 Seventh St. NW is closing.

The answer Man says that the salon receptionist confirmed that owner Tonya Westrom is closing the business.

A reader dropped me a note saying his wife, who had gone to Fashion-aire for many years, was just notified that her long-standing Monday appointment has been cancelled.

March 06, 2015

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my sixth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More  than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to businesPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11s in southeastern Minnesota.

It'syou, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years.