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1635 posts categorized "Early info/ more to come"

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. 

10 years of blogging Rochester

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

It was my siPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11xth 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 business in southeastern Minnesota.

It's you, 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.  

February 19, 2015

Forager Brewing Co. on tap for Kutzky neighborhood

Here's some from my article today about a proposed brewery/coffee house/wood fired pizza shop and local market.

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A new project promises to bring a small batch brewery, wood fired pizzas, a coffee shop and more to Rochester's Kutzky neighborhood by this summer.

Foragersketch1The plan is to transform 5,000-square-feet of the former Good Food Store building at 1005 Sixth Street NW into The Kutzky Market. Spearheaded by majority owner Annie Henderson, the concept is to bring together a coffee shop, brewery/restaurant, a leasable commercial kitchen, and a local retail market.

"With everything going on with DMC (Destination Medical Center initiative) and the hype around downtown, we decided to look in the core neighborhoods," said Henderson. "We wanted it to be something community based and neighborhood based, but still walkable from a lot of people's houses."

The building has been empty since the Good Food Store closed in 2013 and merged with the People's Food Cooperative in downtown Rochester.

Kutzky Market has a lot of permits and construction yet to get through before it becomes a reality. She estimates it should be ready to open sometime this summer. Some interior demolition has already started and the hope is for construction to start in earnest in March.

The main piece of this new project is Forager Brewing Co. as well as its daytime counterpart, Kutzky Coffee. Head brewer and part owner Austin Jevne will run Forager, where he will produce small batches of beer using local ingredients. The name of the brewer comes from the fact that many of the ingredients that Jevne uses are foraged from the southeastern Minnesota countryside.

Jevne the brewer and Henderson the visionary were connected by the owners of the Thirsty Belgium bar, where Jevne worked.

"It's kind of a perfect match," she said. "Austin already had that name (Forager) in mind. We thought it was a really cool name and now it's become a big part of our identity.

The conversation started about mid-January and now about month later, Kutzky Market is moving ahead.

Forager will also be a full restaurant with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. A large wood-fired oven will be used for many of Chef Jordan Bell's dishes, including pizzas. Bell comes to Forager from the popular Nosh Bar & Restaurant in Lake City.

Another owner, Rochester architect Adam Ferrari describes Forager as "the Farmer's Market approach to beer making and pizza."

During the day, the restaurant space will serve as the Kutzky Coffee shop.

Henderson's vision also includes The Kitchen, a commercial kitchen available for lease.

"Say you want to make things to sell at the Farmer's Market. You could lease the Kitchen for that and you could also sell your things in our retail market," she said.

The Kutzky Market will focus on locally created goods, including foods created by Chef Bell.

And then there's the artistic piece. Henderson is very active with various downtown Rochester groups, including the C4 art salon, so she intends to have periodic artists-in-residence as well as three walls for the display of local art.

Forager will also feature a piece of Rochester history. The group purchased the bar from Pappageorge Taverna at the recent auction of the furnishing, art and equipment from Michaels restaurant.

"This is a marriage of all of these different fun, entrepreneurial uses under one roof," said Ferrari of the whole project.

February 10, 2015

Ex-Stifel, Nicolaus building sells for $535,000

A commercial building in northeast Rochester recently sold for $535,000.

Stifel nicolausOn Jan. 30, Pensco Trust Co. of Denver bought the 4,680-square-foot former Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. building at 305 Alliance Place. The empty building is north of 37th Street Northeast and East River Road N.E.

The former tenant, Stifel, Nicolaus, now operates an office in downtown Rochester.

Pensco, a financial investment firm, purchased the 13-year-old building from Helen Properties Co. of Rochester. Helen Properties bought it for $715,000 in 2003.

It's unclear what Pensco plans to do with the Rochester building. Calls to the corporate office for comment were not returned.

Chatter in the Med City business community is that a media firm is seriously looking at the site. However, there's no firm answer either way to confirm or dispel that rumor, so stayed tuned to find out what happens next.

January 27, 2015

Options abound for one of Rochester's oldest storefronts

While many are speculating about the future of a 129-year-old building in the heart of Rochester's downtown, the owners say they haven't locked down a plan yet.

549b9e10ed075.imageThe long-empty former Paine Furniture store at 313 S. Broadway was purchased by local developers Hal Henderson and Grant Michelitz in November. The deal also included the attached 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's bar on Broadway.

Some renovation work and installation of new windows is being done on the second floor, said Henderson. They also hope to build a skyway across the alley to connect the Paine building to the 318 Commons building, also owned by Henderson and Michelitz.

The University of Minnesota Rochester leases space in the 318 Commons building for student housing, office space and classrooms. A connecting skyway could make the second floor of Paine building attractive to UMR.

"We do foresee space crunches in our growth plan prior to the development of the future campus," said Jay Hesley, assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement. While no decisions have been made, Hesley acknowledged the university had looked at the second floor of the Paine building.

"We've certainly explored all of the different opportunities that are available, and that was certainly one of them on the list," he said.

Henderson said there have been preliminary talks with UMR officials about the Paine building. He also said an option is to demolish the Paine complex and put up a building that would be a sibling to 318 Commons.

"I do have more real estate on that block," he said. "In the future, we may have a plan that we may try to unveil or look at pretty seriously." Henderson owns the adjacent Cafe Steam at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway. "It all depends on what transpires in the next three to six months" with Destination Medical Center and the university's plans, he said. "I think right now, everyone is still leaving their options open."