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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.

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 20, 2014

Rochester architecture firm to move soon

A Rochester architecture firm soon will move out of its long-time digs.

CRW Architecture-Design Group, formerly part of Yaggy Colby Associates, will move out of its offices at 717 Third Ave. S.E. at the end of September, said CRW Principal Chris Colby. The firm has been based in the SEH-Yaggy complex, since it spun off from Yaggy-Colby in 2010.
08202014crwoffices
CRW is led by Colby, Jose Rivas and Jason Woodhouse. All three previously worked for what used to be Yaggy Colby.

SEH-Yaggy has committed that office space to another tenant, according to Colby. SEH-Yaggy is the result of a merger earlier this year between Yaggy-Colby and St. Paul-based Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.

CRW OfficeWhile the firm eventually will move into its own building, construction of its 4,200-square-foot offices plus four apartments isn't expected to be completed until late October or early November.

That means the 10 employees at CRW will need to temporarily find work space for the 45 to 60 days until its new offices are finished, said Colby.

CRW's new complex is being built at 11th Avenue and Second St. N.W. The office and apartments are being developed by Jose Rivas.

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 12, 2014

Bank breaks ground for new northwest Rochester branch

Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank broke will break ground on Wednesday for its new 3,000-square-foot branch in northwest Rochester.

10581397_745970035444536_1595413071_nThe new building will replace the branch in the Hy-Vee North grocery on 37th Street Northwest, which closed on July 24. Associated's new site will be located at 1985 Commerce Drive N.W., which is in the Costco's commercial development at 19th Street and West Circle Drive. It will be near the 19th Street entrance to Costco.Associated Bank first filed plans for the branch in February.

EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks once again to Josh Banks Photography for the pic.

If construction goes as planned, look for the new Associated branch to open in January. The Wisconsin bank has three other branches in Rochester.

The addition of this new branch re-confirms the growing commercial interest in that part of Rochester. Iowa-based West Bank is planning to build its own facility along West Circle Drive in 2015. Two Rochester-based banks, Home Federal Saving Bank and Think Mutual Bank, also have large branches in that area.

Associated's announcement about the new location stated that it will offer "an enhanced banking experience in a revitalized and spacious layout." That will include a full lobby with tellers, a drive-through window and staff to handle mortgages and investment services.

Associated Bank entered the Rochester area in 2004, when it acquired First Federal Capital Bank. First Federal was short-lived here. It picked up the holdings of the long-time Marquette Bank in 2002.

“We take pride in the relationships we have built in this community and we are thrilled to continue these relationships at our new location,” stated Tim Lau, Associated's head of community markets and executive vice president.

Re-locating the northwest branch is not the only Rochester move coming up for the bank.

New owners have acquired Associated Bank's downtown building at 206 South Broadway and the bank needs to move out by spring 2015. Executive Vice President David Stein previously stated that Associated is looking for "opportunities for a new downtown bank location."

Associated has more than 200 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Sale results in a double shot of juice for downtown Rochester

The result of a recent deal is a double shot of fresh juice plus new food offerings in downtown Rochester.

On Aug. 6, Ann Chafoulias sold her Essential Juice in the First Avenue Food Court to David Hewitt. He also owns Mama Meg's Parlour and co-owns Johnny Mango's Pita Cafe in the same food court.

12082014juicetonictooChafoulias originally opened Essential in December with the goal of introducing downtown to healthy, fresh cold-pressed juice. She says the new business quickly earned many loyal regular customers and it was building a strong foundation. She developed a staff of about five employees.

"It's a beautiful product," she said. "It's the perfect spot for it. I believe in Rochester and in downtown."

Then during the last brutal winter, Chafoulias was offered a very appealing opportunity in Phoenix, Ariz., where she had attended college.

That drove her to find a buyer for Essential with the hope that the new owner would continue what she had built. Hewitt bit on the juicy offer and he brought in Nikki Sylvester, who opened a cold-pressed juice bar and organic food eatery called Tonic in southwest Rochester last fall.

On Monday, Hewitt and Sylvester unveiled a "co-branded" place under the name of Essential Cold-press Juices and Tonic Too.

In addition to Essential's bottles of freshly pressed juice, the new blended business now also serves luncheon options from Tonic's menu and smoothies.

Look for the Tonic/Essential mix to be serving at the popular Thursdays on First and Third street market from Sylvester's distinctive orange-shaped cart. Mama Meg's and Johnny Mango's Pita Cafe also are food vendors at the weekly events.

For her part, Chafoulias is glad that her juice business is still adding a fresh flavor to downtown.

"I'm excited to see what happens next," she said.

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.