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6 posts categorized "Lewiston news"

May 23, 2011

Many Herff Jones/Lifetouch jobs to leave Lewiston

A while back, I chatted with Lifetouch, Inc., the company that has purchased the photo division of Herff Jones, the school photo firm.

Map_of_lewiston_mn That purchased includes a large facility in Lewiston that had once employed more than 300 people. Herff Jones cut 200 of those jobs in 2009.

Lifetouch did not have many details to offer yet, but it seemed upbeat about the more than 100 remaining jobs in Lewiston.

Then I started getting anonymous calls for Lewiston workers saying the picture is not that bright. Herffjoneslogo2010

I checked back in with Lifetouch and found that there are definitely less jobs in Lewiston's future.

Here's some from an article I wrote about all of this plus some perspective from the longtime businessman who runs Lewiston Auto:


The city of Lewiston will have fewer jobs by the end of the year after the acquisition of one of its larger employers.

Lifetouch Inc., which recently acquired the former Herff Jones photo facility in Lewiston, plans to transfer or eliminate many of the more than 100 jobs based there, although the total number that will leave isn't clear. The new owner, however, does plan to maintain a sales office with an undefined number of workers.

A1--Lifetouch-Logo Lewiston's supporters say the community will weather this as it has much larger job losses in the past.

"No town can afford to keep losing things, but I think we'll be able to get some of that stuff back, maybe even stronger than Herff Jones was at the end," said Lyle Nienow, president of Lewiston Auto. " I don't feel like the future is so dim that Lewiston is going to dry up and blow away."

In fact, he points out even though Herff Jones slashed more than 200 jobs in 2009, Lewiston's population increased by 9 percent over the past 10 years, to 1,620, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

"Many of those people stayed here. I think that says something," Nienow said.

Of course, it was a tough economic hit for the city.

The current concern is Lifetouch's intentions toward the more than 100 workers remaining in the former Herff Jones buildings.

The administrative departments based there are considered redundant, because those services already are handled at the new owner's headquarters in Eden Prairie.

"Over time those administration functions will transfer to Eden Prairie," said Kelvin Miller of Lifetouch."We have no specific timetable, but we would like to have most that accomplished by the end of the calendar year."

In fact, a handful of Lewiston people are already driving to work in Eden Prairie, he said.

December 02, 2010

Kwik action in Roch., Byron, Lewiston and Zumbrota

Kwik Trip Here's some from a recent column item I worked up from a wide ranging chat with Hans Zietlow of Kwik Trip.

A couple of tidbits that didn't make it into print are that the Lewiston Kwik Trip has a re-build in its future, though it won't be quite as big a deal as the Byron deal, which will significantly upgrade that city's C-store.

And Kwik Trip is working on plans for a Zumbrota. It is still early in the process, but it looks like it should get a green light in the spring.


As it digs in for two meaty development projects in Rochester, the big dog in this region's convenience store pack is ready to sink its teeth into a Byron building project.

Kwik Trip, the La Crosse, Wis.-based convenience store and gas station operation, plans to scrape its rapidly aging building in Byron off its foundations this spring, says Hans Zietlow, Kwik Trip real restate guru.

Kwiktripnwdevelopment "Then we'll put in a LEED-certified building with a car wash and more parking," Zietlow says. "Right now, the pumps are so close to the road. We'll move them back."

Before all of that activity kicks off in Byron, Zietlow is laying the groundwork for two projects in the Med City's busy northwest quadrant.

Earlier this year, he announced Kwik Trip's plans for mixed-use developments — 100 acres at 19th Street Northwest and West Circle Drive and 50 acres at Valleyhigh Road and West Circle Drive. The vision is to have streets lined with stores, banks, industrial operations and office buildings, anchored by a Kwik Trip.

07262010kwiktripsign19thstreet "This is the biggest growth corridor within Rochester," Zietlow says. "Unquestionably, there will be a grocery store on one of the two sites, if not both."

Kwik Trip finished buying the Valleyhigh land earlier this month, and it is closing on the 19th Street land this week.

"When we own all of the land, then we can much more actively market it," he says.

Work with local officials to map out the details is underway, with hopes to be able to start moving dirt in the summer and begin construction in 2012.

June 22, 2009

Walgreens firming up fast

062209walgreensonbroadwayjk The new south Rochester Walgreens store with additional commercial space is shaping up fast across from the Olmsted County Fairgrounds.

Went by there today and was impressed by the amount of activity cooking along under the humid sky.

Here's a quick snap of this morning's construction.

Now the question is when will demolition and construction of the Civic Center Drive store on the International Buffet space begin?

June 19, 2009

Last day for Lewiston grocery

Here's some from a good piece by my colleague John Weiss about the last day of Lewiston's only grocery store. Find the full story here.

Nearly all the 24 Malt-O-Meal bins were empty, refrigerated dairy cases had but a few gallons of milk, many shelves of Wiens Food Center were bare Friday.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, the only grocery store in Lewiston will close. Scott Wiens, who owns it with his wife LouAnn, said he can’t get enough business with the store its present size and can’t afford to expand to compete with bigger stores nearby. 


Any remaining food will be sold to Mike’s, another independent grocery store, in St. Charles.

It means people will have to drive at least 12 miles or more for most of their groceries.

But three people at the store Friday said the closing means more than extra driving time. It means a harder time to raise money for FFA, fewer jobs and a harder time for Vickie Luehmann to bake Christmas cookies.

For Natalie Schumann, the closing means she will have more time on her hands this summer. She will be a senior at Lewiston-Altura High School next year and planned to work at Wiens again this summer. 

Vickie Luehmann said she began shopping there since it opened 18 years ago. “Certainly it’s a loss to our community,” she said. “Scott really bent over backwards to get things.”

June 14, 2009

The Mark of Z in S.W. Roch.

Here's a tidbit to keep an eye on:


• This week’s buzz is heavy on the Zzzzs.

Look for a flavorful local business to make its mark on southwest Rochester soon, just like a masked hero with a sword.

And to add to this recipe the opportunity for bringing back spice and vitality to a spot previously known as being green. That was before it blackened and withered away.

May 14, 2009

Change coming to Lewiston?

The buzz is that change is on the way for a business in Lewiston.

I'm checking this out, but it could be nothing. Or it could be something.

I guess we'll find out.