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6 posts categorized "Outdoor business"

June 12, 2012

More RVs roll into Rochester

A new name in RVs and trailers has rolled into Rochester to help people get out of town and on the road.

Fridley-based Hilltop Trailer Sales opened a dealership near the Rochester International Airport on June 1. This is the first time the 61-year-old Hilltop has ever opened a second location, says general sales manager Mike Pearo.

Digi44866057"This is a great opportunity for us," he says. "We've looked at the Rochester market as a good spot to expand for a long time. We're really excited about this."

When Curtis Letsche of Rochester's long-time Curtis Camper Sales recently decided it was time to retire, it opened a door for Hilltop. It is now operating at the former Curtis location at 7050 11th Ave. S.W.

Hilltop sells new Jayco towable RVs, used recreation vehicles, parts and offers full service for trailers and RVs.

Also like Curtis Camper Sales, Hilltop is a family-owned business that was started by his grandfather in 1951. Now in its third generation, Hilltop is owned and operated by Pearo, his two brothers and their father.

The dealership has six on staff but plans to bring the Rochester team up to 10 to 12 employees.

An upgrade of the facilities is also in the works, though that is on the back burner until camper season is over.

Hilltop is not the only RV dealer that saw an opportunity in the Med City. Noble RV, of Owatonna, recently opened its own location between Rochester and Stewartville.

That puts Hilltop's new project very near Noble's brand new dealership. Is there enough recreational vehicle business to go around?

"I think it is a big enough market definitely with room for both us," says Pearo. "Competition is good. They are a good dealer and a good group of people. I think it will a benefit for Rochester and the people of southern Minnesota area to have two additions like Hilltop and Noble there."

June 04, 2012

New owner is cooking at Lake Zumbro bar and grill

There's a new name heating things up on Lake Zumbro this summer.

John Stancyk, the local creator of Uncle John's Bloody Mix, bought the Party Cove Bar and Grill from Jim and Connie Hasley on May 22. By May 23, Stancyk was already cooking at the renamed Uncle John's Bar and Grill at 12510 Oak Lodge Lane, near King's Marina.

"I've looked at restaurants and resorts for more than 25 years. I've always loved to cook," he says. "In March, I turned 50. I said to myself, 'If you ever going to do that, you'd better do it now or it is not going to happen.' I just jumped in with both feet."

24756_351410842358_2552278_nAbout five of the former Party Cove staffers made the transition and Stancyk's sister and brother-in-law are also helping get his dream rolling.

Of course, because Uncle John is in the kitchen, look for his Bloody Marys at the bar.

"I figure if you are going to have a bar and you are already selling Bloody Marys, you might as well combine them," he says.

That means Bloody Mary specials during the new afternoon hours as things get rolling. The bar logo also comes from the Uncle John's mix label.

LakezumbroareaHowever, Uncle John's Bar and Grill is about a lot more than just a drink. "We've kept the menu with its burgers and broasted chicken mostly the same for now, but we'll be doing some more changes. I'm more into home-cooked comfort foods," he says.

He plans to try out food specials to jazz up the menu, like deep-fried fresh asparagus. Another one — pulled pork made with his special rub — seems to be hit already. "I've sold about 120 pounds of it in the last week," Stancyk says.

To top it off, he has his own Uncle John's barbecue sauce. The hope is to start bottling the barbeque sauce to add to his Uncle John's line of products.

Since he has so much cooking on Lake Zumbro right now, that project might be on the back burner for the moment.

"We've expanded the hours. We're still closed on Monday and Tuesday, But we open at 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday now. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we open at noon," Stancyk says.

September 19, 2011

Chef by, taxidermist by night - Roch. man's career path

When Mark Kranz tells people about his career change, the reactions range from stunned to jokes.

"They always get a really shocked look," he says with a chuckle.

Fishing & hunting After spending most of his adult life working in Rochester restaurants as a chef, he recently went to school to learn a new trade.

Now he is supplementing his day job cooking for the Creative Cuisine restaurants, like 300 First and Newt's, in Rochester with a new sideline business.

After serving up walleye for diners for years, he now is stuffing and airbrushing trophy fish for sport fishers as well as preparing displays of other animals like deer and turkeys.

Kranz recently put together his own home-based business, Gray Ghost Taxidermy.

"Chef by day, taxidermist by night," he says lightly, knowing full well how that spurs puzzled looks.

How does this happen, going from stuffing peppers and mushrooms to stuffing bobcats and pheasants?

It's easier to explain than you might think.

156046 Besides his interest in cooking, he is a longtime outdoorsman with a love of hunting. Kranz is also an artist, who uses an airbrush and other methods to create pieces.

Once when he took a trophy deer to a taxidermist, Kranz found himself thinking that he might be able to do a better job.

"It just kind of popped into my head," he says.

That thought led him to a leading taxidermy school. After a few years living on the East Coast, he and his wife recently moved back to Rochester.

Now he is getting ready for the hunting season with hopes of creating displays of fish, big bucks and just about anything else people might want prepared.

While he continues to work in the culinary arts at restaurants, Kranz sees his side gig as creating a different kind of art.

"Besides all of the blood and guts and working with the stinky dead fish … and all of that, when it comes time to put it up on the wall, you smile and say it was all worth it," he says.

April 02, 2011

Springing into the warm weather

With the beautiful weather that has descended upon Rochester this weekend, I thought I might remind folks of this column item:

SilverlakebikerentalForget about spotting robins, baby bunnies or flowers as signs of spring finally arriving.

  The undeniable sign of spring in Rochester is an open sign hanging at Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rentals.

And that sign will go up at 11 a.m. Friday, which is April 1.

Aaron Richard says his outdoor recreation landmark is ready to launch for another season.

Since he took over business in 2007, Richard has added new features every year.

This year's additions are two side-by-side two-person bikes as well as one four-person cycle.

He says he decided to add the unorthodox cycles after test driving around the lake and determining they were safe as well as fun.

Richard also rents standard adult and children bikes, tandem bikes, canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. He also has small putt-putt golf course on the shore of Silver Lake.

May 21, 2010

Putting on the banks of Silver Lake

05212010silverlakeboatbikerentalputtputt1 Beside boating and biking, Rochester's Silver Lake Park now also sports putt-putt golf as an another outdoor activity.

Aaron Richard, who opened Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rentals in 2007, teed up a new 9-hole mini-golf course this weekend. It costs $3 to play 9 holes and $5 for 18.

Leasing space from the city, Richard built the putt-putt course by his boat and bike rental booth near Silver Lake Drive.

05212010silverlakeboatbikerentalputtputt2 "We want to keep on expanding. This is our next move," he says. "We want to keep adding fun, inexpensive things for people to do here."

Other recent additions to his offerings are renting kayaks and tandem bicycles. He also has electric paddle boats, canoes and standard adult and childrens bikes for rent.

March 24, 2010

True sign of spring on Silver Lake

Silverlakeboats Here's what I watch for each year to tell me that spring is starting.

Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rentals will be officially open for the season on Thursday, April 1.

That means you'll be able to rent a paddle boat or bike when the relatives are around for Easter.

This business is owned and run by the industrious Aaron Richard.