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August 11, 2016

The end is near for Rochester's Nelson Cheese

After more than 30 years of selling sandwiches on Rochester's Broadway, Nelson Cheese Factory is planning to call it quits.

LsHowever, the exact closing date of the small deli at 210 North Broadway still is being determined.


"I'm not sure yet when it will close … maybe next week," owner Ed Greenheck on Wednesday. "I do know that soon there will no longer be a Nelson Cheese Factory in Rochester."


Greenheck is hoping to find a buyer to step in and re-open it as a di Nelsoncheeseclippingfferent eatery. The deli has two employees in the small spot in the Disons Cleaners building on North Broadway.

He cited several reasons for the closure, including the high
er costs of doing business in Rochester as well as Minnesota, competing with Mayo Clinic to hire employees and focusing more on the growth of their Wisconsin locations.


Rochester's Nelson Cheese is a satellite of the 158-year-old cheese factory in Nelson, Wis. The Greenheck family opened the Med City shop in the 1980s. It was located at 506 N. Broadway until an expansion of Marigold Foods, now Kemps, forced them to move.

The deli reopened at 210 N. Broadway in 1988, where it has served Mr. T and Old Fashioned sandwiches ever since.

August 10, 2016

Back in the groove - the return of vintage vinyl

Vintage vinyl is back on Rochester's Broadway.

It all started when Hussein "Huss" Esmailzadeh began selling old records in his Man Cave Consignment store in the 21th Century Building at 2130 S. Broadway. It didn't take long until the growing popularity of vintage vinyl overshadowed everything else in his store.

"I decided to split off and open Rochester Records. I'm phasing the Man Cave out of the physical store and moving it online," said Esmailzadeh.

Products--element32He's re-organizing the building, which he owns, to open up about 2,000 square feet for the record store. While the change is in process, he is open and has about 7,000 to 8,000 records, CDs, cassettes and DVDs available for sale. 

Rochester Records also offers an album locator for people looking for any particular disc from the past.

Esmailzadeh expects to really turn up the volume soon. A consignment dealer out of the Twin Cities is bringing down about 50,000 records to sell in the near future. He also is lining up eight-track tapes, reel-to-reel movies and other vintage media for the store.

Next to him, Rochester's Just for Kix dance studio is moving in and preparing to start classes in September. The studio previously was located downtown in the Conley Maass building, which has been renovated into office space and for a new restaurant, the Bleu Duck Kitchen.

The return of vinyl brings back memories of when Rochester had several chain music stores as well independent ones carrying used records and CDs, like Broadway Records and Face The Music

 

August 05, 2016

Longtime Rochester printer is on the move

After 30 years in the same location, a Rochester printing company is planning to move to a new home.

Paper & Graphics Inc., a division of Smyth Cos., has a new 15,000-square-foot office under construction at Suite 400 of the Sienna Squarecommercial building, at 2711 Commerce Dr. NW, according to Smyth owner and director Bill Hickey.

"We're hoping to be in there in September," he said. "We think there will be a lot of good exposure there. It will be a fresh, new place organized to fit our needs."

6a00d83451cc8269e201b8d175fbac970c-200wiThe new office along West Circle Drive will put the printer right in the middle of a booming commercial area.

Paper & Graphics long has been based at 1116 Ninth Street NE in a building owned by the business' owners, Tim and Steve Fields. The Fields sold the commercial printing firm to St. Paul-based Smyth in 2015.

The Rochester location has a staff of four, but that is supplemented from Smyth's Austin operations as needed. Hickey says the new office will be large enough to add more staff in Rochester as well as new machinery.

Paper & Graphics specializes in general commercial printing, such as stationary, brochures, booklets, posters, cards and other items.

This move will strengthen Smyth's footprint in southeastern Minnesota. The 138-year-old firm has been printing in Austin, since 1971. Smyth expanded in Austin in 2007, when it built a new 30,800-square-foot facility in the Cook Farm Industrial Park and expanded its other site there. Among other contracts, Smyth prints labels for Hormel Foods in Austin.

Smyth also has locations in Minneapolis, Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Colorado.

 

August 04, 2016

Name of new complex revealed as Flats on Fourth

The Buckeye is out, as is Ovation.

The name of the new 92-unit apartment and retail complex being built on the corner of Fourth Street and Third Avenue Southeast in downtown Rochester has fluctuated during the planning phase. 

F89c28e7467b81cdb720c0c067eca5d3_f252Now that a major hole has been dug across from the Olmsted County Government Center and Rochester City Hall, the developer unveiled the official name for the $15 million project.

Nate Stencil, of Stencil Homes, confirmed Wednesday it is now called Flats on Fourth. The South Dakota developer is driving the project with his partner, Sean A. Kaufhold.

The new name was announced this morning during a public event organized by the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, according to Stencil.

The name was a minor issue in the neighborhood, because some people objected to having it called The Buckeye. The complex is being built on the corner where the longtime Buckeye Liquor store once stood. The store since has moved a little farther south down Third Avenue.

As the project progressed through the early planning stages, the project name was changed to Ovation on Stencil's website. However, it turns out that was just a possible name that was ultimately rejected.

Now, when this complex opens next summer, the name over the door will be Flats on Fourth. 

While they haven't started marketing the space, Stencil says there already has been interest in the ground level retail space in the complex.

"We've had some inquiries on the retail end, but not from the kind of retail we are looking for. We're looking for very specific tenants that will be a good fit for that area," he said.

Stencil recently built and opened two other apartment complexes, Nue52 and Kascade Place. Both are near Rochester's 65th Street Northwest interchange across U.S. 52 from the North Menards store. 

Another Rochester apartment project by Stencil, The Pines, still is under construction. Once Flats on Fourth and The Pines open, Stencil will own 463 apartments in Rochester. 

 

August 03, 2016

$5 million renovation on way for Rochester apartment complex

IMG_0128A Rochester development group led by Andy Chafoulias purchased the Northgate Plaza apartment complex at 902 11th Ave. NW last week for $7.6 million. The New Northgate Plaza Limited Partnership group bought it from a group led by Gus Chafoulias, Andy's father.

Now that the sale is done. the younger Chafoulias is planning a major renovation of the 37-year-old complex estimated at $5.2 million.

Northgate Plaza offers 151 units for seniors and people with disabilities.

I'll have a more detailed piece on this soon.

 

Baby steps - Diaper store grows up

They grow up so quickly.

Vicki Walker's one-year-old business, Pockets & Pins cloth diapers and accessories, has outgrown its storefront at 324 Elton Hills Drive NW in theValhalla Plaza.

"We're out of room. We really need more space," Walker said.

13909218_1738849196383086_4215152734666310767_oThe growing popularity of the cloth diapers and other more natural new baby products has spurred a growth spurt for the one-woman Rochester business.

Walker has lined up a new, 1,029-square-foot spot in Suite 1 on the ground floor of the tan stucco house-like commercial building at 521 N. Broadway, next to Broadway Car Care. The building is owned by Rochester Realtor Amy Lantz.

"It's at least double the size of the current store," she said.

Look for Pockets & Pins to toddle to its new home at the start of September, exactly one year since Walker first opened the doors of her den of diapers in Valhalla Plaza. 

She plans to use the additional space to expand her store's offerings.

"I'm bringing in more natural items for a new pregnancy and postpartum section," Walker said. "And I plan to add maternity clothes to the consignment section."

Did she expect to have outgrown her first store within a year?

"Actually, this is kind of what I planned from the beginning. I'm kind of right on track," Walker said. 

 

July 26, 2016

Golden Corral has not tied up a Med City spot

Don't expect a return of the Golden (Corral) age in the Med City.

An announcement about the Golden Corral all-you-can-eat restaurant chain taking over ex-Old Country Buffet spaces in the Twin Cities had local buffet buffs celebrating last week. Rochester was mentioned as a candidate because it has its own empty ex-OCB spot.

Old-country-buffet-2While it looks as though the restaurant going into the open spot at 1300 Salem Road SW will be a buffet, the word is it won't be a Golden Corral.

Darci Fenske, of Paramark Real Estate, says she has brokered a lease deal for the restaurant space in the TJ Maxx & More Plaza. It sounds as if Golden Corral might have put in one of the nine bids for OCB space. If so, it didn't win.

4fc28fb6f45f1467382372-golden-corralThe Twin Cities restaurateur who has locked up the spot still is working out his plan for the future restaurant, so he is keeping his plans under wraps for the moment.

The unconfirmed buzz is that he may be working on some version of an American/Chinese buffet.

Old Country abruptly shuttered its Rochester eatery in Chamberb 044early March, along with a number of ones in the Twin Cities area, as part of its bankruptcy. The large restaurant at 1300 Salem Road SW has stood empty since then.

That left a hole in Rochester's food lineup similar to what happened when the beloved Golden Corral closed its restaurant at 2775 43rd St. NW in 2007.

The popular buffet chain had operated there for six years, until the owners revamped it into Gorilla's Sports Bar and Grill. After some attempts to change and find more customers, Gorilla's closed in 2010.

July 22, 2016

New leader to take reins at Stewartville's Geotek

One of Stewartville's largest employers will have a new CEO at the helm.

Geotek, which makes fiberglass products for the electric utility and fence markets, has named Ben Wiltsie its new chief executive officer. Wiltsie will replace Dale Nordquist, who is stepping down after six years and will become chairman of the board. 

Wiltsie, who was chosen after a comprehensive succession planning process and a yearlong search, will start work on Aug. 1. He previously served as the director of marketing and business Development for Winona-based RTP Co.

Slide6Nordquist will replace Pat Mitchell, who is retiring, as chairman of the board.

Geotek, which employs about 150 people, has more than doubled its facilities and increased its revenue by 120 percent during Nordquist's tenure as CEO.

It is considered the market leader in its niche of pultrusion fiberglass products for the electrical utilities and for agriculture fencing. The utilities industry's use of fiberglass arms over wood or metal is growing, and demand is expected to continue to grow.

The fiberglass product manufacturer built a new 41,674-square-foot facility next to its existing 54,000-square-foot plant in 2011.

In 2016, Geotek won the Best Place to Work Award from the Southeast Minnesota Workforce Development Board.

Conrad F. Fingerson and Amy L. Donahoe originally launched Geotek in 1991 in Rushford. They moved it to Stewartville in 1994. In 2009, they sold it to St. Cloud-based Granite Equity Partners.

In 2010, Norquist was brought on as president and CEO. He previously served in the same role for well-known southeastern Minnesota manufacturer Zareba Systems.

July 12, 2016

Civic Inn = The Parker

07122016theparker 6a00d83451cc8269e2011570b90dd1970b-800wiThe new sign is up across from the Post-Bulletin for The Parker, the transformed Civic Inn.

The 96-year-old building at 101 East Center St. has been transformed and upgraded in the past few months.

A grand opening for the "dorm-style" complex with 62 units is slated for Friday.

July 11, 2016

Taco truck owners follow dream to open restaurant

This is the second food truck/cart to lock down a brick and mortar home in Rochester in recent days.

---------

Sometimes a dream becomes reality.

Earlier this year, Mario and Maria Mollina launched a taco truck on Rochester's North Broadway with their daughter, Jennifer Gordon. They call it Tacos El Sueno. El Sueno translates to The Dream.

Now the family is working to take their dream to the next level. They are opening a permanent Rochester restaurant called El Sueno Tacoreria at 1203 Seventh St. NW. That's across from the Northgate Center retail plaza.

07112016elsueno"This has been my father's dream for a long time," said Gordon. "Hopefully, we'll open within a month or so."

The Tacos El Sueno truck now serves a basic array of tacos and burritos, but Gordon said that menu will expand significantly 

"With the food truck, we're limited with what we can do. We'll be adding a lot more choices in the restaurant. My mother has a lot more homemade recipes," she said.

Once the restaurant opens, it will seat about 50 diners. The Molina family will staff it.

What will happen to their popular taco truck at 1005 N Broadway Ave. when the restaurant opens?

That's not clear yet, said Gordon. They really enjoy operating the truck, but the first priority will be staffing the restaurant. If they can't staff both, the truck will go dark until they can do both.