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1367 posts categorized "Retail news"

August 26, 2015

O&B Shoes to stroll to new home this weekend

Downtown Rochester will see a major migration of Mary Janes, moccasins, mukluks and more this weekend as a crew of between 20 to 30 people march a mountain of shoes to a new storefront.

O&B Shoes will hit the sidewalk this weekend as staff, family and friends move more than $61,000 in shoes, boots and sandals less than a block to the store's new downtown home.

08262015newobshoes"It's going to be a total team effort," said owner Don "Sole Man" Hadley. "We're excited about it. It's going to be a new adventure for me, my staff and my customers."

If everything goes as planned, O&B should re-open on Monday or possibly Tuesday.

O&B Shoes, which has been a downtown feature for 82 years, is moving north from its long-time spot on the corner of 100 First Ave. SW to a new space at 19 First Ave. SW. That's the street-level spot in the Kahler Hotel building where Hanny's Men's Wear operated for decades until that store closed last year. Hanny's still has stores in the Kahler subway.

A crew of between 20 to 30 people is slated to walk the boxes and boxes of footwear to move the 6,000-square-foot storefront. The store will be accessible from the subway, as Hanny's was, although that access won't go through Hanny's store under the space, he said.

O&B shoesO&B, which was founded by Leo Olson and Herbert Bergerson in 1933, has been in its present location since 1976. Its previous downtown spot at 217 Broadway Ave. S. was damaged in a fire.

The prominent spot on the Peace Plaza in the heart of downtown has made O&B a well-known landmark and regular stop for returning Mayo Clinic patients.
08202015cloud9spa
No new tenant for the 100 First Ave. SW storefront has been announced by the building's owner, George Psomas, though signage has gone up for Cloud 9 Spa in the adjacent one. O&B operates its O&B Athletic and O&E (Odds & Ends) Bargain Room in that space on First Avenue. 

August 13, 2015

Local elves bringing Rochester's "real" Santa Claus back to town

Even during the dog days of August, a Christmas miracle could be on the horizon for Rochester.

For the past 13 years, families have been visiting the "real" Santa Claus at Rochester's Apache Mall. This incarnation of St. Nicholas has developed a close relationship with the Med City during his popular annual visits.

549992e082afc.image"He's the real deal" is how Rochester's Kristine Caballero describes the jolly bearded fellow. "The magic truly is in him."

The depth of his connection to Rochester became apparent last year. His corporate employer, Worldwide Photography, was pushing to have him work 12 hours a day. When he said he could only manage 10 hours a day, the company moved to cut his hours and bring in a part-time Santa.

Parents immediately banned together to "save" Santa by creating a Facebook page to pressure Worldwide and the Apache Mall. The page quickly collected more than 7,000 "likes" and Santa finished the season bolstered by the support of his many fans.

However, when his contract to return to Rochester recently wasn't renewed by Worldwide, it looked like this Christmas carol might end on a sour note. The Texas-based company did not share the reason behind not bringing him back, though some have speculated that it could be a backlash reaction to the Save Santa campaign.

"It was a hard, emotional hit," said Santa, also known as Jerry Julian, of not being hired to return to Rochester. "Does this mean I just disappear for the families expecting to see me? In my heart, I didn't think it was right to abandon children and families."

Kim Bradley, Apache Mall manager, had no direct comment about this situation other than to say that the mall have a Santa Claus available starting on Nov. 19.

"We're looking forward to a great holiday season," she said.

When the rejected long-time Santa shared the situation with some of his friends in Rochester, Caballero, Melissa Eggler and others leaped into action to find an alternative way to bring him back for the holidays.

"His desire to come back is so great. I told him that 'You don't need corporate to bring you in here. This community loves you,'" said Caballero.

On Monday, the owners of the Miracle Mile Shopping Center agreed to provide a storefront for Santa by the ABC Toy Zone shop. He will appear there from the third week of November through Christmas Eve. While he might end up working with a photographer, the current plan is to allow families to take their own photos and accept donations.

"I'm really humbled by this," said Santa. "It's a gamble and there are still a lot of loose ends, but I know this is the job that the good Lord wants me to do."

Now Santa's helpers are working to raise money to cover Santa's basic travel and living expenses. They launched a GoFundMe campaign this week that has already brought in $260 in pledges. The money they raise is targeted just for basic expenses. Santa says anything raised by the GoFundMe campaign beyond his expenses will be donated to Rochester's Ronald McDonald House.

Caballero added that even her young son feels it's important to bring this Santa back to Rochester.

"He had heard us talking and asked about it. He said, 'But Mom, just think about all of children whose lives will be affected, if he doesn't come,'" she said.

August 11, 2015

New SW grocery store to open in September

The latest entry in Rochester's grocery scene plans to open its doors in mid-September.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has been working on a 14,000-square-foot store at 1507 Greenview Drive SW by Kwik Trip and TJ Maxx Plaza for the past few months.

08112015naturalgrocersThe Golden, Colo.-based specialty grocery chain is planning to open on Sept. 15. Expect a large grand opening event with a couple preview days before for local VIPs.

Natural Grocers built its new store at the corner of Greenview Drive and Salem Road Southwest on a site once slated for a Think Mutual Bank branch. Think changed its strategy and opted to renovate its nearby branch.

This will be Natural Grocers' first store in Minnesota, though the 59-year-old public company operates 84 stores in 14 states, with 10 more stores expected to open soon.

Natural Grocers features organic foods as well as an extensive selection of vitamins and dietary supplements. The chain's website says its stores devote about 30 percent of their shelf space to vitamins, which in turn generates about 30 percent of its revenue.

The new store is the latest player in the increasingly competitive grocery scene in Rochester. Discount grocer Aldi recently opened a second store near Costco in northwest Rochester. Hy-Vee is working on its fourth location, which is slated to open later this year, and it will have a grand reopening of the remodeled 37th Street Northwest store on Aug. 20.

 

July 30, 2015

Posh Boutique opening shop in Rochester

A Sioux Falls, S.D., women's fashion shop is opening a new location in Rochester soon.

Posh Boutique, a clothing store that carries "premium denim and unique fashion lines," plans to open on Saturday in Suite 200 at 123 16th Ave. SW. That's the space between Cherry Berry yogurt and the Rocco Altobelli Salon that last housed the About Face beauty boutique.

Posh BoutiquePosh, which is not connected with Rochester's Posh Facial Esthetics Med Spa, is owned by Sioux Falls natives Jenny Kaiser and Becky Carmody. The new Rochester store will be managed by Suzanne Ledeboer.

On their website, the owners wrote about why they decided to open their second store in Rochester.

"We are very excited about Rochester, because we feel it has many qualities that are similar to Sioux Falls. It has a vibrant downtown and draws people from many surrounding communities. We love that Rochester has all the amenities of a city, but still has a small town feel," they wrote.

In an announcement about the Rochester store, Kaiser explained what shoppers will find in Posh.

"Our clothing lines are unique and many times, exclusive to our store. We really value the relationship we build with our customers, and plan to take the time to get to know the needs and wants of each of them," she wrote. 

June 04, 2015

Furniture Superstore to add used cars to Rochester's 'Car Row'

A little more than a year after turning a former Menards store into the Furniture Superstore, Jim Sather is ready to add used cars to his northwest Rochester facility.

In 2014, Sather and Mark Byer moved their Furniture Superstore and America's Mattress stores into the ex-Menards facility at 5150 U.S. Highway 52 North. Now, Sather has plans to convert the southwest corner of the store's massive parking area into the Auto Superstore, a used car dealership.

Logo"I've been thinking about it for a couple years. This is where all the car dealers are," he said referring to the "Car Row" line of dealerships along the frontage road.

Sather said he hopes to be licensed and ready to open by the end of June. Once licensed, Auto Superstore will start acquiring vehicles with the goal of having about 10 on the lot when it opens.

The dealership will be staffed by two and will use a separate entrance to the store as a base of operations.

As far as the Furniture Superstore goes, Sather says it has done "exceptionally well" since it moved last summer from its original home at 3185 41st St. NW. The opportunity to move to the current location opened up in April 2014, when Menards moved to a newly completed $12 million store near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest.

The independent Furniture Superstore opened in 2003. Sather and Byer added America's Mattress in 2005.

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." 

Boutique owner to open second Rochester shop

A new boutique is bringing its quirky style to downtown Rochester this summer.

Camy Couture is slated to open on June 4 at 112 First Ave. SW, says owner Kim Shea. That's the high-profile spot next to O&B Shoes that previously housed Trademark Uniforms Inc. and About Face prior to that.

Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the deal.

CamycouturedowntownShea opened her first Camy Couture in Rochester's Shoppes of Maine area in 2013. She describes the store as having funky and unique women's fashions for "trendy moms and everybody else" at a reasonable price. It also carries accessories like handbags, scarves and sunglasses.

"We specialize in buying small sets. Once they are gone, they are gone. You don't see everyone around town wearing what you just bought," she said.

Now Shea is launching a second shop in the heart of Rochester's downtown.

"The opportunity came out of absolutely nowhere. It was too hard to pass up this location," she said. "The exposure of being downtown will help both stores."

She assures that new store will have the same "feel" of her at 4270 Maine Ave. S.E. Shea plans to have two on staff downtown. The Shoppes on Maine store is staffed by three, including her.

May 21, 2015

Kwik Trip to build replacement store in South Broadway

Rochester commuters will see double for a while this fall as a new Kwik Trip store is built to replace the existing one on Broadway Avenue South.

Hans Zeitlow, Kwik Trip's chief of real estate, explained that a new convenience store will be built on the north side of its lot at Broadway and 20th Street Southwest. That will put the new store right next to the car wash, which Kwik Trip built in 2012 on the site of the former Starlite Motel.

This project has been on the La Crosse, Wis.-based chain's drawing board for a while. Even the Answer Man noted he had heard aboSouthbroadwaykwiktriput it recently.

"This has always been our intention. We had the plans for the new store when we built the car wash," Zeitlow said. "This is just a matter of upgrading an old facility."

If everything goes according to plan, the current store will remain open during the construction of the new one. Zeitlow expects to be able to offer continuous service at the stores through the transition, though the fuel pumps may be down for a time.

The first phase of this elaborate upgrade dates back to August 2012, when Kwik Trip purchased the adjacent Starlite Motel from local hotelier Ash Patel for $500,000. The 58-year-old, retro-style, 17-room motel was demolished that September.

Howard and Edna Welch built it in 1954. A sister Starlite Motel remains open for business in Wisconsin Dells.

The Rochester Starlite's best known brush with fame is a connection to movie and television actress Lea Thompson. The official biography of the star of "Some Kind of Wonderful, "Howard the Duck" and the "Back to the Future" movies says she lived there in poverty for a while in the early 1960s with her parents and five brothers and sisters.

May 19, 2015

Military surplus shop sets sights on south Rochester

A military surplus store is planning to invade south Rochester this summer.

CC Military Surplus is leasing more than 3,000-square-foot space at 1513 12th St. S.E. in the Eastwood Plaza. Darci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the deal between CC Military Outfitters and the owners of Eastwood Plaza.

CcmilitarytruckCC Military President Rick Michel said he hopes to be able open the store in early July with a staff of five to six employees. It will be next to Apollo Liquor.

The store carries new and surplus military and outdoors gear like tents, outerwear, hats, patches, and manuals as well as paint ball and airsoft guns. It does not carry real firearms.

CC Military also offers a line of children's clothes and toys.

This will be the fifth store – the third in Minnesota – for the Central City, Iowa company. The Rochester store will fit right in the middle of CC Military's geographic footprint.
Eastwoodplaza2
"We love the opportunity to open a store in Rochester. I love Rochester," said Michel.

The surplus stores spun off of CC Manufacturing in Central City in 2002. CC Manufacturing makes tent stakes, pack frames, heavy-duty vehicle jack stands and conveyor bed systems for C-130 military transport planes for the U.S. military.

Michel describes his shop as "not your standard surplus store" with dim lights and tables full of piles of random gear.

"The outdoor enthusiast is our main customer. And we carry clothing and patches for the National Guard and local military," he said.

May 14, 2015

Arrow Ace Hardware to close Byron store

Arrow Ace Hardware, an anchor of Byron Towne Square shopping center, will close this summer.

The store at 1067 Fourth St. NE in Byron is starting its "Going Out of Business" sale today, said owner Dave Neiman. Arrow Ace was one of the first businesses to open in Byron Towne Square, right after construction was completed in 2004.

Arrow Ace owns four Rochester stores, as well as ones in Owatonna, Northfield, Mankato, Shakopee, Chaska and St. Peter.
Arrowacebyron
Neiman said the Byron store's lease was coming up, so they took the opportunity to evaluate the company's strategy in southeastern Minnesota.

"We decided that we want to concentrate our efforts in Rochester. We're having great success in the Rochester market, so we want to continue to capitalize on the growth we are seeing there," he said.

The Byron store will remain open through the Going of Business sale, which may last a few weeks.

Arrow Ace has eight employees in Byron and the company is offering those employees jobs at the four Rochester stores, Neiman said. Arrow, which employs about 40 people in Rochester, has stores in Miracle Mile Shopping Center, Crossroads Shopping Center and Silver Lake Shopping Center and a stand-alone store on 37th Street Northwest.

Oak Brook, Ill.,-based Ace, which supplies the locally-owned stores as cooperatives, now has more than 4,600 locations. It does more $13 billion in sales.