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1327 posts categorized "Retail news"

April 18, 2014

Downtown building sells for $771,000

Yet another building in Rochester's downtown core sold recently.

20140418_141438The 129-year-old building at 325 South Broadway was  purchased for $771,500 on May 26 by RGA of Rochester. RGA is a group of local investors that includes Paul Armon of Armon Architecture, Inc. and Peter and Paul Gerrard of La Crosse, Wis.-based Gerrard Co. 

Gerrard Co. developed the nearby multi-million dollar Metropolitan Market Place complex that houses the popular People's Food Cooperative as well as 62 apartments at First Avenue and Sixth Street Southwest in September.

20140418_141616The company is also working on a new Rochester apartment complex along 8 1/2 Avenue Northwest.

Unlike other recent downtown purchases, Armon and the Gerrards don't seem to have immediate development plans for that site. Their local offices are based in the building. Armon Architecture and Gerrard Cos. have been tenants there since May, 2012.

John Hasseler, a jewelry, goldsmith and artist, opened Broadway Jewelry and Visual Arts in the storefront retail space there in 2012. Prior to that, Cheri's Boutique was based there and Carson's Framing before that.

RGA bought the building, which was constructed in 1885, from the estate of Harold Perry. Perry purchased in 1999 for $185,000.

This is just one many downtown real estate purchases in recently months.

Bloom International Realty, based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, bought the seven-story Associated Bank Building at 206 S. Broadway for $7 million in September.

• Local investors paid $3 million for the Riverside Building at 400 S Broadway and two other buildings along a two-block stretch of South Broadway from Fourth Street to Sixth Street last summer.

• The 63-year-old youth theater building at 12 Fourth St. S.W. was bought for $400,000 in August by AC Acquisitions LLC of Rochester, a Titan Development & Investments company.

April 02, 2014

New Roch. Menards to open April 8

Rochester's new northside Menards store will open its doors at 6:30 a.m. April 8.

The newly completed $12 million store near the intersection of U.S. 52 and 65th Street Northwest will replace its old store at 5150 U.S. 52 North. That store is prepared to shift to close-out mode and will remain open for a while after the 65th Street store opens.

Menards also has a south Rochester store at 3000 S. Broadway.

The new 90,000-square-foot store is on 35 acres, with an additional 40 acres available for development by other businesses. Planned for years, the project wMenards-Logoas delayed while waiting for a proposed U.S. 52 interchange at 65th Street Northwest to be built. The interchange recently was constructed with funding from a portion of the local-option sales tax revenue.

“We appreciate all the loyal customers who continued to shop at Menards through the years and
look forward to opening this new store," store manager Eric Ritter said in a company announcement. "Everyone has been working really hard for weeks in preparation of opening the doors to better serve the community with all the latest, greatest home improvement products.”

The new store includes a full-service lumber yard, a garden center, appliances, pet supplies and convenience grocery items. An official grand opening for the new store will be scheduled for a later date.

Eau Claire, Wis.-based Menards operates 286 home improvement stores in 14 Midwestern states.

Once the existing Menards facility at 5150 U.S. 52 North closes, two Rochester retailers plan to upgrade the building and move their businesses into it. Jim Sather and Mark Byer, who own the Furniture Superstore Factory Outlet and America's Mattress stores, hope to move forward with that project as soon as possible.

April 01, 2014

Work on new Roch, Scheels store in high gear

The transformation and expansion of the former Sears store into a new Scheels All Sports complex at Rochester is moving at a good clip.

The first pic is from this morning. The 01042014scheelsatapachesecond one is from March 19.

Fargo, N.D.-based Scheels estimates that it will be ready to open in early April 2015. The planned 140,000-square foot store will be larger than the 120,000-square-foot Scheels in Mankato.

It's expected to employ between 120 to 180.

Sears closed in January. The development for the expanded 19032014scheelsatapachestore also includes Apache Mall adding 9,000-square-foot restaurant site on the east side of the city water tower. 

There's no word yet on what restaurant might be planned for that site.

Scheelsmap1"It will still have a fudge and coffee bar and a mini bowling alley. It will carry fashion clothing and shoes for women and men as well as athletic clothing and shoes for men and women. That's all in addition to our the entire hard line of sporting goods," said Scheels' Jason Loney.

This will be the sporting goods chain's 25th store and its fifth in Minnesota.

March 27, 2014

New 24 floor downtown tower takes first step

A proposed 24-story mixed-used complex that would be the second tallest building in Rochester took its first official step forward on Wednesday night.

Broadwayatcenter2The City Planning and Zoning Commission voted to support Titan Development's preliminary plan for the Broadway at Center project. It's slated to be built on South Broadway and East Center Street, just north of Broadway Residence and Suites by BridgeStreet.

"This is a unique project," said designer Hal Henderson of HGA, Inc. to the commission members. "It will be one of the top-quality buildings in downtown."

The 411,000-square-foot Broadway at Center will include retail and restaurants, a 184-unit Embassy Suites Hotel on 11 floors, 84 apartments on six floors and underground parking. It also will feature a landscaped terrace on the third floor.

Broadwayatcenter3"It adds a significant amount of needed retail to the downtown," said Henderson.

Titan anticipates the project will fit with the goals of the Destination Medical Center initiative and will be able to "leverage" city funds to help finance it, Henderson said.

The preliminary plan for the "incentive development" will move on to the Rochester City Council for its approval. Titan, which is spearheaded by Rochester developers Andy and Gus Chafoulias, then will be cleared to fine-tune the project and bring a final version of the plan back to the zoning commission and City Council for the official green light to move ahead.

While some planning commission members, such as Lindsey Meek and Wade Goodenberger, had suggestions for minor improvements, the group overall was supportive of the preliminary plan.

Broadwayatcenter1"Redevelopment is long overdue on that corner," said commission member Nick Campion.

Some details still need to be finalized, including working out a plan with the city for a private-public parking ramp, vacating the alley that runs behind the current buildings and hammering out the details of the complex's connections to the skyway system.

Negotiations are underway with city staff about the proposed parking ramp, which will be connected to Broadway at Center by skyway, said Henderson.

"Plans for the parking structure are lagging behind," he acknowledged. "It's very complicated."

An application to vacate a portion of the alley was filed with the city recently. Commission member Michael Walters voiced mild concern about approving the preliminary plan before the alley issue was resolved. In the end, he was satisfied with Titan's explanations and backed the plan contingent on the eventual finalizing of the alley issue.

"Actually, we're only asking to vacate a portion of the alley. … We will leave an alley there. It will just be re-positioned," said Henderson.

The proposal calls for the alley to be "bridged" by the parking structure. It will remain open for use by the public.

Titan's working out a plan with Broadway Residence and Suites to establish a skyway link to the south between the two buildings. The project proposal states that Broadway at Center will have skyway connections in all four directions. Beside the south skyway, it also will be able to connect west across Broadway, east to the parking ramp and north "for future development."

Assuming everything goes according to plan, demolition of the buildings that house CJ's Midtown Lounge, Ginny's Fine Fabrics and Jakobson Management Co. could happen this summer, with construction beginning late summer or early fall, said Mark Steege, the chief financial officer of Titan Ventures, the parent company for Titan Development.

The tenants are expected to move out in the next couple of weeks, he said.

Steege attended the meeting with Gus Chafoulias, the chairman of the board for Titan. Royal Management President Imad A Baker of Washington, D.C., was also at the meeting, Royal Management developed the 26-story Broadway Residence and Suites in 2004.

Olive oil shop + fashion boutique

Sometimes oil does mix well.

Stillwater Olive Oil Co. is reviving its downtown Rochester presence by moving in with Exquisite Leather, Luggage and Furs on Historic Third Street.

03262014exquisite"It's kind of a good fit. Lots of women who shop at the boutique also buy from us," says co-owner Ginger Zehm. "There's a lot of overlap."

Lisa Irhke, who owns the three Exquisite Leather boutiques in Rochester, agrees that the two retailers have a lot in common. Irhke opened the 1,600-square-foot store at 20 Third St. S.W. last year. Since then she has found that the boutique doesn't need all of the available space. Stillwater Oil is crafting its own niche within the store that will be about the same size as its previous spot in Rochester.

StillwaterOliveOil440Zehmn hopes to re-open Stillwater Olive Oil by April 1 within Exquisite Leather. The olive oil shop and the fashion boutique will "share" staff with Exquisite Leather's employees being trained to sell the oil and vinegars.

She and co-owner Holly Arps started with their original shop in Stillwater in 2010. They followed their success there by opening a second location in Rochester within the Kahler Hotel in 2011. That earned them a number of Med City foodie fans who were attracted to the wide selection of high-end, flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

"Then there were lots of changes at Kahler. We needed a change," she says. "But we wanted to stay in downtown."

Stillwater Oil's Kahler shop closed at the start of this month to prepare for the transition to Historic Third Street. Manager Tony Miller since has moved on to work at Cook's Pantry, a culinary specialty store in southwest Rochester.

March 19, 2014

FirstTech pulls the plug on its Roch. store

FirstTech, the Apple computer store that opened just six months ago in Rochester's Apache Mall, closed its doors for good on Wednesday.

FirstTechclosingsignEmployees say their bosses closed the doors and changed the locks at 11 a.m. and then told the staff about the closing. FirstTech employed 15 people, including the store manager, in Rochester.

A sign on the door of the 3,100-square-foot store said the Rochester location, as well as the main FirstTech store in Minneapolis, are both closing due to lack of profitability.

A FirstTech email said staff will remain at the Rochester store through the end of the week for customers to pick-up orders and/or equipment that had been left there for repairs or maintenance. A doorbell was installed on the store's door. The sign said to ring the bell to arrange pick-up. It also stated that the store will be staffed for pick-ups from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A sticker next to the sign showed that the store was closed, when FedEx came by to pick-up packages from the store.

While the Rochester store is mostly shut down, the Minneapolis FirstTech store will remain open until the end of the month.

The email included this explanation for the abrupt closing, "Over the last two years in particular, the market changes in our industry have been rapid and dramatic. Competition has increased and margins have decreased making it more and more difficult to run our business profitably and still provide the high level of service we are known for."

More details are expected to be posted on the FirstTech website on Thursday.

FirstTech, which described itself as Minnesota's "leading Apple specialist," has sold and serviced Apple equipment, since 1977. It claims to be the oldest reseller of Apple products in the world.

Prior to the Oct. 12 opening of the Apache Mall store, General Manager and Co-owner Pete Paulsen was very optimistic about the project.

"We've done a lot of market research and Rochester is probably the most exciting market in the area. There are great things going on in Rochester and we think it's a great opportunity for us," he said.

March 05, 2014

Sam's Club planning 2nd Rochester store

After years of unofficial buzz, retail giant Walmart confirmed this week that it wants to open a second Sam's Club store in Rochester.

No details, such as where it could be located or when it might be built, are yet available from the Bentonville, Ark.-based company. Rochester currently has a pair of Walmart Supercenter stores on the north and south sides of the city as well as a Sam's Club warehouse store by the north location.
6a00d83451cc8269e201774450e4eb970d-800wi-2
There has long been talk that a south Sam's Club complex could be built in the Shoppes on Maine area, possibly near the 48th Street exit.

“We are always looking for opportunities to better serve our Rochester customers and are making plans to add a second Sam’s Club to serve the growing need among area customers who want to buy wholesale merchandise in bulk at affordable prices,” stated Delia Garcia, Walmart's director of communications by email this week.

Walmart opened its 136,000-square-foot north Sam's Club at 3410 55th St. N.W. in 1993 along with its north Walmart store. The south Walmart store opened in 2000, along South U.S. 63.

Sam's Club was Rochester's sole warehouse member store until Costco opened its own 150,000-square-foot discount club store plus gas station here in 2012. Rochester's Sam's Club underwent a $3.5 million remodel just months after Costco's opening.

While Walmart is the undisputed champion in the discount retail niche, Costco is the leader in the  $390 billion warehouse club industry. Costco generated $102 billion in sales last year, while Sam's Club tallied $57 billion in revenue.

The recent excitement spurred by Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative has drawn more developers and chains here.

While the city has grown, one retail expert doesn't believe that it's large enough yet to justify Sam's Club adding a second store.

"It makes no sense at all," commented David P. Brennan, a professor of marketing at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and co-director of the university's Institute for Retailing Excellence. "In regard to Rochester because of its size and relative ease of getting around, you don't need two stores to cover a market that size.It just doesn't make sense."

Sam's Club has nine stores in the Twin Cities area and each does about $65 million to $75 million in business a year, according to Brennan. Costco has six stores in the metro region. Each of its stores move an estimated $120 million to $130 million in merchandise a year.

Walmart's plan is to open between 17 to 22 new clubs this fiscal year. It's also planning to ramp up its presence in China. However, it also plans to cut about 2,300 jobs at Sam's stores.

While he believes Rochester is "more of a Costco market than a Sam's market," Brennan concedes that the larger southeastern Minnesota area might be a different story.

"In terms of regional draw, Sam's may be a better fit for that," he said.

February 28, 2014

Furniture seller to move into Roch.'s empty Best Buy store

A well-known Minnesota furniture retailer has plans to open to new store in Rochester.

Schneiderman’s Furniture has signed a lease to take over the empty 30,991-square-foot store at 4540 Maine Ave. S.E., says Larry Schneiderman, who leads the firm's board. His company is leasing the space from Best Buy, which closed its south Rochester store there in 2012.

BestbuyDarci Fenske of Paramark Real Estate brokered the lease deal to bring furniture business to Rochester's Shoppes on Maine commercial development.

Schneiderman’s is a third generation, family-owned business with four stores in the Twin Cities and one in Duluth. It was founded by Larry Schneiderman's parents, and now his son, Jason Schneiderman, is the president of the business.

This will be the company's first foray into southern Minnesota.

The elder Schneiderman explains that he and his son Jason started researching options for expansion last year. Specifically, they were looking for a strong market within range of their distribution center in Woodbury, Minn. It didn't take long for Rochester to rise to the top of the list.

"It's a solid market, but also a solid city. We're really looking forward to opening in Rochester," says Larry Schneiderman. "Of course, there's the exciting things in the works for Rochester that we've all been reading about. But we think it's a good decision to be there, whether that all happens or not."

While the plans still are in the early stages, he hopes to open the new store early this summer. An estimated 16 to 20 employees are expected to staff it.

"We would like to, obviously, move as quickly as we can," Scheiderman says.

The first step will be to remove the building's distinctive Best Buy yellow and blue price tag facade. Then the interior will be completely overhauled "from the floor up to the lights," he said.

As real estate sales and home construction start to climb as the economy improves and the Destination Medical Center initiative begins to attract developers, competition is beginning to heat up in the furniture market.

Jim Sather and Mark Byer, who own Rochester's Furniture Superstore Factory Outlet and America's Mattress stores, have finalized plans to combine both of their stores into the soon-to-be-empty Menards facility at 5150 U.S. 52 North. The plan is open the mega-store this summer.
  
Not far from the site of Schneiderman's new location, two Rochester couples are working to open the independent Deutsch Furniture Haus in a 7,000-square-foot space at 3551 Commercial Drive Northwest in early April. It will specialize in local Amish-made furniture.

January 27, 2014

Local Amish-made furniture store to open in southwest Roch.

A new store, specializing in local Amish-made furniture, is on its way to southwest Rochester.

Deutsch Furniture Haus is expected to open in a 7,000-square-foot space at 3551 Commercial Drive Southwest in early April. The space they are leasing is in the old Mill's Fleet Farm building along South U.S. 63. ApplianceSmart occupies the rest of the complex.

OldfleetfarmTwo Rochester couples, Brian and Michelle Rand along with Philip and Nissa Kraling, are launching this independent venture. Brian Rand and Philip Kraling are brothers, so this will be family-owned and run operation.

This is not something totally new for them. As a sideline, Brian Rand has been selling the work of local Amish furniture makers for the past five years online. Now he and his family think it's time for a full-time, bricks-and-mortar operation.

"We think there's a need for a store with quality built furniture in Rochester," says Michelle Rand.

The store will be staffed by family members.

Deutsch Furniture Haus will carry a wide selection bedroom, living room, dining room and nursery/children's furniture. All of the furniture will be made in the area plus some brought in from Indiana.

"It's a nice sized showroom. Right now it's in the middle of a complete remodel," she says.

To be respectful of the furniture makers' beliefs, the new store will not be open on Sundays. That's also the reason why Amish was not included in the store's name.

They also hope to have some of the craftsmen visit the store on occasion to answer customers' questions.

January 21, 2014

Apache Mall applies to develop Scheels store, new restaurant

Here's some from an article I have in today's paper about Scheels, Sears, the Apache Mall plus plans for a new stand-alone restaurant by the water tower in front of the mall.

The full article will be on www.postbulletin.com and, of course, in print.

-------------

The hole left by the departure of Sears from Apache Mall appears likely to be filled by a Scheels All Sports store.

Plans to expand the mall's anchor spot to make way for the popular sporting retailer were submitted to the Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department last week. The plans also call for construction of a stand-alone restaurant nearby.

Scheelsmap1The plans show the now-closed two-story Sears store being partially demolished and expanded to 149,000 square feet for Scheels. Construction could close the mall parking lot roadway in front of the store, which would require a temporary road.

The development proposal also includes a new 9,000-square-foot restaurant building on the north side of the mall roadway near the Scheels project. The proposed building would be on the east side of the city water tower. While it's labeled as a restaurant, no specific name appears in the documents.
Scheelsmap2
Officials from the Apache Mall declined to comment on either the Scheels project or the new restaurant. On Friday, Jason Loney, Scheels' vice president of store development, said a final agreement had not been finalized between the North Dakota retailer and the mall. It's not unusual for participants in a development deal to delay signing until all official approvals are obtained