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1345 posts categorized "Retail news"

December 15, 2014

Longtime used book store sells to new owner

The cover and title will remain the same, but the "author" of a local used book shop is changing in the start of 2015.

Erik Olson is taking over the 34-year-old Paperback Book Palace from longtime owner Karen Meyer, who is retiring. The shop is in the Cedarwood Plaza, 4106 18th Ave. N.W.

Store"I see nothing but potential," said Olson, who has been a customer of the shop since it opened in 1980.

While he intends to expand the shop's online presence, Olson has no big changes planned for the business. The store exchanges used paperbacks for in-store credits of 21 percent of the book's original price. Credit slips are good for a year. Those books then go on the shelves priced at 53 percent of the original price.

"She has a very loyal customer base," he said. "This time of year, we're getting a lot of snowbirds coming in to stock up on books for the winter."

Olson says the Paperback Book Palace has about 25,000 books on its shelves in the 800-square-foot shop.

"It's a pretty cozy environment," he said.

Meyer's two part-time employees are staying on with the store. The main change for customers will be that Olson will replace Meyer as the primary face of the store.

He notes that though it has moved three times since opening, the Paperback Book Palace has long been a mainstay of the Rochester business scene.

"With all of the closings lately, I think it's nice to see something stick around," Olson said.

December 03, 2014

Paine Furniture building sold for $1.7 million

New local owners hope to breathe new life into a 129-year-old building in downtown Rochester.

Get_photoOn Nov. 20, local developers Grant Michelitz and Hal Henderson purchased the long-empty former Paine Furniture store site at 313 S. Broadway as well as the 309 S. Broadway building now occupied by Big Brad's on Broadway. The pair acquired the property from Cedric Paine under a Contract for Deed deal for $1.7 million. Michelitz said negotiations for the sale have been ongoing since the Paine Furniture store closed in 2006.

While they plan to upgrade and restore the property, Michelitz says no deals for new tenants have been signed yet.

"The word leaked out pretty quick. We have got several meetings with prospective tenants coming up here in the next week or so," he said. "We're already invested in that block. We like the direction that it is going in."

The business partners also own the nine-story 318 Commons complex used by the University of Minnesota for student housing and classes. It's behind the Paine site facing First Avenue. Henderson, the principal in the Rochester office of HGA Architects and Engineers, also owns the adjacent Press Coffee & Tea Lounge at 315 S. Broadway and the Canvas & Chardonnay building at 317 S. Broadway.

Michelitz owns the 220 and 222 buildings across Broadway from the Paine site. They both have been renovated in a classic style similar to what is expected to happen at the Paine building.

If the weather allows yet this year, they hope to soon replace the second-story windows with double hung ones that better match the original design of the building, said Michelitz. They also expect to add an elevator and stairway tower on the alley side of the building to make the second story accessible.

Built in 1885, the 313 building housed the Paine Furniture Co. for 104 years from 1902 to 2006. In 1927, the Paines expanded into the 309 building, which had been home to the Klee grocery store and the Stedman bakery prior to that.

This sale is the latest in a long string of business changes and real-estate sales in Rochester's downtown.

Michaels restaurant, Barnes & Noble bookstore and Sontes all have announced they will close at the end of this month, and Hanny's Men's Wear is closing its street-level store.

Michelitz declined to speculate on the future of the area, but seemed optimistic.

"It is really fluid right now. I think we all hope for smart growth," he said.

November 18, 2014

In praise of shoes, Hawley opens Luya Shoes in Zumbrota

Connie Hawley really, really loves shoes and sees them as art.

She has now brought that vision to life on Zumbrota's Main Street in her new store, Luya Shoes and Other Fine Things. The 4,000-square-foot store carries footwear of all kinds for women, men and young children.

10305598_10154867691090571_6430566947257334096_n"Shoes are very sculptural. Even if you aren't wearing it, you can see it in a box or in a closet and it is beautiful. Shoes make people happy," Hawley said.

Since these "sculptures" are ones that people wear, she says it's equally important for them to be as comfortable and durable as they are attractive.

"I've tried to find brands and styles you can't find anywhere else in the area," Hawley said.

10670270_867058883338632_8450038742804535500_nShe has hand-made moccasins from Spring Grove and popular brands that include OTBT, Rieker, Naot, Corky's Footwear and Corral boots. Luya also carries jewelry, belts and purses, including Baggallini bags. For men, Hawley also has conditioners for beards as well as related gift baskets and accessories.

Adding to the art gallery feel of her store, she displays her products on cabinets and shelves refinished by Jim Hahler of Hahler Restoration and Design. She also has artwork by three local artists for sale on the walls.

The one big question remaining is: What's the story behind the name Luya?

Hawley explained that she has talked about opening a shoe store for many years. Part of that dream also was playing on her last name of Hawley and calling the shop something like HawleyLuya, pronounced like hallelujah.

"I realized it was kind of crazy and a bit too long and too hard to say," she said. "But I still liked Luya, so that's what I went with."

Christian Book and Gift to close after 57 years

After 57 years on North Broadway, the family-owned Christian Book and Gift Shop announced Monday it will close its doors for good on Dec. 31.

264155_10150248194599430_474142_nIn a note to customers, owner/manager Karen Mulholland McKenzie and co-manager Judy Mulholland stated it was a heart-breaking decision to close the store at 815 N. Broadway.

Christian Book and Gift was launched by Karen's parents, Dennis and Elaine Mulholland, in 1957, when they purchased the Home Book Shop from Harry Boyer. They ran the store for many years out of the family’s nearby home on North Broadway, until expanding into the commercial store and growing it into one of the largest stores of its kind in the region.

“We’d ... like to express our deep sense of grief over no longer being able to provide this service to our customers and our community," they wrote. "There are myriad challenges in running a Christian retail business and independent bookstore — challenges that require youth and energy to stay in the game."

As the store has struggled, the Mulhollands have been talking to several Christian retailer chains looking for a buyer, but they were unable line up anyone to take over the store.

The store temporarily closed on Monday to prepare for a "Going Out of Business" sale and will re-open with marked down products on Thursday.

In their statement, the family voiced their appreciation for their "loyal customers" and their 11 employees, "many of whom have been with the bookstore through several building expansions and countless story times, summer tent sales and events with local and national Christian authors."

This announcement follows on the heels on the recent sale of the store, its parking lot and four houses to Samaritan Bethany. The senior living facility is just across Eighth Street from the book store, and its employee parking lot is adjacent to it. Samaritan Bethany closed on the purchase on Oct. 31.

"We have no current plans for the property," said Sue Knutson of Samaritan Bethany. "When we expanded the lot a while back, we let everyone in the neighborhood know that we'd be interested in buying property in the area. The siblings recently decided they were ready to sell."

Knutson said Samaritan Bethany had intended to lease the 7,500-square-foot store to the family, so they could keep the business running. Now that it's closing, she said they will look for a retailer to take over the space.

The Mulhollands also hope another business will step into the space.

"Our prayer is that a business person with a heart for this type of store will come to the area and open a great shop that will meet the changing needs in this community,” they wrote in their announcement.

November 12, 2014

New specialty grocer to build in S.W. Rochester

A new specialty chain is on its way to Rochester, joining an already crowded grocery scene.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, based in Golden, Colo., has filed plans with city to build a 14,000-square-foot store on an open lot in southwest Rochester by the TJ Maxx Plaza and the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center

Get_photoThink Mutual Bank owns the store site, which is at the corner of Greenview Drive and Salem Road Southwest. Think had planned to build there, but recently the bank announced it planned to offer the plot for development.

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

While it generally is described as a specialty food retailer, Natural Grocers is very different than Hy-Vee, Trader Joe's or Aldi. It sells only 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 generate about 30 percent of its revenue.

"It looks like it goes deeper and more narrow than a mainstream grocery store. It is much more like a Whole Foods or a co-op," said Jonathan Seltzer, a St. Thomas University business professor.

Seltzer, who previously worked at the Supervalu grocery chain, doesn't think the addition of Natural Grocers to Rochester should hurt any one retail competitor more than others.

"It will probably draw some customers from many different players," he said.

This new store is just one factor in what is becoming a very competitive grocery scene in Rochester. Discount grocer Aldi is building its second store here and Hy-Vee plans to start construction of its fourth location in early 2015. The city's other food retailers include Cub Foods, Fareway Foods, Zzest, Walmart and Target.

"It seems that you are getting more square footage devoted to food retail in Rochester than the population would warrant," said Seltzer. "That probably speaks to the strength of Rochester's economy and its draw from nearby areas."


Groceries on the way
  * Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is proposing to build a 14,000-square-foot store in southwest Rochester. No projected opening date.

* Hy-Vee is planning to build a fourth Rochester location, a 90,000-square-foot store at 4200 West Circle Drive N.W. The goal is have it completed and open by late summer or early fall of 2015.

* Aldi is building a 17,000-square-foot store, its second in Rochester on the northwest side. The goal is to open in April 2015.

September 04, 2014

Pending real estate deal spurs flower shop move

Flowers By Jerry will soon move its Third Avenue shop because a pending real estate deal could change scenery on the high-profile Rochester corner.

04092014flowersbyjerrybuckeyeOwner Kevin Patton says the sale of his building at 410 Third Ave. S.E. is in the works along with the adjacent Buckeye Liquor building, which he also owns. Robert and Diane Satterwhite own Buckeye and lease the building from Patton.

Patton is shifting his business offices and the floral design from the Third Street shop to Flowers By Jerry's other location by Silver Lake. That change could happen by the end of this month.

"We're consolidating that part of the business, but we're also branching out," said Patton said.

Patton is opening another store, Flowers By Jerry Lux Floral Boutique, in the TJ Maxx Plaza in southwest Rochester to replace the Third Street location. As the different name would suggest, this new location will be a new take of the standard flower shop.

Patton describes it as mix of a floral store with a women's clothing boutique with clothing, jewelery and home decor.

The floral boutique will be located just outside the entrance of TJ Maxx. Flowers By Jerry will move into the 2,500-square-foot space left open by Fox Nails' recent move to a new spot on the other side of the atrium.

If everything goes as planned, it's expected to be ready to open by the start of November, if not sooner. With all of the changes, Patton anticipates he may eventually need to add a new part-time position or two to his current staff of about 20.

While all of these plans are moving forward, details about what will happen on the corner of Third Avenue and Fourth Street are scarce at this point. The sale of the Flowers By Jerry and Buckeye Liquors buildings could close by the end of this month. However, Patton isn't discussing the buyer or any other details until it officially wraps up.

Given that corner's proximity to downtown and the Olmsted County Government/Rochester City Hall, some are speculating that the purchase of those two buildings is a sign that a developer wants to build a new commercial center, restaurant or hotel.

New Scheels store shaping up

Lots of activity at the new Scheels All Sports mega-store site at Rochester's Apache Mall this balmy "fall" morning.

04092014scheelsConstruction and partial demolition of the former Sears store site has been rolling along all through the summer on this new sprawling addition to the Med City's sporting goods offering.

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 is expected to add between 120 to 180 new jobs toScheelsmap2 Rochester.

In addition to sporting goods, its features will include a fudge and coffee bar and a mini bowling alley.

The development for the expanded store 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.

August 13, 2014

Consignment boutique teeing up move to new Broadway store

Danielle David's Rochester consignment business has outgrown its shop and its name once again.

What started out as Danielle's E-Shoes in a small spot back in 2009 quickly moved into a space double the original space with "& More" tacked on to the business name.  An expansion soon followed and the "E" was dropped.

Now she is teeing up to move Danielle's Shoes & Consignment Boutique to yet another larger store at 1920 South Broadway, next to Golf Headquarters. She plans to move from her current spot at 1310 Seventh St. N.W. in the Northgate Shopping Center at the start of September.

"It's very exciting," said David. "I'll have much better visibility there."

To555814_336424926406363_33872887_n make room for her boutique, Golf Headquarters owner Ed Martens is slicing about 2,000 square feet off of his well-known golf shop. The change won't affect Martens' other tenants, Broadway Veterinary Care and an Edward D. Jones financial services office.

With the changes in retail driven by the Internet, Martens says he will condense his store into a 5,200-square-foot space.

"We'll specialize more, focusing on the brands that are most popular in Rochester," he said.

Martens says his staff will continue to work with shoppers to custom-fit each and every club in their bag instead of the more common practice of adjusting the fit based on one or two swings of one club.

"To battle the Internet, we've got to go out and give that extra special service," he said.

Of course, the Internet is the foundation that David built her business on by starting out by selling on eBay. While she still does that, the name-brand consignment of clothes, purses, jewelry and, of course, shoes, has grown.

With the additional space in the new location, she'll be able to stock more clothes in every size category as well display more clothes for many age groups.

The expansion on her offerings with a continued focus on upscale items drove her to make the latest addition to the business name.

"We want to let people to know what this is. We're a boutique," said David.

August 05, 2014

Remodel, new building on way for Eastwood Plaza

A major makeover plus a new retail building are on the way for a shopping center on a prominent southeast Rochester corner. 

EastwoodplazaAri Kolas is planning to build a 5,000-square-foot building next to the existing Eastwood Plaza shopping center at 1513 12 St. S.E. It will stand on the far southeast corner of the Eastwood lot near the Big Lots store.

If everything goes according to plan, HartCo Construction should start work on the project yet this month.

"I expect to have two to three tenants in there. One is signed and another one is really close. It'll be mostly retail," said Kolas, who is an owner of Eastwood Plaza under the name of Athena 2004 LLC. He is also an owner of Rochester-based Apollo Wine & Spirits, which has one of its six Rochester stores based in Eastwood Plaza. It also has a franchised store in the Shoppes on Maine development in the southwest quadrant and a store in Austin.

This Eastwood project is one that Kolas has been thinking about for a long time.

I always wanted to do something on the outlot. I was just waiting for the proper opportunity to do it. The climate is good for it now with the growth of Rochester," he said. "It's been in the back of my head forever. It's got awesome visibility."

In addition to adding the new building, Kolas plans to do a complete remodel and upgrade of the existing 44-year-old center, which houses tenants including El Carambas, China Star and Subway. Both projects represent a total investment of more than $500,000, he says.

Kolas is enthusiastic about the intersection of 12th Street Southeast and Marion Road, which Athena 2004 bought for $1.6 million in 2004.

"It's a great corner that people forget about. It really is a great neighborhood," he said.

July 30, 2014

Developer working on new projects in N.W. Roch.

A St. Paul-based developer is looking to follow up its first Med City project with a couple more in the increasingly active northwest quadrant.


TJL Development recently built a new 4,000-square-foot paint store for Sherwin-Williams in south Rochester, in front of the south ShopKo and Menards stores.

Now the firm is working on projects by the Costco complex in northwest Rochester.

"We're hopeful to soon finalize transactions for two free-standing buildings," said Jim Lavalle, principal of TJL Development.

If the deals work out as he hopes, TJL will construct a 2,500-square-foot building to be occupied by a co-branded coffee and food business as well as a 4,000-square-foot store for a national retailer. The developer would own the buildings and lease them to the tenants.

"Rochester is a great place to do business, is what we've found, and we'd like to do more business down there," said Lavalle of why his firm is working in the Med City.

These plans would just add to the flurry of construction already underway in front of Costco and Kwik Trip.

A new McDonald's restaurant is being built there to replace the older one on the U.S. 52 North Frontage Road. Construction also is buzzing along for a 77-room Comfort Inn and Suites and a 109-room Staybridge Suites in the same area.

Discount grocer, Aldi, also recently announced plans to build a 17,000-square-foot store within the same development, at the corner of 22nd Street Northwest and Commerce Drive.

The whole 108-acre area on the northeast corner of West Circle Drive and 19th Street Northwest is being developed by Northwest Investments, the real estate arm of Kwik Trip Inc. For years, Hans Zietlow of the La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip has said that spot is the "key property" on Rochester's west side.

With all of the dirt moving and walls going up, it looks like a lot of people agree with him.