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84 posts categorized "Sign spotting"

June 23, 2014

Rochester's Dunkin' Donuts to open at end of month

Doughnuts should be dunking before the fireworks start launching.

Rochester's new Dunkin' Donuts, the first to operate in Minnesota since 2005, is prepping for a late June "soft" opening. The return of DD is happening at 15 First Ave. S.W. in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex in the heart of downtown.

06232014dunkindonuts"We're in good shape," says Donna Caflisch, who represents Rochester Retail Services. "We're working hard on training now to make sure we're ready with good customer service."

So if you smell doughnuts in downtown during the next few weeks, it probably won't be your imagination. The staff is rolling through lots of training batches.

While Caflisch already has a full team of about 30 employees on staff, she says they still are hiring people that help with DD or other projects. Rochester Retail Services also manages the new Freshens franchise in the Kahler Inn & Suites and is working on a second one in the subway of the Marriott Hotel. That second Freshens could open its doors, if everything goes according to plan, in early August. It's located in the space that last housed the long-time downtown shop, The Crate.

She says the early responses to recent opened Freshens in the Kahler Inn have been very positive.

"People seem to be excited to see some variety in their (downtown) menu choices," said Caflisch.

When asked about speculation that a second Dunkin' is being planned for southeast Rochester, she said she couldn't comment.

While all of the franchises managed by Rochester Retail Services are located in downtown hotels owned by the Kahler Hospitalty Group and the firm offices in the Kahler, Caflisch stressed that there is absolutely no direct connection between any of the owners of the Kahler hotels and the owners of the restaurant franchises. However, she declined to identify who actually owns the franchises.

Rochester's Dunkin' Donuts franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October 2014. The address it uses is Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. That's the same address used for Rochester Retail Services, which incorporated in March 2013. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings.

June 09, 2014

Cambria brings its counterculture to downtown Rochester

A "counterculture" experience is coming to downtown Rochester in the form of a new Cambria showroom.

Le Sueur-based Cambria opened the doors of its new 2,400-square-foot "touch and feel center" at 400 S. Broadway in the Riverside Building today. (Monday, June 9)

Cambria is known for its high-end natural stone and quartz counter tops used in residential and commercial kitchens and bathrooms.

06092014cambriashowroomThe new Rochester center is focused on being a showroom for local contractors and partners like Warners' Stellian appliances to bring their clients to look at styles and colors of Cambria surfaces. However, individual homeowners are also welcome to stop in to check out the countertops.

"Rochester is such a vibrant community. It really is a good opportunity for us," said Peter Martin, Cambria's executive vice president of sales, marketing and business partner services.

He described company's investment to create the elaborate showroom in the former Rocco Altobelli Salon space along the Zumbro River as being in the "hundreds of thousands of dollars."

Martin says his company will have about five employees staff the downtown showroom, and another team of 10 based elsewhere in Rochester will handle Cambria's delivery and installation services.

Beside showing off its wares, Cambria plans to use the new site to develop strong ties with the Med City.

"It is our intent to focus on interacting on with community," he said.

The fact that the Rochester Symphony Orchestra & Chorale uses the patio outside of the showroom's windows for Coda, its popular summer series of outdoor music, was a major factor in Cambria choosing that spot, Martin said.

May 15, 2014

A new play at Barlow Plaza for two local stores

Some changes are kicking around Rochester's Barlow Plaza for Once Upon A Child and Soccer Advantage.

Once Upon A Child, the "gently used" children's clothing and gear store, has moved over one space and expanded in the center's satellite building along Civic Center Drive Northwest.

05152014onceuponachildThe store, owned by Roger and Sue Mrugala, of Burnsville, has long been an anchor in shopping center. However, it was getting getting cramped in the space and couldn't carry all of the sizes that customers were requesting, according Jen Hatch of Once Upon A Child.

"So when we were given the chance to move to a larger spot, it was perfect for us," she said.

Once Upon, which was based on the north end of the building, moved south into the empty next-door storefront at 1111 Civic Center Drive N.W. Kelley's Quality Sewing Center previously was based there.

The children's clothing store upgraded from a 2,500-square-feet spot into a much a roomier 4,000-square-foot space, after the space was freshened up with new carpet, paint and other touches. It re-opened in the new spot earlier this month.

Hatch says the store is able to carry clothing up to size 16 now and they are able "to dabble in junior sizes." Plus the extra room, "makes the shopping experience more enjoyable for our customers."

Once Upon A Child's southern shift opened up its former spot for Soccer Advantage to make a move to Barlow Plaza from its current home at 3160 Wellner Drive N.E. The Rochester soccer-focused sporting goods shop is locally owned by Dean and Lynn Alcock.

The move will give it more space to play with, plus raise the five-year-old Soccer Advantage's visibility and access, say the Alcocks.

"Moving to a more central location in the city will be great for our customers," said Lynn Alcock.

Their goal is to move by the end of this month so they can be up and running by the time the World Cup soccer matches begin in June. Soccer Advantage will remain open on Wellner Drive until a day or two before making the move.

Dean Alcock, a soccer coach and retailer, says the additional room at the new site will hopefully allow the store to add big-name brands to its line-up of shoes, balls, jerseys and other gear.

"The look of the new store is going be one of the best in the Midwest," he said.

May 08, 2014

Scheels construction springing along

05082014scheelsworkDuring the intermittent bouts of spring weather, construction crews working on Rochester's new Scheels All Sports mega-store are taking the ball and running.

05082014scheelssignWhile it looks like there's plenty of work yet to be done before it opens in April 2015, Apache Mall already has added the future new anchor to its marquee sign. Scheels is gutting/re-constructing the former Sears store.

The first construction pic is from this morning. The second one is from April 1 and third one is from March 19.01042014scheelsatapache

The planned 140,000-square foot store is expected to add between 120 to 180 new jobs to Rochester.

"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. Th19032014scheelsatapacheat's all in addition to our the entire hard line of sporting goods," said Scheels' Jason Loney.

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.

April 30, 2014

Avocado's closes its doors

After about eight months of cooking in Rochester, Avocado's 02282014avocadosbuilding Mexican & American Grill has closed its doors at 1647 S. Broadway.

Despite still having "Now Open" banners up from its August launch, a handwritten sign on notepaper hangs in the door this week stating "Avocado's is Out of Business. Sorry for the Inconvenience."

Nazario and Michelle Porras, who own and run Mango's Mexican & American Grill in Winona, owned the restaurant.

They dec04292014avocadosclosedsignided to call this location Avocado's instead of Mango's to avoid confusion with Johnny Mango's Catering.

The Porrases had looked for a location in Rochester for some time and were excited when the building on South Broadway became available.

Before opening Mango's in Winona, Nazario Porras managed the 19th Street location of Dos Amigos in Rochester. The popularity of their Winona restaurant with Rochester diners was the main reason they decided to open a restaurant here.

That building last housed the Mysore Cafe Indian restaurant, which was a revamp of the India Curry House. It was a Cambodian restaurant called Phnom Pehn from 2004 to 2007. The building was a Perkins restaurant prior to becoming Phnom Pehn.

March 04, 2014

New Denny's to start cooking Sunday

A new spot for breakfast (as well as lunch, dinner and late-night snacks) will open in Rochester at 6 a.m. Sunday.

But while the location is new, it's not a new name for the city.

03042014dennys2After months of construction, Denny's will open its second Rochester restaurant on Sunday at 286 17th Ave. N.W. That's the former Krispy Kreme doughnut shop near the Miracle Mile Shopping Center.

"We are extremely excited to open our second Denny's in Rochester," Eden Prairie, Minn.-based franchisee Mija Landenberger said in an announcement. She also owns the Denny's restaurant at 1226 S. Broadway.

Landenberger said the new 24-hour location will be staffed by 80 employees.

03042014dennys2signThe franchisee bought the 4,800-square-foot, 10-year-old building for $1.15 million in April last year. It had sat empty since Krispy Kreme closed in January 2006, after a short run in Rochester.

Built in 2004, it stands between what is now Wild Bill's Sports Saloon and Hom Furniture. It's also near Holiday Inn Express and the Shoppes on Second business centers that house Cherry Berry yogurt, Topper's Pizza, Cousin's Subs, About Face, Rocco Altobelli Salon and Altra Credit Union.

Now the work is done and the bright yellow Denny's signs are up. Hot coffee, Fit Fare, Grand Slam breakfasts, Bacon Slamburgers and more will start rolling out of the kitchen this weekend.

"We look forward to becoming a local gathering place where our guests can always count on good service, a great atmosphere and, most importantly, delicious food," Landenberger said.

February 02, 2014

Teen fashion store closes at mall to make room for lingerie shop

After 13 years in Rochester's Apache Mall, teen clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch closed its doors last week.
A&f
A wall now covers where the 9,234-square-foot store once operated between Forever 13 and Hers in the Macy's wing of the mall.

It looks like the store never existed.

The Apache Mall management confirmed the fate of A & F on its Facebook page this weekend.

NOTE FROM KIGER: I know the mall forbids any unapproved photography of stores. I did not take this photo and I don't know who did.

"Unfortunately Abercrombie & Fitch's lease expired and they did leave Apache Mall," according to the posting. "However, Victoria's Secret will be relocating to their space in the spring."

Staff at Victoria's Secret confirmed the planned move, which could happen as soon as May. It'll remain open in the current locations until the new space is ready. The change should be a significant expansion for the lingerie store, if it takes all of the A&F space. Victoria's current store in the JC Penney wing is 5,641 square foot.

While A & F's closing came as surprise to Apache shoppers and neighboring mall stores, it was in the works for a while. The mall applied for a building permit for the project valued at $495,000 on Dec. 6.

However, the application did not mention Abercrombie & Fitch. The application for a remodel for Victoria's Secret did list the mall store number as 694, which is where A & F was located. Victoria's current store number is 656. It's not known what store might take Victoria's spot, when it eventually moves.

A & F, which is known for its loud music and its posters of scantily clad teen models, opened in the Apache Mall in the spring of 2000. It was a successful store for the mall, which lists its top three performing retail categories as teen apparel, women's apparel and women's accessories.

Abercrombie_Fitch_LogoThe past few years have not been kind to the once-trendy teen retailer with same-store sales steadily dropping. The bright spot at the start of 2014 was that its same-store sales only dropped 4 percent in the U.S., which was less than expected. It followed that with a re-organization of its top executives last week.

Its primary strategy to combat slumping sales has been to close stores. It closed 71 in 2012, which included three in Minnesota. Following the Rochester store closure, it now has only two in Minnesota.

About 50 more stores were closed in 2013. Abercrombie leaders pledged in 2013 that the company would ultimately shutter a total of 180 stores by 2015.

January 04, 2014

Sign guy ready to brave cold temps

You've probably seen Paul La France or one of his co-workers standing at an intersection in the past few weeks holding an eight-foot-tall Sears Going Out of Business sale sign.

While drivers in heated cars go by, the sale sign holders stand along the streets in five hour shifts for $8 an hour.

SignguyThis is the final weekend for the Sears sign holding gig and it's going to be a brutal one to be out in the frigid weather.

On Saturday afternoon, it was a "balmy" 17 degrees. La France was huddled behind his sign at the intersection of South Broadway and U.S. 14.

"Yeah, I'm kinda freezing. My feet are frozen even though I have three pairs of socks on," said La France, while trying to see through eyeglasses that had iced over from the cold. His voice was muffled by his camouflage mask covering his face.

Despite the forecasts of historic frigid temps moving into the area Sunday, he planned on another five hour shift standing at the corner with the sign. La France describes himself as homeless.

"I'm not a panhandler. I don't want to beg," he says. The cold weather, however, has inspired some drivers to stop and give him hot chocolate or even hand warmers.

He makes it clear that he's not looking for handouts. This is his job, even though it's one that not a lot of people would be eager to take on. La France dismisses suggestion that it's not an easy way to make $8 an hour.

"I've had worst jobs," he says.

November 21, 2013

Cowboy Jack's may win Western logo shoot-out

Western-themed restaurants and bars have been hot lately in Rochester.Texas-roadhouse1

We now have Texas Roadhouse, Wild Bill's Sports Saloon, Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill, Whiskey Bone's Roadhouse and the latest high plains drifter to ride into town is Cowboy Jack's Eatery. 

Cowboy Jack's is part of a Twin Cities chain and is slated to open soon within the former America's Best Value Hotel on South Broadway.

LEach has its own take on a rough and ready Western atmosphere.

 

However, going just by logos alone, it looks like the the latest addition to the Med City corral could be the toughest hombre ever seen in these parts.

 

• Texas Roadhouse has kind of 60's diner look with a cowboy hat wearing state. Eyecatching.

•  Wild Bill's invokes the whole tin star thing with sort of sheriff/ U.S. marshall/ ranger feel. That's a strong logo. 16418249_BG1

• Whiskey Creek goes with a flaming campfire design invoking cowboys around a fire after a day of driving cattle across the prairie.

 

 

• Whiskey Bones has an Elvis in a 50's diner thing going on, sort like the restaurant that John Travolta took Uma Thurman in "Pulp Fiction."

Whikbones

And then there's Cowboy Jack's.

• There's a skull of a Texas longhorn steer with

glowing red vengeful, demonic eye sockets and fangs. Very macho and a little spooky.

And then there's the crossed meat cleavers behind the skull that are actually DRIPPING BLOOD.

Cowboyjacks

Uh... yeah... OK. That's an insanely intense logo.

That's the roughest, toughest logo of the crew. That logo paints Cowboy Jack's as the guy in the black hat who shoots first and then stands with one scuffed boot on the chest of his victim while he casually lights a cigarette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 01, 2013

New photography, art shop opening

1277395_725002470848336_575516068_oLooks like a new photo and art shop called Sugar Lips is opening downtown in the little building at 300 First Northwest and Civic Center.

It's just north of 300 First. That's the little building that previously housed LeeAnn Zubay's Culinary Market, the ancestor of today's ZZest. It housed the phone repair shop, Alltech Repair, for a while after that.

This new project is being driven by Lindsey Zubay. I should have more details soon.