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88 posts categorized "Sign spotting"

October 13, 2014

New biotech office launches in Rochester

This one seems to have a lot of local momentum behind it.

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The health care technology arm of a Sri Lanka-based company is officially launching its Rochester office on Tuesday morning.

Brandix i310132014brandixoffice is hosting a grand opening in the morning of its 2,000-square-foot office on the skyway level of Minnesota BioBusiness Center at 221 First Ave. S.W.

The software development firm has been working out of a spot in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, since early summer. The business accelerator is located on the same floor of the Biobusiness Center as Brandix's new office.

Aaron Epps, Brandix's associate vice president of health care, said earlier this year that office would launch with six employees, though he expects it to grow to 12 by the end of the year

"We want to be part of the Destination Medical Center project," he said. "We're looking to expand quickly. We're a start-up, but we're a start-up with the backing of a large 10132014brandixskywaysigncompany."

Brandix's focus is to work with its local partner, Rochester-based Ambient Clinical Analytics. Ambient makes "real-time decision support tools" for doctors and nurses working in the ICU, operating room or emergency departments.

Mayo Clinic launched Ambient in 2013, and it named Al Berning as CEO. Berning is known in Rochester as a former IBMer, a co-founder of Pemstar and former CEO of Hardcore Computers/LiquidCool Solutions. Ambient's management team includes other local business leaders, like former long-time IBM executives Drew Flaada and Deb Sutherland.

Brandix has a three-year lease with the City of Rochester. It pays $20 per rentable foot
is In addition to the leasing the 2,000-square-feet, Brandix's lease promises "first right of refusal" for the other 2,000 square feet of adjacent vacant space to the west.

The city gave Brandix "a one-time fit-up allowance" of $10 per square foot, or $20,000, to build out its offices.

August 19, 2014

Work on Holiday's new Valleyhigh station is cruising along

It looks like construction of the new Holiday Station c-store at Valleyhigh Drive and 40th Ave. N.W. is pumping right along.

08182014valleyhighholidayWork on this station is further along than Holiday's other new station project at 19th Street and U.S. 52, but both mark a major push by the Bloomington-based Holiday to try claim part of the Rochester market from the ubiquitous Kwik Trips.

Holiday moved back into Rochester last year when it purchased seven SuperAmerica stations here. It already had one station here. Holiday closed and sold two of the SAs. However, Holiday will have eight stations total with these two new C-stores being built.

Wisconsin-based Kwik Trip has 13 stations in Rochester with plans for more in the works.

August 15, 2014

Mama Fu's Rochester eatery is 'indefinitely' postponed

Mama Fu's Asian House still wants to open an eatery in Rochester, but don't expect to try General Fu's Chicken here anytime soon.

The Austin, Texas-based "Asian-centric" restaurant chain says its plans for a downtown location near Mayo Clinic are "indefinitely" postponed at this point.

Mama_Fus_logo_V_rgbBuzz about the quick Asian cuisine brand has been simmering since last year when the PB's insatiably hungry Answer Man wrote a column in November that said Mama Fu's had marked off a space in the Kahler Grand Hotel for a Rochester restaurant. Building permit applications were submitted to the city. Signs went in up in the Kahler promoting the future arrival of the franchise.

In recent months, Mama Fu's CEO still was mentioning the future Rochester location in news stories about the chain's plans to open smaller places as well as it's expansion into the Middle East.

Mama Fu's was slated to part be of the Kahler Hospitality Group's growing portfolio of franchise food spots including, Dunkin' Donuts and Freshens.

However, the signs came down and talk of Mama Fu's eventually faded. Albert Im, marketing manager for the Austin company, cleared up the situation in email this week.

"Mama Fu's and our franchise partner were looking forward to opening this year in the Mayo Clinic area. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances and logistical issues associated with the site, we have postponed plans to open in Rochester indefinitely until our next steps are identified," he wrote. "While we have every expectation that Rochester will be a fantastic market for Mama Fu's Asian House, we are unable to determine a time frame for our emergence into the community."

So, it may be a while longer until the local franchise partner opens a Mama Fu's in Rochester. However, work is progressing quickly on the Kahler Hospitality Group's second Freshens cafe. It will be located in the Marriott Subway in the former home of The Crate.

August 12, 2014

Bank breaks ground for new northwest Rochester branch

Green Bay, Wis.-based Associated Bank broke will break ground on Wednesday for its new 3,000-square-foot branch in northwest Rochester.

10581397_745970035444536_1595413071_nThe new building will replace the branch in the Hy-Vee North grocery on 37th Street Northwest, which closed on July 24. Associated's new site will be located at 1985 Commerce Drive N.W., which is in the Costco's commercial development at 19th Street and West Circle Drive. It will be near the 19th Street entrance to Costco.Associated Bank first filed plans for the branch in February.

EDITOR'S NOTE - Thanks once again to Josh Banks Photography for the pic.

If construction goes as planned, look for the new Associated branch to open in January. The Wisconsin bank has three other branches in Rochester.

The addition of this new branch re-confirms the growing commercial interest in that part of Rochester. Iowa-based West Bank is planning to build its own facility along West Circle Drive in 2015. Two Rochester-based banks, Home Federal Saving Bank and Think Mutual Bank, also have large branches in that area.

Associated's announcement about the new location stated that it will offer "an enhanced banking experience in a revitalized and spacious layout." That will include a full lobby with tellers, a drive-through window and staff to handle mortgages and investment services.

Associated Bank entered the Rochester area in 2004, when it acquired First Federal Capital Bank. First Federal was short-lived here. It picked up the holdings of the long-time Marquette Bank in 2002.

“We take pride in the relationships we have built in this community and we are thrilled to continue these relationships at our new location,” stated Tim Lau, Associated's head of community markets and executive vice president.

Re-locating the northwest branch is not the only Rochester move coming up for the bank.

New owners have acquired Associated Bank's downtown building at 206 South Broadway and the bank needs to move out by spring 2015. Executive Vice President David Stein previously stated that Associated is looking for "opportunities for a new downtown bank location."

Associated has more than 200 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

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.