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225 posts categorized "sports business"

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.

April 14, 2014

Bowling alley upgrade picking up and a new name

A rolling renovation of a long-time Rochester sports venue is picking up speed as well as a new name.
Bowlocity Logo Final-1
Construction has been underway for months to double the size of the bowling alley at 2810 N. Broadway. That expansion is adding much more than just more lanes. A new two-story laser tag arena, a large arcade, three party rooms are all coming soon along with a special eight-lane area with its own bar for private groups.

Gene Glorvigen and his son, Erin, say the more than 50-year-old business is shifting gears so the soon-to-be-completed entertainment center upgrade can keep up with today's fast-paced world.

All of these changes mean the old name, Recreation Lanes, doesn't fit with the updated center. That means commuters will see signs for Bowlocity (sounds like velocity) going up at the end of this month.

"Recreation Lanes has been a great name for us, but we wanted to have something that encompasses everything we are now," explains524fa3b840ece.image Erin Glorvigen. "I think it fits well."

And for the classic neon fans out there, don't worry about the big red sign featuring a bowling pin and the word "Bowl." That retro landmark will remain, though it's moving to the north side of the building.

While they are rolling out the new name now, it will be a little longer until all of the new features are online. Construction is on track for everything to launch by the end of May, according to Glorvigen.

Work on the colorful eight-lane party area is underway now. Specialists are coming soon to create the atmosphere for the laser tag tower. The 45 arcade games are expected to start arriving this week.

While the arcade will allow players to trade in points for prizes, it won't have two things most such arcades have.

"It's a token-less and ticket-less system. You just buy a card and use it to play the games. The card keeps track of your points and you use it to redeem them for prizes," says Glorvigen. 

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 18, 2014

Mayo Clinic's new full court press

Mayo Clinic is going beyond the role of sports trainer on the bench and is stepping onto center court with its latest business play.532836c8a1ddb.image

The Mayo Clinic name is now prominently emblazoned across the front of the jerseys of the Minnesota Lynx professional women's basketball team, part of a huge sponsorship deal announced Monday.

Mayo's name will appear above the player's number in the spot where the team name used to be located. Boost Mobile, which sponsors the entire league, has its logo below the number, as it did in previous years. The Lynx logo now appears as a small patch near the collar of the jersey.

No financial terms of the multiyear deal were released.

The Womens National Basketball Association began allowing "branded" or "marquee" jerseys in 2009. The Lynx are the sixth team to lock down such a sponsorship. In 2010, Microsoft’s Bing search engine paid more than $1 million to place its name on the WNBA jerseys of the Seattle Storm. People familiar with WNBA sponsorships estimated the Mayo Clinic deal is at least "seven figures."

TimberwolveLynxMayoLogosThe sponsorship is part of "a strategic collaboration" with the Lynx and the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves that includes the development of a new training facility and sports medicine center to be called Mayo Clinic Square.

"This is another block in the relationship we're building," said  Dr. John Wald, Mayo Clinic's medical director for marketing and public affairs. "From our perspective, this is one of the key components in this relationship that allows us to move out into the Twin Cities, raise awareness and build more relationships."

The agreement also includes Mayo Clinic's name on the Lynx practice jerseys and signage at the basketball court. In 2015, Mayo Clinic will become the medical provider for the Lynx. TRIA Orthopaedic Center will continue to serve as the team's official medical team until then. TRIA also provides care for the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Twins.

Wald emphasized that the sponsorship displays Mayo Clinic's expertise in sports medicine and training, and the Lynx organization is a good fit with Mayo Clinic's values.

"We believe it was the right thing to do to put Mayo Clinic's name on those jerseys," Wald said.

Mayo Clinic is certainly not the first non-profit medical center to have such an arrangement with a professional sports team. However, none of the top four professional leagues — NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB — allow sponsors' names on game jerseys.

IEG, a leading sponsorship consulting firm, reported in 2013 that of all sponsorship deals made by hospitals, about 72 percent involved sports. About 12 percent were for arts/entertainment, and 8 percent were for "causes."

The Mayo Clinic-Lynx collaboration comes as the WNBA league hit its best game attendance and television ratings in team history at the end of the 2013 season.

The 2014 season begins in May and runs through August. The Lynx are scheduled to play six games to be televised by ESPN2.

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 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.
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

January 13, 2013

Crossroads vs Wild Wings case could be nearing conclusion

After more than a year in legal limbo, the final fate of a plan to build a second Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester could possibly be officially resolved in the next few months.

On Thursday morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals is slated to hear the dispute between the owners of the Crossroads Shopping Center and BWW owner Graf Enterprises and as well as the City of Rochester.

6a00d83451cc8269e20167682ff83d970b-800wiThe Crossroads owners, Bob Meek and Vic Scott, are once again taking their objections to a higher court. They object to Tom Graf's development plan to build a 7,000-square-foot sports bar and eatery in front of the shopping center.

This all started when Graf purchased Pannekoeken Huis restaurant and then demolished it in September 2011 to clear space to build a south side version of his very popular, north Rochester Buffalo Wings sports bar.

He submitted a building plan to the city, which approved the project in December 2011. The Crossroads folks say the plan does not actually meet the city's requirements and should never have been OKed as it is.

The approved plan calls for 55 spaces — 35 on Graf's plot of land and 20 spaces in the surrounding Crossroads parking lot. The mall owners contend that that the 20 parking spaces on their property could limit future expansion plans. They say they would welcome the Buffalo Wild Wings, if all of the parking was restricted to land owned by Graf.

Meek and Scott first took their objections to the Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals. When the board ruled in favor of the Graf project, Crossroads appealed to the Rochester City Council. The council backed the zoning board's decision.

Next the mall owners filed the lawsuit against Graf and the city of Rochester to appeal the council's ruling. In June, Olmsted County Judge Nancy Buytendorp dismissed the lawsuit saying, "Crossroads has no justifiable controversy to pursue this lawsuit against the city of Rochester or Graf…"

Crossroads responded by filing for an appeal of Buytendorp's ruling claiming she applied the wrong standard of judgment to the case.

As the case has been batted around courtrooms by attorneys, Graf has repeatedly said that no matter how case is finally resolved, he still plans to build a BWW on his land in front of Crossroads.

If he loses, he'll adjust the plans to meet the rules. If he wins definitively, then Graf will turn Weis Builders loose to start work on the square of dirt surrounded by Crossroads pavement  and in the shadow of "Coming Soon" sign.

On Thursday, a panel of three judges in St. Paul will give both sides 15 minutes each to make their case. Graf's attorney and the City of Rochester's attorney will split their side's 15 minutes.

The appeals court will have up to 90 days to issue a ruling on whether Judge Buytendorp's erred in her judgment in favor of Graf and the city.

One possible course of action that could stretch out this case even more would be a ruling that sends the case back to Olmsted County to be decided by a jury trial.

Even if that doesn't happen, it could still be a while before Graf's plan to build moves ahead.

September 26, 2012

Roch. golf course won't re-open in 2013

Here's some from my article on the end of Meadow Lakes Golf Course:

As the leaves start to turn, area golfers scramble to squeeze in as many rounds as possible before snow flies.

Autumn's surge on the links is bittersweet for Rochester's Meadow Lakes Golf Club, because this is expected to be its final season. The 18-hole course at the intersection of Second Street Southwest and West Circle Drive does not plan to reopen in 2013.

Meadow Lakes, which is owned by a group of local investors, recently notified its roughly 60 members of its pending closure.6052167E

"In a nutshell, the land it sits on is worth more than the business," Meadow Lakes General Manager Steve Scholl said. "Everybody feels rotten about this. This is a trend that's happening across the U.S. Golf is changing and not necessarily for the better."

The course's 130 acres of land and its clubhouse are up for sale. A few developers have looked at sections of the property, Scholl said. Representatives from Rochester's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1213 took a tour of the clubhouse, though no offer was made. There doesn't seem to be much hope for a buyer to purchase all of the land and keep it as a golf course.

Meadow Lakes is not alone in shutting its doors after years of struggling to survive. About 157 U.S. golf courses closed in 2011, according to the National Golf Foundation. During the same period, only 19 courses opened.

The golf industry boomed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. More than 3,000 golf courses were built nationwide between 1990 and 2003, including area golf courses like Meadow Lakes, Oak Summit, Somerby in Byron, The Jewel in Red Wing and Pine Island.

Since 2006, there has been a cumulative net reduction of about 358.5 golf courses in the U.S., according to the Golf Foundation.

"It is a fact of life today that people have less time and less money to spend on playing golf," says Scholl. "After family, work and everything else, recreation is at the bottom of the list. We're the first to go."

September 25, 2012

Roch. pizza slinger one of best in state

A Rochester man's dough-manship recently earned him a spot as one of the pizza slingers in Minnesota.

"It was kind of exciting for us. We were all cheering for him. He was on the big screen and everything," says Shannon O'Neill of O'Neill's Pizza Pub in the Crossroads Shopping Center.

296832_305744182866879_1576712576_nCam Kvittem of O'Neill's soared to second place in a pizza tossing contest at the U.S. Foods industry show in the Twin Cities earlier this month.

"If he had been able to use to the dough for our cracker crust, I'm sure Cam would have gone all the way to first," says O'Neill.

He had to use the officially sanctioned "Throw Dough," which is used at all professional pizza competitions.

This is not your mother's pizza dough tossing. This is a true athletic competition.

To set the stage, the "Food Fanatics" convention featured a dough throwing demonstration by the official U.S. Pizza Team. Yes, there really is a U.S. Pizza Team, which travels around the circuit of official dough tossing competitions.

This culinary sport puts a new spin on pizza preparation with fancy moves, spins and elaborate routines.

Once the dough pros left the state, Minnesota's best pizza slingers stepped up to show what they could do. The big crowd of hopefuls quickly thinned out as the panel of judges trimmed out the less graceful of the pizza throwers.

Soon it came to down to the final three, the O'Neill's crowd cheering Kvittem.

"He can do it all…rolling it down his back and the fancy throws," she says. "That's what the free-style contest comes down to…who can do the most tricks."

His moves impressed the panel, which awarded Kvittem the silver pepperoni medal (OK. I made the pepperoni medal up).

June 05, 2012

Bob's Smokestack is hitting the road and Rooster's moving in

When a local barbecue joint goes mobile at the end of this month, it will open the door for some Rochester restaurateurs to cook up a new place for breakfast.

Bob's Smoke Stack Ribs will end its one year run at 2280 Superior Drive N.W. at the end of the month. However, local Bob fans don't need to worry about missing Bob Lewis' acclaimed barbecue ribs. 

"I'll still be around. I'm still catering from my trucks," Lewis says, as he's looking at a very full schedule of private events, festivals and fairs this summer.

He is closing06042012bob'ssmokestake1jk with "a heavy heart" but is upbeat about the future. He says the past year taught him a few lessons that should help with his next place. 

"I'm looking for a smaller place, small enough that I can keep my hands on all of the food coming out of the kitchen," says Lewis, whose barbecue was once called the best in the state by Minnesota Monthly magazine. While he looks for the new home for Bob's Smokestack Ribs, Lewis is returning to his roots — on wheels.

"The trucks are where I started from and I'm OK with going back to them for now," he says of the rolling kitchens that introduced the Rochester area to his barbecue.

His move out of the restaurant overlooking Superior Drive clears the way for Rooster's Bar-n & Grill, a new country-style that its local owners say will focus on "The six Bs - breakfast, burgers, broasted chicken, billiards, bullseyes and a full bar."

Ross Manahan and 10192010topshotsoutsideKrisse Zabel, co-owners of Top Shots! billiards bar in downtown Rochester, are joining forces with local veteran restaurant manager and bartender Mike Brakke to launch Rooster's.

"We're hoping to be open in August," says Manahan. "Like you see in small towns, we want it to be a bar and grill where people also go to eat breakfast. We'll start at 6 a.m. and we'll serve breakfast all day."

There will also be pool tables, dart boards, food with a country flair and possible car cruise-ins in the parking lot.

Why open a new place when the downtown bar is already hopping?

"Krisse and I have been talking about doing something else with food for a while," he says.

And the pool and dart leagues have been so popular at Top Shots! that they've turned away a lot of teams. The building previously housed Leo's Pizza Palace and Catch-22 Bar & Grill, which both closed after relatively short runs.

"That location has a lot of opportunity. It will be awesome with Costco opening across the road," says Manahan. "The location doesn't scare us."

January 09, 2012

Sports bar coming to downtown Roch.

In case you missed it in the weekend paper, here's some info on the new bar in works in the former Gilligans space. It is already looking pretty sharp inside:

A local duo are working to create a new sports bar legend in downtown Rochester.

Jeff Fieseler and Travis Fischer, both of Rochester, have construction crews working hard on their new Legends Bar and Grill. The goal is to open the doors in early February.
It is located at 11 Fourth St. S.E. in the AFL Labor Temple. That's the former home of the sometimes controversial Gilligan's, which closed in September.

"It's going to be a sports-themed bar for average working-class people," says Fieseler. "We want it to be a comfortable and secure place for people to watch sports, play some pool and have a drink."

It is being renovated to expand seating and to create a more open environment. The bar will offer easier access to the restrooms, while restricting access to the rest of the Labor complex.

The revamped bar will be decorated with displays of sports legends. It will not have a dance floor as in the past.

The two owners, who are financing the project themselves, have both worked in the local bar scene for years. So they realize that the ex-Gilligan's location comes with some history.

"We know there is some concern about the crowd," Fieseler says.

Legends will be working with the Rochester Police Dept. as well as the Rochester Downtown Alliance's self-appointed Clean & Safe Task Force to follow the bar guidelines established by that monitoring group.

They plan to have a minimum of four security staffers on duty during the weekends.

"We will work with everyone to make this a clean and safe business," says Fischer.

Once Legend is up and running for about a month or so, they expect to fire up the kitchen and offer a menu of traditional bar food.

They are closing off the area that was used for dancing when it was Gilligan's. Eventually, the owners hope to remodel it to serve private gatherings.