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4 posts categorized "St. Charles news"

September 15, 2009

New jewelry shop open in Roch. downtown

091409silverspiritleafnecklaces 091409silverspirit1jk The Silver Spirit, a new jewelry store featuring many hand-made items by owner Lisa O'Hanlon of St. Charles, opened late last week in the former Tableside Manor spot on the mezzanine level of the downtown Rochester Kahler hotel.

This is the shop I teased a while back.

Back in 2003, O'Hanlon briefly had a downtown shop called Ananke Designs in the tiny building at the corner of Sixth Street Southwest and First Avenue Southwest.

The Silver Spirit might seem but spare at the moment, but O'Hanlon is still wrapping up the festival circuit. Expect more displays and more jewelry soon, as well as painting henna designs and doing hair wraps.

I should have more on this soon.

August 11, 2009

Area artisan to again open a Roch. store

Tigerseyearrings2 Tree1 RW2133 I have a tip that an area artisan who previously sold unique and colorful hand-made jewelry and art from a small downtown Rochester store has plans to return.

I haven't talked to her yet, but I believe this is a solid tip.

I'll share if I find out she and her shiny works are returning to Rochester downtown on a permanent basis.

January 23, 2009

The battery store coming to Roch. is...?

Most of you that tracked the earlier tease about the new battery store charging up to open in Rochester have probably guessed the name by now, but here it is.

Interstate Battery.

Actually, this is a re-location. Owner Kirk Sneeden is moving the shop from St. Charles to Rochester. It will share the Insty-Prints building at 2410 N. Broadway.

"Rochester has the market for us to expand in the all battery business," says Sneeden. "In this day and age with technology being portable, it is a good market."


Beside the 120 to 200 types of batteries on the shelves, Interstate Battery can also custom build any power source anybody needs," he said.

Expect the Rochester store to open in late February or early March. Between four to six people will work there.

October 13, 2008

Wheelchair brake maker rolling along

Here's some from a piece out of St. Charles that I have in today's edition:

Jerry Ford, a farmer living near St. Charles, has a goal: Put the brakes on falls caused by wheelchairs.

His house has been turned into a business, with sales and management offices in former bedrooms. The sound of pounding in the basement means Safe-T-Chair automatic brakes are being installed on wheelchairs. About 50 to 200 chairs can roll out of that basement in a day.

What kind of sales growth is the company targeting for 2009?

“We’d like to quadruple this year’s sales,” Ford says. The business has sold 1,000 wheelchairs with one or more of the three specialty brake models on them thus far in 2008.

He and his chief executive officer of marketing, Robert Gumbusky, see a market in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals and in-home care. Nationally, preventable falls reportedly caused suffering to thousands of people and they cost $20 billion last year. That dollar figure is expected to grow to $32 billion by 2010.

Ford and Gumbusky think the Safe-T-Chair brakes can improve many lives by preventing some of those falls, bringing those numbers down.

So how does a man who farms 160 acres of corn and soybeans in Winona County become an award-winning inventor and manufacturer of an automatic wheelchair brake system?

His son Zack Ford first noticed the problem while working with elderly people at Samaritan Bethany. He had seen first-hand that some seniors were suffering falls due to not setting the brakes on their wheelchairs.
Zack Ford asked other staff members why they didn’t use an automatic brake on the wheelchair?

“They said there wasn’t such a thing. A nurse laughed and said, ‘Why don’t you invent one?’” Zack remembers.

“So we did,” chimes in his dad.

When presented with the problem, Jerry Ford approached it like any mechanical challenge on his farm. He went to his shop and made what he needed.

What he came up with on April 24, 2004, was a simple spring-controlled brake that automatically locks a wheelchair when a person stands. The design keeps it from getting out of adjustment, like other chair brakes do.

The device won him many awards at the 2005 Minnesota Inventor Congress in Redwood Falls, Minn.
Since then, he has developed more products — an automatic attendant handle brake and an automatic incline brake system.