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13 posts categorized "Trader-head news"

October 02, 2013

Gourmet cooking store to open in November

After being on the back burner all summer, action at Rochester's new gourmet cooking store is starting to sizzle.

The flooring is being installed at Cook's Pantry this week following the build-out of the teaching kitchen and painting the retail area. Owners Holly and Jake Mangelsen hope to open the shop early in November with a grand opening scheduled for Nov. 9.

The store is located in the former Kirkland's home accessories spot at the end of the Apache Shoppes center at 1190 16th Street S.W. That puts it righ 1379792_206462389532475_564974981_n-1t at the entrance of the Trader Joe's parking lot.

"We're really excited. It's finally happening," said Holly Mangelsen.

The plan is for the store to cater to "creative home cooks and those that aspire to b e" by carrying a selection of kitchenware, cutlery, gadgets, storage gear and more.

Mangelsen and Bonnie Flodin, who's moving here to manage Cook's Pantry, are now busy hiring between five to 10 employees to staff the store.

Many people have been keeping an eye on store since it was first announced in March. While the Mangelsens would have like to have seen this project come together a little sooner, they haven't been idle in the past few months.

They run a popular store, Acorn Pantry in Siren, Wis., plus they recently opened the Chattering Squirrel Coffee Cafe next to that shop. Despite being located in a town with a population of 900, Acorn Pantry was named one of four Impact Merchants of 2013 946026_156573667854681_2088745991_nby a retail industry magazine called Homeworld Business. The Mangelsen's tiny 600-square-foot shop was honored along with three retail giants —Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Dillard's.

"It's kind of wild," she said of being on the same list as those legendary names.

The Rochester shop will give them something they don't have at Acorn Pantry — an abundance of space.

"We'll have a wider selection, more categories and just more of everything," she said.

Plus there will be classes on food preservation, baking, knife skills, holiday entertaining and other topics in the store's kitchen. Mangelsen also plans to bring in chefs from the Rochester area's many restaurants to share their knowledge.

"We want to expand the whole culinary experience in Rochester," said Mangelsen.

July 14, 2011

And the retailer moving between Trader Joe's and Chuck E. is…

What I'm rambling about today is what retailer is moving into the empty slot between Rochester's Trader Joe's grocery and Chuck E. Cheese.



Yeah, this is the deal I teased at the end of June. Sorry about the inadvertent, misleading hints. That space really has always been a blind spot for me. I kept forgetting it existed, even as I drove by it.

Interestingly enough, this brand also includes a guy's name. All the info is my column today.

Side note - If you think I look and sound goofy on these videos, I can assure you that I'd look and sound much, much more goofy if it was not for skills and infinite patience of my producer, director and one-man production crew, Ken Klotzbach.

Thanks for all of the good work, Ken.

November 29, 2010

Signs of opening

  11292010traderjoes1jk 11292010traderjoessign Two eagerly anticipated Rochester opening dates are now out in black and white.

Signs are up at the Med City's new Trader Joe's grocery and Chuck E. Cheese pizza place with specific  opening day dates.

So I'd say it is slated to open on Dec. 22. Look for the Mouse to open its entryway at 9 a.m.

Thanks to all of my readers who spotted these signs Sunday and passed on that info.11292010chuckecheesesign

I really appreciate the help of my sharp-eyed readers.

By the way, Trader Joe's is now on the map for FourSquare. I added it when I snapped these pics. I suspect there will be quite a battle for the mayor title in the coming days.


November 16, 2010

Med City mouse to start stirring

No matter what the famous holiday poem says, at least one mouse will be stirring in the Med City this Christmas Eve.

11102010chuckecheesesignOf course, I'm not talking about any ordinary rodent. This mouse has something even Mickey doesn't — a middle initial.

  Look for Rochester's new Chuck E. Cheese kids pizza palace to throw open its doors at 1200 16th St. S.W. before Santa makes his sleigh sprint around this old world.

"Shortly before Christmas" is what the always helpful Brenda Holloway is saying about CEC Entertainment's long-anticipated opening in Rochester.

Construction is rolling like a skee ball in the 27,000-square-foot former home of Linens 'n Things. That puts Chuck right next to where parents will soon be able to pick up some Three Buck Chuck wine at the new Trader Joe's grocery, which is also slated to open in December.

  Both rock star brands are taking the stage for the first time in Rochester, though fans have been clamoring for them both for years.

When I talked to the Texas-based Chuck E. Cheese back in March 2003, I was told that "…We’ve talked about Rochester. It is on our list.”

That was before Econofoods closed its local grocery stores, including the 16-year-old one at 1200 16th St. S.W., in 2004.

That massive, 54,000-square-foot space was then split into two and re-developed as part of the Apache Shoppes shopping complex. Linens 'n Things opened there and sold its things and linens from 2005 until it closed in 2008.

November 03, 2010

Countdown to Trader Joe's opening day

Now that Election Day is done, it looks like it is time to start crossing days off the calendar to countdown to the big day.

 I'm not talking about Hanukkah, Christmas, the college football bowl games or even that retail madness called Black Friday.

This day overshadows them all … at least among a certain part of the local population.

TJ-Day is comi10102010traderjoessignng.

Every day readers, co-workers and random strangers on the street ask … plead, really, "When will Rochester's new Trader Joe's grocery store open?"

My standard answer has always been that the wildly popular cult grocery store will open in south Rochester yet this year. From the glares I get in return, my sense is that it doesn't satisfy die-hard fans also know as Trader Heads.

I can now narrow it down … a little bit.

Alison Mochizuki, my pal at Joe's HQ, whipped off a note this week in response to my pleading for an opening date.

"Hey JK, Great to hear from you. We are scheduled to open in December of this year. I hope this helps! "

So now everyone out there eagerly awaiting the arrival of Hawaiian shirt-clad clerks in the bright aisles of a German-owned store can eliminate this month entirely.

October 10, 2010

Signs of life @ Trader Joe's, Chuck E. Cheese

Thanks to a tweet from Claudia Tabini, I was tipped off that the anxiously anticipated Trader Joe's store being built out in Rochester now has a sign up.

10102010traderjoessign   I rolled by there today and snapped a pic of that as well as a snap of the Chuck E. Cheese construction underway next to it.

I'm glad a sign is up now. I think a lot of people out there never quite belie10102010chuckecheesesignved me that Trader Joe's was coming to Rochester. They keep asking when it will open and why don't they see any construction work.

Well, I have no answer to the latter, but the former question has the same response I've been given since all of this kicked off.

Both Trader Joe's and Chuck E. Cheese say they will be open before the end of the year. No more detail than that at the moment.

1010201traderjoeschuckecheese Based purely on conjecture, rumor and my imagination, I'd guess that Trader's will make it open in late Nov. to early Dec. And my guessestimate for Cheese world is that it could kick off a week or two after Trader Joe's.

I guess we'll see, but I am open to any tips anyone might have to narrow that range down a bit. I think many people out there are considering changing dates of weddings, births, funerals, what have you to make sure they are available for the magical day that Trader Joe's and to a lesser extent, Chuck E. Cheese, open their doors for the first timein the Med City.



September 24, 2010

Update - Union says Trader Joe's is good neighbor

Here's some from an update to the posting I made Wednesday on Rochester building trade unions. Unions opinion of Trader Joe's has changed.

I have a full article in today's paper that is posted here.

An interesting side tidbit that came up with this issue is that top execs at Trader Joe's, possibly including the CEO, read this blog.

Who knew?


Construction of Rochester's new Trader Joe's grocery store and Chuck E. Cheese pizza place is attracting the attention of the local construction union.

And that attention has been both negative and positive.

TraderJoesBags1a First, the Southeastern Minnesota Building Trades unions announced plans to start a protest Thursday of the construction at 1200 16th St. S.W., where Trader Joe's and Chuck E. Cheese are under construction side-by-side.

Both are expected to be completed yet this year.

The point of contention was that the non-union general contractors might have been paying sub-contractors wages and benefits below the AFL-CIO standard.

However, the general contractor for the Trader Joe's project quickly responded.

"We do use union subs (subcontractors) where ever we can," says Steve Schnadenberg of Indianapolis-based MDC Construction, who estimates that about 75 to 80 percent of workers at the site are union members.

He also says that half of the 15 to 30 workers at the site at any given time are from Rochester.

"Both of those contractors are not union. However, the one working on Trader Joe's is hiring mostly union and that contractor is paying the area standard," says Wes Urevig, who represents the building trades unions in the Rochester area. "It looks like they are being a good neighbor."

September 22, 2010

Local union to picket Trader Joe's, Chuck E. Cheese

Trader-joes-bag Look for picket signs to show up soon in front of Rochester's new Traders Joe's and Chuck E. Cheese, both being built out at former Cost Plus World Market and Linens N Things building (which is the former Econofoods store) at 1200 16th St. S.W.

Wes Urvig of the Southeast Minnesota Building Trades unions in Rochester says his groups are concerned that the workers doing the build out are not local. Here's some from a note from Urvig.

"Two out-of-state, non-union general contractors are currently remodeling an existing Rochester building into a Traders Joes grocery store and Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant. The vast majority of the sub-contractors are also non-union. The SE MN Building Trades unions are concerned that the wages and benefits of the Chuck-cheese workers on those projects do not meet area AFL.CIO wage and benefit standard."

So starting Thursday monring, the unions will begin what is formally known as "a regular Area Standards Picket" while the construction is underway.

Given the intense popularity of both establishments - particularly Trader Joe's, I wonder how much support the picketers will generate in Rochester.


August 30, 2010

Big question: When will trader Joe's open?

What's the question I get most often these days?

313373920_135df241ec "When is Rochester's new Trader Joe's grocery store going to open?"

Usually the person asking has a dreamy, euphoric look in their eyes usually reserved for spiritual people talking about a religious experience or maybe hamburgers from Newt's, Five Guys or White Castle.

The answer is that plans are still a go to open the doors yet this year in the former Cost Plus-World Market building at 1200 16th St. S.W.

Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe's director of public relations, says the time line announced in May is still on track.

"We are still scheduled to open this year," says Mochizuki, who recognizes my voice on the phone after so many years of  fielding my calls asking about Joe's coming to the Med City.

So if everything goes as planned, Rochester shoppers should be able to buy Thai lime-and-chili cashews and whatever else they want from Hawaiian shirt-clad "crew members" before the changes to 2011.

For everyone hoping to join the Joe's brigade as a crew member, here's an interesting chunk from a very interesting article called "Inside the Secret World of Trader Joe's" by Beth Kowitt that came out in Fortune magazine and CNN last week:

You can't buy engagement from employees, but the pay at Trader Joe's helps.

Store managers, "captains" in Trader Joe's parlance -- the nautical titles are a holdover from Coulombe (newly promoted captains are commanders; assistant store managers are first mates) -- can make in the low six figures, and full-time crew members can start in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

But on top of the pay, Trader Joe's annually contributes 15.4% of employees' gross income to tax-deferred retirement accounts.

July 27, 2010

Roch. building permits include pizza, Chinese places

Chuck E. Cheese's and Trader Joe's were not the only ones applying for permits from the Rochester Building Safety office last week.

Beside those two brands looking for interior demolition permits at the Apache Shoppes center, two restaurants were asking for their own permits.

0610201timberlodgesteakhousejk Broadway Pizza, a small Twin Cities-based, railroad-themed restaurant chain, is looking to build a full head of steam going at the former Timberlodge Steak House building at 4144 U.S. 52 near the IBM campus.

While I have reported on this before, I think an update might be due soon. Meanwhile, China One, owned by local restaurateur Yong Hao Liu, is looking for permits to create a new eatery in northwest Rochester's Barlow Plaza shopping center on Civic Center Drive Northwest.

It was Yong Hao Liu's International Buffet  across Civic Center from the plaza that was closed and demolished to make for Rochester's latest Walgreens drug store.