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18 posts categorized "Wish list"

January 30, 2014

Dunkin' Donuts rolling into Roch.

The deal is done and Dunkin' Donuts is rolling into downtown Rochester.

After months of rumors, the famous coffee and pastry chain officially is signed up to open on First Avenue Southwest in the Kahler Grand Hotel complex.

Simpsons_donuts-l1"We want to make sure the tenants we have are viable for Mayo's DMC plans," said Cherylanne Thomas, managing director of marketing for Richfield Hospitality in Rochester, Richfield manages the five Kahler hotel properties here.

"Obviously, Dunkin' is a great brand. They were looking to lease in the area. It seemed like a good fit," she said.

Thomas says a franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, plans to open a Dunkin' Donuts between Hanny's and Victoria's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar. The move of Optical Vision with Flair into part of the Hanny's store is opening up the space for the doughnut maker.

Building permits for the project were submitted this week to the city. The rough timeline is for the new Dunkin' Donuts to open by late June or early July, according to Thomas.

This could be the first of an estimated 50 Minnesota locations the company would like to open in the next few years. Dunkin' Donuts hasn't had a presence in Minnesota for almost a decade. The final shop, which was in Austin, closed in 2005. The Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin' Brands announced its plans to return to the state earlier this month. 

At that time, Steve Rafferty, senior director of U.S. franchising, stated that the new locations would be focused around the Twin Cities metro areas as well as Rochester, Mankato and Duluth.

Rafferty said franchisees need to have a minimum of $250,000 in "liquid capital" and $50,000 net worth per location. Each franchisee is responsible for a territory with at least six locations.

Rochester's franchisee, Donuts Non Traditional LLC, incorporated in October. While Thomas describes it as being based in the Twin Cities, state documents list its address as the same as Rochester's Dunlap & Seeger law firm. It's not unusual for some companies to use their attorneys' address for such filings. Dunlap & Seeger also represents Kahler Hotel properties.

This is the latest in a series of tenant changes, some of which have spurred lawsuits from tenants unwilling to move. Javon R. Bea, the chair of the Kahler Hotel Group's board of directors, has been orchestrating the changes.

Thomas said Bea's goal is make the hotels better.

"Obviously, he supports both retail and restaurants in the community," she said.

The expectation at this point is that the new Dunkin' Donut location will be open seven days a week. Thomas added that the franchisee is planning on using the company's latest design concept for this location.

"It'll feel more like a cafe," she said.

November 22, 2013

Don't dunk your donuts before they're glazed

Two words have been floating around downtown Rochester for weeks like crumbs in a cup of coffee.
Dunkindonuts-donuts
Dunkin' Donuts.

Locals, including one self-described "humongous" Rochester fan (Yes, I'm looking at you Courtney. Heh) who will only use highway  exits in Wisconsin that lead to a DD, have been wondering if all of this Dunkin' talk is just a cream-filled fantasy or could a shop be on its way to the Med City.

The short answer is … it's possible.

The slightly longer answer is that it doesn't seem very likely in the near future, but it could happen.

Dunkin' Donuts rolled out of Minnesota a while back. The final shop in the state, which was surprisingly based in Austin, frosted its last long john in 2005.

Since then, the Dunkin' Donuts tally in the Land of 10,000 Lakes has been zero. In 2008 and 2009, the popular chain talked about a big return to Minnesota, but that all turned out to be false alarms.

However, the Canton, Mass.-based chain currently is recruiting franchisees in Minnesota. And the recruiting is reaching beyond the Twin Cities.

The coffee and baked good chain has about 10,000 stores worldwide, including about 7,000 franchised restaurants in 36 states.

When asked directly if the orange-and-pink logo might be on the way to Rochester, company officials stated that no plans are in the works. They declined to say if they're negotiating for a possible franchise here.

Olmsted County is only one of 85 Minnesota counties with an available Dunkin' franchise. Winona and Houston counties are already reserved for franchises. St. Louis County is only one marked as the site of a "future" Dunkin' Donuts location, according to the company's website.

Franchise information lists that the "preferred" building is 1,200 to 2,600 square feet, has a drive-through window and can be open 24-hours a day. Potential franchisees need to have a minimum of $250,000 in "liquid capital" and $50,000 net worth per location. The company prefers each franchisee be responsible for multiple locations.

The bottom line is that it doesn't look hopeful for Dunkin' Donuts opening soon in Rochester, but it could eventually happen.

April 16, 2013

Rochester's DMC tight rope walk - Looking for people for article

Last week I interviewed a few local leaders about the DMC tight rope walk, particularly after last week's political chatter about Rochester being boring.

WelcomeIt seems the path is between "Rochester needs money to be better" and "Rochester is a great city."

I'm looking for to interview folks who normally don't get quoted in the newspaper for feedback on if Rochester actually is dull? Dull or not, everyone seems to have ideas about what this city needs to improve the quality of life here plus add some zest to the community's personality.

Beside looking for the opinions of average people, I'd also like to chat with some young doctors as well as some patients visiting here for medical treatment.

If you are interested, please contact me at [email protected] or 285-7798.

August 28, 2012

Lunds/ Byerly's scouting state for new grocery locations

While Rochester has many grocery stores in the pipeline - Fareway, CostCo, People's Food Co-op and Hy-vee - there are a few chains, like Whole Foods, that local people seem to still want here.

Another grocery store chain that is often mentioned on local wish lists is Lunds/ Byerly's. It's a Minnesota company with 22 stores in the state, most in the Twin Cities area.

A recent posting on a national commercial real estate site could be good news for local fans of Lunds/Byerly's. The company is out and about shopping for new locations in Minnesota.

Lunds

In their own words, Lunds/Byerly's describes what they are doing:

"Growth opportunities are sought throughout the existing market during the coming 18 months."

Now that "existing market" phrase could mean they are just looking in the Twin Cities-Land area.

Back in 2008, Lunds/Byerly's went on a similar shopping spree and they obviously skipped over Rochester then.

Jennifer Kent of Lund Holdings told me this back then, “We do understand there is a lot of interest to for us to come down to the Rochester area, but we are not quite ready to move that far out … of the Twin Cities area."

Of course, things can change. Rochester is larger now and is pegged as a growing and vibrant community in constrast to many other Minnesota cities.

So who knows? Maybe they'll give the Med City a closer look this time around. I probably should give Jennifer another call to check in.

Here's the posting from the Dealmakers commercial real estate site:

Lund Food Holdings, Inc. trades as Byerly’s and Lunds at 22 locations throughout MN. Lunds prefers to occupy spaces of 40,000 sq.ft. and Byerly’s prefers to occupy spaces of 60,000 sq.ft. in freestanding locations, strip centers and urban/downtown areas.  Typical leases run 20 years with options.

August 07, 2012

Hardee's targets Minnesota, but might miss Rochester

Since 2001, when a court order closed three Hardee's restaurants in Rochester, local fans have been asking when the fast-food franchise would be returning.

Some news out of the Twin Cities concerning a major Hardee's push in Minnesota certainly holds some promise for local lovers of bacon cheddar fries.

HardeesCKE Restaurants Inc., which owns Hardee's and its southern sibling Carl's Jr., has an ambitious goal of opening more than 59 new Hardee's in the Twin Cities area in the next five years.

Let's put that number in perspective to comprehend what a huge Thickburger invasion this could be.

Right now, there are 25 Hardee's cooking in the entire state. The nearest to Rochester are in Winona, Faribault and Albert Lea.

With such interest in the state, could Rochester have a Hardee's in its future?

"I touched bases with the development team, and the focus right now is on Minneapolis," says Elayne Sommers of Fish Consulting. "With that being said, I couldn't get any more information on expansion in the Rochester area, so there could be interest there."

Hardee's slices the United States into Designated Metro Areas. The DMA that includes Rochester extends into Wisconsin and Iowa and already has five Hardee's in it.

Sommers says that, based on population, the Rochester DMA could handle another five of the restaurants.

So Rochester could be a good candidate for a Hardee's or two, but CKE only has eyes for the Twin Cities right now.

Depending on interest from franchisees, that could change.

For anyone interested, qualified franchisees are required to have a net worth of at least $1 million and a minimum liquidity of $300,000. Initial investment for a franchisee is $1.1 million.

May 04, 2012

I want your IBM stories - past, present and even future

While I have written many, many things during my years at the Post-Bulletin, they have never been my stories.

Ibm-701-watsonThe columns, stories and even blog postings have always come from the people of Rochester and the surrounding areas.

Now I'm considering trying to tell a story that can only happen with your help.

IBM has long been a major part of Rochester. During its years here, Big Blue has gone through many changes, corporatewide as well as locally.

I'd like to map out the evolution of IBM during its almost 60 years in Rochester, mainly from the employee's perspective. And taking it a step beyond, I'm interested in local impressions of what IBM's future in Rochester might look like.
IBM-360-1964-2
I'd really like to speak to any past or current employees and contractors willing to share their memories and thoughts on local IBM culture changes from the Fortress Rochester days of the AS/400 to the dark days of the 1980s to the resurgence when the "elephant was taught to dance" on to the time of Blue Gene, Watson and the PureSystems.

To form a complete picture, the hope is to have a full discussion with many people with different experiences about IBM's successes and innovat58914-ibm-watsonions as well as about the tough times and the layoffs.

As a massive company that is an international technology leader, its evolution is a complex story.

I'd like to try tell as much of that story as possible through the words of the southeastern Minnesota people that have and are living it.

If you'd like to participate or to know more, contact me at 285-7798 or at [email protected]

April 19, 2012

One man's Facebook page is another's plea for White Castle

OK, so this has been out there since January. But I just noticed it or maybe just remembered it....

Anyway, this one is for the Med City Slider fans out there and I'm not taking about Honker baseball (Though that Slider and Honker baseball are awesome, right Litz?).

 Brandon of Rochester runs a Facebook page called,"Bring White Cast le to Rochester."

Here's what he has to say to those in their steamy ivory tower:

This is my feeble attempt to get WC's attention. :)

I moved to Rochester from the Twin Cities 4 years ago & I have finally come to my breaking point. I am so tired of having to drive to South Saint Paul to get White Castle.
WCsyndrome2
All I want are some of those amazing Mozzy Stix, a couple Chicken & Cheese sandwiches and an order of Chicken Rings within a 10 minute drive from my house. Is that too much to ask?

Seriously White Castle, we have 4+ colleges in Rochester - that means a lot of starving college kids. PLUS Winona is nearby & they don’t have a WC… hence, more starving college kids. If you build a WC, they will come.

Pl 6a00d83451cc8269e20162ffca1c47970d-250wius my two sons ages 6 &4… they LOVE your kid’s meals with the Chicken Rings and Fries. They eat it better than any other fast food meal out there. Seriously.

See look at that, BOOM, market research done.

Hard to argue with that logic. heh.

 

 

November 21, 2011

Is Thanksgiving shopping too much?

I'm writing a Black Friday shopping precede article.

Thanksgiving-turkeyThe hot topic seems to be the fact some stores are opening on Thanksgiving for shopping with Old Navy being open all day and Walmart opening at 10 p.m.

The bulk of other stores like Target, Best Buy and the most of the Apache Mall shops are opening at midnight, which is really only one minute away from Thanksgiving.

These moves have incensed many people and have inspired a wave declarations of the sacredness of Thanksgiving and outrage at this violation of the holiday.

• I'm looking for resactions from Rochester shoppers to this.

• Is this an abomination?

• Is it not a big deal?

• Are you going out to shop on Thanksgiving? Black Friday? Never?

• If you are going out early, what deals are drawing you out?

 

 

 

September 23, 2011

Mayo Clinic plans could make proton center into skyscraper

Here's an interesting item. Like it did with the Gonda Building, Mayo Clinic has conceptual Phase II plans that could add up to 17 floors to the under-construction Richard O. Jacobson Building. If that plans becomes reality, it would grow the Jacobson Building to 19 stories above downtown Rochester.

Here's some from my article on these futuristic plans. Look for the whole deal in today's print edition:

------------------

09172011jacobsongroundbreaking Even before dirt started moving at the site of the new $185 million Richard O. Jacobson Building last week, Mayo Clinic was sketching out plans to possibly grow the project into a 19-story skyscraper.

Phase II maps out plans for building a 17-story tower on top of the Jacobson complex, Mayo spokesman Joe Dangor said. With 19 stories above ground, the building would fall just two floors short of the Gonda Building's 21.

Described as "a conceptual phase," Mayo Clinic has no timeline for the project or an estimate of what it might cost.

Proton_Night-Full_Donor_Steel If built, Phase II would swell the project's square footage from 220,000 to 750,000, Dangor said, citing Dr. John Black, chairman of the construction committee. The building then would be comparable in size to Mayo Clinic's Eisenberg Building.
The Jacobson Building, being built at the southwest corner of Second Street Northwest and First Avenue Northwest, will house four treatment rooms for pencil-beam proton radiation therapy for cancer patients.The building will include two floors above ground and two levels below for the massive nuclear equipment required for the "pencil beam" proton treatment.

September 13, 2011

Is Granite City brewpub carving out spot in Roch.?

It might be hard news for fans of the Granite City Food and Brewery brewpub chain, but "there's nothing concrete" to rumors that it's coming to Rochester.

Granite-City-291x300 That's what Steve Wagenheim, the president and CEO of the St. Louis Park, Minn.-based brew pub chain, told me last week. However, there is always potential for a deal to firm up.

"We're definitely expanding. That's the good news," he says. "We're looking at a lot of different markets. We have a broker in that market looking, but we just haven't found anything yet."

Founded in St. Cloud in 1999, the Granite City brewpubs have 26 restaurants in 11 Midwestern states. No. 27 is slated to open in Troy, Mich., in February.

Rumors of Granite City looking to open in Rochester have been brewing since at least 2005.

Here's what Wagenheim had to say when I harassed him in 2007: "At this point we are not looking at Rochester. That's all I know."

Brewery_growler The daily calls to him might have been a bit much back then. He prefaced that comment with "You are one tenacious son of a gun."

Fast forward to 2011. The story is a little different and I'm not harassing him as much.

"I like the market and would be honored to do something there (in Rochester), but you've got to have the right site," Wangenheim said Friday. "I would say right now that there is just nothing concrete there."

However, the company is growing and is always looking. "When you are doing an all-out search in so many markets, the list changes daily," he says.

Guess I'll just have to keep calling him. Heh.