Biz Buzz

Various Local Business Stories

Franklin & Lyndale

Owners of Himalayan Chai tea shop, 713 W. Franklin Ave., are opening a new store Sept. 1 in the East Isles neighborhood, filling space previously occupied by Antique Interiors, 2512 Hennepin Ave., which will close Sunday, July 27.

Owner Saujanya Shrestha said he doesn’t want to compete with Pandora’s Cup next door on Hennepin, so their new location will focus on handicrafts from his native Nepal, not tea (though boxed tea will still be sold).

Swadesh Shrestha, Saujanya’s brother and business partner, said their store would take up the whole building. He said they do plan to carry their tea line, but their main focus will be on silver jewelry, Nepal paper, Pashmina shawls, tattoos and even Tibetan-built furniture and rugs from Nepal.

David Comb, owner of Antique Interiors, said although he and his wife are closing their shop, they will continue to do antique shows.

Calhoun Square

The Calhoun Square restaurant Chiang Mai Thai, 3001 Hennepin Ave., is expanding into the mall, building a 700-square-foot lounge, complete with a full bar and 24-seat dining area.

Manager Kim Seidel said the renovation began in May and is slated for completion for a Thursday, Aug. 7 opening. She said double doors will separate the new room from the existing dining room.

Owner Charles Lodge said the room will be open to the public but also be available for event rental, and it will have PowerPoint capabilities to accommodate events such as business luncheons or grooms dinners.

The rental costs $100 for a room deposit, and $20 per person with a 60-person limit. Lodge said special menus are also available for parties of more than 20 people.

Lodge said the highlight of the room is an eight-foot Buddha fountain, which is a replica of an Asian fountain that local artists are creating. He said the room will also feature DJs eventually and will be open Thursdays through Sundays.

For more information about the new addition, call Chiang Mai Thai at 827-1606.

Lake and Dupont

A new Verizon Wireless store opened early July in the Wedge neighborhood at 1010 W. Lake St. Sales representative Armando Preciado said the store sells phones, phone plans and accessories.

So far, he said, his biggest seller has been the prepay phone option, which allows customers to pay for service before they use their phone so they don’t get a bill.

Preciado said the company chose this location because they consider the surrounding area an untapped market. "The next closest store is Downtown in the skyway," he said.

Another gap Preciado said the store fills is a link to the Spanish-speaking population. Preciado’s nametag proclaims that he speaks Spanish. He said he’s the only one who speaks Spanish at the store, and it should help with customer service. "We try to accommodate all types of customers," Preciado said.

Store hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m. For more information check out www.VerizonWireless.com.

38th & Grand

Nikki Brovold, general manager of Anodyne Coffeehouse, 4301 Nicollet Ave., is branching out on her own — with some help from her artist husband. In mid-November, she plans to open a new gourmet grocery store on the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and 38th named Lucky Girl Gourmet Grocery Store.

She said her store will feature a take-away deli and many locally grown and organically produced goods, with a focus on artesian breads and gourmet cooking ingredients. Brovold said her store will also incorporate educational components to help direct shoppers on how to cook and prepare their food.

She said she has not yet signed a lease and is just finishing securing funding, but she hopes to begin building within the space in August. Brovold said her husband Karl Aarsheim, an artist specializing in sculpture and carpentry, will do the customized building.

Brovold, 24, said she’s not in this to make a million dollars but is confident she’ll be profitable and can fill a currently unmet neighborhood niche.

Brovold expects the store to be open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

43rd & Bryant

Annamarie’s Bakeshop and Eatery, 820 W. 36th St., opened a second location in mid-July, in the East Harriet neighborhood.

The new store is located in the newly renovated building at 4301 Bryant Ave. S. and features the same pastries, baked goods, soups and sandwiches as at their CARAG location.

Owner Duane Burke said the new space is two-and-a-half times larger than his current space and will allow for a much larger seating area. He said he’s opening the second store to expand his market. Burke said the competition from Gigi’s Caf, 822 W. 36th St., has hurt his CARAG location because Gigi’s has more room to serve food.

He said the East Harriet location offers a significantly expanded menu with more salads, pastas, ice cream, pastries and sandwiches. He said his food is not "fancy schmancy," but family- and kid-friendly. "The food is not weird and you can pronounce it," Burke said. "You don’t have to be weird or exotic to have a successful operation."

He said he wants to focus on the neighborhood and to appeal to the kids from Barton School, the members of the nearby church and neighbors close by.

To accommodate his lunch and dinner fare, Burke said the East Harriet site would have longer hours than the CARAG location. The new store’s hours are Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-9 p.m. with Sunday hours to be determined.