Biz buzz: Rons Market closing

Neighborhood grocer Ron’s Market at will close by June 30th after two decades of business at 46th & Bryant.

"The biggest thing for me is I’ve been trying to sell for a while because my wife is teaching at a college down in New Mexico and I want to get down there," said store owner Ron Erickson. "So I didn’t exercise my lease and I’m just going to shut it down, or work something out I guess."

Erickson has become a familiar face in Southwest since he opened Ron’s Market in December 1988. His shop has gained strong community support, too.

"It’s a very good location," Erickson said. "The neighborhood still wants a store here."

As viable as the spot may be, Erickson said he’s had trouble trying to sell the business.

"I had it sold a year ago last December and it fell apart 10 hours before I was supposed to close," Erickson said."

He said his wife accepted the job in New Mexico because of that sale and the last year without her has been tough. His lease expires June 30 and he plans to close a couple weeks before then to clear the store out.

Running a neighborhood grocery store has gotten harder over the years as suppliers and competitors have grown larger, Erickson said. But he always enjoyed the people.

"I’ll miss the customers," he said.

Burglars target blue jeans

Men’s jeans have been flying off the shelves at Covered in Uptown, but not in the way
storeowner Stacy Larson would like to see.

The designer clothing shop at 1201 Lagoon Ave. has seen four break-ins since October, Larson said. Men’s denim has been the target each time and Covered has been unable to put a stop to the thievery, which has caused an increase in insurance rates.  

So Covered is getting rid of its menswear entirely by the end of March. Right now it’s all 40–70 percent off.

"It’s hurt me monetarily," Larson said. "I don’t want to do it, but I have to."

Larson believes there is a connection with the thefts at her store and recent burglaries in Atlanta tied to a group called the Blue Jeans Bandits.

"Police here think that it’s a fluke case every time," Larson said.

Covered will expand its women’s merchandise section in place of the menswear.

"The men aren’t happy, but it’s necessary," Larson said.
"It’s so insane."

Vera’s Café says goodbye

Vera’s Café patrons somberly sipped half-off drinks Feb. 11, the coffee shop’s last day in business after nine years at 2901 Lyndale Ave. S.   

Café owner Wayne Butzer said the 2007 reconstruction of Lyndale Avenue cut his business by 40 percent, and it was never able to recover.

"I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half trying to get caught up on everything," he said.

The café, named for Butzer’s grandmother, added beer and wine to the mix a little over a year ago. That wasn’t enough to overcome the lingering effects of road reconstruction, especially when combined with the nation’s current economic crisis, Butzer said.

He said the decision to close was made very recently. When asked if he would consider opening another business, Butzer responded: "Not in Minneapolis."

The café was packed with regulars for its last day, but the mood was somber.

"It’s full and it’s sad," Butzer said.

Drinks were half-off for Vera’s final day.

"I want to thank my loyal patrons of the last nine years for their business," he said. "I’ve met a lot wonderful people and made life-long friends."

New gift shop in Bryn Mawr

The owner of a Stillwater gift and antiques store plans to open a second location in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood.

Cockadoodledoo owner Gerry Seiler said he was restoring the former Bloomsbury Market space at 403 Cedar Lake Road in anticipation of an April 6 opening. Seiler opened his Stillwater store about five years ago.

"I have antiques, but I’ve integrated the new with the old," he said.

Seiler said the gifts at Cockadoodledoo were items for everyday use at affordable price points. They include linens, towels and candles.

He described the selection of 20th century antiques — including old general store items and displays — as whimsical and homey. Seiler also planned to display vintage outdoor furniture in a patio space that could double as open-air seating for the adjacent Cuppa Java coffee shop.

Noodles expanding menu

Noodles & Company will add spaghetti and meatballs to its permanent menu Feb. 18 at all Minnesota locations. The Southwest Noodles is at 3040 Excelsior Blvd.

A small serving will be $5.95 and a regular serving will be $7.25. Noodles will add the dish system-wide this spring.