Biz buzz // Keep in Touch

A fresh face with years of experience

Keep In Touch Massage in Uptown Row has a fresh face with years of experience.

Phyllis Schwartz, a 70-year-old woman who started the original Keep In Touch in 1985, has taken over ownership of the Uptown location at 1221 W. Lake Street.

She said the lease was up on the location, and the previous owners of the franchise were planning to move on and not renew the lease.

“In times like these, we just don’t want places to sit empty,” Schwartz said. “And, you know, there’s 25 people working there, and they would have been out of jobs.”

So Schwartz took over ownership of the store, and said she hopes to keep the business going through a team effort.

“It’s like a family, if everyone helps out it’s not all on one person, and we’re positive we can keep the small business going,” she said.

Schwartz said one of the features of Keep In Touch she is most proud if is the length of the massages.

She said other places promise hour-long massages, but they end up being about 40 minutes after checking in, talking with the therapist and dressing and undressing.

But she said at Keep In Touch, therapists look at the clock when the massage starts, and “don’t take their hands off you for an hour.” She said they also schedule time in between massages so they don’t have to rush customers out.

“We provide fabulous customer service, which is basically nonexistent in this time,” Schwartz added.

Schwartz said there wouldn’t be many changes made with the new ownership.

“We’re still going to provide our same signature services and customer service,” she said.

Schwartz said she has been giving massages her whole life, among other things. She said her relatives were nurses and taught her how to give massages, and she started Keep In Touch in 1985.

Keep In Touch has other locations in Eagan, Burnsville, Minnetonka and Woodbury, all of which are franchised.

Ross Fefercorn, a local developer and owner of Uptown Row, called Schwartz the “queen of massage” and said she brings legitimacy to the massage industry.

Fefercorn also said the Uptown Keep In Touch adds to the health and wellness and beauty ambiance of the area, with beauty and tanning salons, dermatology and the Walgreens pharmacy.

“It’s just amazing, a 70-year-old with the energy of a 30-year-old,” he said. “She brings new blood to the area and draws on the energy of Uptown.”

Keep In Touch is open Monday–Thursday from 11 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. –7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Massages are $45 for a half hour, $70 for one hour, $100 for one-and-a-half hours and $125 for two hours.

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No more jazz

Space issues are causing the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe to discontinue its newly instated live jazz nights. But half-priced wine Sunday through Wednesday evenings will stay.

The call to cancel performances by local musicians in the evenings came soon after the restaurant first began the music nights on April 17. A quick decision was made because there is no stage in the restaurant.

“There just wasn’t enough room without a stage,” said Andrew Cox, general manager of the café.

Half-priced wine nights coupled with the opening up of the patio during the summer months should make for a fun atmosphere, Cox said. French Meadow expects to see more people with their new prices and outdoor patio complete with flowers.

The Uptown restaurant focuses on organic and natural foods and wines, and it is well known for its produce from local farmers, organic pasta, and rustic crackers served as an appetizer.

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Physician-run skin care

A new physician-run skin care business will be opening this summer inside Sa Bel Salonspa at 1609 W Lake Street.

Physician Skin Services will provide services such as botox, facials and peels, and will also sell skin care products that only physicians are authorized to sell, said Shawn Crosby, CFO and Kenwood resident.

Crosby said the shop will be unique because physicians will provide all the services and can do more extensive work and offer products that are only available from physicians.

Physician Skin Services will be located in a room in Sa Bel Salonspa, and is slated to open on June 1.

Crosby said that a website is in the works, and Physician Skin Services will also be hosting an open house shortly after opening this summer to answer questions about their services and products.

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Dragonfly Coffee to open

A hip, independent coffee shop called Dragonfly Coffee is coming to 50th and Penn Ave.

Lars Yungbliut is the one-man owner and operator of the shop, with little employee help. He plans on hiring staff as the business picks up. Until then, the shop will be closed on Mondays.

The shop is open now, but a grand opening is scheduled for May 30. Live acoustic music is planned that day.

Yungbliut has worked in the coffee business for more than 20 years throughout the U.S. Friends encouraged him to open up his own store.

“I wanted to do something independent,” he said. “I’ve worked coast to coast but haven’t had my own shop.”

Along with gourmet coffee, pastries from Margo’s Signature Baking and sandwiches will be served.

When it comes to the top-notch coffee, Yungbliut said, “I consider myself more
of a chef.”  

Yungbliut, also a musician in the process of recording an album, said live music would most likely be on tap once the place gets established.  

For now, an record-playing station will be at the shop. Anyone who brings in a vinyl record can throw it on and play DJ for the store. As for art, album covers are up now, but Yungbliut said there should be more coming as things get rolling.

Dragonfly Coffee will be open from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. on weekends.  

The shop’s website is www.dragonflycoffee.com and the number is 929-2847.

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Noted

Madwoman Foods is now using the space next door to its 4747 Nicollet Avenue bakery for product production.

The shop specializes in gluten-free products, including teacakes, pizza, cookies and breads, and especially caters to people with Celiac Sprue disease, which causes gluten to damage the small intestine.

Co-owners Bren Start and Char Lofgren opened the Tangletown bakery in early 2007.

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Nearly seven months ago the scrap-booking store Picturebook moved from 611 W. Lake Street to its current location at 2649 S. Lyndale Avenue, suite 200. Co-owner Liz Malherek said the business moved to focus more on being a design firm and Internet business instead of a retailer.

The store still sells products to customers at the shop, but Malherek said it also sells e-commerce goods including online photo books on Picturebook’s website, www.picturebookonline.com.