Biz buzz // Renovations begin at new co-op site

Demolition work at Linden Hills Co-op’s new site near 44th Street and France Avenue started April 12, following a groundbreaking ceremony a couple days earlier.

Construction is scheduled to continue throughout the summer. Then the move to the 50-percent larger space from the existing store at 43rd Street and Upton Avenue is expected in August. The co-op will be closed for three days during the transition. A grand opening ceremony is planned later in the fall.

More than 200 co-op members contributed more than $1.5 million in loans during a four-month period to make the move possible. The overall cost of the project is roughly $3.5 million.

At the groundbreaking, co-op employees, board members, member-owners and project leaders joined city council members and neighborhood representatives from Minneapolis and Edina to commemorate the start of construction. The ceremony also marked the end of a long development process, fraught with controversy about the decision to move from the co-op’s long-loved location.   

“Back in the fall I was having nightmares every night that we would never get here,” said co-op board president Kimberly Proffitt. “It is so exciting to finally be standing here, to have our sign saying that we’re coming up. It’s wonderful and we’re so excited as the board to be able to open this new chapter in the co-op’s history.”

The move is not the co-op’s first, but it’s the furthest from the neighborhood’s 43rd and Upton epicenter, even though it’s less than a mile west.   

“I wasn’t here 35 years ago when that first vision was brought forth, but we get to be here in this next stage, of the next growth stage of the co-op,” said store manager Luke Schell. “This is the fourth move for the co-op. Every time it seems like we get bigger and stronger and more involved in the community.”

Co-op spokeswoman Jeane Lakso, who is leaving her position soon for a new job with the National Cooperative Grocers Association, said a New Orleans-style funeral procession from the old location to the new one is planned as part of the opening ceremony. Details are still being worked out.

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Burch Pharmacy calls it quits

After anchoring the corner of Hennepin and Franklin avenues for half a century, independent drugstore Burch Pharmacy will soon close its doors for good.

Owner Cal Mathieson, 64 and ready to “semi-retire,” said he spent the last eight months trying to sell the business, which had been gradually slipping in the face of corporate competition. He was hoping to keep the pharmacy alive by passing it on, but he didn’t get a single offer.

“The margins are so hard in pharmacy now, that’s why I had trouble selling it,” said Mathieson, who has owned the business for about 12 years. “I could probably keep going. I’m not going bust here, but I’m getting to the point where the margins are smaller and smaller and the return is not going to be there.”

He cited the mail order business and third-party managers who cut into reimbursements for pharmacy operators as a couple of the major challenges.

Walgreens is buying all of Burch’s prescription files, Mathieson said, so customers will be able to go there for their needs. He said a closeout sale was in the works and the store would probably close before the end of April.

“It would behoove me to be out by the end of the month, rather than to try to get into next month and pay another rent fee for nothing with no sales,” he said.

Tony Strauss, a senior associate at Welsh Companies, is working on leasing the 8,400-square-foot property as one or multiple plots.   

“The building lays out really nicely to put multiple storefronts in and I’m envisioning newer awnings and signage and newer lighting and a real nice look around that building,” Strauss said.

Anyone interested in the space can reach Strauss at 952-897-7882 or astrauss@welshco.com.

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Java Jack’s to become full-service restaurant

East Harriet coffee house Java Jack’s, 818 W. 46th St., plans to drop the java from its name and become a full-service restaurant called Jack’s by late May or early June.  

When Rustica Bakery moved from the space last year, Java Jack’s was left with a large, empty kitchen and quite a bit of extra space out front, said Renee Sells, the new restaurant’s manager. She said business owner Jerry Nelson looked at different options and decided to use the space to expand his offerings.

Sells, a newcomer to Minneapolis who previously managed a restaurant in St. Louis, said Jack’s will still serve coffee and pastries in the morning and a single lunch and dinner menu will be offered from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. The restaurant is also seeking a wine and beer license, a public hearing for which is scheduled this month.

The family-friendly menu includes “fresh versions of classic American dishes,” Sells said. It includes a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and more ranging price from $5–$19. Local sourcing is a priority and dishes can be altered to meet customers’ dietary needs.

Chef Stephanie Hedrick, who has worked at several local restaurants including Corner Table and The Independent, was hired to oversee food preparation.

For more information, go to jacksmpls.com.

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Famous Dave’s Extends Calhoun Square lease

Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues recently extended its lease in Calhoun Square, 3001 Hennepin Ave. S., through January 2016.

The restaurant has been a longtime anchor in the mall, which is going through a major renovation. Famous Dave’s is planning its own changes, including the addition of an outdoor patio, large windows and new kitchen equipment. The menu will also be expanded.

 “This is a legendary and iconic restaurant that plays a pivotal role in the Famous Dave’s family,” said Christopher O’Donnell, President and CEO of Famous Dave’s, in a prepared statement. “The Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues Club is the only location that offers live blues music entertainment daily. We look forward to the upcoming renovations, as well as the re-development of Calhoun Square and the addition of new tenants.”

The restaurant will stay open during renovations.

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Salon holds Cinco De Mama event

The East 42nd Street Salon in Tangletown is holding a special event for mothers called Cinco de Mama on May 9.

For $100, moms can pick from two of four spa services — a mini-pedicure, mini-manicure, 20-minute chair massage or a 30-minute facial. The salon at 4805 Nicollet Ave. S. will also treat moms to margaritas, appetizers and a gift bag.

Folks at the salon want to create a stressfree oasis for the women.

“There are a lot of women in this world that have great titles: congresswoman, senator, doctor and even hair stylist,” the salon notes in a news release about the event. “They fight crime, hold amazing dinner parties, and can take command of any situation they find themselves in. There is one other title that has the same important attributes: Mother. For 364 days a year, mothers take control of every situation, cook meals and provide the largest amount of unconditional love you’ll ever see in your life.”

To make an appointment for the event, call 729-4415.

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Noted

Wood Carver’s Store & School, 3056 Excelsior Blvd., is planning to close by the end of this month and reopen soon in a new location, either in Northeast or Southeast Minneapolis. A new site has not been finalized. Owner George Effrem said rent is getting too expensive at the current location, where the school and store has been since 1977, and he hopes to find a new spot with better freeway access and more synergy with hobby businesses.  

Effrem said the phone number and website will stay the same: 927-7491 and woodcarversstore.com.  

Massage therapy chain Massage Envy is opening a new clinic in the former MGM Liquor Warehouse space at 3254 W. Lake St. The company has clinics in 42 states. Find out more about the business at massageenvy.com.