Biz buzz: Settergren Hardware, Mesa Pizza, Northern Brewer

Settergren Hardware purchases old Linden Hills Co-op building

LINDEN HILLS — Nine months after the Linden Hills Co-op packed up and moved to 44th & France, Settergren Ace Hardware purchased the vacant commercial building at 2318 W. 43rd St.

Mark Settergren, co-owner of Settergren Ace Harware (located at 54th & Penn in Armatage) and Diamond Lake Hardware (54th & Nicollet in Tangletown) said his plan for the 8,000-square-foot former Co-op building is to “make it Settergren Hardware in Linden Hills.”

Settergren said he is shooting for an October opening.

“We’re planning to bring a very green hardware store with lots of organic products, mowers and composting,” he added. “We’re hoping to have a little section of live bait, a section of kids toys — we want to make this a family-style store.”

News of the purchase generated some controversy. Bayers Do It Best Hardware has been a Linden Hills institution at the corner of 43rd & Upton for almost 90 years, and it’s unclear whether the neighborhood can support two hardware stores in such close proximity.

Mark Settergren said he hopes the two stores can co-exist. He and Bob Bayers, owner of Bayers Hardware, are discussing ways the two stores might merge and become partners rather than competitors.

In a letter addressed to his customers, Bayers wrote that news of the sale “was a complete surprise to us as it is to many of you.” The letter adds that discussions between Bayers and Settergren regarding a possible merger will continue over the next few weeks.

Some questioned why Dave Luger, the longtime owner of the old Co-op building, sold the property to a hardware store when other prospective purchasers presumably would have used the space in a way that doesn’t compete with existing neighborhood businesses.

In an e-mail, Luger wrote that Settergren was the “best qualified buyer.”

“It was an open-market sale, very fair to all participants,” the e-mail continued. “Everyone including Bob had equal opportunity to offer.”

Mark Settergren said it was his understanding that Bob Bayers had been given first crack at purchasing the building.

“We found out that Bayers Hardware had been offered the building first, and that made us feel a little easier about our morals,” Settergren said.

Settergren characterized the decision to purchase the old Co-op building as a move made out of necessity.

“We found out that two other hardware franchises were looking at it, and that made us nervous because we already have a lot of customers from that area shopping here at (54th & Penn),” Settergren said. “If a bigger corporation came in there and put in a big store, we were real concerned about our business, so we felt we needed to do this.”

Controversy aside, some Linden Hills residents are just happy to learn that the old Co-op building will again open for business after a year of vacancy.

“What I’ve heard from people is that they’re just really excited to have a good tenant in there,” said Mark Dwyer, president of the Linden Hills Business Association. “There is definitely some concern about how this will affect Bob and his business, but Settergren is reaching out to him in a way that’ll hopefully be win-win for both.”

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Mesa Pizza coming to Uptown

EAST ISLES — After years of trying, Mesa Pizza is finally coming to Uptown.

Mesa Managing Partner David Hathaway confirmed that he recently signed a lease for the vacant commercial space at 1440 W. Lake St.

He said he plans to get Mesa’s third location, which will be in the old Ivy retail building next to TCF Bank and FedEx Office Print and Ship Center (formerly FedEx Kinko’s), open for business by October.

Mesa Pizza is known for pizza by the slice, eclectic topping combinations (like bacon cheeseburger and guacamole burrito) and staying open past bar close, though the pizzeria itself doesn’t sell booze.

“People like to go out, have a night on the town — then they want to get some Mesa,” Hathaway said.

The original Dinkytown location opened in 2006 and proved to be an immediate hit with the campus community.

Hathaway said he planned to open Mesa’s second location in Uptown in 2009, but a tentative lease agreement for an Uptown property fell through when the landlord decided he would rather rent to a retail business. So instead of expanding into Uptown, Hathaway opened the second Mesa Pizza in Iowa City near the University of Iowa campus.

Hathaway said three factors made Dinkytown, Iowa City and Uptown attractive locales for his business: lots of foot traffic, numerous bars in close proximity and a high population density for delivery purposes.

The layout of Mesa’s Uptown location will be similar to the Dinkytown pizzeria, but with slightly less seating.

As is the case with the other two Mesas, Hathaway plans to keep the Uptown location open until 3 a.m. six days a week and until midnight on Sundays. He said he was still working with the East Isles neighborhood and the city to get an extended-hours license, but didn’t expect any problems.

The East Isles Zoning and Land Use Committee took a look at Mesa’s plans for a 3 a.m. closing time on June 14. Meeting minutes indicate the committee didn’t have any objections to the extended hours request, citing the fact that Mesa has successfully managed noise and crowds at its other two locations.

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Northern Brewer coming to Southwest

WINDOM — Southwest beer fans, rejoice: Northern Brewer is opening a homebrew supply store in Windom this fall.

Company management finalized a deal June 21 to purchase a commercial building at 6021 Lyndale Ave. S. A redesign concept has already been completed and reconstruction of the site will begin soon.

The Minneapolis store should be around 4,000 square feet and will have ample off-street parking. The building used to be the home of Über Outlet (now located at 6015 Lyndale Ave. S.), but the space has been vacant for at least a year since that company moved down the street.

Jake Keeler, marketing director for Northern Brewer, said the existing building will receive a “pretty significant facelift” but won’t be demolished. The interior will be extensively renovated.

Founded in St. Paul in 1993, Northern Brewer rode the burgeoning craft beer wave from humble origins into one of the upper Midwest’s preeminent homebrew brands.

In addition to the Grand Avenue store in the capital city, Northern Brewer rented a large warehouse space in Roseville seven years ago that now serves as its headquarters. In 2009, the company expanded into Wisconsin, opening a retail store in Milwaukee.

With strong demand for their products and services in the west metro, the company decided the time is right for an expansion into Minneapolis.

“We love Grand Avenue, and it was important to us to find something in a similar neighborhood,” Keeler said. “With the new store being near Highway 62 and (Interstate 35W), it’ll be really convenient for people coming from all directions.”

In addition to selling starter and recipe kits, brewing equipment and ingredients such as malt extracts, hops and yeast, Northern Brewer plans to offer an array of brewing classes at the Minneapolis location.  

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Corner Table owner now executive chef at country club

Corner Table owner Scott Pampuch recently agreed to become executive chef at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.

In a press release, Pampuch described his new position as “the biggest step that’s happened in my career in six years,” and said he’s excited about “the opportunity to introduce local, sustainable foods to a new audience.”

It is unclear what impact, if any, Pampuch’s new job will have on day-to-day operations at Corner Table, 4257 Nicollet Ave. S.

The press release provides assurances the Lyndale neighborhood restaurant “will remain a leader in serving local, sustainable foods with the seasons.”

A manager said “Corner Table will remain open as usual,” but further inquires were directed to Pampuch, who didn’t reply to a call and e-mail seeking comment.

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Noted

Two new stores are open near 50th & France in Edina. Room No. 3, a lingerie, loungewear and sleepwear boutique, is now open at 4948 France Ave. S., and Pandolfi, a sweets shop featuring Palazzolo’s gelato and other treats, is now open at 3904 West 50th Street.

Linden Hill’s Russell+Hazel, 4388 France Ave. S., is roughly doubling the size of its retail store by expanding into an adjacent space that was serving as an office. The office, school tool and tote design company plans to make its popular and formerly seasonal “binder bar” a permanent feature of the store following the expansion.

American Grill recently opened at 3752 Nicollet Ave. S. in Lyndale. The family-run takeout restaurant serves wings, gyros, fish and burgers and features daily specials.