Biz buzz // Pizzeria Lola spinoff will offer New-York-style slices

SUNNYSIDE — Pizzeria Lola is spinning off another pizza restaurant, and the new spot isn’t a carbon copy.

“This is more of a classic East Coast-style pizza,” said owner Ann Kim. “This brings back my original idea to open a New York slice shop.”

Hello Pizza will open around January 2013 at 3904 Sunnyside Rd. in Edina, formerly a Franklin Street Bakery storefront. It will offer a more casual atmosphere than Lola, with counter service, no wait staff, and slices to go or dine-in. The dough will continue to be made by hand, as at Lola, and the shop will sell Lola’s signature vanilla soft-serve ice cream. 

Kim discovered the vacant spot while out running her dog Lola (the original pizzeria’s namesake). 

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to use it as a commissary kitchen,” she said. 

Pizzeria Lola is starting to run out of kitchen space, now that the restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Kim envisions running back and forth between shops as Lola needs more dough, and at the same time, she can sell the New York slices she says are missing in Minnesota. 

Kim attended college in New York, and the pizza left a lasting impression. 

“That was my benchmark for what great pizza should be like,” she said.

Software developer buys Jack’s building 

EAST HARRIET — The Jack’s building at 818 W. 46th St. is no longer in a restaurateur’s hands. DevJam, a software developer and a tenant, purchased the building in recent weeks. 

DevJam owner David Hussman said he plans to operate his business out of the ground floor, but he is keeping an open floor plan and he’d like to welcome the community to the building in some fashion. “There will be things happening in that space again,” he said. “DevJam by day, community by night. … It’s not just going to be a closed door.” 

Hussman lives nearby at 43rd & Garfield, and he has visited Java Jack’s since his daughters were young. On a recent weekday, DevJam staff members were working at laptops at Jack’s old tables. 

“It’s so weird being in there,” 

Hussman said. 

Hussman said he offered to move his business to the first floor as he watched former owner Jerry Nelson struggle to sell Jack’s restaurant. Hussman and his wife envision a community forum area in the old retail space, with music events and perhaps weekend food service. For a while, DevJam was even pouring free coffee on Fridays.

The owners of the Chef Shack food truck continue to lease Jack’s kitchen space. Hussman said he sees them as kindred spirits. 

“They’re another couple of goofball rebels, where people told us we couldn’t do what [we’re doing today].”

Hussman calls himself an “accidental business man,” and his company appears to be a busy one: it is preparing to launch a new software product, it provides “DevDudes” to serve as consultants, and Hussman coaches companies all over the world. He previously worked as a music producer, and today he helps clients develop software using a similar collaborative method. 

“I like the idea of having a place where people can come create things,” he said.

Local firm does RNC security work 

LYNDALE— The Minneapolis-based EPG Security Group recently returned from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where staff worked at private beachfront parties and staffed a box suite belonging to House Speaker John Boehner. 

“We didn’t have any protesters,” said Erik Bergling, owner and CEO. “The chatter we were following expected a lot more.” 

Staff did become alarmed at one point in the week, however, when a car burst into flames on the road 200 yards ahead of them. Prior to the convention, security heard claims that protestors wanted to shut down Tampa’s many bridges. EPG is responsible for emergency preparedness plans, but none of them were needed. 

Bergling said his crew is accustomed to working around political figures, but he was still jarred by the many personalities that stopped by the forum’s box suite where EPG was handling credentials. 

“There was a 30-second period where I met [former New York Mayor] Rudy Giuliani, [Senator] John McCain, [astronaut] Buzz Aldrin, and [former New York Governor] George Pataki,” Bergling said. “You keep it all inside, until you get back to the hotel.”

EPG provided security for 35 events at the 2008 RNC in St. Paul, which led to work at the inauguration in D.C. and the Tampa convention. But most of EPG’s security work is still local, providing security for venues like Myth, Kieran’s Irish Pub and Graves 601 Hotel. 

You’ll also find EPG on YouTube: staff were present last year when Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was “glitter-bombed.”  

Aura closes 

CARAG — Aura closed Sept. 8 at 3001 Hennepin Ave., but it might not be gone for good. 

Owner Fabrizio Ciccone said he wants to do a similar concept in the neighborhood that targets local customers. In an email, he said the new venue would be “very independent” and “far away from [the] big corporation mentality.”

He said Aura closed after Calhoun Square doubled the rent. 

Calhoun Square officials did not return a call for comment.

Calhoun Square retailer finds new home 

CARAG — Another Calhoun Square tenant is out after being asked to leave, according to Kumar, the co-owner of Geetanjoli Sari Fashion. Kumar said he is thankful the store has already landed on its feet in a new site on Hennepin Avenue. 

“We were very happy [at Calhoun Square], and we don’t have any complaints,” Kumar said. “It’s their place, and they decided they don’t want us.”

Geetanjoli now operates at 2817 Hennepin Ave. S., where it continues to specialize in Indian bridal apparel. The store also sells hand-painted jewelry and traditional wear with vegetable dyes done in an ancient technique.

“This was a blessing in disguise,” Kumar said. “We have more exposure for our business.”

Now open: Sassy Knitwear

FIELD — Sassy Knitwear, a staple vendor at the Mill City Market, opened its first brick-and-mortar location last month at 48th & Chicago. 

Employees previously worked out of the owners’ Minneapolis homes, where they made knitwear clothing of their own design. 

“We’ve always had the dream of having a storefront,” said Sarah Grudem, who owns the store with her childhood friend Molly O’Brien Black. “We have a lot of friendly neighbors that have been bringing us flowers.”

The owners primarily stick to natural fibers in their clothing. Many of the styles feature serged edges to create an unfinished look. 

“It’s mostly organic cotton that we dye ourselves,” Grudem said. “We use a lot of recycled materials.” 

Sassy Knitwear’s new address is 4802 Chicago Ave. S. For more information, visit sassyknitwear.com.

Goodwill opening new Lyndale store 

CARAG — Goodwill didn’t waste any time when Minneapolis passed new rules last summer that allow more closely spaced secondhand goods stores. 

Goodwill proposes to open a two-level store at the 3000 block of Lyndale, with third-level offices that provide employment training for people in need. The site currently houses the H Design salon building and a vacant house to the north at 3020 Lyndale Ave. S., according to the CARAG neighborhood.

Marketing Director Lisa Ritter said Goodwill has 28 stores in the cities, but not many employment offices. Net revenues at Goodwill help pay for specialists who work with people to find new careers, practice interviewing or train for industries such as healthcare or retail sales.

“A lot of the people we serve are in the city of Minneapolis,” Ritter said. “We are very excited about this opportunity.”

She said the Lyndale store would be smaller than a typical Goodwill store.

“We want the look and feel to fit into the neighborhood,” she said. 

The project has not yet received city approval. 

Got a buzz tip? Reach Michelle Bruch at [email protected]