The Westgate Mall’s renovation project to add two stores is nearing completion.
“We’re working feverishly,” said Ed Bogacki, project manager for Eidco Construction, and the progress on the mall’s west end. Bogacki said the renovation will be substantially completed by March 31. He said the interior will be completed to a point where both stores — Big Lots and Dunham’s Sports — will be able to start stocking shelves and setting up displays. Getting the stores ready is expected to take four to five weeks. Bogacki said he believes the stores plan to be ready to open in early May.
Construction effort will continue on the facade of both stores and the stucco finish. Work on framing and glass and the main entry will continue for both spaces until the third week of April, Bogacki said. The final phase will be on the north side of the building as loading docks are added for both stores and parking rearranged. With road weight restrictions, that work may be completed in May.
Bogacki said the project has gone smoothly and on a tight scheducle to get everything done on time after basically gutting the former Kmart. The warm weather was a benefit and put them ahead at least a little but was minimal as they still had a few cold days and utlized heating elements on the ground. Although he said they may not have gotten as much done on the exterior as they have at this time. Bogacki said if it has been a typical Minnesota winter, they would have had to enclose the space to work.
“We got lucky with the weather,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to be 70. ... I think we are probably about where we thought we’d be.”
About 30 to 50 trades workers have been employed on the project in a 65,000-square-foot space. The space will basically be divided into two for the stores.
“The city has been very helpful in helping us get through the permit process,” Bogacki said, adding mall management as well noting they provided information and general assistance. Alan Retkinski and Alex Schleider, who formed Westgate Mall Realty Group, purchased the mall for $6.8 million from DDR Corp. Two stores, Big Lots and Dunham’s Sports plan to open in space formerly occupied by Steve & Barry’s and Kmart.
Right on schedule, the Radco Truck Accessory Center’s new Baxter facility, formerly home to The Floor to Ceiling Store, opened for business before the month ended. The retail and warehouse facility had an open house Tuesday to mark its entry on Highway 371.
Radco is a division of Silver Star Industries Inc., which is a locally owned company employing 65 people. The company headquarters and a manufacturing division remain in east Brainerd near the intersection of highways 25 and 18. while the retail and warehouse facility moved to Baxter.
Memories for the Making, the scrapbooking store on Edgewood Drive off Highway 371 in Baxter, announced it is closing its doors April 21. Owner Karlee Anderson purchased the building in August 2008. Anderson previously worked at Ben Franklin Crafts. Anderson made a go of it, but said she bought the store at a tough economic time. Other scrapbooking stores in the region already have succumbed to economic pressure as shoppers cut back on discretionary spending.
“I just didn’t see it picking up,” Anderson said. “It just never got better.”
Heartland Power Sports Inc., an Outing business, lost its sales tax permit. The Minnesota Department of Revenue recently reported it revoked the sales tax permit of Heartland Power Sports Inc. for failing to file and pay sales tax to the state. According to the department, the business allegedly owes the state more than $58,000.
“The department claims the business, which sells and repairs recreational equipment and vehicles, located at 56 State Highway 6 Northeast in Outing, failed to file sales taxes for periods between August 2007 and April 2008 and failed to pay sales tax for periods between August 2007 and September 2011,” the Department of Revenue reported. “Minnesota sales tax is a ‘trust tax.’ Customers pay sales tax with the expectation that businesses will remit them to the state on their behalf. Sales tax cannot be used by a business as additional operating capital or for any other purpose.
“If a person or company makes retail sales in Minnesota after revocation of their Minnesota sales tax permit, the action is considered a felony under Minnesota law.”
Brock White, on Forthun Road in Baxter, near the planned Costco development, announced move to Baxter to the Potlatch Industrial Park, fourmiles west of Highway 371 in the former Stock Lumber building on Highway 210.
“We are extremely excited for the move,” says Brainerd Branch Manager Merry Rohloff, in a news release. “It allows us to take advantage of a large inside storage area, an expanded showroom floor with an updated fireplace display area, and a training room for customers and Brock White sales staff.”
Brock White, a distributor of construction materials, announced it plans to be open for business at the new location on April 2 at 3855 Independence Road in Baxter.
Brock White’s central office and warehouse is in St. Paul.
Tuff Tow company has changed ownership. Keith and Rachel Tuma and Al and Joelle Schmidt, of Baxter, are the new owners of Tuff Tow Corp., which is now Tuff Tow Inc. They purchased the business and relocated it from Motley to 310 W. Laurel St. in Brainerd.
The business manufactures and sells the Tuff Tow, a trailer lowing component. The business started in the 1990s and was dormant for three years before friends Al Schmidt and Keith Tuma decided to go into the business together.
A Get Jobs Job Fair is set 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Eagan Civic Arena, 3870 Pilot Knob Road. More than 60 exhibitors are expected to participate in the annual event, including businesses and organizations with job openings and educational institutions that offer training programs. The event includes free workshops and seminars to help participants their interviewing abilities, learn new job-search techniques and brush up other skills.