While spring seems to be taking its time to embrace consecutive days of seasonal warmth, it is sprouting several new businesses.
The Kitchen Place, a kitchen gadget store, was recently unveiled in the former Gum Drop Tree/Krumbles bakery in the Baxter Village along Highway 371 North. Owner Cathy Hughes said the focus is on interesting, affordable items for the kitchen. The store features wine accessories, bulk tea and tea pots, bakeware and a build a basket area. Hughes said items are typically less than $20.
In addition, The Kitchen Place will offer soup and sandwiches to go such as the Hungarian mushroom soup that has been popular at Hughes' Tuscany Room restaurant in Aitkin and a cashew chicken sandwich along with food items like fresh Danish. Each day of the week will include one signature soup. Hughes said she hopes the kitchen gadget store will be a nice complement to the existing stores in the Baxter Village. She said a customer recently purchased shrimp at Morey's and came to her store looking for a shrimp skewer.
Hughes continues to operate the Gum Drop Tree toy store in Nisswa and in Aitkin her Gum Drop Tree store takes up about a third of the store with the rest devoted to the new creation of Bath, Bubbles and Bling, which offers natural and organic bath products, clothing and plus sizes with purse and hat lines and jewelry. Hughes said 80 percent of the products are made in the U.S.
Belle Cheveux Salon and Spa is opening Monday in the Northland Center in Nisswa between Naterra Land and The Animal House pet store. Owner Missy Fleischhacker said the salon uses Paul Mitchell products, hair colors and services. Belle Cheveux is French for beautiful hair. The salon will offer manicures, pedicures and facials, but Fleischhacker said the focus is on hair care.
Belle Cheveux means beautiful hair in French. Fleischhacker has been working in hair salons since 1999. "It's not really a job for me it's what I love," she said.
Fleischhacker said with the current economy more people are trying to do their own hair at home as they cut back on spending. But she incentive programs, referral incentives and other support for regular customers are just some of the different options she has to help people stay on their budget.
"Any stylist will try to keep in the price range," she said. "If we want to keep you coming back then listening to the customer is really key."
Verizon Wireless relocated its store on Baxter Drive to 15091 Edgewood Drive in Baxter. The company reported the new 2,040-square-foot store will showcase an interactive retail concept with customers able to pick up and try the latest models along with on-demand access to news, weather, sports and entertainment video clips, songs and 3-D games. The store is managed by Phil Toso.
Wausau Paper announced a first quarter net loss of $1.4 million or $0.03 per share - that's compared to a net loss of $6.8 million a year ago. The company reported net sales decreased 20 percent to $238.8 million. The Printing and Writing segment reported a first quarter operating profit of $0.3 million compared to an operating loss of $12.5 million last year.
"The improvement in first-quarter adjusted net earnings is a direct result of steps taken in the past 18 months to bolster our long-term competitive position and address current recessionary business conditions," Thomas Howatt, Wausau president and CEO, said in a news release. "Though hampered by weak economic and market conditions, all three business units reported year-over-year profit improvement, excluding one-time charges. With the depth and duration of recessionary business conditions uncertain at this time, we've taken appropriate actions to conserve cash, further reduce costs, and limit capital spending. Execution of these initiatives will allow us not to not only weather the current economic downturn but also position us for improved results as market growth returns."
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