Big Lou's Back Room, on Front Street in Brainerd, has new owners.
Bryce Fry, Brainerd, Brian Tollerud, Merrifield, and Cal Preisinger, Crosby, all in their 20s, are partners in the business.
Big Lou's Back Room offers cigar buyers an option to both buy and smoke their cigar in the store. The business was created by Michael Harvey and named for his pug dog. Harvey wanted to create a cozy space - a lounge - where people could sit down and enjoy a cigar, conversation, cribbage or a Sunday afternoon football game. Fry, Tollerud and Preisinger were frequent customers since Harvey opened the business after he was laid off from a teaching job at Central Lakes College. When Harvey planned to return to the education world, the trio weren't ready to see Big Lou's close.
Fry said they liked the atmosphere - conversation, music, Internet surfing, and cigar and pipe smoking. No major changes are planned other than trying to get the name out more, Fry said. Although there is a large age range, the clientele they are most frequently drawing tends to be in their 20s and 30s, Fry said.
Bryce Fry (left), Cal Preisinger and Brian Tollerud purchased Big Lou's Back Room, a cigar shop on Front Street in downtown Brainerd. The trio, all in their 20s, don't plan major changes. The shop's atmosphere - part retail store, part lounge - is what first attracted them as regular customers. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
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"We kind of knew what to expect," Fry said of the move from customer to business owner. The partnership allows the owners to work at their regular jobs while keeping Big Lou's open.
The location has been a good one and with more talk about downtown renovation and a bike trail nearby, Fry said things should only get better in the future. And the name is staying. "It just seems to fit," he said.
Famous Dave's restaurant in Baxter is going smoke-free Monday.
"It's just a health conscious decision," said David Raymond, general manager. He said customers wanted to go smoke free and he viewed the change as a positive step benefiting the community.
Ruttger's Retail Store, 25039 Tame Fish Lake Road, Deerwood, was selected by a clothing company to help women find the right fit for jeans that works with their individual body type.
FDJ French Dressing, the Montreal-based women's lifestyle clothing company, has developed is hosting Fit Clinics in 300 stores through May 13th. The program is called "What's Your Fit?"
Hunt Technologies, Pequot Lakes, receives ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications, standards relating to quality management and environmental performance.
Hunt reported the certification, ISO 9001, has many benefits such as a "framework for evaluating quality management systems within the company, as well as requirements for evaluating the quality management systems of Hunt suppliers. The certification process leads to improved documentation, reduced expenses, prioritized improvement opportunities and a better trained workforce."
ISO 14001 certification relates to improved environmental performance through pollution prevention.
"ISO certification is an important and necessary step for Hunt," Todd Headlee, Hunt Technologies chief executive officer, said in a news release. "It's becoming a requirement for doing business with many companies, especially in the international market where we are rapidly expanding. This is a rigorous certification process and our employees worked hard to achieve it."
RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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