Lakes Latte coffee bar opened about a week ago in Pequot Lakes.
The coffee bar is an extension of Northern Food King IGA Super Market, on the corner where Highway 371 and Main Street meet. Lakes Latte features specialty drinks and has a motto to provide all the caffeine people can handle.
Owners of the Food King and the coffee bar, Justin and Kimberly Bolz-Andolshek, are officially opening Lakes Latte at 7 a.m., but someone is usually there by 6 a.m.
Justin Bolz-Andolshek said they hope to get drivers who are making the morning commute to Brainerd.
He said when they purchased the grocery store they wanted to expand the bakery and the deli, but wanted a unique way to do that and came up with the idea of the coffee bar.
Five people work in the coffee bar, which seats about 30 customers.
Besides the specialty drinks, Lakes Latte offers fresh pastry from the super market's bakery and sandwiches on foccacia bread for lunches.
An expanded food line is expected in the future. And another item coming soon is Internet access for the coffee bar.
Justin Bolz-Andolshek said they want to have a reading book club or tea club in the lounge. Outdoor seating is also expected.
Two former area residents are moving back to the region to take a seasonal business full time.
Brenda & Tony Thibodo will open their Sculpture Garden business in Baxter full time by the end of May.
The Thibodos marketed their garden products through home shows and arts events in the area and decided to open a full-time business on Evergreen Drive in Baxter. They were open seasonally for the past two years.
Plans are to put up a showroom on the property. Brenda Thibodo said she would like to have an indoor atrium-like showroom. Other long-term plans include a garden area for weddings or special events.
Brenda Thibodo said the gardens help display the business' sculptures and walking path stones. The Thibodos are moving back to the Brainerd lakes area from the Twin Cities. They both graduated from high school here in 1978.
Speaking of garden centers, last year conventional wisdom regarding the possible effects of the Brainerd bypass raised concerns for seasonal businesses along Washington Street.
Two seasonal flower centers report news of decreased customer traffic to be premature. Jeane Schuett was at the Plants to Grow flower center on Washington Street last year. Schuett said traffic and business has not been reduced by the bypass.
Barb Moistner, Barb's Botanical Garden, agreed. She said customers have not been reduced by the rerouting of Highway 371. Cars continued in a solid buzz in the mid-afternoon heat last week. Moistner said traffic was not noticeably reduced.
"I still can't walk across Washington Street," Moistner said.
The Brainerd Driving School opens June 1. Sondra Dircks is opening the business, which includes classroom and behind-the-wheel driving instruction, on Washington Street. There will be three instructors besides Dircks.
Dircks is assuming contracts that were through Esse Driving School, South Seventh Street, which is going out of business.
Robert Waldorf had the business in Brainerd nearly seven years.
The Counseling Center at the medical center will be solely managed by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. St. Joseph's Medical Center and LSS announced the administration last week.
The change begins July 1. LSS announced the reason for the change is to simplify administration and clarify billing procedures. The Counseling Center will remain at its location in the hospital and LSS stated there will be no staff changes.
The Counseling Center provides counseling and related mental health care services complemented by psychiatric services provided by the hospital.
For the past 15 years, The Counseling Center operated as a joint venture between LSS and SJMC. The medical center was the managing partner.
Tom Prusak, SJMC chief executive officer stated in a news release that there will not be a change from The Counseling Center's client's viewpoint.
Madden's on Gull Lake, Maddens Brothers, Inc., was assessed fines for violating Motor Carrier Safety regulations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration in St. Paul announced that Madden's on Gull Lake was assessed a civil penalty of $2,000 for violating the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations and/or Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations.
An investigation of Madden's on Gull Lake on April 12 "revealed numerous violations of the FMCSR and/or HMR," the safety administration reported. Violations included failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substances testing program.
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