An outlet-type store is moving into the former Tower Pizza building on Highway 371 North.
Expressions Bargain Center, which is located near the Colonel's Brainerd International Raceway, recently opened for the nationals. But the store is getting ready for its official opening on Sept. 11.
Expressions will feature name brand family footwear at 20 percent to 50 percent reductions in prices from manufactured suggested sales. Brands include Sketchers, New Balance and Rockport. In addition, the store will have casual apparel, mostly for men to start, such as Ralph Lauren Polo and Savane. Brandt said he will be purchasing inventory from manufacturing close-outs. And a board room may appeal to the young at heart, with a separate room for skateboards and accessories.
"Hopefully we can stop people who are going along the highway," Expressions owner Dean Brandt said. "The best thing is we are going to have really good deals."
But much of the store's business, particularly shoes, comes from a presence on the Internet through the Web site www.vansexpress.com. Brandt said shoes are shipped across the globe. And Brandt said the store typically does as much business on the phone as it does from customers in the store. The store is open year round and employs five at the Highway 371 location. Remodeling efforts included a new roof and repainting.
Expressions is moving out of the Westgate Mall location where it has been for more than five years. Brandt also owns Expressions North, which has been in Pequot Lakes for three years.
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe's small business development program, which grants loans to band members to open their own businesses, was selected as a finalist by Harvard University for an Honoring Nations Award.
Awards are granted to 16 tribal government programs in the nation that are effective in addressing key needs, problems and challenges facing American Indian nations. An advisory board at Harvard, compiled from individuals from the private, public and non-profit sectors, evaluates which eight "honors" and eight "high honors" will be selected for national recognition. The Mille Lacs Band is one of 16 finalists chosen from an initial pool of 70 applications from more than 50 American Indian nations.
Last year, two Mille Lacs Band programs received honoring nations awards: The Language and Cultural Immersion Program received high honors and the 1837 Conservation Code received honors.
Representatives from Harvard and the Honoring Nations Award Program visited the reservation on Aug. 1 and met with small business program staff, band entrepreneurs who used the program and Corporate Commission members.
The Small Business Development Program began in 1996 and has helped more than 30 band members start their own business, the band reported. Recent business openings included an American Indian gift shop, a horse-breeding business, a public recreational horse ranch and a lawn and snow service company.
If the band is selected to receive high honors, it will be awarded a $10,000 prize following an all-day public program, ceremony and reception in St. Paul on Nov. 14.
National Carpet on Highway 371 North closed its doors recently. A sign outside announced a foreclosure sale.
Wadena Grill Embers America will open in Wadena in September. The restaurant, located off Highway 10 West, is owned by Conrad Larson and operated by Avalanche Management and Consulting Inc.
Embers America is the family restaurant franchise company based in the Twin Cities. Wadena is the most recent addition to the family of independent restaurants that joined together to compete with larger restaurant chains.
The Wadena restaurant is attached to a motel, The Wadena Inn. Wadena Grill Embers America will feature different cuisine nights, such as Mexican dishes, and will specialize in banquets and catering.
Crosslake residents were surveyed to gauge interest in pursuing an expanded local calling area to and from the city.
The Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce, in cooperation with the Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the Pequot Lakes School District, Crosslake Communication and TDS Telecom, is working to determine interest in pursuing expanded local calling to and from Crosslake. Currently, telephone calls to and from Crosslake to surrounding telephone exchanges in Pine River, Breezy Point, Pequot Lakes and Ideal Corners are considered long distance. However, area residents cross those city boundaries for school districts, area shopping and entertainment activities.
A survey was mailed to chamber members living in the Crosslake area. Results will be available in October.
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