Lakes area diners could say the current explosion of restaurant choices is making a buffet experience out of Brainerd and Baxter.
And another player is now in the mix.
An 80-seat family oriented fresh-food Mexican restaurant is opening in the North Pointe Centre, currently in progress by Kuepers Construction Inc. along Highway 371 North near Best Buy. Restaurant owners and operators are Paul and Janet Anderson, Staples.
Paul Anderson said the emphasis for the restaurant is on fresh food with no microwaves or freezers and no preservatives. He said the restaurant could be considered "fast casual" in the industry's buzz words as it is in between the drive-through and the dress-up and sit-down experience.
"It will be quantity and quality and great value," Anderson said. "It will be a place you want to visit once and come back many times after that."
The restaurant is expected to employ 25, including part-time positions. And expectations are for a winter opening.
North Pointe Center also will include Godfather's Pizza and Computer 1 Technologies Solutions and its spin-off business Syvantis Technologies. There is room for six retail spaces in the center.
Northwood Turf and Power, East Brainerd Mall, is moving west.
Store manager Rodney Mueller said the lawn and garden equipment store is moving west of Home Depot in Baxter to the old Stewart's Forest Product site. The move will give Northwood Turf and Power expansion space on five acres. The project is waiting for permits and they will start building as soon as possible with an expectation to be moved out to the new location next spring.
The move will allow them to have a 6,000 square foot showroom that is bigger than the square footage for the current store. The service department will also be expanded. Mueller said they have a lease for their current location until March 1.
Ken Schienbein, owner of Latigos Restaurant and Steakhouse located on Highway 371 North, said he is in the process of a deal to open a second restaurant location in the space vacated by Northwood Turf and Power. Schienbein said he did not originally plan to open a second location so soon, but the location was too good to pass up. With the mall remodeling efforts and the new store locations, Schienbein said he thinks the area will attract customers.
Culver's restaurant sign is now up at its future location next to Applebee's along Highway 371 North. The restaurant will have a ground breaking ceremony Tuesday. Earlier expectations called for a winter opening.
Ben Franklin Crafts, located at the East Brainerd Mall, will close by the end of the year. Store owner Larry Stechman said earlier plans and attempts to find a new location for the store did not work out and the store will be done by the first of the year.
Carbone's Pizza now has a hiring sign out at its location in the newly constructed strip mall at the East Brainerd Mall.
Fifth Avenue Furniture will have a second location with a two-story store constructed where Happy Sleeper once stood. Sue Nelson, store manager, said the store owner was able to get out of the Happy Sleeper franchise and will be a Fifth Avenue store. Nelson said Fifth Avenue Furniture owns the Happy Sleeper franchise. An earlier plan to remodel the existing building was scuttled when the structure appeared to need more work.
In the interim the location is being used as a clearance furniture center with inventory left from Happy Sleeper and new items coming in from Fifth Avenue. The new store, with inventory that includes dining room, living room and bedroom furnishings, is expected to be ready for a March opening.
Hy-Tec Construction of Brainerd is building the new 20,000 square-feet furniture store.
Clearing efforts now under way near Lake Region Electric and Lighting are for commercial storage buildings.
Nisswa holiday fireworks plans have begun. Plans for the light displays and fireworks to help start the holiday season at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at Nisswa Community Park are moving ahead.
The fireworks celebration will be part of Nisswa's 21st annual city of lights event on the evening after Thanksgiving Day. The Nisswa Chamber of Commerce has a goal of raising $5,000 to provide the fireworks display and reported donations are needed from individuals and businesses.
Details and a schedule of events for the location will be available in the next several weeks. For more information go online to www.nisswa.com or call the chamber at 963-2620, or (800) 950-9610.
Integra Telecom, a telephone and Internet services provider for small and midsize businesses with offices in Baxter, was named company number 142 on the list of 500 fastest growing private companies in America by Inc magazine. The list is part of the Inc 500 magazine issue. This is the second consecutive year Integra has been named to the Inc 500 list.
Integra reported it achieved 1,446 percent growth in the past five years, with sales growing from $4,281,000 in 1997 to $66,194,000 in 2001.
To be eligible for this year's Inc 500, companies had to be independent and privately held through their fiscal year 2001, have at least $200,000 in sales in the base year of 1997, and their 2001 sales had to have exceeded 2000 sales. Inc verifies all information using tax forms and financial statements from certified public accountants and by conducting interviews with company officials.
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