Even in the dead of winter, business activity in Alexandria is heating up.
Readers have been asking the newspaper about a variety of developments they’ve been noticing or hearing about in and around town – lots sold, expansions, new start-ups, moves and more.
We looked into the activity and put together this list of some of the things that are happening:
• The Runestone Electric Association (REA) building has been sold. The property is located next to Alexandria City Hall. Realtor Kevin Mahoney said the buyer, whose name wasn’t disclosed because the sale hasn’t been finalized yet, plans to use the building for several small offices or one larger operation.
• Pretzelmaker is coming to the Viking Plaza. It will occupy the space that’s been used for ice cream treats in the past and was last used by Fresh Corner. It will offer a variety of pretzels, pretzel dogs and beverages. It has more than 360 locations in the U.S. and worldwide.
• The former Special Memories building on Broadway between Cowing Robards and Charlie’s Bazaar has been sold. It will re-open in early May as a children’s clothing boutique store, Mahoney said. Special Memories, meanwhile, moved to a new location, behind Cherry Street Books.
•A flurry of activity has been taking place at County Market. It’s making the switch over to Cub Foods. Workers are removing the tile from the floor, changing refrigeration units, and changing signs to reflect the Cub brand. Pricing will also change, offering customers lower prices, according to management. “It will be a totally different look,” said Chris Quisberg, president of S & R Quisberg, store owner. The makeover is expected to be complete by the first week of May.
• The Sugar Shack is moving from its location on Sixth Avenue to Broadway. It will occupy the old Alexandria Music site.
• Bremer Bank is making changes at its south location next to the old Kmart building. It closed the lobby portion of the building about a year ago but kept the drive-up. Customers liked the parking and accessibility of the location so much that the bank has decided to add a walk-up service so customers can interact face-to-face with a teller, said Brent Eiserman, Bremer Bank president. The remaining 3,000 square feet will be leased to a local employer, he said.
• Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory is adding on to its location on County Road 44 NW, Alexandria. The project will provide additional chapel space and add a large room and kitchen to accommodate luncheons following funeral services. The project is expected to be completed by April.
• Juettner Motors is adding four service bays to its building on South Broadway to accommodate heavier trucks, said Bruce Wiitanen, co-owner. Three hoists will have the capacity of lifting up to 30,000 pounds.
• The lot between Menards and Fleet Farm in south Alexandria has been sold. Realtor Ben Zacher said he couldn’t disclose the buyer’s name for two to three weeks but added that he’s been working on the project for a long time. The city hasn’t received any building permits for that location yet. The lot is 3.2 acres.
• The lot next to Stub’s Marine on Highway 29 South has reportedly been sold to AutoZone, according to a local realtor. It’s the second-largest retailer of after-market automotive parts and accessories in the U.S.
• Lind Family Funeral and Cremation Services is planning a May 1 opening in Alexandria. It’s located on McKay and 10th Avenue East, north of Woodland Elementary School. The facility will include two chapels and space for visitations, funerals, lunches and gatherings. The Linds also have locations in Parkers Prairie and Miltona.
• As reported in last Wednesday’s Echo Press, Beverage Wholesalers plans to move from Latoka Lane into a new 60,900-square foot facility that will be built on Evergreen Lane, northeast of Pilot Travel Center. It’s a $9.1 million project.
• The lot on Third Avenue East that once housed the Blue Smoke BBQ was recently sold to Troy Hocum, who is an owner of the Jimmy John’s in south Alexandria. He said he doesn’t have any firm plans for the site yet. When asked about the possibility of opening another Jimmy John’s location there, he said the lot size isn’t big enough for a drive-through but added that he’s aggressively looking at other sites on Third Avenue.
• Knute Nelson is finalizing plans to move forward on the second phase at Grand Arbor. The expansion will offer additional independent and assisted living choices for older adults desiring an active lifestyle community, according to Katy Perry, foundation executive director. The wellness center is being expanded to include an additional classroom space, locker room space and other amenities.
• The renovation of Anderson’s on Broadway/Alexandria Cremation Service is complete. It expands on the funeral offerings already provided at Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory on Voyager Drive. The new location provides cremation pre-planning options, a grief center, and a memorial showroom that showcases full-size monument samples.
• A new business, Bamboo Babies, is opening at 1210 Broadway, the site of The UPS Store. The owner, Kris Plasky, is a birth doula. The store currently carries nursing bras and other supplies, cloth diapers and supplies, baby wraps and carriers, Baltic amber and hazelwood jewelry, wooden toys, locally made goat lotion and soaps, and herbal bath and body products.
• Pizza Ranch just completed some exterior wood paneling work. Later this month, it will start interior remodeling by updating the buffet area, redoing the floor and adding new carpeting.
• Roers Family Bakery on Broadway is in the midst of an exterior remodeling project. Tile was removed from the bottom portion of the building this week and will be replaced soon, giving the bakery a new look.
• Cullen’s Home Center is completing another remodeling project. The front of the store was given a facelift and remodeling work took place inside, resulting in a more open layout, additional display and showroom space, and more offices.
• Diamond Buick GMC is completing a major remodeling and expansion project. It added eight bays to its service area, added a drive-in service for the customers and expanded its parts department. It also expanded the lot, more than doubling the size of it. It’s also remodeling the dealership inside and out, so there will be a new showroom and new offices. The project is expected to wrap up in mid-April.
• The Someplace Safe Thrift Store on Voyager Drive next to the Casey’s gas station is undergoing a remodeling project. The space between the aisles will double from two to four feet. A grand re-opening is in the works.