Friday, July 21, 2006

Newsbits: Kohl's, Canad, Olive Garden, etc.

A few business-related newsbits...

Kohl's opening in October...
The Kohl's Department Store website states that the new Grand Forks store on 32nd Avenue will have its grand opening in October. This is also the month that the Wal-Mart Supercenter will be finished and when several new strip malls are supposed to open for business in different parts of the city. I'm still curious what we're going to see in the new strip malls.

Canad Inns is getting taller...
This isn't really news for anyone who has taken a drive down 42nd Street lately, but the Canad Inns hotel tower is getting taller everyday. Right now, work seems to be focused on the 5th floor with some work also being done on the 6th floor. When all is said and done, the hotel will be 13 stories.

On a side note, Canad Inns is planning to build a new 19-story hotel in Winnipeg...read more here. Canad certainly seems to be on the grow.

The Ultimate Grind has closed...
The Ultimate Grind - a fixture in the local coffee shop scene for the past decade or so - has shut its doors in the Columbia Mall. If memory serves me correctly, in the past the owner sent several letters to the Grand Forks Herald mailbag where he criticized the local community and the business climate. In my opinion, that isn't exactly a way to attract business to your establishment. Still, I don't like seeing local businesses go out of business. The Ultimate Grind had a good run and was one of the first coffee shops in town.

The owner reportedly had the mall sign a contract years ago that stated that no other coffee shop could operate in the mall while his business was there. Starbucks apparently wanted to open a store in the mall's Dakota Cafe food court late last year, but couldn't because of this. I wonder if Starbucks will take a second look at the mall now?

Mysterious building site explained...
That mysterious construction site on 30th Avenue South near Columbia Mall and the hotels directly west of the mall has been bugging me for some time now. Today, I drove by the site and I think I know now what kind of a building is coming up there. There is a Greenberg Realty sign out in front that states that there is "office space for lease". So that's what it must be...an office building. I'm guessing its going to be a two story building.

I would have rather seen a new restaurant, but the lack of visibility from 32nd Avenue likely would have deterred potential dining establishments from setting up shop there. Oh well.

Olive Garden on the way?
Coffee Guy has an interesting post at his blog - "Another Grand Forks Blog" - which suggests that an Olive Garden restaurant may be on the way to the new Kohl's development. I've heard this rumor before. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

OK...that's my business news fix for the day. I'm such a junkie.

21 comments:

JGS said...

Curious who will be the next "big-box" store that will land here in Grand Forks after Kohls?

About Olive Garden, I guess local readers here on GFL will have to keep their eyes peeled and keep checking for a "Coming Soon-- Olive Garden" near Kohls.

I so hope for this!

Anonymous said...

Yes let's hope for "Olive Garden" & many more to arrive here in GF. Like "SONIC" Drive Inn....

dale said...

My wife and I played a little game recently of what our dream occupants of the new strip mall near our house (the one on 47th and S. Washington) might be. Our restaurant choices were Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, Schlotzsky's Deli, Buca di Beppo and a Waffle House, so I don't have to drive to Kansas City for some decent grits.

In the end, though, we agreed that the contents of said mall would far more likely consist of:
• Subway
• A cell phone store
• Discount haircut place

and precious little else.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't bother me that people of Grand Forks pine for an Olive Garden. It doesn't bother me that their food is bad. What bothers me is the fact that everytime a blogger sings the praise for O.G., God kills a kitten. You have to admit, that's sad.

Don't you guys like kittens? Cute cuddly little f@#*&$s!

ben said...

anonymous, that kitten thing is hillarious! (and hopefully not true - I don't want blood on my hands!)
But what of the Space Aliens promised to GF? I know that franchise has been promising to GF before, like when the Marketplace Mall opened. Are they actually building this time, or just yanking chains again?

ben said...

anonymous, that kitten thing is hillarious! (and hopefully not true - I don't want blood on my hands!)
But what of the Space Aliens promised to GF? I know that franchise has been promising to GF before, like when the Marketplace Mall opened. Are they actually building this time, or just yanking chains again?

dadinggf said...

I hear there will be a locally owned coffee shop opening in the mall soon, I've also heard that the strip mall in front of Kohl's is a little behind schedule on construction.
Instead of all these new strip malls it'd be nice to see some our our vacant buildings filled up or torn down, but strip malls seem to be the trend, it doesn't take very long in the Twin Cities to figure that one out. Thanks for the updates Grand Forks Guy!

Coffee Guy said...

Is the kitten thing a 1:1 ratio for posts, or actually times the praise for Olive Garden is invoked? For instance, what if I say:

I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!
I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN!

Have I just doomed a whole litter of the little bastards, or is it just one? We dog people need to know.

Anonymous said...

I know for 100% certainty the restaurant going in the strip mall is a golden corral buffet and restaurant. They are pretty good from what I hear.

Semireg said...

Olive Garden: Providing the lower-middle-class with uppoer-middle-class meals since 1982. Learn to cook (again) America.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what's upper-middle-class about Olive Garden. Am I missing something? Pasta is to Italians what rice is to the Chinese and Japanese and potatoes are to us...a staple.

dale said...

Pasta, sure. You want to pay ten bucks for a bowl of spaghetti, knock yourself out. But if I'm paying Olive Garden prices, I want something at least semi-upper end. It's definitely a cut above, oh, Italian Moon or S'Baro (or whatever that less than stellar mall type chain is called.)

Local business supporter said...

Here's a novel idea. Instead of hoping for another chain, let's advocate for locally owned businesses to get established and successful. And while we're at it, let's support the locally-owned businesses that already exist. That is, unless you're happy with living in Anytown, USA and complete anonymity.

dale said...

Here's a novel idea. ... And while we're at it, let's support the locally-owned businesses that already exist.

Sounds great, in essense. In practice, though, it ignores that a) most locally owned restaurants serve the same food (pizza or "homestyle", mostly) and b) with a few exceptions, it's not all that good.

I eat out probably seven times a week, minimum. The only three "local" restaurants that make the frequent rotation list are Kon Nechi Was and Mexican Village, both weekly, and Mamma Maria's, which is starting to make the list again, now that they've started putting decent portions on the plate. After Vinny left, that place slid pretty quick, but the new owners seem to be trying to make a go of it.

Otherwise, I'm pretty ho-hum about the locals... downtown, parking is a pain at noon. Red Pepper... bad location. Ditto Grand Junction, along with their micro-management of portion sizes; I swear to God that if they continue weighing my chicken by the molecule, I'm not going back.

If locals want my business over a chain, they need to provide service and food that's as good as the others, at a good price. Only Kon Nechi Was and Mexican Village have consistantly done that. And, know what? They're usually pretty busy.

Coffee Guy said...

Kon Nechi Was? Bad service and mediocre food at high prices. The first time I was there I ordered tea. I was informed that the loose tea in the bottom of the cup was "actually tea leaves and not dirt or anything." The second (and last) time I was there we were one of 2 families in the place, and the TV was on the news, blaring on about dead soldiers, etc. My wife asked the waitress (the same one as before. I think she's the daughter of the owners) if she could turn the TV off, or at least put it on mute so that we could enjoy our dinner w/o having to hear about corpses. With a roll of the eyes (I was watching her expression, for some reason) she said she would turn it down, which she did, to a level so that we could hear about the corpses quietly.

Then there's the food. Yes, it is Japanese, but no, it's not very good for the price you pay. And there is little variety.

dale said...

Clearly a "your mileage may vary". Kon Nechi Was is the epitomy of "small business". Yes, all of the staff is family, and once they get to know you, you're pretty much treated like family. It's on the pricey side, but we do think that the quality is excellent.

Coffee Guy said...

That's the problem with the service industry. You should not have to become acquainted with, or even or recognized by the owners to be treated like family. Any restaurant, especially small ones, should make you feel as though you are the most important person that has ever walked through the door.

You get that feeling at many places around town, like Sanders. It is so easy to do. A smile, a "thanks for coming, and please visit us again," and so on.

As far as the food goes, OK, I admit that I've been spoiled by excellent Japanese food in NYC and DC.

wolfgf said...

Is capital the problem? In other words, will banks more readily back a "proven" concept, i.e., a chain over an original concept? Or are local restaurateurs just plain lazy? And not willing to do the leg work and research necessary to build a concept from the ground up.

Where are all the Kim Sanders? I know he has his shortcomings these days, but he put GF on the culinary map with his originallity, use of fresh local ingredients and attention to service.

GrandForksGuy said...

I agree with Coffee Guy. Shame on establishments that only are friendly to those that are part of "the club." That's a term I often use to describe the cliques that some small, local establishments seem to cater to while being (at best) indifferent to unfamiliar faces. It's not a very smart way to grow a businesses.

catalina said...

buy viagra

viagra online

generic viagra

catalina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.