What’s making news in St. Paul, reported by the Star Tribune’s team of city reporters. Send news tips to richard.meryhew@startribune.com.

Posts about Local business

Wanted: Food and rec services manager for Como Pavilion

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: September 11, 2014 - 12:47 PM

St. Paul will host a tour Friday morning of the lakeside pavilion at Como Park for vendors interested in managing food and recreational services there.

That wouldn't be especially interesting, except for the fact that the City Council a couple weeks ago agreed to spend $800,000 to sever ties with longtime pavilion manager Black Bear Crossings.

Black Bear's owners, David and Pamela Glass, had sued the city for breach of contract, claiming that parks officials had wrongfully prevented them from renewing their lease.

A Ramsey County judge ruled they were entitled to damages from the city, which led to the settlement approved by the City Council -- the third largest in St. Paul's history.

Black Bear will close at the end of the year, so St. Paul officials want to get a new manager in place to launch a new cafe and take over the busy banquet calendar at Como.

That's why, at 9 a.m. Friday, they'll conduct tours of the pavilion facility and take questions from interested parties. They're looking for someone to manage all aspects of the pavilion, including food and catering services, rec services on or around the lake, and facility maintenance.

For more information, click on www.stpaulbids.com/.

Free brakes for food?

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: August 20, 2014 - 6:14 PM

August always has been a slow month for the folks at Signal Garage Auto Care. So, 11 years ago, they decided to do something that would help drum up a little business -- while also doing some good for the community and their customers. Signal is offering free brake inspections and, if necessary, repairs to people who bring in a bag of groceries or school supplies. The effort is meant to help restock food shelves and school supply inventory as the new school year is about to start.

 "As a neighborhood business, contributing to the lives of those in the community is important to us and our employees. This year marks our 11th year Free Brakes For Food drive." said Heidi Wessel Derhy, co-owner of Signal Garage Auto Care.

Here is the deal, says Avi Derhy of Signal:

For the month of August, customers who make an appointment and bring their car in on a weekday between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. -- and provide a bag of nonperishable food items or school supplies -- will get a free test drive and brake inspection. After that, if the vehicle needs new brake pads or shoes, the garage will replace them, free of charge. If the vehicle needs more than that, like calipers or brake lines or rotors, the garage will charge for parts and labor -- but not before getting customer approval first.

As far as foodshelf efforts go, this one seems to work. Derhy said that, in 2012, Signal collected 6,138 pounds of food and $2,000 in school supplies. Last year, the numbers rose to 7,200 pounds of food and $3,106 in school supplies. Signal will also accept cash donations.

Last year, as part of the promotion, Signal performed 331 brake inspections and replaced 138 brake pads sets.

To make an appointment through Aug. 31, call 651-455-1045. Signal locations are at 84 E. Moreland Av. in West St. Paul and at 2050 Grand Av. in St Paul.


Update on Ford site set for Tuesday

Posted by: Kevin Duchschere Updated: July 21, 2014 - 10:28 AM

City and industry leaders, including Mayor Chris Coleman, have scheduled an update for tomorrow morning on redevelopment of the Ford plant site in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood.

"St. Paul has some of the region's brightest minds, boldest thinkers, and ablest hands who will contribute their talents to propel this site to be a national model of redevelopment and innovative reuse of a former industrial property," said Coleman, in a statement released Monday.

Still, it won't be until next year that Ford, which owns the site, plans to solicit proposals nationally for redevelopment of the site. Only then will we have a better idea about what might actually go there.

City leaders have expressed hopes for a mixed-use development that includes housing, business and green space.

The 122-acre riverfront site has been largely cleared of the structures Ford used for decades to build vehicles ranging from the Model T to the Ranger pickup truck. Demolition began a little more than a year ago.

The big task now will be the ongoing work of cleaning the polluted site to industrial standards.

Participating in the Tuesday news conference, scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Ford site, will be Coleman, City Council Member Chris Tolbert, and Ford site manager Mike Hogan.

West Side Groceries owner charged for unsanitary conditions, no license

Posted by: Chao Xiong Updated: July 18, 2014 - 3:24 PM

Store owner Hamza A. Abualzain was arrested for license and food safety violations.

Inspectors allegedly found rodent droppings throughout West Side Groceries on a recent visit that led to the arrest and charging of owner Hamza A. Abualzain.

Abualzain allegedly ran the store at 605 Stryker Ave. without a license and under unsanitary conditions, according to charges filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court. Abualzain, 34, of Columbia Heights, is charged with one count of gross misdemeanor not having a food handler license, two counts of gross misdemeanor violating food safety by keeping food in unsanitary conditions and one count of misdemeanor violating food safety by misbranding food.

According to the complaint: Inspectors visited the store, also known as the Stryker Market, on July 10 and found the rodent droppings, dirty and broken ceiling tiles, inaccessible and dirty sinks, floors strewn with cigarette butts and trash and water dripping onto food. They also found food stacked on the floor in an inch of standing water and misbranded meat.

Charges show that authorities with the state Department of Agriculture also found similar problems during a routine December 3 inspection. At that time, they also found that raw food was not stored separately from ready-to-eat food and that the store had no sanitizer for cleaning utensils and surfaces that had contact with food.

Abualzain was ordered to rectify the problems and to renew his license, which was due to expire on March 15. But a follow-up inspection on Dec. 10 revealed no improvements, the charges said. Authorities gave Abualzain another order to fix the problems.

St. Paul Port Authority strikes deal to redevelop Midway Stadium site

Posted by: James Walsh Updated: June 24, 2014 - 3:17 PM

Midway Stadium is not going to remain a lonely, empty ballpark for long.

The St. Paul Port Authority has struck a redevelopment deal with United Properties, owned by the Pohlads, to turn the longtime home of the St. Paul Saints into a mixed use industrial property once the Saints have moved to their new home in Lowertown.

The deal means that the Port Authority and United Properties will co-own and operate the site, splitting the risk and, eventually, the rent that comes once the 12.8-acre site is redeveloped.

About 190,000 square feet of building is projected for the site. Spokesman Tom Collins said the Port Authority's contribution to the deal is the land and infrastructure costs, including tearing down the stadium and getting the site ready for development. United Properties will pay the cost of new construction at the site.

Construction at the site is expected to begin in the spring of 2016 and should be ready for occupancy by that fall, according to the agreement. The project's proposed budget, including a $9 million contruction loan, is $15 million.

The agreement anticipates a future workforce at the site of more than 200 employees.



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