Biz beat: Longtime Dakota County chamber executive leaving

  • Article by: SUSAN FEYDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2013 - 5:59 PM

Ruthe Batulis announced last week she'll be stepping down as president of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce on April 1. Batulis has headed the organization for eight years after working for the Bloomington and Burnsville chambers.

Among other things, the Dakota County chamber under her leadership has produced a policy on broadband, and Batulis has continued to promote the business case for broadband for small companies. She is a charter member of the Technology Working Group, an Eagan-based technology task force.

A chamber spokeswoman said Batulis is leaving to take a new job in Spooner, Wis. The Dakota County chamber has formed a search committee to find a successor.

Kwik Trip adds natural gas in Eagan

Kwik Trip has gotten the green light from the Eagan City Council to install above-ground tanks for compressed natural gas pumps (CNG) at its service station at 3145 Dodd Road.

It will be the fourth Kwik Trip in Minnesota and the first in the Twin Cities area to be equipped with CNG pumps for the LaCrosse-based company.

Demand continues to rise for CNG as a low-cost alternative to oil-based fuel, according to Joel Hirschboeck, Kwik Trip's superintendent of alternative fuels. He said the company, which has more than 100 service stations in Minnesota, has plans to equip more stations with CNG fueling capability. In addition to Eagan, Kwik Trip plans to add CNG fueling at stations in St. Michael, Albert Lea and Mankato.

Hirschboeck said vehicles using CNG run the gamut from natural gas-powered Honda Civics to large semi-tractor trailers. He said the modifications at the Eagan station should be completed by April.

Warners' Stellian expanding

Warners' Stellian is beginning an expansion of its store in Apple Valley, taking over adjacent space that previously was occupied by Fabric Town. The family-owned appliance retailer has operated in the Twin Cities for about 50 years and has had a store in Apple Valley since the early 1990s, according to Carla Warner, director of sales.

Warner said the expansion will increase its space from about 10,000 square feet to 13,000 square feet. "It's gotten kind of cramped, so this will make for a more pleasant shopping experience," she said. The added space will be used for a variety of products, chiefly outdoor grills and washers and dryers, she said.

Warner said the expansion should be completed in March. In addition to Apple Valley, Warners' Stellian has stores in Coon Rapids, Woodbury, Edina, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester.

Adieu to Pardon My French

Pardon My French cafe and bakery abruptly and mysteriously closed its locations in Eagan and the Mall of America last Sunday.

The restaurant, which served soups, salads and baked goods, opened at Thomas Lake Center on Cliff Road in 2008 and later opened at the megamall in the space formerly occupied by Wolfgang Puck Express.

The owner, French pastry chef Frederick Klein, could not be reached for comment. The restaurant's Facebook page said the closing was "due to circumstances that are outside of our reach."

Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282

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