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BIZ BUZZ: Development of the Gander Mountain building approaches

The long-anticipated addition of the Michaels arts and crafts store to the lakes1 / 2
The former Hawthorn Inn and Suites off Highway 210 in Baxter has a new affiliati2 / 2

The redevelopment of the Gander Mountain building took on additional official status as a sign announcing the long-anticipated arrival of the Michaels arts and crafts store went up in Baxter. 

Gander Mountain is just off Highway 371 in Baxter off Edgewood Drive. 

Michaels, the art and craft store, and Petco, the pet supply store, have been listed with permit applications with the city of Baxter for the retail redevelopment by Gander Mountain. The city of Brainerd also has received permit applications for the Olive Garden restaurants in the parking lot in front of Gander Mountain.

Gander Mountain is staying in the building, which currently includes vacant space once home to Ashley Furniture before it closed. The building was originally a Walmart store, before the giant retailer moved farther south with its supercenter.

The permit applicant is KTJ Limited Partnership of Minnetonka with documents signed by Paul Tucci of Oppidan.

Gander Mountain leases space in the building and, according to the documents filed with the city, occupies about 90,000 square feet. The space vacated by Ashley Furniture is about 25,000 square feet.

In the conditional use permit application, the plan calls for Michaels to take 13,500 square feet, with Petco taking 12,500 square feet and creating a new tenant space of about 3,000 square feet.

The plan calls for landscaping islands in the lot to break up the asphalt and landscaping at entry points “to give a new look.”

The proposal brings in new storefronts for all except Gander Mountain for the most part. The city is looking at stormwater needs for the site, parking and signs. Another restaurant space is available next to Olive Garden.

The applicant noted in documents filed with the city that a new lot on the south side of Gander Mountain building will be sold to the owner of Cub Foods, which is next door. 

Vovi Telecommunications, which once estimated it had 100 employees in Brainerd before layoffs dropped that number to closer to 30 people earlier this year, closed Tuesday. The call center business was housed in the Northern Pacific Center. 

Crossings by Grandstay Inn & Suites is the new name for the Hawthorn Inn & Suites, just off Highway 210 in Baxter. 

Locally, management at the Crossings said they were not able to talk to the media but referred questions to a 320-area code. 

The chain is located in Minnesota and Wisconsin with Crossings in Becker, Cambridge, Montevideo, Perham, Pipestone, Waseca and River Falls, Wis.

Cozy Home Pet Care, a boarding kennel and pet sitting business owned and operated by a certified veterinary technician, opened about 10 minutes outside of Brainerd in St. Mathias. Tina Lange reported she started the business here after her husband was transferred to the area.

Cozy Home offers boarding for dogs at their facility and offers to pet sitting for nearly everything else in the pet owners home be it dogs, cats or rabbits or what have you. Lange said she has more than 11 years experience and previously was sole proprietor when she ran a professional pet sitting business in the south metro area, which she sold before moving to the Brainerd area in January.

Movies 10 at Westgate is still considering remodeling or building a theater to offer stadium seating and 3-D movies. Steve Mann of Mann Theatres previously said his company has long been interested in doing an expansion or building a new theater at the end of a long-term lease but needs to work with business partner Cinemark Theatres in Texas. Recently, Mann said he didn’t have any updates to report but that option is still being negotiated. 

The book “The Opposite of Cold – The Northwoods Finnish Sauna Tradition” with photography by Aaron Hautala of RedHouseMedia in Brainerd, is one of four finalists in the Minnesota Book Awards within the General Non-Fiction Category to be decided in April. 

During March readers throughout Minnesota are allowed to go online and vote for their favorite Minnesota authored book, creating the Readers’ Choice Award.

The Brainerd Eagles Club recently donated $1,690 to the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department to purchase U.S. flags, poles and brackets, the department reported. The flags are hung on light poles throughout Brainerd during the summer months and also at city hall and the historic water tower.

In 2010, the Brainerd Eagles Club also donated the majority of funds to purchase flags. Other donators in 2010 included the Brainerd Sertoma Club, Brainerd Jaycees and the Baxter Lions Club.

“Each year we need to replace a number of flags that are affected by the outdoor elements,” said Tony Sailer, the Brainerd Parks and Recreation Department’s interim director. “Rain and wind take their toll.

 “It is very much appreciated that the Brainerd Eagles Club, along with other service groups over the years, has donated funds to purchase flags that are hung along city streets. People appreciate driving through Brainerd and seeing the United States flag adorning our streets.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at or 855-5852.