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Biz Buzz: Friendly Fire opens in downtown Brainerd

Mason Overbey is used to having a couple of burns on his hands.

It’s an occupational hazard.

The owner of Friendly Fire, a speciality store with hand-blown glass, Overbey is often working with 2,000-degree temperatures.

“It’s fun melting glass,” Overbey said. “I love my art.”

Overbey moved to the Brainerd area from St. Cloud, where he had a studio in his garage. Space was tighter after moving north so Overbey looked for a studio. He found one on the 200 block of South Seventh Street.

The business has hand-blown jewelry, glass pendants, oil lamps, jars and tobacco pipes and other handmade jewelry, purses, metal work and photography. Overbey does his glassblowing artwork at the site, giving those who stop in a view of the work in progress.

A Minnesota Homeownership Center report published this week shows 21,298 foreclosures in Minnesota in 2011, a decrease of 17 percent from the 25,673 foreclosure sales in 2010.

A legal notice of a merger of RiverWood Bank in Baxter into RiverWood Bank in Bemidji attracted attention this week. Paul Means, RiverWood Bank chairman, said the merger is aimed at efficiency and actually involves merging of two bank charters into one. Means said the two charters meant a need to keep two sets of books and consolidating into one means they have to keep one set of books.

“There is both cost savings and improved operating efficiencies by combing the charters,” Means said. “This will also enhance the convenience for our customers as it will be easier to go to any of the RiverWood Bank branches to conduct business.”

The bank will close one of its three branches in Bemidji. The branch in Walmart will close. The bank has another branch within a block of Walmart.

Publishing a legal notice of the merger is a regulatory requirement for approval of the merger.

Dairy producers who want to change their current start month for fiscal year 2012 MILC payments, must make that change by the 14th of the month selected as their MILC production start month, the Crow Wing/Cass Farm Service Agency office in Baxter announced. For example, if the current start month selected is April of 2012, the deadline to change is March 14, 2012.

A furniture store is poised to open in the space next to Hirshfield’s Paint store in Baxter. Hirshfield’s renovated the building last year, which was formerly home to Sears at the corner of Clearwater Road and Edgewood Drive in Baxter.

Damond Clanton’s Custom Mechanical business is back. The Baxter resident operated an engineering, fabrication and installation business working with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. He reported a lack of business forced him to close three years ago.

But he always planned to reopen someday.

Now, as things appear to be picking up in the lakes region, Clanton brought his business back. He’s now building two custom chimney hoods for a home in the St. Cloud area.

“I feel this is a good time to get back in the pipeline,” Clanton said.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter @Dispatchbizbuzz.

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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