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Biz Buzz: New restaurant may open in Famous Dave's in Baxter

Another restaurant could be in store in Baxter Village.

“I’m fairly optimistic,” said Robert Hager, Border State Bank CEO. “We have several parties looking at the space for an ongoing restaurant.”

Border State Bank of Greenbush is the owner of record for the former Famous Dave’s building. The restaurant closed over night last month. The ownership is shared with other banks on the loan. The group is working with Clint Nelson and Progressive Property Management regarding the space. The bank also owns that first phase of the Baxter Village with the property listed for sale or lease.

Hager said checks to employees, which initially had insufficient funds, were made good and all employees were paid along with other bills. The restaurant had three owners with Charlie Torgerson as the front man as owner/manager before it shut down.

Famous Dave’s opened along with Baxter Village’s phase one in 2005.

“It’s a key location,” Hager said. “It’s a key space for that mall.”

And Hager said with the addition of Costco just down the highway to the south along with other new development and Dondelinger’s auto dealership going up to the north, there is reason to be positive about the activity for a retail shopping center.

Baxter native Ron Finger’s painting, “Summer Fury,” which was used on the cover of the book about an Air Force flying ace who grew up in Hill City will have its first public showing as a part of a book signing from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at Book World in Baxter. The painting was commissioned as original art for the book “The Oranges are Sweet” by Paul Sailer of Wadena County. “(Ron) is one of those quiet local talents that seems to fly under the radar,” Sailer said. “I know his credentials include being an illustrator for some of the regional air services that used to serve our region such as North Central Airlines.

“He is an officer in the Crow Wing Composite Squadron of the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol. In the past year, Ron also received recognition by the Air Force for his talent. He has been sent on assignment by them to interesting places doing illustrations and paintings.”

Work on “Summer Fury” was completed in acrylic paint.

“The general public would never know that he started with a detailed plastic model of Don Beerbower’s Bonnie “B” that I own, photographed it at different angles, moved it to the computer, added context, etc.,” Sailer said. “The neat thing about Ron is he learned his craft pre-computers. So he knows the history of how the world of illustration and painting has changed.”

Sailer was a UH-1D “Huey” and OH 58A Kiowa helicopter pilot who flew in Vietnam during 1970 and 1971. He started writing the book about the remarkable and tragically short life of Maj. Don Beerbower, an Aitkin County native who was Minnesota’s highest scoring fighter pilot in World War II with 18 1/2 aerial and ground victories.

Finger did the book cover. Chip and Jean Borkenhagen of RiverPlace Communications Arts/Evergreen Press in Brainerd did design work and managed production of the book. The 480-page hardcover book was printed at Bang Printing in Brainerd.

Earlier this year, Sailer received the 2012 Aviation Writer of the Year Award for the book.

Maurices reopened at 1900 First Ave. in Little Falls. Store Manager Kelly Toso said the community-based retailer offers clothing and accessories for teens and young women in every size. “Trends are always changing and so are we,” Toso said of the 4,856 square-foot store. “Sometimes we’ll get new things in as often as bi-weekly.”

Maurices reported the Little Falls location is one of more than 50 stores that will open nationwide this year.

Entrepreneurship and economic development in Brainerd is the top for a presentation before the city’s planning commission on Dec. 12. Barett Steenrod, a University of Minnesota recent graduate, plans to presents his master’s degree capstone work on how urban design and community planning can foster entrepreneurship and economic development in Brainerd. The session is planned in the city council chambers in city hall on Laurel Street.

Last month, Nor-Son Inc., broke ground on an addition of a new transitional care and wellness center and chapel at the Cerenity Senior Care - White Bear Lake campus.

Nor-Son, Baxter, reports it was involved in the master planning of the campus and is the construction manager for Cerenity’s addition, which was designed by Pope Associates. The building includes a 4,200-square-foot wellness center with integrated therapy room and a warm-water, zero- depth entry therapy pool. An audio-visual system is going in to the chapel.

The addition features 40 private rooms with a focus on short-term rehabilitation, wellness, therapy and recovery, Nor-Son reported. The addition should be completed by the fall of 2013.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

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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