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Biz Buzz: Jimmy's Pizza move to Crosby ends before it begins, parties say

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Jimmy’s Pizza isn’t moving to Crosby after all.

The parties involved say the deal fell apart.

Brad Klein, who purchased the franchise from Charlie Johnson, franchise owner of Jimmy’s Pizza, said the deal to move the pizza restaurant to Crosby is not going forward and he is closing his franchise.

“We chose to back out of it,” Klein said, adding he didn’t want to go into all the details.

Klein bought the restaurant in January of 2012. He said business was good for the first six months but then they struggled with many pizza competitors in the area.

Klein said he has franchise rights for a 25-mile radius of Brainerd.

Lois DeRosier, reached at the former Papa John’s in Crosby where Jimmy’s Pizza was first reported to be moving, also said that is no longer the plan. DeRosier said she purchased the Papa John’s building and her sons Jim and Mark are involved in the effort to fix up the building and open a new pizza restaurant there. Her son Jim was involved at Jimmy’s Pizza in Brainerd with Klein.

Lois DeRosier, who gained considerable experience operating a family resort, said they are putting in new equipment and cleaning up the Crosby business. Expectations, she said, are to open before Memorial Day. Just what the restaurant will be called isn’t carved in stone yet, although DeRosier said she favors keeping the Papa John’s name.

Pet North recently moved from the Tyrol Hills strip mall in Brainerd by Ace Hardware to the Grizzly’s Center in Baxter next to Ja-Mi Nails by Sprint.

Pet North made the move about a month ago to downsize, but owner Sarah Buchite said she didn’t realize she would need additional permits for a pet store in Baxter. A pet store requires a conditional use permit to board or sell pets. Currently Pet North and the city of Baxter have an agreement allowing the business to sell supplies but not pets until all pieces are in place. A public hearing is planned at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Baxter City Hall.

“We looked for four months before moving,” Buchite said the first thing she learned of the permit issue was two weeks after she moved.

“I love it I really do,” Buchite said of the business. “I’m not going to make it if goes another month. I would probably take any offer just to walk away now.”

Pet North opened in 1994 in the Tyrol Hills location. Buchite started working at Pet North three months after it opened. She bought the business in 2006. The Tyrol Hills store space got to be too big, Buchite said they were state licensed in Brainerd and never had to have additional permits. Buchite said she didn’t see additional permit needs in Baxter on the website before making the move and said she never heard anything about it from the people who were involved in helping her relocate.

“I wish people would just call if they would make a big decision like that,” Baxter Administrator Gordon Heitke said.

During a recent visit to Pet North, Fred Chaltron, father of owner Sarah Buchite, was minding the store. Pet supplies dominate the retail front of the store. A room in back has space for the animals. Right now there are just a few pets there and a number of empty cages and a larger number of empty fish tanks. The most animated group was a cage of crickets, which are purchased for food for pet reptiles. Both the city of Baxter and Pet North have heard of snake owners who are looking for rodents to feed to their pets. Pet North has a healthy supply of frozen rodents in a variety of sizes, but doesn’t have the live food option. There are birds, a few hamsters, a rabbit and a few reptiles along with a small number of fish in the back room. Chaltron said they sold the other animals for the move and no longer carry the volumes of dog food they did in the past.

Chaltron said waiting for the regulations, something they were unaware of and didn’t come across during an Internet search, put them in a difficult position.

“It’s just holding us back,” Chaltron said. “We’re open but what can we do.”

Heitke said he met with Buchite and the city offered to do a special meeting to fast-track the permit process but the business didn’t follow through even after repeated attempts to remind them about a filing deadline. If the special meeting had gone forward, Heitke said the issue could have been settled by now.

“It was offered but with another $700 fee,” Buchite said, adding that was not something she could afford on top of the other permit fees and didn’t think it moved the time frame up substantially.

Gary Opperud, a pet wholesaler and president of the Minnesota Pet Supply Association, said if Pet North can’t sell mice and rats, the owners of pet reptiles will be forced to take their business to Bemidji or St. Cloud to spend their money outside the community. Opperud said he thought Pet North’s store in Baxter was an improvement from the space in Brainerd, which had become too large and too much rent for what the store needed. Opperud questioned if the Walmart Supercenter had a conditional use permit to sell fish there. Heitke said Walmart has a long list of conditional use permits for its store.

As for Pet North, Heitke said they hear comments about not being pro business, but the city believes it’s important to make sure nearby properties and businesses are not negatively affected when another use moves into a shared space. He said there is a building code issue with additional ventilation needed in the multi-tenant building to make sure there are no odors potentially associated with a pet store. There are questions of whether pets may be housed outside, potential concerns for barking dogs or where they will be walked or how pet waste will be managed.

“That’s why there is a permitting process, the city felt bad they already moved up there without a permit and we offered to expedite a permitting process. They chose to follow our regular process so they are on for Tuesday night,” Heitke said.

With the planning meeting Tuesday the Pet North conditional use permit would be before the Baxter City Council on May 21.

The Brainerd Public Library recently received the Milk Pitcher Award from the Crow Wing County Dairy Association for promoting the dairy industry during their June Children’s Story hour and hosting a summer ice cream social for the summer reading program.

The Breast Health Alliance website retooled its look and information. The Cuyuna Riverwood Breast Health Alliance, formed in 2010 between Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Crosby and Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin, to offer a comprehensive, coordinated approach to breast health services. The site at offers information on local breast cancer prevention, support or treatment. The alliance reported the latest upgrade to the site offers a fresh design with easier navigation and enhanced resources on breast health and breast cancer.

In case you’ve been watching the activity at Tanner Companies, new signs are going up at the dealership on West Washington Street with new signs for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram.

Did you know — “Mothers with infant children in the U.S. today are more educated than they ever have been,” according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Pew Research Center reported in 2011, more than 6-in-10 or 66 percent had at least some college education, while 34 percent had a high school diploma or less and just 14 percent lacked a high school diploma.

“These benchmarks reflect a decades-long rise in the educational levels of all women, as well as a decline in births that has been particularly steep among less educated women, and that has intensified since the onset of the Great Recession in late 2007,” the Pew Research Center reported. For the full report:

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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