Gander Outdoors is primed for a spring opening, officials noted Friday, March 22.

The building and parking lot have now had a facelift with a new branding and new signs up all around. A sign on the store doors notes they are hiring employees and opening soon. Contacting the corporate office didn't get a specific opening date beyond noting spring. But it certainly looks much closer to becoming a reality after a long and much anticipated rebranding and new opening. A prospective customer was drawn to the store Friday afternoon hoping it would be open already. A little more patience is in order.

Employees at City Looks were anticipating a sad week ahead as the longtime hair salon is closing March 30. Receptionist Michele Notch, who has been employed at the salon for more than 12 years, said the group has worked together for so long, are about the same age and with children that they've had a longtime bond. Notch said owner Mindy Blegen-Buxton was ready to end her run.

"I know we'll all stay friends and communicate but it's our clientele we'll miss," Notch said.

Stylist Thersa Fisher has been working at City Looks for 21 years, back when the salon was next to the Westport Cinema movie theater. The salon has been in three locations. Fisher said they once had 13 stylists but now have three. Fisher said she's worked with Blegen-Buxton for the entire time since the business first started as The Barbers before making the name change to City Looks. Many of the employees have landed at other salons with affiliated Cost Cutters staff members moving to Great Clips. Notch is preparing her job search but said she worries about finding an employer as flexible as Blegen-Buxton.

Next week will be hard, Fisher said City Looks' last week.

"It's weird," Fisher said. "Everything is a countdown. Tomorrow is our last Saturday."

A 50-room hotel is in the works in Crosby, the Crosby Courier recently reported, noting the plan includes a conference center for up to 80 people and the building may be three stories. The effort is expected to utilize a $350,000 grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board for infrastructure to link the hotel to water and sewer.

Jo-Ann Fabrics hires new chief information officer to advance brand experience in former Ulta Beauty executive Varadheesh Chennakrishnan.

The 75-year-old retailer hired Chennakrishnan to help the "company optimize and innovate to create the ultimate craft experience, wherever customers are."

"We're doing incredibly exciting things at Jo-Ann, from integrating customer-facing technologies into our stores, to investing in new operations systems, to expanding the way we interact with customers on their connected devices," said Wade Miquelon, president and CEO of Jo-Ann, in a news release. "Varadheesh brings a wealth of experience and fresh thinking to this position, and we couldn't be more glad to have him on board to continue our transformation."

Varadheesh's experience with information technology systems at work in retail comes at a watershed time for Jo-Ann, the news release noted. "The company unveiled its first concept store last summer, featuring cutting-edge technology, community spaces, and interactive kiosks. The retailer has begun rolling out some of these aspects to its more than 865-store fleet, and will continue testing and piloting new technologies across the nation."

"We've truly entered a new era of craft retail, and our new CIO will be a critical player in helping us get it right," said Miquelon in the news release. "Jo-Ann is proud to be leading the tech transformation of the arts and craft industry, and we'll continue innovating and embracing new technologies to inspire customers, wherever they are."