The new openings continue next month in the lakes area with Firehouse Subs to open in early December in Baxter along with a new venture for a coffee and tea house at the NP Center in Brainerd.

Both are expected to open in early December.

Firehouse Subs is owned by first-time franchisees Bob and Larissa Sullivan, who while new to Firehouse have a long history in the restaurant industry and they took over Brick House Pizza, on Washington Street in Brainerd, in February. I’ll have more on Firehouse Subs next week.

In Brainerd, a mother and daughter Mary and Ava Tuomi are opening Loco Espress in east Brainerd in the historic clock tower building on the NP Center.

They plan to offer a gathering place that provides an experience along with their offering of beverages. Also expected are pastries, rolls, savory treats and apparel and gifts. This is their first business. Mary Tuomi has been a stay at home mom with four children now grown. And Ava Tuomi is returning to Brainerd after working in Arizona.

Mary Tuomi said the opportunity arose as Mike and Sharon Higgins, who own the NP Center, were looking to add a coffee shop to enhance the center’s offerings. Tuomi’s husband Nate Tuomi is a part owner in the Roundhouse Brewery, also located on the former railroad yard. Nate Tuomi also owns Gull Lake Glass, a business he started in his dad’s garage when he was a teenager. The business bug is strong in the family as their son Samuel owns Lakes Area Lock and Key. Their son Abraham works at Gull Lake Glass and their daughter Emmy is a funeral director at Nelson-Doran Funeral Home.

Mary Tuomi said owning the coffee shop has been a dream of Ava’s, who has a passion for baking as well.

“I knew right away this was what I was supposed to do in the next phase of my life,” Mary Tuomi said after she learned of the opportunity.

They plan to offer a variety of beverages, loose leaf teas, blooming teas, espresso and coffee (hot and cold drinks) and smoothies and frappes. They hope to appeal to both those who want an experience versus a customer line as people can watch them prepare the drinks from a seat at the counter, but they’ll also have the order window for those needing a pick up and go. Plans for the future are to offer an outdoor seating area and a walk-up window. The boutique portion will have clothing and accessories.

Tuomi said they want to accommodate events at the NP Center and throughout the community with specials for firefighters, police officers and veterans.

The decor will be industrial and fit in the historic railroad buildings. They plan to include Black

Rifle Coffee, which is owned by former members of the armed forces, because they like the mission and message for veterans. And they will include Reality Roasters Coffee, which is based in Little Falls. Tuomi said they believe in doing business locally.

Roundhouse Brewery is hosting the Business After Hours, 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, with Lakes Proud.

The Dairy Queen in east Brainerd is continuing its grand opening this weekend through Nov. 23 at its new location, 522 C. St. NE, with specials.