Edgewood Dental, with its lab and office, opens in its newly constructed and expanded office space Monday, March 22, on Edgewood Drive in Baxter. Edgewood Dental is part of The EkoMarkt, a green commercial building, which is now in the finishing stages in Baxter by the Baxter Village off Highway 371.

Dr. Jeanni Foss, owner of The EkoMarkt and Edgewood Dental, was inspired to do a green energy building after a trip to Iceland and brought her project ideas to the city of Baxter when she was looking to expand her business. Just the dental lab grew from 150 square feet to 1,200 square feet. A self-described environmental enthusiast and nature photographer, Foss is decorating the rooms with her own photography from her travels, with an entire series from national parks. A walnut staircase to the second floor is also a standout design feature. An elevator is also offered.

The eco-friendly building, to be complete with a living roof, solar panels, energy efficiencies and a test area of pervious surface (which could have major implications for future development and retention of trees and water treatment), has multiple spots available for lease for office space and room for a restaurant/coffee shop/bakery. Open space on the second floor provides lots of natural light and views of the surrounding area.

When Foss started this project, she hoped it could serve as an example of what can be done here, as well as be an inspiration to others.

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Dr. Jeanni Foss, owner of the green energy commercial building EkoMarkt and Edgewood Dental, which is now part of the EkoMarkt building along Edgewood Drive in Baxter near the Baxter Village, is doing final preparations for the Monday, March 22, opening of the dental office and lab. Foss is also behind the effort to bring a green energy building to the city that can serve as a model and inspiration to others. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Dr. Jeanni Foss, owner of the green energy commercial building EkoMarkt and Edgewood Dental, which is now part of the EkoMarkt building along Edgewood Drive in Baxter near the Baxter Village, is doing final preparations for the Monday, March 22, opening of the dental office and lab. Foss is also behind the effort to bring a green energy building to the city that can serve as a model and inspiration to others. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Foss said the coronavirus pandemic did cause a three-month delay in the project. Foss noted the carpeting in the lobby area was the 17th version she picked out because of a commercial flooring shortage. Construction was challenging, though Foss noted Hy-Tec Construction’s preplanning to put together wood for the project put them ahead of shortages and saved a 20% increase with the coronavirus impact.

Foss stated all the equipment is electric. The dental office now incorporates lasers in the dental practice, which Foss said can provide drilling without shots and numbing for certain criteria. The dental practice includes a high-efficiency particulate air filtration system, which was added during the pandemic. It also has a room with a microscope for doing fine work such as root canals. The office has about 15 treatment rooms and about 22 employees.

Roni Denning, Edgewood Dental office coordinator, was behind the main desk during a Friday walk-through.

“I love it,” Denning said of the new office. “It’s just beautiful and perfectly put together. It’s going to be really great.”

Roni Denning, Edgewood Dental office coordinator, works behind the main desk Friday, March 19. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
Roni Denning, Edgewood Dental office coordinator, works behind the main desk Friday, March 19. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Companies who worked on the project include Hy-Tec Construction, Jim’s Electric, Thelen Heating and Roofing, BlackRidgeBANK, Pike Plumbing and Heating, Anderson Brothers, Widseth, Black Rock Landscaping, Crow Wing Power, Westwood, CTC, Brainerd Glass Co., and Cedar Creek Energy.

Tommy’s Express, a national car wash company, reported a new franchise is coming to Baxter with an expectation to build this year. The location presented in a news release was in front of the Westgate Mall off Highway 210.

“Tommy’s Express franchise locations have become fan-favorite car care destinations in cities

around the United States, thanks to their focus on customer experience, convenience, and wash

Quality,” the company reported in a news release. “The signature 110 foot wash tunnels are designed to be striking, with corner towers, a rounded transparent roof, prominent branding, and full-size windows running down the length of the wash tunnel.

“Future Baxter customers should expect short waits even at peak hours, three minute travel

down the car wash tunnel, an excellent product menu, and free floor mat washers and vacuum

stations located on site.”

The company offers a Tommy Club wash membership as well.

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Aitkin-based Smokey Jake’s BBQ food truck, owned and operated by Jake Schanz, reported it is expanding to Brainerd. Schanz grew up in Verndale and is a Marine Corps veteran who moved his food truck operation to Aitkin last fall. Beginning in April, Smokey Jake’s BBQ is scheduled to operate at the Franklin Arts Center every Thursday. On Fridays, the food truck is expected in the Kohl’s/Bill’s Gun Shop and Range parking lots in Baxter off Excelsior Road with occasional stops planned at Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter.

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AT&T reported its customers and FirstNet subscribers in LIttle Falls now have a boost in wireless connectivity.

“This pandemic has made very clear what we already knew: reliable wireless service is critically important for our students, families, businesses, and first responders,” said State Rep. Ron Kresha in a news release. “We are appreciative of AT&T’s investment in our communications networks to help families in Little Falls and Central Minnesota who are having to work and learn from home.”

These upgrades will also benefit public safety and first responders on FirstNet — public safety’s dedicated communications platform and give Minnesota’s first responders access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. FirstNet is bringing public safety communications into the 21st century with new, innovative capabilities to help those users stay safe and save lives.

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AT&T reported the enhancements bring Band 14 spectrum to the area, which is described as a “nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. When not in use by FirstNet subscribers, AT&T customers can enjoy Band 14’s added coverage and capacity.”

FirstNet, built with AT&T in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority, is “designed to help first responders in Minnesota and across the country connect to the critical information they need — when they need it — so they can keep themselves and the communities they serve safer.”

AT&T reports it invested more than $300 million in its Minnesota wireless network during 2017-2019. In 2020, the company made almost 2,000 network enhancements across Minnesota, including new cell sites, additional network capacity, network upgrades and small cells. From 2010 to 2019, AT&T invested nearly $1.2 billion in its Minnesota network.

The company also launched AT&T 5G nationwide, including Brainerd.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz.