eMailMax October 20, 2013 : Page 1

ECRWSS Local Postal Customer www.lapitarestaurant.com | ph: (269)982-0982 2019 Niles Rd, St. joseph Mi 49085 Mediterranean Cuisine Paper. News Good Your www.MailMaxOnline.com POSTMASTER: Please deliver on October 20, 2012 October 20, 2012 Volume 13, Ver. 42 Moody on The Market M oody Pat B y now you’ve undoubt-edly heard the stunning news that Office Depot will close down its extremely popular store in the Fairplain Plaza on M-139 in Benton Harbor. Company officials were very tight with early information, only saying that the store was larger than they wanted it to be. One of the store clerks I talked with told me that the store had approached the developers of the facility, Developers Diversified Realty of Beachwood, Ohio about scaling back the space that they lease by one “bay.” The super store has dramatically reduced their onsite inventory of office furniture over the past several years and wanted to give up that portion of the overall space in favor of keeping their focus on the office supply essentials that they routinely enjoy robust sales in. That clerk said that the develop-ers did not want to reduce Office Depot’s foot-print below the more than 26,000 square feet that they currently occupy, and elected instead to “pull the lease” on the entire store. Having “lost the lease,” as the clerk said, the store has been undergoing an inventory liquidation sale. At the time of my deadline for this column, company officials were still declining to say whether they would eventually re-locate to smaller quarters in the immediate area, or depart the market com-pletely. Another store clerk, who was dumb-founded by the decisions made, said he couldn’t begin to comprehend the logic behind the deci-sion to leave the market completely inasmuch as, and this is a direct quote from the clerk, “From January 1 st of this year through the end of September we had amassed a profit in excess of $350,000.00, while other stores I am aware of in the system are making virtually nothing but remaining open.” If all the facts are true in this case, one would have to assume that a relocation would be in order rather than outright closure. Curiously, amid all of this, the former Office Max super store on Mall Drive in Benton Charter Township has just undergone a major re-sealing and striping of the property’s parking lot on the perimeter of Meijer of Benton Harbor. A conversation with real estate brokers handling the potential sale or lease of that build-ing however have been very coy about why that project has been undertaken at this time insisting that it “appears to be simple maintenance of the infrastructure.” Re-sealing would certainly qual-ify as maintenance, but re-striping of a parking lot that hasn’t been used in many years would seem to be counterproductive if a tenant lease isn’t imminent. Another broker told me that the folks at Office Max are still “on the hook” for monthly lease payments for at least another five years if the building isn’t sold or sub-let. Stay tuned as things get interesting to watch. On the periphery of the Fairplain Plaza, the speculation regarding who or what would occu-py the former Roxy’s Hamburger stand across the street from the new Belle Tire Store has ended with the brilliant screaming yellow sur-Continued on page 10 Designer Frames • Comprehensive Eye Exams Eye Injury • Glaucoma • Dry Eyes Infections • Contact Lenses • Latest Technology 24 Hour Emergency Care EYE EXAM SPECIALS Dr. Flood’s VISION CENTER www.govision.com Inserts & Promotions Dr. Robert Flood O.D., P.C. Eye Injury -Glaucoma Dry Eyes -Infections $ *Some restrictions apply 45 * 269-408-8762 • 2603 Niles Ave., St. Joseph, MI MailMax is a publication of Far Ahead Advertising, Inc. 2202 Plaza Drive Benton Harbor, MI 49022 Phone: 269.934.7522 FAX: 269.934.3297 email: publisher@farahead.com www.MailMaxOnline.com •www.facebook.com/eMailMax • Harding’s Friendly Markets • Martin’s Super Markets • Country House Inserts may vary by Zip Code

Moody On The Market

Pat Moody

By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the stunning news that Office Depot will close down its extremely popular store in the Fairplain Plaza on M-139 in Benton Harbor. Company officials were very tight with early information, only saying that the store was larger than they wanted it to be. One of the store clerks I talked with told me that the store had approached the developers of the facility, Developers Diversified Realty of Beachwood, Ohio about scaling back the space that they lease by one “bay.” The super store has dramatically reduced their onsite inventory of office furniture over the past several years and wanted to give up that portion of the overall space in favor of keeping their focus on the office supply essentials that they routinely enjoy robust sales in. That clerk said that the developers did not want to reduce Office Depot’s footprint below the more than 26,000 square feet that they currently occupy, and elected instead to “pull the lease” on the entire store. Having “lost the lease,” as the clerk said, the store has been undergoing an inventory liquidation sale. At the time of my deadline for this column, company officials were still declining to say whether they would eventually re-locate to smaller quarters in the immediate area, or depart the market completely. Another store clerk, who was dumbfounded by the decisions made, said he couldn’t begin to comprehend the logic behind the decision to leave the market completely inasmuch as, and this is a direct quote from the clerk, “From January 1st of this year through the end of September we had amassed a profit in excess of $350,000.00, while other stores I am aware of in the system are making virtually nothing but remaining open.” If all the facts are true in this case, one would have to assume that a relocation would be in order rather than outright closure. Curiously, amid all of this, the former Office Max super store on Mall Drive in Benton Charter Township has just undergone a major re-sealing and striping of the property’s parking lot on the perimeter of Meijer of Benton Harbor. A conversation with real estate brokers handling the potential sale or lease of that building however have been very coy about why that project has been undertaken at this time insisting that it “appears to be simple maintenance of the infrastructure.” Re-sealing would certainly qualify as maintenance, but re-striping of a parking lot that hasn’t been used in many years would seem to be counterproductive if a tenant lease isn’t imminent. Another broker told me that the folks at Office Max are still “on the hook” for monthly lease payments for at least another five years if the building isn’t sold or sub-let. Stay tuned as things get interesting to watch.<br /> <br /> On the periphery of the Fairplain Plaza, the speculation regarding who or what would occupy the former Roxy’s Hamburger stand across the street from the new Belle Tire Store has ended with the brilliant screaming yellow surRound-sound canopy-style awning of The Cash Store. The check-cashing and pay-day loan service was still preparing to open when this column went to press with no indication of when it would be up and running. Rehabilitation work over the past couple of months had led to widespread speculation that a fast-food restaurant would occupy the building.<br /> <br /> Across M-139 from the impending new Cash Store, a major facelift is underway on the building that houses Benton Harbor’s Little Caesar’s Pizza. As you look at the building from the street, the pizzeria currently occupies the right-hand side of the building. A former coin-operated laundry space on the opposite side of that building has been gutted and is being made over into a brand new space for Little Caesar’s. Once the build-out is complete, Little Caesar’s will flip sides of the building and their old digs will get the makeover treatment. Neighbors to that business tell me that once the flip is made the old pizzeria will become a Brand new Dunkin’ Donuts Shop. No word on what the timelines for completion of the full project will be, but it’s more good news for the M-139 corridor.<br /> <br /> Speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts…you might have noticed the expansion project now underway on the St. Joseph donut shop which cobrands with Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. The building on Niles Avenue in Southtown is picking up some new space which will provide additional indoor seating…a larger customer service Counter…a new façade…and other new amenities. That makeover should be complete before the snow flies.<br /> <br /> While M-139 will get a new, bigger, brighter Little Caesar’s the immediate neighborhood has officially lost its Domino’s Pizza site a couple of blocks away on East Napier Avenue. Owners Barbara & Donnie Meeks were virtually forced from their franchise after expressing the desire to re-locate it to downtown Benton Harbor. Corporate powers refused to grant a franchise shift and eventually locked the Meeks out of a franchise contract renewal in another corporate decision that has many people in the area scratching their heads. The Meeks are longtime survivors and I look for them to land on their feet and bring good things to the community once again, so stay tuned for more on that story as well.<br /> <br /> Do you remember the venerable old Royal Motel in Royalton Township? You can be forgiven if you don’t, because it closed up in the late 80’s or early 90’s and for all intents and purposes vanished from the local lodging market. Well…it has undergone extensive remodeling, all new construction and amenities and is officially back on the market as The Mark III Inn. As you might surmise by the new name, the motel is immediately adjacent to The Mark III Restaurant. While the original property held 20 rooms, some of those were commandeered by the expansion of the popular restaurant over the years, according to my friend Stacy Vermilyer who operates the restaurant and bar. The Mark III Inn now comprises 10 rooms, all of which have mini-refrigerators, microwave ovens, flat Screen TV’s and free WIFI access. The rooms are designed for both short and long-term stays and weekly rates are available. To reach the Inn, dial 269-281-0329. Congratulations, Stacy…and best of luck with your return to the lodging industry.<br /> <br /> Nutrition Now is on the verge of launching their 2nd Free Team Fitness Challenge. The challenge gets underway on October 29th, running 6-weeks with a focus on fitness and health results. TEAM stands for Training, Education, Accountability and Motivation. Will you be this year’s Fitness Champ? Prizes will be awarded, and you can register today or call for more information to 269-369-9654 or stop in at the shop on Hilltop Road down the strip from Papa Vino’s in St. Joe.<br /> <br /> Imagine the euphoria for local entrepreneur Jim Roberts recently when he returned from the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council’s Annual Awards sporting the trophy for Class I Supplier of the Year! Roberts, who operates Jim Roberts Enterprises on Ship Street in St. Joseph, was honored at the event held this month at the Detroit Institute of Art for his supplier diversity efforts. Roberts was the top winner in the category, and only 21 awards were distributed among the more than 700 business leaders on hand for the show, including Ford Motor Company which took honors as Corporation of the Year. Congratulations, Jim!<br /> <br /> Speaking of awards, for the second time in only the past three years or so, the production team at WNIT Public Television in South Bend has been nominated for a prestigious Emmy Award! The TV station’s key producer Angel Hernandez learned last week of the nomination for his team’s production The Power of 100; The Story of 100 Black Men in South Bend. There are only four other productions nominated in the category. Hernandez and the station, where I serve as a member of the Board of Directors, not only received an Emmy nomination but won the category for one of their artistic endeavors a couple of years ago. Congratulations!<br /> <br /> The crew at Hidden Pointe on Nickerson Avenue in Benton Harbor hopes you’re ready to put on your dancing shoes. Starting November 9th at 9pm and then the second Friday of every month will be dance night with Silverock and the Sunset Coast Dancers. A $5-dollar cover charge, a full bar, and dancing are the prime focal points…so make plans now to join in. Hidden Pointe is located at 1062 Nickerson Avenue in Benton Harbor.<br /> <br /> He used to sit just down the hall from me, but he’s still just a few blocks away as my friend Bob Jones has taken on a new role as a full-time business consultant for the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center’s new satellite office inside Michigan Works! Of Benton Harbor. As a result, entrepreneurs and Business people across the region should be able to access more small business services and resources locally. While he maintains regular office hours at Benton Harbor, he will also work from the Paw Paw and Dowagiac offices. Bob used to be a colleague at Cornerstone Small Business Services. He has been replaced there by Jennifer McCormick who, coincidentally, comes to us from Michigan Works!<br /> <br /> If your business needs binders, paper clips and binder clips you now have a new option in the form of recycled goods from Gateway. They have many binders ranging from half-inch to three inch sizes and are making them available to small businesses and non-profits for a small donation. There is no charge for the products, however donations are appreciated and will be used to fund the GateWay Services Participant Art Fund. If you are interested, please contact Kathleen Nay at knay@gatewayvro.com or call 269-471-2897.<br /> <br /> An annual rite of fall returns on Saturday, November 3rd when the St. Joseph Lions Club Hosts their 7th Annual Arts & Crafts Show at the SJHS Field House. More than 100 artists and crafters will showcase from 9am until 4pm that day and admission is just $1 per person at the door.<br /> <br /> Next Saturday, the 27th, the Paul & Rose Suchovsky Charitable Trust presents a huge Sock Hop at the Shadowland Ballroom in St. Joseph from 6-11pm with special guest performer Todd Allen Herendeen and his #1 hit country single “My Name is America!” All proceeds benefit the First Tee of Benton Harbor and Curious Kids’ Museum. Music, dancing, a cash bar, silent auction, and tailgate style dinner are all included for $50 per person.<br /> <br /> This coming Friday, the 26th, downtown St. Joe comes alive with the Halloween festivities of St. Joseph Today, with Trick or Treating at participating merchants from 5:30pm to 6:30pm, Pumpkin Bowling, a magician, and free carousel rides at the Silver Beach Center. It’s also time for the 3rd Annual Dog Dress-Up Contest at FuzzyButz Pet Bakery. Don’t miss it!<br /> <br /> Today, (10/20) from 9am until noon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 914 Lane Drive in St. Joseph, it’s time for the semi-annual sale of M. A. Hadley Pottery. Hand-painted underglaze pottery is available in 20 patterns with various scenes, including an extensive stock of dinnerware, accessories and decorative items. For more, contact Peggy at 983-5337.<br /> <br /> Finally…today (10/20) also marks the conclusion of the Fall Book Sale by the Friends of Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library in St. Joseph. From 10:30am this morning until 3pm this afternoon, scope out the book selection at the Book Bazaar. The library is located at 500 Market Street in downtown St. Joseph.<br /> <br /> That’s it for this week, kids. Have yourself a terrific weekend…and we’ll see you again next Saturday right here in MailMax!<br /> <br /> Pat Moody Executive Vice President of Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce<br /> pmoody@cstonealliance.org<br /> 269-925-6100 ext. 216

La Pita Mediterranean Cuisine

 

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