Tire store fills Sander hardware spot

Monday, June 20, 2005

There's nothing more depressing to business and industrial recruitment types than a viable business building that sits lifeless and empty for years at a time. Empty buildings like that mean lost job opportunities, missed sales-tax revenue and less reason for optimism about the local economy.

By the same token, those empty buildings could be compared to a group of lonely girls at a dance -- they may just be waiting for the right suitor to come along.

That looks to be the case with the old Sander's True Value Hardware store in Jackson, which has sat empty since the financially troubled store closed in 2002.

But a deal closed last week that will culminate with the building being converted to a retail tire operation that will provide Jackson with several new jobs and a projection of nearly a million dollars in sales revenue annually.

Dexter, Mo.-based Pro-Tire has purchased the 15,000-square-foot building on 2.89 acres at 2310 E. Jackson Blvd., with plans to open a full-service tire and automotive operation there, according to Tom Kelsey, commercial broker with Lorimont Place Ltd., who handled the sale.

The new Jackson store will feature Goodyear, Cooper, B.F. Goodrich and Michelin tire products and will equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for auto repair and alignment services, said Steve Lacy of Thompson Investments Inc. and owner of Pro-Tire.

Lacey operates a similar, although smaller, retail tire store in Dexter and also owns 11 Pennzoil Pro-Lube centers throughout Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri including the Jackson Pro-Lube center next door.

* Holiday Inn Express to open this week: I toured the new Holiday Inn Express in Cape Girardeau last week, and I have to say the folks at the Drury-owned Midamerica Hotels have done a fantastic job.

Construction of the hotel is finished and the interior is getting some finishing touches that will be done by the time it opens this Wednesday, according to John Echimovich, director of marketing for the West Park Hospitality Center.

During my tour, Echimovich told me that all 102 rooms in the new Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites will be suites. The one-room suites offer 520 square feet of space, nearly double the industry standard. Rooms offer a mini-fridge, a microwave, wet bar, a work desk, high-speed Internet connections and other amenities.

Echimovich said that the new hotel exceeds the standards set by Holiday Inn.

They are still waiting on one thing to be finished -- the indoor pool, hot tub and game room won't be done until the official grand opening sometime next month.

* Cozmo's custard delayed: Dr. Michael Jessup had originally planned to open Cozmo's -- a new ice cream shop -- at 1 S. Plaza Way in the spot formerly used by Kandy Kane Cleaners in April.

Now he's looking at next year and a new spot.

Jessup, a Cape Girardeau obstetrician-gynecologist, now says Cozmo's probably won't open until spring and it will be in a new building in the parking lot area near the old spot.

That's because Jessup thinks a free-standing building will better suit his needs for a drive-through. Meanwhile, Jessup, who owns the strip mall that houses Art Mart, Country Shade and others, believes that Budget Blinds will move into the old Country Shade location.

Cozmo's will sell custard, coffee, rolls and ice cream. Cozmo's will also offer a dine-in area with high-speed Internet that will seat 50 people. He expects construction to start within the next three or four months and hopes it will open next April.

* My Daddy's serving lunch and breakfast again: When My Daddy's Cheesecake in Cape Girardeau got a large account with Dierbergs grocery stores in St. Louis last September, they were forced to stop serving breakfast and lunch.

"Once we took on the Dierberg's account, we needed the kitchen space for packaging and production," said owner Wes Kinsey.

Now, though, they have upgraded equipment that allows them to produce a lot more cheesecake in a smaller space, Kinsey said. So starting today, My Daddy's is offering breakfast and lunch again, working with a chef out of the St. Louis area.

Some of the meals include turkey on wheatberry bread, chicken ciabatta and turkey on sourdough bread. They're also going to bring back their hugely popular chicken sandwich.

* Speed of sound: Lee Winters has been installing stereos since he was 16 so opening Advanced Audio seemed like a natural. At the business, Lee will build custom speaker boxes, bolt-on performance parts as well as customize the exterior of vehicles.

Advanced Audio is scheduled to open Aug. 1 at 1815 Cape LaCroix Road. They won't be selling stereos, however.

"We want to avoid having pushy salesmen who meet you at the door and try to sell you the most expensive item in the store," said his wife, Carly.

* Bob's Sinclair: Ask Bob Hensley how long he's owned Bob's Sinclair in Scott City and he'll ask how old you are.

"Thirty-two," I said, then rethought it. "No, wait, I'm 33."

"It doesn't matter," he said, with a laugh. "You weren't even born yet."

Hensley has decided to close down the Bob's Sinclair service station, which has operated in Scott City for 42 years.

He'd rather not, but an employee had a stroke recently and can't come back to work. His wife is also suffering from some health problems, so he's decided to close and take care of her.

"There's no way in hell I would close if I didn't have to," he said. "I love my customers. It's hard to do."

* Car wash closings: Car wash owner Jeff Crain has closed several of his Cape Girardeau car washes, including the ones at 501 Themis St., 620 Emerald St. and 10 S. West End Blvd. I couldn't reach Crain, but my friends in the city business license office tell me he told him of his plans to close the car washes a few weeks ago.

Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, call 335-6611, extension 137 or e-mail smoyers@semissourian.com.

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