As the wife and stepdaughter of Hispanic Americans, Maria Sevilla began to notice something five years ago about Hispanics living in Cape Girardeau -- they were driving to places like St. Louis and Anna, Ill., to buy authentic Mexican groceries.
"I thought it would be good for us to have a place where they could get what they want from here," said Sevilla.
That idea is culminating in Fiesta Grocery, an authentic Mexican grocery store that Sevilla hopes to open later this week or next at 517 N. Silver Springs Road.
The 2,500-square-foot grocery store next to Soap 'N Suds will feature items that aren't commonly in stock at conventional grocers, like authentic hot sauces, chipotle peppers, tamale mix and corn husks.
"It's going to have anything you can imagine," Sevilla said. "Soap, shampoo, calling cards -- and 95 percent of what I have on my shelves is going to be from Mexico."
Sevilla said she hoped to have been open by now and that all of her stock has been ordered and paid for. But the Christmas holiday is slowing down deliveries. She thought the merchandise would be in by Wednesday.
* New downtown flower shop: Wendy Ray-Durham -- known to her viewers at KFVS12 as Wendy Ray -- had always wanted to do two things: to be on television and to own a flower shop.
Now, after her new shop Magnolia Market opens Jan. 10, she'll have done both. She left KFVS recently and is preparing her shop that will open at 206 Independence St., the former spot of the Downtown Barber Shop, which had been there for 40 years.
Ray-Durham, daughter of longtime KFVS personality Randy Ray, said she has always been interested in flowers. Then, when she married Britt Durham of Tupelo, Miss., she had the opportunity to see shops in Mississippi and Alabama.
"I'm trying to design it after places I'd enjoyed there," she said.
She said the new shop will feature her favorite flowers -- hydrangeas, gerber daisies, lilies and other classic flowers like roses and, of course, magnolias. The shop will also offer chocolate-dipped fruit, packaged individually or by the dozen. There will also be small gifts, she said.
"I'm really excited to be going into downtown Cape," she said. "I love the history around it and I want to be part of that as well. I'm going to miss KFVS, it's been such a huge part of my life, with my dad working there for so many years and then me. This is just a new challenge."
* I'm your handyman: From stringing your Christmas lights to laying ceramic tile, Ralph Craig wants to be your handyman.
Actually, Craig -- who has 12 years' experience in home improvement -- is starting a business called Riverside Residential Services, which he describes as a handyman service.
He wants to cater to people who have small remodeling jobs that are increasingly less appealing to big-name contractors because the pay-out isn't as big.
Craig mentioned flooring, ceramic tile, window and gutter cleaning, outside home maintenance -- even hanging Christmas lights -- as part of the chores his company is willing and eager to take on.
"This is for the person who goes out to Lowe's and then would like to find someone to install the flooring for them," he said.
* Discount grocer: Another new grocery store to open in Cape Girardeau soon is called the Dented Can and More for a reason. The cans are dented, but the owners say that's a small price to pay to get a quality product at a price that is considerably less than traditional grocery stores.
The new store is going at 52 Plaza Way and is owned by Dale Beaird and Tommy and Marissa Waters. Marissa Waters said they hope to get the store up and running later this month or perhaps in February.
The new store will carry canned goods, detergent, toothpaste, trash bags, baby formula -- everything a traditional grocery store carries except cold items and produce, Waters said.
The family owns another location in Wynne, Ark., where the concept has been well received, Waters said.
They buy their dented cans from a wholesaler, she said. These are items that have been damaged at a regular grocery store and then sold to them. They also get items when another grocery store over orders and has items left over.
The shopping area is about 3,000 square feet. Waters said their items are traditionally 60 percent less expensive than other grocery stores. She said the stock is always rotating, so part of the fun is coming to the store to see what they have on the shelves.
With gas prices so high, Waters said people are looking wherever they can to save money.
"So it might as well be with us," she said.
* Rhodes to Jasper's: The Rhodes 101 on West End Boulevard and Independence Street is in the process of being converted to a Jasper's, another Rhodes concept that is cash-only. In other words, no credit cards.
"We try to operate on a more economical, cost-conscious format," said co-owner Jim Maurer.
He said normally the cost of fuel is a little cheaper at a Jasper's, because it's not as fully staffed as a regular Rhodes. They also avoid credit card company fees, which run about 2 1/2 percent on every purchase, he said.
"We want to try to market to that cost-conscious consumer," Maurer said. "Some people are interested in having less service if it means keeping the cost down."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.