New supply store will honor first responders

Monday, July 3, 2006

As paramedics, Robert and Tami Kiefer have an intimate understanding of what it means to be on the front lines of emergency response.

So when Robert Kiefer told me last week his new business would honor those who work as policemen, firemen and paramedics, it didn't feel forced or phony.

And it didn't feel like just a gimmick to draw in customers to their new Heartland Public Safety Supply, the first of its kind in the area and the only one between St. Louis and Memphis.

"We don't expect recognition, and we don't always get it," Kiefer said. "Hopefully, this will help with that."

The new store is out to make a profit -- it's called capitalism, get over it -- and there will be uniforms, accessories and gifts for sale for those who work to make our little corner of the world safer.

But Kiefer said he and his wife want it to be more than that. That's why there's going to be a memorial of sorts in one section of the store, which will open in September at 240 S. Plaza Way in Cape Girardeau.

The memorial will be pictures of all those first responders who died in the line of duty from Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, northeast Arkansas and western Kentucky.

Each month, the store will focus on one field -- police, fire, highway patrol, paramedics, EMTs -- and set aside one section of the store to honor that field. For example, he said, they have old photos, antique equipment, etc. Heartland Public Safety Supply will offer discounts that month to people from that field.

Each year, they also plan to honor one person from those occupations. They're still working out the details, but nominations are going to be acceptable online or by co-workers.

"It's always been a dream of ours to open a business like this," said Robert Kiefer, who added neither of them are giving up their day jobs. "So we wanted to make it special."

* Snafu causes Mollie's to lose liquor license ... temporarily: A missed liquor-license deadline has left Mollie's Cafe and Bar without its liquor license until Wednesday, co-owner Michael Risch told me on Saturday.

"I screwed up the liquor license, and I can't sell liquor tonight," he said, referring to Saturday night. "It was my fault."

Risch, who owns the restaurant along with Matt Tygett, said he missed a deadline to renew their liquor license, which is done on an annual basis. Risch said they will get their liquor license back on Wednesday.

The mistake shouldn't be a costly one, Risch said, because it only means they will miss one night of liquor sales. Mollie's is always closed on Sunday and the owners were closing for a vacation for the Fourth of July weekend anyway, he said. The vacation plans had been posted on the door for a week, he said.

Even missing Libertyfest won't mean a crucial loss in profits, he said.

"We don't get a lot of business from Libertyfest," Risch said. "We watch 5,000 people walk right on by."

* Former Cape Shoe factory sold: Instead of the sound of shoes being made and shipped, a Cape Girardeau industrial building will be transformed into a heating and air-conditioning distribution warehouse.

The former Cape Shoe Company at 2355 Rusmar St. in Cape Girardeau has been sold, according to Tom Kelsey, commercial broker with Lorimont Place Ltd. The 26,219-square-foot facility wasn't on the market long until it was contracted by Stephen Smith, a Columbia, Mo., investor who immediately negotiated a lease with a national heating and cooling distributor who had been looking for a Cape Girardeau location.

Kelsey said the distributor would prefer to make their own announcement in the near future on their identity and product lines. He said they would build a new show room and offices and would anticipate an opening in January.

This was the second Cape Girardeau location for the now defunct shoe company. The manufacturing firm headed by Eli Fishman from Chicago had come to Cape Girardeau in January 2000 by way of purchasing the former Florsheim Shoe factory on Southern Expressway and South West End Boulevard. In 2002, Kelsey said, they realized this 94,000-square-foot factory was much bigger than they needed and he arranged a building swap with RM Coco Fabrics for the 2355 Rusmar St. building. With declining sales, Cape Shoe filed for bankruptcy in August 2005. Eventually the Rusmar property was foreclosed on.

The lender, States Resources Inc., listed the building with Lorimont in May, and the transaction with the newest buyer is scheduled to close this week.

Kelsey said the property is just off of South Kingshighway and next door to the former Paramount Liquor warehouse building recently sold to SMC Electric for a new distribution warehouse. Lorimont also handled this sale that closed in April.

* Realty Executives building new offices: Construction has started on new offices for Realty Executives at the corner of Independence and Broadview streets. Bill Cole, a broker who owns the business with his wife, Susan, told me last week that the new 7,500-square-foot, brick-and-stone office building is expected to be completed around Jan. 1.

Dirt work started recently, and construction is expected to start in earnest in about three weeks. The 39-agent real estate firm has been operating at 1359 N. Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau since 2003 and also has an office in Jackson.

"We've been leasing this facility, and we've really just outgrown it," Cole said. "We think it's a good spot with good visibility."

The address will be 2511 Independence St.

* Krieger's getting Rowdy: Krieger's Hometown Sports Grill is undergoing a transformation. The restaurant, which has been closed since Saturday, is reopening Tuesday as Rowdy's All American Sports Grill.

The food and atmosphere will change, according to the owner. There will be themes on different nights: family-style chicken dinner on Sunday, karaoke on Thursday and live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Dart leagues will play there on Monday.

The owner said he has severed ties with Krieger's and said he couldn't comment on why.

Rowdy's -- which does not take its name from the university's new mascot -- will still feature steaks, pizzas, hamburgers, will also have all-you-can-eat catfish on Fridays and daily blue-plate specials.

Krieger's opened two years ago.

* Home Depot not looking at Cape area ... for now: First reported on my blog, a Cape Girardeau city official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Home Depot is not looking at the greater Cape Girardeau area.

For now.

I know that it has looked at opening a home-improvement store in Cape Girardeau in the past. I also know it had trouble finding an appropriate spot where a deal could be worked out.

So there's the word on that. But it may not be the final word.

* K's reaches settlement with creditors: Here's the latest on the K's Merchandise's financial woes: Unsecured trade creditors overwhelmingly voted to accept a recommended out-of-court settlement that had previously been negotiated between Decatur, Ill.-based K's Merchandise and an ad-hoc committee of its major creditors. This settlement allows K's to continue operations as the company works to reposition itself within the marketplace and maintain its legacy, according to Gordon Brothers Group, a Boston-based merchant and finance company.

Until now, the future of K's, which operates 17 stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky -- including one in Cape Girardeau -- had been uncertain. However, creditor approval of this settlement marks a definitive milestone for the future of the 50-year-old, family-owned business by allowing efforts to return the company to profitability to continue.

Scott Moyers is the business editor of the Southeast Missourian. Send your comments, business news, information or questions to "Biz Buzz," 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, or e-mail them to or call (573) 335-6611, extension 137.

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