Growing town, growing businesses

Monday, August 13, 2007

A little more than a year ago, there wasn't much activity at the intersection of U.S. 51 and Edgemont Boulevard in Perryville, Mo.

Then the folks at Hoeckele's Bakery began building a new strip mall, part of their move from the town square to bigger and better digs. It was a gamble, one the third-generation owners had been contemplating for some time, said Angie Hoeckele, wife of Paul Hoeckele, grandson of the bakery's founders.

"It was the seminary property and we had it forever," she said in an interview last week. "We felt the town was growing this way, and we just decided to make the jump."

And soon after the new location opened, she said, the owners -- she and Paul operate the bakery with his brother Joe Hoeckele and his wife Yvette -- knew they'd made the right choice. Stonie's Sausage Shop moved from its location on St. Joseph Street to a newly constructed building across the road. And now a Sonic Drive-In is open, a Walgreen's Drug Store is under construction, a new Pizza Hut is planned for the area and there are new apartments in the area as well.

"It is really great," said Heather Mueller of the Perryville Chamber of Commerce. "It is along 51 there right off the interstate, and it is a great location to have all these things. It is just good for the town of Perryville."

Stonie's, makers of traditional German bratwurst and other sausages, said the decision to move was the result of deciding the business was growing beyond its previous location on St. Joseph Street. "We were landlocked," said Lindsey Schumer. "People couldn't get to us very easily, and it is just a better location. We are expanding our products, and we just needed more room for all that product."

But it was Hockele's that made the first move. They considered building a stand-alone bakery, but gambled on building a strip mall that would generate traffic, income from rents and bring in more business, Angie Hoeckele said. "We put our buildings in and started to lease the spots and they filled up right away," she said. "We could have been out here by ourselves. It is nice to have neighbors."

In their bigger store, they have a seating area for deli customers that is half the size of the old store on the town square, she said. Where they once had room to seat 18, they can now accommodate 75 to 80 people. They still have the special items like raisin molasses cookies and peanut coffee cakes that have been handed down through the generations, she said.

And the deli offerings have grown, with new signature sandwiches, she said.

When the Stonie's building was under construction, Hoeckele said, some customers wondered what it would look like and questioned whether it fit. But the finished building, she said, is beautiful. "They are top notch. We feel we complement each other."

Kind of like bread and sausage.

* No plans yet for Bloomfield-Mount Auburn intersection: If you've been driving past the intersection of Mount Auburn and Bloomfield roads lately and have seen a lot of activity, you might think something big is in the works. Not so, said Tim Goodman of Earl Norman's Benton Hill Investment Co. Inc.

A house that formerly stood on the corner was donated to the Cape Girardeau Fire Department for training, Goodman said. Now that the home is gone, the company is filling in the property to make it more marketable.

"Earl has owned 7 or 8 acres there since the 1970s," Goodman said. "At this point, it would be up for sale or development, but we don't have any plans to develop it ourselves at this point."

The land needed to be leveled to make it more appealing, Goodman said.

* Jayson Jewelers new store: Jayne Ervin told me Friday that she's busy getting a new store ready at 97 N. Kingshighway at the Crossroads. Jayson Jewelers Ltd., in business for 23 years at 115 Themis St. downtown, wants to attract a younger clientele that doesn't generally spend much time shopping downtown, Ervin said.

"We feel like we are missing a certain part of the population who are only going downtonwn for entertainment," she said.

The store's business has been increasing, and it is time to branch out, she said.

The new store will be open by the first part of September, she said, but she was uncertain of the exact date. "I've been at it hard for about two weeks," she said of the work needed to prepare the new store, which will feature finished jewelry and customers will be able to drop items for cleaning. The work of designing original jewelry pieces will remain at the downtown location, Ervin said.

* Club Moxy ribbon cutting: While Club Moxy opened to the public Friday night, the new '20s-themed bar and dance club will hold a ribbon cutting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Owners Will Otto and Josh Penfield will cut the ribbon and hold an open house immediately following.

* Culver's wins award: The latest addition to the Cape Girardeau fast-food market will have something to brag about when it opens. Rick Geis of Wisconsin is building a Culver's Butter Burgers & Frozen Custard at 295 N. Kingshighway. Last week, the chain announced it was rated the best burger chain in the country by the annual survey of diners conducted by Restaurants & Institutions Magazine. Culver's won a platinum ranking by consumers voting on their dining experience in the magazine's survey of chain restaurants, rating 120 restaurant chains on eight areas of customer satisfaction. The ranking is the fourth time the chain has been ranked among the top chains and the first time it has received the top ranking.

Culver's operates 360 locations in 16 states. The restaurant on North Kingshighway will be the first in Southeast Missouri.

* More on Perryville: The Dance Center, a new dance studio, will be opening in the Perry Plaza in Perryville. Dance instructor Anna Marie Bowen is relocating from Jefferson City into a 3,900 square-foot facility. She'll be holding an open house from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 23 and 24 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 25.

Rudi Keller is the business editor of the Southeast Missourian. Contact him at 335-6611, extension 126

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