Making way for King's Center

Monday, May 3, 2004

Ground has broken on yet another commercial project along North Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.

With construction crews bustling at the new RV park, the renovation of what will be the Capaha Center and the new Alliance Bank corporate headquarters, the northern stretch of that highway seems to be the place for spring and summer projects. You can add the bulldozing at 1131 N. Kingshighway to that list.

Those bulldozers have leveled the old Baker Bottling plant that had been vacant since the 1960s and the Visiting Nurse Association to make way for the new, multimillion-dollar King's Center.

Gary and Sandy Helwege, owners of BG's Olde Tyme Deli and Saloon, are spearheading the construction of a 24,000-square-foot commercial office building.

According to Sandy Helwege, the upscale brick King's Center will make quite a statement in that part of town. She said that 70 percent of the space is already leased, and construction crews are shooting for opening in late August or early September.

An alternative market: Last Wednesday marked the inaugural day of the Cape Alternative Farmers Market at Arena Park. The market is organized by Octavia Scharenborg of ShowMe Fresh Farms, where she grows hydroponic fruits and vegetables. Participating vendor Terre Chriss said the idea behind this market is diversity.

Chriss and her specialty baked goods make up one of the handful of stands at the fledgling market, which she says is set to grow both in volume and variety. Plans are to bring in vendors of homemade sausages, gourmet foods and other things not normally found at a farmers market. Organizers are also kicking around the idea of having music and other entertainment to create a more festive atmosphere.

"This market will definitely have more of a community feel," said Chriss.

Goings on at Westfield: While everyone at the Westfield Shoppingtown West Park eagerly awaits the coming of Old Navy -- still slated for a back-to-school, late summer opening -- there are some other minor happenings in the building. The mall has welcomed two temporary summer tenants. The Crabshack has been brought back by popular demand. The store sells pet hermit crabs and accessories, including a range of shells that the arthropods can call home.

Right next to the shack is Summer Sensations, a vendor of sunglasses and purses. Owner Manny Daya has opened similar seasonal shops in Cape Girardeau before, known then as Sunglass Wear. Daya is hoping to keep this installment open beyond this summer, but said he'll have to feel out the business.

Also, Westfield senior marketing director Joyce Hunter tells me that Panera Bread has expanded its service to catering. The eatery formerly known as St. Louis Bread Co. will now deliver boxed lunches and sandwich platters for events and gatherings.

Nextel coming in twos: Robbie Rollins of Best Communications has announced that his company will be a new Nextel-authorized representative in Cape Girardeau. He plans to have his store open at 500 N. Kingshighway by May 19. At the same time, vice president of Diamond Wireless Sean Simon has also announced plans to launch a new Nextel wireless service in Cape Girardeau. Diamond Wireless already has locations in Town Plaza and Westfield Shoppingtown in Cape Girardeau. Simon says that although an address for the new store is not yet pinned down, the service will be launched in early June.

Wake-up call: Sharyn Denice has decided to put her phone to work for the people of Cape Girardeau. She is starting a wake-up and reminder call service in Cape Girardeau for individuals and businesses. She'll call anywhere in the United States to wake up sleepy workers and college students, and remind people of medical appointments, social engagements or other big events. The service also includes follow-up calls for businesses to ensure customer satisfaction, and confirmation calls to make sure messages have been received. She'll even set up a phone survey for companies looking for consumer response. Anyone interested can call Denice at 334-9632.

Tony Rehagen is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send your comments, business news, information or questions to Tony Rehagen, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63702-0699, e-mail trehagen@semissourian.com or call 335-6611, extension 137.

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