Ground broken for Holiday Inn Express

Monday, June 21, 2004

After a spring of frustration, Jim Drury, Bob Hahn and the rest of Midamerica Hotels Corp. finally broke ground Friday on the future site of Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites in Cape Girardeau.

Announced in February, the new Holiday Inn Express Hotel is to replace the old Holiday Inn razed in 2003 on William Street just off of Interstate 55. Construction on the new four-story, 102-room hotel was to begin in the spring, but design complications pushed that date back.

Dan Drury of Midamerica said the original design was primarily steel-reinforced concrete. The decision had to be made to switch to a lighter, more flexible wood frame to bring the design up to new seismic building codes. Now that the materials have been selected, construction is to begin today if weather permits.

The new hotel will offer rooms equipped with refrigerators, microwaves and wireless Internet service. It also will feature a breakfast room with a plasma-screen TV, an indoor swimming pool, meeting and banquet room, fitness room and game room. Drury said the plan is to open by spring 2005.

Furniture Garden to be "transplanted": That's how owner Wally Rexroad described his upcoming move from 18 N. Sprigg St. to a more visible location down the road in Cape Girardeau. Rexroad recently signed a lease on the old Heartland Antique Emporium building at the corner of Sprigg and William streets.

Rexroad is familiar with the new store. He rented a space in the old emporium when he first got into the antique and vintage furniture business before opening the Garden five years ago. He knows the new location at 701 William St. is a bit smaller than his current store, but he said the increased visibility of the building -- with its plate glass display windows and proximity to an intersection full of drivers in cars lined up at the stoplight -- trumps any confinement issues.

To accommodate the closer quarters, Rexroad is going to hold a basement auction to move excess inventory before the end of July. That's when his lease runs out at 18 N. Sprigg St.

Even though he's downsizing the inventory, Rexroad said the layout of the new building will allow him to diversify his offerings. In addition to continuing his specialty dealing of 1930s to 1960s vintage furniture, he's planning a bargain loft on the second floor; a room strictly for uncommon, novel and bizarre objects; and a room for small leather goods and furrier items. Throw in a space for him to peddle collectible vintage record albums and Rexroad's revamped garden will be ready to accommodate a wider range of clientele.

Rexroad said the move will begin sometime in the next three to four weeks. He has no solid timetable for the new store's opening.

Buffalo Wild Wings planning new wing: Buffalo Wild Wings owner Bill Zellmer is licking his chops for construction to begin on a new VIP room at the Cape Girardeau restaurant. Within the next two weeks, Zellmer expects the hammers to drop on the project that will renovate an empty storage room at the rear of Suite 210 at the William Street Town Plaza and turn it into a restaurant overflow/private dining room.

The VIP room will seat 120 people and will be an extension of the restaurant, offering the same bar and food options, but it will have independent lighting and sound systems for private gatherings. Two new, high-definition, big-screen projection TVs will be installed along with 20 more regular monitors. The kicker is that those who rent out the room for a private party or meeting will have the option of being able to play PlayStation or X-Box on the big screens. Zellmer expects the room to be ready for diners and gamers by the first week of August, at which time he'll begin fielding reservation inquiries.

In the meantime, Zellmer has been working to install wireless Internet access throughout the building. That service will be available by Thursday.

Goings on at Westfield goings: Shoppers concerned about the apparent shut-down of Lerner New York at Westfield Shoppingtown West Park need not worry. The store simply has a new location and a new name.

Now dubbed New York and Co., the ladies clothing store has been temporarily relocated to the Shoppingtown's J.C. Penney Court. No official news yet as to where New York and Co. will land permanently, although Westfield senior marketing director Joyce Hunter assures me that the store is not leaving the mall. The old Lerner location near the main entrance is currently closed for site preparation. A new, unnamed store will occupy part of the old Lerner store.

In other Westfield news, a new specialty shop is now open in the Famous Barr Court. Euro Decor offers handcrafted porcelain figurines from Europe and complete china services for up to 12. It also sells tea sets and themed figures. Owner Nataliya Agashchuk hails from the Ukraine and uses connections with Romanian artists to bring a taste of Eastern Europe to Southeast Missouri.

Groom-and-vroom: After eight years of professionally grooming pets, Tammy Jones has decided to take her act on the road -- literally. With a revamped, oversized transport van stocked with hot and cold water, a grooming table and an electric generator, Jones is ready to export her skills from her home in Bollinger County to just about anywhere.

The Jones One Stop Mobile Groom Shop is set up for grooming, dips and flea baths for dogs and cats.

"With the van, I'm completely self-sufficient," Jones said. "All I need from the customer is a pet."

Jones' portable business caters to those who don't want a dirty pet and are too busy or unable to leave their house. She drives house to house, grooming by appointment as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m. She said all times are negotiable. Those interested can call at (573) 866-3336.

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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