Reporting on Cape's new businesses

Monday, September 22, 2008

One of my duties and privileges as your business reporter is learning about new businesses that open in this area. In a weak national economy it's encouraging to learn of new business startups in Southeast Missouri.

Below are two new businesses in Cape Girardeau. If I get any additional details, you'll read about it online and in my morning business column today.

Gerard's Gifts and Floral, 3049 William St., opened in August. Formerly Holiday Happenings and Florist, the Christmas, floral and gift shop is owned by William Horman.

Moody's Photography, 1743 Huntington Drive, is a photography studio owned by Kevin Moody. No opening date was listed.

If you hear of any new businesses in Cape Girardeau, please shoot me an e-mail or call. My contact information is at the end of this column.

* New grocery store to open: Thanks to a request for information about several businesses on my blog, co-owner Robert Wade contacted me about his soon-to-be-open store. Pacific Rim Market, 1537 Independence St., will specialize in Middle Eastern and Asian grocery items. For the past six months, Wade and his wife, Maria, have been selling the products from their Jackson home.

The Wades' store is in the midst of being remodeled before its planned early to mid-October opening. While the hours have not been set, the store will be open Tuesday through Sunday.

"Since those of Asian and Middle Eastern descent usually drive long distances to get the type of food we offer, my wife and I felt we needed to expand beyond our home by opening this business," Robert Wade said. "If we don't have something here at our store, we want our customers to let us know. The only way we can improve is to get feedback from our customers."

* Gas station plans for possible 2009 relocation: Basic Fuel temporarily closed Sept. 11 because of what owner Dave Lemmon called a case of gouging by his oil supplier. But the next day he reopened all four locations and has been able to secure enough oil from his independent distributor at a price level he feels is reasonable enough to pass on to the consumer, though sales are down 10 to 15 percent since Hurricane Ike made landfall in the U.S.Sept. 14. He has received most of his fuel from distributors in St. Louis and Scott City.

By 2009, Lemmon hopes to relocate his Jackson station to another city. He has plans to open stations in Farmington, Mo., and Poplar Bluff, Mo., but the opening of those two locations depends on whether he is able to sell the property at 2927 E. Jackson Blvd. According to the website of Lorimont Place Ltd., the asking price is $419,000. Lorimont Place president and broker Tom Kelsey — whose company will handle the sale — said the property can be used as a fueling operation (since it is already set up with the tanks, pumps, equipment and canopy) or redeveloped into some other commercial business.

* Jackson chamber director update: Ever since Marybeth Williams suddenly died of pneumonia April 27, executive assistant Cheryl Merkler has assumed Williams' day-to-day executive director roles at the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Though Merkler and the rest of the Jackson community have felt a void since they lost their leader, they had to turn their attention to a search for a new person to fill Williams' shoes.

Candidates for the position had until July 20 to submit resumes. Merkler told me all resumes have been received and interviewing should begin any day.

* Company offers solutions to business with unpaid debts: One company hopes that before investing a lot of time and money in resolving unpaid debts, businesses will consider letting their team handle the legwork of collecting.

Established by Jerome Rupkey and Demetria Haller, Justice in Judgment, 824 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau, offers a number of services, many of which available nationwide. When first established, the organization only offered judgment — a court order to pay a party a certain amount of money — services but added a collection division in June, then the availability of skip-tracing (locating missing persons such as heirs, debtors, spouses, or witnesses) services in July.

These services are now offered from Rupkey and Haller's home, but plans are in place to move to a separate space as the business expands. The organization is also in the process of revising its business plan to submit to investors for its business proposal. Justice in Judgment is also conducting a marketing campaign across many states.

Plans include hiring lawyers and paralegals to tend to clients' needs, hiring a marketing director and opening numerous offices across the nation. Justice in Judgment also plans to expand its judgments division to include surrounding states and to expand its collections division to include all 50 states from the current 16 states served now.

For information, visit www.justiceinjudgment.com, e-mail justiceinjudgment@att.net or call 332-0766.

Business reporter Brian Blackwell can be reached at 335-6611, extension 137, or bblackwell@semissourian.com.

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