Hello & goodbye: The business comings and goings of 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011
From left, Yale Gerber, Lee Hodges, Tyler Bahr and Ry Simmons play four square Sept. 7 as they wait in the parking lot of Chick-fil-A the day before its grand opening. The first 100 people in line received a free year of Chick-fil-A food, in the form of 52 free meal coupons. (Kristin Eberts)

HELLO

Chick-fil-A

After months of speculation and anticipation, Cape Girardeau's newest fast-food chain opened Sept. 8, and the hunger for Chick-fil-A's famous waffle fries and chicken has never ceased.

Brian House of Cape Girardeau owns the free-standing restaurant at 3333 Gordonville Road and his wife, Tamilla, is the restaurant's marketing director. They had more than 1,000 applications for their 90 jobs, and 100 people camped overnight in the parking lot for the grand opening -- and to win free chicken sandwiches for the year.

Chick-fil-A's grand opening was preceded by a "community blitz" in which employees gave away thousands of free sandwiches at various locations in the community.

Kaleidoscoops

Jennifer and Bill Green thought the community was missing something, so in May they sought to fill that void with Kaledioscoops, a hand-dipped ice cream shop on North Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.

Kaledioscoops offers 32 flavors of hand-scooped ice cream, including no-sugar-added varieties, sherbets and sorbets. The shop also offers muffins, bagels, and breakfast and lunch sandwiches.

Sephora

Cape Girardeau's J.C. Penney opened a store within-a-store this spring, adding a 1,500-square-foot Sephora store under its roof.

"Everything in the store is a tester. It's like a child in a candy store for a woman," said Dustin Duncan, Sephora manager, who started in January.

Sephora carries makeup, fragrances and skin care products for men and women, beauty tools and accessories from more than 50 brands. The Cape Girardeau Sephora is one of 75 opening inside J.C. Penney stores across the country this year.

The Children's Place

West Park Mall welcomed a new retailer in 2011 with the addition of The Children's Place, specializing in kids' clothing and merchandise.

"The mall is pleased to be able to accommodate our existing tenants while adding national retailers to our mix," said Susan Godorov, vice president of marketing at Centro Properties Group, which owns the Cape Girardeau mall.

Things Remembered and Sportsman Trail were relocated within the mall to accommodate the 4,000-square-foot Children's Place store.

Fumatore di Sigaro

With hand-rolled cigars and a smoking lounge, Fumatore di Sigaro -- Italian for cigar smoker -- arrived on Cape Girardeau's business scene in 2011.

A cigar aficionado's paradise, the store, owned by Scott Pietreface, stocks cigars from around the world in a cedar-lined walk-in humidor and also sells lighters, cutters and other accessories.

A smoking lounge for private club members and customers is furnished with leather seating for 16, two HD televisions, a poker table and custom cigar lockers and is equipped with a smoke eater and air purifier.

---- Scott Sattler of Dexter is the new executive director of the Perry County Economic Development Authority. He previously worked as manager of business and industry at the Workforce Investment Board of Southeast Missouri in Cape Girardeau and spent more than 17 years in the U.S. Navy. (MELISSA MILLER)

Scott Sattler, Perry County economic development director

Scott Sattler says he has a passion for helping bring in and retain businesses, something that makes him well-suited for his role as economic development manager for Perry County, a position he took over this fall.

Sattler's background with the Workforce Investment Board of Southeast Missouri and managing career centers around the region has allowed him to develop a network of contacts throughout the state.

After Larry Tucker resigned from the position to take a job elsewhere, Perry County and Perryville officials reorganized their primary economic development entity, said Kim Moore, president of the reorganized Perry County Economic Development Authority and chief counsel at Bank of Missouri.

The new board consists of two elected officials from both the board of aldermen and county commission, as well as two representatives from the previous Economic Development Authority board and two representatives from the not-for-profit industrial development group known as the Perryville Development Corp. A representative from the SEMO Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission and Perryville city manager Brent Buerck serve as advisers and participate as nonvoting members of the new board.

Chet Koch, Isle of Capri general manager

---- Effective January 2, 2012, Chet Koch will serve as the vice president and general manager of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Chet Koch has been part of a dozen casino openings over the course of his career. He'll soon add another to that list after being named general manager of the Isle of Capri casino in Cape Girardeau, effective Jan. 2.

Koch, who grew up in Atlantic City, N.J., and has worked in the gambling industry for more than three decades, on Nov. 21 was named general manager of Isle of Capri's new Cape Girardeau casino.

Chief operating officer Arnold Block introduced Koch at a November news conference at the Marquette Tower -- home to Isle of Capri's offices until the casino is built. "Chet's input and leadership will be important assets as we outline the timelines for hiring, staffing and training our employees," Block said during the news conference.

GOODBYE

Irvin Garms

Longtime Cape Girardeau resident Irvin Garms died at age 96 on Oct. 28 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Rising from humble beginnings -- his first job was watering mules used in a road-building project -- he had an accomplished career spanning construction, energy and international finance. He was the top executive of several companies and served on the board of directors for dozens more. According to his obituary, Garms directed construction of the man-made harbors for the Phillips 66 and Sunoco refineries on the southern coast of Puerto Rico.

Best known internationally for his marine construction work, Garms used his expertise to benefit the community he called home. He was appointed a commissioner of the SEMO Port Authority, serving for 20 years -- 19 of those as chairman of the construction committee -- before resigning in June. He also was president of the Missouri Transportation and Development Council and served as its director for 20 years. Garms was the first president of the Cape Girardeau County Industrial Development Authority and served on its board for a total of 28 years.

Irvin Garms

In an editorial after his death, the Southeast Missourian's editorial board wrote: "Irvin Garms was a remarkable man. All who met him appreciated his competence, humility and kindness."

Chap Arnold

Chap Arnold

According to his son-in-law, Marc Harris, Chap Arnold's business philosophy was to give more than you take and be there for people when they need you the most. Arnold, a longtime Southeast Missouri businessman and volunteer, died at age 69 on June 12.

According to his obituary, Arnold served many local boards and organizations, including the Scott City Industrial Board, Bank of Illmo Board, Scott City Park Board, Scott City School Board, Scott City Fire Department, Scott City Chamber of Commerce, Cape West Rotary, Southeast Hospital Foundation Board, United Way Board, Cape Girardeau Country Club Board and SEMO Port Authority Board.

Arnold founded Chap Arnold Insurance Agency in 1971 after following his mother into the insurance business. The first office opened in Scott City and the company eventually opened offices in four other towns, all in distinctive A-frame buildings. His daughters Angie Umfleet and Jennifer Harris are carrying on his legacy in the family business.

Edgar Esicar Jr.

Edgar Esicar

For nearly 40 years Edgar Esicar Jr. kept Cape Girardeau residents licking their lips and coming back for more of his family's smoked meats. He worked Esicar's Old Hickory Smoke House, a Cape Girardeau institution founded by his father, from 1952 to 1991 with his father, brother and nephew. After his retirement, he continued to live above the business on North Kingshighway until it closed in 2007. Esicar died Nov. 22 at 85 years old.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield building

Less than a year after eliminating 125 workers at Cape Girardeau office, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri made further cuts in May. The company closed its local office and announced that 150 of its approximately 175 workers would work from home. At the time, the company said downsizing its Cape Girardeau office would help reduce overhead operating costs, including lease and utility payments.

"We're really looking at anywhere we can save administrative costs. When we can reduce those, it's very helpful," Deborah Wiethop, Anthem public relations director, said at the time.

About 25 positions were eliminated due to the downsizing.

S. Gregg Gallery

Cape Girardeau's fourth-oldest downtown business will close its doors by the end of the year. The S. Gregg Gallery has been a Main Street fixture for 35 years, first as the BOEN Gallery, opened by doctors Bill Ogborn and Ed Noffel. After buying the business in 1980, owner Steven Gregg changed the name to S. Gregg Gallery in 1983.

In addition to custom frames, the selection of which grew over the years, the gallery eventually included affordable works by artists with regional, national and international reputations, as well as antique maps and prints.

In 2009, Realtor Jo Duff joined as a partner, wanting to see the gallery continue to serve the community. Since then, individuals have expressed interest in buying the gallery, but no serious buyer has been found, prompting the closure.

AMC Theater in Town Plaza

The end of the final movie to play at the AMC Town Plaza 5 was also the end of an era. AMC closed the theater at the Town Plaza Shopping Center on Dec. 1; the company had purchased the five-screen theater in 2010.

"We continually strive to upgrade the quality of our theater circuit by adding new screens and by disposing of older screens through closures and sales," said Ryan Noonan, AMC Theatres' director of public relations. "We do, however, look at our theaters on an individual basis. AMC Town Plaza 5 has been identified as a theater that no longer competes effectively in the marketplace."

The theater was built at one end of the Town Plaza in 1973 and even in recent years was home to major releases, including "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" and "Quantum of Solace," the most recent James Bond film.

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