Albertsons has been sold, but to who? Or is it whom?

Monday, July 29, 2002

Well, it's official. The former Albertsons building has been sold, but the news is so vague and without detail that it would only qualify as newsworthy in my gossipy little column.

Jeannette Duwe, a corporate spokesperson for Albertsons, confirmed that the $3 million building at the corner of Kingshighway and Independence is under contract and the deal should close by the end of August.

But that's all she would confirm.

Using my keen investigative mind, I fired a question only at her only a journalist could come up with: "Who bought it?"

"Can't say," she said, clearly caving.

"Can't say or won't say?" I asked.

"The buyer doesn't want his name out, so we respect that," she said.

She said the identity of whoever bought the 57,560-square-foot building would not be made public until the closing.

Using another journalistic technique -- I call it the Moyers rebuttal -- I muttered "Oh, I see," thanked her for her time and hung up.

There have been a lot of rumors about what would occupy the Albertsons building, which has sat empty since Albertsons decided to close up shop in March, just 13 months after they opened. (Incidentally, Albertsons has had to change its slogan from "It's your store," to "It used to be your store, now it belongs to our creditors.")

I've heard it was going to become a Kohl's, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the country. I've heard Wal-Mart was going to put a groceries-only store there. I've heard Schnucks bought it and was going to rent it to something other than a grocery store.

But my most reliable source tells me that the building was actually purchased by a man in Tennessee who plans to develop the property for another retail store. He doesn't know what, so it could be a Kohl's or something like that popular department store.

We'll just have to wait and see. But as soon as I hear anything -- even and especially if it's just wildly inaccurate speculation -- I'll pass that along to you.

Plaza plans

The new Buffalo Wild Wings is opening next month, but the Town Plaza has a couple of empty slots remaining. My spies -- hi, Dad -- tell me that a liquidation company and a sporting goods company out of Paducah, Ky., will soon be moving in.

The Town Plaza is owned by Greater Missouri Builders in St. Charles, Mo., and property manager Shannon Hall said nothing is set in stone yet.

"We've talked with several different tenants, and some were of the nature you mentioned and some that are in other areas," she said. "But we don't have anything signed yet."

The space where Baskin Robbins was is still empty, and there is a space next to Buffalo Wild Wings that is vacant.

Hall said she'd know something in about a month. So I'll report back in six months, after the businesses are already there.

Mall world

Mall manager Jim Govro tells me the new store out there has gotten off to a great start. He said that the hip and trendy youth clothing store is seeing revenues that are 30 percent above their plan so far.

He also said he's got another jeweler lined up for when Michelson's finally heads out after its through with its bankruptcy. He's also close to wrapping up a deal to get a new cookie shop out there.

Tropical tans

Tropical Tans has opened at 1601 Independence, the old Dan's Key and Lock building. Owner Cheri Scherer said they have three tanning beds to start out with and also offer tanning lotions and other sun-related items.

Scherer said she was ready to be her own boss.

"For years, I've busted my butt for 15 hours a day and didn't get paid crap," said the clearly sassy Scherer. "If you put all those hours, you should at least get something."

Sony is favorite brand

The Harris Poll latest annual survey results on "best brands" shows Sony in the No. 1 position, picked by more people than any other brand. Sony tops the list for the third year in a row, and for the fifth time in seven years.

In the eight years since Harris Interactive began asking this question, Sony has never been lower than third. No other brand comes close to matching this record.

Dell moves up to second place, after having just failed to make the top 10 last year, and occupying the fifth slot in 2000.

Ford, which has always been one of the top four brands, slips from second to third place. Kraft, which has never made the top 10 list previously, is now fourth, and Coca-Cola moves up from sixth to fifth.

The others which are mentioned most frequently as "best brands" are General Electric (6, down from 3 last year), Pepsi-Cola (7), Tide (8), Honda (9) and General Motors (10). General Motors was also in 10th place last year. Pepsi-Cola, Tide and Honda did not make the top 10 list last year. And this is the first time that Kraft, Tide and Honda have ever made the top 10 rankings.


Our congrats out to a Millersville, Mo., company called Industry Solutions. The industrial supply company is about to celebrate a year in business. "Business has been pretty darn good," said owner Bruce Fox. "We're still standing, and a lot of people aren't. We feel very fortunate."

Tangles, a new hair salon, is expected to open around Aug. 1. It will be at 1940 Golden Eagle Court and will offer all cuts and coloring.

Scott Moyers is the business editor for the Southeast Missourian. Send your comments, business news, information or questions to Biz Buzz, 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, e-mail or call 335-6611, extension 137.

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