Most of Cape Girardeau's commercial sprawl -- think Logan's, Best Buy and Circuit City -- adheres to the old "go west, young man," philosophy.
Not first-time developer Trish Lafoe.
She's looking north to an undeveloped retail area for her new upscale commercial development under construction along Route W just north of the city limits.
"I wanted to do something that would make it more convenient for people so they wouldn't always have to go to the western part of town for something or downtown where parking can be a challenge," she said. "That's why I think La Croix Village will work."
La Croix Village, so named because Route W is also Cape La Croix Road, is expected to be a five-store retail outlet featuring an established business like My Daddy's Cheesecake and new ventures like a tanning salon, a full-service floral shop and a home decor store. One of the units has not been rented.
From an architect's rendering, the 9,800-square-foot building that sits on a three-acre lot next to Deer Creek Christian Academy looks to be posh with its raised flower beds and French-style architecture. But Lafoe insists it's not a store aimed toward the well-off.
"It's designed to be affordable," Lafoe said. "We are not at all trying to make it limited to the more affluent."
The building, being erected by Midwest Construction, is expected to be finished in time for the businesses to open by the end of October.
The tenants said they didn't mind that the development wasn't near the city's traditional retail centers.
"We didn't necessarily feel the need to be in the high-traffic area like a fast-food restaurant," said My Daddy's Cheesecake owner Wes Kinsey, who is opening a second location at Cape La Croix Village. "We are a destination location. We're not an impulse location."
Kinsey said that area is booming with new residential subdivisions and other development that should make Cape La Croix Village a popular spot, not to mention those who drive back and forth to Jackson by taking Route W.
"It will add accessibility that we've really lacked downtown," Kinsey said. "That's where we wanted to be."
The new My Daddy's Cheesecake location will be the main production site for the restaurant, meaning all the main baking will be done there. Kinsey said it's much needed and that there just wasn't enough space to keep up with demand.
"So when Mrs. Lafoe came to us with this idea," Kinsey said, "we knew it was time. We also just fell in love with the architectural design of the building, which is very unique and interesting. We wanted something with character and personality and I think that's what this will have."
Unlike the downtown store, the new 3,000-square-foot location will also feature hand-dipped ice cream. New lunch items will be added, such as wraps and some vegetarian food. An evening "gourmet to go" menu will be available in the evenings and the store will have a drive-through.
"We've been looking to expand for a couple of years and this has given us that opportunity," Kinsey said. "We think it's exciting -- stressful of course -- but exciting."
Cristy Richardson is opening a full-service floral shop called Cristy's of Cape at La Croix Village.
"The charm of it is one of the reasons I'm involved," she said. "The feel of it lends itself to a charming, warm environment and I think people will like that."
Richardson said she's been working out of her house for two years. But customers voiced a desire for a retail outlet and she saw the need for a show room for her business, which also features home decoration. Richardson goes into people's homes and uses floral decorations and accents.
The showroom will feature mainly silk flowers, but will have some fresh flowers as well as a few half plants.
"For me, it's about the warmth and the coziness and atmosphere and the charm," she said. "I think of a child peeking into a store window."
Arlinda McElmurry is opening the home decor store there, which she is leaning toward naming More Decor. This store will be a consignment store, similar to the clothing stores. This store will sell other people's home furnishings like furniture, bedding, comforters, table linens and other items, she said.
But she said the quality would be controlled and there will be only well-maintained items.
"It'll be a case of someone just got tired of looking at a couch and wanted to change it," she said. "There won't be anything wrong with it, it will be in perfect shape."
That store will have pick-up and delivery, she said. McElmurry said she likes that her store won't be near the west part of town, near the mall, which she avoids.
"This is going to have a little neighborhood atmosphere," she said. "You can just drive a short way to get things you want. And it's a smart move because this area is really growing."
335-6611, extension 137