New Businesses Buying Into Maple Grove
Business climate "still strong" despite recent tough economic times nationwide.
Editor's note: Since this article published, the IHOP resturant referenced has opened. Find a link to the IHOP article at: http://patch.com/A-kcrF
Whether it’s a sign of the times or a sign of growth in Maple Grove, new businesses are popping up like spring flowers.
While some new businesses are filling vacant spaces, others are choosing to build. North Hennepin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jill Johnson said the area is doing well despite tough economic times nationwide.
“You always lose a few, but we didn’t lose as many businesses as we could have,” Johnson said.
Despite big box retailers such as Borders and Ultimate Electronics leaving the city, Maple Grove City Administrator Al Madsen said the business climate in Maple Grove is “still good.”
“The business climate is still strong, especially our restaurants,” Madsen said. “It is amazing that even during talks of a recession, the restaurants always seemed to be doing well. I think we still have a healthy business climate. One of the barometers of a healthy business climate is for new businesses come in to occupy the vacant space.”
With vacancies, it hasn’t been unusual for new business to renovate an empty building to make it their own. One of those empty buildings under renovation is the former Fuddruckers site near Interstate 94 and Weaver Lake Road North. It’s being transformed into an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant.
“We are hoping to catch lots traffic traveling north and south through town,” IHOP Regional Manager Susan Hoage said. “We are here to be a community restaurant. We want to get involved and be part of the local summer activities, like sponsoring a youth’s sports team.”
As to why Maple Grove is a hot spot for businesses to lock down an address and open their doors, Johnson said it’s for numerous reasons.
“Maple Grove is a nice town, it’s scenic and has a good school district, which brings the people which brings the businesses to town,” Hoage said.
Maple Grove resident Amy Finn said she is “excited” to see new restaurants and shops, such as Toys R Us, opening up their doors into the area.
“I work here, we live here and we play here, so it makes it convenient to go out to eat, shop and take care of errands without having to leave the area,” Finn said.
But the surprising news, according to Johnson, is that while it’s been tough economic times everywhere else, Maple Grove continues to see growth and economic development—and with it new jobs.
“It is a great surprise with the down economy, people aren’t afraid to open up and do business,” said Johnson. “These businesses are bringing lots of jobs to the area."
IHOP, which is aiming for a mid-June opening, is planning to hire about 80 people to work in the new restaurant.
For busy families like the Finns, Maple Grove continues to be a one stop shop.
“We can get just about everything we need without ever leaving the city,” she said.
Wendy Erlien contributed to this article.