Saturday, July 4, 2020

"Coronavirus bricks and mortar retail death knell (Manna Cafe and Bakeryl edition)

Photo by Retiring Guty

'Not the storybook ending we had in mind,' Manna Cafe owners write in goodbye letter.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 6/15/2020)
On May 26, the day local restaurants were allowed to open at a reduced capacity, Mike Pratzel said he and Barb were meeting with their managers the next day to discuss how to proceed. 
“I don’t think anybody around here is in a hurry to open it up,” he said then. “It’s a lot of effort to change things up for a limited amount of space.” Manna, 611 N. Sherman Ave., is a community hub known for its brunch food, rich coffee, muffins, sticky buns, rugelach and other baked goods. 
In an emotional letter to customers Thursday, the Pratzels said news of the closure was hard on its staff, “and we are devastated by the challenges they will face, especially during the pandemic.”

Common Ground update starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

Middleton restaurant and community space Common Ground taken 'out by the knees' by COVID-19 pandemic.  (Wisconsin State Journal, 5/29/2020)
Before opening Common Ground in late 2018, Adrienne Hulburt-Stroud was a stay-at-home mom, a role she resumed when she closed her business in March due to the virus. 
“It was just strange, going from working and busy, busy, busy, running around, and then boom, a complete regression to a couple of years ago,” she said Tuesday, after she informed her Facebook community about her decision to close Common Ground.

She said she can’t completely blame the pandemic, because the business faced challenges before the virus. “It is exorbitantly expensive and difficult to get a small business off the ground, and I would be remiss if I didn’t warn any future entrepreneurs of the true financial, emotional and physical toll it takes to really build up a small business from nothing,” she wrote.

Never a good sign

6/2/2020 Tuesday Morning edition starts here

Photo by Retiring Guy

Tuesday Morning retailer files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans 230 store closings.  (USA Today, 5/27/2020)
The company joins a growing list of retailers that have tumbled into Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the pandemic, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew. In each case, the companies were already in rough shape before the pandemic began due to excessive debt and declining foot traffic. 
Tuesday Morning – which sells a wide variety of merchandise including home decor, bath and body goods, crafts, food, and toys – hopes to stay in business while using the bankruptcy process to restructure its operations.

The Greenway Center store in Middleton (shown above) is already on the list.

5/25/2020 Pier 1 edition starts here

Photo by Retiring Guy

Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down,” Riesbeck said.  

Robert Riesbeck is Pier 1's CEO and chief financial officer.

5/18/2020 J C Penney edition starts here

Retiring Guy file photo

In one day

May 15, 2020 (10:38 a.m.)

May 15, 2020 (6:34 p.m.)

The West Towne and East Towne malls have not yet been slated to close.

Back in the gold old days of downtown retail.

Related posts:
JCPenney sez goodbye to Wisconsin 5 times.  (1/14/2014)

Benchmark custom vans: "Whatever the customer can dream up, we can make it happen".

The #Vanlife Business Is Booming. (The New York Times, 7/3/2020)
At a price you and I can't afford.   Mr. Gilmore typically sells custom vans for $100,000 to $300,000, not including the cost of the van, which is usually a $40,000-and-up Mercedes Sprinter. Demand has nearly doubled since lockdowns began, he said, and Benchmark Vehicles just hired three more people. 
Vanlife has been an influencer trend on Instagram for years. It usually involved a good-looking young couple in a van posting gauzy portraits of each other and sweeping scenes of the places they visited. The fantasy life they sold is freedom and simplicity, a radical reduction in burden — but not comfort. For these are not backpackers looking tired and worn, with massive calves and wild hair. Vanlife is an aesthetic trend, closer to the tiny-home movement, yet even richer, lusher and typically sexier.

Take a look at the Great White.

Calvin Leonard (1937-2020) Warren High School class of 1956

1956 Dragon yearbook

1967 Warren City Directory 
  • Leonard Calvin L (Carol L) assistant manager Acme Markets h502 Pennsylvania Avenue East (A grade school friend lived in the left half of this duplex.  He moved to Florida in 1960.)
1983 Warren City Directory

Calvin has been a consistently reliable, never flashy, performer on the baby names chart.  He has spent most of time in the 100-to-200 range.  His best year occurred during the administration of the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, with a peak of #44 in 1924,

Other members of the class of '56:
DeAnn Swanson King.  (1/4/2020)

Thomas Cooper.  (8/5/2019)

Frank Joseph Campanga.  (8/28/2017)
Robert Billman.  (7/3/2017)
Russell Grosch.  (3/21/2017)

Richard Mancuso.  (7/18/2016)
Carolyn Garber Grosch.  (1/5/2016)

Charles Franklin.  (11/12/2015)
Susan Brown Clark.  (11/1/2015)
John Harrington. (10/13/2015)
Carol Schwitzer.  (10/7/2015)
John Smith.  (9/12/2015)
Donald Burgeson.  (3/9/2015)
Diane McChesney Kondak.  (2/15/2015)

Friday, July 3, 2020

Will the real Candice Keller please stand up

Candice Keller, a GOP member of the Ohio House of Representatives, hails from Middletown via Mars.  She is, of course, a Trump sycophant.

Glamour shots should be outlawed for elected officials.  

GOP Rep. Refuses to Wear Mask, Told to Leave Gettysburg Museum. (Newsweek, 7/3/2020)

Donald Vicini (1922-2020) Warren High School class of 1943

1942 Dragon yearbook

Donald's high school activities:
Not listed among the graduates of the class of '43.  Appears in junior section of '42 yearbook.
1967 Warren City Directory
  • Donald and Doris live in Clarendon
1983 Warren City Directory
  • Still living in Clarendon

The popularity of Donald as a baby name is graphed here.  Let's take a look at Minnie.

Minnie was the 6th most popular name for girls in the 1880s and 13th most popular in the 1890s.  Although she spent the first 25 years of the 1900s in the top 100, it was all downhill for her in the 20th century.

Other members of the class of '43 (19 women, 10 men):
Doris Veley Barstow,  (6/11/2020)
Dominick Anthony DeMarco.  (1/15/2020)

Dorothy Stites Lauffenburger Hyde.  (4/27/2019)
Betty Nelson Casey.  (4/12/2019)
Dorothy Bimber Farrell.  (4/2/2019)
Marguerite Mader Lasher.  (3/20/2019)

Lillian Fish Dunn.  (11/6/2018)
Mary Denardi Walker.  (7/18/2018)
John Imperial.  (4/4/2018)
Francis Pesko.  (2/8/2018)

William Nuhfer.  (10/26/2017)
Martha Rasmussen Lewis.  (6/17/2017)
Gloria York Salapek.  (6/10/2017)
Louis Rizzardi.  (2/11/2017)

Virginia Anderson Thompson.  (10/17/2016)
Pauline Smith VanVolkinburg.  (8/27/2016)
Joyce Anderson Clark.  (8/24/2016)
Robert Johnson.  (3/31/2016)

Goldie Gelotte Hecei. (12/21/2015)
John Swick.  (11/29/2015)
William Weidert.  (10/16/2015)
Maxine Retterer Young.  (8/15/2015)
Donald Conaway, Jr.  (8/13/2015)
Anne Smith Rossey.  (5/8/2015)
Doris Stevenson Barirde.  (3/31/2015)

Mildred Kahle Glotz.  (9/13/2014)
Robert Dietsch.  (9/8/2014)
Anna Mae Olson Howe.  (9/2/2014)
Lois Bogart Niederer.  (5/3/2014)

Verna Mack Swanson.  (12/22/2013)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Coronavirus chronicles: This is Florida doing better than New York

What happens when you have a Trump sycophant in the governor's office during a pandemic.

Reported in Florida Smirked at New York’s Virus Crisis. Now It Has Its Own.  (The New York Times, 6/26/2020)

UPDATE: McKenzie Place retail space now in its 4th year of vacancy

Photo by Retiring Guy

11/28/2018 update, "McKenzie Place more than a year later", starts here.

Along Fordem Avenue
Photos by Retiring Guy

Near the point of Fordem and Sherman

Retail space still for lease

7/13/2017 update, " Welcome to upscale, high-end living", starts here.

From Sherman and Fordem
All photos by Retiring Guy

1-bedroom, 772-square-feet apartment for $1,295 per month.  Available 9/1.

1-bedroom with den, 952 square feet, available now for $1,595 per month.

2-bedroom, 1163-square-foot apartment available now for $1,695.

Coffee shop coming to this location?

5/26/2017 update, "Once again, two recent views from the Sherman Avenue side of the building", starts here.


Regular frame

4/1/2017 update, " Two recent views from the Sherman Avenue side of the building", starts here.

Photos by Retiring Guy

2/18/2017 update, "As seen from Burrows Park", starts here.

Let's zoom in a bit

Burrows Park, Madison WI

1/10/2017 update, "Windows installed, cladding underway", starts here.

Photo by Retiring Guy

Rendering found at

11/10/2016 update,  "It's across the street from Kappel's Clock Shop", start here.

1-bedroom floor plan
Source:  Apartment Guide

1-bedroom apartment with den

3 bedrooms each with its own bath and walk-in closet

All photos by Retiring Guy

In busisness at this location since 1973.    Kappel’s Clock Shop touts itself as the largest antique clock shop in the Midwest, and it wears that distinction with pride. Long ago, Kappel chose to eschew technological advances.

8/26/2016 update, "Building framing underway at Sherman-Fordem triangle" (McKenzie Place), starts here.

iPhone panorama

6/14/2016 update, " Excavation and foundation work begin at 'just way too big' development at Sherman & Fordem triangle intersection, starts here.

Latest series of photos taken today from a variety of perspectives.

Looking north along Sherman Avenue.

Looking north from a point closer to Fordem Avenue.

Looking southwest from Fordem Avenue.

Looking south from the point of the Sherman-Fordem triangle.

2/29/2016 update, "Mackenzie Place development at a standstill", starts here.

The site, cleared and fenced.  (Sunday, February 27, 2016)

Since last August, there has been the obligatory neighborhood outcry.

Neighbors criticize proposed apartment building at Sherman and Fordem: 'It's just way too big' . (Capital Times, 9/12/2015)

After which, adjustments are made.

Proposed development at Sherman and Fordem avenues OK'd at lower height.  (Capital Times, 10/3/2015)

City of Madison DPCED Planning:  2017-2249 Sherman Avenue.

Original 8/13/2015 post, "Sherman-Fordem triangle to get a new look", starts here.

The McKenzie Place redevelopment plan also includes underground parking and 6700 square feet of retail space.  (2 renderings accompany CT article.)

Three abandoned buildings, including the former National Food Stores grocery (at center right), and lots of weeds now occupy this space.

Photo by Retiring Guy

60-unit apartment building proposed for corner of Fordem and Sherman avenues.  (Capital Times, 8/12/2014)

When preservationists go overboard.
The Fish & Schulkamp building, opened in 1948 as a National Food Stores location, has some historic value, the city's Landmarks Commission said. At its May 11 meeting, the commission passed a motion expressing regret for the loss of the building, which it said was "a good representation of a 1950s commercial building."

Even though it was built in the late 1940s.