Biz Buzz: Eide Bailly goes high-tech

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December 5, 2011
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss

Eide Bailly opens high-tech office downtown

NICOLLET MALL — Accounting and business advisory firm Eide Bailly has opened a new state-of-the-art office in the U.S. Bancorp Center, 800 Nicollet Mall.

The local branch of the Fargo-based firm was previously located in Bloomington. Designed by local firm HGA Architects, the 40,000-square-foot space incorporates feedback from employees for a more comfortable, healthier and more convenient work environment.

Workstations are equipped with adjustable-height desks so employees can work either sitting or standing, large windows and glass walls let in as much natural light as possible, and all gathering spaces, from conference rooms to the lunchroom, are equipped with convenient power and internet plugins. The various conference rooms, which are decorated with photos of Minnesota landmarks by local artists, are equipped with electronic touchscreen monitors so employees can see who has a room reserved and for how long. The monitors also allow employees to create reservations and invite guests right from their desktop computers.

The new space also features a huge training room with embedded microphones so those in the front can hear those in the back, a “wellness room” for those who need a short break and a “mothering room” with lockers, a refrigerator and other gear for new mothers. Eide Bailly also digitized its paper files before the move and continues to do as much of its work electronically as possible, so the new office creates far less paper waste than the old location. All changes are in service of making the downtown office as productive and fulfilling of a workspace as it can be.

“We really tried to anticipate what people would need,” said Kim Hundwardsen, a partner at Eide Bailly.


Local food blogger teams up with caterer for specialty spice blend

Joy Summers knows a thing oar two about food. She’s written about the local food scene for a variety of local media outlets including her own blog,, and is an active part of the Twin Cities food writing community. When someone like Summers launches her own food product, you know it’s probably going to be pretty good. Her first product, “Joy’s Cinnamon Toasty Blend” is now for sale at Kitchen in the Market in the Midtown Global Market.

“My friend and I decided to form a little start up catering/gourmet foods company that we called Ginger Kitchen,” said Summers. “We both wanted to find a way to make a little more money during the holidays using some of our favorite recipes. I had developed this blend of spices after falling in love with the Smack Shack’s mini donuts. It’s a combination of sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and a little bit of salt. At craft fairs we sold that along with some citrus salts, compound butters, cocoa and mulling mixes. Year round, though, that Cin Toasty spice has continued to be in demand, while the others kind of fell off the radar.”

As Ginger Kitchen isn’t yet licensed for retail sale, Summers turned to friend and caterer Molly Herman of Tastebud Tart, a catering company that also sells a few wholesale food items at Kitchen in the Market. Herman agreed to package the spice blend as a Tastebud Tart product, Should the spice blend remain popular, Summers and her partner Vanessa Johnson are considering offering new spice blends and setting up their own shop in the Midtown Global Market. “I think it’s sort of a common story, people affected by the crap economy are turning to passion projects for alternate incomes,” said Summers.


Mashalot launches in Minneapolis

Local shoppers and businesses have a new online tool to turn to for both finding deals and building brands. Minneapolis-based Mashalot launched on Nov. 11 with a website,, that combines elements of deal sites like Groupon and with social media tools like Facebook and Foursquare.

“We call it a social retail marketplace,” said Mashalot co-founder John Marino. “Any business can sell any product or service on Mashalot, and when a customer buys a product or service, they’re also clicking ‘Like’ on that company’s Facebook fan page. So it’s a way for a company to build a Facebook fanbase as a business.”

The idea stemmed from Marino’s other business, RSP Marketing. A social media management company, the most frequent question RSP’s clients asked is how to build a Facebook following. By integrating Facebook into purchases, Mashalot customers instantly help build a following for a product.

That’s only one aspect of Mashalot. The service also allows users to request specific deals from a company. “If you don’t see anything on Mashalot that you’re looking for, a Masher can go ‘mash it,’ which is basically a request for a product or service,” said Marino. “And we will then go and negotiate with that company on their behalf.” If a deal is struck, a set amount of the negotiated deal will be open to purchase through the site.

Mashalot will focus on local deals for now, but the company plans to expand nationally next March. The goal is to introduce Mashalot to the country at the 2012 South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas.


A new direction for the Beauty Lounge

UNIVERSITY — The business formerly known as the Smart and Chic Beauty Lounge at 20 University Ave. NE has a simplified name, a new owner and expanded services. Formerly a division of Smart and Chic Bride, the salon is now known simply as the Beauty Lounge, new owner Melissa Taylor has transitioned from a bridal salon to a full-service salon.

“When Smart and Chic Bride sold, the Beauty Lounge needed a home,” said Taylor. “Since I was a stylist there and believed in what the space could be, I decided that I wanted to take ownership of it.”

Taylor says that the feel of the Beauty Lounge will remain the same and keep the Beauty Boutique accessory shop in the front. The business has expanded from an appointment-only model to regular hours with every service you would expect from a full-service salon. The space can still be rented for special events such as bachelorette parties.


A different venture for Ugly Mug owner

Erik Forsberg, who runs the Ugly Mug and Roc Bar, plans to open a low-key food and drink establishment at 89 S. 10th St.

Forsberg said the new bar, which does not yet have a name, will offer bar food and a variety of draft beers (he’s added 40 new lines to the space). He will install more flat screen televisions as well, and the Star Tribune wrote that he’s taking his inspiration for the new venture from bars like the Happy Gnome and the Bulldog.

Forsberg said he plans to have the new bar open Jan. 1.

Ugly Mug and Roc Bar, both located on First Avenue, are fixtures in the downtown weekend party scene. Moving away from downtown’s main drag will mean catering to a different set of clientele.

“I’ll actually be dealing with grownups,” he told the Star Tribune.

The space has had its ups and downs. In the past two years, it was home to both Subo and The Inn, though before that Hell’s Kitchen had a successful, almost decade long run at the location.



The Noodles and Company location in Seven Corners has closed. No reason was given for the closure. The staff is being relocated to a new location in St. Paul.

The Public House at 700 Washington Avenue has revamped its menu under new chef Paul Johnson. The new menu focuses on upscale American cuisine, replacing the simple fare from the August opening.

The Chinook Book, a coupon book and green resources guide, now has apps for the iPhone and Android phones. A mobile pack can be purchased through the app for $10. The app is included with the purchase of the 2012 Chinook Book ($20). The mobile coupon pack includes deals on products and services at more than 250 local merchants. For more information, go to

Mike Munzenrider  and Sarah McKenzie contributed to this report. Got a buzz tip? Send it to or tweet us @thejournalmpls