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September 5, 2005 // UPDATED 1:57 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Jeremy Stratton
Jeremy Stratton


They say life is hard, but the Polka Dot Sisters hope to prove them wrong with a new "urban concierge" service offering everything from housekeeping to personal assistance -- "whatever you want, whenever you want it... as long as it's legal," according to Michelle Willow and Emily Voelker.

The entrepreneurial pair are not actual sisters but childhood friends from Southern Minnesota who worked as nannies and "household managers" for many years before launching the fledgling company. Willow -- who has worked as a household manager for several families -- said she sees an emerging market for her services Downtown, especially with the condominium boom.

Polka Dot Sisters offers housekeeping and other home services such as landscaping and plumbing, a personal chef to deliver "custom, fresh meals," pet services such as walking, grooming and even an in-home veterinarian, automotive services, personal shopping, errand running and appointment setting by Polka Dot staff, contractors or the "sisters" themselves.

Services can be purchased hourly, by package or membership, which has added benefits such as travel and transportation arrangements, reminder services and event planning discounts, such as "small dinner parties in the home," Willow said.

After "months of researching," Willow said the fledgling company has four clients. For more information, call 281-6192 or visit

City Hall

David Ramirez and Glenn Lucken are bringing governmental gourmet to Minneapolis City Hall this fall. The brothers-in-law -- owners of St. Paul's Capitol View Caf/ for 14 years -- plan to open the Clock Tower Caf/ near the City Hall rotunda Oct. 1.

The caf/ will be located off the tunnel from City Hall's rotunda that leads to the Hennepin County Government Center. Two windows will open onto the rotunda; there will be a 24-person seating area, and second floor seating will overlook the rotunda, Ramirez said.

Food will be made-to-order and served cafeteria-style or premade, Ramirez said. The menu will feature gourmet salads, sandwiches, soups and two hot entrees each day, all made from scratch with "nothing out of the jar."

Ramirez and Lucken rose to the top of a restaurant search by the Minneapolis Building Commission.

"We feel extremely fortunate," Ramirez said. "This panel was not an easy panel," he said of the vetting process.

Ramirez said he grew up in the restaurant business, "working the front of the house" since he was 16, while Lucken, the chef, got his start years back in the Navy.

"We both know what we're talking about," Ramirez said.

Central Business District

Chiropractor Michael Oste says that everyone should have their spines checked, and the first 50 customers at Oste's recently opened Take Care Chiropractic can do that for free. (Oste has not seen 50 patients yet, he said.)

Oste and his wife Cecilee opened the clinic July 18 on the skyway level of One Financial Plaza, 120 S. 6th St., in a 1,250-square-foot space that was formerly a seating area for D. Brian's Deli. Oste, a licensed chiropractor since 2000, previously operated a mobile chiropractic business, visiting clients in their homes or offices.

Oste said Take Care's mission is to educate and empower families to have a healthier existence through chiropractic care. Take Care is open by appointment Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 7 a.m.-noon. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Take Care also offers massage therapy and posture analysis both in the clinic and at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market every weekend, and conducts workplace workshops on stress management, ergonomics, health and vitality, Oste said.

Those first 50 customers will also be entered into a drawing for a free massage or month supply of supplements. Watch in the near future for a grand opening ceremony, featuring promotions, food and drink, and entertainment at an open house. For appointments or information, call 746-5555.