Biz Buzz

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October 15, 2002 // UPDATED 1:32 pm - April 30, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

City Center Christmas Corner, the seasonal holiday store, is again open on the skyway level of City Center, 615 Hennepin Ave. For the 10th year, Christmas Corner will sell ornaments, decorations and trees for what owners Greg and Laurie Swiler say are the best prices in town.

According to Swiler, the store doesn't carry an unlit tree for more than $150 and no ornament costs more than $15. "Our main goal -- because we have four kids -- is that a kid can come in here and buy something for his mom and get it personalized for free," he said.

Christmas Corner is best known for their personalized ornaments. "Almost every ornament in here, we can put your children's name on or the date," Swiler said. "Most of the stuff we're doing is for parents and grandparents for their kids. We have so many customers that have bought all their stuff here and have them dated every year."

According to Swiler, the hottest ornaments among his 30,000 this year are the United States snowmen. Each snowman represents a different state and can carry that state's quarter. Patriotic ornaments are also proving popular.

"We were a little concerned that we had bought too much (patriotic memorabilia), but it's selling like crazy. We have Santas dressed like Uncle Sam and a patriotic bread-dough snowman," he said.

Christmas Corner is open through Jan. 15. --Ellen Nigon

Block E Cold Stone Creamery is now open on the skyway level of Block E, 600 Hennepin Ave. Known for using a granite stone to mix the ice cream, Cold Stone Creamery has Minnesota locations in St. Cloud, Plymouth and Maple Grove and stores throughout the United States. --Ellen Nigon

Gaviidae Common Fusion Grill is being sold. The 3-year-old restaurant in the food court of Gaviidae Common, 555 Nicollet Mall, is known for its international foods such as Japanese rice bowls and coconut chicken.

Fusion president Roland McLain said that he is selling his restaurant because he'd like to retire, again. "I had retired twice," the former naval officer and Federated Department Store employee said. "My wife and I are ready to retire and move back to Hawaii," he said. "It's a lot of work and we just don't feel like doing that much work any more." --Ellen Nigon

Gaviidae Common The Museum Company may have moved out of the skyway level of Gaviidae Common, 651 Nicollet Mall, but Downtown shoppers will still find museum-quality pieces in the space.

Mo'r Designs is a temporary store specializing in antiquities from China, and the Roman and Greek empires, some of which date back 100,000 years. Besides the antiquities, the store also carries collectible rock and mineral specimens as well as carved stones. But the store's name comes from co-owner Mary O'Rourke, who designs gold and silver jewelry she sells at the store. O'Rourke runs the store with husband Mark Abbott.

Said Abbott of his wife's work, "It tends to be a simple design that lets the stone show itself off."

The antiquities include bronze rings from the Roman Empire made 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, pottery from the Roman Empire, jade carvings from China and Neanderthal scrapers. "Neanderthals ... would bang two rocks together to make a sharp edge and use that to cut hides or scrape hides," Abbott said.

These artifacts, Abbott added, are surprisingly affordable. "I've got some bronze rings from Europe which are all beat up and not very good that people can buy for $20. A reasonable ring will probably start at about $50 and run up to about $100 or so," Abbott said. "Then I've got a few silver ones that will go up to about $400 or $500. Some of my jade carvings will run $50 and up. I've also got simple things from the 19th century that people can have for $20 or $30. It surprises a lot of customers that these things are even available to buy, and then quite often they're not as expensive as people would think."

Store hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. --Ellen Nigon

Gaviidae Common R.F. Moeller Jeweler is now open in the Neiman Marcus Wing of Gaviidae Common, 555 Nicollet Mall. With stores in St. Paul's Highland Park neighborhood and Edina's 50th and France shopping district, the Gaviidae skyway location is the third store for a business that has been operating for more than 50 years.

"One of the reasons we came down here is because there is no full-service jeweler in Downtown Minneapolis," said Glen Sorenson, director of marketing for R.F. Moeller. "We have an in-house design and repair studio and our staff is the highest trained in the country."

R.F. Moeller is best known for "ideal cut" diamonds, which are cut not for size, but for beauty. --Ellen Nigon