July 19, 2008

La Crosse Tribune, Wis., Steve Cahalan Column: Steve Cahalan: Sloopy’s Alma Mater to Reopen in a Few Days

By Steve Cahalan, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 19--Sloopy's Alma Mater bar and restaurant at 163 Copeland Ave. closed Sunday afternoon for a major interior renovation project and will reopen in a few days -- probably Friday. Don't worry about the "Thanks 4 the memories" line on the exterior sign where Sloopy's owner Dave Berger posts messages for motorists to read. "We'll be creating new memories" in the remodeled bar and restaurant, he said.

"I plan to reopen with a different ambiance and a new and improved everything," he said, including new decor that promotes area high schools and colleges, as well as Big 10 universities. Berger plans to keep the food menu that he introduced in May.

Although Sloopy's is reopening, the Starbucks store on Losey Boulevard in La Crosse is expected to close.

Store employees say they were notified last week that the Losey location will close but were not given a date. The store opened in 2007. The Starbucks that opened in 2006 in the Marsh View Centre in Onalaska, Wis., will stay open.

Starbucks Corp. said July 1 it will close 600 underperforming company-owned stores in the next year, which will leave it with about 6,600 company-owned stores in the United States. It said 70 percent of those slated for closure had opened after the start of 2006.

A Starbucks spokesman said Monday he can't confirm any store closings beyond the first 50 locations that Starbucks listed in a press release Friday on its Web site. The La Crosse store wasn't on that list; the nearest locations on it were in Rochester and Red Wing, Minn.

Richard and Corinne Huber of La Crescent, Minn., will pay $3.65 million to buy the La Crosse Industrial Park Corp.'s two-story office building at 500 S. Second St. if they reach a development agreement with the city for the building's parking lot.

LIPCO is a nonprofit development partnership between the city of La Crosse, Xcel Energy and the La Crosse Area Development Corp. The building was constructed for the information technology company EDS, which operated an office there from 2000-02. Today, The Newport Group occupies most of the first floor. And Hawkins, Ash, Baptie & Co. LLP plans to move in September to the second floor, which previously was occupied by Business Objects.

Last week, the La Crosse Common Council approved the Hubers' purchase offer, subject to negotiating a development agreement for the parking lot. Some city officials have suggested a parking ramp or a second office building be constructed there.

But Phil Addis, attorney for the Hubers, said in an interview that "They don't want a ramp built that would overshadow their building and damage its value." The Hubers would consider constructing a second building if there was a need, he said.

Scam du jour: The Internal Revenue Service says a new wave of scams using the IRS name in identity theft-mails, or "phishing," have circulated in the past two months.

In May and June alone, taxpayers reported almost 700 separate phishing incidents

to the IRS. In 2008 so far, taxpayers have reported about 1,600 phishing incidents to

the IRS. The most common scams consist of e-mails asking for detailed personal information and involve tax refunds and economic stimulus payments.

The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers and never asks for security-related personal information such as PIN numbers or credit card numbers from taxpayers over the Internet, agency spokesman Christopher Miller said.

Tribune business editor Steve Cahalan can be reached at (608) 791-8229 or [email protected]


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