Perfect Day Cakes owner purchases Central Park Coffee
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
By WILLIAM MORRIS firstname.lastname@example.org
OWATONNA - Coffee and baked goods: two great tastes that taste great together.
That’s the theory for Thea Farrington, owner of Perfect Day Cakes in downtown Owatonna, who announced Sunday on Facebook that the bakery was purchasing fellow downtown eatery Central Park Coffee.
“[It’s] the synergy between the two of them: Perfect Day Cakes and baked goods, Central Park Coffee and coffee, they went together, and being able to combine orders [is a bonus],” she said Tuesday.
Central Park Coffee owner Sue Pap, who had been seeking a buyer since 2015, said she was delighted when Farrington expressed interest in a deal. The two have worked together in the past — Central Park Coffee sold Farrington’s baked goods before she opened her own store further north on Cedar Avenue.
“We were looking for the right person that would take it and make it better than it was, and we feel like Thea is the right person for that,” Pap said. “When Thea wanted to do it, it seemed like a perfect place.”
Pap will remain in a managerial role with reduced hours, but will be spend more of her afternoons at her other job running the Bridge Street Subway store, and the rest of the Central Park staff are staying on as well. With Perfect Day currently closed through Jan. 18, Farrington is soaking up as much as she can about operating the coffee shop, but both she and Pap said they expect a smooth transition.
“We make a pretty good team, Thea and I,” Pap said. “We’re more alike than we’re different. She has a lot of talents I don’t have, and I have all the experience I’m teaching her. … All the employees love Thea already. She wants to change things for the good. A lot of time new management will come in and scare people off, and that’s not happening.”
“When Sue said she wanted to stay on here, that was the best case Eric [Thea’s husband] and I could have heard,” Farrington added. “And people love Sue.” Farrington plans to begin slowly introducing some of her Perfect Day baked goods onto the menu at Central Park, although the gourmet items will remain entirely at the Perfect Day storefront. She’s not currently planning on adding any other new menu items, but said she’s already working with Pap to plan regular events at the coffee shop.
“The ladies are going to come up with ideas for what they want to do,” she said.
And with two businesses now to handle, Farrington is looking to hire two or three additional workers to allow Perfect Day to increase its hours to Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as cross-training staff to also work at the coffee shop.
Pap has run Central Park Coffee for more than 10 years, while Perfect Day is approaching its fourth anniversary next month, and as Farrington sees it, the future is bright for both businesses in downtown Owatonna.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m excited that Sue is staying, I’m excited all the people are staying. My goal has been to make the transition easy.”
Central park coffee seeks new owner
By WILLIAM MORRIS email@example.com
OWATONNA — Pedestrians in downtown Owatonna might have noticed recently that a longtime local business is for sale, but the owner wants customers to know there’s no cause for alarm.
“When you put a ‘for sale’ sign in your window, lots of people are very concerned. ‘Oh my gosh, someone is going out of business,’” said Sue Pap, owner of Central Park Coffee on Cedar Ave.
On the contrary, Pap says that business is fine for the coffee shop. The decision to put the business up for sale is not about any problems for the business, but rather an opportunity, she says.
The time is ripe because the shop is on the cusp of receiving a state loan to pay for renovations, Pap said. The Minnesota Small Cities grant program, funded through the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, offers $30,000 in deferred loans and could be matched by up to $30,000 more through several low-interest loans through the city’s Economic Development Authority, said Nancy Bokelmann, the city’s housing coordinator.
Pap said the shop applied for the grant to address needed renovations and updates to the building, which is 150 years old. But it occurred to her as the shop went through the protracted application process that this is a prime moment for a leadership change as well.
“I got the idea that maybe it would be a good time to put the business up for sale in case someone else wants to get into this business,” she said. “Then they could choose the paint colors, and if they want to do something different than Central Park Coffee, we’d already have to get a new sign, and it would be a perfect opportunity for someone, instead of a few years from now having to do it all again.”
And while Pap, who turns 60 soon, isn’t feeling a burning need to step away, she says this is the right moment to start laying plans.
“I have to eventually sell, and I thought this would be a good time,” she said. “I have a full-time job at Subway all the time, too [as co-owner of two stores in town], and I’m just feeling that eventually … I can’t be in all those places at once.”
She says Central Park Coffee would be a great entry point for people hoping to enter the restaurant and coffee shop industry.
“We are locally owned, we have a great menu that we have a lot of gluten-free items, so that brings in a certain niche of people,” she said. “We try to be as conscientious as possible about the food we use, try to use the most wholesome food we have. All our drinks are handmade. ... We’re in downtown Owatonna, best place to be.”
The renovations planned for this summer include a new brick facade, fresh exterior paint, new doors and windows, replacing the awning with a new flat sign, and repainting and remodeling inside as well.
The Small Cities grant is available because the shop is in an area in need of a facelift, Bokelmann said.
“The city has identified an area with blight conditions,” she said, describing the zone as the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of North Cedar Avenue and the 100 blocks of West Broadway and West Bridge Streets.
Complicating the grant is the need to ensure the renovated building remains faithful to the historic nature of the downtown, which was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in Feburary.
“We do go through a number of agencies to approve these projects,” Bokelmann said. “That’s why it’s almost a 30-month process to get these projects approved and completed.”
But that process is nearly done now, and Pap is seeking buyers interested in stepping in to shape the renovations with their own vision. In the meantime, she says it’s business as usual at Central Park Coffee.
“It could take years to sell it, too, so we’re not going anywhere too quickly,” Pap said.
- Story and Photo by WILLIAM MORRIS, Owatonna People’s Press
Owatonna business owner named chamber's ambassador of the year
OWATONNA — In Central Park Coffee Co. owner Sue Pap’s line of work, she sees a lot of familiar faces.
And being an Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism ambassador for the last 19 years has given her the opportunity to see new people and places within the community.
“I’m so lucky to be an ambassador,” Pap said. “At a coffee shop, I see a lot of the same people and they like to know what’s going on in the community and I’m able to provide them that.”
And she’s been quite a few places and met quite a few new faces this past year.
At the annual chamber meeting Friday night, Pap was named Ambassador of the Year.
“It’s a very nice honor,” she said. “I love what I do and I just do it.”
Pap said she is kind of embarrassed about being named Ambassador of the Year because she has received the recognition before.
She has been named Ambassador of the Year about five times, Pap said.
An ambassador is someone who served on the chamber board of directors, and Pap served in the early 1990s for three years.
Once an ambassador, Pap said she earns points attending appearances and Business After Hours, wearing her green jacket, recruiting new members and reaching out to the community. At the end of the year, the ambassador with the most points receives the award.
“I enjoy being out in the community and enjoy what the chamber does in the community and don’t want to miss anything,” Pap said.
Pap said once an ambassador services 20 years, he or she becomes an emeritus, which means some of the duties are reduced.
“I won’t change my ways because of that,” she said. “It’s been a great opportunity. I've been places that people have never been and met people that I probably wouldn't have.”
- Story and Photo by ASHLEY STEWART, Owatonna People's Press
Central Park Coffee barista hopes to curate local art in Owatonna
OWATONNA — When Tracy Frederick began her studies at an Los Angeles art school, she never thought she'd end up in Minnesota, or that many years later photography would be her expression of choice.
In college, Frederick planned to become an architect, but during her research photography class final project, Frederick realized her love for structure, texture and buildings went beyond the designing of the scale model she had produced.
"I realized I wasn’t that great of a drawer, so I designed a model or my final project and photographed it, and the photographs were my final project," she said.
While living in LA gave Frederick instant access to photographing musicians and actors, she started working in the interior design field doing portfolio work and product shots for a custom design furniture company in West Hollywood. In her time out of the office, she started doing portraits, shooting family sessions and found she enjoyed that avenue of artistic expression.
"I would consider myself an artist because I like to do not only photography, but I also like curating. I’d like to help people in their
homes, take a photograph of their family and help curate it -- where do you want these photographs? I really enjoy that full circle aspect of it -- displaying as well as meeting the families and photographing them," Frederick said.
In a move to Minnesota seven years ago, the Fredericks settled in Owatonna and Tracy has been working on an evolution of her work ever since.
"I’m in the midst of changing my style now because I’m kind of bored with the two-dimensional aspect of it. How can I make it
three-dimensional? I don’t know. How can I make it different? I'm constantly working that out," she said. "Right now photography is my medium of choice but that doesn’t mean it’s my only thing. I’m evolving."
Her artistic inspiration comes not only from her time spent on the West Coast, but from global travels during her childhood and beyond.
"Thankfully I had a family that traveled a lot. Not only was I living in Los Angeles, but traveling through Africa, Europe, Russia, Baltic Sea, Arctic Circle and taking helicopters to land formations women had never been to," she said.
"My aunt and my parents and my grandparents have collected art all their lives so I grew up with it. I’ve always been surrounded with trying it and seeing new things and not being afraid of diversity."
From traveling the world to settling in serene Minnesota, Frederick has managed to "keep her work fresh" and finds "being
different" can be quite fun.
"I really got the appreciation of different medias. From comic books to fashion...then moving here, I have land, agriculture and I just all of a sudden am thrown back into the simple things in life, so again, photography has really been my tool of being creative again because I can meet people and really go through this evolution now," she said.
"I’m in a time in my life where how do I take all of what I’ve learned and all I know, and what do I do with it now?"
What Frederick hopes to do is use her connection as a barista at Sue Pap's Central Park Coffee and encourage other local artists to showcase their work at the downtown hot spot.
"Sue is really big into community and bringing people downtown, so with my interior sensibility and artist sensibility, I can bring to her coffee shop a celebration of local artists and expose the community to local atists while she allows artists to advertise their services," Frederick said.
In her own business as a photographer, Frederick works with local frame shop Cedar Gallery to offer custom framing as well as is
starting her own venture in canvas wrapped prints.
"We just want to use local artists in the community to help promote more artwork. I just want to keep building that network in," Frederick said. "Hopefully the work will attract people into the shop to check out the artwork and just keep pushing that out there and hopefully it will spread, but it will start here at Central Park."
Pap said she is a fan of supporting local artists, and the benefits go beyond giving the artist a showplace.
"It makes it fun for them to have someplace to show their art and it’s fun for our customers to have different things on the walls every couple months," Pap said. "This is our third year that we’ve done it. Once we’ve started with this, it’s just seemed to snowball."
Pap said through her connections at the coffee shop, she's been introduced to many art forms and has grown to appreciate art
that goes beyond paintings or drawings -- she's also bringing in a cake artist's and a chocolatier's work.
The idea is local artists will rotate showcasing their work at Central Park Coffee. And in putting her interest in curating to good use, Frederick has taken on the role of organizing that network of artists and hopes to get a schedule going for artists to be on
"With all the coffee shops I’ve been to, there’s always local artwork in there and it’s kind of a no-brainer that it’s a great thing to have artwork on the walls," she said.
Any local artists interested in more information about showing his or her work at Central Park Coffee can call Tracy at 507-451-4242.
- Story and Photo by ASHLEY PETERSON, Owatonna People's Press
Twin Peaks Fundraiser, July 29, 2010
If you're interested in hosting an event at Central Park Coffee, give us a call at 507-451-4242.
Coffee Break for a Cure Event, August 6, 2009
People were gracious in fund-raiser
This remarkable community has responded in ways that leave me speechless. I have simply run out of ways to say thank you, so all I can do is say “Thank you for helping me to attain my goal.” I can’t show enough gratitude to Central Park Coffee Company, and specifically Sue Pap, her business partner Pete, and her hard-working employees, to thank them for the incredible fund-raising event of Aug. 6. The coffee drinks and the food were fabulous. And to all of you who attended, and those who couldn’t who bought a ticket or sent a donation anyway, my heart is full of thankfulness for each and every one of you.
I also would like to thank all of the downtown merchants who pitched in their help and support, as well as Tri M Graphics, and the Owatonna People’s Press. And thank you to Matt Paley and Jessica Dant for their outstanding entertainment. Your generosity is overwhelming. I also thank my family and friends who have encouraged me every step of the way, and without whom none of this would be possible. I will carry each and every one of you with me as I walk the 60 miles on Aug. 21, 22, and 23. And I do it for all of us who have battled or are battling breast cancer, for there are far too many. All of the contributions I have received are in the name of all the “girls,” to eradicate breast cancer forever.
With love and a grateful heart…
Owatonna woman walks against breast cancer
OWATONNA — 2008 was a big year for Norma Louis.
She not only decided to close her store in downtown Owatonna — Banbury Cross — but she also decided she would use the extra time to take on the task of walking 60 miles in the Breast Cancer Three-Day in the Twin Cities.
In February 2008, however, Louis hit an obstacle. She went in for a routine check-up, just as she began preparing for the three-day walk.
“I got a call the next day and I was told I had a suspicious mammogram.” said Louis. “I saw the surgeon three days later. It was breast cancer.”
The unexpected diagnosis stopped Louis in her tracks. She withdrew from the three-day walk, and in the place of physical training, she spent six weeks in radiation therapy and endured two surgeries.
“In April, they told me it was in remission,” said Louis. “I immediately went home and registered.”
Louis said she is lucky, in that her doctors caught the cancer early. And now that she is a cancer survivor, there is nothing that can stop her from working to further the search for the cure. She credits medical professionals and cancer research for her successful treatment, and advises every woman to take precautions so they can catch breast cancer at its onset.
“I cannot emphasize how important it is to get those mammograms,” said Louis. “It can literally save your life as it did mine.”
Now, Louis has set out on her physical training and preparations for the event, which will have her walking about 20 miles each day through the Twin Cities, beside thousands of others, and making camp with the three-day community at night.
“The big thing with the training is making sure your stamina is up,” said Louis.
In order to participate in the walk, which will kick off on Friday, Aug. 21, at Southdale Mall in Edina, Louis also has to raise at least $2,300 in donations for the search for a cure. She said already she has seen businesses come forward with donations, as well as other people in the community.
“I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of so many,” said Louis.
In order to help her meet her goal, Louis is also coordinating a couple of fundraising events over the next few weeks. On Friday and Saturday, Louis will hold a garage sale at her home at 1510 Deer Trail Lane, which is open to the public. She is also working with Sue Pap, the owner of Central Park Coffee, to pull off a larger fundraiser next week.
“Wine and beer tastings don’t fit everyone,” said Pap.
Instead, Central Park Coffee will host a Coffee Break for a Cure, which will invite the public to sample different products offered at the cafe. Coffee Break for a Cure will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6, and it will offer guests samples of everything from the coffees and lattes to teas, chai and smoothies.
“It’s for a very good cause and it’s a good event,” said Pap.
The event will feature a silent auction and door prizes, as well as live entertainment. “We’re going to have a young man who plays keyboard and guitar,” said Louis. “All of the proceeds go toward the Susan G. Komen For the Cure and also the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. All the money goes toward awareness, education, research and the fight for the cure.”
Tickets for Coffee Break for a Cure are $10, and they are available at the coffee shop or at the door on Aug. 6.
- Story by MELISSA KAELIN, Owatonna People's Press
Not your average ciabatta
Friday, February 20, 2009
Mona Moore rustled up a cashew-chicken sandwich in the kitchen at Central Park Coffee on Thursday, but she didn’t put it on any ordinary ciabatta — or even on a standard slice of whole wheat.
She put the chicken mixture between two pieces of gluten-free bread, made from brown rice rather than wheat.
The gluten-free diet is the latest to sweep the nation. But unlike the Atkins regimen or the South Beach Diet, the goal is not to lose weight but to control the symptoms of a serious illness called celiac disease.
So what is gluten anyway?
“Gluten is a protein component found in grains. It adds a stickiness, it holds them together,” said Jennifer Nelson, a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats to some extent.
Sounds innocuous, but for some people gluten is a matter of life and death.
“Individuals may have a sensitivity to it to various degrees or an out-and-out intolerance of it,” Nelson said. “The most pronounced condition is celiac disease and the specific protein component of gluten called gliadin.”
When a person with celiac disease ingests gliadin, it starts a reaction in their intestine that causes the villi, which absorb nutrients, to atrophy and die.
"If you think of the inside of your intestine as a carpet, those are the villi," Nelson said. "When they go away the intestine becomes like a linoleum floor and very little can be absorbed."
Symptoms vary widely. A person who can’t tolerate gluten may feel something like heartburn, gas and bloating after they eat gluten-laced foods. They may have diarrhea or they could become constipated. In more serious stages of celiac disease, the patient will become malnourished as their intestinal carpet thins out and they may lose a lot of weight.
If untreated, celiac disease can be deadly.
To diagnose celiac disease, there are some blood tests, Nelson said, but the "gold standard" is a small intestine biopsy.
Once diagnosed, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment.
“They need to avoid all wheat, rye and barley. The jury is still out on oats,” Nelson said. “It’s a very serious disease. You need to be aware every time you put something in your mouth.”
Following a gluten-free regimen is easier said than done.
“You think of bread, pasta and cereal, but when you dig down a significant number of foods have components of wheat, rye or barley as thickeners, stabilizers or additives,” Nelson said.
Rooting out microscopic particles is difficult, but it’s not impossible. In the last five or 10 years, food makers have been more diligent about noting the presence of gluten on labels.
And now restaurants are getting on board, though finding a gluten-free meal is still no cake walk.
“Eating out is a major challenge to people with celiac disease,” Nelson said. “You never really know what ingredients are used in the kitchen. At a diner, for instance, you can ask for no toast but you don’t know if the hash browns have a flour in them and the eggs could be fried on a griddle that had a pancake on it.”
For this reason, implementing a gluten-free menu at Central Park Coffee took months of painstaking research, said owner Sue Pap. To help, Pap enlisted Candy Dombrock, a registered nurse at the Owatonna Clinic and a baker who specializes in gluten-free muffins and breads.
“We found out that our chicken breasts have a minute amount of wheat in them to tenderize the meat,” Pap said.
Together they took a gluten inventory of every ingredient the cafe uses. The cafe also bought another grill for the gluten-free offerings, because even trace amounts of gluten on a cooking utensil or cooking surface can make a person with celiac disease sick.
Pap said she was partly motivated by her own interest in health and partly motivated by the state of the economy, which prompted her to look for a new niche to fill. Of the restaurants in Owatonna, few regularly offer gluten-free options, though many will bust out their ingredient list to find foods that lack gluten. Timberlodge has a gluten-free menu, and Godfather’s Pizza is developing one but it will only be available in Rochester outlets for the short-term.
“There is a need out there,” Pap said. “And this is one niche that hasn’t been met.”
-Story by CLARE KENNEDY, Owatonna People's Press
Steaming hot scarecrow
Monday, October 20, 2008
Silvan Durben hands Central Park Coffee employees Mona Moore and Amy Rieck the prize: $50 in Owatonna Business Partnership bucks. Central Park Coffee won the 2008 Business Owners Scarecrow Contest with their inventive scarecrow, which featured a steaming coffee cup head. The competition was stiff this year, said Durban, who judged the event. There were 10 contestants, double that of last year, said Harvest Fest Committee Co-Chair Laura Resler.
-Story by CLARE KENNEDY, Owatonna People's Press
Pap finds new adventure in coffee
Friday, December 22, 2006
At the beginning of December Sue Pap was merely a coffee drinker. Now she's a bona fide barista.
Pap bought Central Park Coffee on Nov. 30 from John and Diane Raymond. John Raymond has been teaching her the coffee business since then.
"This is all new to me," Pap said.
Pap will be the manager of the coffee shop, but Raymond will continue to work mornings at the downtown coffee shop. She owns the four Subway restaurants in Owatonna along with Peter Haukoos. Pap is the general manager of the sandwich shops. The newest Subway opened recently at Three Corners near Cabela's.
Haukoos was originally just looking to buy the building that Central Park Coffee when Raymond asked him if he and Pap wanted to buy the business. Pap ended up purchasing Central Park Coffee and Haukoos bought the building.
According to Pap, Raymond and his wife started the coffee shop as a retirement hobby, but it turned out to be more work than they expected. The Raymonds opened the coffee shop about three years ago.
"The location is great and it has a lot of potential," Pap said.
She plans to change several things at the shop, but the name will stay the same.
In January, Pap plans to sell more food and extend the shop's hours. There is a small kitchen in the back of the shop where workers will make quiches, pastries and desserts. Central Park Coffee used to sell food around lunch, but Pap intends to serve food all day.
With the extended hours Pap said she will probably hire more people, bringing the number of employees from five to as many as 10.
The new owner plans to install a wireless Internet access point, allowing people with Wi-Fi enabled notebook computers to access the Internet.
She also plans to put in new carpet, paint one of the walls and add some new furniture.
-Story by JASON KROEKER, Owatonna People's Press
Fair trade products make their way to Owatonna, July 2006
-Story by JASON KROEKER, Owatonna People's Press