Sweet Press for the Sweetest Spot in Town

Did you hear about the brand new Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar location at the State Fair this year? If you follow us on social media, then you likely saw the construction of this new cookie spot from start to finish. We had so much fun working on this sweet project – and it didn’t hurt that there were lots of sweet treats in the form of Sweet Martha’s cookies to munch on!

To date, this is our most publicized project, and we thought it would be fun to share all the excellent news coverage Sweet Martha’s received over the two weeks at the Minnesota State Fair to share her new digs!

Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar has a new spot

Sven tries working at Sweet Martha’s

Kare11 visits the new Sweet Martha’s Cookies location

A State Fair Staple: Sweet Martha’s Cookies

4 Changes at this year’s State Fair you need to know about

At Minnesota State Fair Sweet Martha’s is Expanding

State Fair adds third Sweet Martha’s cookie stand

Stonebridge Lofts Update

The residents of Stonebridge Lofts weren’t thrilled with the building’s communal areas because the space wasn’t very functional. The space was uncomfortable, dark and unwelcoming, and centered around a large, unused reception desk. As the Board began to work through the idea of rebuilding the space, we were approached to bid on the project – and we’re so glad we did!

The building itself is only eight years old, so we didn’t have many of the challenges that we expect to see with older buildings that have been converted to loft spaces. With that said, we were doing the work in an occupied environment where tenants needed the flexibility to come and go as they pleased daily, so safety, noise and dust created some challenges for us to mitigate throughout the construction process.

The architect’s goal with this project was to create a warm, inviting space for lounging and get togethers, integrate artwork by the tenants into the space, and create some useable side rooms for the residents to host smaller groups. With a variety of unique elements integrated into the space, such as the giant pivoting glass door that separates the small meeting area from the larger communal area, we were able to help take their vision to fruition.

The finished product is a cohesive space that incorporates an elegant, yet contemporary blend of spaces that residents are thrilled to have as part of their living space.

What we love about the completed project: We’re thrilled with how this project turned out, from the huge art display walls to the beautiful fireplace with a marble surround, and incredible lighting fixtures that are conversation pieces on their own. This space has a unique style that gives the building a personality of its own.

TEN MINUTES & TEN SWEET QUESTIONS FOR SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES OWNER MARTHA OLSON

Recently, our very own Paula Klimek interviewed Martha Olson, our client and owner of Sweet Martha’s Cookies. Learn more about their brand, and our recent project with them – as well as where you can check out their newest location at the State Fair.

1. HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN SELLING COOKIES AT THE STATE FAIR?

We started in 1978, so this will be our 40th year anniversary at the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

2. IS THERE A YEAR THAT STANDS OUT FROM THE OTHERS THAT IS ESPECIALLY MEMORABLE AND IF SO, WHY?

“It would definitely be our first year in business because we were rookies and had no idea what we were doing! We somehow muddled through and knew right away we had a successful product.”

3. WHAT MAKES YOUR COOKIES SO DARN GOOD?

“We start out with the best ingredients that we can source. We then mix and bake the dough on demand so the cookies are always fresh for our customers.”

4. WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF HAVING A BOOTH AT THE STATE FAIR?

“The most rewarding part is seeing our customers’ faces light up when they’re handed a cone or pail of cookies — it’s truly remarkable! Many of our friends and family also come back annually to work at our booths, which makes it a really fun, 12 day reunion.”

5. DO YOU TRAVEL TO OTHER STATE FAIRS WITH YOUR COOKIES?

“There’s no place like home! At this time, we only operate
at the MN State Fair.”

6. YOU HAVE A BRAND NEW, GROUND UP SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES BUILDING GOING UP THIS YEAR! HOW EXCITING! WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? HOW MANY YEARS WAS THIS IN THE MAKING? CLEARLY MACHINERY HILL NEEDS SWEET MARTHA’S COOKIES, WAS THIS LOCATION YOUR IDEA?

“Three years ago, the MN State Fair came to us to see if we would entertain a new location on the North end of the Fairgrounds(Machinery Hill). For two years, we set up a temporary location ,which worked out well. We then received to go ahead to permanently build our third location with the help of Sullivan/Day Construction!”

7. THERE IS A CUTE STORY ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE CHIPS DESIGN ON THE BUILDING I BELIEVE YOUR DAUGHTER HAD A HAND IN THEIR CREATION?

Yes, my daughter, Jen. She was a great art student, so in 2003, I enlisted her to paint all the chocolate chips on the large cookie that is on the front side of our Grandstand booth. We met to go over the
scope of the project and she told me that she knew how to draw a chocolate chip and for me not to worry about it! So I said “OK!” and away she went! And of course, she did a perfect job!”

8. WHEN YOU HAVE TIME AWAY FROM MAKING COOKIES, WHAT STATE FAIR ATTRACTIONS DO YOU LIKE TO VISIT? THE MIDWAY? THE FOOD BUILDING?

“I love looking at the Education Building, as well as seeing all the projects at the Creative Activities Building. The new History Museum at the West End is fabulous. My all time favorite is the
Horticulture Building.”

9. HAVE YOU HAD ANY CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS AT SWEET MARTHA’S BUYING COOKIES?

“We have had so many wonderful people stop by over the years, but it was unbelievable when the Vice President stopped by in the early 2000’s.”

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO EAT AT THE STATE FAIR?

“I have so many wonderful favorites — it’s impossible to list them all!”

Sanctuary Salon Spa

Locally-owned Sanctuary SalonSpa has built a trending – and expanding – brand in the Twin Cites. They’re known for offering a luxurious place to relax and decompress. When we got the call to help with their new location, we were thrilled!

Opening a new spot in a long, skinny building, the new Sanctuary SalonSpa occupies the main floor and the basement of a historical building in downtown Excelsior. Originally built in 1895, this space has two main points of entry, creating a few initial challenges, as we needed to make both doors feel like true reception spots.

Additionally, converting the basement of a historic building with low ceiling heights and rooms at different floor heights presented some unique bones to work with.

To start, we exposed the gorgeous stone walls from the original structure. While they’re original to the building, they offer a warm, inviting look and feel to the spa. Adding in thick carpet in warm tones downstairs, beautiful hardwood floors upstairs, and lots of modern lighting fixtures throughout brought the space to a more luxurious feel.

The upstairs space included the build out of a retail area and five traditional salon stations – you can see from the pictures that these stations are bright, modern and comfortable.

Our favorite part? We love the unique light fixtures found throughout this entire project. They compliment the modern feel of the upstairs, and give the foundation of the building downstairs a balanced feel!

“HELLO, I’D LIKE TO BUY A COUCH.”


We’re re-sharing a recent article by our own Paula Klimek in the MSCA June newsletter below.

THUS, WITH THESE WORDS, BEGINS THE STORY OF MY VISIT TO A LOCAL “SPEAKEASY.”

But to begin at the beginning, on a warm Spring day in March (no really, we had one of those this year) a group of us had watched four young girls giggling and appearing a little nervous milling about the photo-booth at Stanley’s, a popular bar and patio in Northeast Minneapolis where we were having cocktails and appetizers.

Finally, the group of girls entered the photo booth and we assumed would pose for some pictures and file back out. They didn’t.

Highly curious, our group entered the photo booth to be greeted by a door with a small sliding peephole. When the peephole did not open, I knocked. Said peephole opened and a burly man in a 1920’s style suit with hat and tie inquired “What do you want?” Fortunately, I had heard a rumor about this place and what to say and blurted out “Hello, I’d like to buy a couch!”

And like Aladdin’s lamp, the door opened and our burly leader led us up a stairwell to “Al’s Place” where our group was transported to a magical replication of a fascinating time in history, the roaring twenties, a period where alcohol was prohibited and thus “Speakeasies” were born as a means to get alcohol after Prohibition came into effect.

Definition: “A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an illicit establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–1933, longer in some states).”

As we ascended, a hidden smoke machine expelled a fine mist around Al’s Place simulating cigarette smoke. Jazz music played softly in the background and bartenders and wait staff milled about elegantly dressed in a Great Gatsby dress over here and a flapper dress over there with a couple of gentleman’s fedoras observed.

Our group mozied up to the bar and as that saying goes “When in Rome, we drank like it was the 1920’s” with precision made vintage Prohibition cocktails. We learned from our bartender that Al’s offers a “Cocktail class.”

!t the end of the evening, I truly felt that I had just returned from a time machine trip to the 1920’s and am already planning my next speakeasy adventure to “The Velveteen Speakeasy” in Stillwater. The cocktail bar has no sign outside the building, but etched in the concrete on the main entrance is a “V,” and the words “Follow the rabbit.”

LIST OF “SPEAKEASYS” IN THE TWIN CITIES
• Marvel Bar
• Prohibition Bar
• Stanley’s (Al’s Place)
• The Velveteen
• Volsteads
• Young Joni (Back Bar)

What goes up must come down (and why it’s more complicated than you may think)

WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN.

When most people think of contractors, they think of builders. True, we do a lot of building, expanding, and renovating, but we also do some tearing down, too.

Some people are surprised to hear that our services would be needed for demolition projects. But demolition is more than “boom, done!”—it’s actually quite complex. Demolishing or even closing down a space requires a great deal of project management and organization, which is what we do as the general contractor.

When we’re doing a demolition in a building occupied by other tenants, we must coordinate extensively with adjacent businesses and residents, as well as with the building’s security personnel, to keep the project moving forward. It’s really not so different from any construction project.

Here’s what demolition typically involves:

When we’re closing down a space…

After a business closes or moves, the owner can’t just walk away from its space. For starters, there’s equipment and signage to remove—we call this “de-imaging” or “de-identifying.” This has to happen fairly quickly; it doesn’t reflect well on the owner’s brand to have a sign on a vacant space.

Sometimes equipment and signs will be used in a different location, so removing them requires much precision and care. Shutting down a space also requires disconnecting services like electrical and plumbing. There may also be lease language describing the condition that the space must be in when returned back to the landlord, which may necessitate other work.

When we’re demolishing a building…

Then there are the true demolition projects—the ones that require dropping a building to the ground. This is a major undertaking. Often times, it may involve demolishing a building located in the parking lot of a major retail complex, or on a busy corner lot.

In addition to dismantling the building, our team must fence off the area, safely disconnect utilities, keep dust under control, and properly dispose of debris. Through it all, we’re coordinating with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and other agencies to make sure we handle hazardous substances in compliance with applicable regulations.

BOOM! And so much more

While not as sexy as building, demolition deserves plenty of attention. Just like construction, it requires many steps and many people in order to be successful. So, the next time you see a building coming down, remember— the work involved in the process isn’t that different than what’s going up.

A new season, a new space for SullivanDay

So, this just happened. Well, actually more like a month ago, but we’re still settling in to our new space in Northeast Minneapolis’ CW Lofts. Moving from a corporate office building in Plymouth to a trendy live-work space in the city is a pretty big change, but we’ve been over the moon about it.

In case you ever find yourself seeking a new office space, here are a few things we love about our new digs:

We own it.

With our previous lease nearing its expiration, we saw an opportunity to pursue a longtime goal of owning our office. We didn’t want to be landlords, which meant we needed a smaller space. And since 1,500-square-foot office buildings are hard to find, we decided a live-work condo would likely be the best fit.

It’s centrally located.

Don’t get us wrong: we liked Plymouth, but it’s not the most easily accessible suburb in the Twin Cities. We knew that being in a city and close to major interstates would not only make it easier for our staff to travel to work and to job sites but it would also be more convenient for clients. Minneapolis, particularly the North Loop and Northeast neighborhoods, offered this perk, as well as an ample selection of the live-work product we desired.

It has a ton of history and character.

The CW Lofts building is the former home of the Cream of Wheat Company’s factory and headquarters. Built in 1927, the striking Moderne-style building housed the company’s cereal manufacturing process until Kraft Foods purchased it in 2002. The condos (i.e., live-work spaces) were completed in 2007.

Although the building was completely renovated, many of its original features remain. Our space was the former train shed. It housed the trains that brought raw flour and grain from the riverfront mills. The rail cars were unloaded into the lower area of the building and sent up an elevator to where the top-down manufacturing process would begin. The original train tracks are visible in our floor, and our sandblasted yellow brick walls exude an earlier era.

It’s close to restaurants, breweries, and downtown.

OK, OK, moving to Northeast Minneapolis wasn’t all about proximity to job sites. We may also have been concerned about proximity to great food and beer. Some of the Twin Cities’ most revered breweries and restaurants are now in our neighborhood. And we love that the building’s rooftop patio offers a spectacular view of downtown Minneapolis.

Come visit!

In our line of work, we see the power of space day in and day out. We’re grateful to be setting down roots in such a storied, authentic building and neighborhood, and we can’t wait to see how this change influences our next chapter. In the meantime, we can’t wait to show you around, so please stop by soon!

Check Out One of Our Active Projects

How we helped a soccer complex score new life

Soccer Blast has long been a destination soccer complex for Twin Cities-area soccer fans of all ages. With two indoor and two outdoor fields, as well as a Player Development Center, it offers ample space for competitive and recreational sports events. But for the past 10 or so years, the dome covering the indoor fields desperately needed an upgrade. This summer, replacing it and the fields inside of it became our mission. Here’s an inside look our game plan as the project’s general contractor.

Kick out the existing structure

Because the old dome would be replaced with an entirely new structure, the project started with a demolition. Once the dome and fields were cleared, our team got to work evaluating the existing infrastructure.

Assess our field position

We determined that the existing infrastructure needed significant modifications to support the new structure. This involved constructing large concrete beams to connect the existing structure to itself in multiple location to achieve the support the new building . We also had to install 26 helical piers to reinforce the existing structure due to poor soil conditions..

Pass to Legacy Building Systems

Once we completed the groundwork, Legacy Building Systems began installing the pre-fabricated building structure. The structure is comprised of fabric supported by a steel frame and sandwiched with insulation for energy efficiency. Very impressive! Although it’s technically a whopping 34,000-square-foot build, it will require fewer than four weeks to complete.

Shoot for the win

When the project is finished, Soccer Blast will have a beautiful new addition to its facility that includes a 53-foot-high peak at the center of the building, brand-new turf field and, much to the delight of players and fans alike, an upgraded heating unit! With these amenities, Soccer Blast is set to be a premier location for team training, scrimmages, and league plays all year long.

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLL!

Q&A with Scott Olson and Rocky Osborne from Grabbagreen

Our very own Paula recently interviewed one of our clients, Grabbagreen, for the MSCA March 2017 Newsletter. We’re proud to have our team featured in such a great publication, and learn more about the history of one of our clients – and their extra healthy food options! Check out the full interview below.

PAULA: What attracted you two to the Grabbagreen franchise concept?

(ROCKY) The demand for healthy food!There are currently no real options like Grabbagreen® in the Twin Cities metro area! Grabbagreen® is a fast food restaurant where great tasting, healthy food meets the speed and convenience of traditional fast food. Grabbagreen’s Eat Clean® menu is preservative-free, naturally gluten-free and GMO free. The whole food menu is based on super food ingredients and made with fresh hormone-free and antibiotic-free proteins, fresh-pressed juice, handcrafted smoothies and acai bowls, breakfast, and healthy kid-friendly items. All menu items are prepared fresh, are made-to-order. We think the timing is right for this in MN.

PAULA: What made you choose the city of Edina for your location?

(ROCKY) The convergence of culture and demographics. Edina is a perfect location for the Grabbagreen concept. Edina is an area that is very population dense with huge “daytime” business population combined with the Minnesota culture of health, wellness, and fitness.

PAULA: What do you find most exciting about being a Franchise owner?

(SCOTT & ROCKY) We have both always been on the look-out for good business opportunities that we feel we can grow. Grabbagreen franchising has just really begun nationwide. We are lucky to be early adopters but at the same time be able to take advantage of the proven systems and concept.

PAULA: How did you two meet?

(ROCKY) We met at Orchard Lake Elementary in 3rd grade. I think? Roommates in college. Life-long friends.

(SCOTT) Not a bad guess Rocky… We met in 1976 in the 4th grade.

PAULA: Are you native Minnesotans?

(ROCKY AND SCOTT)
Oh yeah you betcha!! We are native Minnesotans.

PAULA: What is an interesting fact that someone may be surprised to learn about both of you?

(SCOTT) Rocky played Junior (semi pro) hockey in the late 80’s and I was on the US Freestyle Ski team in the late 80’s and traveled the world competing for the U.S. We both need to start eating healthier to regain a bit of our athletic past! Grabbagreen will help in this endeavor.

We’ve made our projects even more seamless- with a new client interface!

In November 2016, we implemented Procore, a construction management software designed to increase project efficiency and accountability. We haven’t looked back since.

Procore does more than help us do our jobs more smoothly; it offers perks for our clients, too. Here are four reasons why you should be just as excited about it as we are.

  1. Get a project snapshot with one swipe. Our new system combines all aspects of a project into one user-friendly dashboard. With its mobile app, you can quickly log in to view project photos, status reports, and budget details from anywhere. It’s like being on site 24/7 without having to stomp around in the dirt.
  1. Work with an efficient construction team. Moving our systems over to Procore has made our team more consistent and productive. Before we moved to Procore, we used several different software applications that didn’t talk to one another. Our estimating software didn’t communicate with our accounting software, and so on. Now, all our project tools are fully integrated, making it easy for our team and yours to get the information they need.
  1. Promote collaboration. With this new program, all project stakeholders are on the same page. Everyone from subcontractors to superintendents to owner-clients has access to the same data. This is especially useful for superintendents when they are out in the field. Activities such as documentation and communication are now much, much easier – which means quicker, and more detailed, notifications and updates for you!
  1. Enjoy an easy-to-use application. The best thing about Procore, in our opinion, is its ease of use. I’m not surprised that it’s the #1 most widely used construction software; it’s high intuitive. We think you’ll agree.

If you have questions about how Procore could be used on your project, give us a call.