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Biz Buzz: Hallmark to close Baxter store

Customers look through the sale items at Evenson's Hallmark in the Westgate Mall. The store recently announced it was closing, ending a long run for Hallmark stores in the lakes area. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 4
Nor-Son completed construction on the new smaller drive-thru branch for the MidMinnesota Federal Credit Union by the Westgate Mall in Baxter. The branch opened earlier this month. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 4
Workers are creating a new entrance on the Westgate Mall for Planet Fitness with signs now up for the fitness center expected to open soon and cover 13,000 square feet. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch3 / 4
Workers are creating a new entrance on the Westgate Mall for Planet Fitness with signs now up for the fitness center expected to open soon and cover 13,000 square feet. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch 4 / 4

Evenson's Hallmark store in the Westgate Mall is closing.

The store made the announcement last week with a closing sale.

The Willow Tree figurines statues were transferred to another store location.

Evenson's Hallmark describes itself as a family owned, second generation, independent operator of Gold Crown Hallmark stores in the upper Midwest. The family owned business was established in 1972. The company's website has 12 store locations across Minnesota and include single stores in Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

Hallmark has been a staple in the Brainerd lakes area for many years. The Westgate Mall opened in 1985 and Jenny's Hallmark was listed as a store there going back to the 1990 Polk's City Directory I have, and may go further back than that. Store managers were reached in Baxter and in the company's Hallmark Store No. 1 in Willmar, both referred questions on the closing to the corporate office. Voicemails were left with the Evenson family at Myron's Cards and Gifts Inc. with a Twin Cities number but were not returned Friday.

At one time the area was served with two Hallmark stores as Brainerd also had one—Pam's Hallmark—in the renovated East Brainerd Mall before it closed a number of years ago.

MidMinnesota Federal Credit Union opened its new building and drive-thru in Baxter along Highway 210 earlier this month. The new building replaced the former branch, which was demolished. A smaller building—about 560 square feet—was constructed by Nor-Son in its place. The building was so small, Nor-Son reported a variance was needed to build it as it was smaller than city regulations allowed.

The new building sports:

• Three drive lanes with a canopy on the west side of the building; also an ATM and night depository on the east side of the building.

• Handling stormwater on the site was an early design challenge resolved with an infiltration basin at the site's north end and an underground stormwater chamber system on the south side.

• Construction started Aug, 27 with the building substantially completed by Nov. 21 and open for business in early December.

Work is continuing at Planet Fitness in the Westgate Mall, with workers making further progress on the new entrance on the building's east side. A crew was working in the dark and through a light rain on the entrance last week.

Have a Merry Christmas readers and thank you for reading the Dispatch.

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