KFC breaks ground in Bridgewater Commons

KFC groundbreaking KFC groundbreaking
City staff and various business dignitaries were on hand for this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony of the new KFC with owners Kim and Gary Tiedeken of Faribault. It’s being built in the Bridgewater Commons commercial development, next to Arby’s (across from Target) and is expected to open in January.

KFC groundbreaking  Gary Tiedeken at Northfield KFC groundbreaking  KFC groundbreaking

55 comments to  (Including 13 Discussion Threads) KFC breaks ground in Bridgewater Commons

  • 1

    It’s shameful that City staff were there to support this. This is a perfect example of supporting “business” above all else. Does Northfield benefit from this establishment? No, at least not if you consider unhealthy, unethical food and another disposable building littering South Highway 3 beneficial.

    I’m also remaining curious about the new right-turn access from Highway 3. Mn/DOT has consistently worked to reduce access points (and almost eliminated private accesses) on Highway 3 over the last 20 years, so why allow the new one? Particularly since this KFC site can be easily accessed from the light at Honeylocust Drive.

  • 2
    john george says:

    Sean- That is a good point about the right turn directly off Hwy. 3. I remember when the State regraded Hwy 3, our church requested the right turn lane onto Agate Drive be included. At the last minute, they removed the turn lane and made a cul-de-sac on Agate. We now have to go around behind the Post Office to access the church. Looks like someone would rather have chicken for the soup than chicken-soup for the soul.

  • 3
    Griff Wigley says:

    Sean, I’m guessing that MNDOT allowed for the right-turn because 2-3 more businesses will be locating in the Bridgewater Commons development.

    As for City support, I think it was appropriate for staff and council to be there. That’s a perfect spot for a KFC. And I don’t think the City should be playing favorites of one fast food outlet over the others. They pay taxes, provide jobs, and help ensure that our medical ecosystem gets fed by a steady stream of customers. ;-)

  • 4
    Bruce Wiskus says:

    Sean,

    How is the food at KFC unethical? I am not sure I understand the connection.

  • 5

    Bruce,
    PETA’s “Kentucky Fried Cruelty” site makes the strongest accusations of KFC. Similarly (and more recently), see this blog post about Oprah’s KFC giveaway.

    KFC is a particularly bad offender, but I should say virtually any fast food restaurant is guilty of the same problems: (1) unhealthy food, (2) from animals raised in torture, (3) sold in excessive quantities, (4) for too low a price, encouraging to people to be even more cavalier about an environmentally and morally costly product.

    I’m not expecting City staff to become animal rights activists overnight, but I again want to raise the question: does this make Northfield a better place? As Griff pointed out, it will pay property taxes. It will provide [low-paying] jobs. It will provide another reason to rush down Highway 3 at 55 mph.

    Does this KFC make South Highway 3 a more vital area? (Before you laugh at this question, I would say Kurry Kabab, James Gang, and a few others do.) Will it build community? Will it make people healthier? Will it improve Northfielders quality of life?

    • 5.1
      Guy Lawrence says:

      Sean -- I’m not sure where to start. In a free market economy (and we’re not really in one), all of your grievances will be addressed. If folks feel in the same manner as you do, KFC will close from lack of business.

      As far a cruelty, feedlots are feedlots, and they suck. The ones here in the US suck less than the ones in other countries. I commend you for your position, but I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for change. As far as the price of the KFC product, unless you’re a shareholder, it’s not your place to set the price of KFC’s product, it’s theirs and the market for that product.

      To answer your questions directly, Yes KFC will make Northfield a better place. I’d say yes, as Griff pointed out, it will raise tax revenue at a time when tax revenue is down. It will create jobs at a time when folks are losing theirs.

      Will it build community? Who cares, it’s function is to sell fried (and broasted) chicken. If it were interested in being a social center, I imagine they would have located nearer to downtown.

      Will it make people healthier? See the previous response.

      Will it improve our quality of life? It’ll improve mine on the nights when I’ve worked late and there’s no dinner at home -- I can slide in and pick up a 3 piece chicken & a biscuit (all white meat) with a side of cole slaw, on my way by. Mmm, I can’t wait.

      About the only thing better would be a Chipotle.

  • 6
    john george says:

    Sean- You might take a look at this Snopes link
    http://www.snopes.com/horrors/food/kfc.asp.
    I looked at your link above, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I was not impressed with the list of underwriters.

    • 6.1

      John,
      I assume you’re referencing this point:

      KFC no more raises its own chickens than McDonald’s maintains vast herds of beef cattle to turn into hamburgers or the International House of Pancakes farms huge tracts of wheat to use in making pancakes.

      Which is true, if you don’t consider consumers (in this case corporate) at all responsible for what goes on higher up on the supply chain.

      In any case, don’t let the animal abuse issue be a distraction. I feel strongly about it, but even if you don’t buy it, there are many other reasons why I don’t think this KFC is beneficial. Again, see the list of questions in my last comment.

    • 6.2
      john george says:

      Sean- Yes, that block quote is what I was refering to. I grew up on a farm, so I have a little different approach to animals. We considered them a source of food and income.

      I guess I would ask you this question- Does having a KFC make Northfield a WORSE place to live? And if so, tell me how?

  • 7

    Guy said:

    Will it build community? Who cares, it’s [sic] function is to sell fried (and broasted) chicken. If it were interested in being a social center, I imagine they would have located nearer to downtown.

    John said:

    I guess I would ask you this question- Does having a KFC make Northfield a WORSE place to live? And if so, tell me how?

    Both of these suggest that it’s not appropriate (or necessary) to ask if KFC improves our community. On this, I’d like to point to the Northfield News’ coverage of the Spring Street halfway house. They’ve been pushing consistently to make it a community question of acceptance (including the poll published in this week’s paper — fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be all that much public opposition). Still, if we ask such questions of a charity, why not a for-profit franchise?

    John, I think it does make Northfield a worse place. It’s not night-and-day, but it is part of the slow, consistent dragging down of our city. It’s built in a place with no meaningful access by anything other than car. For those of us who do eat there, it will make us, if anything, less well. It makes our already-tragic southern commercial district even more like any other suburb. (I shouldn’t say this is inherently bad, but in this case — homogeneous, temporary buildings catered to highway driving and highway attitudes — it certainly is.) In some ways, South Highway 3 is worse than Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley and Lakeville, with fewer pedestrian crossing opportunities, no sidewalks, and very little aesthetic consideration immediately surrounding the road.

    • 7.1
      john george says:

      Sean- Thanks for your response. I just don’t agree with your position, “…but it is part of the slow, consistent dragging down of our city.” It is ok to have this opinion, but I don’t have it. The whole concept of “fast food” and “suburbanization” is just part of our cultural shift from localization to globalization. Some consider this progress. Others consider it decline. The whole shift of our society to personal convenience and gratification has caused many changes. Some I agree with, some I don’t. KFC is not a threat to me, and I see it as providing another source of convenience for the residents of Norhtfield.

  • 8

    I just don’t agree with your position

    Which is, of course, fine. The critical thing for me here is that we’re asking these questions and not just accepting it as progress. Is this particular form of the progress you reference improving your life? The answer is not “yes” for me, but it certainly could be for you. I agree that it will be a source of “convenience,” but I don’t agree that this convenience will bring any meaningful benefits. Again, though, the questioning is the critical part, not the answers.

    • 8.1
      john george says:

      Sean- Your point on convenience is well taken. Supposedly, this convenience allows us extra time in our lives. How we use that time is another discussion topic entirely.

      Back to your original question, “Does Northfield benefit from this establishment?” The answer is evidently both yes and no, depending on your personal values.

  • 9

    Sean, Northfield does not have the legal tools to prevent KFC from locating here, nor do I know what tools can legitimately be employed to discriminate against KFC in the way you would like. Besides pointing out the problems with KFC, I would recommend that you
    1. Don’t spend your money there and advocate that no one else should either. KFC thought they could make money here; you could prove them wrong.
    2. Work on other aspects of Northfield community, land use, economic development that do meet your standards and which do improve community and quality of life (I do applaud all your work with non-motorized transportation already)
    3. Work to change laws at the state and federal level which would make KFC’s business or animal rights practices illegal or not cost effective.

    • 9.1

      Betsey, at no point did I say the City should have prevented KFC from coming here. I said — and still am saying — that the City should not have endorsed it by staff and councilors showing up for their groundbreaking. There seems to be a difference between tolerating and actively embracing an establishment.

    • 9.2
      john george says:

      Sean- As a city, do we have the freedom to show up for some ground breaking ceremonies and snub our nose at others? I just don’t think that would be civil, let alone wise. It is like biting the hand that feeds you.

  • 10
    Bright Spencer says:

    I don’t know what it is like to be a chicken in a cage. I think I have a better sense of what it is like to be a chicken in the wild. Our place in Oklahoma is built upon never before lived on acreage in a forest. In other words, very wild. Small animals fear for their lives at every noise…and stay in hiding most of the time. Between the harsh elements of nature, i.e., weather conditions, burning sun rays, snake bites, birds of prey attacks, having to vye for food, being menaced by insects, falling off cliffs, or getting stuck in crevices, or being chased by a bob cat, the natural life isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, especially for a chicken.

  • 11
    Scott Kelly says:

    Sean,

    Having eaten the flesh of neither mammal or fowl for 37 years (although I readily admit partaking of both eggs and dairy), I am curious about something.

    You said “For those of us who do eat there, it will make us, if anything, less well.”. Driving south on Highway 3 from 2nd St, we have no less than 5 fast food outlets which specialize in beef products (Quarterback Club, Culver’s, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Arby’s). Are you suggesting that chicken is somehow a LESS healthy choice than beef?

    • 11.1

      Scott,
      No, I don’t mean to say that KFC is worse from a health standpoint (though I wouldn’t say better either — just because they start with a less nutritionally harmful meat doesn’t mean they end that way).The discussion here is about KFC, and I’m just more critical since it is, of course, new. It’s easier to look skeptically at a restaurant that is just getting established.

  • 12
    kiffi summa says:

    Besides the ethical issues raised by KFC’s production practices, I think Sean is actually raising a very valid, and much larger point…

    Some communities, fearing that they will become ubiquitous replicas of one another, take steps to limit the number of fast food, or franchised businesses they will allow within their community.
    I’d love to know exactly how they construct their codes and development ordinances to accomplish this.

    15 years ago we had a couple hundred acres along the highway Three corridor that would have satisfied the industrial development needs of NF as identified in the now famous and oft quoted TIP plan, commissioned by the EDA.

    ?. Why did we let it develop predominantly in franchise uses, when it could have been the smart business park for which we have now annexed hundreds of
    acres… acreage with no existing infrastructure, acreage that is productive farmland.

    ?. What happens to the pre-existing zoning and planning when the profit motive overtakes it, and RE-zoning requests are made and granted?

    We ‘threw away’ the high tech business park that was planned and zoned for on S. Hwy Three; we threw away good living salaries for minimum wage jobs, and once it started, we didn’t have the guts to control the process.

    Sean is ‘railing’ at the results of that loss; it should be a lesson for all, but instead people stand around ignoring the loss of true productiveness for the sake of fatuously praising the gain of a bunch of minimum wage jobs that people move out of as fast as they can.

  • 13
    Scott Kelly says:

    kiffi,

    I can answer your question in 2 words (well, ok, a noun and an acronym). Dundas TIF. Northfield turned down K-Mart, partly to protect downtown businesses and partly to avoid the “Cedar” complex.

    Where did K-Mart end up (with TIF)?

    Northfield invoked “Eminent Domain” upon a neighborhood generations old in order to provide Petricka’s the ability to expand and still remain downtown.

    When Cub appeared wielding a club worthy of Walmart (LESS THAN 10 years later), Northfield rolled over like a submissive canine acknowledging the superiority of the Alpha Male of the pack. Who cared, right? (well, maybe those families forced from homes they’d grown up in, but that’s the cost of progress, right?.)

    Despite initial agreements, the developer returned multiple times demanding new concessions, which were ALWAYS granted.

    Then came Menards, which was the last time I checked TIF funding per capita. Dundas ranked #2 in the state.

    In what I consider a folly similar to allowing Lehman Brothers to fail after bailing out financial institutions in similar straits, Northfield chose to deny College City Beverage of the SAME sanitation upgrade it had previously granted Dundas (to be fair, Northfield DID benefit in respect to minimizing fecal overflow previously experienced from Dundas’ septic systems into the Cannon River.)

    We all know where College City Beverage moved to, (WITH TIF) don’t we?

    As I see it, Northfield is between a rock and a hard place. Choice 1 is grabbing what we can, Choice 2 is passing whatever revenue the business might generate to Dundas wrapped up as a present.

    Please forgive my cynicism

  • 14
    john george says:

    Kiffi- It was about 20 years ago that we started commuting from Owatonna to Northfield to be part of our church. At that time, if I remember correctly, there was residential developement from Heritage drive all the way to Jefferson Parkway. Our church was on the west side of Hwy. 3, along with Furlong motors and some light manufacturing behind them. If I remember correctly, there was concern about industrial development along Hwy. 3 for two reasons. 1) The close proximity to the residential development created exthetic issues. 2) The land on the west side of Hwy 3 is about 10 ft. above limestone bedrock that goes over to the river. If I remember correctly, there was concern about polution to the river with heavy industrial developement right above the bedrock. There were two members of our church on the planning commission at that time, and I remember some discussions coming up about that in our Deacons meetings (they were members of that church board). We were wanting to enlarge our septic system capacity, and these same issues were preventing us from doing so. Now, we have city water and sewer out there, so there is not the problem. These are a couple issues that I think affected the direction of the development along that corridor. Does anyone have any documentation of these things? I may not be remembering all the details correctly.

  • 15
    Curt Benson says:

    Sean, I don’t understand what standards you use to pass judgment on Northfield issues. When Professor “Panty Dude” Phil Busse, visiting St. Olaf professor, former porn model and unethical journalist blogged about stealing lawn signs, you thought it was important not to be “judgmental”. Your comments are in this thread:

    http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/6305/comment-page-1/#comments

    When a now convicted heroin dealer who the police have bragging on tape that his heroin was so strong that it caused overdoes, you cautioned against being “accusatory”.

    http://locallygrownnorthfield.org/post/7083/

    Now, a businessperson is providing jobs to construction workers and later providing jobs to workers in his store, and you have no problem using words like “unethical”--and think it is so shameful that city officials should not to show up to support his efforts.

    I’m thinking that the sale of fried chicken is a lesser sin than stealing and selling heroin. What am I missing?

    • 15.1

      Curt,
      I think the Busse situation is irrelevant — it was a personal attack, claiming that something that he did that was really between him and a few property holders affected his ability to perform his community role (professor). If we were all sitting around saying Griff is unqualified to run a local blog because I once saw him eating fried chicken, then sure, my comments would be of issue here.

      The heroin thing is a good point, though my objection in that thread was more about the abuse of the thread and the vulnerable position of the person being attacked. Peterson was doing something that had a harmful community effect, however, he had generously agreed to answer questions, and simply attacking him was unhelpful. Everyone was already on the same page — heroin-dealing is bad for a community — and they were simply hitting him over the head with an established community standard. In this case, community standards are being created.

      Community standards are not a bad thing, but it is bad to simply attack someone when he’d agreed to open up about abuse of those standards.

    • 15.2
      kiffi summa says:

      Well, you didn’t ask me, Curt… but here I go with that “pokenose” attitude again…
      Jobs created for construction workers, and employment for people looking for minimum wage jobs is not being criticized; what is being criticized, and IMO with validity, is that better planning and use of developable land could, and SHOULD be done.
      I think you’re pulling a bit of a ‘conflation’ job here, and a tad of ‘ad hominem’ also if you are just questioning Sean’s personal POV, and not the substance of the issue he’s discussing.

  • 16
    john george says:

    Sean- Ok, on the “substance”, as Kiffi calls it, of the issue you raised of the City Council openly supporting KFC at their ground breaking, I don’t think it is the City Council’s responsibility to stage a protest for animal rights. If people want to personally demonstrate against this, more power to them. Their demonstation of support for any new business venture in Northfield is to be expected and encouraged. I think you are putting moral conotations on an action that doesn’t warrant it.

    • 16.1

      John, as has been clearly stated throughout this thread, there’s more at stake than the animal rights issues. This, I believe, does not benefit Northfield. I don’t see why they should ever support something that does bad to the community. How should we define bad? Somebody just yesterday pointed me to the land use principles from the Comprehensive Plan:

      1. The small town character will be enhanced.
      2. The natural environment will be protected,
      enhanced and better integrated into the community.
      3. The preference for accommodating future growth is in infill locations, then redevelopment/land intensification opportunities, and then on the edge of existing developed areas.
      4. New and redeveloped residential communities (areas) will have strong neighborhood qualities.
      5. Environmentally-sensitive and sustainable practices will be integrated into new developments and redeveloped areas.
      6. Places with a mix of uses that are distinctive and contribute to increasing the city’s overall vitality are preferred.
      7. Neighborhood-serving commercial will be small scale and integrated with the residential context.
      8. A wider range of housing choices will be encouraged – in the community as well as in neighborhoods.
      Introduction
      9. Rural character of certain areas of the community will be protected.
      10. Streets will create an attractive public realm and be exceptional places for people.
      11. Places will be better connected, in part to improve the function of the street network and also to better serve neighborhoods.
      12. Opportunities will be created to walk and bike throughout the community.

      KFC fails on every relevant point, except possible #3 — it is sort of infill. If “sort of” meeting one of twelve goals isn’t bad, I don’t know what is.

    • 16.2
      john george says:

      Sean- This is all fine and dandy when it is done in the application process, but this family has the land purchased, the francise purchased and all the building permits in place, and they are starting to dig the hole in the ground. At that point, for the city leadership to snub their nose and boycott the groundbreaking to protest animal cruelty is hypocrytical, at best. It is your comment that the city should not have shown up at the groundbreaking that I am specifically responding to. If the application process is falling short, then lets take a look at that. One of the observations about Northfield that I hear from people outside the community is that it has an elitist attitude. What you are saying here, IMO, supports that evaluation.

  • 17
    Bruce W. Morlan says:

    The tension between property rights and community rights is always problematic. On the one hand, we have to believe in the rights of property owners to use their property, even if that means selling it to a developer. If we dismiss property rights, then we become less free. The planning process (embodied in planning commissions) seems to me to be the control on that process. We have agreed that we can zone and control development in that manner. A person who owns land in an area that is targeted to be Residential knows their land is not useable or sellable as light industrial, and their view of their land is modified accordingly. Unfortunately, government’s spines are only as strong as the voters they answer to, and when the voters see potential for jobs, often tied to a lie that “taxes will not have to go up”, then they will sell their neighbors souls and trample on their grandmother’s graves to get to the politicians to get that pesky plan changed.

    Only if planning commissions are able to stand firm can we hope to stop or slow this process. The Northfield Planning Commission has apparently been talking more about 50 and 100 year horizons, reflecting a new awareness of ideas like carrying capacity and how to not end up with no local food production, no local greenways and no local character. Working with the Dundas Planning Commission and the Bridegwater Planning Commission, Northfield has the opportunity to actually stop the death of a thousand cuts.

    But as noted elsewhere here, the time to do this is not when people are already acting on the permitted uses, it is when the permitted uses are being changed.

    This is why there is such strong opposition to proposed changes in annexation agreements, proposed changes in zoning and such concern that if the only thing preventing exploitation is city codes then that prevention is only as strong as the voters want it to be.

    • 17.1
      kiffi summa says:

      Now, my good friend Bruce, you left out the voting part of the equation: I would say that ‘prevention’ is only as strong as the political will of those who have the ultimate vote on the zoning change, and that would be the City Council… answering to (supposedly) the voters who in fact do NOT have the deciding vote; that decision belongs to the Council.

      N’est ce pas?

  • 18
    Ray Cox says:

    Sean, I think it is important to understand that virtually every one of the land use principles is subjective. The zoning laws are generally fairly objective, with strict performance standards. Strict compliance is much easier for all to agree upon and enforce. When things are subjective, they can mean many different things to many different people, and very importantly, to a judge in a court.
    Bruce rightly points out the issues built into property rights.
    But, it is important to remember that, as Guy points out in #5.1, it is KFC’s right to fail. If your thoughts are the general thoughts of those who live in Northfield and drive through the town, it is going to be a tough time for KFC. About 30 years ago we had one (now the CarQuest auto parts building) and it did not survive. Things might be different this time.

  • 19

    [...] Sept. 30, a new Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Bridgewater Commons broke ground just south of downtown [...]

  • 20
    Griff Wigley says:

    KFC opened on Friday. Here’s a photo:

  • 21

    Don’t we have anything else to talk about: This is so minute; KFC is providing Jobs Jobs needed in in this Economy. We need Jobs and anyone who does not understand that I feel sorry for them.

  • 22
  • 23

    This is just pathetic. Jobs, jobs, jobs! That’s what everybody was saying a year ago. Now it seems this business is just another dead ugly building on the Hwy 3 strip. Oh, and a handful of people had low-paying jobs serving dead animals for… less than a year. And I suppose some Northfielders enjoyed a few months of artery-clogging fried chicken.

    This is the kind of economic development it was right for the City to get out and support?

    • 23.1
      john george says:

      Sean- I saw a sign years ago that said something like a mistake is evidence that someone tried to do soemhtnig. How would you define a sustainable, acceptable type of business? Larry’s Lettuce stand? We can’t even get another windmill built around town, unless you happen to be Carleton or St. Olaf.

  • 24
    Bruce Wiskus says:

    Sean sorry that an independent business owner was trying to create jobs and better his business, while taking a substantial self risk.

    What is pathetic is because you have philosophical difference of opinion on eating meat you do not see value in this business. Yes Sean there is a value to low paying ENTRY level jobs. I had one cooking chicken as a teenager 20 plus years ago, guess what I decided I did not want a minimum wage job the rest of my life so I bettered my self through education.

    Gotta run heading out for a steak

  • 25
    Curt Benson says:

    Bruce, I hope you enjoyed your steak.

    Sean, you wrote “…a handful of people had low-paying jobs serving dead animals for less than a year.” Two things… I’m guessing that serving live animals is frowned upon. Secondly… those low paying jobs were meaningful to those who had them and those jobs helped feed those workers. Apparently you’re above all that, but remember that not everyone has the privilege of getting their meals at their college cafeteria, financed by mom and dad.

  • 26
    Jane Moline says:

    John: I agree with you that the live animal thing is not a good business model.
    Sean: I wish it were because everyone decided to go vegetarian that KFC closed. Not likely.

    Curt and Bruce. Those low-paying jobs were meaningful but not in a good way to the employees--although something is better than nothing, having to work 3 full-time jobs in order to support your family and pay for health insurance is not great. We are becoming an economy of crappy, low paying jobs that further erode the ability of the working poor to rise from poverty.

    The KFC owner took a substantial risk, but he is also basing his success on being able to get labor at an extremely low oost--and if he could not he would not have even opened. His business model is not to maximize employment-it was to deliver a product in enough volume to bring him a profit at the lowest possible expense level-

    Businesses in the United States are looking to employ skilled workers outside the US to save Social Security costs and Health insurance costs. Until we reform our health care industry, we will lag behind other developed nations for employment.

    If a business owner did not have to worry about paying health insurance for his manager or other full-time employees, he would be able to save significant costs on employment.

    I also think location and the bad economy had more to do with the KFC decision to close.

    I hate to see so many businesses closing, but I am for people eating a more healthy diet than served at fast-food restaurants.

    • 26.1
      john george says:

      Jane- I think you touch upon a very important aspect of our economy. We are becoming more of a global economy and therefore are affected by global influences. One battle we are going to lose is our standard of living. When the rest of the world is existing on about ten American dollars a day (some, considerably less) and we try to compete with their production (using our technology) and pay a worker $30.00 an hour, we just can’t win. Now, with these social support dollars (SS, Medicare, etc.) going off shore, we will have to work until they shovel the dirt in on top of us. The middle class production worker that provided the source of these funds is evaporating. The upper income levels have tax write-offs. The lower income levels have tax rebates. What/who is left to pay the bill?

      Sean- I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but one thing for you to consider is the cost of your education. In one year, you pay (or at least run up a debt) more than three times the amount I paid for my first house in ’73. Perhaps you can make some connections, if you do a Global Study, with some company overseas. Then, the $10.00 a day will look pretty good when you can live on $7.00 a day.

  • 27

    Jane:
    You (but even more-so Curt and Bruce) seem to only see the vegetarian element of my viewpoint. The reality is, that’s not the main point of what I wrote Monday or at any point in this thread. It’s one of several things that makes KFC a particularly problematic business for me, but certainly not the only thing. However, I basically agree with everything else you wrote.

    Curt:
    While you call me an elitist, I might wonder how the most poor of Northfield (residents of the northern trailer parks) would actually get to this KFC. Driving the private cars many of them don’t own? Taking the public transit that isn’t available? Braving Hwy 3 on bike? Walking on the sidewalks that don’t exist? This business did not particularly support poor customers — not least because of the health issues, but because it would be hard to even access the place.

    Ultimately, I think it’s important to realize that this business failed at the one thing it was really supposed to do well: make money and provide those jobs. Meaningful or not, crappy or not, those jobs don’t exist anymore. Maybe creating a more community-healthy business (e.g., meeting ANY of the 10 points of good development from the Comp Plan) from the get-go would have prevented that loss.

  • 28

    I never could see how any business can make money by providing stuff that is not needed. Cub already has some great cooked chicken offerings at a super low price,
    Culver’s and George’s have excellent chicken dinners or sandwiches…as do many other restaurants in town.

    If you want to make money around here, provide a needed service or product and don’t just depend on late night commercials or in other cases, the impulse of buyers to sell your luxury item and other non essential products in this economic climate.

  • 29
    Bruce Wiskus says:

    Jane

    I am sure those jobs were not meaningful to the people that held them. I to wish everyone made a better wage but if we were paying $15.00 to an employee in a entry level, no education required job what that would do to the price of goods? Before you think that I think people should be trapped in those jobs I do not. Those types of jobs are meant to get people into the work force and give them the opportunity to build skills to move on to other jobs.

    Sean

    You say that your beliefs have little to do with this outside of the wages the store paid. However you earlier called this unethical business. Seems that the wages were not your biggest concern. If this had been a vegan grocery store I have a feeling you would be complaining that the city did not do enough to help the business.

    As for people living in the northern trailer parks do you know how many do or do not have cars? Or are you making generalizations? I see a lot of cars in that area.

  • 30

    Bruce:
    My impression is based on pedestrian counts we used in the Nonmotorized Transportation Task Force. That area (and Greenvale Avenue) has a relatively high pedestrian concentration — also the reason why the City had as part of their stimulus grant application a sidewalk on the west side of the railway overpass between Greenvale and St. Olaf Avenues.

    While, yes, many of them do own cars, it is far less likely to be ~1 car per driver. And, of course, cars are inherently problematic for undocumented immigrants, since they don’t have access to MN driver’s education; rather than driving unlicensed, they could legally bike or walk.

  • 31
    Jane Moline says:

    Bruce--it is not that they are just bad entry level jobs--all of the jobs at these places are low-paying. What should only be jobs for high-school kids are now the only jobs available for the underemployed masses. Jobs that should be for extra spending money are now the only jobs available for the working poor, who have to work 2 or 3 jobs in order to pay the rent and support their dependents. These jobs were important to the employees--but they were not even close to helping them make a living.

  • 32
    Arlen Malecha says:

    Jane,

    Can you expand on why you feel they are ‘bad entry level jobs’? What is your defentition of a good entry level job?

    Not all jobs in the fast food industry are low-paying. I have friends who are or have been managers / assistant managers and they have done alright for themselves.

    People work at jobs for many varying reasons. The majority I am sure are trying to put food on the table and pay the rent. But others may have been working there more for something to do -- to fill some time in their day. Others may have been working there to pay their way through school. It would be careless for us to lump them all in the same category without knowing the reasons why they are working there.

  • 33
    Jane Moline says:

    Arlen:

    When I (and even you, though you are much younger) graduated from high school (or even when we were in high school) a fast-food job was extra spending money or a way to pay for part of our college education. For the most part, few people really made a living at these jobs. Now, they are the only jobs available, they are extremely unreliable (witness the closing and slump of these restaurants) and they are actually a lower comparitive wage than when we were starting out.

    Minimum wage is not keeping up with the price of gas, car or health insurance, housing or food. We have a crisis in employment and it is not just the high unemployment rate--it is the fact that we have squeezed everything out of the middle class to either enrich the wealthy (billion dollar bonuses for Wall Street hedge fund managers) of push the middle class down to lower class.

    Unfortunately the middle class doesn’t even seem to know it is happening and have been voting against their own best interests. We have demonized the unions right when we need them the most. Witness extending tax cuts for the rich, who didn’t create any jobs in the last 10 years of experiencing tax cuts but Republicans claimed that the tax cuts were necessary, and if abandoned would cause “job killers.”

    We are not willing to pay more for decent food (so fattening, high colesterol, fried fast-food served by poorly paid serfs), we are not willing to pay more for just about anything (so, Walmart for all, driving all other businesses away and hiring serfs at low wages), we are not willing to pay for two wars or decent government (so bridges collapse, the deficit goes up, and our court system is overcrowded and a danger to justice.)

    Northfield needs good businesses that make enough money to pay decent wages. Malt-O-Meal has taken jobs out of town, more will leave, and aside from the hospital, we don’t seem to be growing current employers or attracting new ones. Much of this is a result of the economic recession, which causes the most paid for marginal businesses--but is going to put many good businesses on the block as the individuals cannot hang on forever.

    When the middle-class does not have spending money, everybody suffers. This is not going to change unless we start facing up to our fiscal responsibilities.

  • 34
    victor summa says:

    This thread is heated up again -- believe it or not.

    The Northfield News has devoted 1453 words to a curious analysis of the oxymoron: restaurants in Northfield. While reasonable observations on the surface, the Faribault Daily News Editor in Chief churns out a not to meaningful article. Why, one wonders? It seems to me they (The News’ writer) took on the writing task to open the opportunity to insert 66 words (out of 1453) from along put to sleep LG thread. These abused LG quotes are centered around one rather thoughtful and practical comment by Betsey Buckheit … one comment out of some 50, most of which were devoted to the discussion of whether Kentucky fried Chicken (KFC) provides good food value. Is in fact at the time an asset looming on Northfield’s business horizon

    The News. in my opinion looking for a slam shot on Locally Grown inserted those 66 words out of context trying to take down two birds with one shot. Locally Grown and Candidate Buckheit.

    Here we go again folks the News, little better than the greasy paper KFC wraps it chicken in is trying to smear a candidate and the local blog. Why? Because LG kicks the News’ ass, frequently -- and because the News depends on its uninformed readers contributing vitriol under pseudonyms

    Yes, once again the News, is supported in its subtle attack by the angry written words of people who don’t have the courage to use their names. What’s most disturbing here is the News lit the fuse and they then let some uninformed cowardly blog-miester using a funny fake, name attack Buckheit. Comment on the facts of her candidacy if you want. Get them straight and write like an adult.

    Ms. Buckheit’s comment in this case is one short entry in which she speak the essence of the City’s role in development and its use of development oversight, attempts to defuse much of the LG thread’s openly authored comments wherein 75% of the LG writers question the KFC product … and specifically, why, in Northfield. This may be Northfield egocentric -- it is in fact, clear honest individual opinion[s] something most commenters on the N News do not make. IMHO this method of filling up the page with innuendo and hate is not journalism.

    Really, did these LG writers contribute to the demise of the short lived Northfield KFC? Did the entire potential Northfield market send a message to KFC? Is the food service business a real struggle in our Northfield market? Most importantly now, were the words excised from the LG thread artfully and responsibly framed to defuse some of the rhetoric being bandied about on LG?

    KFC proved to not be a popular product. But today the News’ comment puts that beside the point, The villainous slam leveled at Buckhheit for KFC’s failure is so obviously a witch-hunt’s first effort, it almost makes me laugh.

    Maybe they (the news and their malcontents) can also link the Culver failure, that of Beef-O-Brady, Butler’s Steak and Ale, Pan Pan, Tea Creations, Bagel Bros, and the US Post Office to LG and a hard running candidate. This is shit journalism -- and in fact I’d say the News proves to be even more cowardly in this effort than the veiled contributors … as this article is clearly designed to attack -- with no journalistic effort to seek the sincere feelings of the events and the people they report on.

    Maybe Ms. News will get a Golden Chicken award in their next go around in what is very loosely called, journalism

    • 34.1

      I don’t at all care for the phrase “don’t have the courage to use their names”.

      Google+’s experiment with demanding “real names” was a disaster, and they have acknowledged it; perhaps most importantly, they observe that the expected improvement of tone never materialized — it doesn’t really help that.

      But you’re right that using real names can require courage, because there are people who might want to say things for which they might face retaliation, and there are people whose real names could get them in a lot of trouble, or killed.

      Pseudonyms are not the problem. Pseudonyms are part of the solution of developing a thriving comment culture. (It does, however, help quite a lot if people use the *same* nyms consistently over time.)

      • 34.1.1
        kiffi summa says:

        Peter… can you please direct me to the policy regarding the non-use of pseudonymns which you say Google admits was a disaster?

        As far as I can see, Google+ still requires verification of an actual name /identity in order to set up a pseudonymous account; maybe I didn’t read far enough into their process.

        The major problem with the NFNews process is that they do not require any confirmable information as to the actual identity of a person using a pseudonym, so if that anonymous person should commit an actionable offense it becomes a problem.

        Should a person who is running for office be able to anonymously ‘trash’ their opposing, or another candidate, Peter?

        Now you may say that that is an unethical thing to do, and it certainly is, but the way the NFNews is set up for their comments, it could happen … and obviously the person who would do that is not governed by the same moral guidelines that most of us accept.

        Griff has recently had a comment submitted which he had to remove because it violated his guidelines, and when he tried to tell the commenter by return e-mail, the e-mail that was submitted was NG.

  • 35
    Griff Wigley says:

    Nfld News article by Jaci Smith: When it comes to what Northfield restaurants make it or don’t, many factors come into play

    Betsey Buckheit’s comment attached to the article is here.

  • 36
    Adam Elg says:

    At least it’s not Chick-fil-A. Haha

    Hasn’t KFC tried twice before along this corridor and failed? Someone isn’t doing their market research.

  • 37
    Adam Elg says:

    Ooops -- Old story. Never mind

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