Northern Tool + Equipment, a Minnesota-based tool retailer for do-it-yourselfers and professionals, will open its first Chicagoland store in Merrillville in October.
The family-owned retailer will employ 20 people at 8205 Broadway in a former Staples in the Southlake Mall trade area.
Founded 40 years ago, Northern Tool + Equipment, which bills itself as "a leading supplier of high-quality tools and equipment," now has 120 locations in 22 states across the country. It opened two stores in Indianapolis and one in Fort Wayne over the past year.
The new 20,389-square-foot store will be its fourth in the Hoosier state. It will offer brand-name tools like Milwaukee and Honda, catering to both professionals and serious DIY-ers.
“Opening up this new Merrillville store is an important step for our company, and we see great potential in this market and are excited to introduce ourselves and help our customers get serious jobs done,” said Joe Apolloni, senior vice president of retail at Northern Tool + Equipment. “We understand the hard-working Midwestern values and are looking forward to equipping the people here with the right tools and quality gear.”
The store will stock thousands of tools, a full line of pressure washers, and more than 1,800 different types of trailer parts and tires. It will carry power tools, hand tools, air tools, air compressors, sprayers, wagons, fans, generators and metalworking accessories. The construction department alone carries more than 275 tools and pieces of equipment, including scaffolding and cement mixers.
Because of the growing demand for cleaning and disinfectant products during the coronavirus pandemic, Northern Tool + Equipment also now carries a full contingent of disinfectant sprayers, air scrubbers, safety glasses, face shields, gloves, signs, and hot water steam pressure washers.
The new big-box store also will have a parts, service and repair department with technicians to maintain tools and equipment.
For more information, visit www.northerntool.com.
Fans of Dilly Bars, Blizzards and soft-serve ice cream will soon be able to get their sweet tooth satisfied at a new Dairy Queen that's under construction in Hammond's Marina District.
Hammond Director of Economic Development Anne Anderson said about $2.7 million was being invested in the new ice cream shop. It will employ about 10 full-time workers and 14 part-time workers.
The Dairy Queen will be located just off Indianapolis Boulevard in the shopping center anchored by a Walmart Supercenter in Hammond's Robersdale neighborhood, near where the historic Roby Speedway was once located. Just across the state line from Chicago, the shopping center is a popular destination for Illinois residents.
Stores there include Ross Dress for Less, Dollar Tree, Rainbow Apparel, Beauty Supply and an AT&T store.
Other restaurants that have recently opened in the Hammond Marina District after the Walmart Supercenter was constructed in 2011 include IHOP, a Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Wing Stop, Starbucks and Capriotti's Sandwich Shop.
Hammond has one other Dairy Queen, on Kennedy Avenue in Hessville. The popular chain, which has had lines of cars down the street in many Region communities this summer, started in 1940 in Joliet.
Sophia's House of Pancakes in Highland has temporarily closed.
The popular restaurant at 9344 Indianapolis Boulevard serves up lunch and breakfast, including its namesake stacks of pancakes. A sign posted outside said it was closed due to an incident with a staff member, without specifying whether it was related to the coronavirus pandemic.
An employee said the breakfast place would likely reopen in about a week.
The Visit Michigan City LaPorte welcome center and tourist information center in the Marquette Mall in Michigan City temporarily closed because of maintenance issues.
The public welcome center at 4073 S. Franklin St. is one of the few remaining tenants at the largely shuttered enclosed mall, where Joe Exotic of "Tiger King" fame once put his tiger cubs on display. It is cleaning up after a water pipe break but hopes to reopen soon, Executive Director Jack Arnett said.
"We had a water pipe break and sustained lots of damage over a week ago," he said. "They tell us we might be back in by Monday."
Bloom Boutique Salon opened in a historic house just off the Courthouse Square in downtown Crown Point, two weeks before coronavirus was declared a global pandemic and everything got shut down.
"It's been a roller coaster ride," owner Amy Carr said. "It certainly wasn't part of our business plan to open right before a shutdown. But people in general have been supportive of a new small business. Our guests have been amazing."
Carr, a Crown Point native, renovated a historic home dating back to 1904 at 126 N. Court St. that had been a salon since around 1970 and was most recently home to Court Hair Design. Bloom Boutique Salon is planning a grand opening celebration from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29.
The grand opening will be catered by Provecho Latin Provisions and feature giveaways of shampoo and conditioners, ice cream bars, popsicle and lemonade. Social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions will be observed.
"We want to invite the community to see the new space," she said.
The 2,000-square-foot business offers haircuts, coloring, eyebrows and lashes. It will offer more spa treatments, including massages, spray tans and eyelash extensions, once the second-floor is renovated. It has four chairs and employs eight stylists.
"I want to grow the salon and get the girls really busy," Carr said. "It has a small town beauty shop vibe. Me and my husband are from Crown Point, and I'm a community-first type of person. We liked the energy of downtown and wanted to be in the heart of the community."
Owning her own salon had been her dream since she first got into the hair care business in 2005.
"We love what we do and are super-educated," she said. "We strive to meet everyone's expectations and to leave them feeling more beautiful than when they came in. We want people to leave feeling great."
The business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
For more information, call 219-323-3458 or find Bloom Boutique Salon on Facebook and Instagram.
If you would like your business to be included in a future column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you've got tips about new stores or restaurants anywhere in the Region, or just wonder what's under construction somewhere, contact NWI Business Ins and Outs columnist Joseph S. Pete at email@example.com or 219.933.3316.
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