I attended a nice get-together of our COMO BUSINESS COMMUNITY last Monday. Hosted jointly by the Foundation and Muffuletta's new manager, Bryan White, in their back dining room, it featured delicious appetizers from chef Matt Ellison and good conversation about shared goals and ideas for promoting our unique destination retail area. I think there was at least one rep from just about every store on the avenue and since there are some relatively new faces, it was a good opportunity for everyone to get to know each other a little better. That's especially important since there hasn't really been an organized business association for a dozen years or more.

There was some surprise news from the Lady Elegant's Tea Room folks, they have sold their tea and gift shoppe to new owners and will be gone as of next week, I believe. Stop over to say goodbye if you have the time, Michelle Hubble and her folks have run that place at its Milton Square location since 2003 offering wonderful tea, delicious scones and an appropriately english atmosphere. I haven't met the new owners yet, but Michelle said their dream has always been to own a tea shop and now they do. Thanks and farewell to Michelle and her folks, hello to our new business neighbors!

One of the primary areas of discussion for remaining merchants is the potential impact light rail will have on the northern end of District 12. One would like to think it would boost business, but it's hard to know how many riders will make the trek to Como Avenue and it's best not to assume they will do so on their own. A first step is to organize some sort of presence at the Raymond Avenue Station launch party on June 14. Thanks to the Foundation and Sunrise Banks, there will be a trolley running from 9am-3pm on launch Day to take people to and from the all day festivities. A secondary item of interest was to start working together more closely, with a first step being the creation of an "Historic St. Anthony Park" retail Facebook page. Muffuletta asst manager, Ben Amundson, who also was the original initiator of the meeting idea, offered to start one up and several other tech savvy retailers offered their support if needed to further refine the group web presence.

Everyone seemed excited to run with the idea and a follow-up meeting will be planned, so keep your eyes open for developments as they say. Also, not that you need a reminder, but we have a pretty amazing group of merchants throughout our district. They bring in people from all over, but they rely on this neighborhood for their core business. They also rely on us to be engaged and give them feedback on how they're doing. They always appreciate compliments and constructive critiques. If you haven't done so, get to know them, we're lucky to have them and their businesses nearby.

And now, the rest of the news...

May Bugle
Go to the source for local news, the Bugle. If it's not in there, it's probably not news. Great articles on the ADU meeting, the Foundation grant competition, Como Lake and a couple of our far flung area college students in Abu Dhabi, SAPAS' senior assessment process and more. There's also great stuff  about the CEZ and the entire Green Line in the line. Check it out as well.

Mahmoud is Back!
Mahmoud Shahin, the irrepressible owner/DIY remodeler of Mim's and Lori's on Cleveland & Buford has returned from his native homeland in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank. He generally spends the winter there with his wife and 4 children who have made it their home for the past few years. His annual return is a sure sign that spring has arrived. It also means the rehab will recommence. Stop over and ask for the grand tour of the two newly remodeled middle rooms as well as the plans for the current coffee shop and restaurant rooms on the ends. You won't find a more hospitable host.

Latin Flavored Family Night
Music in the Park Series popular Family Night program features Cuarteto Latinoamericano this Friday night at St. Matt's on the corner of Carter & Chelmsford. The same group will also perform this Sunday for the MiP regular concert series. Tickets still remain just go to the Schubert Club's website. The quartet won the Latin Grammy in 2012 for best classical recording.

Raptor Center Breaks Ground on New Wing
Sorry, couldn't resist...the U of M Raptor Center is breaking ground tomorrow, April 24, at 3pm for a new education center and bird housing structure. The event is open to the public and educational birds will be on display.

More Garage Entries
There continue to be overnight thefts from cars in garages. The latest came from a garage on Raymond across from the tennis courts. Nothing stolen because nothing left in the cars, but remember to lock you garage door or something more valuable may go missing some night. Warmer weather means bike thefts.

St.APnotes
  • Annual tomato plant sale for the Animal Humane Society, here's the link to order. 
  • Avalon invites the community to see 10,000 Things new play, Dirt Sticks on 4/28 at 2pm.
  • Peapods is offering a free storytime for preschoolers at 11am hosted by owner Dan & Millie's daughter, Abby. I guarantee she will keep those kids entertained.
  • SAPAS is still looking for someone to help a couple local seniors get their lawns ready for spring.
That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.