Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.
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FARGO—When Hao Zhang first came to Fargo in 2008, he didn't know much about the area—he only chose to move here by randomly pointing to a spot on a map. That's why it might be surprising to learn the 30-year-old will soon fly back to his native country to open a North Dakota company's first international office as a way to beef up its contacts in China and help other companies tap into business opportunities in America's Midwest.
FARGO—Melissa Dixon drives a beloved Nissan Murano, a mid-size SUV that she jokingly refers to as a "four-wheeler" just like any other non-semi vehicle. But there's no denying her drive for the trucking industry, both through her work with an insurance company as well as her recent rise to become the first female president of a state organization that represents the industry. Dixon became president of the North Dakota Motor Carriers Association in late May following several years of serving on the board and various other organizations.
FARGO—A long-vacant laundromat building here will become a new restaurant on the edge of downtown as a Perham, Minn., couple plans to expand their eateries to Fargo and Wahpeton, N.D. Britt Belquist and her husband, Alex Belquist, opened Perham's Brew Ales & Eats in 2011 in the back of a diner. The couple bought a building at 124 E. Main St. in 2012 and moved Brew there the following year.
MARSHALL, Minn.—A frozen food company is boosting its frozen pizza business with two recent acquisitions. Schwan's Co., which was founded in 1952 and is headquartered in Marshall, announced Monday, July 24, that it acquired Better Baked Foods and Drayton Foods from NE Foods Inc. It's the second acquisition in recent months as the company builds up its stake in the U.S. pizza market, according to a news release. Schwan's reported last month that it acquired MaMa Rosa's Pizza, a company based in Sidney, Ohio.
MOORHEAD, Minn.—After 15 years working for Target, Doug Restemayer learned all too well how easily a gathering of employees can become a dreaded part of the job. "My whole day consisted of meetings," he said. "Not many of them are very productive." That's why Restemayer, the president and owner of beer and beverage distributor D-S Beverages Inc., said it's been "refreshing" to run a small company and structure it the way he wants—and that includes a demand to make meetings relevant and effective, not a necessary evil of the workday.
FARGO — Another store is closing at West Acres Shopping Center, but an official with the mall said the news wasn't a surprise and demand for space still outpaces vacancies. The Gymboree Corp. announced Tuesday, July 11, that it will close about 350 stores, including its Gymboree store in West Acres, after a "comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint." Closing sales will begin July 18.
FARGO—Two friends learned a lot about the college admission process as their kids got into elite American universities. That's why they're putting that insight to use with a new business that aims to share those lessons with other parents and students. Paula Mehmel and Tammy Goerger held two informational sessions earlier this month for GPS College Navigation Consultants: Guidance for Parents and Students. They'll have another free meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at Elim Lutheran Church, 321 9th St. N., Fargo.
FARGO — The family of missing restaurateur Rodolfo Romo Garcia is keeping pressure on authorities as the investigation into his whereabouts stretches on. Two of his sisters and their husbands came from Omaha and Sioux Falls, S.D., to meet with Fargo Police Detective Josh Loos on Wednesday, June 21, to share what they know and get an update. The owner of three Romo's Tacos restaurants who did business in town as Rodolfo Romo was reported missing June 2. Fargo Police Officer Jessica Schindeldecker said there was no new information in the case to report Wednesday.
FARGO — All outward signs suggested Rodolfo Romo was ready to put behind him the recent failure of Magnolia's, a downtown Fargo restaurant he opened and quickly shuttered. In the past few weeks, the restaurateur best known for his three Romo's Tacos locations in Fargo renewed a liquor license and discussed his plans to find more workers to keep his businesses thriving. But Romo, 43, suddenly disappeared, and his restaurants are now closed after his family reported him missing.
FARGO—The leaders of Swanson Health Products are trusting their guts when it comes to the company's first-ever launch of a new full line of products. The Fargo-based vitamin and supplement distributor, headquartered at 4075 40th Ave. S., introduced 14 probiotic supplements on May 11. While Swanson already sold a basic line of related supplements, Chief Innovation Officer Shane Durkee said the market has shifted as new research finds benefits of refining and boosting the potency.