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Published March 28 2014

Inside Business: Grizzly’s prepares to open in Moorhead

Moorhead -- The Grizzly’s Wood Fire Grill will soon open for business in Moorhead.

Renovations have been progressing at the new restaurant and an opening date is set for April 14, said Steve Letnes, CEO of Letnes Restaurant Group, which is based in Waite Park, Minn., and operates more than a dozen Grizzly’s locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.

Grizzly’s is setting up in space at 3333 Highway 10 E. that formerly belonged to Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern, which closed in May 2012.

That same month, Grizzly’s left the West Acres mall in Fargo, where it had operated for about 10 years.

Letnes said the Moorhead Grizzly’s plans to hire about 70 workers.

About 40 to 50 have been hired so far.

Letnes said anyone interested in applying is welcome to do so by showing up at the restaurant in person.

Tipping points

A payment services company called Square recently took a look at consumer tipping behavior across the United States.

Analyzing credit card transactions, Square determined the average gratuity left for servers in North Dakota was about 15.6 percent.

That ranked North Dakota 43rd among the 50 states when it comes to tipping, according to The Atlantic Magazine, which published the findings of the analysis done by Square.

Other findings include:

  • Minnesota placed 41st among the states, with tips averaging 15.7 percent.

  • Alaska was tops in tips with gratuities averaging 17 percent.

  • The nationwide average for tipping was 16.1 percent.

    States with the lowest tipping amounts included: Delaware (14 percent); Hawaii (15.1 percent); and South Dakota (15.3 percent).

    Michael McCall, a professor at Ithaca College who specializes in consumer behavior, told The Atlantic that the average tip amount in the United States used to be about 15 percent, but in some parts of the country, tipping has been getting closer to 20 percent.

    Area economic stats

    The Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp. recently released a number of statistics offering a glimpse into the region’s economic health.

    According to the numbers:

    The unemployment rate for the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan statistical area sat at 3.6 percent in January.

    That compared with a national unemployment rate of 7 percent (not seasonally adjusted) and a state unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.

    Housing starts in the Fargo-Moorhead area total six so far this year. That compares with 87 last year for the same time period. The 2013 number included a multifamily housing project, accounting for much of the difference, the GFMEDC said.

    Passenger numbers at Hector International Airport in Fargo climbed 11 percent in January compared with January 2013. The airport saw 71,712 passengers this past January, compared with 64,521 in January 2013.

    Third-quarter 2013 taxable sales in Cass County were about $858 million, up 4.8 percent compared with the third-quarter of 2012.

    Thrift store change

    The St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Fargo is no longer the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.

    It has been renamed the St. Francis thrift store in honor of Pope Francis.

    George Lacher, a member of the thrift store’s board of directors, said the store has operated at its current location at 1425 1st Ave. S. since 1967.

    He said the store’s mission has always been raising money to help struggling households pay for things like heat, lights and critical home repairs.

    Over the past five years, about $513,000 was raised and put toward those efforts, Lacher said.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter

    Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555