Kraus-Anderson Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that owns Shelby Mall and is part owner of the U.S. Bank Place building in downtown La Crosse, has purchased the Crossing Meadows shopping center in Onalaska for $16.3 million, according to county records.

Meanwhile, a Beef Jerky Outlet store is planned next to the Fantastic Sam’s hair salon in Crossing Meadows.

Kraus-Anderson bought the shopping center in early January from U.S. Properties Group Inc. of suburban Columbus, Ohio. The sale includes the Festival Foods building, the attached strip center, the two buildings that house Fantastic Sam’s and Party City, and undeveloped land next to the Gander Mountain store.

Kraus-Anderson bought the Crossing Meadows center because “It’s an opportunity to grow in the area,” said Mark Hyde, the company’s La Crosse-based property manager and leasing agent. “We think there are some (leasing) opportunities that have been missed.”

Hyde noted a Beef Jerky Outlet store will open in the space formerly occupied by Hallman Lindsay Paints, which recently moved to a new Onalaska location. I’ll have more about that move in next week’s column.

Luke and Emily Wagner of La Crosse plan to open their new Beef Jerky Outlet store this spring at 1226 Crossing Meadows Drive in the Crossing Meadows center.

Luke said he and his wife bought a franchise from the Tennessee-based chain, whose stores sell more than 200 varieties of jerky. “We’re shooting to open April 1,” he said.

Besides jerky, Wagner said, the chain’s stores also sell such things as rubs, candy, popcorn and souvenir merchandise. The Wagners plan to eventually open more Beef Jerky Outlet stores in other markets.

Treasures gift shop opened Jan. 25 in the former Kitchen Collection storefront in Valley View Mall.

Tod and Carol Wilson of Holmen own the business, which had operated in a kiosk near the mall’s Sears store for the past 1½ years. They began their business in 1997 by selling collectibles on the Internet and opened their first kiosk in the mall in 2008.

“We saw an opportunity,” Tod said of the couple’s decision to move Treasures to the storefront between Express and Helzberg Diamonds. With much more space, he said, “People can see everything on display better. And we expanded the selection of products.”

Wall hangings such as plaques, photos and metal signs account for about 80 percent of the store’s merchandise. There’s a large selection of Green Bay Packers items, including some autographed merchandise. Wisconsin Badgers, Milwaukee Brewers and Minnesota Vikings items account for some of the other sports-related inventory.

“About half of the store is sports items and half is culture items,” Wilson said. For more information, call 608-518-8926 or visit the store’s Facebook page.

The new Viroqua Visitors Center at 201 N. Main St. in Viroqua will remain open, even after Viroqua Chamber Main Street returns to its office in the Western Technical College building in downtown Viroqua.

Viroqua Chamber Main Street’s office moved temporarily to 201 N. Main St. (and created a visitors center there) in October because of a major remodeling project at the college’s Viroqua building. Its office in the college building probably will reopen by early March, said Nora Roughen-Schmidt, the organization’s executive director.

“There’s been wonderful traffic” at the new visitors center, she said. The Viroqua Common Council decided in January that the city will continue to share (with the organization) the cost of renting that location for the rest of the year.

It will be staffed by Viroqua Chamber Main Street personnel and volunteers. Visitor center hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Starting in May, the center also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. For more information, visit www.viroqua-wisconsin.com.

A Christopher & Banks Missy Petite Women apparel store opened Jan. 29 next to Zumiez in Valley View Mall, in the remodeled space where Minneapolis-based Christopher & Banks Corp. had been operating a CJ Banks store that sold apparel for plus-size women.

The retailer recently closed its Christopher & Banks store in the mall space between Bath & Body Works and PINK, so it could operate one store with its relatively new MPW concept (apparel for women of all sizes) rather than two stores that served different segments of the market. It’s been combining two stores into one MPW store in a number of malls.

Steve Cahalan can be reached at stevecahalan.reporter@gmail.com or at 608-782-9710, ext. 8819.

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