Rochester’s Business Landscape: A Look at the Closures of 2023

25 December 2023

Examining the challenges faced by Rochester businesses and the impact of closures on the local economy

Running a business is a challenging endeavor, with entrepreneurs often facing a multitude of obstacles that can ultimately lead to closure. In Rochester, Minnesota, the story is no different. The city has seen its fair share of businesses opening and closing their doors, with each closure leaving a lasting impact on the local community. In this article, we will explore some of the notable closures that occurred in 2023 and delve into the reasons behind their demise. From beloved restaurants to toy stores and coffee shops, these closures shed light on the difficulties faced by businesses and the resilience required to survive in today’s competitive market.

Pescara: The End of an Era

The closure of a popular restaurant due to changes in property ownership

One of the most significant closures in Rochester was the beloved Pescara restaurant, which had been a staple in the community since 2009. The closure came as a result of the DoubleTree Hotel, where Pescara was located, shutting its doors to guests in order to make way for student housing. The University of Minnesota leased several floors of the hotel for student accommodation, leaving Pescara without a home. This closure highlights the impact that changes in property ownership can have on businesses, forcing them to adapt or face the unfortunate reality of shutting down.

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Fury Motors: A Consolidation Effort

The decision to close a dealership to consolidate operations

Fury Motors, a dealership specializing in “premium” late-model used cars and trucks, made the difficult decision to close its Rochester location in early 2023. The closure was part of a consolidation effort, with the business choosing to focus its operations at its South St. Paul location. For founder Red Leonard, who started his career in auto sales in Rochester over 70 years ago, the closure marked a bittersweet moment. This closure serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by businesses in the automotive industry and the need to adapt to changing market dynamics.

ABC & Toy Zone: End of an Era

The closure of a long-standing independent toy store and the arrival of a new player in the market

Rochester bid farewell to ABC & Toy Zone, a beloved independent toy store that had been serving the community for 30 years. The closure, while a loss for the city, paved the way for Legacy Toys, a Minnesota-based toy store, to open its doors in the same location. This transition highlights the ever-changing retail landscape and the need for businesses to evolve and meet the demands of consumers. While the closure of ABC & Toy Zone marked the end of an era, it also showcased the resilience of the Rochester community in supporting local businesses.

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Chez Bojji: A Shift in Focus

The closure of a restaurant and the transition to a food truck and catering operation

After a successful three-year run, Chez Bojji, a popular restaurant in the Avalon Building, made the difficult decision to close its doors. However, this closure did not mark the end of Chef Youness and Amber Bojji’s culinary journey in Rochester. The couple shifted their focus to a food truck and catering operation, allowing them to continue serving the community with their delicious creations. This transition exemplifies the adaptability and determination of entrepreneurs in the face of challenges, as they find alternative ways to pursue their passion and provide for their customers.

Fiddlehead Coffee Co.: Overcoming Health Challenges

The closure of coffee shops due to health issues and the impact on the local coffee scene

Fiddlehead Coffee Co., a beloved local coffee chain, closed its two Rochester locations and a shop in Bloomington after six years of operation. The closure was attributed to the health problems faced by co-founder Patrick Phelan. Despite the closure, Fiddlehead Coffee Co. left a lasting impact on the local coffee scene, offering quality beverages and delicious pastries to its loyal customers. This closure serves as a reminder of the personal sacrifices entrepreneurs often make in pursuit of their dreams and the lasting legacy they leave behind.

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The closures of various businesses in Rochester in 2023 shed light on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and the ever-evolving nature of the business landscape. From changes in property ownership to consolidation efforts and health issues, each closure tells a unique story of resilience and adaptation. While closures can be disheartening, they also pave the way for new opportunities and the emergence of innovative ventures. Rochester’s business community continues to navigate these challenges, showcasing the spirit of entrepreneurship and the determination to overcome obstacles. As we bid farewell to these closed businesses, we look forward to the new chapters that will unfold in the city’s vibrant and ever-changing business landscape.

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