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BUSINESS NOTEBOOK: Democratic convention gave Alerus Center windfall

Concessions for the three-day state Democratic convention last month Grand Forks totaled an Alerus Center convention-record $88,400. The arena's highest grossing concessions came from a 2003 Kiss and Aerosmith concert ($135,000) and a 2002 Cher c...

Concessions for the three-day state Democratic convention last month Grand Forks totaled an Alerus Center convention-record $88,400. The arena's highest grossing concessions came from a 2003 Kiss and Aerosmith concert ($135,000) and a 2002 Cher concert ($115,000), according to Alerus Center officials.

The majority of the concessions sold during the April 4-6 convention were from the Friday of the convention when presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton addressed overflow crowds.

The concession revenue will go toward the Alerus Center's operating budget.

The visits and speeches by Obama and Clinton cost the city about $32,500, including overtime pay for police and firefighters and the cost of running shuttle buses to the Alerus Center.

Qwest, Verizon join forces

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Qwest Communications International and Verizon Wireless have announced a five-year partnership, allowing Qwest to market and sell Verizon service beginning this summer.

This gives Verizon an added sales presence in the territories Qwest controls.

The agreement signals the end of Qwest's partnership with Sprint Nextel Corp. to sell wireless service within its territory.

Residential customers can choose to be billed directly by Verizon for wireless service only or include Verizon service as part of a Qwest bundle with home phone, Internet and video services.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Qwest residential customers will be able to purchase Verizon service through Qwest call centers, retail stores and kiosks and online at qwest.com.

Happy Harry's remodeling

A remodel of the Happy Harry's Bottle Shop location on Gateway Drive in Grand Forks is planned for January 2009, owner Hal Gershman said.

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The permitting process hasn't been completed, but he said about 400 square feet will be added to the store and its layout will be reconfigured.

The chain's north Fargo location is also set for a remodeling project, he said.

In the last two years, the Happy Harry's locations in south Grand Forks and south Fargo each expanded by more than 3,000 square feet.

Gershman said he has no plans for adding new stores to the chain, which has two locations each in Grand Forks and Fargo.

Briefly

- Last week, the City Council approved a liquor license for Giuseppe's Italian Ristorante, allowing the new downtown Grand Forks restaurant on and off sale of beer and wine.

- The Kegs seasonal drive-in on North Fifth Street in Grand Forks has reopened for the spring and summer. The Kegs is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.

- Bismarck-based electronics retailer Pacific Sound and Video has purchased the former Big Dollar Store building in Fargo and will use the building for its fourth North Dakota location. Pacific Sound and Video also has locations in Bismarck, Minot and Dickinson, but company president Jamie Stephens would not speculate on when the chain may open in Grand Forks, saying only that the company does not plan to purchase any other future locations in the state at this time.

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To report business news, reach Schuster by phone at (701) 780-1107 or by e-mail at rschuster@gfherald.com . Schuster's business blog can also be viewed at www.areavoices.com/bizbuzz .

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