Truck stop

MANKATO — Aerie, a popular women’s intimate apparel store that focuses on positive body imaging, is opening in River Hills Mall.

Elsewhere, plans have moved forward for a large truck stop on the east edge of town; work is progressing on Nolabella Restaurant + Bar downtown; Spotlight Dance Studio is moving ahead with a new building; and Midwest Utility Services is expanding its facility.

Aerie at River HillsAerie, a division of American Eagle, is opening a store across from the movie theater.

“They’re a women’s intimate, sleepwear, apparel store,” said Andy Wilke, mall manager. “Their big thing is positive body images for women.”

The popular store has been growing steadily around the country capitalizing on its AerieREAL campaign featuring real women and un-retouched photos of models.

The company’s message of empowerment and inclusivity has boosted its profits with 28 consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth.

The company’s models, dubbed Role Models, include actors, activists, entrepreneurs, athletes, transgender models and scientists.

Aerie’s also has an Abilitee Adaptive Wear brand, which is designed to fill the needs of people with disabilities and medical conditions.

Wilke said the store will open in May.

Dry Goods, a junior contemporary women’s clothing and accessories shop, is opening in March in the former Charlotte Russe space.

Charlotte Russe closed last March after the chain filed for bankruptcy and closed all its locations.

The company’s website,, describes the stores as providing “customers with a unique shopping experience, combining an ever-changing selection of the latest trend-setting apparel, accessories, and gifts, visually inviting interiors, and unmatched customer service.”

Truck stopThe city is reviewing plans for a large truck stop on the far east edge of Mankato being proposed by Steve Freyberg, owner of Freyberg Petroleum.

The truck stop will be on 13 acres of land flanked by Highway 14, County Road 12 and the coming extension of Adams Street.

Drawings show 11 semi truck fueling bays and an initial 55 spots for overnight truck parking. There is room to add more overnight truck parking sites for a total of 104.

Plans also shows a 7,000-square-foot building as well as a car wash and 16 gasoline pumps.

Freyberg said the building will house a convenience store, and he’s hoping to have a restaurant in the building but said he hasn’t yet firmed up those plans.

Freyberg said he and others own the land.

The project got a boost in December when the state awarded the city a $1.1 million grant to help pay for an extension of Adams Street from County Road 12 to the east, along the southern edge of the proposed truck stop.

The grant was from the Transportation Development Infrastructure program, which was created to finance infrastructure projects that create economic development, jobs and an improved transportation system.

NolabelleNolabelle Kitchen + Bar is planning a spring opening in downtown Mankato.

“We are in full-blown construction phase. We’re taking job applications, marketing, hiring” said owner Alexa Swindell Prosser.

The restaurant is at 520 South Front St., next to Pagliai’s Pizza and in the building where Julee’s Jewelry and The Refinery boutique are.

Swindell Prosser spent 12 years in hospitality and then many years in corporate America where she did lots of traveling and sampling of local foods.

Over the years she created a menu catalog of the unique and tasty food she came across, a list she will be putting to use on the menu of her new restaurant.

She said the full-service farm-to-table dining concept will focus on made-from-scratch food with local, fresh ingredients whenever possible.

“We plan on rotating part of the menu out seasonally.”

The spring menu can be seen at

Spotlight Dance Studio

Plans have been filed with the city by APX Construction for a new building for Spotlight Dance Studio.

The building will be next to Sherwin Williams, which is across St. Andrews Drive from Home Depot.

The drawings show two large studios, for up to 26 occupants each, and two smaller studies for 18 dancers each. There will also be a mezzanine for up to seven occupants. The plan shows three restrooms, a changing room, office and mechanical/ storage space.

Brittany Umbreit’s current Spotlight studio is in the strip mall that contains Buster’s. She said in an earlier interview that they’ve outgrown that space.

Midwest Utility

Midwest Utility Services is planning an addition to their building at the corner of Mohr Drive and Summit Avenue.

The company is a full-service underground construction company serving telephone and power companies in the Upper Midwest.

They are planning a 34-by-66-foot addition to their existing 60-by-152-foot building. Drawings show the addition will contain a reception area, several offices and a lunch room.

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