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Business Buzz: West Fargo’s Pansy Plants to open Dec. 12, opening date for Fargo's Blarney Stone delayed

Downtown Fargo's Blarney Stone at the Hotel Donaldson was originally expected to open by Halloween. While the remodel has gone according to plan, owners say they're still waiting for kitchen

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Scott Brezina keeps several houseplants Friday, July 29, 2022, in his south Fargo home. Brezina will put his nursery skills to work when he opens Pansy Plants in West Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — Pansy Plants is expecting to open inside the Pioneer Place building at 300 Sheyenne St. within the next month.

The announcement was made via Facebook with the opening date set for Monday, Dec. 12. A grand opening event will follow on Friday, Dec. 16.

Pansy Plants owner Scott Brezina first shared his plans for the business with The Forum in August. Brezina used the fundraising platform Mainvest to raise $25,200 from investors for the business.

Construction is expected to conclude Thursday, Dec. 1, after which Brezina said he’ll spend the next few weeks preparing the store for its opening.

Pansy Plants will feature a broad spectrum of indoor plants, Brezina said. Each plant will come with care instructions as well. “We’re going to have a good variety, ranging from super easy plants to ones that are going to take a little more skill,” he remarked.

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Also on hand will be plant-themed accessories like pots, decorations and hangers for plants. Pansy Plants will also carry gift items. All told, Brezina is hoping for a busy stretch following the store’s opening as Christmas shopping winds down.

At the grand opening event, Brezina said he’ll offer giveaways of plants, gifts and more in addition to other activities.

Most importantly, he plans to use the grand opening to introduce himself to the local community. “I’m just really excited to be open, working and talking to people,” he said. “That’s really the big thing to celebrate, people and plants.”

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Downtown Fargo's Hotel Donaldson, 101 Broadway N., is seen Sunday, March 13, 2022. The iconic building, with its boutique hotel, bar and restaurants, was recently purchased by Slainte Holdings.
The Forum: Helmut Schmidt

Blarney Stone opening date pushed back

Getting a Blarney Stone pub opened at the Hotel Donaldson might take a little push from Santa Claus.

The ownership group had originally hoped to have The Blarney Stone at the HoDo opened by Halloween. But as Halloween neared, the date got pushed back to after Thanksgiving.

Now, tipping back a pint of ale or porter might have to wait until after Christmas - perhaps even into the New Year - thanks to still fouled supply chains.

“We’re waiting on a couple of vital pieces of kitchen equipment. And our chairs, which is odd. We can’t open up and not have a place for anybody to sit,” said Jim Poolman, president and managing partner of Slainte Holdings, which purchased the hotel at 101 Broadway N. earlier this year .

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“Those chairs are expected to ship (in) the middle of December. Personally, I’m really pushing for a before-an-end-of-year opening. But we are a slave to the supply chain,” Poolman said Tuesday, Nov. 15.

But there is really good news at the Hotel Donaldson, too, he said. Renovations of all of the boutique hotel’s 17 rooms are nearly completed.

“All of the rooms are brand new. The remodel of those rooms should be done within the next 10 days. In fact, the hotel is open and we are renting out newly renovated rooms,” Poolman said.

The hotel has remained open throughout the renovation, by maneuvering “to do groups of rooms at a time, to try and keep certain parts of the hotel open.”

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Another big plus: the Blarney Stone will have open-air dining on the First Avenue side of the building when nice weather returns next year.

“We’ll have, more than likely, windows that will open vertically, so that we can create some open air space on the First Avenue side, which is exciting,” Poolman said.

That part of the bar and restaurant will probably be called Blarney First Avenue, he said, adding that the open air space “is going to be really fun.”

Poolman said hiring is ongoing, and people interested in working at the newest Blarney Stone can call the West Fargo location and ask how to apply to work at the downtown Fargo location.

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“The construction piece of this is going on just fine. We’re adding some really fun elements to the whole thing to provide a great experience. That piece is going around great,” Poolman said. “If we can get all of the necessary equipment, we’re going to open sooner rather than later.”

The purchase agreement for the Hotel Donaldson by Slainte Holdings was announced in mid-March.

(Slainte, which means "health," is an Irish equivalent of saying "cheers.")

The building was purchased from Karen Stoker, the former wife of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Stoker had taken ownership of the hotel in 2000 and then embarked on a lengthy renovation of the building, which was feted upon its completion as a hip, upscale addition to the city’s downtown.

Poolman is a former North Dakota state representative and insurance commissioner. His partners in Slainte Holdings are Chad Wachter, president and CEO of Investcore, and orthodontist Dr. Dustin Hollevoet, both of Bismarck.

Blarney Stone Pubs serve Irish and American food, beer and cocktails.

The popular HoDo Lounge and restaurant closed in August 2020 and did not reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic ground on.

The Hotel Donaldson was originally built in 1893. It was one of the first buildings to rise after a major fire destroyed much of Fargo’s early downtown.

Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at awieck@forumcomm.com
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