Two local businesses have closed their doors in the last month, including Monroe Family Jewelry, which closed due to the sudden death of Gabrielle Bradley, the owner.
Bradley was 66, and was born in Germany, but came to the United States as a child. She was an active community citizen, was a member of the Lion’s Club, took C.E.R.T. classes to help assist the community in case of a disaster, and was a member of the Valley General Hospital Foundation Board. Her battle with cancer was brief, and she died July 12 at Providence Hospital. Saturday, Monroe Jewelers, Ltd., held a last sale, then closed its doors.
Also closing, at least for now, is Savvy Mattress Outlet on Main and Lewis.
“They could re-inhabit the store with something else,” said Una Wirkebau-Hart, director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce.
Opening Saturday was Monroe’s first hot dog food truck. Jerry “Big Dog” Dixon has been known by his nickname as a DJ around Monroe, announcing the Monroe Fair Days Parade, among other things. But Saturday, he gave new meaning to his moniker when he brought his hot dog truck, Big Dog’s, to share a location, aptly enough, with Sam’s Cats and Dogs, Naturally.
The truck is moving to Monroe from Sultan, where it had been located downtown.
Dixon said that Monroe is closer to home for him.
“I’ve lived in Monroe since ’95 so I’ve been there almost 20 years,” he said. “I’m involved with Relay For Life and National Night Out and the parade. Sultan was a good starting point, but most of my customers came from Monroe. The demand seemed to be higher from Monroe.”
Dixon repainted his truck to orange and black, the Bearcats colors.
He is also having a lot of fun planning future events with Sam Wirsching, owner of Sam’s Cats and Dogs.
“We are going to try to build a fun spot,” he said. “We are going to try to host wiener dog races. And one of my goals is, before Friday night football games, to be a rally point.”
Dixon’s hot dog truck features more than the traditional hot dog on a bun, with maybe relish and mustard.
There is a dog called The Slayer that comes with cream cheese and sriracha sauce, and a Dirty Dog, covered with cheese sauce, onions, BBQ sauce and crushed potato chips.
The new stand is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 12-5 p.m. and is located at 19940 Old Owen Rd.
Also coming to Monroe is a new manufacturing business in the Fryelands that could mean jobs.
A company called the IFH Group, a manufacturer of fluid storage systems, is moving out of a 160,000 square foot plant in Rock Falls, Illinois, and transferring the entire operation to Monroe.
The IFH Group makes hydraulic oil reservoirs and fuel tanks in heavy equipment, fluid storage and dispensing equipment for for oils and other industrial fluids, and equipment for metal fabrication and powder coating.
“It’s a huge company. Within, like, a year, 100 percent of the facility will run out of Monroe,” said Wirkebau-Hart. “They are very excited to be here.”
Also on the jobs front, Canyon Creek Cabinet Company is seeking about 30 employees, from unskilled to experienced managers.
Another sign the economy might be growing stronger is that there have been a high number of inquiries about empty storefronts on Main Street, said Wirkebau-Hart.
She also noted that voting on the four proposed designs for the painting on the downtown smokestack will continue for at least two more weeks, but that it won’t be possible to get the painting done by fair time, because the lift that can elevate the painter 150 feet above the ground isn’t available before September.