The New Taste of India restaurant has opened earlier than expected at 1812 Jackson St. in the Jackson Plaza shopping center.

"I just tried to push it and open it," owner Om Parkash said.

The restaurant features a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A full dinner menu is offered from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The extensive menu features appetizers, soups, vegan and vegetarian selections, rice, chicken, goat, lamb and seafood entrees, several tandoori and South Indian dishes, Indo-Thai and Indo-Chinese specials, 12 kinds of bread and desserts.

The bar serves beer — including some from India — and wine; other popular drinks include mango lassi, which is like a smoothie, and chai tea.

For someone who has never experienced Indian food, Parkash suggests some of the milder dishes, such as vegetable korma, prepared in a creamy sauce, or tandoori chicken, marinated and then cooked in a clay oven.

And the lunch buffet is a great way to sample the menu, he said.

Buffet selections change daily but always include four or five vegetarian choices, three or four nonvegetarian dishes, two or three kinds of rice and two or three different breads, plus salad and other side dishes and appetizers. The weekday buffet costs $8.99. Weekend lunches, which feature more items and typically include goat curry, are $10.99.

Parkash said he did a lot of remodeling to the kitchen of the former The Dragon restaurant and brought in all new equipment. Indian tapestries and artwork line the walls, and the restaurant seats about 75.

Parkash has hired a baker's dozen and said he'd like to add more employees as the business grows.

The restaurant's phone number is 608-782-8133.

Parkash also operates two India Curry House restaurants in Rochester, Minn., which he opened in 2003. Before that, he had restaurants in Minneapolis and says he has worked as a chef for the better part of his life, even prior to moving to the United States in 1988.

Today is the last day to rent movies at Blockbuster at 1226 Crossing Meadows Drive in Onalaska. The video store will close by the end of February, when its lease expires.

A liquidation sale of movies, electronics and candy will start Monday, and hours will change slightly: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The closing comes as a shock, an employee said, as the store just unveiled its remodeling during a grand reopening event in November.

Blockbuster will continue to offer its On Demand streaming services and By Mail rental program.

Dish Network Corp. acquired Blockbuster Inc. in a bankruptcy auction in April.

After only two months in business, Jessica Schwartzmeyer and Eliseo Soto have decided to close Bella Pizza at 2242 State Road.

"Unfortunately we had a family member get very sick, and we need to be there for physical and emotional support. (We) were running the business ourselves, and due to us not being able to be there all the time, we felt the best situation would be for us to close. I guess it was all just bad timing, and our business had to take the loss," Schwartzmeyer said.

"It's heartbreaking. It really is," she added. "We put everything into the business, and it's hard to see it go back to what it was, an empty building with pizza equipment in it."

The couple were renting the building but own the equipment, which they plan to sell.

"This is the first time in 27 years I've had my own office," laughed Sue Kolve, after a tour of her newly opened corporate offices at 575 Lester Ave., Suite 100, in Onalaska.

The 4,000-square-foot space, adjacent to The Salon Professional Academy that she owns, centralizes management of her three companies: the academy, Sue Kolve's Salon & Day Spa at 230 Main St. in Onalaska and The Studio by Sue Kolve, which opened in late June at 40 Copeland Ave., Suite 107, in the Three Rivers Plaza shopping center.

The headquarters consolidates training, purchasing, marketing, accounting, human resources and administrative functions into one centralized area, complete with a reception area, call center and videoconferencing rooms.

"It's been a three-year plan in the works," Kolve said.

Kolve opened her first salon, Sue Kolve's Hair Studio, in 1985, moving from La Crosse to Onalaska in 2002 and significantly expanding square footage and services. Sue Kolve's Salon & Day Spa offers a full range of hair salon services as well as massage therapies, facials and skin care, nail services and body wraps. The 6,500-square-foot facility also boasts a retail area and workout space serving two personal fitness trainers. Kolve said her goal was to create a place where people don't want to leave.

In September 2006, she opened The Salon Professional Academy at 566 Theater Road in Onalaska. The state-of-the-art, Redken-affiliated salon training center has graduated more than 300 students in that time and offers programs in cosmetology, aesthetics and nails. Students receive classroom instruction and supervised hands-on experience, with an emphasis on business planning, salon management and communication skills, Kolve said.

Her newest business, The Studio by Sue Kolve, is a bar concept salon, unique to this area.

The a la carte menu of services is designed for the person who's downtown and wants a cut and color or who has time for a brow wax only or just needs her hair styled before a meeting.

"We also thought there was a nice opportunity with all of the college students," Kolve said.

The seven bars are the makeup bar, the cut bar, the dry bar (for blowouts), the shot bar (reconditioning), the color bar, the wave bar and the wax bar.

"It's really a creative team," Kolve said, adding that the newest staff member at The Studio is a Salon Professional Academy graduate.

All told, Kolve employs more than 65 people.

A native of La Crosse, Kolve has taught other industry professionals the principles of salon business, design and color through her work as a Redken Professional Artist and is serving a second four-year term on the State Board of Cosmetology.

Organic Valley has completed a $6.7 million addition to its headquarters in La Farge.

The new 33,000-square-foot space features a research and development facility with a sensory lab, processing lab capable of simulating product conditions, wet chemistry and microbiology lab, packaging laboratory and library, technical library and innovation room.

"Green" design elements include the installation of 20 solar windows by Pythagoras Solar, low volatile organic compound finishes and water-efficient restroom fixtures. The organic farming cooperative reported that the overall design makes the building 45 percent more energy efficient than the average similar commercial building.

Organic Valley also is pursuing LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance certification, which measures performance of the building itself as well as behavior of the building's occupants.

"Expanding our headquarters is a reflection of our growth," said George Siemon, one of the founding farmers and CEO of Organic Valley. "As we serve more farmer-owners and meet increasing consumer demands for organic, naturally we need more employees. We're proud to bring new jobs right here to southwest Wisconsin."

Organized in 1988, Organic Valley represents 1,687 farmers in 35 states and three Canadian provinces, with more than 500 of its farmer-owners in Wisconsin.

The co-op recently announced double-digit sales growth in 2011, with revenue reaching $715 million compared to $620 million in 2010.

Organic Valley farmers produce a variety of organic foods, including milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice. Organic meat is sold under the Organic Prairie label.

For more information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop or the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop.

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