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Long-Awaited Restaurant To Open Doors In Coeur D’Alene On Feb. 19

Start firin’ up those taste buds. Coeur d’Alene’s Red Lobster opens in 12 days (Feb. 19)!

The Inland Northwest’s first installation of this national chain has been one of the most anticipated business openings in recent history. Since not even our big sister of Spokane has a Red Lobster, this is going to be one busy place.

The restaurant’s management is gearing up none too soon. With more than 150 jobs at stake, Red Lobster started accepting job applications Monday and will through the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nearly 600 people turned in applications the first day alone.

Manager Steve Harold, coming from Everett, Wash., will have an excess of employees the first several weeks as long waiting lines of customers are anticipated as the restaurant works out its bugs. (Oops. Bad choice of words.)

Located across from Kmart in the southeast corner of Highway 95 and Neider Avenue, the 6,000-square-foot facility will seat 180 customers. Its beer and wine license came from the old Chelsea’s tavern.

Red Lobster is owned by General Mills, which also owns the Olive Garden chain. The headquarters is in Orlando.

Right next door, the Village Inn also is accepting applications for the 80-90 employees it will hire. The three-meal, family-style restaurant should open in mid-March.

Colleen Hoffman, coming from Spokane, will manage the 170-seat restaurant. The 5,450-square-foot business is owned by Stan Pine of Kalispell. He also owns the Village Inn on Francis in Spokane and plans additional facilities in Post Falls (near the new Burger King) and Kalispell. He already owns the Sizzler restaurants in Montana.

Ample space is the consideration as Price Busters (rent-to-own) moves three blocks up Fourth Street in Coeur d’Alene. The new location for the Feb. 15 grand reopening will be 848 N. Fourth, the previous home of Kootenai County Humane Society Thrift Store.

The added space allows the business to expand from the rental of electronics and appliances to include furniture - and to expand from three to four employees. Price Busters is a subsidiary of Courtesy Rent-to-Own, with headquarters in Lewiston. The Coeur d’Alene honcho is Ric Heikkola.

The first issue of Auction Xpress, a monthly auction calendar guide for Kootenai County and Spokane, is due on the stands this week. Circulation for the first four-page issue, to be distributed in area stores and businesses, will be about 10,000.

Owners are Tina Cummings, a Coeur d’Alene original, and Lisa Johnson, who came to North Idaho eight years from Ft. Morgan, Colo. For information, phone 667-6257.

Laser tag is coming to Coeur d’Alene! With the plan of putting GoKart Family Fun into a year-round venture, the new-this-year family entertainment center just west of Coeur d’Alene on Seltice Way is adding a two-level, 5,000-square-foot Laser Force game in April.

Probably using a nuclear theme, the game involves using harmless laser-beam guns that “zap” the lights on participants wearing target vests in a darkened maze. The cost will be about $4 a game.

To help boost the winter business, the fun center’s arcade will be doubled to about 40 machines. Summer activities include two go-kart tracks, bumper boats and contoured miniature golf. A white-water raft ride has been put on hold. Owners are Joe and Julie Kamps and Tracy and Diane Singer.

A few tidbits:

Inca Hemp in Sandpoint moved from the Cedar Street Market to 311 N. 1st. Owner is Steve Logan.

Evidently Albertson’s is still planning a new store for the northwest corner of Government Way and Prairie Avenue. Wouldn’t it be nice if the giant trees on the property could remain?

“Selling Internationally,” a seminar about selling products overseas, will be offered Thursday at the North Idaho College Workforce Training Center, Post Falls. Sponsors of the $20 course are the Idaho Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Centers. Phone (208) 334-2470.

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Nils Rosdahl The Spokesman-Review

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