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Area business news for Aug. 7: Health care discussion, mortgage counseling, Hobby Lobby

Two to explain state health care exchange at chamber lunch

Principal Jim Sarych and benefit consultant Andy Weitnauer, both of Financial Concepts, Inc., will be the featured speakers at the Wednesday, Aug. 14, business luncheon sponsored by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, at Mississippi Dunes Golf Club, 10351 Grey Cloud Trail, in Cottage Grove.

The event will begin with a business card exchange at 11:15 a.m. with lunch and presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sarych and Weitnauer will discuss the federal Affordable Care Act and the Minnesota Health Care Exchange and the impact to businesses.

Reservations will be accepted through noon,Thursday, Aug 8. The cost is $15 for chamber members and $18 for non-members. All are welcome to attend.

Reservations can be mailed, phone, faxed or emailed to the chamber office at Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 16, Cottage Grove, MN 55016; phone, 651/458-8334; fax, 651-458-8383; or email

Register online at via the Calendar tab.

The discussion will include an overview of the Affordable Care Act, determining if your business or organization is subject to the potential penalties and how to avoid them, an overview of the Minnesota Health Care Exchange and other items to consider.

Hobby Lobby to open store in Woodbury

The popular arts and crafts store Hobby Lobby will open its first Twin Cities location in Woodbury next year.

"We feel that the market is underserved and that we can bring a very unique shopping experience to the area," company spokesman Vincent Parker said in announcing the store plan last month. "We are looking forward to becoming part of the community."

Taking over the former Sportsman's Warehouse location near Woodbury Drive and Hudson Road that closed in 2009, Hobby Lobby plans to fill 40,000 square feet with a variety of merchandise from furniture and home accents to birdhouses and arts and crafts supplies.

Parker said the company hopes to hire 30 to 50 local employees in addition to management coming on from other Hobby Lobby locations.

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., started by building mini picture frames in a family garage 43 years ago in Oklahoma City. The company has now expanded into more than 500 arts and crafts stores nationwide including Duluth, Mankato and Rochester.

-Riham Feshir

Free mortgage aid counseling

The Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is offering free counseling for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments.

For details and to make an appointment, call the county office at 651-202-2822 or stop by the office at 7645 Currell Blvd., in Woodbury. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you go, take a monthly mortgage statement, information about any other mortgages, two most recent pay stubs, documentation of income from all sources, two most recent bank statements and unemployment insurance letter if applicable.