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The owners of Toledo-based Flying Rhino Coffee and Chocolates have signed a lease to occupy the site of a former bakery in the concourse, and plan to open a coffee and chocolates bar there within a week.
"Valentine's day would be our jumping-off point, since we sell chocolates. We're actually very excited about it," said Gini Behrendt, who with her husband, Ralph, co-owns Flying Rhino.
It is unclear whether the landlord of the 32-story downtown office building, Amtrust Realty Corp., of Manhattan, plans to add more stores. The company does not talk publicly about its properties and prohibits its representatives from doing so. So, CB Richard Ellis/Reichle Klein, a Toledo commercial real estate firm which markets the Fifth Third Center building, declined to comment about plans.
Mrs. Behrendt said she and her husband were contacted last fall by CB Richard Ellis and were asked about opening a store in the concourse. It was "a very generous offer in terms of rent," she said.
She said she did not know what other stores were planned for the concourse. The concourse was last filled during the 1980s and was all but vacated more than four years ago.
She and her husband had planned to move equipment this past weekend into their site in the concourse, and are awaiting permits from the local health department.
The plan, Mrs. Behrendt said, is to sell coffee, chocolates, and pastries to begin with. But, "Based on what customers ask of us, we may move into some kind of light lunch service, although we're not exactly sure what that would be," she added.
Flying Rhino has a downtown location at 436 13th St. in the warehouse district. Their coffee, coffee bean, and chocolates store is in a building that the couple bought in 1999.
Mr. Behrendt, a former glass blower, previously used the building as a gallery to display his glass artwork but in 2005 he got into the coffee bean business. Flying Rhino beans are sold locally at Churchill's Super Market, Sauder's Five-Star, Kazmaier's Five-Star, and The Andersons, and its coffee is sold at the Toledo Museum of Art and the Valentine Theatre.
-- Jon Chavez