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New 'cooperative' complex opens with brewing, baking and banking

First Alliance Credit Union opened a new branch concept Monday in Northwest Rochester. In addition to First Alliance financial services, it features a Moka Coffee shop and a Great Harvest Bread Co. location.

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A new type of credit union branch opened Monday in Northwest Rochester, along with a coffee shop and a bread bakery.

“Bake, brew and bank — all in one stop,” said Mark Hettinger of the “cooperative” complex at 2483 Commerce Drive NW, anchored by Rochester’s First Alliance Credit Union.

Moka Coffee and Great Harvest Bread Co. also have locations based in the building, so people can visit all three businesses during one stop. All three businesses opened on Monday.

The complex is located along West Circle Drive by the future home of a coming International House of Pancakes location and Tap House West End.

While these types of mixed commercial centers based around a credit union or bank branch are popping up in many cities, this is Rochester’s first such branch.

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Hettinger, First Alliance vice president, has been working on this project for some time. While the opening was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said everyone is very excited to be open.

“We thought it was important to open the branch together with Moka and Great Harvest … This is a cooperative partnership,” he said.

Moka, which has two drive-up locations and a downtown cafe in Rochester, has a drive-thru window on the north side of the building. First Alliance’s drive-thru is on the south side.

Great Harvest, which has a location on North Broadway, is open for takeout and delivery. Their parking spots out front are designated for curbside delivery for Great Harvest customers.

The lobby of the First Alliance branch is open, as well as the drive-thru. Four employees staff the branch. This is the first of the credit union’s branches to open its lobby following the pandemic closures, though the drive-up windows are open, too.

First Alliance is also working on opening a new branch in Stewartville at 300 N. Main St. in the former home of Wells Fargo Bank. That branch is expected to open Sept. 21.

The complex still has spots — a 1,000-square-foot space and 800-square-foot space — available for lease.

“We’re looking for businesses to compliment the vibe of what we’ve created here,” Hettinger said.

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Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to jkiger@postbulletin.com or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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