WEDC investment to help fund renovation of vacant building into a Great Harvest Café and Bakery

MADISON, WI. JUNE. 24, 2020 – The City of Beaver Dam is receiving a $106,000 state grant to help in the acquisition and renovation of a vacant building into a Great Harvest Bakery and Café downtown.

The Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the more than $900,000 investment to open the bakery and café. The project is expected to be complete by next July.

“One of WEDC’s top priorities is to help communities invest in their downtowns and enhance their business districts,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “The Great Harvest Bakery and Café will not only modernize Beaver Dam’s downtown but will also serve as a catalyst for future development and investment.”

Beaver Dam officials said the project will make a significant impact on revitalizing the city’s downtown by being the first site in its immediate center. The project will improve the physical infrastructure and appearance of the building as well as provide modernized and inviting interior gathering spaces.

The renovation will act as a catalyst for future renovations to the downtown area.

The goal for the city and developers is to increase the overall level of business activity as well as increase the number of jobs and local entrepreneurs. This project also has the potential to bring more residents and visitors to patronize downtown businesses and promote additional investment.

“Developers Jim and Ruth Metz have a successful history of investing and redeveloping properties in Beaver Dam,” said Mayor Becky Glewen. “One of their most recent projects, Ooga Brewing Company, was also awarded a CDI Grant from the state. The Ooga project has spurred interest in the South Spring Street area from entrepreneurs and new small businesses, and has inspired small businesses to invest in improving the appearance and appeal of their property. I anticipate that the Great Harvest Bakery & Café project will have a similar impact on the surrounding area of Front Street.”

“Beaver Dam has been a great community for us to live, raise our family and grow our business,” said developer Ruth Metz. “We feel it is important to invest in our downtown for Beaver Dam to continue to be a great place to live, raise a family and grow local businesses. It is exciting to see the changes already made in our downtown and we look forward to continued improvements and growth.”

“I want to thank the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and congratulate the City of Beaver Dam on receiving this important grant,’ said state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald. “Continuing to invest in cities like Beaver Dam is an important part of making sure that Wisconsin becomes the best place in the nation to work, live, and raise a family.”

“The new Great Harvest Bakery is another exciting addition to the revitalization of downtown Beaver Dam,” said Rep. Mark Born. “I first want to applaud Jim and Ruth Metz for their continued investment in our local community. I would also like to thank the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for their assistance in renovating this vacant building into a welcoming place for Beaver Dam families.”

Great Harvest Bakery and Café will lease 128 Front Street in downtown Beaver Dam, and the business plans to grow to include off-site catering and two potential additional locations in nearby communities. The owners intend to renovate the rest of the building to include additional retail opportunities or possibly a small food hall with potential meeting and event spaces on the upper floor.

WEDC’s CDI Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $30 million in CDI Grants to over 100 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.