A Beaver Dam art studio, a De Pere boutique, and an Eagle River popcorn shop made improvements after winning the Main Street Makeover Contest.
Three Wisconsin downtown businesses replaced a dated appearance with a stunning new one after being named the winners of the 2023 Main Street Makeover Contest.
Beaver Dam’s Art on the Town, De Pere’s Market Street Boutique, and Eagle River’s Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs were awarded makeovers that gave their businesses welcoming new looks while improving the surrounding downtown areas.
“A vibrant downtown is vital to a community’s economic growth,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “Investing in our communities aids business efforts to recruit and retain workers by making Wisconsin an even more attractive place to live and work.”
The contest, now in its eighth year, raises awareness of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, the state’s signature downtown revitalization initiative.
As part of the contest, three winning businesses were chosen to receive $5,000 each in state support for their makeovers.
Major changes involved in the projects often take a few weeks, but all of the finishing touches are applied in a 24-hour period through cooperation with contractors, designers, and volunteers.
Working with WEDC and Retailworks Inc., a Milwaukee-based retail branding and design company, the firms embarked on transformational projects to change their look, both inside and out.
Here is a look at the projects that this year’s winners tackled:
Art on the Town
The Beaver Dam art studio enhanced its signage, upgraded displays, and improved interior circulation. The renovation highlights the wide variety of projects and classes available at the business and created three distinct spaces. Outside, Art on the Town also installed a new awning and a fresh coat of paint. The total redesign took months to plan.
“We wanted the inside and outside of our building to reflect the creativity that our amazing customers show every time they make something here at Art on the Town, and we think we’ve done that and more,” said owner Kris Schumacher-Rasmussen.
Market Street Boutique
The redesign at the boutique—which specializes in clothing, gifts, and stylish accessories for women of all ages and sizes—aimed to make the business more functional for staff and welcoming to customers. Changes included new dressing rooms, an expanded jewelry station, better lighting, and more display options. Coordinated paint, lighting, and signage as well as upgraded checkout counters were added.
Owner Maggie Simmons thanked the project partners, volunteers, and customers. Tina Quigley, executive director of Definitely De Pere, also expressed delight with the updates. “We are excited to see the striking storefront and enhanced interior space,” Quigley said. “The update better reflects Market Street Boutique’s brand and creates an inviting shopping environment.”
Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs
This business, which opened its second location in Eagle River in 2019, enhanced its display and improved its customer flow to accommodate long lines of customers during the tourist season. The store revamped its interior, storefront, and sidewalk spaces. The bright and welcoming space allows the business to better display the wide variety of products the store offers. New exterior signage and bistro tables were added.
“We want to extend a huge thank-you,” said Jim Gleich, who owns the store with his wife, Pam. “We are so appreciative to all of our partners and volunteers, our many customers, the state, and the entire community who have supported us in our journey over the past several years.”