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Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez celebrates Main Street Makeover unveiling in Eagle River

May 2, 2023
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Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs shows off new look

EAGLE RIVER, WI. MAY 2, 2023 – Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez today joined community leaders and the owners of Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs in downtown Eagle River as they celebrated the unveiling of the winner of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) eighth annual Main Street Makeover Contest.

“Our Main Street businesses are so important to Wisconsin’s economic future,” said Lt. Gov. Rodriguez. “They are economic drivers in their own right – employing people and fueling economic growth among suppliers and other local businesses. But they’re also essential to attracting and retaining workers by creating vibrant communities where people want to work, live, and grow.”

The store is completely updating its interior as well as its storefront and sidewalk spaces with WEDC providing $5,000 toward the project. The business, which opened its second location in Eagle River in 2019, is taking the opportunity to enhance its display and customer flow to accommodate the long lines of customers that visit during the busy Eagle River summer season.

Owners Jim and Pam Gleich say they’re grateful for all the help they’ve received and excited to show off their new look.

“We want to extend a huge thank you,” Jim Gleich said. “We are so appreciative to all our partners, volunteers, our many customers, the state and the entire community who have supported us on our journey over the past several years.”

The Wisconsin Main Street staff and a team from Milwaukee-based Retailworks Inc. have been working with the Gleiches since last fall to redesign a space that is bright and welcoming, manages customer flow effectively, and highlights the wide variety of products they offer.

Although the planning process took months and some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of electrical and lighting installation have taken place over the past several weeks, the finishing touches have all taken place during the last 24-hours, with the business reopening to unveil its new look following a ribbon cutting today. Notable changes include new signage, window displays, product merchandising and lighting, and exterior signage and bistro tables to draw customers into the renovated space.

Local Main Street partner Eagle River Revitalization Program has also helped to connect the project to local partners and facilitate permitting and approvals.

“Our business owners work so hard to create an inviting and memorable atmosphere for their customers and Jim and Pam at Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs are no exception,” said Karen Margelofsky, executive director of Eagle River Revitalization Program. “Time and resources sometimes prevent our owners from changes they would love to implement. Winning this contest allows them to have a team that will help implement new ideas and create a new experience for their customers and our community. This is a great opportunity for not only the Gleiches, but for our community, too.”

Minocqua Popcorn was eligible for the makeover as a business in one of Wisconsin’s 34 Main Street communities.

The contest is designed to raise awareness of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, WEDC’s signature downtown revitalization initiative. The program provides support and training for communities and organizations dedicated to downtown revitalization efforts and provides services and tools for businesses and property owners within these districts. The Makeover program is just one example of many programs designed to foster business and community engagement and showcase the businesses that bring life to downtown districts.

The Wisconsin Main Street Program has resulted in the creation of more than 3,200 new businesses and 16,000 new jobs in Wisconsin since its inception in 1987.

“A vibrant downtown is critical to the overall economic health of a community and recognizing and assisting the small businesses that make these districts thrive is a key part of how we support these districts,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC.

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