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Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs, Eagle River

January 24, 2024
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Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs storefront

Eagle River’s Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs updates its recipe for success

Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs opened its Eagle River store in 2019, and soon, long lines of hungry tourists were queuing up for tasty popcorn treats.

Owners Jim and Pam Gleich, whose business manufactures and sells more than 30 flavors of gourmet popcorn and potato puffs, knew that they could significantly improve their store’s customer circulation and service by thoughtfully redesigning their Wall Street space in downtown Eagle River. So, they entered the Main Street Makeover contest (part of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, WEDC’s signature downtown revitalization initiative). The business was eligible because it was located in one of Wisconsin’s 34 Main Street communities.

Ultimately, the Gleichs’ redesign proposal was one of three statewide that was awarded $5,000 to spur an impactful makeover.

Planning, cooperation vital to success

The couple, with the help of WEDC and Retailworks Inc., a Milwaukee firm that specializes in retail branding and design, embarked on a transformational project to change the business’s look both inside and out. The planning took months and required a strong local collaboration. The Eagle River Revitalization Program (the local Main Street organization) helped connect the project to local partners and facilitated permitting and approvals. Those partners, including volunteers, customers, and others in the community came together to make the redesign a reality. At the unveiling in the spring of 2023, the owners extended their thanks to all involved and proudly displayed the project’s results.

At the ribbon-cutting, Wisconsin Lt. Governor Sara Rodriguez noted the importance of small businesses to the success of downtowns.

“Our Main Street businesses are so important to Wisconsin’s economic future,” she said. “They’re also essential to attracting and retaining workers by creating vibrant communities where people want to work, live, and grow.”

“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.”

Karen Margelofsky

Executive Director, Eagle River Revitalization Program

Strengthening a business and a downtown

The makeover not only solved some customer issues at Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs, but it helped to build the community and make downtown Eagle River even more attractive.

Changes included new signage, window displays, product merchandising, and lighting—plus the addition of bistro tables to help draw customers into the renovated space. It created a bright, welcoming environment that efficiently handles customer flow and puts the Gleichs’ numerous popcorn products front and center.

“Time and resources sometimes prevent our owners from changes they would love to implement,” said Eagle River Revitalization Program Executive Director Karen Margelofsky. “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.”



Minocqua Popcorn and Puffs, Eagle River


Improve customer flow and merchandising at a downtown business popular with both locals and tourists

State support:

A $5,000 grant, with expert help to leverage a community-driven redesign


Improved customer flow, product merchandising, and appeal of the downtown area

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