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Three businesses named winners of Wisconsin’s Main Street Makeover Contest

November 4, 2022
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Winners will receive a business makeover this spring

MADISON, WI. NOV. 4, 2022 – Three downtown businesses from around the state have been named as winners in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) annual Main Street Makeover Contest. These three businesses advanced from the finalist round and will receive funding and assistance to upgrade their storefronts.

Based on the popular reality show concept, established businesses located in one of the state’s 34 Wisconsin Main Street and 89 Connect Communities had the opportunity to nominate themselves for a “makeover” that will take place in the spring of 2023. The winning businesses will receive personalized technical assistance and up to $5,000 to implement recommended changes, which could include interior and exterior design improvements or personalized assistance to boost the business’s image and operations.

Six finalists were selected from among the statewide applicants based on their business track record, the vision for their business, and the potential for the makeover to have a positive impact on their downtown district. The three winners were chosen from among this group after a round of interviews to understand the scope, scale and opportunity to achieve the businesses’ vision through the makeover program.

The three winners are:

  • Art on the Town, Beaver Dam
  • Market Street Boutique, De Pere
  • Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs, Eagle River

These businesses will spend several months working with Main Street staff and consultants from RetailWorks, Inc. a Milwaukee-based interior design firm, on a renovation plan, followed by a 24-hour transformation event in the spring.

The new and improved business spaces will be formally unveiled during a public celebration featuring state and local officials. All eligible businesses that submitted applications for the competition will receive technical assistance from the Main Street team to help achieve their goals and enhance their business.

The winners are:

  • Art on the Town, Beaver Dam – Owner Kris Schumacher-Rasmussen moved her DIY art studio out of her home and into a downtown storefront in late 2019, transitioning almost immediately into a curbside service business. Since reopening, the studio has moved beyond pottery painting to include wheel throwing classes, canvas and board painting and many curated classes in addition. These expanded services create the need for enhanced marketing and a revamped storefront and classroom space that accommodates the wide variety of audiences they serve while maintaining an inspirational and artistic aesthetic.
  • Market Street Boutique, De Pere – When COVID hit, owner Maggie Simmons transitioned from lawyer to stay-at-home mom to boutique owner. Originally working with her stepmother on her online boutique, Maggie decided to open a bricks-and-mortar boutique in her hometown of De Pere. Her goals for the makeover are to expand her marketing reach and create a space within the store for her popular permanent jewelry experience.
  • Minocqua Popcorn & Puffs, Eagle River – The second location of this popular Minocqua-based snack shop opened in Eagle River in 2019. Owners Pamela and James Gleich hope to benefit from the makeover by improving the curb appeal and storefront visibility to attract more foot traffic to the business. This makeover will complement the expansion of the businesses’ e-commerce site to allow the shop to partner with area organizations on fundraising programs.

Now in its seventh year, the Main Street Makeover Contest is an initiative of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, a comprehensive revitalization program overseen by WEDC and designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin. The contest is designed to raise awareness of the Wisconsin Main Street Program and Connect Communities Program, which are the two downtown revitalization initiatives overseen by WEDC. The programs provide support and training for communities and organizations dedicated to downtown revitalization efforts. The Makeover programs are just one example of many programs designed to foster business and community engagement and showcase the businesses that bring life to downtown districts.

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