$10,000 grants will support businesses that move into vacant commercial spaces
MADISON, WI. AUG. 3, 2021 – Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes and staff will be traveling throughout Wisconsin visiting unique retailers and restaurants to encourage business owners to consider taking part in the new Wisconsin Tomorrow – Main Street Bounceback Grant Program.
Full details of the program will be announced Wednesday, but the $10,000 grants are intended for businesses that move into or expand into a currently vacant commercial space in a community’s downtown or in another commercial corridor.
“Shops, cafes and restaurants are more than just places to do business,” Hughes said. “These places draw both residents and visitors into the community and offer gathering space. Many people are willing to travel just to try a new restaurant, find the perfect gift or just discover a new favorite shop.”
Hughes, WEDC Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sam Rikkers and Marcy West, director of WEDC’s Office of Rural Prosperity will be traveling across the state this week with stops in Racine, Milwaukee, Medford, Madison, Manitowoc, La Crosse and Janesville.
In Racine, Hughes will visit the city’s Monument Square and Plush Clothing, a Main Street plus-size clothing boutique.
“Opening my boutique in downtown Racine with all its historic charm was very important to me,” said Yolanda West, owner of Plush Clothing. “Downtown represents a community of togetherness where all are welcome no matter who you are. Plush Clothing is a fashion boutique that caters to the full-figured woman. We sell trendy, yet reasonably priced clothing and accessories.”
In Milwaukee, Hughes will be visiting the new Central Standard Craft Distillery location, the Milwaukee Public Market and the newly opened Tupelo Honey restaurant.
“The area by Central Standard, Tupelo Honey and the Public Market continues to become one of the most vibrant in the city,” said Matt Dorner of Milwaukee Downtown. “New businesses and development are complemented by the streetcar system, new streetscaping, programmable spaces, public art and aesthetic lighting. It is a prime example of coupling public space and infrastructure improvements to support private investment.”
In Manitowoc, Rikkers will visit the newly opened PetSkull Brewing adjacent to the city’s developing River Point District. The district, which WEDC has supported with a $250,000 grant for the PetSkull Brewing project and nearly $300,000 in Brownfield Site Assessment Grants, is a 20-acre blighted former railyard that the city is transforming with housing, commercial and entertainment spaces. The district is on a peninsula in the Manitowoc River and will tie the area to the north side of the city’s downtown.
“The River Point District is a key part of the city’s vision to enhance our downtown core with residential, commercial and entertainment uses such as PetSkull Brewing,” Mayor Justin M. Nickels said. “The opportunity to have over 20 acres of riverfront property to support the community and downtown is practically unheard of. We are pleased to be able to share that along with investments from WEDC and the city, the district has been able to welcome nearly $20 million in private investment already.”
In Madison, Rikkers will visit the 400 block of State Street, which hosts a series of pop-up shops owned by entrepreneurs of color.
“Pop-up shops bring in new foot traffic and can help current brick-and-mortar retail in the area as well,” said Saran Ouk, Office of Business Resources manager for the City of Madison. “It’s a model that benefits the business, the landlord and the community. We are excited to collaborate with JD McCormick Properties, the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County and the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce to provide retail opportunities and to create a diverse and vibrant downtown.”
Visits may include several stops.
Here’s the complete schedule for the Main Street Bounceback Grant tour with meeting places:
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 4
WHAT: WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes visits Milwaukee.
WHERE: Central Standard Craft Distillery
320 E. Clybourn St.
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
WHAT: Marcy West, director of WEDC’s Office of Rural Prosperity, visits Medford.
WHERE: Huey’s Hideaway Children’s Museum
317 S. Main St.
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
WHAT: WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes visits Racine.
WHERE: Site of future Hotel Verdant
512 Monument Square
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, AUG. 5
WHAT: WEDC Deputy Secretary and COO Sam Rikkers visits Madison.
WHERE: 400 block of State Street
WHEN: 10 to 11 a.m.
WHAT: WEDC Deputy Secretary and COO Sam Rikkers visits Manitowoc.
WHERE: PetSkull Brewing
1015 Buffalo St.
WHEN: 2 to 3 p.m.
FRIDAY, AUG. 6
WHAT: WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes visits La Crosse.
WHERE: La Crosse Center
300 Harborview Plaza
La Crosse, WI
WHEN: 9 to 10 a.m.
WHAT: WEDC Deputy Secretary and COO Sam Rikkers visits Janesville.
WHERE: Genisa Wine Bar
11 N. Main St.
WHEN: 10 to 11 a.m.