WEDC: Five state businesses named finalists in Wisconsin’s Main Street Makeover Contest

David Callender, Communications Director, 608-210-6706, [email protected]

MADISON – Five Main Street businesses from around the state have been named as finalists in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) annual Main Street Makeover Contest and have a chance to win up to $10,000 in upgrades for their storefronts.

Based on the popular reality show concept, established businesses located in one of the state’s 35 Wisconsin Main Street communities had the opportunity to nominate themselves for a “makeover” that will take place in the spring of 2021. The winning business will receive personalized technical assistance and up to $10,000 to implement recommended changes, which could include interior and exterior design improvements or personalized assistance to boost the business’s image and operations.

Finalists were selected based on their business track record, the vision for their business, and the potential for the makeover to have a positive impact on the Main Street district.

The five finalists are:

  • Lucky Cow Coffee & Gelato – Darlington
  • Moores on Main – Ashland
  • Off the Mat Yoga – Marshfield
  • Stateline Mental Health Services – Beloit
  • Sweet Pea’s Pie – Mayville

The winner will be announced in mid-February. The winning business 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 two-day transformation in late spring.

The new downtown storefront will be formally unveiled during a public celebration. All eligible businesses that submitted applications for the competition will receive technical assistance from the Main Street team to help achieve their goals and improve their business.

Here are details on the finalists:

Lucky Cow Coffee & Gelato, Darlington: Lucky Cow Coffee & Gelato was started by Amber McComish and husband Joe to diversify revenue streams for their farm. The resulting gelato shop concept evolved on its journey from their family farm to a commercial kitchen in Platteville and a downtown storefront in Darlington, which opened just as COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. However, pre-ordered pickup orders still resulted in lines of cars down the block. Once the business was able to reopen, they added drop coffee, cold brew and espresso drinks along with homemade bakery items. In addition to growing the brand, they are hoping to transform their small shop inside and out into a focal point and a gathering space in the heart of Darlington.

Moores on Main, Ashland: Clothing shop Moores on Main has been an anchor in downtown Ashland since 1946, when it started as an Army Navy Store. Now a second-generation retail shop operated by Wendy and Steve Moore, the store caters to a diverse customer base that travels from multiple states to shop for everything from work wear to back to school or everyday fashion. With today’s competitive shopping climate, the business hopes to upgrade their space to offer an inviting shopping experience that entices customers to return regularly.

Off The Mat Yoga, Marshfield: Yogis Stacy Wolf and Luanne Sojka opened Off The Mat Yoga Studio in 2015. The studio has operated in three different downtown locations since then, expanding both the number of instructors and style of classes offered. Last February, the duo were able to purchase a downtown storefront space and start the process of remodeling, which continued as classes went virtual during COVID. The business hopes to explore opportunities associated with the new space to offer additional group sessions and add a retail component to further serve their loyal customers.

Stateline Mental Health Services, Beloit: Owner Stephanie Knueppel has been a licensed therapist for 14 years, opening her Beloit office in 2014. After several years of continuous growth, Stateline purchased a downtown building in 2016, and then the adjacent property a short time later. Now employing 26 staff members, the business provides community mental health services to individuals of all ages, including seven school districts, individuals with disabilities and individuals from all walks of life. To continue to enhance the services offered, the business hopes to identify ways to better use their space to accommodate the diverse clientele effectively, offering a welcoming environment from the moment clients walk through the door while also meeting accessibility and other unique needs.  

Sweet Pea’s Pie, Mayville: Rachel Smith, aka Sweet Pea, has had a lifelong love of baking. Sweet Pea’s Pies was founded in Elk River, Minn.in 2009. She and husband Kyle fell in love with Mayville and the historic Music Block building, and purchased it as a new Wisconsin home for their business, which will open in spring of 2021. However, in addition to wholesale distribution, the business will also offer a retail element, selling not only pies but also ice cream, using their prime corner location to serve as an anchor in downtown. The makeover will aid in designing a welcoming retail space that uses the historic storefront location.

Now in its fifth 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.

Communities selected to join the prestigious program receive technical support and training needed to restore their Main Streets to centers of community activity and commerce. The Wisconsin Main Street Program, part of a nationwide program of the National Main Street Center, has been recognized nationally for its participation, initiatives and outcomes.

For more information on the Wisconsin Main Street Program, visit wedc.org/MainStreet.

The 2018 Main Street Makeover winner was Annie’s Fountain City Café in downtown Fond du Lac.. The 2019 Makeover winner was Anthony’s 511 Barbershop in downtown Watertown. The 2020 Makeover winner was Ted’s Pizza Palace in downtown Menomonie.