MADISON, Wis. — Today, Governor Tony Evers announced that more than 3,400 small businesses from all 72 counties have opened or expanded brick and mortar locations on Main Streets across the state — not only creating new jobs and opportunities, but revitalizing downtown areas and priming economic growth for surrounding small businesses. Gov. Evers is powering Wisconsin’s historic Main Street growth with small business-focused programs and community-based solutions.
For our communities to grow, we need to revitalize Main Streets and help entrepreneurs open up new storefronts — that’s why Gov. Evers created the Main Street Bounceback grant program last April.
But don’t just take it from us, here’s what small business leaders have said about Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback program:
In La Crosse:
Terry Bauer, the executive director of La Crosse’s Downtown Mainstreet, said “the catalyst for this downtown explosion of new entrepreneurship is the Governor’s bounce back program.”
Joel Fawcett, store manager of the Wisconsin Clothing Company in La Crosse, said that Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback program has “helped a lot with getting the space together and being able to employ.”
Kevin Abercrombie, a small brewery owner in Waunakee, likened Gov. Evers’ Bounceback efforts to a “set of jumper cables, it kind of got the car going again.”
“The grant has been incredible,” said artist John Hopkins, who opened an art gallery in Washburn using Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback grant. “That is an engine of growth in a community that was essentially a drive-thru thru [sic] community. We have something wonderful here … Washburn is more than anyone ever thought of us.”
“We had a lot of vacant buildings, a lot of empty space (before the grants),” said Melissa Martinez, the executive director of the Washburn Area Chamber of Commerce. “It says a lot about our community that businesses are willing to open in such uncertain times.”
Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback program has helped artist and photographer Jamey Penney-Ritter move her studio from her basement to a previously vacant commercial space. The Milwaukee Independent reported that the “Main Street Bounceback grant has allowed her to purchase new equipment for her business and prepay her rent.”
Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback has helped bring 30 new small businesses to downtown Racine. Kelly Kruse, executive director of Downtown Racine Corp., said that small business owners “can cover rent with that, merchandise, whatever to get their feet on the ground (with) how fragile the first year of a small business can be. And then in addition, it’s filling up our Downtown.”
Kruse also said that this “grant will allow our downtown to become more dense and robust with businesses. It’s thrilling to have the dollar amount be significant enough to truly inspire small businesses to open that brick-and-mortar store they always dreamed of.”
In Fond du Lac:
Katie Anhalt, owner of the Twisted Thread in downtown Fond du Lac, said, “It’s fantastic. To have this support is wonderful, because it’s super scary to start something new. I really wanted to be here so this is wonderful that it’s happening. This is a dream come true.”
Dusty Weis, the founder of Podcamp Media, opened a new podcast studio in downtown Milwaukee with help from Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback. “The renaissance taking place in downtown Milwaukee is something of which we’re proud to be a part,” said Weis.
In Prairie du Chien:
Crystal Priebe, owner of The Sweet Tooth in Prairie du Chien, said that she’s grateful for Gov. Evers’ Main Street Bounceback program. “We’re very very grateful for them for the support and the help that they’ve given us because there was a couple of times that we ran out of funds so without them we would not be here and we’re very appreciative of them,” said Priebe.