Mitch Pelsue isn’t ready to retire just yet.
He has a more than 30-year career in orthodontics in Janesville, opened a small shop in downtown Oconomowoc about four years ago to sell paddleboards and skateboards and now gives lessons on the boards and teaches yoga.
But Pelsue, 64, hasn’t slowed down and now has a new venture adjacent to his son’s fitness studio at Hilldale Shopping Center.
Pelsue has opened Beam, an orthodontics office that uses the Invisalign teeth alignment system. The sleek, 1,200-square-foot office — with a paddleboard and long-board skateboards in the lobby — is adjacent to CycleBar, a cycling fitness studio franchise owned by Dave Pelsue.
The arrangement came about when Dave found what he describes as an “ideal” spot for his fitness studio but didn’t need all of the 3,700 square feet of corner space that used to be Flat Top Grill, a restaurant that closed in January 2016 after a 10-year run.
“We looked everywhere, and we kept coming back to Hilldale,” Mitch Pelsue said. “It’s just the energy and the vibe.”
“The walk-in traffic is great,”said Dave Pelsue, 30, who opened his fitness studio in late March. “There are so many people going to these other retailers (at Hilldale) that are pretty spot on.”
Beam and CycleBar are located on the shopping center’s south side, where L.L. Bean will open a more than 15,000-square-foot store on May 11. The Apple Store, which moved to Hilldale from West Towne last fall, is a constant buzz of customer traffic, while University Book Store has new space and the movie theater a new entrance that fronts a grass courtyard.
In addition, WS Development, a Massachusetts company that owns Hilldale, has purchased the 2.8-acre BMO Harris Bank property at 401 N. Segoe Road. The site, adjacent to a parking lot already owned by WS Development, backs up to Vernon Boulevard and was purchased in October for $7.3 million. WS has not announced plans for the property, but development on the site would likely only be advantageous to Beam, CycleBar and other retailers, restaurants and businesses at the shopping center.
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Mitch Pelsue received his doctor of dental surgery degree from Northwestern University Dental School and his specialty in orthodontics from Loyola University School of Dentistry. His career has been focused on Janesville, but he got into paddleboards after a trip in 2014 to look at a kayak at Rutabaga Paddlesports in Monona. That’s where he tried and fell in love with paddleboarding. It didn’t take long before he decided to open a shop near Fowler Lake in downtown Oconomowoc that specialized in high-end paddleboards. The shop is also a short drive from a home he owns on Okauchee Lake. Discount retailers have now glutted the market with lower-cost boards, so Pelsue is focusing more of his efforts on rentals and lessons.
A second location for his orthodontics practice adds to his busy schedule and brings a high-tech feel to teeth alignment. Invisalign uses technology that digitally scans teeth to make plastic molds that gradually adjust teeth into alignment. The clear coverings are removed for eating and are less cumbersome and require less maintenance than traditional metal and wire braces. Pelsue runs the practice with his son, Brian, who also runs the Janesville office.
“I can’t imagine myself not doing something,” Mitch Pelsue said. “It’s just the daily interaction with people that gives you pleasure.”
Entrepreneurial drive has also taken hold in Dave Pelsue. He graduated from Janesville Craig High School and UW-Madison and then earned a law degree at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He spent three years in corporate law working on acquisitions and mergers but is now his own boss. In January, he opened a CycleBar studio at The Corners of Brookfield, an upscale shopping center at Interstate 94 and Bluemound Road in Waukesha County.
He opened the Hilldale location on March 26 and, on April 16, opened a studio in the Lyric, a mixed-use development on East Washington Avenue where he also has an apartment. When he graduated from UW-Madison in 2010, the East Washington Avenue corridor was blighted.
“It’s clear that East Wash has changed,” Dave Pelsue said. “Just look at the (construction) cranes dotting the sky. I knew that was a place to be.”
His more than $200,000 Hilldale location has wiped away any reminders of a restaurant. The brightly lit space includes a welcome desk, a rack for biking shoes, a small retail area, private showers, a locker room and a small refrigerator that stores cold towels for cooling down riders after their workout. Music is constantly pumped through the building but is amped up in the studio, which resembles a nightclub with lighting, a high-energy instructor and 40 Schwinn Carbon Blue stationary bikes that cost $2,000 each and are equipped with monitors synced to each rider’s profile. Most workout sessions are 45 minutes but can include riders of varying levels.
CycleBar is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has over 150 locations and plans to open another 180 studios around the country by the end of 2018. Pelsue began working out in cycle studios when he was in Chicago. When he began looking for a fitness franchise, CycleBar was his first choice.
“It just felt like the right thing to do,” Pelsue said. “It’s been a busy (first quarter). We’ve been on an all-out sprint.”