A 7,600-square-foot space that since 1959 has been home to a Ben Franklin store on Madison's East Side will soon become a fitness center for women.
Galway Companies, owner of Lake Edge Shopping Center, announced Tuesday that Burn Boot Camp will take over the space after Ben Franklin leaves at the end of June. In a statement, issued after a State Journal story was published about the closing of the Ben Franklin, 4108 Monona Drive, Galway Companies said it was looking for a tenant that could commit to a long-term lease. The owners of Ben Franklin have been on a month-to-month lease for 35 years. Galway Companies bought the shopping center earlier this year.
"All we can tell you is there are two sides to every story," Galway Companies wrote Tuesday morning in an e-mail to the State Journal. "When we took over management of this shopping center, we were told by Ben Franklin that sales were terrible, and that they were not able to commit to the center long term. As the manager of this property, it’s our responsibility to keep this a lively shopping center for the neighborhood with tenants who are willing to contribute to the vibrancy of the center."
Tom and John Retzlaff, whose father opened the store 59 years ago, announced Thursday that their store would be closing after being told by Galway on May 14 that their lease would not be renewed. The announcement created strong reactions from customers and those posting to the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association Facebook page.
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The news came at about the same time that word began to spread about the closing of the Ace hardware store a few blocks away on Cottage Grove Road. The hardware store will close in late June or July, leaving the neighborhood without a hardware store for the first time in at least 50 years.
Dan Roseliep, who is marketing the 26,000-square-foot, two-level hardware store space for Altus Commercial Real Estate at $13 per square foot, said his company is "optimistic" that it would find one or more tenants for the hardware store space.
"This is a very active market," Roseliep said. "There's so much good going on between the lake (Monona) and Royster (Corners). It’s really a wonderful corridor."
Galway Companies is not affiliated with the Ace property but manages many other Madison-area shopping centers. They include the Highland Gates Shopping Center at South Gammon and Watts roads; The Shoppes at East Towne Pointe, 4630 E. Washington Ave.; Zeier Road Retail Center, 2245 Zeier Road; Oakbridge Commons, 7810 Mineral Point Rd., and shopping centers in Lake Delton, Platteville, Stoughton, Verona and McFarland, among others around the state.
Burn Boot Camp is a national franchise founded in 2014 with over 300 locations around the country. The company has seven locations in Wisconsin including in Sun Prairie, Verona and Middleton.