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West Side strip mall gets makeover and Starbucks a drive thru
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West Side strip mall gets makeover and Starbucks a drive thru


A more than $650,000 project is adding a drive thru at the Starbucks, 434 Gammon Place, and make other exterior improvements to the strip mall on the West Side. Not included in the cost is work to rebuild the interior of the Starbucks, which is being completely renovated and redesigned.

A West Side strip mall is getting a makeover, and when it’s completed, getting a cup of coffee will be a bit more convenient.

The Starbucks coffee shop at the corner of South Gammon Road and Gammon Place across from West Towne Mall will soon have a drive-thru.

The project, which has closed the business during construction, is part of a $650,000 renovation project on the 10,730-square-foot retail center that also is home to 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment, Scottrade and a Stanton Optical. However, that cost does not include what Starbucks will spend to upgrade the interior of its store, said Jeff Kraemer of Kraemer Development.

“We basically demolished their entire store,” Kraemer said last week. “It’s a complete new store for them.”


The closing of the Starbucks at 434 Gammon Place during a renovation that will add a drive thru has created an opportunity for another nearby coffee shop. Trevaun Turner holds a sign promoting Helbachs Coffee House,410 D'Onofrio Drive, that opened in early May in a former Victor Allen's location.

Work on the center, constructed in 2001, includes renovating the building’s exterior, creating an improved outdoor patio and a drive-thru lane that wraps around the shopping center.

The drive-thru window will be located on the south side of the building and the main entrance shifted 15 feet to the south to allow direct access into the coffee shop with the kitchen, service line and seating area shifted from the north side of the space to the south side.

“As part of the construction, Starbucks will rebuild the inside of their store to align with the new sales and service window,” Kraemer wrote to the city. “This major renovation is viewed by Starbucks as a new store and thus every aspect of the interior will be rebuilt.”

Stanton Optical, Scottrade and 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment remain open during the construction. Starbucks is scheduled to reopen in late August, which would mean it would be ready when school resumes in early September at nearby Memorial High School.


A new drive thru at the Starbucks, 434 Gammon Place, will mean that the interior of the store will need to be completely remodeled. It includes shifting the location of the kitchen and serving area.

The improvements to the shopping center’s exterior also are meant to better connect the property with the high volume of traffic that passes by on South Gammon Road each day. Future tenants of the property also could have an option of creating an entrance to their businesses from the South Gammon Road side of the building compared to the existing design where the only entrances are on the opposite side of the building adjacent to the parking lot.

In addition, improvements to the Stanton Optical space will create “a more interactive space” and create more visibility into the eye lab area that currently is not visible from the street, said Kraemer, who bought the property in 2012. Slanted windows are being replaced, roof lines are being raised and 2nd Wind will get a larger storefront facing the parking lot. The project also includes new landscaping and exterior lighting, he said.

Willy Co-op bond drive hits halfway point: The remodeling of what will become the third Willy Street Co-op is underway on the North Side, but another project of equal importance for the remodel has reached the halfway point.

A $1.5 million bond drive to support the renovation of the 20,000-square-foot space that had been home to Pierce’s Northside Market has raised $751,000, according to an update posted June 30 on the co-op’s website.

Willy Street Co-op

A freshly paved and marked parking lot is waiting for customers at what will be a Willy Street Co-op in the former space occupied by Pierce's Northside Market. Pierce's closed earlier this month. The co-op is scheduled to open in August.

Pierce’s, 2817 N. Sherman Ave., closed the first week of May, which has left the neighborhood without a full-service grocery store. The co-op is scheduled to open in August in the Northside Town Center once the $2.7 million remodeling project is completed. The co-op announced in January that it was considering the North Side after officials with Pierce’s said they were not going to renew their 10-year lease. Pierce’s opened in 2006, three years after Kohl’s closed a nearby 50,000-square-foot grocery store.

The North Side store is about twice the size of the co-op’s Madison and Middleton stores, but because of the lower incomes in the neighborhood, it will offer a section of lower-priced foods not typically found in the co-op’s other stores.

The bond drive allows co-op owners to buy the zero-coupon bonds at $500 each up to a maximum of $50,000. At maturation, a three-year bond will pay $531, a five-year bond $566 and a seven-year bond $615, according to the website. A similar bond drive was held in 2010 to help finance the opening of Willy West in Middleton. That drive raised $1 million.

A new North Woods tourist destination for anglers: Wisconsin has no shortage of businesses that serve the fishing industry.

They include the Uncle Josh Fishing Bait Co. in Fort Atkinson, founded in 1922; Musky Innovations, a musky bait company in Cleveland north of Sheboygan; and, for the walleye angler, Big Eye Custom Lures in Green Bay.

Gollon Bait & Fish Farm in Dodgeville is one of the state’s largest wholesale bait dealers, boat motors are made at Mercury Marine on the south end of Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac, and Musky Hunter Magazine is published in St. Germain in Vilas County.

When it comes to fishing rods, one of the biggest is St. Croix Rods in Park Falls, which last month began offering tours of its manufacturing facility.

The company has had a popular retail store attached to its factory for years, but now anglers will get a peek behind the curtain to see how their favorite sticks are made.

Founded in 1948 to manufacture jointed bamboo fishing poles for a Minneapolis hardware store chain, St. Croix has grown to become the largest manufacturer of fishing rods in North America. Their products are used by fresh and saltwater anglers and for fly and ice fishing. Many of their rods cost more than $150, with some exceeding $500.

Tours are free and are held daily at 10 a.m. through Sept. 30 and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Oct. 1 to April 30. The tours last about 90 minutes with a minimum of four people required and a maximum of 10 people. No reservation will be accepted after 3 p.m. the day prior to a tour and no camera or video equipment is allowed.

For more information on the tours, go to or call 800-826-7042.

Send retail-related tips and story ideas to or call Barry Adams at 608-252-6148.


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