WEST BEND - The 15 businesses
affected by the 200-foot expansion of the Downtown West Bend
Association’s Farmers’ Market on North Main Street appear evenly
split whether the expansion would be good for them or not.
All of the businesses in the expansion area said they liked the
Farmers’ Market and wanted to see it succeed. However not all
want the market in front of their shops.
On Thursday night, the Common Council will reexamine its March 3
vote to allow the market to expand another half-block south on
North Main Street, from Old Settlers Park to the circle drive at
the West Bend Theater.
Last month, the eight aldermen split 4-4 to allow the market
extension. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow cast the deciding vote to
Four of the affected businesses are excited to have the market
extended south, four are equally dismayed by the idea. Three
have a neutral attitude on the expansion while another three
told the Daily News they did not wish to comment.
“Nobody has ever said we don’t want to expand the market. We
want to see the Farmers’ Market expand,” said Mike Husar, owner
of Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, one of five businesses that
filed a legal petition to get the city to reconsider its
approval of the market’s expansion.
He said extending the market farther south on North Main Street
is not the best option.
“There’s an issue with parking as it is,” Husar said. The
expansion would remove another 40 parking spaces each Saturday
morning, he added.
Extending the market south on North Sixth Avenue would be a
better option that would not burden shops on North Main Street.
Last week, attorney John DeStefanis, DeStefanis Law Office,
Mequon, filed a petition in Washington County Circuit Court for
plaintiffs HTG Design Jewelers, The Exclusive Co. of West Bend,
West Bend Coin & Collectibles, Husars House of Fine Diamonds and
Diffusion Hair Design, requiring the council to reconsider its
Thursday’s Common Council
meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 1115 S. Main St.
“For me it’s all about parking,” Diffusion
Hair Design owner Kristin Held said. “We obviously need more
spaces. We have the same issue Thursdays in the summer with
Music on Main.”
“The bigger, the better,” Sal’s Pizza
manager Matt Wiedmeyer said of the market expansion. “I think
it’s a great idea. It’ll bring more people downtown.”
Pete Puskas, owner of West Bend Coin and
Collectibles, sees it the other way. The Farmers’ Market eats up
the already limited parking spaces downtown, which interferes
with access to his business.
“It already hurts my business, now it will
really hurt my business,” he said of the expansion. “It’ll block
my business. A lot of my customers don’t like it.”
“I’m not opposed to it. It’s probably a net
neutral for me,” Tonia Emrich said. She is the owner of To Your
The market does eliminate parking for her
customers Saturday mornings when she’d prefer to hold her
classes, Emrich said. “I don’t do training in the morning. I
have no place for anyone to park. But it does bring in people to
Jim Gugg owner of HTG Design Jewelers said
he’s in favor of the market expanding, but felt the way the
location for the expansion was chosen was poorly done. “I’d
rather it was on (North) Sixth,” he said.
“We’re hoping that the Common Council will
re-affirm their decision,” Downtown West Bend Association Event
Manager Kellie Boone said.
The expansion would add space for 33 new
vendors, Boone said, and she already has contracts with vendors
that will take up a third of the additional space.
Those vendors will sell eggs, bakery, spices
and teas, marinades and rubs, food mixes, and fresh fish, the
latter probably starting sometime in June, Boone said.
The expansion is not intended to bring in
more vendors offering products already available, but to
diversify what is offered. “Our intent is to make it the best
market it can be,” she said.
Boone said she has postponed talks with more
vendors until after Thursday’s council meeting.
One vendor she wanted to add to the market,
a mustard retailer, could not wait any longer and committed to
another farmers’ market instead, Boone said.
Kim Riley, owner of Ooh La La ..., a
clothing and accessories shop, said she already has added one to
her staff in anticipation of the Farmers’ Market and is looking
for another. “I figure it’s up to me to figure out how to get
those captive customers into my store,” she said.
“We absolutely support the market
expanding,” West Bend Area Chamber of Commerce Executive
Director Craig Farrell said. “It’s one of the best in the state.
I really believe it benefits the community as a whole.”
“I love the market.
I’m all for it, always have been,” Betty Jo Kiefert said. She
owns Settlers Park Market. “My sales quadruple on Saturdays
because of it. I don’t see it as a disadvantage at all.” “I like
the Farmers’ Market, don’t get me wrong,” Puskas said. “I wish
they’d put it over on Veterans (Avenue).”