New London business news
Expansions, relocations. mergers
By John Faucher
The New London business community has had a busy year.
In the first two quarters of 2021, there were 20 businesses that either merged, transferred ownership, expanded or started up in New London.
Third quarter activity
Ample signs of activity continued to show through the end of the third quarter.
In July two long time businesses successfully transitioned to new ownership.
The Bottles Shop located at 303 S. Shawano Street was purchased by Katie Thurk and Jeremy Bauer, the current owners of Change Up Vape located in the Wolf River Plaza. The couple purchased the Bottle Shop from longtime owners Tom and Dorrie Huss, who officially retired after owning the business for 27 years. Tom and Dorrie plan to spend more time with family and vacation in the Philippines during the winter months.
Thurk and Bauer did extensive renovating and kept the 50 year-old Bottle Shop name sake while merging their vape products into the new businesses. This created a vacancy at the former Change Up location in the plaza.
The C&R Waterfront Bar located at 408 W. North Water Street was sold in late July. The bar’s new owner, Sean Fraser, kept the Waterfront name and re-opened within one day of the transfer.
Domino’s Pizza, currently located at 316 B Wolf River Plaza, announced its plans to relocate to the former Family Diner Building at 400 N. Shawano Street within the next year. Extensive renovations to the Shawano Street location are underway.
In August, New London Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director April Kopitzke informed the City’s Economic Development Committee of new grant opportunities for new or existing businesses that purchase vacant commercial space.
She also worked with Chamber Intern Alaena Wolf to facilitate a commercial Lease Survey of New London Businesses.
Downtown occupancy assessment
A recent business occupancy and vacancy assessment completed by the New London Area Chamber of Commerce found the West side of N. Pearl Street had 15 commercial buildings with 13 of them open for business.
The East side of N. Pearl Street housed 10 commercial buildings with nine occupied and open for business in addition to the library and museum.
North Water Street had 43 commercial buildings with 41 businesses. The South side housed 25 commercial buildings and had 25 businesses open and one additional planning to open soon.
The North side of N. Water St. houses 18 commercial buildings with 16 occupied by businesses, a church and theater which are currently closed.
September stays active
Kopitzke reported Anytime Fitness located at 1111 N. Shawano Street purchased the entire building where their gym is located. Star Communications which was housed in part of the building relocated to 106 Northridge Drive behind Pomp’s Tires. She said Anytime Fitness plans to expand at their location.
American Advantage Cornerstone Insurance held a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Sept. 15, at their new location on 421 South Pearl Street. Owner Jeff Bergum purchased the historic 1921 building from Jim Mullarkey and completely remodeled the building.
The building features a unique open space design with historical features and décor highlighted throughout, including a 50s’dinner lounge area up front, and a vintage car collection with a private bar area in the rear of the building.
Festival Foods in New London, the only independently owned Festival store in the state, announced it was purchased by the Skogen family of Green Bay. The business will officially transfer ownership from Mike and Georgette Coppersmith to the Skokens’ on Oct. 15.
Kopitzke reported that Michelle Malliet, owner of Malliet Travel and MJ’s Treasures at 106 W. North Water Street is looking to sell or lease her MJ Treasures retail business. She said her traveling business requires her to be out of town too often to run the retail store. The two businesses are housed under the same roof.
Kopitzke also said she visited with Lindsey and Dale Wagner, owner of the 416 N. Water Street, the former Buyers’ Guide building. The building is leased by Innovative Industrial Staffing. The Wagner’s reported that they are nearly completed with interior renovations and are planning to start the exterior renovations in the near future.