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Posted: October 13, 2016 Winners Announced for the Jump-Start Downtown Eau Claire Business Competition

EAU CLAIRE, WI – Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. (DECI) announced the winners of the twelfth annual Jump-Start Downtown Eau Claire Business Competition during an Awards Luncheon on October 13, 2016 at 12:00pm. The reception was held in the Royal Credit Union Corporate Center at 200 Riverfront Terrace in Downtown Eau Claire. There were 4 applicants for the 2016 competition with 3 winners.

The Jim Mishefske Award (grand prize award) of $5,000 for start-up capital, along with a $500 media package from DECI and a two hour Creative Marketing/Brand Development Session with JB Systems, plus one year of free website hosting and a $250 credit towards a branding/website project ($680 value), was awarded to Blayne Midthun, who entered a business plan to open Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor on Galloway Street in the North Barstow Street area. Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor will be a 1920s-era, old fashioned ice cream parlor occupying the renovated Smith Insurance Agency building. It will be an excellent addition to the Phoenix Park Neighborhood!

The Runner-Up Prize of $500 for start-up capital, along with a media package from DECI and three photo ‘spins’ and one year of hosting from Spin Vision ($420 value) was awarded to Benny Haas, who entered a business plan to open HaHa Fresh Market. HaHa Fresh Market is a new grocery story experience to be located in downtown Eau Claire at the site of the former Boys and Girls Club.

The Innovative Idea Prize of a $1,000 scholarship to the Entrepreneurial Training Program at the Small Business Development Center went to Katy Stevens for N7 Café. N7 Café brings a new coffee experience to downtown, serving cold brew coffee and nitrogen-infused coffee at events all throughout the year.

The luncheon also featured the recognition of Charles Grossklaus, former President and CEO of Royal Credit Union, with a special “Jump-Start Downtown Eau Claire Award”. He also delivered the keynote address reflecting on the progress that has been made in the Downtown area of Eau Claire. The Award acknowledged his vision in spurring Downtown development following the decision by Royal Credit Union to locate its headquarters in the blighted Phoenix Park area.

“The Jump-Start Business Competition is one way DECI can help stimulate entrepreneurial activity in the Downtown. We were pleased with the quality of the applicants this year,” said Mike Schatz, Executive Director of Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. “We look forward to working with these new and exciting businesses that will help to further grow our downtown.”

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