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Posted: September 30, 2020 Downtown Eau Claire Has Even More to Offer Thanks to Jump-Start Businesses

Despite current challenges, the entrepreneur and start-up spirit are alive and well in the Downtown Eau Claire business community. After the Jump-Start Downtown Business Competition last year, the eligibility was expanded to allow businesses who opened in the downtown since last year’s application period to apply in addition to those looking to get started in the next year. As a result, seven applicants entered and ultimately three were chosen as winners. Overall, the quality and variety of businesses that already are or will put their mark on Downtown Eau Claire are inspiring.

DECI announced the winners at a digital/in-person hybrid awards luncheon on September 30. The awards lunch was sponsored by Rotary Club of Eau Claire and WNB Financial.

Thanks to our generous sponsors in the Eau Claire business community, we were able to award a Grand Prize, Honorable Mention, and Innovative Idea prize package.

Sponsors this year included Royal Credit Union,  Associated Bank, Banbury Place, CoLab, JAMF, Market and Johnson, WESTconsin Credit UnionBauman Associates & Advisors, Charter Bank, Cigan Properties, Huebsch Services, Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor, South Barstow Business Improvement District, Volume One, Xcel Energy, and Ruder Ware.


Learn more about the 2020 Jump-Start Downtown Business Competition winners and applicants!


Meredith Kervin Blankenheim with Forage
Grand Prize Winner sponsored by Royal Credit Union: Forage
Owner, Meredith Kervin Blankenheim

Although the name Forage might be familiar to you, the new owner and services she plans to offer are something you need to know more about. Sole owner, Meredith Kervin Blankenheim, will continue to offer a commercial kitchen and midsize event space, but she will also be selling products from local artisans. The new Forage space at 403. S Barstow Street is set to open later in October and will be a must-stop location while strolling in Downtown Eau Claire.  

Learn more about Forage 

Savannah Smith with Seven Suns Vintage
Honorable Mention Winner: Seven Suns Vintage
Owner, Savannah Smith

If you’re looking for clothing that will make you stand out while being environmentally conscious, Seven Suns Vintage has you covered. Owner, Savannah Smith, opened her doors at 305 S. Barstow Street this June and offers wearable treasures primarily from the 60s and following decades. Her goal is to offer an inviting space with a variety of sizes and styles to make sure everyone has access to vintage wear.

Learn more about Seven Suns Vintage

Greg Clark with Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts
Innovative Idea Winner: Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts
Owner, Greg Clark

On a stroll through Downtown Eau Claire last year, Greg and Tammy Clark noticed that although there are several places to get sweet treats, our community is missing one important offering – a traditional candy shop! The business name is an ode to the famous saying that Greg’s grandmother would use and they aim to keep the family connection going by running it with their kids.  While they are still securing a location and financing, we all are excited for the day that we can get a candy fix in our community.


Other applicants included:

More about the prize packages

Grand Prize: $5,000 in start-up capital (sponsored by Royal Credit Union), $500 Advertising Credits with Volume One, 6-month DECI membership, and a 3-month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value).

Honorable Mention: $2,500 in start-up capital, 6-month DECI membership, and a 3- month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value)

Innovative Idea Prize: $1,000 in start-up capital and a 6-month DECI membership

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