Wausau – It’s been a busy year for business news in Wausau.
The biggest news this year includes restaurant openings and closings, plans for the site of the former Wausau Center shopping center and announcements of other future businesses in the area. These are Wausau’s most read business stories for 2022.
City approves Wausau mall redevelopment plan
The city decided to move forward with plans to redevelop the former Wausau Centermall site.
The Foundry on 3rd project will be a 154-unit apartment complex that will provide space for smaller retailers and commercial spaces. Liz Brodek, Wausau’s director of economic development, said the project is expected to cost $40 million to $48 million.
Wausau Opportunity Zone, the local nonprofit that owns the venue, is partnering with T. Wall Enterprises on the project, which organizers say will revitalize the space and draw more people to Wausau and the surrounding area.
Covering approximately eight city blocks in downtown Wausau, the project site has been vacant since the mall was demolished in May 2021. The new mixed-use building will include studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. The space will also include underground parking with internal courtyards and open-air facilities.
A portion of the property, approximately 130,000 square feet, will be returned to the city for street construction, according to the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce. The remaining 197,000 square feet will be used for development.
Weston Pho District reopens
A popular local restaurant has found a new home in 2022.
Pho Zone gained popularity after opening in the Wausau Center mall in 2019, but announced its closure in 2020 as the mall will be demolished in spring 2021.
Owners Hlee and Lue Lee opened their new store in November. 4204 Schofield Ave. 30th. at Weston.
Hours of operation are Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11am to 9pm and Friday and Saturday from 11am to 1am. It is closed on Tuesday, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page.
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Crumbl Cookies Coming to Rib Mountain
A representative for Crubl Cookies confirmed the news in December. 20 The popular cookie chain is opening locations in the Wausau area.
An eagle-eyed resident posted a photo on Facebook showing the Crumbl Cookies logo being added to a large display at the Rib Mountain Drive business center, which includes businesses like HuHot Mongolian Grill, Plato’s Closet and Ropa’s Pizza.
Opening is planned for spring 2023, the representative said.
Pickle Jar opens in Wausau
Pickle Jar Grinds & Finds, 4308 N. Sixth St., offers patrons delicious menu items ranging from classic coffees and smoothies to lotus energy teas and baked goods. The store serves coffee from Madison-based company Rusty Dog Coffee. Customers will also find repurposed or “upcycled” home decor items.
Alicia and Doug Gjertson purchased the building in February 2021. They spent over a year preparing the venue before opening in May.
The store is named after Pickle Jar Theory, a concept around time and life management.
Alicia Gjertson explains that if you think of life as a pickle jar, there’s only so much room for everything that needs to be contained. This metaphor looks at the tasks or important things in your life and equates them to rocks that need to be put in a jar. The big rocks, she said, are the big things that matter, like family and faith. The smaller pebbles are your job, something you have to do. Sand is a smaller part of life that still needs a place.
Hiawatha restaurant closed
Wausau loses a beloved restaurant in 2022.
Hiawatha Restaurant and Lounge owner Adam Jamgochian announced in September that he would close his restaurant at 713 Grant St.
“A special thank you to all the patrons and staff who have kept Hiawatha running for nearly 50 years over the years, we are so grateful to each and every one of you,” Jamgochian said on Facebook. “Stay tuned to see new and exciting events on Grant Street !!”
According to the restaurant’s website, Hiawatha first opened as a bar in 1903, serving passengers of the Hiawatha Passenger Line. The Jamgochian family took over the restaurant in 1973. In 2018, the family worked hard to sell Hiawatha to new owners. When the sale fell through, they decided to reopen.
The restaurant reopened under new ownership in December. The 16th serves as the Hiawatha Sports Bar, which, according to its Facebook page, will offer pub grub, burgers, Friday fish fries, specialty drinks and every sporting game.
Developer wants to build Chick-fil-A in Rib Mountain
Rib Mountain might get Chick-fil-A.
A developer called Lokre Properties proposed building the restaurant at 225421 Rib Mountain Drive, a former Olson Floor Covering building that was recently taken over by the spirit of Halloween. Rolly Lokre, founder of the Plover-based development company, told the Wausau Daily Herald in November that plans are at a very early stage.
Lokre said there was a lot of interest in the property and they were looking to find the right fit for Rib Mountain. In order to move forward with plans, the property required rezoning.
Angelo’s Pizza closes after 50 years
After 50 years in business, Angelo’s Family Pizzeria announced it was closing on May 24.
The restaurant, 1206 Sixth St. in Wausau, announced on their Facebook page that they will be closing and transitioning to selling only wholesale frozen pizza.
“We thought a lot and made this difficult decision based on age, health and family,” the post said. “It’s time to move on and give our son Pete the opportunity to take our business in a different direction. We are proud of his decision and hope you will continue to support us.”
The last day for bar and delivery services is June 5th. Since closing, the company has shared nearly 30 local grocery stores, restaurants and bars where it can buy its frozen pizzas.
Foot Locker closes Wausau distribution center
Foot Locker announced on Oct. 19 that it will permanently close its distribution center at 500 N. 72nd Ave. In Wausau at the end of April. In a letter to the state’s Department of Workforce Development and Mayor Katie Rosenberg, the company said the entire facility will be closed, affecting all 210 employees.
Foot Locker will phase out deliveries beginning at the end of January, and the facility will close at the end of April.
In the letter, the company said it was closing because it had identified ways it could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its distribution network.
Aldi opens a new grocery store in Weston
After months of anticipation, Aldi opened a new grocery store in October. 3311 Schofield Ave. 27th. at Weston.
The company celebrated the new store opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, where the first 100 customers received gift bags with product samples and gift cards. Customers also have the chance to win a $500 Aldi gift card.
The village first announced plans for the grocery store on Facebook in March, and construction began this spring. The Weston store is part of the company’s latest expansion plan as one of 150 new Aldi stores scheduled to open by the end of the year.
Popular fast food restaurants close
Many readers were saddened to learn that two popular fast food restaurants have closed this year.
Burger King’s location at 300 N. Sixth St. closed permanently on March 10, and crews immediately began removing the restaurant’s signage that afternoon. Seven employees at the location were offered positions at other Burger King restaurants in the area, according to a company spokesman.
This downtown restaurant first opened in September 1987 on the corner of Washington and North Sixth Streets. A fire damaged the restaurant in October 2006 and it closed for five months for remodeling, reopening in March 2007 with a “more modern look”.
Wendy’s at 2805 Schofield Ave. Closed in Weston in September. A sign on the restaurant’s drive-thru menu announced the closure, and the location was immediately removed from Wendy’s website. The company did not respond to a request for more information on why the restaurant closed.
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Reach Wausau Daily Herald Editor Jamie Rokus at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Jamie_Rokus.