Tomahawk businesses, volunteer recognized at Wisconsin Main Street Awards
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – Two downtown Tomahawk businesses and one volunteer were recognized during the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)’s 32nd annual Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony, held in La Crosse on Friday, April 21.
A release from WEDC said 2022’s best downtown revitalization projects were in the spotlight, including business and community development initiatives, historic preservation, community celebration and revitalization success stories from communities across Wisconsin.
Tomahawk’s winners were nominated by Tomahawk Main Street Inc. Executive Director Jennifer Turkiewicz and Main Street Treasurer and board member Paula Blom.
Steve and Donna Ahlgrim, owners of Sideways Wine and Craft Beer, 124 W. Wisconsin Ave., received an award for the Best Façade Rehabilitation Under $20,000.00.
Turkiewicz explained that nominated façades enhanced their respective commercial districts in appearance or function and encouraged further design improvements, which could include storefront renovation, upper floor renovation or both.
“When we lost our surplus store, we weren’t sure what was going to happen,” Sideways’ nomination entry stated. “What would become of the beloved store? A fantastic new business that revamped the old and created a new, gorgeous, family-like friendly atmosphere in a redesigned world of handcrafted cocktails and craft beers and wines, as well as tasty dishes from around the world!”
“As visitors can attest, Steve and Donna nailed it,” Turkiewicz said.
Michelle Arnott, owner of Diamond Rock Glass Studio, 12 W. Wisconsin Ave., took home the Best Storefront Display award, which recognizes an outstanding business, vacant space or other storefront display.
Turkiewicz said nominated displays promoted the business’s offerings, attracted attention and were seasonal or changeable in nature.
“Diamond Rock Glass Studio offers in-studio classes, virtual learning and take-home kits so you can do this very rewarding and fun hobby anywhere, as well as an assortment of stained glass and supplies,” Diamond Rock’s nomination entry stated. “Topped off with ever-changing displays highlighting the owner and students’ creativity, talent and creativity are always noticed, and there is always something new to see. Why, you can even purchase many of the works of art to take home to decorate and create a colorful world!”
“Hands down, Michelle’s studio is a work of art for all to enjoy,” Turkiewicz said. “As anyone who comes to town can attest, Michelle’s storybook scenes definitely attract attention.”
Pat McLain of Tomahawk and ten other individuals were named 2022 Wisconsin Main Street Volunteers of the Year.
The award honors volunteers who contributed the most to their respective Main Street programs throughout the year.
“Pat McLain is a true inspiration, volunteering with Tomahawk Main Street since 2012, and she is always willing to lend a helping hand with whatever we ask of her,” Turkiewicz stated. “Decorating, handing out candy, bag stuffing, visiting and welcoming folks at events, Pat does it all, and with a huge smile on her face and friendly attitude of can-do!”
Turkiewicz added that McLain also helped organize many inaugural events and was an initial founder of the basket donors and memorial benches displayed downtown.
“Her creativity helps set our downtown apart as a beautiful destination to enjoy,” Turkiewicz said.
About Wisconsin Main Street
Wisconsin Main Street is a community development program administered by WEDC that targets Wisconsin’s historic commercial districts.
WEDC said it provides technical support and training to the 34 Main Street communities to assist in reinvigorating their business districts based on guidelines developed by the National Main Street Center.
Since the program’s inception in 1987, Wisconsin Main Street community projects have resulted in the creation of more than 3,200 new businesses and nearly 16,500 net new jobs. In addition, over $2.1 billion in private investment has occurred in Wisconsin Main Street communities, according to WEDC.
During fiscal year 2022, Wisconsin Main Street communities added 215 new businesses and 647 net new jobs.
“None of this activity would be possible without the nearly 33,000 volunteer hours that were dedicated to the Main Street effort by passionate individuals from around the state,” WEDC stated.