Photo by Bill Livick.
A customer walks out of the newly-renovated and larger beer cooler. Renovations to the store were needed because of outdated freezers that needed repair.
Customers may have noticed that Bill’s Food Center looks somewhat modernized these days.
That’s because in July, the store replaced all its freezers and built a new, larger beer cooler – some might call it a “beer cave.”
At the same time, store co-owner and manager Bill Faust Jr. decided to get rid of some open-air freezer “bunkers,” which were energy inefficient and a sort of relic that most grocery stores don’t use anymore.
“We were informed by our refrigeration company that our freezers were at the end of their life and that parts were no longer available for repair,” explained Faust Jr., whose father established the grocery store on North Main Street in 1978. The store now employs more than 100 people.
Faust said because the new coolers are both lower to the ground and taller, their interior space increased about 20 percent. He wanted to keep the freezer department’s size about the same number of cubic feet, because freezers are expensive to run.
The new Headquarters Pub and Grill being built on Concord Drive and Wolfe Street will have a slightly different look than what was approved earlier this year.
Owner Jamie Bush got approval from the Village of Oregon Planning Commission last week to use a new color scheme, adjust the building height and change some decorative elements of the building.
Bush told the commission the changes came up after talking with his architect and trying to fit the building in with existing structures in the neighborhood.
An indoor/outdoor bar area will have a lower roofline than the rest of the building and the entire building will be more gray and brown than the original tan and blue color approved in May.
The building will be about 6,000 square feet and have 1,200 square feet of patio space and two volleyball courts. Bush spent about a year gaining approval from the village board for the facility, which will include a banquet facility as part of a later addition.
The Oregon Community Bank and Trust office at 978 Park St. in Oregon will close at the end of the year. The bank's two other branches in Oregon will not be affected by the closing.
The Park Street office of Oregon Community Bank and Trust will close at the end of this year.
President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Peotter told the Observer last week that the closing does not mean the bank is downsizing nor having operational difficulty.
“It is absolutely not a sign of a pull back or a sign of anything less than positive,” Peotter said, adding that three full-time employees who staff the office will be offered positions elsewhere in the company.
“Our organization is growing,” he said. “We’re adding customers both on the deposit side and the credit side. So we need all our people to take care of all our clients. They’ll just be relocated to one of our other facilities.”
Oregon Community Bank and Trust was established in February 1976 and the Park Street location opened in 1996.
Paul Morrison, owner of Wood Cycle of Wisconsin, has been turning potentially wasted wood from local trees into beautiful hardwood flooring since May and selling it to Habitat ReStore West in Madison.
From a woodworker’s perspective, a good tree going into a wood chipper is a depressing sight.
When Paul Morrison began operating his business, Wood Cycle of Wisconsin, almost 10 years ago on Fish Hatchery Road, his idea was to take lumber from fallen or downed trees and put it to good use.
In the past decade, he’s won awards and praise for finding creative uses for wood that otherwise would have been wasted. Morrison has created unique cabinetry, furniture and other products, including building the Oregon Public Library’s circulation desk for its centennial celebration several years ago.
Now he’s working with Dane County Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on the city’s west side, where urban trees that Morrison has milled into lumber and then solar and kiln dried is on sale as hardwood flooring.
It’s a partnership that makes a lot of sense, says Habitat ReStore director Jen Voichick.
Photo by Mark Ignatowski
Lyle Wanless calls an auction in Fitchburg last month. Lyle and his family have been in the auction business for more than 23 years.
The rising popularity of television shows where people find treasures hidden in their homes or storage lockers is a reflection of the growing second-hand retail industry.
Lyle Wanless, owner and auctioneer of Wanless Auction Group, can attest to that.
“We have – right now – a lot of business,” Wanless said. “We have grown just astronomical.”
The company, based in Brooklyn for the past 23 years, has gone from doing a few large farm auctions per year, to one or two auctions per week.
The economic dip and subsequent stagnant period has left a lot of foreclosed homes and property that needs to be liquidated, Wanless said. But technology and a changing demographic have also helped push sales.
“The technology has driven the market,” Wanless said. “(And) we have a different generation that’s starting to buy off the Internet now.”
Village of Oregon Planning Commission members gave approval last week for a building addition to All Color Powder Coating, Inc.
The company, a custom powder coating business on N. Burr Oak Ave., plans to add about 18,000 square feet of space for operations and another 4,000 square feet of garage space for trucks.
All Color Powder Coating president Mark Mortensen said the impetus for the expansion was to add the garage and storage space to keep trucks out of the elements during the winter months.
“We wanted to do it and make sure that we built it the way we wanted,” Mortensen said, adding that this will likely be the last addition to this building. The addition is the fourth phase, with two other additions already part of the building.
“It’s the addition that was always planned, with the exception of the … build out for the truck storage,” he said.
At the kitchen table of Dale and Cindy Secher’s home in the Town of Oregon, Cindy offers a spoonful of Saskatoon jelly.
Thick and sweet with big, meaty berries, the jelly is delicious. It’s also rare in these parts.
The Sechers are no strangers to uncommon fruits. For a decade, they’ve been tinkering on their farm off Lincoln and Tipperary Roads with 54 varieties you don’t often find in your local grocery store. Think gooseberries, seaberries, paw paw, quince and chokecherries, to name a few.
Last month, their efforts were compiled on a new website hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Studies (CIAS).
The website chronicles the Sechers’ trials, successes and failures with fruit that is often overlooked in the hyper-specialized world of commercial agriculture, Dale Secher said.
Ron and Sue Marsden and their two children have visited Egypt, one of many foreign countries the family has seen in its travels.
The Marsdens have visited more than a dozen countries and 46 of these United States.
They’re putting that experience to good use with their travel business, See Your World Adventures.
The Oregon couple established the LLC in March 2012, although the business started to ramp up in earnest last summer, when Sue retired from the Oregon School District as an occupational therapist after 11 years there and a total of 22 in the field. Ron still works full-time for American Family Insurance in addition to his time with the home-based business.
“We had been kind of looking for something a little bit different,” Sue Marsden recalled about starting the business.
Traveling has always been one of the “main hobbies” for the family, which includes two children, Sue Marsden said.
But the family revisited its priorities when Ron was diagnosed with a kidney disease and underwent a transplant – from Sue – in 2010.