OCBT completes Main St. remodel

Photos by Scott Girard. Personal banker Jean Carlson answers the phone behind the desk in the new Oregon Community Bank and Trust lobby, which president Steve Peotter said is much more open than the bank’s old lobby.

As Oregon Community Bank and Trust continued to use more technology in its banking, it wanted its Main Street branch to reflect that approach.

The bank, which has been in Oregon since 1976, recently underwent a remodel of its 733 N. Main St. location late last year to give it a “more modern, up-to-date feel,” said OCBT president Steve Peotter.

“You walk into a modern, progressive-feeling institution,” Peotter said of the post-remodel building. “You don’t walk into a building that feels dated.”

The conversation about potential changes began three years ago, Peotter said, when OCBT began to take a strategic look at “where we wanted to be in the village and how we were utilizing the properties we had.”


Treasure Box closes

After 14 years, a consignment store on Netherwood Street has closed.

The Treasure Box opened in 2000 but slow sales, a change in building ownership, and “family obligations” all conspired to put Barb Garrity’s operation out of business at the end of November. 

She said Internet shopping played a part in declining sales at a business that was never very lucrative to begin with.

One of the reasons for closing was “it’s a lot to handle for one person, and I’ve never made it to the point where I could hire extra help,” Garrity said.

Treasure Box operated on a 50/50 split: People brought in items they no longer wanted – clothes, kitchenware, jewelry, purses or wall art – and when something sold, Garrity would split the proceeds.


Chocolate Caper continues with new owners, few changes

Photo by Julia Meyers. Elizabeth and Dan Donoghue bought the Chocolate Caper, 105 S. Main St., in October and have been open for business since Nov. 8.

Elizabeth and Dan Donoghue never knew that opening a business would bring so much joy to their customers.

On the other hand, they never dreamed they would take over what Dan calls “an institution” in the small town they call home.

The Donoghues bought the Chocolate Caper in October and reopened the South Main Street business Nov. 8.

Claude and Ellen Marendaz started the shop 30 years ago, making chocolate pralines and other delights in small batches by hand. The couple retired this fall, and apparently lots of customers worried that retirement would be the demise of one of the village’s unique businesses.

The Donoghues’ decision to keep the Chocolate Caper going has put people’s minds at ease.


Looking to the future

Photo by Scott Girard. Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners recently moved out of Dan Krause’s home to a new location at 116 Spring St.

It’s never too early – or too late – to start estate planning, and after having moved his office out of his home this spring, Dan Krause and partner Nelson Donovan are hoping to help Oregonians of all ages prepare for their futures.

Krause, an attorney since 1999, moved to Oregon from Shawano County in 2003, when his son was about to begin school.

“We thought we might enjoy Oregon, so we moved down here largely because of the schools,” he said.

An Army reservist with the Madison-based 214th Legal Operations Detachment, Krause was mobilized twice in the past decade to support the Army’s overseas operations. While the missions have allowed him to serve his country, they have wrecked havoc with his “day job.”

In 2005, he went to Fort Bragg, N.C. for a year, and during 2010-11, he was at Fort Riley, Kan. For 14 months. Both times, he had to close down his business, only to re-open it when he returned.


Some ‘fresh’ competition

Photos by Scott Girard. Papa Murphy’s employee Anna Schultz makes a pepperoni pizza Thursday, Sept. 4.

Mark Venditto thinks another pizza place is just what Oregon needs.

That’s why he spent years working to bring Papa Murphy’s to the old Capital Creamery building, and he’s excited for the chain to compete with already-established Pizza Pit, La Rocca’s and Maria’s Pizza.

He believes the product they sell can do that.

“It’s good to have competition,” he said. “It keeps everybody honest. … Everybody’s got their niche and we have a great product.”

He pointed to fresh ingredients as a big factor in that. The other obvious difference is the “Take ‘N’ Bake” idea, in which the ingredients are put together at the store, but customers cook the pizza themselves at home.

Venditto is not new to promoting Papa Murphy’s, either, as he worked in the company’s corporate office for nine years until one of the franchisees he consulted with called him with an idea.


Firefly expands bakery, gets new flooring

Photo submitted. Firefly Coffeehouse owner Erika Weidler said the expanded kitchen space has helped the shop increase its bakery offerings.

It had been four or five years since Firefly Coffeehouse last expanded its operation.

But owner Erika Weidler noticed the bakery operation needed a bit more room, and once they started on that, “it kind of snowballed into the whole entire area.”

Now, “Oregon’s Living Room” has a new floor throughout as well as more room in the kitchen as demand has increased.

“It’s really transformed the space,” Weidler said.

The shop was closed for two days in late August to complete the upgrades, but Weidler said the final product was well worth moving everything furniture item out and then back inside.

“With the changes that we made to our bakery area … our horizons are huge now,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much that small space was holding us back.”


A local place to chill

Photos by Scott Girard. Oregon Frozen Yogurt owners Tina Juneau and Randy Joswig are both still working their day jobs in the healthcare industry, but wanted to bring a local option for kids later at night.

Randy Joswig’s 17-year-old daughter was going to Madison with her friends one cold night in January 2013 when Joswig asked why she’d be driving there on the “icy” roads.

“She’s like, ‘dad, there’s nothing to do in this town in the evening,’” Joswig recalled. “She would show me tweets and messages … and I’m like, ‘what can we do to keep the kids in town? This is crazy.’”

One year-and-a-half later, he and his wife Tina Juneau answered that question with the opening of Oregon Frozen Yogurt, or “OFroYo.”

“There isn’t a lot of places that stay open late to provide a safe environment, some place that they can come, hang out that’s … teenage-friendly,” Joswig said. “That is by far our driving motivation to do this.”


Dollar General opens in Brooklyn

Photo by Scott Girard. Dollar General opened in the Village of Brooklyn July 4. The store employs around 12 people, according to the Village of Brooklyn newsletter.

Village of Brooklyn residents have a new option for last-minute gifts, household accessories and other knick-knacks with a new Dollar General store.

The store opened its doors July 4 after purchasing the land at 303 Douglas Drive from Union Bank and Trust late last fall, Village President Nadine Walsten told the Observer.

Walsten said the village did not have to get involved in the process to recruit Dollar General to come to Brooklyn, instead finding the company was strongly interested thanks to the size and location of the community.

“They look at villages like Brooklyn that have a need for the kind of store that they have,” Walsten said. “The kind of research they do is to look for communities that would really benefit from having a store.”

And those benefits will be many, Walsten said, especially having the “convenience factor” of a store in the village.


Walker visits Oregon business

Photos by Scott Girard. Gov. Scott Walker and Mark Mortensen talk about MDF desktops the company coats.

Gov. Scott Walker stopped in Oregon Tuesday morning to tour the All-Color Powder Coating Inc. facility and talk with employees and managers. The stop was part of Walker’s campaign against Democratic challengers in the November election.

All-Color president Mark Mortensen said he was “very proud to have him select us to come visit.”


The student is the master

Photo by Scott De Laruelle. Dog trainer and Happy Buddha Dog Trainer owner Dan Antolec sits with his dogs Buddha and Gandhi.

Dan Antolec might be in charge around his two black Labrador retrievers, Buddha and Gandhi, but he’ll quickly tell you that he, not they, is the student.

“After all, the only true dog experts are dogs,” Antolec said.

Antolec, CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed), is the owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training, and not surprisingly, he takes a very Zen-like approach to his work. Raised on Madison’s east side, he and his wife have lived in rural Brooklyn for more than 30 years, enjoying the wide-open spaces and scenery for their variety of animals.

But it wasn’t always that way for Antolec, who grew up always wanting a dog, but with a  father who didn’t believe the city was the right place for one. That’s a bit of knowledge that was passed on to the son, who has taken the care and compassionate training of dogs to a whole new level.