City leaders aim for more growth in Wausau - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

City leaders aim for more growth in Wausau

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Business expansion continues on Wausau's west side.

Panera Bread opened its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday.

City leaders said it's part of their plan to keep the city growing.

The lines kept growing at Wausau's new Panera Bread.

"Opening day has been everything we expected and more, as you can see business is booming right now," said Steve Negrete, Panera Bread General Manager.

Dozens of people waited at the chain's new location, filled with excitement and hunger.

"This town needed it, it needed an explosion and I think Panera Bread is a good one," said Dave Dahlgren.

"It's worth the wait, expected it," said Khia Lockbaum.

All the buzz around the new restaurant has city leaders excited.

"When it first appeared in Madison, was when we made our first attempts to go after it," said Ann Werth, Wausau Community Development Director.

The restaurant is the latest building to open up on Wausau's west side, near the Highway 51-29 interchange.

A $300 million project revamped 7 miles of freeway there, nearly three years ago.

"We do know that our trade area comes from the north, from the west, and from the south," said Werth.

There's new businesses opening their doors near that stretch of road. Those businesses include Kwik Trip, Abby Bank and a Topper's Pizza, scheduled to open right next door to Panera Bread, later this month.

"Wausau is being seen that we can attract the businesses that normally you only see in a larger metropolitan area," said Werth.

City leader said they hope to bring in even more, very soon.

"We don't rest, we're out there prospecting and working on the next developments for the City of Wausau," said Werth.

City officials wouldn't comment on what specifically could be coming to Wausau, leaving some mystery to what else we'll see here soon.

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