Several businesses in central Wisconsin are sprucing up their looks. These makeovers are more than just cosmetic. Community leaders say the remodeling is a sign that the economy is recovering.
Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce leaders say they're seeing businesses add employees, space, and product. They say many of the investments have been within the last six months.
From wood floors and painted ceilings to expanding departments throughout the store, Gander Mountain in Rothschild is investing in a fresh feel. The store is debuting its new look in a re-opening weekend April 25-27.
"For Gander Mountain, we've invested the money that we have in our buildings to be able to show the community, especially here in the Wausau area, that we are committed to being here and that we are here for the long term," said Joe Herter, Gander Mountain Wisconsin District Manager.
Capital investments like this are part of a welcomed trend in the Wausau region.
"There are a lot of businesses that have either been expanding or putting some more money in recently to their businesses, whether it be in human capital of hiring more people or infrastructure or other capital goods to help their businesses," said Aaron Kapellusch, Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce President and CEO.
Sconni's, formerly Mickey's, in Schofield just finished a rebranding makeover.
"We decided to shed the pool hall image and we wanted to associate more with the quality of our beer and our drinks and the quality of our food," said Ben Swanson, Sconni's co-owner.
The alehouse hopes to shift the focus to their 32 craft beers and new look. Their so-called "Up-north-modern" decor was a local effort. Owners say they hired several area businesses to help in the transformation.
"The more money that stays local, the better it is for everyone and that's what we're trying to be a part of here," said Swanson.
Community leaders say changes like this are a sure sign of improving economic times.
"Just the fact that they're spending that money doing something that may not be 100% necessary but that's going to help improve their environment is something that really speaks to how the economy is improving," said Kapellusch.
Kapellusch says we're not completely out of the woods after the recession but he says this reinvesting trend is a positive sign and he expects it to continue in the months to come.