City Times Staff
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Buying local this holiday season will be easier than ever due to the Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention Bureau’s (WRACB) new retail expansion coming this month.
Located inside the historic Hamm building in downtown Wisconsin Rapids next to Karen’s Wines & Steins will be “Local on 1st” — a product line that according to WRACB Executive Director Laura Nelson “will be an ever-evolving collection of apparel, food, and gift items branded for the area or produced by local entrepreneurs.”
Nelson states that store manager Maggie Muleski has had this idea on the brain for some time now.
“While visiting other communities, I always seek out neighborhood co-ops, vendor markets, and local stores. It just seems like the most authentic way to experience a destination,” said Muleski.
In line with the mission of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, there is more to it than just retail.
“We want to tell the story of our local businesses,” said Nelson. “There is no shortage of talent in this community, and to house much of it under one roof will be truly eye-opening to both visitors and residents.”
In a release written by Nelson, The intention of “Local on 1st” is to showcase a wide variety of unique and locally produced items, promoting community pride and visitor appreciation. The Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau decided to expand into retail as two circumstances simultaneously converged.
“It was time to reinvent the space adjacent to Karen’s Wines & Steins anyway, and we have been inundated with visitor inquiries about locally produced or branded items. It just seems like the right place and the right time, so we’re going for it,” said Nelson.
Businesses that will be partnered with the location will be Rubi Reds, Mullins Cheese, Great Expectations, the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center, and Bloody Run Lapidary.
“’Local on 1st’ intends to host open calls for consignment, and will be looking to expand their inventory as the business grows,” said Muleski. “The potential of this store is limitless, as is the potential of the community it represents.”
Local on 1st will host a Grand Opening celebration from 4PM – 6PM on Wednesday, Nov. 22, along with the annual Rekindle the Spirit celebration and the ceremonial lighting on the riverfront. Food and beverage will be provided for the event.