Annie’s Fountain City Café in downtown Fond du Lac has been named the winner in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC’s) Main Street Makeover Contest.
The café, opened in 2016 by Fond du Lac native Ann Culver, was selected as the winner of the makeover contest based on her existing business success, demonstrated community support, and clear vision for what a new look could achieve for the business moving forward.
Annie’s will receive personalized technical assistance and up to $10,000 to implement the changes, which include enhancing the curb appeal of the café to attract more customers, improving the customer experience by enhancing interior flow and customer seating areas, and providing greater visibility to the numerous artists whose work is available for sale throughout the café.
A team made up of WEDC staff and professionals from Retailworks Inc. will work closely with Culver and staff from the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership over the next few months to develop the café’s new look. The improvements will be made during a 48-hour makeover event in April.
“Annie’s Fountain City Café is a labor of love for Ann and Gary Culver, and goes beyond serving food and baking cookies. From teachers to veterans to the United Way, they find countless ways to give back whenever they can,” said Amy Hansen, executive director of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership. “Now it is their turn to be on the receiving end. Without the Main Street Makeover, the resources offered through Retailworks and the Wisconsin Main Street Program were beyond their reach financially.
“This recognition validates that the café’s business track record and vision have had a positive effect on the Main Street district and will continue to do so,” Hansen added. “We can’t wait to see how the improvements to their building will impact the greater Fond du Lac community.”
The contest is designed to raise awareness of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, which is overseen by WEDC and provides support and training for organizations dedicated to downtown revitalization efforts. It also increases the engagement of businesses and communities within the Main Street Program and showcases the businesses that bring life to downtown districts.
A total of 20 applications were received from businesses Wisconsin’s 33 designated Main Street districts. The four additional finalists were: Sam’s Pizza in Wausau; K Sera Salon and Spa in De Pere; Sir James Pub in Port Washington; and Tomahawk Sew N Vac in Tomahawk. All eligible applicants will receive outreach and technical assistance from WEDC community development staff and their local Main Street program to help them achieve their business goals.
“This unique contest not only provides additional support and services to the winning business, but it also highlights the benefits of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, which has resulted in the creation of more than 2,600 new businesses and 13,000 new jobs in Wisconsin since its inception in 1987,” said Errin Welty, downtown development account manager with WEDC. “A vibrant downtown is critical to the overall economic health of a community, and our staff works closely with local Main Street organizations to help ensure their success.”