Village of Lena receives $110,000 state grant to support expansion of downtown catering business

May 11, 2021



MADISON, WI. MAY 7, 2021—The Village of Lena received a $110,000 state grant to assist in expanding the Wooden Shoe Bar & Grill located in downtown Lena.

The Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) supported the village’s plans to increase the capacity of the Wooden Shoe to capture more events and grow the restaurant’s catering business.

“One of the top priorities of WEDC is to promote substantive local development by helping communities enhance their downtown areas and establish firm foundations for ongoing economic growth,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This project will make a real difference in the Village of Lena by supporting a valuable business in the community and encouraging future investment.”

Significant renovation of the existing facility has resulted in a larger kitchen and new equipment as well as construction of a patio for outdoor seating. A blighted building connected to the existing bar and grill was razed to provide space for the development. This expansion has nearly doubled the size of the Wooden Shoe.

The Oconto County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC) assisted the village in preparing the CDI application.

“This project is a continuation of the thoughtful work that has been shown by the village to provide opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive here,” said Paul Ehrfurth, executive director of the OCEDC.

“This program is an invaluable resource to small business owners to take their business to the next level,” said Village President Steve Marquardt. “The timing of this grant award is right, as our village is actively working with our existing businesses to ensure that they remain viable and successful. I am excited for the completed Wooden Shoe expansion, as it serves as an example of what a business and state agency can accomplish by working together.”

Between indoor and outdoor seating, the expansion lets the Wooden Shoe host around 70 additional people, allowing the venue to compete for larger events.

“The Wooden Shoe Bar & Grill could not have achieved its build-out and required space to run its business without the help of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation,” said Carisa Deheck, owner of the Wooden Shoe. “We had outgrown our current space and were in jeopardy of losing customers and now we can offer them the service they deserve. Thank you, WEDC, for having such great programs to help small businesses.”

With the addition of the patio, larger kitchen, longer business hours, and catering, the Wooden Shoe expects to hire additional staff.

WEDC’s CDI Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

From the program’s inception in 2013 through Sept. 30, 2020, WEDC has awarded nearly $26.7 million in CDI Grants to 87 communities for projects expected to generate more than $446 million in capital investments statewide.

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