A new business in downtown Lake Geneva wants to encourage people to Drink Wisconsinbly.
Representatives from Wisconsinbly Holdings LLC in Milwaukee opened a Drink Wisconsinbly retail store, 223 Cook St., Nov. 1, in the former location of the Verve Art Gallery.
The store features several types of Drink Wisconsinbly merchandise including sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, glassware, coffee mugs, candles, travel mugs and rolling coolers.
The retail store is associated with the Drink Wisconsinbly Pub in Milwaukee.
“Drink Wisconsinbly has become one of the top lifestyle brands in Wisconsin,” John Casanova, president of Wisconsinbly Holdings LLC, said. “With that popularity, people like to wear things that are branded with our logo.”
Casanova said he felt Lake Geneva was an ideal location for a retail store, because it is a tourist community.
“We did our due diligence in looking into what would be the best market for us,” Casanova said. “Lake Geneva was a good fit for us.”
Casanova said the business has received a positive response, so far, but feels there have been less customers during the past couple of weeks because of the growing number of cases in the coronavirus.
“As with other retailers, we’re dealing with the struggles of COVID and people not going retail shopping and to bars and restaurants as much as they use to,” Casanova said.
Dillon Murphy, store employee, said he hopes more people will shop at the store as the holiday season approaches.
“It’s a beautiful location. We like being here,” Murphy said. “We’re waiting for people to figure out more about us or have the weather pick up. When it was nice out, we were busy pretty much of the time.”
Murphy said the store’s more popular products seem to the be the T-shirt. He said he drives about an hour almost every day, to and from Pewaukee, to work at the Lake Geneva store.
“I love working here,” Murphy said.
Casanova said he hopes to obtain a packaged liquor license from the city in the spring, so he can begin to sell some of the company’s brand-name beer and brandy at the store.
“We won’t utilize the license as a full-fledge convenience store. We will just utilize it to sell our products,” Casanova said. “We’re going to start next spring with the due process, and hopefully by July 1 we will have approval.”
Wisconsibly Holdings opened its first Drink Wisconsinbly retail store in July in Sister Bay.
Drink Wisconsibly products have been sold in retail stores throughout Wisconsin during the past several years.
Casanova said with the popularity of the merchandise, the company decided to open its own retail stores.
“We’re starting to lessen our footprint with our wholesalers that are buying our merchandise and reselling it and developing our own retail locations,” he said.
Casanova said the company plans to open a third retail store in Wisconsin Dells next spring and possibly more retail locations in the future.
“We’re open to anything. We are still a small, start-up company, and we need to take our time and make smart decisions,” Casanova said. “So we’re going to evaluate that as time passes.”