Better economy, temps brings better business to downtown La Crosse

Local entrepreneur Ryan Johnson runs four businesses, including his latest venture, The Old Crowe. The La Crosse native said the city has become the perfect place to develop a brand.

“Downtown has kind of been viewed for the longest time as a night life and college area. I believe now that that’s changing a little bit,” Johnson said.

New and different establishments are growing as the demographic in downtown changes.

“It’s young, old, families, daytime and night time,” Johnson said.

Vicki Markussen the executive director of the La Crosse area chamber of commerce, said the city’s support of new owners is helping business boom.

“One of the signs of all of these businesses starting up is that people are really willing to take a risk and peruse this dream of owning their own business,” Markussen said.

Many new eateries are opening.

“We have a microbrewery if you will, that’s opening up near the La Crosse center, and a place that has a plethora of different types of beer that’s opening up near the post office,” Markussen said.

And isn’t just places to drink and eat.

“We do have some new retail business on the horizon, that we are looking but not quite ready yet to totally announce,” Robin Moses, the executive director of Downtown Main Street said.

Even some long established La Crosse businesses are joining in on the expansion. Pischke Motors broke ground on a new 20,000 square foot collision center Wednesday.

“We wanted to keep it in downtown La Crosse. There is a real need for it down in this area we have a lot of clients that already use us,” Rahn Pischke the owner of Pischke Motors, said.

Whether it’s brand new or been here for decades Johnson said La Crosse owners have a special handle on their businesses.

“We’re involved in the day to day operations so that way not only the idea, but the philosophy that we are trying to live in our business, is actually executed,” Johnson said.

Local officials said a lot of business is coming from tourists visiting La Crosse, but they really want to encourage residents that drive through the downtown everyday to get out of their cars and check out what’s new.

If you want to get more information on shops, restaurants and events happening downtown you can go to La Crosse Downtown Main Street’s website at