Wisconsin grants allowed downtown La Crosse bookstore to flourish despite pandemic woes, owners say

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says helping La Crosse’s small businesses still feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19 remains a priority for him.

Evers visited local La Crosse businesses that received grant money from his Mainstreet Bounceback program.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee returned to the corner of Pearl Street just over a year ago.

“People were ready to be back and are excited to be here and drinking coffee. It was a sweet thing to be able to do and be able to enjoy the community,” said Aidan Fisher, one of the owners of Jules Coffee House.

The Jenny and Paul Fisher family own and operate the coffee shop. The Fishers say Mainstreet Bounceback gave the family-owned business a chance to renovate and expand their menu.

“Create and do some projects and be able to comfortably make decisions instead of counting out every last dollar,” Fisher said.

The Fishers applied for and received a $10,000 grant.

The grants are a necessary investment, Evers said.

“We knew that if we were gonna recover in any sensible way, we had to invest in small businesses and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” he said.

Evers says the program works only when communities support local businesses.

“People who come to the store are doing it, and I think it’s one of the best programs we’ve ever done,” he said.

Despite the rising costs of everything, communities are still showing up for one another.

Evers says his administration is accepting applications from business owners who are taking over communities’ empty storefronts.

Pearl Street Books also received a $10,000 grant. Statewide, 4,500 businesses have received grant money, the governor said.

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