Gov. Evers tours small businesses in Washburn

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Small businesses were the focus for Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday, while visiting Washburn to tour downtown and and some of the newer businesses in the area.

In the Spring of this year, Evers announced $50 million in funding to encourage small businesses to move into vacant storefronts in downtowns, and other commercial corridors across the state.

"We went into these places of business and were able to get a good feeling of exactly what the owners had to go through in order to make this shift in their lives," shared the Governor during a stop at 211 Martini on W. Bayfield Street. "People are, kind of, setting aside what they’ve been doing recently or for the last ten years. And then are saying, ‘I’m going to take a chance. I’m going to be a business owner in Washburn, Wisconsin.’"

The money is part of ‘Wisconsin Tomorrow – Main Street Bounceback’ grant program, as part of what Evers’ says is his commitment to invest more than $60 million in support for small businesses across Wisconsin.

"The grant has been amazing, it helped to prepay some of my rents and get an inventory into my store," shared Sheila Desjarlais, owner of Kiddiwink Kids. "That really draws people in from the street. It’s allowed procure more materials for the classes I offer kids on the weekends. It’s really been a gamechanger for me, being able to open my business in a physical location. I never thought I was going to open this early or this quickly, and this really helped me do that."

Desjarlais opened her store only a month ago, and says she’s excited about the investment and publicity coming to more small towns like Washburn.

Looking ahead to the holidays, Governor Evers used his visit to promote buying local for your friends and family this year.

"We’re encouraging people to buy small, go small, which means small businesses in the state," the Governor shared. "You think of this town without all these businesses, people would just be driving through, going someplace else one way or the other. Now, they stop here, a beautiful place right on Lake Superior, and lots of excitement."