Downtown Eau Claire Inc. honors 3 businesses, owners for entrepreneurial endeavors

Downtown Eau Claire Logo

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Downtown Eau Claire Inc. honored three businesses and their owners for their entrepreneurial spirits during a hybrid digital/in-person awards ceremony Wednesday.
Forage owner Meredith Kervin Blankenheim won grand prize. The new owner plans to continue to offer a commercial kitchen and midsize event space, but she also will sell products from local artisans.

Eau Claire Trio (2)

Honored business owners included, from left, Greg Clark, Meredith Kervin Blankenheim and Savannah Smith. (Photo by Kyle Lehman, Ivy Media)

The new Forage space at 403. S Barstow St. is scheduled to open this month.
Seven Suns Vintage and owner Savannah Smith won honorable mention. Smith opened the store at 305 S. Barstow St.  in June. It offers wearable treasures primarily from the ’60s and following decades. Her goal is to offer an inviting space with a variety of sizes and styles to give more people access to vintage wear.
The Innovative Idea Award went to Ifs and Buts Candy and Nuts and owners Greg and Tammy Clark. The Clarks noticed that downtown Eau Claire has several places to get sweet treats but not a traditional candy shop. The business name is an ode to the famous saying that Greg’s grandmother used frequently.
They plan to retain the family connection going by running it with their children. They are still securing a location and financing.
Other applicants included:
• FixidFitness at 120 W. Grand Ave. and owner Megan Radle
• The Luminary Wellness Center at 714 S. Barstow St. and owner Kari Jo Green
• Uplift Counseling Center at 505 S. Dewey St. and owner Sara Bowe
• Another applicant is not being named because of proprietary information.
Prize packages included:
Grand prize: $5,000 in start-up capital sponsored by Royal Credit Union, $500 in advertising credits with Volume One, a six-month DECI membership and a three-month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value).
Honorable mention: $2,500 in start-up capital; six-month DECI membership and a three-month flex membership with CoLab ($330 value).
Innovative Idea: $1,000 in start-up capital and a six-month DECI membership
The Rotary Club of Eau Claire and WNB Financial sponsored the luncheon.
Sponsors included Royal Credit Union, Associated Bank, Banbury Place, CoLab, JAMF, Market and Johnson, WESTconsin Credit Union, Bauman and Associates, Charter Bank, Cigan Properties, Huebsch Services, Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor, South Barstow Business Improvement District, Volume One, Xcel Energy and Ruder Ware.