Downtown La Crosse seeing spike in interest from new businesses

You might be seeing some new faces in downtown La Crosse. There are at least two new businesses looking to fill empty storefronts right now. The downtown area has been seeing a spike in interest recently.

Downtown La Crosse saw a few new businesses before the end of last year. We’ll be seeing two more, Anytime Fitness and the Grand Bluff Running, open up at the end of this month and downtown leaders say the reason is simple.

Downtown La Crosse has been seeing fewer and fewer open storefronts.

“We actually have a lot of new businesses that are currently opening up. And many more that are looking to open in the near future,” Robin Moses, executive director at Downtown Mainstreet said.

And this comes as no surprise to Moses.

“When people see that there are other businesses moving in they realize that downtown is a great place to open their business,” Moses said.

The Downtown Mainstreet director says other stores moving in isn’t the only attraction for new businesses.

“We’ve got some great spaces, we have a fabulous downtown, we have a beautiful river, strong tourism in the area and so it’s a place that people can think about being a successful business and opening it here in downtown,” Moses said.

New store owners agree.

“Our first visit here we just fell in love with downtown La Crosse. (We) found this great location on 5th Avenue with the nice windows out front and it’s close to the businesses downtown so we’ll see a lot of foot traffic from the businesses,” Nedra Blietz, owner of Anytime Fitness in La Crosse said.

“I love how just vibrant it is. You really can see it starting to come back. You see new businesses open it seems like every day, if not every month,” Tyler Heinz, owner of Grand Bluff Running said.

Anytime Fitness will soon be located on 5th Street in the old Dollar Store building. The Grand Bluff Running store is setting up shop on the 500 block of Main Street.

The Downtown Mainstreet director said there should be a couple more openings later in the spring.

“Right now it’s a great time for downtown. La Crosse people are interested in opening their businesses here and it’ll feel good after the long winter to have spring come and have not only spring here but some new businesses opening,” Moses said.

There is also a Mediterranean restaurant opening on 6th and State streets. Mosest said Thursday that within the past 24 hours she has been contacted by three more potential businesses wanting to look at spaces downtown.

Moses believes the downtown area has been gaining momentum with not only smaller storefronts but also some big businesses such as the Charmant Hotel, a boutique hotel moving into the old Ross Furniture building.