Small businesses making a comeback in Viroqua

Viroqua is one of many small Wisconsin towns that’s dependent on small businesses.

Today, local and state officials met at the Drifting Boutique to talk about how shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving can help the city.

“Having Small Business Saturday coming up, I’m excited to see the store full of people again,” Drifting Boutique co-owner Amanda Warthesen said.

Warthesen is new to the business world.

“I started last year, October 2018, as a pop-up shop in Viroqua,” Warthesen said.

She initially started her business in one of the smallest ways.

“I first started the business actually out of my house on a very, very small scale,” Warthesen said. “And then grew as the pop-up shop started.”

But her business did not come without concerns.

“Mostly financial challenges of trying to figure out how to make a business work, and not go into too much debt,” Warthesen said.

One year later, the Drifting Boutique opened up its doors for the first time right on Main Street in Viroqua.

“I didn’t think it would take off to the extent that it has,” Warthesen said.

But the Drifting Boutique is part of the recovery on Main Street.

“Things are really booming in Viroqua,” mayor Karen Mischel said. “It’s incredibly exciting in the year and a half that I’ve been mayor.”

Mischel says she remembers growing up seeing stores in Viroqua boarded up.

But the city has since made a comeback.

“This year with the new shops coming in, and the new opportunites for people to come in and buy things that they wouldn’t normally get on a small town like Viroqua, it’s really exciting,” Mischel said.

Now she has Small Business Saturday to look forward to.

“It’s not just a hope,” Mischel said. “I know that as a community, people will support our small businesses.”

And Warthesen and her staff will keep working hard to keep the Boutique thriving.

“Just when we think that we’ve touched everybody who we want to, people come into the store and they say ‘oh, I had no idea this was here,'” Warthesen said. “So, that’s a really good feeling to have that we keep reaching out to people and people keep finding us.”

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