Wisconsin favorites: beer, milk and cheese
LoCo WisCo to open its doors in May, offering products emblematic of Northeast Wisconsin
By Rachel Sankey
Dena Mooney, proprietor of LoCo WisCo, said when she travels with her family, it’s customary for them to stop at a souvenir shop on their way home to pick up some type of keepsake.
“My husband is a big souvenir junkie,” Mooney said. “He is always trying to find a place where he can get some type of little souvenir.”
Mooney said she recently realized Green Bay didn’t have a souvenir shop that encompassed the city and all its quirks for travelers to pick up their own memento commemorating their time in Titletown.
“I mean, a lot of people go to Lambeau Field,” she said. “There’s the Packer Pro Shop, but what we’re looking for is a lot different than that, because you can buy that anywhere.”
On the right path
Mooney said she knew she wanted to use the money she received from her late grandfather toward opening her own business. To help her achieve that dream, Mooney said she enrolled in the E-Seed program at Fox Valley Technical College to learn more about business, as she prepared to open LoCo WisCo.
“I took the class, and every week I became more passionate about the store,” she said. “Every week the thought of the business became more of a part of me, I became more protective of it.”
Soon after, the Main Street Bounceback grant became available, which she said further confirmed that she was making the right decision in opening her own business.
As Mooney’s classes progressed, so did LoCo WisCo, which she said stands for “A local collective of artists, makers, and producers who are crazy about Wisconsin.”
Mooney said she wants LoCo WisCo to have a fun, small-town, tavern-like atmosphere – highlighted by the shop’s logo, which resembles vintage beer cans from the 1950-60s.
She said the store will have several different bar counters, including one made out of a tractor hood, and a pool table.
Staying true to its Wisconsin roots, Mooney said the shop will have a turntable playing polka music.
Part of LoCo WisCo’s theme, Mooney said, is inspired by her grandparents, with one of the vintage bars belonging to them.
The shop will carry local beer, wine, cheese and other edible goods, as well as a Wisconsin staple – milk, which Mooney said they will potentially offer free to customers as they enter the shop.
“It’s supposed to be authentic to who we are in Northeast Wisconsin,” she said. “Or even just Wisconsin in general. We’re really trying to play up that bar feel. This (LoCo WisCo) is all about fun and being playful. We want people to have a good time.”
Handcrafted art and other products from local artists will also be available in the shop. Mooney said she is looking for more artists to sell their work in LoCo WisCo.
“We’re looking for items that are really inspired by Wisconsin or that tell Wisconsin’s story,” she said. “So something that relates to Wisconsin’s sense of place, our culture, our history, our natural environment or even things that play off of other items that we carry.”
Mooney said artists can reach out to her via LoCo WisCo’s Facebook page or via email at email@example.com.
She said those who contract with LoCo WisCo before the store opens, will receive an extra discount for the first 90 days and receive 70% of the profit, whereas it’s normally 60/40. Mooney also said there is no fee for artists to “rent” a spot in the shop.
“I’ll still take (artists’) items once we open,” she said. “I’m just really trying to say thank you to those people that are willing to go down this crazy journey with me at the very beginning.”
As it gets closer to LoCo WisCo’s opening date, which is set for sometime in May, Mooney said she is gaining more confidence in her new business.
“It’s so important as a business owner that you really believe in your business, because if you don’t, you’re not going to be successful,” she said. “Every time we spend in this space we really become even more excited.”
Rachel Sankey is the associate editor of Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.