Maxwell Street Sales.
At September’s Lake Geneva Business Improvement District (BID) meeting former Mayor Spyro Condos (AKA, Speedo) shared an idea regarding Maxwell Street Days. Every fall, Lake Geneva’s downtown retail shops are highlighted and shoppers come to enjoy a great weekend in Lake Geneva. The stores have to work a little harder serving customers both inside and out, but the extra sales every year make the event worthwhile to both customers and business owners. Speedo had shared at the September meeting that having outdoor sales once a month, or perhaps once every couple of months, could really benefit the downtown shops. The suggestion was considered and put on October’s agenda for further discussion.
The October meeting was Monday morning and the agenda item came up, but it was not received well. The main concern was that if Maxwell Street Days was held too often the impact would be diminished. Roger Wolf, the owner of “Jayne’s Boutique”, spoke against the idea, and adamantly stated he did not like anything about the idea. A suggestion from a member of the BID was shared about the possibility of holding the event twice a year, adding a spring Maxwell Street Days to the existing one in fall. No support was forthcoming, though, and the idea was tabled. Mr. Wolf also stated that he would not have enough inventory if the idea was implemented!
Lake Geneva’s downtown is ever-changing. Businesses are always updating, growing, coming and going. Some of the future possibilities are very exciting, starting with the old Boatyard Bagel space on Main Street. It has recently been purchased by a group of investors that are in the process of gutting the entire interior and redoing it into several smaller units that will soon be ready for lease. Also, Bridget Leech from the Lake Geneva BID is working with Keefe Reality and showing spaces to potential businesses that would like to come to Lake Geneva. A children’s and baby clothing store out of Rockton, Illinois is interested in looking for a downtown space to open a second location, and a distillery and cider company is touring places for a possible relocation to Lake Geneva in the future.
Lake Geneva also has confirmed some new coffee shops are coming this spring. Inspired Coffee will be on Main Street, and Brick and Mortar is adding a coffee shop to its Geneva and Cook Street location. The Riviera Complex will be losing a shop. Ba-Ba’s will not be coming back next year and will be missed by many. The Riviera is undergoing a lot of changes with repairs, remodeling, and reconfiguration in the next year or two. It will be interesting to see which businesses stay, and which go.
The Ice Castle at the Riviera Beach last winter was a hit and the plan was for it to come back this winter. However, it became clear that there were issues about the location and what accommodations the ice castle people wanted or needed and whether the castle would still be beneficial to the downtown businesses. An agreement between all parties was not reached, and so the ice castle is going elsewhere. Where, is the new question. The ice castle company has not announced the new location formally but has stated that it still wants to be in the area and that the future goal is to find a location in the city limits of Lake Geneva and make it a long-term site. Possible rumored locations have included the Grand Geneva, or another local resort, or moving to Fontana, or another nearby community. The most talked-about location was Geneva National just off of Highway 50, West of Lake Geneva. The GSR went to investigate the driving ranges at Geneva National and Grand Geneva and did not see any signs of the Ice Castles setting up yet.
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