Surrounded by family and friends, A.J. Frank of Door County Trolley broke ground Tuesday, July 8, for the future home of The Door County Trolley Station, 8030 Highway 42, at the north end of the Village of Egg Harbor.
After 14 years of starting and growing the Door County Trolley business at Orchard Country Winery & Market in Fish Creek, owner Frank is taking the plunge and building his trolleys a new home. Beginning in Spring 2015, The Door County Trolley station will offer customers an indoor ticket sales office, retail space for merchandise and a food and beverage counter for pre- and post-tour refreshments.
“The station will resemble a historic train station,” said Frank. “My fleet of 11 trolleys will have a new home, and visitors will have a free place to park while they enjoy one of our 12 themed, year-round trolley tours.”
The new facility will measure 2, 500 square feet, and Door County Trolley will employ 15 people after the expansion is completed. Frank is investing $800,000 in the new Door County Trolley Station, and is ready to start a new chapter in his businesses’ history. He chose the property in Egg Harbor for its central location on the Door County peninsula, the openness of the property and its ability to host a large amount of parking.
General contractor Keith Tielens of Tielens Construction said the design of the station largely came from ideas provided by Frank’s wife, Cheryl. Cheryl was on hand for the groundbreaking, along with the Franks’ three children, Jack, Katie and Eric, who Frank referred to as “the future of Door County Trolley.”
Prior to buying his first trolley in 2000, Frank worked as a Registered Nurse in Milwaukee for 14 years.
“I was on vacation in Savannah, Georgia on a trolley tour and thought ‘what a great opportunity for a business in Wisconsin!’,” Frank said. “That May (2000) I bought my first trolley.”
That first trolley – named Jack after Frank’s oldest son – can be seen on the grounds of the new location.
Frank was chosen as 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Door County Economic Development Corporation.