Associated Will Close Baileys Harbor Location

Associated Bank sent a letter to customers this week informing them that it will close its Baileys Harbor branch Oct. 23.

Janet Ford, Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Associated Bank, said the decision to close came as part of the bank’s ongoing evaluation of its locations.

“Analysis of branch locations is a regular process conducted throughout the banking industry, where traffic patterns and market factors are considered,” Ford said. “We analyze our branch locations for efficiency to make sure our locations are placed in the right places to serve our customers.”

The news came as a surprise to Brian Nelson of the Blacksmith Inn, who enjoys taking a short walk to make his deposits at the location two or three times a week.

“I guess now instead of a walk we’ll be looking at driving 15 minutes to Sister Bay,” Nelson said. “I’m sure that in an age of online banking, corporations have to do things like this to stay efficient, but it is another piece of the small-town experience gone.”

Nelson said he’s witnessed a massive change in customer habits in his 13 years at the inn.

“Ten years ago we saw many more cash or check transactions,” he said. “Now, almost everybody pulls out plastic.”

But there are still enough cash and check payments that he appreciated the nearby location.

Associated is the only bank with a physical presence in Baileys Harbor, one of almost 300 Associated branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. The Baileys Harbor branch employs two people and offers only teller services. Ford said employees have been encouraged to pursue openings at other bank branches.

Associated maintains three locations in Sturgeon Bay and one in Sister Bay.

Barbara Issacson at the 57 Depot does her banking through Baylake Bank’s Sister Bay branch. She said she used the Associated branch only as a place to send customers for an ATM.

“As long as we get our ATM soon I don’t think it will affect us very much,” Issacson said.

Issacson is concerned about having an empty location in the middle of town though, and worries about what might take its place.

Associated has been at the Baileys Harbor location for more than 25 years, but has not announced whether it will sell the property.

Ford encouraged customers with further questions and concerns to stop in one of Associated’s other Door County locations or contact the customer care center at 800.236.8866.