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The Year In Business 2023

In a way, 2023 marked a changing of the Door County guard, as long-standing businesses with serious cred and widespread recognition hit the market, either selling by year’s end or in the process of doing so. Meanwhile, the year hosted its share of beginnings, including the grand opening of Door County Medical Center’s new Sister Bay Clinic and Rehab Facility. 

Restaurants Go Up for Sale

Wickman House, the highly-acclaimed restaurant business, is not for sale, but the house it has occupied was on the market. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Several Door County restaurants or buildings went on the market this year, including Wickman House in Ellison Bay, owned by Mike Holmes; and the Wild Tomato chain with locations in Fish Creek and Sister Bay, owned by Britt Unkefer. Other restaurant businesses or buildings that went on the market this year include the building that houses Fresh Take 42 in North Ephraim; and The Rusty Tractor in Egg Harbor. 

Rowleys Bay Resort For Sale

The iconic 25-acre Rowleys Bay Resort waterfront property in Door County was listed for sale for $2.15 million after sustaining major damage Sept. 5 in a devastating fire. Bob and Jewel Ouradnik initially planned to rebuild but ultimately decided to list the property. By year’s end, the owners had reportedly accepted an offer, but could not divulge any information.

Door County Medical Center Opens Sister Bay Clinic

Door County Medical Center provides better Rehabilitation and Occupational therapy areas and a larger clinic for northern Door County in Sister Bay. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Door County Medical Center dedicated the new Sister Bay Clinic and Rehab Facility and provided guided tours through the new clinic and rehabilitation facility, which replaces the clinic in Fish Creek. Occupational and Speech therapies now have dedicated treatment spaces, and Rehab patients enjoy an enlarged gym, with new equipment, as well as additional therapy rooms to allow for flexible programming.

Packers President Buys Maxwelton Braes Golf Course; Lodge Also sells

Mark Murphy. Submitted.

Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy bought 93-year-old Maxwelton Braes Golf Course from Jim Bresnahan for $1.04 million, leaving Bresnahan in charge for now and vowing to keep it as an affordable public course. The Maxwelton Braes Lodge, which is not financially connected to the golf course, also sold this year. Frank Kowalkowski and his wife, Julie, along with Barb and Dr. Nami Zarvan, purchased the property from Bill Anderson.

New Self-Pour Taphouse Alters Pub Scene

Todd and Holly Butenhoff introduced a completely new concept for Door County, the self-serve Thirsty Cow Taphouse. Photo by Rachel Lukas.

Todd and Holly Butenhoff opened Thirsty Cow Taphouse at County Roads A and E, where customers receive a plastic card to get their own drinks and track ounces poured and pricing. 

Corner of Jefferson, Third Ave. Transformed

Construction was well on its way by year’s end on two projects that are changing the look and feel of Sturgeon Bay’s downtown at the corner of Third Avenue and Jefferson Street.

The first project is Shirley Weese Young’s Muse building on the intersection’s northeast corner that will host a music venue, public restrooms and second-story studio apartments.

Directly across the street at the former Door County Ace Hardware, owner Amy LaBott is renovating her former Door County Ace Hardware store into a space that offers multiple storefronts. 

The Fair-Trade Difference

Door County business proprietors talked to the Peninsula Pulse about the ethics behind their fair-trade products and practices at businesses including Kindgoods in Sister Bay, Brilliant Stranger in Egg Harbor and Fair Isle Books and Gifts. The principles range from promoting fair trade and paying promptly and fairly to ensuring the rights of children and respecting cultural, racial and ethnic identity.

Geitners open equine campground

More than campsites await horse owners at Penny and Dave Geitner’s equine campground, including obstacles and plenty of trails. Photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

Dave and Penny Geitner opened an equine campground off County Road I in the Town of Egg Harbor with 29 horse-and-rider campsites on land that includes seven miles of horse trails plus hayfield, cornfield, prairie and woodlands.

Door County Ranks Among Best Counties to Own a Small Business

Door County ranked third-best of the state’s 72 counties – behind Pepin and Clark counties – to own a small business in 2022, according to New York-based SmartAsset.

New Space for Henriksen Fisheries

The new processing plant at Henriksen Fisheries. Facebook photo.

Henriksen Fisheries opened a new processing plant and retail store at 11644 Old Stage Road in Ellison Bay.

Gary Shefchik Retires from Portside

Gary Shefchik. Submitted.

After a tenure of nearly 50 years at PortSide Builders, Gary Shefchik officially retired. Starting as a carpenter, he had been with PortSide Builders from the beginning, working alongside his siblings – Larry, Paul, Alan, Mark, Sue and Fran – who founded the company in 1977. 

Clipper’s Mate Salon Celebrates 50 Years

The Clipper’s Mate turned 50 years old. Tom Jorns established its predecessor – the Yankee Clipper Barber Shop in 1973 – and established Clipper’s Mate in 1982. Tom’s daughter, Kama Duessler, now owns both.

Lampert Lumber Becomes Wisconsin Building Supply

Lampert Lumber, with locations in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay, completed a transition to become Wisconsin Building Supply. Both were part of U.S. LBM Holdings. 

Coolest Thing Made In Wisconsin?

Marine Travelift’s variable width boat hoist has been nominated for the 8th annual Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest. Only the top 16 products would move on to the next round.