This month VEDA welcomes and highlights Sticker Shock, a new tenant at the Food Enterprise Center (FEC) in Viroqua.
Several years ago, owners Anna Poplawska and William Scott began working out of their home, which, according to Anna, is a former church, “very large and zoned commercial.” Their work-- applying labels by hand to trays that hold GoMacro organic nutrition bars which are made in Viola.
“And if you ever tried putting labels on 2,000 trays in one day, by hand, then you’d know what inspired the name,” said Poplawska. “The experience could put you into a severe state of sticker shock.”
After hiring out some of the hand labeling, Poplawska and Scott started shopping around for a machine to do the work for them. They moved to the FEC at the beginning of the year with expansion in mind and a desire to not have their business occupy more of their home. They also wanted to have storage space for their inventory until it is shipped and to have access to docks for shipping and receiving their product packaging.
The labeling machine arrived in February, and Sticker Shock is now up and running on it.
“It can put labels on any flat surface,” which Poplawska explained is a “fairly specialized application.”
“Our future plans for expansion include the purchase of a machine that will do round surfaces of food related products, jars of different sizes for which we expect there will be more demand.”
The two entrepreneurs are already feeling the advantages of being located at the FEC. “We feel very fortunate that the Food Enterprise Center is willing to offer a reasonable rent rate, starting us with something that we can afford, while we work to expand our business and create more jobs. We’ve seen that being in this space has given us some extra exposure, which we may not have gotten working from home. It’s great being co-located with other food related businesses. And we just love having our living room back!”
“Grow Agri-Tourism” April 23
Learn about best practices of 10 successful regional businesses at “Grow Agri-Tourism” to be held April 23 at Branches Winery in Westby. Sponsored by Explore La Crosse, Branches Winery, and Vernon County Tourism, the 7 Rivers Alliance event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the following speakers: Ruth Rupp of Ocooch Mountain Acres, Luke Zahm of Driftless Cafe, Mark Pfeiffer of Organic Valley, and Jan Rasikas of Viroqua Food Co-op.
At 11:30 a.m. Steve Peterson of Go Monroe County Wisconsin will talk about “The Business of Agri-Tourism.” Participants will be able to network over lunch from 12-1 p.m. From 1-2 p.m. “Regional Agri-Tourism” will be discussed by Phil Gudgeon of Kickapoo Gold, Mary Bell of Lanesboro Local, Nodji Van Wychen of Wetherby Farms, and Kathy Kuderer of Down A Country Road. Steve Peterson will speak again at 2 p.m. on “Making Connections to Promote Local Assets”.
The event will conclude with tours of the Food Enterprise Center and Organic Valley from 2:30-4 p.m. To register for the event, including lunch and one tour, go to 7riversalliance.com or mail to 7 Rivers Alliance, 400 7th St. North, La Crosse, WI 54601. Branches Winery is located in Westby at E6796 Old Line Road.
VEDA annual meeting May 11
VEDA’s annual membership meeting will be held over lunch at the Stockyard Grill and Saloon in Coon Valley on Monday, May 11 starting at 11:30 a.m. Join us to help celebrate our accomplishments and elect board members. Memberships must be current (paid for 2015) to be eligible to vote for the board candidates.
The meeting will include a welcome from Rick Stegen, Mayor of Coon Valley.
If you would like to join VEDA, you can download a membership form on our website, veda-wi.org. and bring it to the meeting or mail to VEDA at the Food Enterprise Center, 1201 N. Main St., Suite 6, Viroqua, WI 54665. We are a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization and not a department of the county. We rely on memberships for our operating budget. All contributions are tax deductible.
For tickets and reservations for the annual meeting, contact Dawn Simonson at email@example.com or 606-2066 by May 1. We look forward to seeing you!