Mulligal Storefront Wausau WI

Setting the Stage for Entrepreneurial Success

June 15, 2023

Spotlight on Entrepreneurs

Design Theory 19

Choosing the right location for a business is crucial. Mindy Hoppe, owner of Design Theory 19, believes she made the right choice when moving her interior design studio to downtown Wausau. "I moved a couple of times and being downtown is the best place for our brand," Hoppe said. "We are thriving."

Design Theory 19 Store Downtown Wausau

Photo credit Mindy Hoppe

Since opening at her new address at 632 North Third Street, Hoppe has expanded her reach and is collaborating with other new businesses that are getting ready to open. "The business community is very supportive of each other and has given me referrals," she said.

In October 2022, she opened this location as a recipient of a Mainstreet Bounce Back grant, which provides $10,000 to support Wisconsin businesses recovering from the pandemic. The assistance offered immediate recovery funding from the American Recovery Act Plan with the intent of helping companies to open, expand and remain open long term. Additionally, Hoppe said that her landlord is cooperative and she finds the rent to be fair and appropriate considering the location.

Hoppe's specialty in designing inspired spaces aligns with the dynamic surroundings of her prime location. Starting from the red brick exterior of her studio next to Evolutions In Design, she strives to elicit a quaint and cozy feeling that harmonizes with the delightful character of the historic neighborhood. Inside, shoppers find locally and globally sourced products, many hand-picked by Hoppe herself. Like the boundless energy of the design industry, downtown Wausau offers Hoppe an array of amenities that other locations didn't provide.

"Downtown had all the opportunities I wanted to take advantage of and share with my clients," she said. "I can refer a customer to a nearby coffee shop or recommend a great place for lunch," she said.

"The River District is up and coming and I wanted to get ahead of the ball when I moved here," Hoppe added.


Another shop owner focused on the future in a desirable location is Chrissy Kaupie, owner of Mulligal, who is close to the action at 316 Washington Street, right across from the development zone. She moved into her current store in March 2021, just before the city demolished the former mall. "Coincidentally, I gained nearby parking spots and increased exposure to traffic," she said.

Kaupie positioned her women's golf and activewear company in an area expected to see an influx of apartments, retail shops and pedestrians. Her strategic mindset and willingness to invest in the area's potential should pay off in the long run. "I'm excited to see what the future holds for Mulligal and the city as a whole," she said.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recognizes that Wausau is maximizing its potential by creating an environment favorable to entrepreneurs. "With the redevelopment of the former mall, the city continues its journey toward restoring the site as the heart of the city," said Melinda Osterberg, regional economic development director of WEDC.

In another nod to Wausau's successes, WEDC also supports the city’s Riverlife development, an outdated industrial space transformed into a haven for residents to enjoy recreational activities and live alongside the picturesque Wisconsin River.

"The City of Wausau has made remarkable strides in building both the city's physical and social infrastructure to support a healthy community," said Osterberg.

Happening in Wausau

  • Wausau Night Market

    Thursdays of June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17 from 5 to 9 p.m. The 400 block offers a mix of local makers, farmers, live music, sidewalk dining and extended hours from surrounding businesses. To see a lineup of vendors, Visit the Wausau River District for a lineup of vendors.

  • Wings Over Wausau

    June 16 and 17. Head over to the Wausau Downtown Airport for a professional airshow, kids’ activities, drone demonstrations, live music, wing competition, corn hole competition and fireworks shows on Friday and Saturday at dusk. Admission is $5 per person, and children under 12 are free. View additional information and event schedule.

  • World Cultures Day

    June 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out the diversity of the community at the 400 Block in downtown Wausau and learn more about what makes Wausau unique. Free. View more information,

Be Wausome and enjoy Wausau!

Exciting changes are happening in downtown Wausau. Wausau Opportunity Zone invites the community to stay informed by signing up for regular emails at, a site WOZ launched in 2021 to involve and engage everyone. WOZ is leading the charge toward a new era of prosperity by partnering with Greater Wausau Prosperity Partnership, local governments, businesses and organizations.