Press Release: DOA Visit Spotlights How State Investments Are Helping Ripon Businesses Thrive

Wisconsin Department of Administration Logo



Tony Evers, Governor

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary

May 25, 2023

DOA Visit Spotlights How State Investments Are Helping Ripon Businesses Thrive


Ripon, Wis. – Today, Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld met with community leaders and business owners to highlight how state investments have helped spur economic development in the Ripon area.

The Secretary met with Ripon Mayor Ted Grant, Ripon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mandy Kimes, Ripon City Administrator Adam Sonntag, Ripon Main Street Executive Director Craig Tebon, and other local leaders and business owners to discuss how Main Street Bounceback grants from Gov. Tony Evers and Community Development Investment (CDI) grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) have catalyzed new and expanded businesses in downtown Ripon. The visit was followed by a tour of the businesses Knuth Brewing Company, Alexandria Games, and Chic Tique Girls, all of which received either a Main Street Bounceback grant or a CDI grant.

“Gov. Evers has been a champion of Main Street since day one of his administration,” Blumenfeld said. “That’s why, in the depths of the pandemic, this administration prioritized assistance to small businesses and took steps to deliver relief as swiftly and efficiently as possible. Today, we are seeing the fruits of those efforts: communities like Ripon are flourishing with the help of these investments.”

DOA Secretary Blumenfeld with MSBB Recipients in Ripon

(Front row, L-R:  Shelby Roeder, owner of Blend LLC; Ripon Chamber of Commerce executive director Mandy Kimes; DOA Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld; Lori Kendall, owner of Diverse Options. Back row, L-R: Carley Harmon, Skin & Out LLC owner; Renee Saul, Sweet & Salty owner; Lauren and Patrick McConnell, co-owners of Alexandria Games.) 


“Ripon’s relationship with WEDC and the Wisconsin Main Street program has helped our downtown revitalization program blossom into a viable destination,” said Tebon, executive director for Ripon Main Street, Inc. “The Bounceback Grant Program certainly helped us recruit numerous new businesses and led to several expansion projects. As a result, the downtown is now experiencing its lowest vacancy rate in the history of the revitalization program, a rate which is less than one percent and far below the national average. This initiative, combined with CDI grants for the Ernessi Farms and Knuth Brewing Company expansion projects, has produced a vibrant economy which is attracting regional and national attention.”

"The City of Ripon is grateful for the continued support our community has received from our partners at the WEDC,” said Sonntag, the Ripon City administrator. “The dollars that are being infused into our local small businesses have made a tremendous impact on the livelihood of our community and have contributed to the success of countless small businesses. The City is especially grateful for the WEDC’s CDI grant award to support the Knuth Brewing Co. Project. This was an important project that helped save the character of our downtown and has allowed Knuth Brewing Co. to strategically invest in the future."

Wisconsin is No. 1 in the country for directing its federal pandemic aid under the American Rescue Plan Act to economic development and support for small businesses, according to data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and is No. 2 in the U.S. for economic development investments.

Gov. Evers made more than $1 billion in investments statewide in support of small businesses. The popular Main Street Bounceback Grant program was announced in the spring of 2021 with the first grants made in August 2021, using $75 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, to help small businesses and communities grow by populating vacant storefronts with new businesses and nonprofits. The Governor followed with an additional $25 million investment into the program, for a total investment of $100 million that has helped over 9,400 entrepreneurs open new businesses or expand their existing operations. In his 2023-25 budget proposal, Evers called for a $50 million investment to continue the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program. Unfortunately, Republicans on the Joint Committee on Finance voted to remove that investment along with more than 540 other provisions from his budget.

Visit to view pandemic-related assistance information as well as the latest data and success stories about how COVID-relief investments are making a difference across the state. For updates on other recovery-related grant opportunities, sign up for the Badger Bounceback update list.


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