Dave and Stephanie Bentzen plan to open B’s Place event venue next spring after renovating a former restaurant at 102 N. Leonard St. in downtown West Salem.

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STEVE CAHALAN | For the La Crosse Tribune

The Bentzens, who own Hwy 35 Signs in Onalaska, bought the building in May and auctioned its contents last week. Constructed in 1901, in recent years it was the home of LaScher’s Uptown Bistro & Banquets and then La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant (which closed in 2014).

Dave Bentzen said his wife oversees B’s Place, which already has started booking wedding receptions, parties and other events for next year.

The Bentzens are about to begin making cosmetic improvements to the building’s exterior, and major improvements inside. The latter include exposing three brick walls by removing paneling. “We’ll also go down to the original hardwood floors (now covered with other flooring) and refinish them,” Dave said. Bathrooms also will be enlarged and upgraded.

The Bentzens plan to plant flowers and trees in green space next to the building this fall, to create a garden area that can be used next spring for outdoor events such as weddings, parties and receptions.

For more information or to book events, call Stephanie at 608-799-1996 or visit B’s Place on Facebook.


Marty and Polly Aabye opened Grandpa’s Sweet Shoppe ice cream parlor and candy shop June 17 at 129 W. Broadway St. in downtown Blair.

But they already plan to move that business around Jan. 1 to part of the former Poor Richard’s Cafe at 106 S. Urberg St., also in downtown Blair. And in the other part of that building, they’ll open Grandma’s Place restaurant, also around Jan. 1.

The couple run the ice cream parlor and candy shop with the help of daughter Cathy Owens. (They have six daughters and 13 grandchildren.) They decided to open the new Blair business because they had enjoyed operating (with a former partner) a smaller ice cream and candy shop in Arcadia about 10 years ago, Polly said.

“We’ve always wanted to do a restaurant,” Polly said of the couple’s decision to open Grandma’s Place.

Grandpa’s Sweet Shoppe has 11 flavors of Cedar Crest ice cream and sells such items as ice cream cones, sundaes, malts, shakes and banana splits. The shop recently began selling pints of ice cream, along with Danish rolls, doughnuts and cinnamon rolls. It also serves pizza.

The new shop seats about 27 people, Polly said. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 608-864-3103 or visit the shop’s Facebook page.


Ann Karen Gronbeck-Peterson, who started Gallery La Crosse at 320 Main St. in 2008, is inviting area artists and fine craft artisans to meet there from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 8 about converting the business to a cooperative gallery.

The gallery has about 30 vendors and mainly sells original art, fine crafts and gift items, Gronbeck-Peterson said, and some vendors also sell antiques and vintage items. It primarily has been staffed by her and her family.

Gronbeck-Peterson said she has been recovering from breast cancer treatment and several months of multiple respiratory complications, and is no longer physically or financially able to do everything at the gallery on her own.

People can support the business on a GoFundMe online donations site and by buying items at the gallery, she said.

Gronbeck-Peterson said she was one of the founding members of the former Odin Arts Cooperative downtown and that her original plan for her gallery was to make it an artists’ cooperative. For more information, visit www.GalleryLaCrosse.com or its Facebook page or call 608-782-4278.

Steve Cahalan can be reached at stevecahalan.reporter@gmail.com or at 608-782-9710, ext. 8819.

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