Two years after moving to the area, Kelly Castady and her friend Megan Goebel plan to open the Willow Boutique in November at 309 Pearl St. in downtown La Crosse.

It will be in the storefront now occupied by Creative Canvas & Board painting studio, which is moving next door to 313 Pearl St.

“We will carry a highly curated collection of clothing for women, as well as accessories and jewelry,” Castady said. “We will not venture into menswear, but are thinking about offering children’s clothing; if we do that, it will be sometime in 2017.”

Her family moved to the area from Orange County, Calif., in November 2014 after her husband, Sean, was named general manager of The Charmant Hotel. Goebel and her family still live in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Castady said Goebel will oversee the online store that the two women plan to launch in the first quarter of 2017.

“We are so excited to bring our dream to fruition and to be able to do it in downtown La Crosse,” Castady said. “And (having it) on Pearl Street is the best possible scenario.” For more information, visit or visit the store’s Facebook page.

Karen Bressi plans to move her Creative Canvas & Board painting studio by Oct. 1 to the former Salem Markos and Sons store at 313 Pearl St. The apparel store closed in 2005 when its owners retired.

Major renovation work is under way at the storefront, which is much larger than the studio’s current digs. The new location will have expanded hours and an “art bar” where people can buy beer and wine, Bressi said.

The studio has outgrown the space that it’s occupied for the past year. It offers canvas and board painting, as well as spin art (a form of painting). And it soon will offer graffiti art, which involves stencils and spray paint.

The studio’s new location also will have more room for retail sales of art (such as paintings and jewelry) made by staff members of Bressi’s various art-related businesses.

Creative Canvas & Board offers classes as well as open studio time. Hours at the new location tentatively will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 608-784-0737 or visit the studio’s Facebook page. Its new website,, is expected to be operating by early October.

Joan Ferris and Jay Sparks plan to open Lovechild restaurant by early December in the former Hooters restaurant at 300 S. Third St. in downtown La Crosse.

Remodeling is under way and Lovechild has begun taking applications for jobs at the new casual fine dining restaurant and bar.

Ferris, who is a La Crosse native, and Sparks both spent two decades with the D’Amico & Partners family of restaurants in the Twin Cities and in Naples, Fla.

Ferris said last week that she and Sparks have made their design choices. “That’s fun for people to hear about because it’s very different for La Crosse — blue velvet bar stools, gold dust bar top, an antique Murano chandelier, velvet curtains, just to name a few,” she said. “We’ll have cozy booths and lamp lighting throughout to give it a cozy feeling of home.”

For more information, visit Lovechild’s Facebook page or email Its website,, is expected to begin operating this week.

Marc’s Budget Appliance is expected to open this week at 732 Rose St. in La Crosse.

Owner Marc Chester said he has been selling used appliances online for almost three years, and decided to open a retail store. The business buys, sells and repairs used appliances.

The store will sell refurbished washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, microwave ovens and built-in dishwashers. The merchandise has been repaired and restored “so they’re like new,” Chester said.

The store, which offers delivery, also has a kids’ area where children can play while their parents are shopping.

Store hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and open at other times by appointment. For more information, call the store at 608-769-2583 or check its Facebook page.

An Arby’s restaurant is under construction in the 900 block of South Black River Street (Hwy. 27) on the south side of Sparta.

It’s expected to open in late November, said Abbey Ramsey, director of marketing for franchisee DRM Inc. in Omaha, Neb.

The new Arby’s will be just north of the new Cenex service station/convenience store. It’s being built at the former site of the old Cenex convenience store, which was razed.

The new Sparta restaurant will have 40 to 50 employees, Ramsey said.

DRM owns and operates 71 Arby’s restaurants in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin. It plans to add 25 more Arby’s in those states over the next seven years.

“It’s a great location and we love opening in new communities,” Ramsey said of the company’s decision to build an Arby’s in Sparta.

Steve Cahalan can be reached at or at 608-782-9710, ext. 8819.


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