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Steve Cahalan: Ice cream, candy shop opens in Holmen

Steve Cahalan: Ice cream, candy shop opens in Holmen

From the From Tribune files: Openings and closings of La Crosse area businesses series
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Steve Cahalan

Members of the Ed and Karin O’Brien family will open their new Sugar Shack ice cream and candy shop on Saturday in Suite 101, next to The Mob Stop restaurant, in the family’s Old Town Center retail/restaurant/office development at 208 S. Holmen Drive, across from the Ace Hardware store in Holmen.

The new business will serve 16 flavors of Cedar Crest Ice Cream, including some frozen yogurt and a few flavors that are sugar-free or dairy-free, Karin said. It also will sell old-fashioned novelty candy.

To start with, ice cream will be sold in cones and cups. The O’Briens’ daughter, Liz O’Brien, said the Sugar Shack also is expected to be serving malts, shakes and sundaes later this summer.

The Sugar Shack will take a number of coronavirus precautions, Karin said. For example, its staff will wear face masks and food-safe gloves, and will change gloves after each transaction.

The new business probably will have five to 10 employees, Liz said. “Everyone’s been pretty excited to hear we plan to open an ice cream place here,” she added.

Hours probably will be noon to 8 p.m. seven days a week initially, Karin said, and may be adjusted later. The shop’s website and Facebook page are expected to be operating by the time the Sugar Shack opens.

An AT&T store opened July 3 at 9417 Hwy. 16 in Onalaska, in the four-unit building where Shopko Optical opened in December and where a Noodles & Co. restaurant is expected to open in late summer.

“The store sells wireless services, prepaid, AT&T TV and DirecTV services, Internet services and an array of other great products and services,” said Mike Montes, vice president of sales for mobily LLC, an authorized AT&T retailer based in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, Texas, that operates the new Onalaska store. “We are excited to be part of the community and look forward to earning their business,” he said.

Hours at the Onalaska store are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. “With all the challenges with COVID-19, we probably will not have an (grand opening-type) event for a while, but we encourage our customers to stop by and visit us,” Montes said.

For more information, call the store at 608-615-1027 or visit or the store’s Facebook page. The website mentions a number of coronavirus precautions that are being taken at the new store.

And speaking of Shopko Optical — the eyecare chain said last week that it will open a La Crosse location in the former B.A. Burrito Co. restaurant space at 1607 S. Losey Blvd. in the Village Shopping Center. The new location is expected to open in October.

Patients can anticipate complete eye care services, including eye exams, contact lens fitting and diagnosis and treatment of eye disease, the company said.

“We selected this location based on its convenience for patients seeking eye care,” said Russ Steinhorst, Shopko Optical CEO. “We are pleased to join the La Crosse community and deliver the patient-centered care we are known for.”

Five to six jobs will be created with the opening of Shopko Optical in La Crosse, the company said. It added that Shopko Optical’s Project Eyecare program will work with the local Lions Club to identify deserving children in the area to receive a free comprehensive eye exam and pair of glasses. Those looking to participate can contact their local Lions Club.

For more information, visit

Steve Cahalan can be reached at or 608-791-8470.


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