Downtown Small Businesses Thrive Despite Mall Store Closures

The announcement that three stores inside the Wausau Center Mall will soon be closing their doors does not come as welcome news for the Wausau community. However, many downtown business owners are convinced that the closure of J.C. Penney, Hollister, and Gap are not indicative of a economic problem facing the downtown area.

Janke Books has been a staple of Downtown Wausau since 1919. The store has always relied on having a diverse customer base, something that 3rd generation owner Jane Janke says makes running a business here so special.

"Downtown Wausau is a very vibrant and beautiful place to shop and have an experience. " Janke says.

While old standbys like Janke's are key to downtown's success, new and innovative businesses are just as important. Emily Voss, 22, recently opened a photography studio downtown. She thought about moving to New York City after graduating college, but instead decided to return home to Wausau to start a business. She says it was a smart decision.

" I know a lot of people do like to leave, which I definitely respect, but having lived all over the country and world I have really realized what a gem Wausau is. To me, there is no reason why I shouldn't come back. " Voss says.

While the store closures in the mall are bound to have an impact on the local economy, small businesses like Voss Studios and Janke Books aren't afraid of meeting a similar fate.

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