Henry Repeating Arms grows to Ladysmith

RICE LAKE — Firearms manufacturer Henry Repeating Arms has purchased a building in Ladysmith to expand capacity for making parts for the company’s rifles and shotguns.

The Rice Lake-based company announced last week that it had bought the 84,000-square-foot building located on 13.5 acres in Ladysmith, which allows room for future expansion.

“Staking our flag at a new facility is the beginning of another exciting chapter in our company’s history, and we are wasting no time prepping the building for our machines,” company President Andy Wickstrom said in a news release.

Within three years the company expects that 100 employees will be working in the Ladysmith building, mostly new hires, but also some who currently work in its Rice Lake facility.

The building purchased by Henry Repeating Arms had previously been occupied by Conwed Wall Technology, a division of Owens Corning.

Between its facilities in Wisconsin and New Jersey, the firearms company employs over 550 people and now has a total of 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Ashley Furniture CEO joins Hall of Fame

ARCADIA — Ashley Furniture Industries’ current president and CEO was among five industry leaders to be named last weekend into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame.

Ashley’s Todd Wanek was among those chosen by the Hall of Fame’s seven-member selection committee, who picks nominees based on their contributions to the growth and development of the home furnishings industry in America.

“I am deeply humbled to be represented in the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame,” Wanek said on his Oct. 17 induction. “Tonight has been nothing short of the ultimate achievement; It has been a blessing and an honor to work in the furniture industry and I plan on continuing for many more years.”

Wanek has led the company since 1996.

He followed in the footsteps of his father, Ronald Wanek, who founded Ashley Furniture Industries in the early 1970s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Job fair includes trick-or-treating

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Employers will hand out candy to children at an job fair this week at a Chippewa Falls hotel.

Hosted by the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp., the job fair will be 2 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Americas Best Value Inn and Suites (formerly Avalon Hotel), 1009 W. Park Ave.

During the last two hours of the fair, job-seekers are encouraged to bring their children along with to go trick-or-treating at more than 30 employer displays.

“This job fair was organized with fun, education, and practicality in mind; one can explore a plethora of career options while their children go trick-or-treating and maybe even learn about careers themselves,” Charlie Walker, president and CEO of the CCEDC, said in a news release.

Dove pushes ahead with addition

BLOOMER — Dove Healthcare is pushing ahead with plans to add assisted living apartments onto its existing nursing home in Bloomer.

The skilled nursing and rehabilitation provider broke ground last week on the 24-apartment residence that will sit adjacent to the 50-bed nursing home.

Expansion plans were first announced as preliminary in 2017, but Jeremy Kiley, regional director of operations, said they were waiting until the time was right to move ahead.

“Strong census, a changing market, and the continued trend with area residents seeking assisted living care outside their home community officially solidified our groundbreaking plans for this fall,” he said in a news release.

Construction of the new building is expected to be finished in spring.

Free CoLab workshops postponed

EAU CLAIRE — Two free workshops originally planned for this month at downtown Eau Claire coworking space CoLab, 312 S. Barstow St., are postponed until next month.

Rescheduled for 3 p.m. on Nov. 16, Nicole Sdao, CEO of tech startup Altruize, will talk about the importance of volunteering as part of company culture. Amy O’Connor, partner marketing specialist from Jamf, will discuss what the software company does to foster volunteerism among employees.

At 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, Amy Greenwald, owner of Blue Raspberry Design, will discuss ways that businesses can reduce their carbon footprints by redesigning their websites. That presentation will be an online videoconference via Zoom.

For more information or to register for the events, go to colabec.com/event.

‘Van life’ business idea wins contest

EAU CLAIRE — A team of UW-Eau Claire entrepreneur students won a business contest earlier this month with their pitch for a startup that would cater to adults who want to live the “van life.”

Judges of Startup 48 — an annual business startup competition held Oct. 8 to 10 at WIN Technology in Eau Claire — chose the winning team’s pitch from the six ideas and business plans created during the weekend-long contest.

The winning team was comprised of Sam Daniels, Mak Robinson, Jordan Rettig, Jake Williamson, Jackson Domagala, Ben Johnson, Ann Pitchford and Nate Hernandez.

Their idea, Over the Loam, is a business that would sell renovated teardrop campers and vans to adults who want to travel in comfort.

The winning team now qualifies to advance to the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament, a statewide pitch competition with a top prize of $2,500 in startup capital.

The local Startup 48 contest was organized by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp.

From staff reports