Family furniture store closing after patriarch’s death

A family-owned furniture store that has been in business for 52 years in Eau Claire will soon close its doors.

Bush’s Home Furnishings, 2402 London Road, sent a letter recently to customers informing them that the store will be going out of business due to the death of the man who had long run the business.

“After the passing of Rick, the family has made the difficult decision to close the doors forever,” the letter stated.

Rick Bush died on Dec. 8 at the age of 65 after a battle with Lewy body dementia, according to an obituary that ran in the Leader-Telegram. Rick Bush had owned the store since buying it from his dad, Charles, in 1987.

The store will soon start a going out of business sale to get rid of inventory before closing permanently, according to the letter sent to customers.

Roble Tacos + Tequila returns with delivery only

A Mexican restaurant that had been open for two years on Eau Claire’s south side has returned, but its food will only be for delivery, not dine-in.

Billing its second coming as a “virtual restaurant” owners of Roble Tacos + Tequila announced Wednesday that the eatery’s cuisine is now available for delivery and can be ordered through the Bite Squad smartphone app.

Roble’s website,, also has been updated to reflect that the restaurant’s fare can now be ordered online for delivery.

Roble Tacos + Tequila was open from late 2016 until March 2018 at 5020 Keystone Crossing. Owners Lincoln Hospitality Group switched concepts for the location and turned it into Northern Tap House, specializing in pizza, burgers and a variety of beer.

Insurance company acquires Thorp agency

An independent insurance agency in Thorp is now part of a statewide insurance and benefit solutions company with multiple offices in the Chippewa Valley.

Port-Washington-based Ansay & Associates announced recently that it has acquired the Jerry Thompson Agency in Thorp.

“This is one of those changes that is going to benefit clients, customers, as well as our agency,” Toby Dutter, who manages Ansay’s Eau Claire region, said in a news release. “The Jerry Thompson team is renowned for their hard work, customer care and tenacity. We’re exhilarated to be fully integrated with their team and greet the new decade providing robust services for our valued clients.”

The Durand office will continue to be run by Dave Christopherson, and the seven employees there will remain under Ansay & Associates.

Ansay’s other area offices are in Augusta, Bloomer, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, New Richmond and River Falls. The company serves the insurance needs of more than 5,000 Wisconsin businesses and 20,000 individual customers.

Merchants Bank ends ‘19 above expectations

The parent company of Winona, Minn.-based Merchants Bank ended 2019 with $19.76 million in net income.

The year-end figure exceeded Merchants Financial Group’s plan for the year by more than $2.6 million and is 4.7% more than 2018’s earnings.

“I’m extremely proud of our long track record of repeatable, sustainable earnings growth,” president and CEO Gregory M. Evans said in a news release. “Our success resulted from a total team effort, with each of our 480 teammates intensely focused on an extraordinary service orientation and a tremendous spirit of collaboration.”

Important contributors to last year’s earnings included strong business growth in loans and deposits, mortgage loan volume slightly higher than planned, and an income contribution from First National Bank of Northfield (Minn.), which Merchants acquired in August.

Merchants Bank has an Eau Claire location at 2728 Mall Drive.

Short takes

• An annual safety refresher course for mine workers will be 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 at 29 Pines, 5872 33rd Ave., rural Eau Claire. The MSHA Part 48 class costs $140, which includes lunch. To register, call 715-944-9120 or email

From staff reports