ELLSWORTH — Some local businesses have recently opened in East End as a part of Ellsworth Chamber’s Pop-Up program. The program allows small local businesses to try out the Ellsworth market without making a big investment. The businesses will occupy their shops until Dec. 29., after which the owners will determine if they will take over the lease.

Learn more about the individual businesses involved in the program.

Merry Magpie’s Sign Shop

227 N. Broadway St. is home to Merry Magpie’s Sign Shop, where artist Magen Dodge sells her handmade signs, artwork and diverse displays of handmade wooden flowers. She builds the wooden signs and frames from scratch, stains them and carefully hand draws the artwork and lettering; no stencils are involved. She is currently taking wooden flower orders for weddings, with some already scheduled for spring.

Dodge makes her products in her River Falls home and has been selling at the retail store, 125 On Main, in River Falls and at various vendor fairs. It was at a fair where Dodge met Jill Zawierucha of Rush River Orchard. The two now share the pop-up storefront.

“We both couldn’t do it on our own, so we got together,” Dodge said.

It was about a year ago when Dodge started making her products. She says she is doing well in the River Falls market and is testing out the waters in Ellsworth through this program.

“I’m happy that I have a presence in Ellsworth,” Dodge said. “I like to reach out to different communities, so being able to extend my reach out to here is nice.”

She enjoys being able to experiment with the storefront and likes having a place where she can store her products and sell them at the same time.

Etown Collective

The Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation — a nonprofit group created in response to Design Ellsworth — is experimenting with a retail shop to raise funds for community projects.

The CDC mission is to improve the quality of Ellsworth and to seek funding through grants, fundraising and tax-deductible donations. The CDC helps connect passionate community members and community project leaders to the right resources and funding.

“We also want to be an organization that can pull together volunteers for projects,” Angie Whelan, CDC vice president, said.

Etown Collective sells new and donated items with the proceeds going towards community projects. The store, located at 259 N. Broadway St., has a boutique vibe and sells home decor, arts, antiques, books, furniture and jewelry.

Etown Collective will accept donations during business hours and by appointment; no drop-offs allowed. They are looking for donations of handcrafted, vintage and other items in very good condition items.

The shop is run completely by volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up for a shift by visiting ellsworthe3.com/blog/ and click on the Etown Collective news link.

Whelan pointed out that having a physical location brings more awareness to the CDC’s cause and will likely make people more receptive to volunteer. She hopes the store existence will keep Design Ellsworth’s momentum going.

YB Urban?

With one step into the YB Urban? storefront, one’s nose is filled with the fresh scent of essential oils. The aromatherapy and wellness shop sells natural soaps, lotions, homecare and skincare products.

All of the products are made fresh in-house with locally sourced ingredients. Angie Whelan, owner of the YB Urban?, said she is very careful where she sources her product ingredients.

The Whelan family joined the city to farm movement and moved to western Wisconsin from Las Vegas in a search for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“What we were seeking was sustainability,” Whelan said. “My husband wanted to grow our own food. I was kind of delving into my own art.”

After spending some time as a product developer at a nonprofit, Whelan decided she wanted to see if she could create something for herself.

Her husband mentioned he had always wanted to make soap and call it YBStinky? which is how the business’s branding started. They wanted to incorporate the city to farm movement, thus YBUrban? was born. Visitors will notice the other cleverly named products including the chapstick YBChapped?.

She started her business in 2003, by taking the products to festivals and later wholesale at various stores around the area.

“For the last two years I’ve been just itching to get out of my house and actually have a good kitchen where I could work a little bit more efficiently and maybe hire someone eventually to come in and help out,” Whelan said.

Right now Whelan has no definite plans to leave her pop-up space once the pop-up program comes to an end.

Rush River Orchard & Bakery

Rush River Orchard & Bakery sells canned jellies, applesauce, crafts, bagged apples and fresh baked goods including pies, crisps, cookies, macaroons and muffins among other things.

Jill and Joe Zawierucha talked about retiring to an apple orchard and in 2016 they did just that by purchasing an existing orchard and renaming it Rush River Orchard & Bakery.

Jill always has had an interest in baking and had experience with jobs in the food industry. She also raised four kids, making homemade meals a necessity.

“I learned how to bake from my mother,” Jill said. “Some of the recipes I do are my mom’s, some are my grandma’s, some of them I just found.”

Besides selling products at local grocery stores and summer farmers market, this pop-up opportunity is the only other place where Rush River Orchard & Bakery items can be found.

Jill says she does not cut corners when it comes to baking and points out that she uses good ingredients like real butter and quality apples. According to Jill, her pie filling alone weighs close to 2 pounds.

“I bake exactly how I would for my family,” Jill said.

Although the shop does not serve food, they do have an area in the back where customers can enjoy their purchases. The space gives the store a coffee shop vibe and creates a community space. Being a part of the pop up program allows Jill to connect to a small community.

“So far overall it’s been a good experience,” Jill said.

For the Christmas holiday Jill hopes to bring in freshly made wreaths to sell in the shop. She is currently taking orders for Thanksgiving pies.

Pop-up hours

Fridays & Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Merry Magpie’s Sign Shop

227 N. Broadway St.

Rush River Orchard & Bakery

227 N. Broadway St.

YB Urban?

243 N. Broadway St.

Etown Collective

259 N. Broadway St.