A little over two years ago, Rick Holm was looking for a place to run his business, Northwest Taxidermy. After looking at options to build in Hammond, Holm purchased the bar at West Second Street and South Knowles Avenue in New Richmond.
"Although I opened it as a taxidermy shop at first, with the bar being in here I knew that I'd probably end up doing this," Holm said. "It was all just a timing thing for me to start with the taxidermy shop rather than the bar. I'd like to get the taxidermy out of here because there is a whole downstairs that I could be using as seating down there."
After six months of work transforming the taxidermy shop back into a bar, Holm recently opened the bar for business. However, that wasn't the first time the bar opened to the public. The bar opened several weeks earlier than planned in order to serve St. Patrick's Day crowds.
"Everybody said that we had to do it. And you couldn't move in here. The parade and everything else surrounding that day really brought people in," Holm said. "After that, we shut down for a couple weeks to prepare for our actual opening."
Although the bar doesn't currently have a full food menu, Holm said he is slowly but surely adding new items as he continues to remake the kitchen space, which had been gutted when the previous owners moved out.
"I envisioned myself buying a running bar and not doing it the way I did, but it just happened that way. It has been a lot of work," Holm said. "They took everything out, but left the bar. It took me all summer to get down to the original floors. They've been covering them up for 100 years, but they have so much character."
According to Holm, the remodel consisted of adding metal accents, darkening the colors and changing lighting in order to set a cozy mood for customers.
"Every bar in town seems to do very well, so I just want to get my own crowd of people that want to be here. We will get some food added in order to get people in here during the day on weekdays as soon as we can," Holm said. "Everybody who comes in here really likes the place and likes the feel of it as well as how comfortable it feels to them. It is different than some of these other big bars in that it has a cozy feel."
Growing up in Hudson and living in Roberts for several years, Holm - who currently lives in Chetek with his wife and two children - wasn't aware of the tornado that ravaged the community 120 years ago when he purchased the building.
"I really wanted to learn the history of the building and while doing that I learned about the history of the tornado. I thought it was such a neat concept," Holm said. "I love storms and think they are really interesting. It just seemed like a neat concept and makes for good drink specials."
According to Holm, EF5 (157 S. Knowles Ave.) is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to close. For more information on the bar and upcoming events, visit the EF5 Facebook page.
"I'll always do some taxidermy, but it depends on how things go with the bar," Holm said. "If this place is doing great and I can spend my time managing it, as well as remodeling the downstairs, that would be great."