Discover West Central Wisconsin

Innovative companies and plenty to see and experience give the region appeal.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 17:53
EC WI

Well Connected

West Central Wisconsin offers a superior location advantage, with a collection of transportation assets that link it to markets across the U.S. Interstate 94 cuts across the region, which offers access to I-29 and I-43, providing ready access to markets across the Midwest.

Four rail carriers, including three Class I carriers, serve the region, and intermodal facilities provide access to ports like the Port of Duluth.

The region offers a number of quality industrial parks and shovel-ready sites, including three Wisconsin Certified sites and nine Gold Shovel Ready sites.

ECWI
Photo Courtesy of TravelWisconsin.com

Happy Hours

With its long history of brewing, it is no surprise that Wisconsin is at the epicenter of the craft beer movement. West Central Wisconsin is home to a number of craft brewers, many of them in renovated historic buildings that are helping to revitalize downtowns across the region. At the same time, residents have developed a taste for craft spirits.

A Chippewa County establishment is serving both craft movements. Chippewa River Distillery & Brewster Bros. Brewing Co. in  Chippewa Falls offers a selection of beers brewed on site and a distillery that produces vodkas, rye whiskey and schnapps with locally sourced ingredients and specially designed equipment.

Chippewa River Distillery & Brewster Bros. Brewing Co. has become a popular gathering spot that  includes a taproom and cocktail room, rooftop seating in warm weather months and tours of both the brewery and distillery. Food trucks are often on-site and live music is booked on the weekend. 

Well Connected

West Central Wisconsin offers a superior location advantage, with a collection of transportation assets that link it to markets across the U.S. Interstate 94 cuts across the region, which offers access to I-29 and I-43, providing ready access to markets across the Midwest.

Four rail carriers, including three Class I carriers, serve the region, and intermodal facilities provide access to ports like the Port of Duluth.

The region offers a number of quality industrial parks and shovel-ready sites, including three Wisconsin Certified sites and nine Gold Shovel Ready sites.

wcw
Jeff Adkins

Made Here

West Central Wisconsin hosts a number of manufacturers whose products are sold around the world.

In Eau Claire, CURT Group is a leading marketing, engineering and distribution company of towing products and truck accessories for all types of vehicles. In Polk County, Bending Branches is one of the world's largest manufacturers of canoe, kayak and stand-up paddles. The company was formed in 1982 when whitewater and touring canoeist Dale Kicker and flatwater racer Ron Hultman created the first composite-tipped canoe paddle.

From Boots to Bedding

A Chippewa Falls-based company has a 115-year history in West Central Wisconsin.

Mason Cos., a family-owned, multichannel retailer, operates 10 businesses that sell everything from shoes and apparel to bedding and electronics through its e-commerce sites and direct mail catalogs. From its origins as a maker of work boots, Mason Cos. has evolved into one of the 250 largest e-commerce companies in the U.S.

Among its brands are ShoeMall.com., Stoneberry, K. Jordan, Masseys and Figi’s Gallery.

wcw
Ellsworth Creamery

On the Menu

Food and beverage production is a significant part of the West Central Wisconsin economy.

The region’s food and beverage manufacturers produce everything from infant formula to horseradish to craft beer.

In Eau Claire, Silver Spring Foods makes a dozen kinds of horseradish, nine different kinds of mustard and tartar sauce, seafood cocktail sauce, wasabi sauce, chile sauce and Sriracha sauce. They also like it hot at Croix Valley Foods in St. Croix County, where the company produces a variety of sauces, marinades, dry rubs and bloody mary seasonings.

This being Wisconsin, cheese production is a staple industry. Colby cheese was invented more than 80 years ago in Colby in Clark County. Pierce County also has a cheese heritage. The village of Ellsworth has declared itself the “Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin,” and the longstanding Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery plant continues to produce the cheddar snack treats.

Looking for something sweeter? Anderson’s Maple Syrup in Barron County has been a fixture since 1928. The company sells maple syrup, other maple products, pancake mix and other products available for online purchase.

If you'd like to learn more about West Central Wisconsin, check out the latest edition of West Central Wisconsin Economic Development

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.