Thursday, Nov. 30th, 2017
Tuesday, Nov. 28th, 2017
Monday, Nov. 27th, 2017

Twas a Big Shop-Local Weekend [videos]

Explore Volume One’s Small Business Saturday Facebook Live coverage from all over town

A major reason Volume One exists is to share all the cool stuff going on at small businesses around the Chippewa Valley. That’s why few things get us as excited each year as the tradition of Small Business Saturday – the day when good people come out in droves to explore and support all the mom-n-pop shops out there.

This year we took our enthusiasm up a notch and partnered with seven different retailers on the morning of Small Business Saturday for a series of Facebook Live broadcasts. So our crew loaded up on coffee and donuts and hit the streets.

We visited The Local Store, Banbury Place Building 13, Muldoon’s Men’s Wear, Williams Diamond Center, Blue Ox Running, Tangled Up in Hue, and Sky Yoga. We heard directly from the owners and managers about why supporting small businesses is so important, checked out some fun products, and heard what shoppers had to look forward to through the rest of the holiday season.

Check out the live segments ­– with your host Kiah Sexton – here below in the order we stopped by, and spread the word on these and so many other great local retailers all over the Chippewa Valley. And remember, shopping local doesn’t have to be limited to Small Business Saturday. Get out there and make your impact on the community with every dollar you spend this season!

The Local Store: A warm and historic space filled with lots of local love

205 N. Dewey Street, downtown Eau Claire

Banbury Place Building 13: Unique experiences and spaces to explore

930 Galloway Street, Eau Claire
look for the green awning!

Muldoon’s Men’s Wear: Lots of fun gifts and accessories for him (and her!)

1506 Hastings Way, Eau Claire
Muldoon's Mens' Wear website »

Williams Diamond Center: Expert advice and design for affordable (and high end) jewelry

2823 London Road #4, Eau Claire
Williams Diamond Center website »

Blue Ox Running: A brand new running store for runners of all speeds

417 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire
Blue Ox Running website »

Tangled Up in Hue: A downtown favorite packed with handmade goods

505 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire
Tangled Up in Hue website »

Sky Yoga: A brand new yoga studio with specialty offerings

415 ½ S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire
Sky Yoga website »

This post was produced through a partnership with the fine establishments listed above. Learn more »

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Wednesday, Nov. 15th, 2017

Eaux Claires 2018 Dates! (And also – check out our Troix look back video)

Eaux Claires 2017
Eaux Claires 2017 | Image: Lee Butterworth

After three years of eclectic performances in almost every imaginable sphere of art, the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival is cracking the ice around year four to reveal the dates for 2018’s fest – July 6 and 7 right here in Eau Claire. The festival – known for its cryptic nature – teased some inner workings with audio of a few phone calls between co-creators Justin Vernon and Michael Perry about jumper cables (the long ones). Then later, they teased some more action by soliciting audio clips of fans and past attendees to talk about their experiences.

Now with today's announcement, the festival has released a half-hour long audio mashup of fan's comments mixed around eclectic songs of all kinds (perhaps from some artists on the 2018 lineup? We'll let you speculate!), beats, trippy pitch-bending effects, and other auditory nuggets. You can listen to that and cop early bird tickets right now at

In announcing the dates, the fest pasted up posters along the outside of the Fire House bar in downtown Eau Claire. The posters display a link to the aforementioned audio file. Check it out ...

And now that we have the dates ...

You can mark those calendars and start yearning for the forthcoming humidity and artistic thrills of summer 2018. And what better way to remind yourself of that magic than to relive Eaux Claires Troix with our recap video (below). Our intrepid videographers caught every nook and cranny of last summer’s festival – from the booming musical moments on stage to quiet rainy solitude of the wooded art installations – and condensed it all into a three-minute gem of the best of the best moments year three had to offer.

Filmed and edited for V1 by Anthony Casanova. Additional camerawork by Jon Hamblin and Joel Pearish.

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Festivals' Lineups Announced: Blake Shelton to Perform at Country Jam 2018

Blake Shelton at Country Jam 2015
Blake Shelton at Country Jam 2015

Country Jam USA announced Nov. 15 that Blake Shelton, award-winning country music artist and celebrity coach on The Voice, will be returning to their stage this summer.  The festival, which runs July 19-21 just outside Eau Claire, will also feature Justin Moore, Dustin Lynch, Sammy Kershaw, Collin Raye, Aaron Tippin, Tracy Lawrence, Clay Walker, and other acts to be announced later.  Tickets for Country Jam are available now, and scheduled to increase in price on Nov. 28.

Cadott’s Country Fest, which is scheduled to run June 21-23, has a lineup of more than 40 artists, with Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, and Brantley Gilbert headlining. 

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Monday, Nov. 13th, 2017

Confluence Arts Center Announces Naming Rights, New Challenge Grant

Image: Strang
The Royal Credit Union Theatre inside the Confluence Arts Center will seat 1,266 patrons. Image: Strang

The Confluence Arts Center won’t be finished for another 10 months, but donors are already being invited to take a seat – figuratively, at least. And if they make a gift to the downtown Eau Claire project by the end of next August, donors will see their money doubled.

But first, the seats: The Confluence has just announced the Make the Match Chair Campaign, under which donors can sponsor their seats in the Royal Credit Union Theatre, the largest performance space in the arts center. For each $5,000 contribution, a donor receives naming rights (though not sitting rights!) for a seat, said Jason Jon Anderson, acting executive director. Previous contributions will be counted toward the $5,000 figure, so if you’ve already pledged $2,500, for example, another gift of $2,500 will mean your name will be immortalized on a seat.

About 600 of the theater’s 1,266 seats are still available for sponsorship under the new campaign, Anderson said. If every seat is sponsored, the Confluence will receive approximately $3 million in donations, he added.

The final fundraising boost will help ensure that the arts center includes all the features that planners had hoped for. “This would allow us to really deliver everything we want to if those gifts are received by the end of the year,” Anderson said.

New donations will also leverage additional money via a challenge grant. Anderson said that an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $2 million in donations made by Aug. 31, the eve of the arts center’s opening. A similar anonymous challenge grant of $1.5 million was successful last year.

Construction on the approximately $45 million arts center, which will be shared by the community and UW-Eau Claire, is on schedule for the facility’s planned opening next September, Anderson added. In addition to Anderson, who is serving as acting executive director, the Confluence has three employees and hopes to announce the hiring of a director of artistic programming by Dec. 1. Meanwhile, the Confluence Council, which oversees the project, is expected to soon make a decision on how to proceed in its search for a permanent executive director. 

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Wednesday, Oct. 25th, 2017

UPDATE: Confluence Arts Center Executive Director Kevin Miller Resigns

Former Confluence Arts Center Director Kevin Miller
Former Confluence Arts Center Director Kevin Miller

The Confluence Arts Center is in need of a new executive director following the abrupt resignation of Kevin Miller, who was hired for the job less than four months ago.

The Confluence Council, the board that oversees downtown Eau Claire’s still-under-construction arts center, announced the departure Wednesday, stating that Miller’s resignation had been accepted Monday, Oct. 23.

Vicki Hoehn, president of the Confluence Council’s board of directors, said that she was “not at liberty to discuss” the departure because it was a personnel issue. However, she said she didn’t expect the situation to adversely impact the construction of the $45 million arts center. The facility, which will be shared by UW-Eau Claire and community groups, is slated to open in the fall of 2018.

“I think we’re moving forward,” Hoehn said in a telephone interview shortly after the announcement. “The project isn’t one individual. It’s a community and a collaboration, and we can safely say we’re moving forward just as planned.”

The Confluence Council has named Jason Jon Anderson as acting executive director of the arts center. Anderson is currently assistant director of conferences and event production for University Centers at UWEC.

Hoehn said Anderson has been closely involved in the Confluence – he serves on the Confluence Council – and will help keep the project on track. Hoehn added that the Confluence Council will begin searching for a new, permanent executive director as soon as it can. “It took us about four months to do the initial hire, so I assume it will be a similar amount of time,” she said.

Miller, a UWEC alumnus who officially took the helm at the Confluence Arts Center on July 17, had previously been executive director of the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac.

We’ll post more information as this story unfolds. The entire press release follows:

The Confluence Council, which oversees operations of the Confluence Arts Center, on Monday, October 23, accepted the resignation of Kevin Miller, the art center’s executive director, effective immediately.

Jason Jon Anderson, assistant director of conferences and event production for University Centers at UW-Eau Claire, now will serve as acting executive director of the Confluence Arts Center.

At UW-Eau Claire, Anderson oversees event production in all University Centers venues, as well as in other performance venues on and off campus. He also is responsible for the development and administration of conferences, camps, campus-wide special events, festivals and other large events held on and off campus. In addition, he is the production director for the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, and production manager for the band Bon Iver.

The Confluence Council will begin a new search as soon as possible for a permanent executive director.

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Thursday, Oct. 19th, 2017

Hobby Lobby Coming to Oakwood Mall in 2018

In case you've been wondering what will occupy the former Macy’s building at Oakwood Mall, here's a press release from the mall to tell you that very thing ...


EAU CLAIRE, WI (October 20, 2017) – Oakwood Mall is excited to announce that Hobby Lobby will be joining the fine selection of Oakwood Mall retailers in 2018!

Hobby Lobby will occupy a portion of the former Macy’s building. Construction will begin in the latter part of 2017 with an anticipated opening in summer of 2018.

Bob Miller, Communications Coordinator of Hobby Lobby said “Hobby Lobby is always looking for new locations to better serve our customers. With the positive response we’ve received in our 19 Wisconsin stores, we believe the Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire will be an excellent location. We are looking forward to being a part of the community and helping our Eau Claire customers lead a creative life.”

Oakwood Mall is owned and managed by GGP Inc., an S&P 500 company focused exclusively on owning, managing, leasing, and redeveloping high quality retail properties throughout the United States. GGP is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol GGP.

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is a private for-profit, closely held corporation, and an American chain of retail arts and crafts stores based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, formerly called Hobby Lobby Creative Centers.


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Friday, Oct. 6th, 2017

City Seeks Federal Grant to Build 7-Story Mixed-Use Transfer Center

Image: City of Eau Claire, click for a closer look

The City of Eau Claire’s latest plan to replace its antiquated downtown bus transfer center with a mixed-used building hinges on a hard-to-get federal grant, but city officials are hopeful about their chances of winning the funds.

Time is tight to apply for the money: The feds must receive the city’s application for a $5 million TIGER grant by Oct. 16, which explains why plans are being fast-tracked.

Time is tight to apply for the money: The feds must receive the city’s application for a $5 million TIGER grant by Oct. 16, which explains why plans are being fast-tracked. On Thursday, Oct. 5, the city’s Transit Commission unanimously backed seeking the grant, and the City Council will consider a similar vote at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The TIGER program (in case you were curious, that stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) offers $500 million for building transportation infrastructure in communities nationwide. Consequently, competition for the grants is tough, and only 6 percent of applicants get a cut of the TIGER cash, explained Tom Wagener, manager of Eau Claire Transit. Nonetheless, Wagener said, “We’re optimistic that we have a project that meets the criteria very well.”

The city’s current proposal, which was developed in recent months, would replace the current bus transfer center with a new building on the same site, the 400 block of South Farwell Street. However, while the present transfer center is little more than a concrete shack built as a temporary structure in 1985, the new facility would be a $21.43 million, seven-story structure. Beyond the hoped-for $5 million federal grant and a $1.25 million match from the city (some of which would cover the cost of four new city buses), the rest of the project’s cost would be paid for by a private developer, Gorman and Co. of Oregon, Wisconsin.

Last year, Gorman was the only developer to respond to the city’s request for proposals to create a mixed-use building that would include a new transfer center. Originally, the city had narrowed its focus to a city-owned parking lot on Farwell Street next to the historic Schlegelmilch House. However, Wagener explained, that site had accessibility problems: Bus riders coming from the downtown area would have to cross busy Farwell Street to get to the transfer center.

Basic site concept from the new downtown Eau Claire bus transfer center, to be built on its current location on S. Farwell Street. (Image: City of Eau Claire, click for a closer look)

“We were trying to come up with a design we thought would work for everybody, and because it was on the opposite side of Farwell Street, we couldn’t get around that issue,” Wagener explained. Over the summer, the city shifted its focus back to the current site.

While the city’s ideas are still preliminary, Wagner said they call for a structure with a ground-floor transfer center above approximately 71 underground parking stalls. (Wagner pointed out this is more parking spots than are provided in the small lot that is now adjacent to the transfer center.) The ground floor might also include offices for the city’s transit division as well as possible commercial space, such as a coffee shop. Above that would be two-story parking ramp, topped by as many as four stories of apartments. Other than the transfer center and the underground parking, which would be owned by the city, the bulk of the facility would be privately owned and operated.

In a best-case scenario, if the city is awarded the grant (a decision is expected by mid-winter), design work could occur early next year and construction could begin as early as late 2018, Wagener said. If the city doesn’t receive the grant, however, the plans will again be put on hold until the next federal grant cycle. Wagener noted that the City of Milwaukee took this approach, and it finally paid off: After applying for the grant annually since 2009, Milwaukee finally won it in 2015.

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