Opening Up

Jump-Start Contest Contenders Announced

V1 Staff |

Four finalists have been named in the annual Downtown Eau Claire Inc. Jump-Start Downtown Business Plan Competition, which awards up to $5,000 in start-up capital and other prizes to businesses that are born in – or move to – downtown Eau Claire. This year’s contestants are Kay Stevens of N7 Café, a cold brew and nitro pour coffee company; Benny Haas, of HaHa Fresh Market, a proposed grocery store, café, and display kitchen; Virginia Bagan and Dakota Yarrington of Crave 80/20 Nutrition, a health and wellness business; and Blayne and Kayla Midthun of Ramone’s Ice Cream Parlor, which is expected to open next spring in the old Smith Insurance building on Galloway Street. On Sept. 16, these applicants will make presentations to a panel of judges that includes representatives of local financial institutions and business-assistance organizations. An awards banquet is tentatively planned for Oct. 13. To learn more about the competition, visit