TAKING THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Truckers Union Under New Ownership
after 53 years, spunky new owners steer Water Street biz
An iconic Water Street staple, Truckers Union, has been sold: After more than 50 years of business, the beloved shop has finally changed hands. Chippewa Valley native Kristi Schmidt and long-time Chippewa Valley resident Lisa Kircher officially became the shop’s new owners on Oct. 1.
Schmidt and Kircher previously worked in healthcare where they became friends, and always half-jokingly pitched ideas about becoming small business owners. When they read the news about Truckers Union – self-described as a “countercultural general store” – being up for sale they saw an opportunity to turn their dreams into reality.
“It is an honor after all these years for Steve to give us the chance to run the store. We hope that we can meet up to the spunk that he requested," Schmidt said of the store’s founder, Steve Reuter.
it is an honor after all these years for steve to give us the chance to run the store.
We hope that we can meet up to the spunk that he requested.
CO-OWNER OF TRUCKERS UNION
Their first act as owners was to give the store a face-lift. They closed up shop for two days to repaint, redecorate, and weave in their own aesthetics to signify a new era.
“I had a vision when I came into Truckers Union to warm it up a bit and to have a little vintage 1970s living room,” Kircher said. “It’s a warm inviting area … an introduction to Kristi and I.”
For all the long-time regulars, don’t worry: The shop still maintains the smell of incense and most everything else that makes it Truckers Union. “We wanted to keep it as nostalgic as possible,” Kircher said. And they did! Even the store-front sign was repainted in the exact colors and design as the original.
Regarding the store’s future, the new owners are interested in the potential for legal THC sales and becoming a dispensary if Wisconsin goes that way. As for now, they plan to keep on truckin’.
To learn more about the store and its new owners, check out the Truckers Union’s website and Facebook page. Visit Truckers Union (413 Water St., Eau Claire) Monday-Saturday from 11am-8pm and Sunday from 12-5pm.