JANESVILLE, Wis. - Community members celebrated Block 42's grand opening in downtown Janesville Tuesday.
With a giant pair of scissors, city leaders and store employees cut a red ribbon signifying the shops were officially open for business.
"We've been so pleased. We've been welcomed by the community," store owner Rishy Studer said.
Block 42 is made up of four units. Three of the units house the Bodacious Shops, and the fourth unit is home to the winner of the Janesville Business Challenge, Sweet Velvet Cake Company.
Theresa Moe and her husband came out to the stores for the first time Thursday for the grand opening.
"It's hard to avoid a bakery, right?" Moe said.
She said she was excited to see more development coming to downtown Janesville.
"I think the city needs it down here to bring in more of everything -- more businesses, more people stopping in," Moe said.
City leaders see the opening of Block 42 as just the start of what's to come.
"It's really remarkable and a tremendous, tremendous addition to our downtown," John Beckord, Forward Janesville president, said. "And given that we're on the cusp of a lot of projects, it's great to have the first project like this be of such high integrity. It sort of sets the bar high for what might come after it."
Inside the Bodacious Shops, there is the Bodacious Brew, which serves coffee in the morning and wine and cheese in the afternoon; the Bodacious Olive, which sells olive oil, vinegar, specialty salts and culinary pieces; and So Chopped, where people can make their own salad.
"I think they did a very good job with the decorating and keeping it the same theme all the way through," Moe said.
Right next door, Sweet Velvet Cake Company sells cakes, cupcakes and other bakery items. Even though that company won the business challenge, city leaders hope other finalists can make an impact downtown as well.
"We also have a number of people who went through that whole mentoring and business-planning process that we expect some of which will end up opening businesses downtown," Beckord said.
Janesville has a number of projects planned to revitalize downtown. The parking plaza over the Rock River is in the process of being demolished to make way for a new town square.
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