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Mustard Museum may close if county doesn't forgive loan

MIDDLETON, Wis. - The National Mustard Museum in Middleton could close in May if the county doesn't forgive its loan.

Owner Barry Levenson said he is in the process of selling the museum, but the county must approve the sale and take a $124,000 loss on a loan it approved for the museum's move from Mount Horeb to its current location on Hubbard Street in downtown Middleton.

The mustard-themed shop and memorabilia collection, which gained national attention after being featured on Late Night with David Letterman in 2015, is not generating enough money to stay open, Levenson said. Even if the museum closed, the money he would make selling its assets wouldn't cover the loan.

"I'm confident that somehow we will find a way to keep this going (in) some manner, some fashion. I certainly hope we can," he said.

Levenson and his wife announced their plans to sell the landmark in January 2016.

"I don't think there's any question that a lot of people see this as a valuable resource for Dane County. I know the city of Middleton certainly does," he said.

The county's community development block grant commission voted Thursday night to postpone until Feb. 16 a vote on whether to forgive the loan, but put in place several contingencies on the museum, including that it remain in Dane County for at least 5 years.

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