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Old 01-22-2007, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
44 posts, read 147,311 times
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I am looking at moving to Galena IL and opening a business there.
Anyone knows anything about living in Galena ?
Thank you so much
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,005 posts, read 67,942,110 times
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What kind of business will you be opening? It seems the ones that thrive are candy stores, pubs, bed and breakfasts, art galleries and antique dealers. Ive never lived there but visit with the wife a few times a year. We love the town and its definitely one of the retirement places we've looked at. Real estate is cheap (even in the fabled Galena Ridge neighborhood), but alot of it are rentals, as its a popular weekend getaway. Do you plan on opening a business downtown or somewhere along Rt. 20? There seems to be quite a few new businesses along 20 that look to be doing really well.

Im just curious, have you ever been there? What attributes are attracting you to it? If youve seen the town, you know what to expect. It seems most of the bed and breakfasts are above downtown, way up on the hill. Homes on the north end of downtown are older, some are really run-down. Up on Blackjack Rd are some newer custom homes, and last time I was there it looked like they were laying foundations for some new homes, about a mile or two south on Blackjack from Rt. 20. Lovely area, I must admit that Im jealous!
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
44 posts, read 147,311 times
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Hi Steve-o,
Again thank you for all your info. Here is where I'm standing at the moment and if I'm wrong, PLEASE let me know (I can't always trust my judgment... )
I plan on moving to a small country place where is nice and open a small business. I was thinking of Asheville NC where I been 2 mo ago, one of the top 7 places to retire to, but I took it off the list because it grows to fast and soon it will be a big and busy town. Then I thought of Colorado, but the real estate is to expensive and to buy a business there (B & B ) is over $ 1,000,000. Now, I am left with 2 places, Door County and Galena. Of course i am talking about touristy areas.
Went to Door County 2 weeks ago and found out that, the real estate is not that bad, a condo starts at $ 48,000, a house 3-4 Bd at $ 125,000, the businesses or retail stores starts at around $ 99,000 BUT generally from Oct to June, you have NO business. If it snows, you might have a little bit, but not much. "Some" say that whatever you make in summer will hold you till next season. Many B&B, Lodging and stores ARE closed all winter. BUT it is sooooooooo beautiful there !!!! And in summer is not too warm, the humidity is very low and in winter is not that cold.
So............2 days ago I went to Galena and checked it out. You are right, the real estate is affordable, beautiful brick house, 4 bd with basement, 2400 sq ft. starts at & 187,000. I found a house ON Main Str. 2300 sq ft, residential/commercial for $ 194,000 updated !! And what do you think, although it was a Tuesday, I had a hard time finding a parking spot, in January ! While Door County looked deserted, especially 'cause there was no snow, so NOTHING really to bring any tourists in. Considering the size of the peninsula, I think that way too many homes and businesses are up for sale and this worries me, although Door County as well as Asheville NC are both on the top 10 places to visit or move to.
Now, I don't know what to do. I want the beauty of Door County, which is exactly what I was looking for, small and country, but the busy time - business of Galena all year long. I know I cannot have both, but the gap is way to big.
I want a B & B or a small retail store or some kind of home based business.
Trust me, I spent weeks checking everything online, on the phone and on person.
It's not easy to decide when you are single..........
Whats your input ?........I am sure you did your home work too
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
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I gave you my take on Galena in another thread. The one thing about Galena is that the tourist business market is pretty saturated. That's not to say there's no more room for one more whatever-it-is you want to open. But you'll be up against a lot of folks who have been doing it for a long time.

Forget Asheville. For one, they are exceptionally hostile to outsiders moving in and disturbing their pristine little town (as if they or their predecessors didn't do the exact same thing to the previous generations that lived there). Their whole attitude is "we have shaped the town to our liking, and don't anyone else DARE try to do the same thing!" For another, the business climate there is not terribly vital. There's just not the kind of money floating around Asheville as there is in upper Wisconsin or even Galena, which is not dripping with money like Northern Wisconsin is, but is still doing better than Asheville.

Your concerns about all the "For Sale" signs in Door County are misplaced. They are there in mass quantity for the exact opposite reason you fear: property values are zooming through the roof, so long-time property owners are either cashing in, can no longer afford the property taxes, or both.

Operating a year-round business in Door County (or Oneida or Vilas or Sawyer counties as I had mentioned in that other thread) can indeed be tricky. Some businesses really do rely strictly on seasonal tourism and they shut down in the winter. Still, they actually do get a decent amount of winter tourism up there -- when it snows, anyway. Lately, that has been no sure thing. The specific towns you would want to consider up there are Eagle River in Oneida County, Minocqua in Vilas County, and Hayward in Sawyer County.

I can't say I've ever been to Galena in the winter so I don't know what kind of business they'd do on a day like today. I can tell you though, the place is a human ant farm in the summer.
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
44 posts, read 147,311 times
Reputation: 18
Default Photo

I also take tones of pictures when I travel somewhere, so if you are interested let me know and I will find a way to share them with you or in here (if someone teaches me how to do it). I know in here, most all people want to move somewhere and too many times they have no idea what that place looks like and is not always easy to travel there just to take a pick.
It took me a long time to find pictures online of a certain area or town and I wasn;t always successful or at least did not find others besides sun sets and state parks .......which is not much when you want to know what that town looks like, streets, downtown, buildings, etc.
Why are they so hard to find ??

To answer some of your questions, I would love to have an antique store, i just didn't know they are doing so well. I use to have one in downtown Barrington. Second I think a Guest House would be something nice too. And of course, I would want it to be on Main Str, not on 20. What businesses did you see on 20 besides some "snoopy sisters" boutique-country-guest house.......something ?
I have been to Galena about 10 yr ago and this week. What I liked was the way is put together, the Main Str, the hilly area, the old brick homes (my dream to own a brick home) and the fact that is not to spread around. But if I would have to choose, I would like to be either on Main Str. or across the bridge on the East side where the park is.
Blackjack Rd .....I don't know where this is.
However, it is a BIG difference as looks, between Galena and Door County. Love the 2nd, small, quiet, quint, country and very clean, where everybody knows everybody .......
Galena...........or the beautiful Door County (I'm not rich at all)
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Old 01-25-2007, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Chicago suburbs
44 posts, read 147,311 times
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Hi Dover,
Thank you so much for your input, please feel free to share all you know with me. I already made one mistake and i cannot afford another one.
Like I said, in Galena, 2 days ago, I did not find a parking space, it was so busy. the retail stores close at 5 pm and after that you can find parking easily. I got talking to a lady in one of the stores, originally from Chicago too, while we were talking (her store is a all year Chirstmas store) people were coming in and out, no, not that many but still.......and she told me that for some reason, that was a slow day !..........slow day ??? when she had business on a Tuesday, in the middle of winter, in a tourisy town ??....can you believe it ? She also told me that many people from Chicago suburbs are moving there and that the town is growing (now they have an Walmart too) . Last time I was in Galena was in Sept. and believe me, I did not see much difference this time. I was impressed and had a hard time believing how busy it was.
While I had my store in Barrington IL, if I had 3 customers per day, i had more then all the other stores in town. It was that bad, and I am not talking about customers buying, but looking !
So, looking at the size of Galena with thousands of residents and only 2 retail stores for sale and one small "diner' and then looking at Door County, like Bay Harbor or Sister Bay, each one has only a few hundrets residents and half of the town is for sale, retail stores, hotels, etc. What should I think of this ?
Dover, I found out that 69 % of the residents in Door County are NON-american born.........so maybe they don't want anymore competition....... and thats some of them, not all because I did talk to some folks.
Galena has a ski resort too.
In Asheville, the homes are double in price then in Chicago, Galena or Door County. I have talked to realtors, Chamber of Comerce and others and they told me that people from all over the country are moving to Asheville in the last 5 -10 yrs. you buy a piece of land this year for $ 100,000 and next year you sale it for double (they already did that).
As for the northern Wisconsin, the 3 areas you told me about, I have to check them out, I never heard of them and never been there. Do they have tourism as in Door County and Galena ? What is there, what do they have ?
I hope you are right about most of the things you are shering with me or else I am history
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowgirl View Post
So, looking at the size of Galena with thousands of residents and only 2 retail stores for sale and one small "diner' and then looking at Door County, like Bay Harbor or Sister Bay, each one has only a few hundrets residents and half of the town is for sale, retail stores, hotels, etc. What should I think of this ?
What you should think of this is that people aren't bidding up the price of property in Galena like they are in Door County and other parts of upper Wisconsin. The changes in Galena are generally taking place in an orderly fashion and at an orderly pace; whereas the resort/vacation/weekender sections of Northern Wisconsin are practically in a state of upheaval.

Real estate taxes are outrageous enough in Wisconsin, and they're getting even worse for people who bought a modest house in the 70s for $10,000 and woke up 30 years later to discover it's worth fifteen times that much. Many just can't afford the increased property taxes that have come with the increased valuations. So, they're selling out. Even several resorts have had to sell out to property developers or sell off their cabins individually to weekenders. Then there's long-time locals who can afford the property taxes but are simply cashing in their windfall and getting the hell out before the whole area gets taken over by boorish city slickers.

There is also a major demographic shift underway in upper Wisconsin. For one, a lot of homes up there are now being purchased as weekend/vacation homes and are no longer occupied full-time. That means businesses that relied on the presence of more full-time residents are struggling or have gone under. For another, the new "residents" who come up on weekends have very different (read: more urbanized) consumer tastes than the locals they are displacing. Many businesses that erstwhile served a more provincial marketplace failed to adjust to the changing tastes. I bore witness over a number of years to one business in Oneida County that made the transition successfully. It was a supper club that gradually made their menu more upscale and adjusted their prices upward to take advantage of the different tastes and fatter wallets of its new clientele.

(By the way, "supper club" is Wisconsin-speak for a restaurant that serves dinner only; no breakfast or lunch. Most supper clubs also double as taverns. And despite the name, supper clubs are not members-only establishments; they are open to the general public.)

(continued...)
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Old 01-25-2007, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,783,990 times
Reputation: 29355
(continued from above...)

Quote:
Dover, I found out that 69 % of the residents in Door County are NON-american born...
I find that EXTREMELY implausible and I'm curious to know your source for that bit of information. I'd be surprised if more than 2% of the population in Door County is foreign-born. With the exception of the Hmong population in Wausau (approx 10%) and a handful of Mexicans who have made their way to Green Bay proper, Northern Wisconsin is one area that has seen almost no foreign immigration for the better part of a century.

Quote:
As for the northern Wisconsin, the 3 areas you told me about, I have to check them out, I never heard of them and never been there. Do they have tourism as in Door County and Galena ? What is there, what do they have ?
I hope you are right about most of the things you are shering with me or else I am history
Yes, Oneida, Vilas and Sawyer Counties, in addition to being places where city folks keep their vacation homes, are tourist areas as well. As for what's in these areas, the answer is lakes. Hundreds and hundreds of lakes. This forms the backbone of the outdoor recreation industry that is the main tourist attraction. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, the lakes are teeming with pleasure boaters, fishermen, sailboats, waterskiers, swimmers, waterfowl-watchers, et cetera. The area is also very wooded -- especially by Midwest standards -- with high quality state and national parks (Nicolet and Chequamegon are the two major national forests in the area). This provides yet more recreational opportunities in the form of camping, hunting, hiking, biking, wildlife observation, plant identification, et cetera. There's also no shortage of golf courses in the area. Vilas County also has an Indian reservation with a casino. It's a pretty small place and it's more of an adjunct to the area than a main attraction, but it's yet another piece of the entertainment pie up there. Sawyer County also has an Indian reservation which I believe also has a casino.

In the wintertime, the hiking and biking trails become cross-country skiing trails. Roadside easements become snowmobile trails. The lakes freeze solid enough to drive great big pickup trucks on, so that's what some people do, often towing a good-sized ice-fishing house out there with them. Snowmobilers in particular love the lakes because they can go full-throttle in wide-open spaces with very little danger of hitting anyone or anything. Unfortunately, the last couple winters have not been well-suited for many of the region's winter recreational activities, and it has hurt a lot of businesses up there. I remember one year when snowmobile season opened up at noon on a Saturday. By 3pm the snowmobile trails were worn down to the grass because there was only 3 inches of snow on the ground. It was bloody-awful cold that winter, but very little snow. No snow is very bad for business up there. That's probably why you didn't see much happening in Door County when you were up there.

Last edited by Drover; 01-25-2007 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 01-26-2007, 09:34 AM
 
12 posts, read 34,854 times
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hi snowgirl...first of all as an ex-European and now living in Naperville, I find Galena one of the most fascinating places in Illinois...gorgeous...!!!
...going there using Blackjack rd. stopping at Chesnut Mountain (place where I train cycling in Spring) is medicine to my craving for nature and surroundings I used to live in ( Sarajevo-Yugoslavia)...
...any season at any time and I am in transmogrification of my being...
...unfortunately place is not livable in a sense of having interaction with real-life situations...those couple hours of Galena that remind me of life in Europe (gardens, restaurants with people enjoying their time end at 5 pm and after that no book stores, concerts, sports...etc...)
...business wise (I myself am trying to start something) ...I can not give you any sort of valid information because my approach of doing business is very very different than American...
..anyway wish you luck ...
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Old 01-26-2007, 10:43 AM
 
260 posts, read 1,020,917 times
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I know of an antique store for sale in Paxton, which even has a large apartment upstairs. The owner never has really run it as a viable business, keeping it open five hours a day. Even then, there are many days he doesn't show up to open it. I figure it could do much better walk-in trade, and is situated where internet trade could be lucrative. I imagine the antique trade in Galena is a bit more brisk than here, anyway.
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