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BizCast 34: Jackson Plaza Ready to Celebrate Small Business Block Party

Episode 34

Jackson Plaza Ready the Celebrate Small Business Block Party

About BizCast Greater La Crosse

We bring you news from the business community. From startups to experienced problem solvers, you’ll get in-depth insight on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Greater La Crosse. Our show is a collaboration between and BizNews Greater La Crosse ( ).

Full Transcript [ generated by AI]

[00:00:00] Kat Soper: we’ll have tables set out with a majority of the businesses so that you can come around and check them out while you’re listening to the music.

[00:00:09] Vicki Markussen: welcome to Biz Cast Greater La Crosse, a weekly podcast brought to you by Biz News. We bring you news from the business community. I am your host and founder, Vicki Markussen. And my guest today is Kat Soper. She is owner of Jackson Plaza and Paulman Pine. And the reason that we have her in is because you have a block party coming up at Jackson Plaza.

[00:00:32] Vicki Markussen: Tell. Tell us about it.

[00:00:34] Kat Soper: Yeah, we’re really excited to throw a party for the neighborhood. It will be on September 6th, which is a Wednesday from four to 7:00 PM and it’ll be a great opportunity to come and get to know some of the businesses that are at Jackson Plaza. A lot of ’em may be your neighbors because they’re all small businesses, excluding Papa Murphy’s, but we’re a fan of that.

[00:00:57] Kat Soper: And there’ll be music and there’ll be giveaways and there’ll be food. We also invited our friends Taco town to be there as well and it’s just gonna be a really fun evening and family friendly as well. There is a business Wonderland play center that will be open for families to check out and kids to play in, and we’d love to see ya.

[00:01:20] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. So if you wanna meet fellow business owners or you just wanna learn about all the businesses in Jackson Plaza, yeah, that’s your place to go. I assume many of them are going to be open for tours or people stopping in, or is most of it focused on being outside?

[00:01:35] Kat Soper: So we’re trying not a different route this year.

[00:01:39] Kat Soper: So last year all of ’em were open, but we wanted to contain the experience. And give people an opportunity to, yeah, just be in that community feeling. . So in one of the parking lots, we’ll have tables set out with a majority of the businesses so that you can come around and check them out while you’re listening to the music.

[00:01:59] Kat Soper: There will still be some that are open, bean juice. You can go in there. They’ll actually do a bingo during some of the events and the candy store didn’t wanna melt the fudge or anything. Yeah. Which I totally understand. But most of it will be in the parking lot so that we’re all together.

[00:02:14] Kat Soper: There’s three buildings. Yeah. And there’s businesses on almost all sides of all three buildings. . Yes. So it’ll be the one on the west side.

[00:02:26] Kat Soper: Yes. Parking lot. Got

[00:02:27] Vicki Markussen: it. What’s interesting about Jackson Plaza is it has a lot of that retail, which you tend to see going that runs north and south, that building. But that southernmost building is like a hidden gem for an amazing amount of companies. How many businesses do you have?

[00:02:45] Vicki Markussen: Roughly in that Southern, what would that be? The south, south Riverside. So that’d be Southwest.

[00:02:51] Kat Soper: So that back building right now, there. Are five businesses and then within one of ’em, Ophelia’s Green Spa. She has her own people that rent from her and have their own businesses as well. Yeah.

[00:03:06] Kat Soper: This is also an invitation to support. Small businesses, of course. And local neighbors.

[00:03:11] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. Jackson Plaza is great for that. It’s the good old fashioned, these are your local service providers. And so people can come from between four and seven. Again, you have the music, you have the giveaways, you have the food. I also though, wanted to touch on, so you have a business in there. In fact, you started owning that business and then you came into owning the building, correct?

[00:03:35] Vicki Markussen: Correct. . Yeah. So how long has Palm and Pine been around?

[00:03:39] Kat Soper: We opened our doors. It’ll be. Six years ago in September. I know that because my oldest son is five and a half. And I had him shortly after we opened some of that, planned, some of that not planned. And right from the get go, one of the reasons that we decided this was the place was because a previous owner, Mike and Karen, Kyle, were just very kind.

[00:04:00] Kat Soper: Clearly wanted to make sure that our business felt supported. So it felt like a different relationship than your typical property manager and tenant.

[00:04:08] Vicki Markussen: And so you were thriving. It’s hard not to point out you had a tough business during the pandemic, right? I saw you really trying to pivot and we did all the things.

[00:04:18] Vicki Markussen: Yes. Thank you. Yes. And and you survived. And then not only did you survive, you bought the building. Where did that come from?

[00:04:28] Kat Soper: That came from my husband’s interest in real estate to begin with. Like full disclosure, we. Also had our second child during that time. . And I was very much in the thick of postpartum and was like, I cannot do another thing.

[00:04:45] Kat Soper: And I told Luke that Mike had talked to us about it and I was like, but I told him, no, don’t worry. And he was like, wait, what? . I think we should talk about it. And Luke has always had an interest in real estate. We have flipped a few houses over the years and we talked to Mike about it and it was definitely an opportunity for us as a family and also an opportunity for Luke to step into something that he’s been wanting to do for a while, and he’s been great.

[00:05:17] Vicki Markussen: Yeah. So did Mike even have it listed? Was this just something you approached him with? He

[00:05:22] Kat Soper: was, he did list it for two days because Oh, okay. After I had said no, I got a baby we’re good. He had made steps to I think list it and then in the meantime I was chatting with Luke and we’re sorting out like, can we actually feasibly do this?

[00:05:39] Kat Soper: And then we had our conversation, so Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely a lengthy one because it’s not like a one building thing, you know? Right. It was pretty big. But yeah. It was important to Mike to have someone local that I think would carry on what was important to him about caring about the individuals and the businesses that were there so that they felt taken care of.

[00:06:06] Kat Soper: They could continue to have viable businesses too. . Um, and obviously being a tenant I saw that. Yeah. And I also wanted to support that. So yeah,

[00:06:16] Vicki Markussen: there’s something about just having fellow tenants that are local, right? You know, the owner and you can go and collaborate with them and you can and it also has an assurance that you’re not trying to track down some corporate office in Philadelphia trying to negotiate a lease or.

[00:06:33] Vicki Markussen: Get something resolved. And so can you talk about, is there a way that those businesses in Jackson Plaza work together?

[00:06:41] Kat Soper: Yeah. Our block party, right? Ta-da. I would say some more than others, just depending on the business. Like if it is more retail, like everyone knows Bean juice because that’s like the hub there.

[00:06:53] Kat Soper: . And everyone enjoys coffee. And then there’s Kay next door who owns Ula la consignment. . And she’s very active in the community. . And so I think she does a lot. And then there’s some businesses like. Meridian Mark. Yeah. Who has kept himself in some ways because his clients are different and he doesn’t have the walkin business that some of the other places do.

[00:07:14] Kat Soper: Yeah. And so that is another one of the things about the block party is for the other business owners to get to know one another too. Yeah. So we all feel a little more connected. Yeah.

[00:07:25] Vicki Markussen: And I’m trying to visualize ’em all ’cause there’s baby beluga in there, right? A childcare center. Yeah. Yeah. And then there’s Meridian, there’s a one vacuum, right?

[00:07:34] Vicki Markussen: . There’s, I’m probably gonna skip somebody in between a bar. , a salon. Yeah. And then bean juice. And then Is it pop? Oh no, it’s the candy shop. And then Papa Murphy’s. You have Kay and Ula la And then you have, I’m missing a tunnel because it’s do some of those stores are double sided too, right?

[00:07:52] Vicki Markussen: . So you can enter on both sides. And then there’s New Taste of India. You’re looking at me like, come on Vicki, can you name them all? You’re doing great. Elias is back there and isn’t there like a therapist of some sort in the kind of the more office area there

[00:08:06] Kat Soper: used to be, okay, there’s now a and J Home services, okay.

[00:08:10] Kat Soper: . In that

[00:08:11] Vicki Markussen: spot. Yeah. So anyway, my point in naming all of those is people can see the variety and it is it, to me, again, it’s that traditional it’s even hard to call it a strip mall, really. It’s just. Like it’s a plaza of businesses and so it is that melting pot of local, like you need a service and it’s there.

[00:08:31] Vicki Markussen: You need coffee, it’s there. And you have some of their, that are destinations. They all have different clients. It’s a really, really great, plaza and businesses to have locally.

[00:08:42] Kat Soper: Yeah, and I’ll add one more thing that I think is really cool that when Luke and I first. So Luke and I and Mike all sat down and met with all the tenants when this transition was happening.

[00:08:52] Kat Soper: Yeah. And a curring theme that I still hear is people are really proud to be there. There’s this competition of who’s been here longer and then reflecting on the history of the plaza. And so it’s been really great for Luke and I to learn more too about the history and, hopefully add to it.

[00:09:14] Kat Soper: Yeah. ’cause there’s some

[00:09:15] Vicki Markussen: longtime tenants in there.

[00:09:17] Kat Soper: Yeah. So I think the ongoing debate is if a one has been there longer, or if reflections has been there longer. . I’m not sure.

[00:09:26] Vicki Markussen: It’s a good problem to have, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So block party coming up September 6th from four to seven. This is at Jackson Plaza, which is What about 18th, 20th and Jackson Street and Lacrosse and there’s music, there’s giveaways, there’s food, and my common closer.

[00:09:46] Vicki Markussen: What makes you passionate about what you do?

[00:09:51] Kat Soper: Whether it’s our work with the plaza or the work with my two yoga studios, I think just adding to people’s lives and I think providing spaces and places to connect people. Whether that’s with fellow neighbors or connecting to themselves I would say connection is what makes me passionate. That is a

[00:10:14] Vicki Markussen: great answer, very accurate. Thank you. That is Kat Soper, owner of Jackson Plaza and Palm and Pine.

[00:10:20] Vicki Markussen: We got are on here to talk about the Block Party again, September 6th Jackson Plaza. And this has been Biz Cast, and we will catch you next week.



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