Verona Prepares for Epic Influx

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Fewer than six months remain before Epic's move from Madison to Verona. The medical software company's move has prompted some business owners to expand ahead of time.

Longtime resident John Erickson says, "when I started the population was around 3,000."

Small-town Verona has nearly tripled in size since then. But in the shadow of hometown USA now stands an Epic source of growth.

"Epic is a big, big change for us," Erickson says.

It's a change this community already feels.

Chamber of Commerce President Renee Wilson says, "I think businesses already have construction workers going to lunch [at local restaurants] and things like that."
Construction of Epic's new 340-acre campus will finish this summer.

Workers will leave, but the medical software company's 1, 600 employees gradually will move in.

Wilson says, "they'll see new restaurants, new shops, new services."

The area's Chamber of Commerce worked with Epic on a survey to determine what the company's employees want or need from Verona.

The chamber's executive director Dave Phillips says, "for instance, one of the findings was 10 percent of people are vegetarians."

Phillips says that means restaurants might need to look at the entrees they offer now.
The survey also shows 40 percent of employees plan to move within five years, 13 percent of them to this already rapidly growing area.

"With those people coming, comes a lot of money," Erickson says.

Some people here see increased traffic. Erickson, who owns a Chevrolet dealership, sees increased opportunity.

"We've changed our whole outlook as to what we're doing," he says.

Erickson traded in space for a body shop, and opened an oil change.
"Express lube means you can get in and out most times within a half hour," he says.

Speedy service for a fast growing market, from homes to cars and nearly everything in between.

The chamber director says the challenge ahead is to keep Verona hometown USA.

The chamber president says more than 80 percent of Epic employees responded to the community survey.

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