Janesville small business owners seek support as winter nears

Bodacious Shops & Rock County Brewing continue to adjust operations amid pandemic
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:26 AM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wisc.  – Small businesses across the state of Wisconsin have had to get creative to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many in Janesville remain in that balancing act as winter nears.

Inside the Bodacious Shops of Block 42, all three shops have been able to remain operational in some way. They are continuing to do curbside pick-up and delivery for all their items. Customers are also welcome to come shop inside.

The manager of Bodacious Olive, Kris Koch, considers Bodacious Shops to be a small haven of normalcy during this time. She says the outcome for her business could have been bleak, had the community not supported them so faithfully.

“The mission of our organization is to make this community a better place to live. And we do that by providing jobs, but also by providing a meeting place for people to come and have a little bit of comfort in their coffee. Or buy a great lunch or buying high-quality olive oils or vinegars to make good food for their families,” says Koch.

Just around the corner is another locally owned business that relies heavily on community support, Rock County Brewing Company.

The owner, John Rocco, says they’ve had to adapt how they sell their product. They’ve created a new 16-ounce canning service to distribute 4-packs of their unique beers.

“We’ve moved towards some packaging. We have a bigger outdoor seating area, which unfortunately is now coming to a close as the fall is setting in. But yeah, it’s been a lot of trial and error to figure out how to continue.”

There is limited seating inside the brewery right now, capping at 25% capacity.

Both Bodacious Shops and Rock County Brewing are members of Forward Janesville. There are 500 small businesses that Forward Janesville supports.

The President, John Beckord, says a small group of those businesses are doing better than ever. He says the majority, however, are struggling.

He’s concerned that the winter could make or break some of these shops. Going into the holiday season, Beckord encourages residents to think local when shopping for gifts.

“It doesn’t have to be just restaurants. It could be your dog sitting service, it could be anything that has a gift certificate. And that would be, I think, a welcome sigh of relief to a lot of these small businesses.”

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