STURGEON BAY - Ground was broken in a ceremony Wednesday morning for a new retail development that will feature Door County's first full-service, standalone Starbucks coffee shop and include an AT&T store and an express medical clinic.
The development, called The Shoppes at Sturgeon Bay, will be a 5,600-square-foot building located at the southeast corner of State 42 and Duluth Avenue/County S, where Woldt's Corner Pub once was. The popular lunch place and supper club closed in June 2021 after 30 years of business.
When construction is completed and the stores are ready to open, which is expected sometime next spring, the Starbucks will occupy 2,460 square feet of the building and have drive-thru service as well, developer Richard Robinson said. The AT&T store will occupy 1,400 feet and Door County Medical Center will operate the new express clinic in its 1,700 feet of space.
Robinson said the Starbucks space actually is about 100 feet larger than a typical Starbucks with the added space intended for extra storage, which means the company's supply trucks won't have to haul up to Door County as often as they do to locations in larger communities.
Robinson is president of First & Main Properties, a retail development company based in St. Louis. First & Main is developing the property in partnership with Illuminate Real Estate, a retail development company with offices in Denver and Boca Raton, Florida. The Sturgeon Bay Starbucks will be the fifth the partnership has built and the sixth for Robinson, with all those previous sites in the St. Louis area.
He said he first came to Door County for a vacation in 1990 and has visited every year since, owning property in Northern Door County at one time. He saw the opportunity to bring a full-service Starbucks to the area about four years ago, he said.
"(It was) a time when Starbucks was looking at getting into smaller markets," Robinson said. "When the Woldt property became available, I jumped on it."
Robinson said he had hoped to save the buildings that were on the property — besides the restaurant, there were six small cottages — and had another party interested in them. But he said the other party could only move four of the cottages because two were too dilapidated to salvage, and the restaurant also had condition issues that meant it couldn't move and had to be razed.
Starbucks has an existing location in Sturgeon Bay, one of its small shops inside the Target store just off State 42 about a mile away. Robinson said he believes that store will remain open; a number of Targets across the country have a smaller Starbucks inside that operate under a licensing agreement between the two companies, while full-service Starbucks stores are owned and operated by the coffee company. In larger communities, the two different Starbucks often operate within range of each other.
Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward, who took part in the groundbreaking, said the city will benefit from having two international companies with retail stores at a high-traffic intersection just before the main entrance off the highway into Sturgeon Bay from the south. Also at the same intersection, across County S from the new development, is a Walgreens pharmacy.
"It's a big deal. It'll help the whole retail image of Sturgeon Bay," Ward said. "These (Starbucks and AT&T) are blue-chip names."
Residents and small businesses in Door County, especially Northern Door, have often pushed back against national chains and big-box retailers that have wanted to open on the Peninsula. Sturgeon Bay has a number of independent coffee shops throughout its downtown, Door County Coffee & Tea has its roastery and retail store just north of the city in Carlsville, and there are numerous cafes throughout the rest of the county.
However, Ward said he's heard enough positive reaction about the new Starbucks to make it worthwhile to the city.
"I just liken it to the reaction we got with Kwik Trip (the convenience store chain, which is planning a Sturgeon Bay location)," Ward said. "People are eager to have a Kwik Trip here, and there's a segment of the population that wants to have a Starbucks here."
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Door County's first standalone Starbucks coming to Sturgeon Bay