Oak Creek businesses shift

Town approves convenience store, gym/coffee shop


— The face of business in Oak Creek is changing with the season as several new businesses have changed hands or prepare to open their doors.

At 222 Main St., Ernie Rupp and Scott Latuseck bought the lot with Lupita’s Cantina and the greenhouse for $88,000 on Nov. 10.

Rupp, owner and executive with Lodging of the Black Hills, based in Deadwood, S.D., said they are planning a complete renovation of the log cabin on the property.

He wrote in an e-mail that they will begin work in December or January to repair the outside and then install a new kitchen, baths, bedrooms and fixtures.

He said the goal is “to make the home into a top-end vacation home that we can use for ourselves and our families as well as rent out to bring vacationers to Oak Creek.”

The website for his company, www.executive-lodging.com, lists dozens of other cabins and houses the company rents.

Rupp wrote that the owner of the greenhouse on the property has closed the business and moved out of state. As for Lupita’s, he said the burrito stand is welcome to stay, though he has not yet talked to business owner Lawrence Jaconetta.

Jaconetta said the cantina typically is closed during winter, but if he can buy the structure, he’d be happy to stay.

Just up the street, Mountain Market and Munchies got the go-ahead from the Oak Creek Planning Commission and Oak Creek Town Board. The convenience store, owned by P.K. Baldwin, will take the place of the old Black Mountain Tavern. It formerly was located at the Sinclair gas station.

“They moved everything in, then they went to planning Wednesday night and got a formal recommendation for approval, then the (Town) Board gave them formal approval,” Town Clerk Karen Halterman said.

The Town Board also ap­­­­proved a second request for land-use change of minor impact for Java Gym, a new business owned by Danielle Friedman that is to go into the Dovetail Design building in the 100 block of West Main Street.

Halterman said that Fried­man said she did not want to compete with The Mugshot coffee shop down the street and envisions the business as more health-oriented, with a juice bar in front and a Pilates/exercise/yoga studio in the back of the building.

Halterman said Friedman hopes to have the business open by mid-December but is not sure whether that will be practical.

The Town Board approved both land-use changes unanimously.


Scott Ford 6 years, 6 months ago

This truly is great news. Oak Creek is home to folks that have very creative ideas. It is wonderful to see a few of them taking root.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 6 months ago

Well, this is an interesting take on what happened in the meeting. The more interesting and time consuming part was Jon Peddie, the owner of the gas station, asking for reduced water/sewer rates appropriate for a business not using either. He showed his sales, costs and mortgage that that showed he was losing money. That his choices were between losing money keeping the station open, losing money with it closed or giving it back to the bank. That was followed by the grocery store owner saying that every business is struggling and would benefit from reduced utilities, but that someone has to pay the bills to operate the utilities.

Actually, I think it is very unfortunate that the convenience store owners could not work things out with the gas station owner. The store is not going to do nearly as well off of Main St without the pull of selling gas. The business model for gas stations is to make the money at the associated convenience store, not from selling gas. I think it won't be long before the gas station is either closed or it has a second convenience store.

Well, as the owner of the Mugshot noted in the Town Board meeting, Java Gym sounds more like a coffee shop than a juice bar and the town already had two coffee shops struggling to make money. Gym is nice, but for such a nice building in a prime location to be a gym does not suggest there is any sort of Renaissance happening in downtown Oak Creek.

What the Town needs is not more similar businesses fighting over a customer base too small to support them all, but some different businesses providing different services.

So it is nice to hear about the Main St nightly rental, but as someone that attended both the Planning Board and Town Board meetings where it was discussed (and the owners did not show up at the Town Board), I don't think they were given land use approval. At the planning meeting there was discussion of adding cabins, a garage, parking and so on, but no specific proposal on any of those items. Planning Board never voted on anything, but one member verbally said that it had a previous residential use (even though previous use was as a retail store) so there was no change of use. At the subsequent Town Board meeting, the members of Planning said there was nothing approved and that it would need to come back through Planning because prior use was retail.


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