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Plans unveiled for Minocqua candy manufacturing facility


MINOCQUA – Michael Johnson, co-owner of Dan’s Minocqua Fudge, unveiled plans Tuesday to build a candy manufacturing facility and retail store on Highway 51 South in Minocqua.

The long-time Minocqua businessman appeared before the Minocqua plan commission – the first step in getting a conditional use permit to open the facility, which will be located across the highway from Moto Mart.

Increased customer demand has outstripped the candy production capabilities of their downtown store, he said. They also need additional storage space, which will allow them to buy ingredients in volume and at a lower cost.

Johnson said they “absolutely” plan to keep open the downtown retail store. He said his grandparents started the business in 1967. Today, he and Don Donnellan are the owners.

Johnson hopes to open the new facility by next July. Upwards of 20 people would be employed at the opening. The retail store would be open seven days a week.

The plan commission voted to recommend that the town board on Jan. 18 advance his request to Oneida County for approval. Commissioners asked several questions but voiced no objections to the plans, with town chairman Mark Hartzheim praising the venture.

The 12,000-square-foot steel building will be divided into roughly three equal areas, including retail sales of candy and ice cream and with seating for about 30 customers; a candy manufacturing operation; and the third allocated for storage. In addition, the site will have a 40’ by 60’ storage building.

The CUP application lists construction and related costs at about $828,000. While they have a Facebook presence, they don’t have a website, which, Johnson says, will come with the new facility.

In another matter, commissioners approved a request for an administrative review permit by Meron Demissie of Telsa to construct an eight-stall Telsa Supercharger Station on a vacant lot across from Trig’s on Minocqua’s west side. The lot is owned by Tryge (Trig) Solberg and is used currently for overflow parking.

The project first went to the county board of adjustment, which determined that the Superchargers are considered “utilities,” and as such are not subject to the 20-foot setback from the right-of-way.

The Superchargers look like slimmed-down gasoline pumps, with drivers backing up to the charging stations to connect their vehicles. Telsa representatives, speaking via telephone, said it would take just 30 minutes to fully charge a vehicle. Telsa’s website says it has 30,000 of these stations at more than 3,000 sites worldwide, but this would be the first in Oneida County.

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