local business


Winter started late this year in Northern Wisconsin, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at snowmobile sales.

Like other outdoor equipment, snowmobiles are in high demand this winter.

Snow finally arrived in the Northwoods last week, and snowmobilers took to the trails to celebrate.

But even before the ground was a blanket of white, snowmobiles were flying off the floors of local dealers.

Joe Yakey has been in the snowmobile business for more than 30 years, and he’s the general manager at Antigo Yamaha.


Restaurants, hotels and theaters have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many saw a sharp decrease in revenue collected in 2020 compared to 2019.

But despite the pandemic, counties across the Northwoods collected more in county sales taxes than ever before.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve spoken with local entrepreneurs whose businesses have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes business owners like George Rouman, who owns a movie theater in Rhinelander.

U.S. Small Business Administration

Small businesses can officially begin applying for loans through the new version of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Yesterday, banks like Nicolet National Bank and JPMorgan Chase could begin submitting borrowers’ applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

When the federal government passed its second COVID-inspired stimulus package in December, it included a new round of the Paycheck Protection Program.

Between April and August last year, that program distributed more than $500 billion in forgivable loans to millions of businesses across the country.

Erin Gottsacker/WXPR

The shelves at Family Video are beginning to look empty.

Last week, the video rental chain announced it will sell its stock of movies and video games.

Then, its 250 remaining stores will permanently close.

Jordan Strand has worked at Rhinelander’s Family Video for the past six years.

She knows the customers that come to the store every day and the movies they check out over and over again.

“They’re getting their favorites that they watch many times,” she said.

George Rouman

As people pack away decorations at the close of an unusual holiday season, local business owners analyze their earnings.

Some did better than expected. Others fight to stay afloat.

George Rouman owns Rouman Cinema and the Fun Factory Sweet Shoppe, both in Rhinelander.

“It has been an absolutely brutal year,” he said.

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year is one of his busiest times for both businesses, but especially his movie theater.

“[This time] is something that theaters look forward to every year,” he said.