MERRILL - Big name stores dominate many small towns. But in Merrill, one store owner thinks bigger isn't always better.
Forrest Young owns Hometown Pharmacy in Merrill.
At the end of last year, it moved from Main Street to East Second Street.
The new spot isn't far from the old one, but it has on-site parking and a drive-through.
That makes it convenient, just like big chains.
But Young says he offers something different.
"The main thing is customer service. We know that vast majority of our customers by name when they come in here," he says. "We've had instances in the past where people switch over, and they're just taken aback by how quickly we learn their names and treat them as if they've been coming to our pharmacy forever."
Hometown Pharmacy moved into Merrill about three years ago.
The store attracts a lot of seniors, but Young hopes the new spot will attract a new crowd.
"People that prefer a Walmart, Walgreens type of experience are younger, they prefer being able to get in and out quicker, do some shopping while they're in there," Young says. "So we're hoping that with the middle school and the grocery store, we'll attract some of the younger customers, that we can grow with them, as well as make it easier access for our older customers."
Young was renting the Main Street store, but bought this building.
He says he plans on being in Merrill for a long time.
RHINELANDER - People in Rhinelander will be able to cast their November election ballots starting on Friday. It's the earliest people in Wisconsin have ever been able to vote.
The absentee ballots are stacked and ready for Friday at the Rhinelander City Clerk's office. To make the early voting process go as smoothly as possible, you will need to come prepared.
"When you come in make sure that you're registered. That is important. Make sure you're registered in the city if you're coming into us," said Clerk Valerie Foley.
Registering is easy; all you need is a photo ID and proof of residence. The registration form takes a couple of minutes, and then you will be able to fill out an election ballot.
"I think it is going to be a very busy day. I think people are pretty interested in the issues. And I think a lot of them would like to get and make sure they can vote if they're not certain they're going to make it to the polls in November or not," said Foley.
The clerk's office has already sent out about 200 ballots to people who have requested them.
Now, it is preparing for the early voter in-person rush.
If you are unsure whether you are registered to vote or where to go for early voting, the clerk's office suggests voters visit myvote.wi.gov for more information.
The Boulder Junction Town Board voted two to one Tuesday night to move forward with a town plaza plan. The plan will now go to a design phase.
The board estimated the cost of the design phase to be between $30,000 to $50,000, but it was dropped to about $25,000 at the meeting.
Town Chairman Dennis Reuss and Town Supervisor Dennis Duke voted in favor, with Town Supervisor Denny McGann voting against the plan.
A little more than $1 million may not seem like a lot of money to a city like Madison or Milwaukee. But for a town of fewer than one thousand people, it's a lot. The Boulder Junction Town Board could vote Tuesday whether or not to move onto the next phase of a $1.26 million town plaza project.
Dennis Duke has a vision of what Boulder Junction could look like in a few years.
"This one has a much more artistic flair, this has a more engineering flair if you will," said Duke while looking at potential design plans.
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