Vacant Grafton buildings attract new businesses

Plan Commission clears way for chocolate shop in former pizza parlor, day care center’s second location next to mattress store
Ozaukee Press Staff

Two businesses will be filling vacant store space in Grafton in coming months.

The Plan Commission on Jan. 25 approved conditional use permits for both the Handmade with Love chocolate and ice cream shop and the second location of Little Friends Learning Center.

Handmade with Love is scheduled to open this April in the former Downtown Pizza Shop at 1228 12th Ave., a space that has sat empty for about two years.

Owner Brianna Large said she will  sell chocolate, chocolate-covered sweets and non-alcoholic beverages in the space, and plans to incorporate ice cream into her offerings later on.

The 1,700-square-foot space will have a kitchen, prep area, display cases and seating. It will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Community Development Director Jessica Wolff said because there will only be a single public restroom in the space, the shop capacity will be limited to 15 people, including employees.

Trustee Dave Antoine questioned if customers would be asked to leave if too many people were in the store at one time.

Noting that operating permits are typically enforced on a complaint basis, Wolff said the village will have to trust that Large manages customer traffic in a safe and reliable manner.

The permit was approved unanimously.

“Welcome to the village,” Village President Jim Brunnquell said.

While no stranger to the village, Little Friends Learning Center open its second location in March at 2089 Wisconsin Ave., in the same building as the Verlo Mattress Store.

The 3,000-square-foot space will include multiple rooms for children of different ages, restrooms, a break room, storage and an office area. There will also be a fenced  outdoor area where children can play.

Owner Brooke San Felippo said the center will have as many as 20 employees per shift and can accommodate 49 children. The hours of operation will be from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Wolff said while there are no objections to the day care from residents, the village did receive a call from Jim Glaser, owner of the nearby Midas auto repair shop.

Glaser said the doors of his shop are frequently open and he is worried the noise from his operation may disturb the day care.

“Jim is more concerned about concerns the day care would have about the location of his business and potential noise,” Wolff said.

San Felippo said she does not expect noise from the auto shop to cause a disturbance, adding that children may enjoy seeing cars go in and out of the shop.

She said her current operation is near train tracks and the children enjoy watching trains pass by despite the noise.

Trustee Amy Luft questioned if there are enough parking spaces on the property to accommodate potentially 49 families dropping off or picking up their children.

San Felippo said pick up and drop off times are typically staggered, with no more than 10 families coming to the center at any one time.

She added that the parking lot has about 30 spaces, more than enough to handle the amount of traffic the business expects.

The conditional use permit was unanimously approved following recommendations from staff.

While repairs have already been made to portions of the parking lot, the permit requires that a decrepit area of the parking lot either be repaved or converted into green space. A dumpster enclosure will also need to be repaired before the business begins operating.



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