None of the businesses founded during Greendale’s creation in the late 1930s still exist today in their original ownership; however, many of the current proprietors have roots that dig deep into the village’s history.
“The village has always hosted several types of businesses, but for the most part the ownership has evolved over time,” explains Ted Mainella, president of the Greendale Historical Society. “For instance, we have always had a restaurant near the north end of Broad Street; there’s always been a barber shop and bank, etc.”
The evolution of ownership is quite simple; the town aged, and along with it did its businesses. Over time, the village as it is known today fell into a state of disrepair. Fortunately, simultaneous to the disintegration of the business in the village center at the end of the 1990s, Reiman publications, a local publishing house, repeatedly encountered a precarious problem – subscribers wanted to visit them in Greendale.
“The Reiman business located on Grange Avenue was not set up to accommodate visitors,” explains Anne Marie Pelkofer, Village Center Manager. “Eventually, Reiman decided to create a visitor center to alleviate this quandary, but it did not take long for him (Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman publications) to realize that renovating only one half of Broad Street did not make very much sense. Since the renovations’ completion in 1998, a renaissance has occurred in our village center.”
The new store facades encouraged tourists at the visitor center and consequently the development of new businesses up and down Broad Street. “The renovation improved the promotion of Greendale on whole, not only for the historical society, but also the businesses and the school system,” said Jim Birmingham, Village Trustee and owner of Broad Street Coffee Company. “Reiman pulled us out of a period of disparity. We really needed some new energy and life in the village center and that is precisely what we got. The initial 15 businesses have expanded to over 40.”
Downtown Greendale is now a destination for out-of-towners as well those that were born and raised in the village. “I grew up in Greendale; my family moved here in 1948,” furthered Birmingham. “When the coffee shop went up for sale, I purchased it because I wanted to have a piece of the legacy that is Greendale.”
Mr. Birmingham is not the only business owner with roots in the community. “There is a familial nature that has been passed down through some of the businesses here,” said Ted Mainella. “For example, not only is Ferch’s Malt Shoppe and Grille in the exact location of the original ice cream parlor of the village, but the owner is related to one of the original Greendale Village Managers. Likewise, we have businesses like Ricardo’s Pizzeria and Batley’s Barber Shop that moved onto Broad Street decades ago, and have become a mainstay for the village business community. The generations that originally settled here reach into the present day.”
While none of the founding businesses remain in their initial state, the Greendaleans that currently own businesses are proud of the change and new diversity of store genres that have gone into the village center. “Save on your grocery shopping, you can purchase just about anything you could ever want in downtown Greendale,” concluded Birmingham. Those that are left behind are more proud to be from and live in Greendale than ever before.