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0918, 24 Feb 18

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Ries’ Sausage Plus has closed

Neighbors coming home from work Thursday afternoon reacted with a bit of shock to find the doors closed at Ries’ Sausage Plus Spirits Meat & Deli, 1435 W. Washington Street in West Bend.

“Did you know about this,” said Barb Justman. She stopped just before 4 p.m. to pick up a small deli tray of sausages. “Oh come on…..”

Justman was obviously disappointed.

A white sign on the door read ‘We are closed until further notice. Thank you.’

Another neighbor named Paul pulled up in his pickup truck, got out and started walking toward the store.

“They’re closed,” said Nick Thill from Honey Grove Ice Cream.  He was walking his dog across 15th Avenue. “I had honey and some ice cream in there,” Thill said. “He paid up front so I’m not worried.”

Glancing through the store windows Thill’s wife said the shelves “looked empty” as well as the deli.

Businesses in the strip mall said other customers came in Wednesday night asking why the store was dark. One person said there was a semi out back earlier in the day.

In February 2016 Steve and Karen Ries sold the store to Sammy Toor of Illinois.

Toor made some changes, including replacing Kewaskum Frozen Foods line of meats and sausage with the Boar’s Head brand. Customers complained and the traditional Kewaskum Frozen Foods was brought back, albeit short term.

In late 2017 an unsubstantiated rumor filtered around social media announcing the store’s demise.

Toor said it was not true and spent months advertising and trying to market for Christmas sales.

There’s been no response to messages left at the store today.

Officials at City Hall in West Bend said they had no update and a direct phone number for the owner was not available.

Some neighbors are concerned because they’re made reservations for fundraising brat frys this summer at the little Red Shed Brat Haus on Highway 33. Ries’ Sausage Plus handled the rental of that facility and often supplied the meat for the various organizations.

Funeral services for Bob Pick Jr.

Funeral services for Bob Pick Jr., 76, will be held Monday, Feb. 26 at St. James Episcopal Church, 148 S. Eighth Avenue in West Bend.

Mother Mindy Valentine Davis will preside over the service. Myrhum-Patten Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. The memorial service will be at 3 p.m. with a reception afterwards.

Bob Pick Jr. died the evening of Friday, Feb. 16 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

Doug Gonring was with Pick in his final hours. “I really didn’t know his condition and I walked into his room and asked him what he was doing lying around because we had spring training right around the corner,” said Gonring.

Doctors spoke with Doug and his wife Karen. The Gonrings spent several hours at Pick’s bedside. They even held a cell phone to his ear as Pick’s sister Suzanne offered a prayer to her older brother and reassured him it was OK to be with the Lord.

“I said if you hear God’s voice and you want to go to heaven you can go,” said Suzanne. “I release you because they told me you’re very sick. I told him you can see mom and dad and Jenny and Tim and I prayed for him. I said right now Bobby be at peace with other people so you can be in heaven.”

Gonring said the prayer drove everyone in the room to tears.

After the Gonrings returned home Friday evening they received a call around 6:40 p.m. that Pick had died.

Gonring penned a piece for Pick’s obituary  –  Bob was the best teammate on a baseball field I ever had 30 years of never missing a game, take that back he missed one because of some dental work. Bob showed young men what was imperfect in baseball and what is so perfect about baseball. He showed them respect, accountability, and dedication but most of all for 30 years he showed each team or family how important it is to have friends. Bob, by his own account,  never was good enough to play but boy did he show us how to be a great scorekeeper and do it with his unique humor. Will be missed by my family.

Other tributes and memorials are below.

Robert C. Pick III – Thank you for being a great father and for all you did for the city of West Bend.

B.J. Royes  – Indeed, Bob was a West Bend legend.  Never anything negative to say about the athletes, the coaches, or the officials – just a loyal supporter of local athletics.  He loved to be seen and to be a part of the scene.  I’ll miss Bob shuffling into the Fieldhouse or into Regner Park – a hot dog in one hand, and his brown leather bag hung over his shoulder.  RIP old friend.

Jerry Mehring – My memories of Bob Pick go back to our High School days.  He was behind me in High School.  Every day when he met someone new at school he would offer them a stick of gum from his “Gold Gumtainer.”  It was a gold colored container that held a pack of gum with a flip lid.  He was so proud of it.  After High School Bob and his sister Jenny went into the Navy.  When they would be home on leave you would see them both walking up and down Main Street on Friday nights. When we had the Dairy Queen, on South Main Bob would come in every week during football and basketball season to make sure our manager had the home game schedules so that they would schedule enough help to handle the crowd after the games. Whenever you would meet Bob around town he always had a memory or story or joke.  He was definitely a fixture in West Bend and I will be missed by many including me.

Liquor license for Boro Buzdum at former Long Branch Saloon

There was a thorough grilling for Boro Buzdum during Monday night’s West Bend Licensing Committee meeting as Police Chief Ken Meuler held a 1-inch folder of information and violations connected with establishments related to Buzdum.

The Licensing Committee was reviewing a Reserve Class B Combination License for Buzdum’s Pub & Grill in Barton, formerly Long Branch Saloon.

Chief Ken Meuler documented a troubled past for Buzdum.

Dist. 7 alderman Adam Williquette said he spoke with Lt. Duane Farrand regarding the liquor license to be contingent on reviewing building permits for the property.

Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten had some concerns about the violations at Buzdum’s establishment in Germantown. “I just question if this decision is the right one,” said Kasten.

Dist. 6 alderman Steve Hoogester and Dist. 1 alderman John Butschlick both said they had reservations as well.

City attorney Ian Prust said West Bend Police have been extremely proactive in the enforcement of over-serving violations and following up on OWI offenses. “I don’t disagree with your interpretation of the situation but it’s not quite there to deny it from a legal standpoint,” said Prust.

The council voted 5-2 to approve the license with Dist. 5 alderman Kasten and Dist. 8 alderman Roger Kist dissenting.

Buzdum currently owns Buzdums Pub & Grill on Maple Road in Germantown. Buzdum previously owned Sophia’s Pub and Eatery in the Dove Plaza in Slinger. That opened in June 2015 and has since closed.

In 2012 Buzdum purchased the former Players Pub & Grill and opened Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club on Highway 33 east in the Town of Trenton.  That establishment opened in 2013 and closed a couple years ago.

In 2016 the West Bend Common Council did pass a cabaret ordinance which prohibits adult entertainment within the city limits.

Early word is Buzdum is gutting the building on Barton Avenue. He’s expected to open the small corner bar this summer and he will occupy the apartment above.

Try hockey for free at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center

The Washington County Youth Hockey Association invites boys and girls to the Kettle Moraine Ice Center on Saturday, March 3 for a Try Hockey For Free clinic as part of Hockey Weekend Across America.

From 2-3:30 p.m. local youth, ages 4 to 9, are encouraged to experience ice hockey for the first time and learn the basic skills in a fun, safe environment.

“We look forward to welcoming families to the rink to try our great sport of ice hockey” said WCYHA President Todd Filter. “Our goal is for these families to enjoy watching their kids learn new skills with big smiles on their faces.”

USA Hockey’s Try Hockey program, with the support of the National Hockey League and NHL member clubs, among others, is designed to provide youth hockey associations with a national platform to introduce new kids to the sport. Pure Hockey and Liberty Mutual Insurance are official sponsors of Try Hockey For Free Days. USA Hockey has close to 400 locations offering this unique opportunity to kids nationwide.

To register for this Try Hockey For Free event, please visit For more information, please contact: Brandon Bayer, CIT General Manager Kettle Moraine Ice Center (262)335-0876

Allenton Fire Department hands out awards                                 By Ron Naab

The Allenton Fire Department recognized Bruce Ellis with the George Moser Member of the Year award. Ellis was involved in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s with the Bark Lake and later Richfield Fire Departments.

He joined Allenton four years ago after the rescue squad responded to an incident in which his grandson was injured in a lawnmower accident.

Ellis is dedicated to helping others and is a shining light as he volunteers for many events the AFD sponsors, including Special Valentine’s Day Cards from the kids at Allenton Elementary.

 Updates & tidbits

The annual Bowl-A-Thon for the Washington County Dive Team is coming up Saturday, March 3. The event is held in memory of Michael Mann who fell through the ice on Big Cedar Lake and died in 2003.

– The Washington County Fair Park will be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day with an indoor concert featuring Irish and Scottish folk tunes and classic pub songs from bands Tallymoore and Ceol Carde. Headlining the event will be U2 Zoo.

-The 7th annual Diamond Dinner & Benefit for the West Bend Baseball Association is March 3 at The Columbian. There will be a tribute to athletes who made their mark in local baseball circle including Mark Scholz, Adam Rohlinger, Bob Meyer, Bob Kissinger and TJ Fischer.

Nice funeral Mass for Jerry Butz

There was a nice turnout Tuesday at St. Frances Cabrini as friends and family gathered for the funeral Mass for Jerry Butz. The service started with a tribute by Sister Nancy Butz who provided a eulogy.

“Jerry’s outlook on life was ‘Don’t worry, be happy,’” read Sister Butz.

The tribute to Jerry Butz focused on his strong standards. “Jerry led by example. He was respectful and treated everyone with compassion.”

“Their house always had an open-door policy. Jerry would make you feel at home immediately.”

Jerry and his wife Karen were married nearly 60 years. Sister Butz said, “Jerry said that Karen was ‘one of a kind. I tell you that, she is perfect for me.’”

“He will be remembered for his smile, signature laugh, a man of deep compassion and a gentle giving spirit.”

Rev. Justin Lopina presided over the service and while he had a long list of memories he said one comment from the children of Jerry and Karen Butz stood out, “We’re all a little dad.”

The Knights of Columbus and veterans from the local VFW Post were in attendance to present military honors. Those in attendance included many community leaders and fellow business owners who expressed their condolences.

“When I heard that he passed the first thought in my mind was that he was a man who always had a smile on his face,” said West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.

“Always had a good laugh and a few years ago we proclaimed it Jerry Butz Day in West Bend and we had a little parade around the block and we ended up at his house for his 80th birthday.”

Gerald “Jerry” A. Butz, 84, passed away peacefully on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 at The Kathy Hospice in West Bend, surrounded by family.

Jerry will be remembered as an active member of the West Bend community and always enjoyed giving his time to charities. Jerry was an avid golfer, enjoyed gardening, traveled the world and especially loved spending time with his extended family and friends. Jerry will always be remembered for his smile and signature laugh.

Remember the old mom-and-pop grocery stores

As word filters around West Bend about the news surrounding Ries’ Sausage Plus there was a day when a small corner grocery was the buzz of activity in town.

Long before Piggly Wiggly, Pick ‘n Save, Sentry, Red Owl, Kohl’s Food Store and A&P – West Bend was home to a number of mom-and-pop groceries and food marts set up in the downtown and on quiet street corners.

In the 1930s there was the Perry-Page Grocery store on Seventh Avenue and Chestnut. It was run by Ida Page and Rev. Perry. That corner building, 403 S. 7th Ave., was home to Roffler Styling.

National Tea was the National Food Store located on Main St. just south of the West Bend Theatre; Edward Schmidt was the manager. National Tea later moved to N. Main St., just south of the brewery and Gene Stark was manager.

In the 1930s and 1940s Held Food Mart had three stores in West Bend. Harvey Held ran the store at 241 N. Main St.; it was in the Gonring Building where Grasshopper Restaurant is currently located.  Another Held’s was at 121 S. Main St.; the current home of Ted Newman Signs. Held and Kirsch was also a local store.

Richard Krueger owned a little neighborhood grocery called the West Side Cash Store; it was on the southwest corner of Tenth and Cedar Street.

Flitter’s Queen’s Quality Grocery, 1270 Chestnut St., was on the northeast corner of Silverbrook and Chestnut where Tyberg Dental Clinic is located.

Kash N Karry was at 1411 W. Washington St. just to the west of Myrhum Patten Funeral Home, where West Bend Furniture and Design currently stands.

Otten’s Store was at 1805 Barton Ave. in what’s currently Small Town Bait & Tackle. The Otten family ran the store and the last member of the family business was Gene Otten.

Schuster’s Grocery, 1779 Barton Ave., was run by Tom Schuster; the store was across from the Gadow Roller Mills. Xpressions bead and yarn store is in the old grocery.

George Carbon’s IGA was across from the Washington House. The grocery was the old Central Hotel run by BC Ziegler’s father.

Winter Grocery was on the southwest corner of Oak and Main St. was a store started by Flora Huber who later added a little lunch room. Later the business was run by Bill Hess.

Henry E. Peters had a store in the 500 block of Hickory across from Winkler’s Office City. William Peters had a huge mercantile store in the same

Wegener’s Red Bell Market was a store on Hickory St. east of Sixth Avenue. It was run by Reuben Wegener. “Reuben would fill telephone orders for my mother,” said Kevin O’Meara.

Heipp General Store was at Fifth Avenue and Walnut. A photo shows Fred Heipp at the reigns with his dog Putzy. The horse was named Nancy and she served as the delivery horse for Heipp General Store since she was 6-years-old.

At age 38, Nancy collapsed on the street and was unable to get up without help. Heipp retired Nancy and replaced her with a younger horse called Babe.

“Fritz Heipp delivered ice to our home for our refrigerators, before the electric models,” said Peg Ziegler.

The Heipp General Store was later home to Mehring’s Fishery, John’s Photography, and is currently Hometown Talents & Treasures.

Researchers at the Washington County Historical Society helped cobble together this partial list of grocery stores in West Bend.

Note on grocery stores

I read with interest your recent story regarding small Mom & Pop grocery stores that were in business prior to the typical big grocery stores coming into town.  I would offer the thought that you missed a really good one that was right in the middle of downtown West Bend – the Bye Low grocery – a full service grocery that had a full service meat department, bakery and general grocery store.  Having spent a lot of time there as a child (my Dad owned the store – this would have been in the 1950’s) it was a great little store with lots of the old time businesses in the downtown area in full operation when West Bend was still a small town – some of these businesses were well known outside of town (BC Ziegler, The West Bend Company, Amity and others). Just an additional thought and maybe a follow up to your story?! Thanks  Steve


0918, 24 February 2018


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