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Adam Gallus, left, has been alive the window at Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions aback he was 14. Gallus, 37, is accepting a banderole year as cartage is up on Basin Wisconsin and bodies are demography drives to get out of the abode and to ride the Merrimac Ferry. Jerome and Meaghan Waller, of Palatine, Illinois, brought this accumulation of boys to the boutique on their baiter aback Meaghan’s parents accept a abode on the lake.
MERRIMAC — Adam Gallus was able for the affliction aback in April he artificial advanced with a added than $20,000 adjustment activity on his ice chrism stand, admitting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shop, which hugs the artery aloof anxiety from the Merrimac Bear landing, now has a beyond account window, new adverse top, college ceilings, a beginning covering of paint, new attic and a $4,200 energy-efficient freezer arranged with 3-gallon buckets of beginning ice cream.
Gallus advancing a difficult division at his Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions, but ample he’d be able to acclimate the accepted abatement and survive for addition year.
His anticipation was way off. And his appropriate arm is activity it.
Gallus, 37, who has operated the family-owned boutique for the accomplished 23 years, has never had a bigger season. Sales are up by 60% overall, and weekday sales are about bifold that of a year ago. Gallus’ appropriate blasting arm is accepting an aberrant conditioning as barter acquisitive to get out of the abode are absorption to his business for a bowl or cone of amber dent cookie dough, Blue Moon, raspberry truffle or one of 24 added flavors from Schoep’s and Amber Shoppe ice chrism companies.
“Maybe this is one of the things that represents some course for them,” Gallus, who works abandoned except on Sundays, said of his customers. “I didn’t anticipate I’d be ambience annal for the better. I anticipation I’d be ambience sales annal for the worse. So I’m actual afraid and actual beholden aloof to be accessible this year beneath the affairs that we’re all ambidextrous with.”
Ice chrism at Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions is hand-scooped by buyer Adam Gallus, who works seven canicule a anniversary from Memorial Day through October.
The state’s tourism industry is accepted to lose billions of dollars this year as festivals, fairs, concerts and added summer staples accept been wiped off the calendar. Wisconsin Dells is open, but appearance is down, although an estimated 100,000 bodies may accept descended on the breadth over the July 4 weekend, accretion the likelihood of a acceleration in coronavirus cases, bloom admiral said aftermost week. Devil’s Basin Accompaniment Park has additionally been awash with visitors, which has additionally brought barter to Gallus’ stand, amidst 7 afar from park’s south entrance.
But it’s the Merrimac Bear that has created this business befalling for Gallus and a aggressive ice chrism shop, the Merrimac Scoop, amidst beyond Basin Wisconsin via aqua Highway 113.
Ice chrism is enjoyed on a arch baiter as the Colsac III makes its way beyond Basin Wisconsin. The bear has been a basic in Merrimac aback 1844. The ice chrism boutique traces its roots to the backward 1940s.
The Scoop, amidst on the south coffer of Basin Wisconsin in the boondocks of Lodi, sat abandoned for years until it was purchased in 2013 by Casey and Zach Davenport and Andrew Stendahl. The buying accumulation fabricated account aftermost summer in Madison aback they bought a architecture active by the Amber Shoppe on Atwood Avenue on the city’s East Side. The Amber Shoppe was affected to move bottomward the street, and its above amplitude abounding with what is now alleged the Atwood Scoop.
Visitors to Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions accumulate at the window to adjustment up ice cream. On a active day the boutique can advertise added than 500 cones and dishes of ice cream.
The Gallus operation on the arctic coffer has a continued history that dates to the backward 1940s, aback Bud and Dolly Gallus purchased a tiny diner, a home and four cottages to hire to tourists. In the 1960s, Bud, who formed full-time as a barter driver, began acclimation outboard motors and boats out of his barn afore accretion the operation into a standalone ability abutting door. Tom Gallus, 69, Adam’s father, began alive for his parents, went to account academy in Fond du Lac in 1966 at the age of 15 to apprentice how to adjustment engines, and now owns what is alleged Bear Landing Marine.
Cabins are no best allotment of the business plan, but one was confused years ago for use by the Galluses as a hunting berth in rural Sauk County. Addition charcoal at the berth and is acclimated for storage.
Up to his aerial
On Thursday, Tom Gallus was ashore with assignment and had added than 30 jobs in the cue. He’s been active replacing baptize pumps and burst props, rebuilding engines and acclimation balloon pumps and carburetors. He was additionally absent of his winter breach on Marco Island, area he uses a Jet Ski to coast amidst the mangroves.
Ferry Landing Berth buyer Tom Gallus takes a breach Thursday to reflect on a division that has been almighty busy. Gallus, 69, who started acclimation baiter motors aback he was 15, has been ashore with business as added bodies abstract on the water.
“Right abroad in March, aback we got aback from Florida, it was aloof all (gung-ho) appropriate away. It’s been aloof endless,” Tom Gallus said of the adjustment assignment this season. “Usually, at this time of the year, there’s a lull. I anticipate bodies accept added time on their hands. It’s been busier than all get-out.”
Vintage photographs of above Colsac ferries that accept beyond Basin Wisconsin over the years amidst Merrimac and Lodi are displayed on a bank central Bear Landing Berth in Merrimac. Tom Gallus and his ancestors accept endemic acreage adjoining to the landing for three generations.
Gallus’ boutique is abounding with debris of burst props, motors in repair, boats in cat-and-mouse and array of tools. A adjacent accoutrements bears the ancestors name. The boutique additionally holds photos of the Colsac ferries acclimated over the years and a attempt of the railroad arch afore Basin Wisconsin was formed in 1914 by the architecture of the dam on the Wisconsin River at Prairie du Sac. But his actual thoughts were on aggravating to acquisition genitalia for his adjustment jobs.
“The accomplished industry is busy,” Gallus said. “New boats, repairs, everything. The bazaar has been aloof fantastic.”
Roots in 1844
The Merrimac Bear began operating as a clandestine assessment bear in 1844 afore actuality taken over by Sauk and Columbia counties in 1924. The accompaniment of Wisconsin purchased the operation in 1933 and now uses a cable to adviser the bear aback and alternating beyond the lake. The bear is one of six operating in Wisconsin but the alone one that is chargeless to both cartage and vehicles.
In 2019, the ferry, which about operates from April into November, fabricated 40,811 trips and agitated 225,762 vehicles. This division began April 20 and was bound because of COVID-19 to 13 hours a day and did not accomplish on Sundays. It went to a 24-7 operation June 19. As of July 5, the Colsac III had fabricated 8,991 trips and agitated 84,666 vehicles, but “ridership appears to be trending against accustomed levels,” said Steven Theisen, a accompaniment Department of Transportation spokesman.
After a day cruise to Devil’s Lake, this accumulation chock-full at Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions to adore a air-conditioned treat. At larboard are ancestors Lucas, Gwyneth and Adelyn Anderson with their mother, Ashley, of Lodi. At appropriate are Meghan Jarvis and her accouchement Charlie and Jordy, of Madison.
There accept been efforts over the years to body a arch over this allocation of Basin Wisconsin, but they ultimately accept been defeated over a abridgement of allotment and from accessible pushback by those who favor the bear and the tourists it draws.
Adam Gallus is beholden the arch affairs accept never panned out.
It’s not aberrant for him to duke beat 200 to 300 cones or dishes of ice chrism per day, and he’s had canicule area he’s topped 500. The boutique additionally sells popcorn, candy, slushes and ice chrism confined and treats.
“I accept a lot of good, loyal customers,” Gallus said. “They booty affliction of me and I like to anticipate I booty affliction of them, too.”
On Thursday, Bob and Bernie Hartwig collection from their home on Madison’s East Side. Bob ordered up a bowl of adulate pecan, and Bernie a bowl of Caramel Combustion. The acclimate was amazing afterwards a backing Wednesday.
“People aloof charge to get out their abode and booty a ride,” Bernie Hartwig said. “I can alone do so abounding account puzzles.”
While cat-and-mouse for the accession of the ferry, travelers are tempted to Merrimac Bear Landing Concessions, which sells added than two dozen flavors of ice chrism additional slushes, airheaded and candy.
Jerome and Meaghan Waller, of Palatine, Illinois, brought their two sons, ages 17 and 19, to the boutique forth with two of their friends. The Wallers accept been advancing for ice chrism aback afore their boys were born, as Meaghan’s parents accept a abode on Basin Wisconsin. The Wallers and their aggregation came Thursday via boat.
“This accomplished affair is aloof nostalgic,” said Meaghan Waller, who works as a academy counselor. “It’s a abundance food. They’ve got a acceptable atom here.”
The boutique is at a accustomed pit stop and offers allurement to those cat-and-mouse for the ferry, which holds 15 cars and takes about 15 account to accomplish a annular trip.
Gallus opened his boutique on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend and won’t shut it bottomward until backward October. He works seven canicule a week, spends his winters snowmobiling and can altercation at times business from 70 percent of the cars cat-and-mouse to drive assimilate the ferry. It’s all added to the aches in his appropriate arm, but he’s not accusatory as array of businesses are disturbing amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s either you’re active or you’re struggling,” Gallus said. “There’s no in-between. I’ve been blessed.”
Barry Adams covers bounded account for the Wisconsin Accompaniment Journal. Send him account for On Wisconsin at 608-252-6148 or by email at [email protected]
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