New gallery, studio opens on Main Street

Photo by Bill Livick. Bill and Anita Amundson are opening the Amundson ArtHaus in downtown Stoughton on Main Street this weekend. The space will serve as Bill’s studio and gallery for his original drawings and other art pieces.

Nothing says Christmas like lawn ornaments.

Artist Bill Amundson laughs at the notion, but his parody lawn ornaments, satirical colored drawings and “wearable art” like Norwegian Viking and Green Bay Packers pins no doubt showed up under the tree in some Stoughton homes this holiday season.

Amundson opened a new art gallery and studio on Main Street in early December.

The AmundArt Hus, 194 Main St., will feature his work and represents a coming of full circle for the Stoughton native. He moved to Colorado in 1975 and returned four years ago with his wife, Anita.

“I had my first studio ever in this same building,” he told the Courier Hub. “When I was in college in Madison I had my own studio here. So I’m back exactly where I started.”


Getting ‘primal’

Photo by Scott De Laruelle. Under the watchful eye (and substantial grip) of Primal Strength and Fitness owner James Brooks, Aodan Marshall finishes a set of bench presses.

Motivation takes different forms for different types of people.

For most folks, being read last rites during a life-threatening bout with bacterial meningitis probably wouldn’t be the catalyst to becoming a powerlifter and starting their own gym.

Needless to say, most folks aren’t quite like Stoughton’s James Brooks.

The Chicago area native looks at life much differently after spending 17 days in a coma in 2005. He never knew where or how he got meningitis – “you can get a bacteria infection from just about everywhere” – but in a way, he’s got it to thank for where he is now.

A former athlete in high school who excelled at wrestling and football, Brooks was always doing something physical. That was before going through the hell caused by the infection.


MillFab shuts doors

Photo by Mark Ignatowski. A lock and chain shut the gate to MillFab/Holley Mouldings, Inc. The company ceased operation Sept. 24 after falling into financial difficulties.

Stoughton’s economy suffered a blow late last month as MillFab/Holley Mouldings, Inc. ceased operations at its Stoughton manufacturing facility.

A note posted on the company gate on East South Street said Water Tower Capital group of Chicago had taken receivership of the company in September and that the Chicago-based firm had decided to stop production Sept. 24.

MillFab had operated as a lumber processing company since the 1970s, but online court records show recent financial instability.

MillFab was purchased in 2002 by Holley Moudling Inc. owner John Yonich. Holley Moulding had operated in the state of Washington since 1993 and expanded in Stoughton around 2002. An affidavit from Yonich states that Holley employed around 100 people and about 15 people worked for MillFab. Yonich told attorneys that those numbers fluctuate depending on workload.  


Creating Lasting Moments

Photo by Samantha Christian. Stoughton photographer Hanah Rosenbaum poses in front of one of her backdrops at the studio, located at 314 S. Division St.

Every artist has his or her muse, and for Stoughton photographer Hanah Rosenbaum, that was little Katherine Eugster. She just had no idea the experience would quickly turn into a profession.

Rosenbaum, a 2009 Stoughton High School graduate, became interested in photography during school, and while working as a family baby sitter at Eugster’s Farm Market, the photogenic Katherine caught her eye – and her camera lens.

“She was my little model and muse,” Rosenbaum said. “When I started showing off my ‘work’ to my family and friends, they commented on how I had the eye for it.”

Armed with only a point-and-shoot camera, she did her first photo shoot in 2010. It went so well, she decided to enroll in the photography program at Madison College the following year, graduating last May.

“It’s one of the best programs around here,” Rosenbaum said. “It was fun to be able to experiment with lenses, and figure out what I liked.”

Moving in


Finding Their Path: Stoughton women ‘believe’ and more

Photos by Scott De Laruelle. Deborah Myren and Darlynn Hoare operate Believe on Main Street. In addition to a variety of products, the store offers classes and workshops on topics like Reiki healing, ionic foot baths, soul ray colors and meditation.

Something about hand-made tu-tus hanging above a bar table adorned with beer bottlecaps next to books on Reiki, crystal healing and the paranormal seems right at place along Stoughton’s colorful Main St.

Deborah Myren and Darlynn Hoare have lived in Stoughton for decades, and operate “Believe,” (155 W. Main St.), a “metaphysical gift shop” and much more. The store has morphed from an art gallery of the same name to include a variety of products and services  – everything from incense, oils and crystals to books, music and bird feeders.

There is also plenty of artwork and other items for sale from nearly 50 local artists, including a wide spectrum of paintings, clothing and more.  


Stoughton Trailers wins early decision against Chinese competitors

The U.S. International Trade Commission gave an early victory to Stoughton Trailers, LLC in the company’s unfair trade allegations.

The ITC conducted its preliminary investigation in response to Stoughton Trailers’ unfair trade petition, filed on April 23.

The “affirmative determination” in the investigation means that the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue to conduct its investigation.

The Stoughton Trailers petition alleged its Chinese competitors in the 53-foot domestic container manufacturing industry had used government subsidies and currency manipulation to undercut the market.


Stoughton Trailers files trade petition against China

Stoughton Trailers recently filed an unfair trade petition against Chinese competitors it alleges are using government subsidies and currency manipulation to undercut the market.

The allegations center on “53-foot domestic dry containers,” used on trains, a market that has grown to 95 percent Chinese manufacturers in the last several years, according to a press release from Stoughton Trailers.

Stoughton Trailers is the only current U.S. manufacturing company to produce the containers, according to the press release, although marketing manager Scott Nachreiner told the Courier Hub that there were more competitors in past years until the Chinese companies began cornering the market.

Nachreiner said that alleged subsidies from the Chinese government along with currency manipulation make it hard for U.S. companies to compete.


Niche Offerings

Photo by Scott Girard Lilystone owners Rick and Sue Smith, left, and manager Lindsey Brewster stand behind the counter at the store.

The building at 193 W. Main St. was nothing more than a storage facility for the almost six years since Smith Photography had moved to its new location at 401 5th St.

The owners, Sue and Rick Smith, decided the space should finally be put to use, so they came up with an idea.

“We thought, ‘Let’s do something with it,’” Sue Smith said. “We don’t like empty storefronts downtown.”

They wanted to use that storefront to “fill a hole,” which was a lack of “unique gift-giving” options around Stoughton, said Lilystone manager and creative design consultant Lindsey Brewster.

“I was tired of just picking up the everyday gift,” Brewster said. “I think we’re all inspired by things online like Pintrest and (do-it-yourself) stuff.”

But keeping up a unique product line can be quite a bit of work, and Brewster and the Smiths have spent plenty of time already since the Nov. 21 opening looking to bring in new products.


Main Street openings and closings

Nello’s now open

Stoughtonites have a new pizza and dinner spot to check out.

Nello’s Pizza is housed in the former Marsala’s on Main spot at 135 W. Main Street.

The restaurant is open for carry out and dine-in dinners seven days a week starting at 4 p.m. Lunch will be offered in the future.

For information, call 873-7440. A website is still under construction, but should be up and running soon.

Pour House shuts doors

Main Street Pour House closed at the end of March after nearly six years in business.

The bar and restaurant was known for serving craft tap beers and offering live music on many nights of the week.

Owner Jeanne Dunbar told the Hub she was looking for a new place along Main Street after closing March 21.

A post on the Facebook page of the business said the bar and restaurant was given a notice to vacate in mid-March.


Owner hopes to open brew pub for Syttende Mai

The owner of a new Stoughton brew pub hopes to open at least the bar portion of the restaurant by mid-May for Syttende Mai.

“My wife says ‘you’re too ambitious,’” Viking Brew Pub owner Vik Malling said. “But that’s my target.”

The pub, at 211 E. Main St., will also eventually include a restaurant and a brew house where Malling can brew his own beer recipes.

Those features, however, are on an unknown timeline for now, as Malling continues to work through the process of submitting plans and construction.

“I don’t want to open up the restaurant portion in a stumble,” he said.

The menu will eventually include brew pub staples like burgers and brats, along with dishes that pay homage to Stoughton’s Norwegian culture.

Malling said he is also considering contract brewing in the meantime, in which he could use his own recipes for craft beers but would use another brewery’s equipment.