Blake Buchholz and Alex Ewig have been practicing business planning for years during their high school careers in Hudson. As co-chairs of Hudson’s DECA, a global program for emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the fields of marketing, finance, hospitality and management, starting a business is right in their wheelhouse.
As they graduate from Hudson High School 2022, they are already putting those skills in place to “prove the real thing,” Ewig said.
On Monday, July 25, a few days after construction of the Beach House was completed, the couple opened the St. Croix Snack Shack.
With classic concessions like ice cream sandwiches, skittles, chips, and drinks, the Snack Shack also serves waffles on a stick, cold beer, and more.
All of these offers come after more than six months of planning.
Buchholz and Ewig, who grew up using Hudson’s parks and became young entrepreneurs, were looking for good business opportunities.
Their first proposal to the Hudson Parks Board was similar to a coffee shop, but set up at Hudson Dog Park.
Though intrigued by their drive to fill a need in the Hudson community, the council had a better idea.
The St. Croix Snack Shack is currently located in the council-suggested beach house, which overlooks the water on Lakefront Park Beach. When Buchholz and Ewig gathered friends and family to start settling down, they first of all had cobwebs and dust to get rid of. But the place took shape quickly, the equipment went in and the doors opened.
The hard work on the front axle, as well as the hours Buchholz and Ewig devote each day, pay off in many ways. One of which is the spectacular sunset view as they approach closing.
From Monday to Sunday, from noon to 9pm, the Snack Shack is open for orders, and tonight, Friday, July 29, at 6pm, there will be a grand opening party. Everyone is invited.
To celebrate, the Snack Shack offers $ 1 snow cones and for every $ 5 spent, your name will be added to a design for a pair of Apple AirPods.
Right now, the mindset is that of learning, explained Buchholz. As this is the first commercial venture they have run, they are constantly open to and seeking suggestions from the community, as well as other local business owners.
The St. Croix Snack Shack plans to partner with Wolfy’s, an artisan butcher and deli in downtown Hudson, to sell some of their sandwiches. Not only was this a great way to partner with other local entrepreneurs, Buchholz and Ewig are grateful for the wisdom other entrepreneurs were able to provide as they dove headlong into their own start-up.
Despite the grueling challenges of getting off the ground, such as health inspections, paperwork and city approvals, Buchholz and Ewig are already thinking about what will happen to the St. Croix Snack Shack.
Could they partner with more local businesses? With the rights to sell the dam and around Lakefront Park, will they expand into trolley locations along the waterfront?
This summer, doing a very different job to many of their peers is what the kids have called “proof of concept”.
Although only a week has passed, the two have every intention of reopening next summer and the following summers.
The two will begin their first semester of college this fall: Buchholz at the University of Southern California and Ewig at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, both with business interests. What they learn in class, they have every intention of applying to the St. Croix Snack Shack business model.