Walnut Creek, a creator of custom awards, signage, and apparel, opened a second location in Beloit, Wisconsin. The new shop, located in downtown Beloit, serves as a retail space for gifts and apparel, whereas the location in south Beloit continues to focus on production.
“We always wanted to have a better storefront, and Beloit has a really nice downtown area,” states Nikkie Chadwick, owner and operator of Walnut Creek since 2016. “We’ve wanted to be downtown with more of a retail space, but we had a competitor downtown, so we never did.” Once that business went up for sale, Chadwick saw a chance to make the move. The shop officially opened in the new location the day after Thanksgiving in 2018.
The storefront downtown has a small production area in the back, while the first location, a 10,000-square-foot building where Walnut Creek has been for more than 39 years, is set up for the majority of production and inventory storage.
Chadwick expresses the transition has been a lot more of a learning process she originally thought it would be. “People would come in (to the first location) already knowing that they wanted to order something, and I kind of knew what they needed and just helped pick things out,” she elaborates. “In the downtown store, it takes them longer to look around and shop, and not every person walking through the door is a sale.”
Chadwick is slowly working to reduce her hours and plans to spend half the day in one shop, and the second half in the other while the employees who transferred to the new shop uncover more about doing things retail versus wholesale.
Since opening the new location, the shop began to have Free Print Days once a month, when people can bring in their own shirt and can get it printed for free with the design for that month or pay $10 for a new shirt. The Walnut Creek logo is usually hidden somewhere within the design. Chadwick says April’s design said, “Wine Tasting is My Sport.” The design, which had a wine glass with the logo disguised in the liquid of the glass, was created with a wine walk put on in downtown Beloit in mind. According to Chadwick, the wine walk drew over 400 people through the store.
Customers of Walnut Creek can expect more variety, especially with gift items and custom printed apparel, according to Chadwick. She adds that she has other plans to reach more of the local community and get them in the store, such as local celebrity “Meet and Greet” events, but that is still in the works. She is excited about what is to come.