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New River Falls attractions prove prosperous

May 3, 2007

Two new attractions opened in River Falls in a three-week span, proving that as the city grows, so does the opportunity for business.

Walgreens opened its doors to the public March 23; three weeks later, Rush River Brewery brewed its first batch of beer.

Rush River Brewery owners, Dan Chang and Nick Anderson look forward to establishing connections with the River Falls community and the University.

“We will be offering internships for UWRF students in the fall,” Chang said.

Those interested in the opportunity can receive more information at rushriverbeer.com.

“An internship at the brewery sounds like a lot of fun,” senior Becca Helgeson said. “I plan on looking further into it.” 

The original brewery was located in Maiden Rock, Wis. 

What motivated the owners to open a brewery in River Falls was the prospect of a larger facility.

“It was fate,” Chang said.

“The city actually built the facility and is leasing it to us,” Chang said. “We will have the option to buy in a few years and we will take it.” 

Chang and Anderson decided they wanted to expand the company’s line to bottles, not just keg beer, resulting in the immediate need for more space.

The brewery was limited to keg beer which, in turn, limited the extent of distribution to simply restaurants and bars.

“We are taking a big step in starting the bottling production, but we look forward to it,” Chang said.

It will offer many more opportunities to those interested in trying the product, he said.

“I enjoy having a beer from time to time,” senior Tara Swanson said.

She looks forward to the opportunity to try the product once the bottling line is available to the consumer market.

So far things have been working out great for both Chang and Anderson.

“Our new brewery runs much better than the old one,” Chang said. “You can even tell in how the beer tastes.”

The brewery is already known in the community for its generosity. St. Bridget’s, a pre-kindergarten to eighth grade catholic school has received gifts form the brewery. The Trout Foundation charity program has also been a recipient of donations. Rush River also provided the beer provider for Kinnikinnic Days, which takes place during the summer months.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the community and remain a presence in the community,” Anderson said.

A post- grand opening party is in the works for the public this month.

“We want to celebrate with the public and throw a bit of a party,” Chang said.

Keg beer will be available for taste testing at the gala.

Chang and Anderson also plan on hosting tours this summer for those interested in seeing how a brewery operates.

Walgreens is a one-stop spot for those who may need a few household items, photo finishing or prescriptions.

“So far business is going great,” store manager Mike Ditlevson said. “I already have noticed regulars.” 

The store offers internships for students who plan on going into business, management or pharmaceutical work.

“I would love to land my internship at Walgreens,” junior Britta Olsen said. “It is so close by.”

Ditlevson said being a UWRF alum is what made him decide to commute from Cottage Grove, Minn., to River Falls to manage the store.

“I knew the clientele would be friendly because that is how it is in a small city,” Ditlevson said.

There was some concern at the start with how well the store would do competing with ShopKo.

“I am not a big Walgreens fan,” senior Nikki Hahan said. “I usually get my things at ShopKo.” 

Ditlevson said with anything new, sometimes it takes time to catch on, but he feels confident in the success of the store.

“I love that there is a place that I can run in and grab something quick I have never had to wait in line there,” sophomore Hannah Seidenburg said.

For more information, visit rushriverbeer.com or walgreens.com.