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New employment and leisure opportunities for downtown Beloit

Over the past several months, downtown Beloit has opened several news businesses and establishments. These new restaurant locations have provided employment opportunities for locals in the Beloit area, including Beloit College students.

The plans put in place by the Hendricks Corporation for the continued revitalization of downtown Beloit and the riverfront area have led to the construction of Blue Collar Coffee, Truk’t Street Tacos, Tequila and Whiskey, Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo Cafe and Cup and Cake Bakeshop.

Beloit student Hana Hassanpourgal’20 was recently hired as a server at the upcoming Velvet Buffalo Cafe, an outdoor dining and rooftop space above Hotel Goodwin. Velvet Buffalo will have a full bar and will serve tapas and woodfire pizzas. “Hotel Goodwin opened this week,” Hassanpourgal confirmed. “They’re booked for the next couple of weeks.”

The two businesses are located at 500 Public Avenue, across from R&R Vacuum Center and next door to Beloit College’s Hendricks Center for the Arts. Hotel Goodwin offers 34 rooms with boutique style architecture.

Truk’t and Blue Collar Coffee are currently under construction next door to one another down the street at 443 E. Grand Avenue. Blue Collar Coffee will feature lounge seating, local coffee, pastries and breakfast options. Truk’t Street Tacos, Tequila and Whiskey will serve a menu of Latin-inspired tacos, appetizers and sides. The opening dates for both are Oct. 3 of this year.

Katherine Johnson’19 was hired this fall to be a server at Truk’t. “I heard about [the job] from a friend but also saw they had just sent out a stuboard [a bi-daily list of online announcements for students, staff and faculty] about it,” Johnson said. “Truk’t is going to be super hipster.”

Cup and Cake Bakeshop opened on June 15 at 430 E. Grand Avenue, next door to Turtle Creek Bookstore, taking over the space that formerly belonged to PORCH. Cup and Cake Bakeshop is a local and family-run establishment that offers weekly flavor features, cupcakes, cake pops and edible toppings. Cup and Cake is also available for catering large events, weddings and cake decorating parties.

While Cup and Cake Bakeshop is an independent business, Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo, Truk’t and Blue Collar Coffee are all under the management of Hendricks Commercial Properties. Hendricks Commercial Properties was responsible for the opening of the Phoenix Beloit Apartment Building last year at 430 Grand Avenue, above Lucy’s #7 Burger Bar and Zen Sushi & Grill.

A subsidy of the Hendricks Commercial Properties, the Geronimo Hospitality Group, will manage Hotel Goodwin, Velvet Buffalo Cafe, Truk’t and Blue Collar Coffee. The group currently manages the Ironworks Hotel, Lucy’s #7, Merrill & Houston’s Steak Joint, Beloit Club, Ironworks Golf Lab and the Eclipse Event Center, as well as several other businesses based in Janesville and Delafield, Wis. 

Hendricks’ plans to transform downtown Beloit into a tourist-attraction site and home for technology companies has been well documented over the past several years. Last fall, the riverfront on the opposite side of the Rock River from Ironworks Hotel transformed with the construction of the Ironworks Campus. Connected by a wooden footbridge to the back of Ironworks Hotel, The Ironworks Campus is now home to 13 businesses on 24 square acres of property. Many are IT companies, such as Ebates, but the campus also features the new YMCA Ironworks Branch, located at 501 Third Street. The new YMCA, which opened in the fall last year, features an indoor pool, running track, 2 gyms, 3 racquetball courts and more.

Also on the list for remodel in downtown is the redevelopment of a site at 200 W. Grand Avenue into a 70-unit apartment building, ready for opening in February 2019.

Sources: Beloit Daily News, Stateline News, Hotel Management

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