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October 18, 2019

9/11/2019 3:19:00 PM
Sweet stories about Windom
More than a few times, in recent years, I've heard Windom area residents say that the Square in Windom is a sleeping giant for tourism.
I've heard several different angles on these stories. One person suggested our Square would be an outstanding setting for multiple restaurants to set up.
A downtown brewery would also be the perfect drawing card, a woman once told me. She was amazed one wasn't already in place. Again, the setting is perfect, she said.
I agree, the setting is ideal for these ideas. The problem is, finding investors. Any banker will tell you that restaurants are extremely risky investments.
What's more, I know the state has topped 100 craft breweries. At what point is the craft brewery market oversaturated?
Out of sight
In all of these cases, there was one common thread - the suggestion that too few people know about our beautiful Courthouse and unique Square.
It feels like we need a billboard at each end of town with a giant photo of the Courthouse and just a few words: "Grand history - a block west of Highway 60."
Ask anyone around the Square, hardly a summer week goes by without seeing someone on the Courthouse lawn, taking photos of our 1905 Cottonwood County Courthouse. If we put up that billboard, my guess is that number would increase tenfold.
Sweets downtown
One thing that even local residents don't know is that downtown Windom was known for its sweets.
Windom's Candy Kitchen satisfied the sweet tooth of southern Minnesota in the early 1900s.
"The business flourished for the first few years after it was started in 1915, with salesmen on the road selling Windom chocolates," said a story in the Windom Centennial Edition.
The store was located on the west side of the Square, in back of the building currently occupied by Schramel Law Office. The store included a dining area and was loaded with things like candy, sodas and even cigars.
The business started to decline in later years and eventually went bankrupt shortly after World War I.
Good looking downtown
It seems like a candy store is a long shot for our Square these days, but it would be great to add some unique attraction, whether it be a restaurant, winery, brewery, or something else.
We ought to give our building owners credit. Many have done a tremendous job of preserving the Square's beauty.

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