Backes family closes area businesses

Birnamwood store opened in the 1970s
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PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Backes Food Mart closed its doors on Nov. 12.

On Nov. 9, a handwritten sign went up on the door at Backes Food Mart at 382 Main St. in Birnamwood announcing everything in the store was for sale at 50 percent off.

By Nov. 11, the sign had been updated to say 75 percent off.

On Nov. 12, the store closed.

“It is with a heavy heart that we would like our customers to know that today was our last day open,” co-owner Christine Backes said in a posting on Facebook on behalf of her husband, Dan, and son, Blake.

The family also closed its Shawano meat business.

Bernard Backes, Dan’s father, opened the Birnamwood business 40 years ago. The family began making their own sausages in the 1980s, and the business in recent years produced more than 25 different types of fresh bratwurst, including unique palate-pleasers such as Bloody Mary, Hawaiian, taco, and chicken spinach feta.

The Backeses opened another shop, Backes Brat Haus & Meat Market, at 5858 N. Lake Drive, Shawano, in May 2016. Dan and Christine had been operating the Shawano location, and Blake had been managing the Birnamwood store.

“Dan, Blake and myself would like to sincerely thank all of our loyal customers that supported us and enjoyed our brats, meats and sausage,” Christine said on Facebook. “We truly will miss it.”

Mike Sprague, Birnamwood village president, said he was surprised the store had closed so quickly.

“I’m going to miss the brats,” Sprague said.

Judi Hegewald, who recently opened Emma Kait’s Coffeehaus at 389 Main St., was a classmate of Dan Backes.

“It’s sad to see it close,” Hegewald said. “I remember when Dan’s parents opened the store and all the kids worked there.”

Dollar General opening in Jan.

Dollar General will open its store on U.S. Highway 45 in Birnamwood in January.

According to Mike Sprague, Birnamwood village president, the village did not have to provide any financial investments to bring the store to town.

“We’re pretty excited they chose Birnamwood,” Sprague said.