Mars Cheese Castle

Mars Cheese Castle, Inc. (Mars) was started in 1947 by Mario Ventura, Sr. and is now owned by his two children Mario Venture Jr. and Angela Wehrmeister who took over the business in the 1970’s. Mar Cheese Castle is a cheese shop in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shop is located along Interstate 94 and is popular among Wisconsin visitors as a ‘cheese landmark’ and ‘one of Wisconsin’s most recognizable cheese stores’.

Mario Ventura Sr. opened the business in 1947. The original store which featured a large beer bottle on its roof was located off of the I-94 West Frontage Road, Kenosha. This building was destroyed by a fire in 1957 and a new store which resembled a castle was built nearby in the same year. In 2011, a project widening Interstate forced the store to relocate further from the freeway. The new store is a 21,000 square feet, all brick building resembling an actual castle which is over twice as large as the previous building. Situated on an excellent location with an easy access on and off ramp and high visibility from the I-94 traffic, Mars has attracted generations of travelers and a number of celebrity visitors. Mars serves a wide range of customers from the Wisconsin and Illinois local residents to the nationwide travelers. What sets Mars apart from its competitors is its reputation for high quality products, attentive customer service and its long history of being a Wisconsin icon for over 60 years.

“Mars Cheese Castle is a 3rd generation family-owned business in Southeastern Wisconsin. Johnson Bank was proud to partner with Business Lending Partners to provide a long-term, fixed rate option that allowed our client to expand their facility to meet increased client demand,” says Thomas Moore Senior Vice President of Johnson Bank. “BLP staff were very responsive in putting together a financing alternative which met the needs of the client as well as Johnson Bank. The client appreciated BLP’s attention to detail and quick turnaround in approving this financing structure.”

Mars Cheese Castle reached out to BLP and was able to use the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA 504) loan program, which provides long-term fixed rate financing options for real estate and equipment needs. The loan was used in renovations included expanding the kitchen space, adding four additional checkout lines, a second loading dock, updating the HVAC and the Lighting, creating a more efficient ware house space, adding seating for 200, and creating additional display space for wine.  

SBA 504

September 2018

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