of Block 42
Story by Teresa Nguyen
People from Janesville traveled down to Pensacola to visit the Studers and would say, “We wish we had something like this in Janesville.”
Quint said, “Why not?”
The sidewalk seating at Bodacious Shops of Block 42
A Welcome Addition
Have you been able to visit this wonderful place?
The Bodacious Shops of Block 42, located at 117-119 North Main Street has become a welcome addition to our downtown! Within just a few years, it quickly gained a reputation as a popular destination for coffee, lunch, shopping and fun nightlife with live music on the patio. It is also a great place to host private events.
Three of the units in this historic structure are home to the Bodacious Shops, and the fourth houses the Sweet Velvet Cake Company.
Next to Sweet Velvet, to the north, is the Bodacious Brew, which serves coffee in the morning, wine and cheese in the afternoon.
Next is the Bodacious Olive selling olive oil, vinegar, specialty salts and culinary items.
So Chopped, on the north end of the building, is a great stop for a lunch, where people can make their own ‘designer’ salad.
Bodacious Shops of Block 42
Built in185, this Italianate style, Cream City brick building was once a pork packing business - The Peter Myers Pork Packing Plant.
Peter Myers, born on February 8, 1819 in France, emigrated to America in his childhood. His family settled in Pennsylvania and in the 1850s, he moved to Janesville. He became known as a community leader, businessman and an influential developer of our city.
His first business here was a meat market. Peter then founded the pork packing business. He was also responsible for a number of brick structures in the city, such as the first brick residence, the Myers Hotel, the Myers Opera House, the Myers Armory Block and the Young America Block, to name a few.
Peter managed the pork packing plant on his own and, later, his son, Walter, took over operations and continued into the 1880’s.
From Paint to Pastries
Around 1858, the Red Brick building was constructed on the south end of the cluster. Willard Coleman, a contract painter, purchased the building, with its current façade more in the Queen Anne style, in the early 1890’s.
Today the Willard Coleman building houses the Sweet Velvet Cake Company.
The Outdoor Patio at Bodacious Shops of Block 42
On July 7, 1983, this block of buildings was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Florida Transformation Could Also Happen Here
Various businesses occupied those buildings over the decades. Then from around the 1980's through around 2015, the downtown area struggled to compete with the mall, built nearer to the expanding city limits. Within the last 5 years, this block of buildings has seen a phenomenal come back which created a beautiful ripple effect growth to the Main and Milwaukee Street areas. How did it all begin?
Well, let’s take a trip down to Pensacola, Florida, where native Janesvillian, Quint Studer, and his wife Rishy, of the Studer Foundation, invested in their community and helped transform Pelafox Place.
The Transformed Downtown Pensacola Area
Located in the heart of this historic Florida neighborhood is the first Bodacious Shop, described on their website as an epicurean boutique and market that offers an eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind experiences. In the early 2010s Palafox Street went through a metamorphosis from a quiet, unpopular street filled with dark stores to an urban, exciting, pedestrian friendly atmosphere. This historic area was named by the American Planning Association one of the 10 best streets in the United States in 2013!
Studers Chose Janesville
In an interview with Teresa Nguyen in 2017, Quint Studer told of how the seed was planted. People from Janesville traveled down to Pensacola to visit the Studers and would say, “We wish we had something like this in Janesville.”
Quint said, “Why not?”
He and Rishy invested in these buildings on N. Main in Janesville, which were in pretty bad shape. The Studers spent $2 million to transform this series of storefronts into Block 42. By November, 2016, the Bodacious Shops of Block 42 held their ribbon cutting ceremony, opening their doors to the community.
Janesville Native, Quint Studer
Quint Studer’s goal was to help create jobs in the heart of downtown. And that he did, and we are grateful for his vision. He has a lot of respect for the businesses that go first, as they take a real risk! In the last few years, with the Main Street Farmer’s Market, more new downtown businesses and restaurants opening up, recent city park developments and numerous Downtown Janesville, Inc. events, our beautiful downtown Janesville is alive once again!
The Bodacious Cafe
Supporting Our Local Businesses
Supporting our local businesses is more important than ever these days! However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, please be very mindful as you visit these shops and downtown areas. Do continue to practice safe social distancing, wear your masks and be thoughtful toward your fellow Janesville area patrons. We must be vigilant if we want to help our businesses run smoothly once again.
Visit Boadacious Shops of block 42 website to learn more:
Like their Facebook page for current updates and more!