The Abbey Bar, Sardine Can, other Wisconsin businesses recognized for responses to COVID-19 pandemic


DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – A De Pere restaurant and many other Northeast Wisconsin businesses have been recognized for their creative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Abbey Bar was recognized for going beyond typical COVID-19 health and safety measures – such as employee masking, outdoor seating, and reduced indoor capacity – to offer ‘pay-it-forward’ gift cards to customers who are encouraged to give them to front-line health workers or people hard hit by the virus.

Owner Kerry Cunard says he has been paying her staff and vendors first, instead of himself, because he believes in giving back to others in need, even in tough times.

Over 230 Wisconsin businesses were recognized for their creative responses to the pandemic as part of the We’re All Innovating Contest.

“Wisconsin is known for its can-do spirit and its big ideas,” says Gov. Tony Evers. “The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired businesses to find new ways fight the virus, operate their businesses, and meet the needs of our community. After looking at these winning projects, I’m truly in awe of these folks’ ingenuity, imagination, and creativity.”

The We’re All Innovating Contest was created by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) this fall to recognize and promote the creative ways startups and small businesses are adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.

A team of 182 volunteer judges evaluated more than 1,220 businesses, ranging from biotechnology firms to restaurants. According to the governor’s office, entries were evaluated in part on their progress to date and the potential for the innovation to move forward.

Winners were selected in three major categories – technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on health, technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on businesses, and service and business operation innovations to respond to COVID-19 disruption.

Top prizes went to 17 winners in the three categories. According to the governor’s office, all 231 winners selected for funding have the opportunity to share in a total of $3 million.

Milwaukee-based Novir LLC received the top prize for its work developing a test to rapidly detect antibodies found in people who have already contracted COVID-19. Novir’s test can deliver results in minutes rather than the days required for previous tests. The test is undergoing U.S. Food and Drug Administration review and is expected to be cleared this month.

Northeast Wisconsin winners include:

Service and business operation innovation to respond to COVID-19 disruption

  • The Abbey Bar in De Pere
  • Nicholas Marcelle, Green Bay Vending
  • Innov8 Language Inc. in Green Bay
  • illumyx LLC in Green Bay
  • FourOne Food Group in Appleton
  • Craft Jan’s LLC in Suring
  • True North Performance in Green Bay
  • Rooster Dreams Visual Arts in Neenah
  • York Estates in Sheboygan Falls
  • Kompelling in Suamico
  • bCentered Training in Green Bay
  • Style Hook Up LLC in Appleton
  • 920 Tattoo Company in Oshkosh
  • TenderHeart Learning Center in Suamico
  • Little Food Company in Kaukauna
  • Webfitter in Green Bay
  • Creekside Chiropractic and Rehabilitation in Sheboygan
  • The Sardine Can in Green Bay
  • Yoga Hive Wisconsin in Waupaca
  • Vander Zanden Enterprises in Kaukauna
  • Emprize Brewing in Menasha
  • EngineHouse Services in Green Bay
  • The HUB Studio Cafe in Plymouth
  • Hotel Washington & Studio on Washington Island
  • Dodge 313 in Kaukauna
  • Medley Taverns in Appleton

Technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on health

  • Associated Machine Design in Green Bay
  • Roving Blue in Lena
  • LyfeStylus in Menasha
  • Trout Springs Winery in Greenleaf
  • Reynolds Packaging in Green Bay

Technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on business

  • Small-Town HR in Manawa
  • Dairy Coach in Denmark
  • Simplifeye Systems in Oneida
  • Moonrise Entertainment in Ripon
  • William Green, Fox City Flix in Neenah

For a full list of winners, visit WEDC’s website.

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