The Green Bay Packers might be the greatest tourist draw in the area, but Tom Feld, owner of Paradise North Distillery in Green Bay, is hoping his new business will become another talked-about destination.Located on 101 Bay Beach Road, Feld opened in 2021 after years of planning. He came to the project with decades of business experience in everything from high-level consulting to partnerships in other businesses. “Other than the hospitality industry, there isn’t any other type of business that I haven’t been part of, but prior to this, I had never had a startup business,” Feld said. “What I learned through working with other owners is that if your No. 1 focus is to make money, it won’t end up well.”The most important ingredient, he said, is to be passionate about the business. That’s what he was seeking when he started to pursue his dream.
…As planning continued, Feld had assistance from the Small Business Development Center at UW-Green Bay in reviewing his business plan to secure financing. Despite having a huge equity position and vast business experience, he discovered that most lenders would not even consider a startup.
Dave Stauffacher, a senior business adviser at SBDC, worked with him and helped throughout the process. Feld took a three-prong approach, and in addition to his equity, he used private investors and a conventional lender. The financial projections made sense, and Feld found what he considered to be an ideal location.
Chip McDonald of the McDonald Companies suggested a 3,000-square-foot space, and provided a buildout to Feld’s specifications.
“It was a match made in heaven,” Feld said. “Everything I needed was here, and the location overlooking the bay of Green Bay was perfect.”