A crowd gathers by a wood fire on Green Lake in February during the first-ever ThunderFest. It was expected to become an annual event, but plans for the 2020 ThunderFest have been discontinued given the closure of ThunderBoss, seen in the background.
A crowd gathers by a wood fire on Green Lake in February during the first-ever ThunderFest. It was expected to become an annual event, but plans for the 2020 ThunderFest have been discontinued given the closure of ThunderBoss, seen in the background.

   The wave generated by the Heidel House’s continued closure now appear to be a reason one of Green Lake’s newest and biggest restaurants will close this winter.

   ThunderBoss Bar & Grill will shut down Dec. 28, and plans for a winter festival, ThunderFest, also have been discontinued.

   News of the closure comes just over a week after potential plans fell through to reopen the Heidel House, which has been shuttered since May.

   Reason for ThunderBoss’ closure, its owners say, are tied directly to the ripple effect of Green Lake’s largest hotel closing its doors, as well as other changes to the community.

   In a note sent to Green Lake Mayor Jon McConnell and Green Lake Chamber Executive Director Liane Walsh, ThunderBoss’ owners point directly to changes in the hospitality industry in Green Lake tied to changes at the Heidel House.

   “Unfortunately, since developing our initial business plan 3 years ago and the opening of our doors 18 months ago, the market dynamics and trends in the community of Green Lake have changed significantly,” wrote Lori Csaszar and Chris Barbin in a note sent Sunday morning.

   They also pointed to three significant changes in Green Lake that affected the viability of ThunderBoss:

  • The Heidel House’s closure, they wrote, “eliminat[ed] north of 35K annual room nights and essential ThunderBoss guests for rehearsal dinners, post wedding drinks and alternative dining and drinking options.”
  • “An increasing number of vacant homes/homes for sale vs an increasing repeat and loyal customer base,” Barbin and Csaszar wrote.
  • And, they added, “Limited community and local government collaboration and alignment to support and further promote commerce for established local businesses.”
Read the full story, with additional background and interviews, in the Nov. 28, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.