July 19, 2009

Grocery store, restaurant planned for West Racine

Tom Tousis and his father, Gus Tousis.

When the city tore down old buildings at Washington Avenue and West Boulevard, the hope was a developer would build a grocery store or a restaurant on the site. One developer is now ready to build both.

Tom Tousis said Friday he was submitting plans to the city to build the $5 million Washington Market on the vacant lot. The development would include a specialty grocery store with wine garden, a 1950s-style diner, a bank and a gas station with a car wash. It will also preserve the West Racine farmer's market, and even provide free water and electricity for vendors on the site.

Tousis is the second developer to take a run at building at southwestern corner of Washington Ave. and West Blvd. A North Carolina-based developer sought city approval to build a $7 million, 55-unit low-income housing complex on the site. The City Council unanimously rejected the project on Feb. 3.

Hundreds of West Racine residents opposed the proposal, which would have had a difficult time getting built even with City Council approval. The low-income housing relied on state tax funds and a difficult bond market just to get money to start construction. It was also unclear if there was demand for people to live there.

Developers of the 55-unit site were criticized for publicizing their plans shortly before seeking city approval. West Racine residents said they wanted more time to review the project, and felt the developer was trying to rush it through the City Council.

Tousis is taking the opposite approach. He brought it to the residents first and now, confident that the neighborhood backs him, will seek city approval. About 120 West Racine residents have reviewed the plans and nearly all of them support the project, he said.

"I wanted to make people in the neighborhood comfortable with it," Tousis said. "I don't want to find out later that people were opposed."

Tousis added it's probably backwards to tells residents about his plans before formally introducing it to the council. But in this case, he said, it's the right way to do it.

"It's a neighborhood, not an industrial park," Tousis said. "The residents are my customers. I want to know their concerns so I can address them."
An overhead view of Tom Tousis's proposal for West Racine. Washington Ave. runs along the top of the plan. Rendering by Butterfield, Rudie & Seitz architects of Racine

County Board Supervisor and West Racine resident Van Wanggaard is backing the project, saying it will "energize" the neighborhood.

"This totally, totally makes sense," he said.

Wanggaard, who lives two blocks from the site, said the development fits with the West Racine neighborhood plan, which called for a restaurant or grocery store. He also said he was also happy Tousis was a local developer who planned to be on site running the businesses, which are already lined up to open.

"It's not some out-of-town developer building empty buildings and then filling them," Wanggaard said. "These will be built and immediately occupied."

Tousis plans to put his personal offices on the Washington Ave. site and run his local businesses, including the Better Day BP and Gus's Gyros on Douglas Ave., from West Racine. That's a big selling point, Wanggaard said.

"His family will be there everyday," Wanggaard said, adding the Tousises have an "excellent track record" in Racine.

Wanggaard said he's known Tousis's father, Gus Tousis, for 30-some years as the former owner of Andrea's, Gibson's, Athens and other local restaurants. His restaurants were always well run and never had any trouble, Wanggaard said. Many police officers ate at Andrea's in Downtown Racine because it was clos to the courthouse, he said

Wanggaard said he only recently met Tom Tousis, but was impressed with how he runs his gas station on Douglas. It's that development that Wanggaard said gives him confidence in Tousis building in West Racine.

"It's been open almost two years and it still looks brand new," Wanggaard said. "He maintains the site well."
The exterior of Tom Tousis's proposed development for West Racine.
Rendering by Butterfield, Rudie & Seitz architects of Racine

Tousis's development has unique components. Tom lights up when he talks about the restaurant, which would be called "Gus's Cafe," named after his father and long-time Racine restaurateur, Gus Tousis. Tom plans to model the 165-seat diner on the restaurants he remembers from growing up. The menu will include items like meatloaf, skirt steak, the Monte Cristo - a ham and cheese sandwich in French toast bread - and the Francheesy - a hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried.

"It's not very good for you, but it tastes so good," Tousis said.

Gus's Cafe would also have a vintage soda fountain and a decor designed to take diners back in time.

"I want to do it like I remember restaurants," said Tousis, who has vivid memories of hanging out in his father's restaurant as a kid. (For those who remember Andrea's when Gus Tousis owned it, that's the feel Tom said he hopes to recreate.)

"When you bring something back, people realize they missed it," Tousis said.

View Larger Map
A map of the development site. Tousis's proposal would be built at the southwest corner
of Washington Ave. and West Blvd. Zoom in on the "A" marker for a closer view.

The grocery store will be a total of about 10,000 square feet with about 6,500 square feet in retail space on the ground floor, with additional space for storage. A second story would house Tousis's business offices.

Tousis said the "Washington Market" would be a real grocery story. It would have have its own butcher, deli and produce section. Obviously it would be smaller than a store like Pick N Save, he said (most grocery stores' parking lots are three times the size the entire vacant lot in West Racine), but it'll carry all of the basic items of a grocery store, plus specialty items like wines and cheeses. It even includes a canopied wine garden along Grove St. that will serve imported wines, Tousis said.

Gas pumps in front of the grocery store could be a sticking point with city committees, which have had problems with new gas stations in the past. But Tousis said the gas pumps serve a need in the neighborhood and create a steady stream of traffic to the site that he needs to make the development a success. The same goes for an automatic car wash, which will have three doors to minimize sound for neighbors.

Both the gas pumps and car wash may be a draw of their own. Tousis's Douglas Ave. gas station is a clean, sleek design with the world's first LED-lit canopy (designed and built by Racine's Ruud Lighting). The new gas pumps would use Ruud Lighting's second-generation LED technology, Tousis said.

The last building is a 1,000 square-foot walk-in bank with drive-thru. Tri-City Bank is already interested in the space, and Tousis said other banks have approached him, as well.

Tousis also plans to create a permanent outdoor home for the West Racine farmer's market. Plans call for 11 stalls along Washington Avenue serviced with electricity and running water. Tousis wouldn't charge for use of the site. "I just want people to be in there," he said.

When possible, Tousis sees Gus's Cafe buying ingredients from the Farmer's Market to use in that day's recipes. He envisions the whole corner working together to provide services for residents and to have each of the businesses strengthening the other. For example, there may be coupons to the restaurant for people who buy gas, or a tie-in between the grocery store and the car wash.

Parking won't be an issue on the site, Tousis said. Plans call for about 50 spots on the development and Tousis anticipates a lot of walk-up traffic to use the grocery store and restaurant. He doesn't anticipate parking spilling over into the streets or nearby parking lots.

"I don't like to use public parking," Tousis said. "A lot of small businesses in the area need that parking."

While Tousis appears to have neighborhood support, he'll now turns to the city for approval to actually build on the site. He plans to submit plans to city development soon, and that likely will trigger City Council review. The city borrowed $2 million through a tax incremental finance district to tear down old buildings and clear the lot for new development. It needs a sizable project on the site to pay back that loan.

Wanggaard said the Washington Market fits the bill. "It'll take up a nice chunk of the city's TIF," he said. "I really don't see a downside."


  1. It's nice that a county supervisor is on board, but what about aldermen? Where is Spangenberg on this? He was for the last project and then turned tail when a few people started crying about it.

  2. WOW. this sounds great on paper! Hope that area of town can support this venture.

  3. I much rather this be set aside for Green Space/Public Space.
    However there is not much I can do lone to stop the all might quest for this to be more retail space,I wounder if the Farmers Market folks got that in writing.
    Also I am sadden to think Friday's story on Gus Gyro's story was a lead to this one.
    However I will myself see what the neighbors want and if there is a chance we can beat this attack on Green Space go for it.

  4. FINALLY! Being a neighbor- I can say confidently- YES this area can, will and has been WAITING to support this type of business! Now... what to do with the former Piggly Wiggly building...

  5. Great idea. Too bad a recent city ordinance has outlawed grocery stores that sell liquor.

  6. Does anyone know where/when/who the neighbors are that were consulted? I live VERY close to this and I never saw any flyer, nothing in the mail, about this idea.....

  7. It does sound like a great development. If I'm in that part of town - I'd stop there.

    Colt, you have to understand - that lot is part of a TIF district. Greenspace isn't going to bring you any return to pay off the borrowing, unless the taxpayers want to bear the full burden of the $2 million or so that was borrowed?

  8. Ok folks, Let's sit back and watch as our city officials screw this up.....

  9. Colt - I wouldn't worry about the Farmer's Market. Tom does what he says he will do. I am sure he will put it in writing. I've known his family for many, many years. They are some of the most honorable people that I have come to known. There are many plus to a guy like Tom being in West Racine on that corner. I don't think some chain grocery store, from out of town, would be as sympathetic to the Farmer's Market cause.

  10. Grocery + Restaurant + Car Wash + Gas + West Racine = AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Hope the boys club doesn't mess this deal up. Maybe Tom should tell the city he's from Manhattan and then they might be able to "FAST TRACK" his approval process.

  11. Healthy food grocery store and restaurant would be fantastic in West Racine. Farmers market continuing and good parking, great addition. We don't need another polluting gas station and car wash anywhere in Racine.

  12. I love the fact that as a "Green" city Green space counts for nothing. Also I have come to NOT TRUST ANYTHING the City and developers say when it comes to this sort thing.

  13. Yeah, just nmention "grocery store" and everybody loves it! Now, let us see what the details will be......... How much will they hold the city hostage for?

  14. The history of this family in Racine indicates this will be another success. These people are known for their quality service and products. I have eaten at their resturants many times and always had good meals and service.

    It sure looks like a winner!

  15. In reponse to Joan, why not demolish the old Piggly Wiggly and put this project in its place and keep this corner as green space!

  16. Got back from walking the area. Talked to about 50 in the area
    1) Few knew about this
    2) Fewer liked it
    3) Those who had question also would rather have the area Green space/Farmers Market then this plan.
    4) Maybe we can save the Farmers market!

    Fight the power fight unwanted development

  17. Dustin, please talk to Mitch at Mitch and Marty’s Citgo across the street from Mr. Tousis’ BP station on Douglas Ave. You might get a different take on what kind of businessman he is. Mitch and Marty’s has been there a long, long time, locally owned and operated. The last thing that area needed was another gas station; just about everybody agreed on that. Mr. Tousis tried to coerce M&M into buying the property from him at an inflated price with the threat of a competing station. When they refused, he built the station with the vow that his gas would always sell for at least a penny less than whatever M&M were selling it for, and he started will those derogatory remarks about them on his environmentally friendly sign outside.

    I agree that this proposal is much better than the one defeated earlier this year. Just be aware that Mr. Tousis’ first concern is Mr. Tousis, not necessarily what is best for a given location.

    As for the police eating at the old Andreas Restaurant, it wasn’t just them; most of the courthouse ate there, too. Cases were decided there in the morning before court was in session. You and your lawyer would meet with the judge for breakfast and get things settled quickly. I miss the good old days when the good old boys didn’t hide from the limelight.

    Finally, what happened to Mr. Tousis’ proposal for the old Schaeffer Pontiac property in uptown? Was that withdrawn or nixed?

  18. 7:01

    Was far more then a few. no one wanted the slum project other then RCEDC

  19. The project makes sense. You know Mr. Tousis could have done less.

    He could give us some substandard restaurant and grocery store. I think the plan thinks it through a bit more. I will definitely try them both out.

    I am not that thrilled about the gas station.

    Yes, what about the old Piggly Wiggly store?

    Won't the farmers market stands compete with the produce at the grocery. It should be put in writing so we don't regret things down the line.

  20. I am all giddy with anticipation to see what our fearless council does to screw this all up.

  21. good fit for West Racine no matter if its on the piggly wiggly site or the new planned site. not a good idea to enter and exit a car wash creating a traffic hazard onto Washington av.
    being patient on getting the right fit paid off for West Racine. The same patience should be shown for the Schaeffer site. I can imagine a good development like this being there too.

  22. The entrance/exit will not be on Washington Ave.

  23. OrbsCorbs - Mitch & Marty are irrelevant to this story. I know Tom very well and all I can tell you is with what Mr. Mitch has said about Tom's family and can say that I am suprised that Tom hasn't sued him for slander. America is a free country and competition is good but cry babies are bad. Tell Mitch to stop crying and get back to work. Tom spends a lot less time thinking about Mitch and much more time thinking about his customers. Tell Mitch to suck it up and stop the endless whining. Nobody cares anymore, we are sick of hearing Mitch's broken record. Everyone has their own problems, and don't need to listen to his. I can honestly say that Tom's store is much better run and it definately shows who is the better operator. Babies suck their thumbs when they cry too......

  24. I am one of 4 West Racine business owners/residents that have been working with Tom since February on this project, we have advertised in the neighborhood section of the JT (West Racine) every time that we held a meeting, all were welcome to come and talk about this particular project. We had everyone from Aldermen to City Development to residents we also spoke with people in stores as well as on the streets to inform them of these meetings. Colt I believe that we would all love to see more public gardens and green space in Racine, but given the current unemployment rates of Racine and the rising property Taxes this is a great fit for our area. This project will offer West Racine residents the basics that we had wanted while fighting the 55 unit low income housing project. What did we want? Local Developer! A resturant!A small grocery store! The farmers market! This devlopment covers them all.When we were approached by Tom inregards to this corner he was very insitant that the neighborhood be aware of this before we took it to the city. Not only will this project effect West Racine it will help Uptown and the Downtown areas as well.

  25. I wonder if this place will feature the rack of nudie mags and the row of gambling machines that grace he Douglas store?

  26. My initial response is TERRIFIC! It seems like Mr. "T" put all the elements together that the people were howling for. Sorry Colt..we have lot's of Green Space already. including a cemetary right across the street, and a golf course a block away, If you want more "Green" go west to Burlington! Furthermore we could tear down the old PW building and your "Green Space"/ Farmers Market could go there. Or down at 1130 Washington Ave.
    I really like the addition of a Petrol and Car wash located more convenient to the Downtown residences. As for Mitch and Marty..Nothing personal, but I don't buy my gas from you because it's a CITGO! When your contract with Hugo Chavez, (the Dictator of Venezuela), expires..we can reconsider where I buy my petrol.

    Now to the City Council...what hoops does Mr. T, have to jump to sell wine, beer and liquor at his location? Will West Racine stay "dry"? Or can we finally grow up!!

    BTW I see absolutely no reason to hold Mr. T to his idea of supporting the Farmer's Market...at some point it will negatively impact his project..and like all Farmer's Markets they tend to migrate to vacant lots, and that is no harm or foul to anyone. The next location might be even better. It was suggested for the 1100 block of Wash. I still think that makes a lot of sense for those folks in the central city, and those heading to and from Downtown Racine. It certainly would get better usage than another Family Dollar!

  27. Like Mitch & Marty do!

  28. I hope his grocery store plans to sell organic and whole foods-- this idea sounds great, so long as the "grocery store" is just that, and not a place to stop for Flaming Hot Cheetos and Pepsi.

  29. Advertising on the Journal Times neighborhood section and grabbing people on the streets I do not believe is the most effective means of getting the word out....that's a joke.

  30. Anon 7:03 it was good enough to get about 100 people to attend 4 meetings.

  31. I wonder how many people would've been there with more effective advertising. Considering the response that the prior proposal got, I'm sure more people would've been very interested in hearing about this.

    I'm just saying, especially to the developer: if you really want to get good feedback and neighborhood involvement, use a more mainstream method of communication.

  32. Yeah, let's sell liquor and bring back the wandering-winos that were there years ago! I was hoping to keep this place clean forever.

  33. The city needs more local business people that have the vision to propose something like this and the track record and capital needed to make it a success. Considering our local ecomony, we should welcome sound business plans like this.

  34. D Brown
    None taken

    BTW I see absolutely no reason to hold Mr. T to his idea of supporting the Farmer's Market...at some point it will negatively impact his project..and like all Farmer's Markets they tend to migrate to vacant lots

    That statement is far from true not that your lying you simply do not have the facts.
    Many Cities from Milwaukee to Des Moies IA and now New Orleans have seen great growth around Farmers Markets.

    I am amazed at what the city is willing to do for the money.
    How about a prison? Make some good money, I know a toxic dump! After all we must the money back at all costs!

  35. Colt would be happy if you could draw up a contract between Mr. T and the farmers market? And you stated that "their has been major growth around farmers markets" this is true thats why they will stay!

  36. Downtown Brown, where is the moral high ground in not buying gas from Chavez, "the dictator of Venezuela," but continuing to buy from the OPEC nations that felled the World Trade Center Towers? That's like saying you don't buy gas from rapists because you buy it from murderers. Mitch and Marty have no more to do with Venezuela than Mr. Tousis does with the United Arab Emirates.

    And saying that how a person dealt with people in the recent past is not relevant to how they will treat people in the near future is myopic.

    I did not attack Mr. Tousis, nor tell him to suck anything. I simply stated that he tried to undermine a pre-existing business, and that he broadcast his intentions on a road sign for everybody driving by to see. M&M did nothing to retaliate. Nothing. That is a class act - spreading venom about your neighbors is not.

  37. OrbsCorbs - The only thing Mitch & Marty know about class is what they remember about dropping out of the third grade when they left school to take care of their double wide. Mitch has a mouth that is second to none besides half of what he says is completely stupid. Mitch is not the sweetheart he would like people to think he is and guess what, stop the crying and fight Tom. This is America Land of the Free - Remember To doesn't have to care about Mitch he's supposed to look after his family and his customers not Mitch's.

  38. Nobody cares about Mitch & Marty. What have they done that make them so great? Milk a worn gas station for all its worth and never spend any money on it. Sounds like they're great benefactors of Racine. Tell them to say hello to President Chavez next time they're playing cards together with the rest of the comrades.

  39. Yeah, Mitch stupid. He no make smart comments about double wide and third grade or Venezuela. Him only own and operate own business in Racine for years, paying stupid taxes and providing stupid jobs.

    Dustin is right about the comments on this site.

    I wasn't trying to turn this blog into an attack on Mr. Tousis or a defense of M&M. Just trying to put all the facts out there for people to make up their own minds.

    Again, I think that Mr. Tousis' proposal for West Racine is much better than the previous housing idea. I don't live in West Racine, nor do I intend to. I think it's up to the residents there to decide.

  40. The plans show a 4700 sf grocery store. Isn't that a small Open Pantry? Isn't this just a regular gas station like on Douglas Ave with a bank added on? He is going to have to show bank financing before the City is going to even consider this gas station. He walked on the Uptown deal when it came time to show final plans and bank financing.

  41. 9:14

    Thinking a Open Pantry type store myself. So lets toss the farmers market that brings folks to West Racine for A Gas Station/Open Pantry?
    That's what I look for when I go shopping!

  42. The store is 6700 sq ft. Plus another 3500 sq ft of offices and storage upstairs. This plan has 3.5 times the retail store space that Tom's Northside store has. I know for a fact because I did some of the engineering for new location. It massive compared to the Northside.

  43. I wounder how many pro-Tom postings are Tom and other interested Parties? Looks like She who can not be named at RCEDC is a busy bloger.

    6700 sq ft might be medium Open Pantry

  44. Here's a concern: just because this is WAY better than the last proposal doesn't mean it is a GOOD proposal. And I'm not even going to weigh in on good or bad - I don't have enough information (none of us do, really): I'm just stressing let's not jump at any development that comes along just because it looks like an improvement over the last one or because it is any proposal and we "must get it developed - now". With thoughtful input, we will realize something there that is sustainable and wanted/needed.

  45. I wish Tom and Gus success on this new venture.

  46. 10:10

    Thinking the a city wide meeting (s) on what we want Racine to be like be nice. The idea about a time out to think about all this be great. Also thinking that RCEDC/RAMCC can not let that happen.
    Oh how many members are there in RAMACC

  47. Colt - that is absolutely a ridiculous statement. That is why we have elected officials. If they are not providing you with what you want or the public wants, then vote them out of office. If you have a meeting with 100 people, you'll get 100 different ideas. This will not accomplish anything. Voice your opinions to your alderperson, speak up at city council meetings - what we don't need are meetings with dribble from the likes of you.

  48. what we don't need are meetings with dribble from the likes of you.

    Colt is not going away and better yet get ready for COLT TV!

  49. colt in the 3rd person - what a knucklehead.

  50. Colt what are smoking in that pipe that you have in your icon pic? I wonder if it something from your backyard garden. Hope it complies with all state and federal laws. That would explain everything your thinking.

  51. I think the proposed use of land is excellent. I work downtown and will now be able to refer the boaters to this place as the closest grocery store. On the other hand, I go out of my way to buy gas from Mitch and Marty because I know of another business deal that Tom screwed the owner. He gave a verbal rush order then hung the guy on the material because he found it cheaper some where else. I've not ever been in his gas station and won't spend a dime with him.


    "Southest" should be southeast and there should be a period after ave.. This proposal needs to be denyed, the spelling and grammer errors alone are a huge red flag.

    This building will not be in character with West Racine. The structure should have the same setback as the surrounding buildings, please take some time to redo the design and resubmit. Or use a different architect that knows how to build in context with the built and/or unbuilt environment. This proposal does not promote walkability and does not do the site justice. The building should hold the corner. Please do not let this design become another crappy development like the one that was built on Lathrop & Russet.

  53. Did any of you really look at this plan? Per the drawing, Washington Ave runs across the top of the plan. That means the stores are way in the back and the gas station and parking lot are on Washington Ave. Is that the look all of you in West Racine want? A big gas station taking over the corner?

  54. Actually Orbs, The US get's very little petrol from The Arab countries of the Middle East. We get most of our Petrol from Canada, Mexico, and the US, followed by Venz. and Nigeria. (I think that info. is the correct order.) Now few people have changed their lives as dramatically as I have since 9/11, as it relates to consumption of fuel, etc. And I used to use Mitch and Martys when it was a Mobil. And I stopped going to Citgo's in about 2005.
    But back to the issue at hand..This seems like a perfect use of the space, it will serve the locals and those who pass by, coming and going from work or the Downtown area.

  55. I like the grocery store/restaurant/bank/farmers market aspect of the plan; I don't want another gas station or a car wash. I agree that the store fronts should face on Washington Avenue and should blend in with the rest of the buildings in the West Racine business district. Best wishes to Gus and Tom.

  56. Colt-

    1. You are delusional.

    2. Green space is not a good use of that property-it was always slated for redevelopment. How will a farmers market help the taxbase?

    3. Sustainable Racine held city meetings to see what people wanted racine to look like-ask your buddy dickert to call a town hall meeting but it doesn't make sense to do this for every hot issue -that is what public hearings are for.

    4. Colt, stop being such a naysayer-show up to the public hearing, come to a council meeting and better yet run for alderman.

    5. The proposal has merit-chill out!

  57. I don't think my neighbors would like it if the gas part was adjacent to ourr homes or if the gas was on the Grove side. I live on Grove and attended one of the meetings and I agree with Tom that the gas should be on the corner where things are more commercial. He said and I agree that some of the outdoor seating for the restaurant should be on Grove where it is quieter and where it would better fit in with our homes. I like it the way it is proposed by Tom. He spent alot of time figuring out what the neighbors wanted before settling on this layout. Good job Tom, a developer that cares more for what his neighbors want than what bureaucrats think.

  58. If you look at the architectural drawing, the grocery store will have the same setback as the other buildings on Washington Ave. The parking lot is on the corner where no other buildings are. This will blend in with the rest of the neighborhood.

  59. The existing buildings on Washington are built up to the sidewalk. The proposed building will not continue the streetscape along Washington, it will set the building back to cater to the parking lot. This proposal belongs in a suburb, not a historic neighborhood.

  60. Why don't they have a design competition at a local college, such as UW-Milwaukee, which as a fantastic Architectural school. I assure you that some college students can create a much better design that would incorporate the area's needs.

  61. "This proposal belongs in a suburb, not a historic neighborhood."

    Give me a break - you call the buildings in West Racine historic. Most of them are crap.

  62. Anon 3:10 you are 100% correct maybe if Mr. Tousis is allowed to construct this building some of the other building owners on Washington Ave will follow suit and fix up their facdes. I live in WR and think this is a great fit.

  63. to the person stating that the building is set back father than the others you are wrong. The "Wine Garden" is right up to the sidewalk as are all the buildings on Washington. This space was removed from the Grocery Store portion and made into exterior seating to allow for street expansion, in the event it would happen in the future.

  64. These people are in it for ONE REASON ONLY. To make MONEY you numbskulls. You think they really give a sh*t about providing vendors free water and electricity?? No wonder this city is stewpid, stewpid people live here!!

  65. TO ANON 5:21 As long as you are smart, everything will be ok.

  66. See ANON 5:35, you've proved my point. Stupid blogger can't even get the time right. It's ANON 5:27, NOT ANON 5:21. "Morons, I see morons everywhere......" LMAO!!

  67. Ah, minority loans, gotta' love them.

  68. I am a resident who has only seen one post of a meeting on this, after the fact. I went to every meeting of the last proposal- where we as residents were well informed via mail, phone, newspaper about what was going on.(remember a lot of residents in this area are not bloggers nor really know what a blog is)
    According to the picture: Washington Ave is on the top of the picture- so the view driving down Washington is of a gas station and parking lot- with the restaurant and grocery set back along the houses by Grove. That is going to look nothing like the rest of the buildings in West Racine, where store fronts are close to Washington Ave. (maybe the gas station should be set behind the stores, along West Blvd. side)

  69. Based on the comments that the restaurant seating will be along Grove Ave., I believe that the description of Washington Ave. being at the top is incorrect. That would be West Blvd. at the top with Washington being on the left. I think that will put to rest the argument of the building not lining up other WR buildings.
    I live 4 bocks from the site and will welcome teh proposed developement.

  70. Sounds like an OK plan but public records show “Mr. T” is being sued by at least two contractors that built the Douglas Ave location and “Mr. T” has a home in foreclosure. I can see financing being an issue like the plan for Washington Ave. But if they can pull it off, I wish them nothing but the best.

  71. Downtown Brown, please cite your sources. EVERY source I checked has Saudia Arabia or OPEC or "Middle East" listed as one of the top 3 sources for our oil, ALL of them ranked above Venezuela or South America. I would've emailed you these facts, but like the anonymous commenters here, your profile is hidden. It's remarkable how you can divine whether the gasoline you are buying is good or evil.

    As this story plays out, cracks are appearing in Mr. Tousis' proposal, including his claim of neighborhood involvement and financing issues, not to mention considerable opposition to the gas station idea. It is important that ALL the facts be known before important decisions like these are made. Thank you to the Racine Post for their efforts at supplying that information.

  72. Orbs, Downtown: Well, both right, sorta.
    1. Canada
    2. Mexico
    3. Saudi
    Just google "sources of u.s. oil" for numerous lists and %.

  73. Pete, I don't want to mess up your site with a personal squabble. Downtown Brown says Middle East oil is not a major part of our oil import mix - thus, I assume, "justifying" Mr. Tousis' nasty comments on his sign outside of his Douglas Ave. store. Does West Racine want a businessman who posts insults about his competitors on an overhead sign?

  74. Orb: I'm not getting into the middle of this (and already regretting my previous comment!) Was just showing off my knowledge of US oil import origins, having seen a discussion on the teevee just the other day!

  75. Orb's - they did not post an insult to their competitor, they said the gas from Citgo was from Venezuala.

  76. The signs varied.

    Why didn't they point out that much of BP's oil comes from the Middle East? Why were they attacking a competitor who never said a word about them? Why impugn the patriotism of people who have honorably owned and operated a service station in Racine for decades?

    What goes around comes around, Mr. Tousis, er, I mean, "Anonymous."

  77. Orb's - wrong again - not Mr. T

  78. Will they be serving Hustler, Swank or Juggs off the nudie rack??

  79. it's so obvious which posts are mr. t's, it not even funny.

  80. * Kind of ironic, a store selling organic produce AND gasoline.
    * How long do you think they will actually sell organic produce?
    * It's going to look like a cheap strip mall.
    * So when you buy your gas you'll go in the "nice" grocery store to pay for it?
    * As a previous poster asked, will they be selling the usual convenience store stuff near the counter? Will there be grocery carts?
    * That's worth asking again. Will there be grocery carts?
    * They'll find out quickly it's easier to let someone deliver food than walk across the parking lot.
    * Will they sell alcohol? ($100 bucks says yes)
    * I know the area is deperate but are they really this desperate?
    * I have also heard of unflattering business practices by the "developer".
    * Sounds to me lkike one big a$$ convenience store.
    * They need more convenience stores in West Racine don't they?
    * By now the boaters should know to buy groceries before getting into town.

  81. West Racine for the most part is a dump with empty buildings. Here's an opportunity to try and put a little life into it. Would you rather have a lot of dirt and weeds or some new development. The West Racine residents have been whining for a grocery store for years. Now you'll have one with a bucher shop and you are still whining.

  82. 1. There will be grocery carts.
    2. Grocery stores with gas pumps is very common, just not that common in Wisconsin (minimum markup hinders it from happening), although Woodman's does it.
    3. If you look at the architectural drawing you can see it will look like the other buildings in the neighborhood.
    4. Our neighborhood needs a grocery store.

  83. This is not a grocery store.
    If the Gas Station fail who pays the millions in clean up?
    The old pig store be so much better place to do this at

  84. How about his insurance company. It's required by law now. The government learned from previous mistakes.


    Posted by: RMG on January 27, 2009 5:21PM EST
    Hey where is alderman Jim Spangenberg ? He is not returning calls ,e mails and was very quiet at last weeks meeting. It seems he is more worried about trying to be mayor than dealing with this situation in west racine. I know i will not support Jim Spangenberg when he runs for mayor scince he turned his back on west racine. He supports this development ....step up JIM SPANGENBERG help stop the development."

  86. I wonder how much $$$ Jim S. was handed by the builders of the "Racini-Green" Ghetto project in return for turning his back on "his people". We certainly didn't forget about it "Big Jim". Your reverse was little late.
    We all saw thru you lies and deception.

  87. Downtown Brown7/24/2009 11:21 AM

    Pete and Orbs....those sources of IMPORTED oil varies depending on the source. Thanks Pete I checked several. http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/ntn83670.htm

    "Still, six countries continue to supply about 75 % of total US IMPORTED crude oil: Canada, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela"

    The US produces 25%-30% of our own oil. Canada 18.8%, Saudi Arabia 15% and falling, Mexico 14%; Nigeria 11% Venezuela 10.2%. Since 2002 Iraq has increased it's importation to US to 5% and climbing.

    It was pointed out that you can't tell where the Oil your pumping came from..with the exception of CITGO which is overwhelmingly Venezuelan oil.

    I would love to see a Station posting it's origin of oil and I would shop/ buy accordingly. All of the product I sell has country of origin on it.
    Of course if we were serious about reducing imports we would follow the lead of Pres. Bush last year lifting the Off shore ban, which the Congress supported...until Pres Obama was sworn in an re-instated the ban with an Executive order. (That's why US fuel has been rising again this year.

    Sorry to get off topic. Hey Tom and Gus..how about you promote US origin of Petrol?? or a percentage? US oil comes from US workers right?

  88. BP is the largest producer of US petroleum. Also, 90% of its total supply for US gas stations comes from the US & Canada.

  89. WOOOOO-HOOOO! I won't have to travel so far away from my home for groceries! My gas tank is already excited!