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Bear’s Den: Mini-golf and go-kart business has new owners

Business Showcase

FROM LEFT ARE new Bear’s Den owners Michael and Linda Carpenter and former owners Judy and Bill Krieg. The Carpenters purchased the business in Spread Eagle, Wis., in November and plan a grand reopening celebration May 1. (Marguerite Lanthier/Daily News photo)

SPREAD EAGLE, Wis. — New owners have taken over the Bear’s Den Mini-Golf and Go-Karts in Spread Eagle, Wis.

The business in November transferred to Michael and Linda Carpenter, who plan a grand reopening celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 1.

The Carpenters bought the property from Judy and Bill Krieg, who owned it for 28 years after designing and building it themselves in 1992.

“We hope to keep it running here. Something to do for the community,” Michael said.

Before Dickinson County Healthcare System reached out to Michael, a pediatrician then practicing in Colorado, they had never heard of the Upper Peninsula. Outdoor enthusiasts, they fell in love with the area.

“My sister-in-law was visiting and looking for something to do, so we took the kids to play mini-golf. I saw the ‘for sale’ sign in the window,” Linda said.

“We thought, ‘Why not?’ It shouldn’t have to shut down, so we decided to give it a try,” she said, adding that three of their five children are teen boys who needed something to do.

In the future they may add some vertical elements to the 18-hole mini-golf course, he said.

“We were hoping to expand, but the lot is too contained” at only 2 acres, Michael said.

They want to offer more refreshments as well, but the size of the building limits food preparation options. For now, packages snacks and soda are available for purchase. They would welcome a food cart setting up shop in the parking lot, Linda said.

The Carpenters have been readying to reopen by remodeling the office and updating the building. They are creating a reception area with a kiosk where people can sign the electronic liability waiver, which is required by their insurance to operate one of the Formula One go-karts.

For racing fans, the go-karts are now on a scoreboard system that ranks drivers, Linda said. The top 10 can receive discounts on go-kart use.

The Bear’s Den is available for birthday parties and corporate or group events as well.

They also have created a new website, https://www.bearsdenminigolf.com, where people can order tickets online and sign the liability waiver, which is good for an entire season.

More updates are planned for in the future, but she said “we’re pacing ourselves.”

Normal hours once they open for the season will be noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. They will be closed Sundays. The phone number is 715-696-8009.

The Kriegs owned a similar business before they came here from Gladstone and Marquette.

“I thought it was something we’d like to do,” Judy said. “There will be lots to miss, mostly the people. People from all over the world have pictures of the sign and waterfall. Kids like to run up and measure up to the bear and go on the go-karts. We have people say that they can remember when they didn’t measure up and now they are bringing their children. It’s a tradition in the summer to come here.

“We’re happy they’re keeping it as a business and not just paving over it,” Judy said.

“Thanks to all the customers for the support,” Bill added.

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