FOND DU LAC, Wis. — After lots of polka music and dancing the night away, it was back to business Wednesday for Gov. Tony Evers and his new Lt. Gov. Sara Rodriguez.

“It’s good to start the next four years out in a really positive way, and this is where we’re starting it: right here in Fondy,” Evers said.

More than half of Wisconsinites work in a small business, so the governor said it just made sense to start his second term by getting a first-hand look at how small shops have stayed afloat in downtown Fond du Lac.

Lawrence Foster and Donna Pierce, co-owners of Gathered Roots, give Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Rodriguez a tour of their shop. (Spectrum News 1/Mandy Hague)

“At the end of the day, we’re giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to reach for their dreams, and this whole building is exactly that,” Evers said.

From saving businesses to starting them, the governor listened to stories Wednesday about how his Main Street Bounceback Grant program has made a difference.

Entrepreneurs Lawrence Foster and Donna Pierce started Gathered Roots on Main Street at a time when it was anything but easy.

“Doing this project during the onset of the pandemic, we saw all the same struggles that everybody else did with supplies skyrocketing so that Bounceback Grant came at a pivotal time for us to get through just being able to renovate this space,” Pierce explained.

Gov. Evers and Lt. Gov. Rodriguez also visited Hailey Stark Photography on their tour of small businesses in downtown Fond du Lac. (Spectrum News 1/Mandy Hague)

Freshly sworn-in Lt. Gov. Rodriguez knows entrepreneurship isn’t easy.

“I am just so amazed at folks who have this type of ability to look at a space, and look at that with an artistic eye, and make it into the space that it is today,” Rodriguez said. “I had opened up a small business myself, and I know the risk that takes for your family and your finances, and so I just wanted to be out here to support small businesses as they move forward.”

Evers and Rodriguez also made stops at Hailey Stark Photography, Argentum et Aurum and CC’s Chocolates in downtown Fond du Lac.