Smoking ban changed little for business in central Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Smoking ban changed little for business in central Wisconsin

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

It's been two years since Wisconsin's workplace smoking ban was put in place.
At first, many business owners were concerned about what the law would do for business. But after two years restaurant officials say little has changed.

A manager at the Pine Ridge Convenience Store in Wausau says cigarettes account for 40% of her business.

"it really hasn't changed much," said Sannee Lange, Store Manager. "Maybe at first it went down a little bit, but people found a way around it and they just continue to keep smoking."

But a bar supervisor at the North End Pub says not everyone was happy with the decision.

"At first people were upset," said Paul Polk, Supervisor. "But we had as many upset as not upset, so it was like a 50/50 split, and now they are starting to mellow out."

To avoid losing customers, he built an addition to the pub; a smoking room that's even heated in the winter.

At the Eagle's Nest in Wausau, owners say they couldn't be happier with the ban.

"For us it's been great. It's very scary doing it cus it is a big change for everybody, but we wish we would have done it long before."

In fact the restaurant noticed an increase in business right away.

State restaurant officials say business increased by two percent in 2011, but that trend has been ongoing for years.

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