Old mill now happening hotspot in Bonduel

Fischers create coffee shop, boutique as village embraces new business

The century-old Bonduel landmark feed mill on South Cecil Street (state Highway 117) has an exciting new life after a three-year rehabilitation by NiCole and Keith Fischer.

The Mill, Bonduel opened in late 2023 as a boutique and coffee shop, with an homage to the history and community of the village of Bonduel.

The Fischers were looking for a site for NiCole’s photography business in 2020 and asked the mill’s owner to see the building. Three days later, according to Keith Fischer, they did a walk-through and immediately fell in love with the place.

“There was the great big grain bin on the top. It was wide open, right into this part of the building,” he said, while looking out over the center of the coffee shop area from the balcony. “Rain was coming in and there was a lot of water damage.”

Pointing to the clean and airy interior now, he said, “This was three years of ambition and hard work.”

The current building was built in 1913. Two previous mills on the lot had burned down.

“Originally, in the 1850s, the first feed mill/grist mill was built in the same spot,” Keith Fischer said. “It burned down in 1880; then they rebuilt it. It burned down again, in July 1913. A group of farmers came together and formed a co-op, with the intention of it never being able to burn down again. So, that’s why it’s all brick, with a metal roof.”

There are three thick layers of brick, according to Keith Fischer. He said that it’s a solid, sturdy building, and as long as it has some maintenance, it should last a long time.

“As we walked through, we saw so much more potential. This is way too big for a studio,” NiCole Fischer said. “So, originally, our whole reason for this place was for a photography studio. Now, there isn’t even a photography studio in here.”

The coffee shop serves hand-crafted coffee and tea, and NiCole Fischer claims The Mill has the best coffee in Wisconsin. Originally, the Fischers weren’t planning to serve food at all, but now they have a full-time cook making breakfast offerings, such as egg sandwiches.

On weekends, they have six employees, keeping the coffee shop busy. NiCole Fischer noted that people park down the street from The Mill just to enjoy what the business has to offer.

Everything is healthy and hand-crafted, not microwaved. The Fischers are pleased about the feedback and that people are coming specifically for the food.

The boutique offers mostly women’s fashions in an area separated from the coffee shop by another room.

The Mill will have whiskey, bourbon and wine flights soon, acknowledging the growing popularity of bourbons and wines. They expect that vacationers heading north may be drawn in by the availability of specialty bourbons and wines.

“We’re going to have coffee flights, with alcohol in them,” NiCole Fischer said.

“Like bourbon creams, or mimosas,” Keith Fischer added.

“We thought we should probably add alcohol to coffee, because it’s Wisconsin,” NiCole Fischer said with a laugh.

The alcohol will be in the middle room, between the coffee shop and the boutique.

“We still have landscaping to do,” NiCole Fischer said. “Outdoor seating, a fenced-in area for dog, like if they’re coming from a distance, they could stop and run their dogs.”

She noted that The Mill has brought the community together and turned into a destination spot in Bonduel, with out-of-town visitors asking about other locations in Bonduel.

“I’ll recommend the Rustic Shed, local bars, restaurants,” NiCole Fischer said. “If people can start growing from this now, Bonduel would not be just a drive through to another place. We’re hoping that eventually, this will be a reason to stay.”

Keith Fischer is a coach for Bonduel youth sports, coaching about 25 teams over the last 10 years. He’s very involved in the community and recently was named Bonduel’s police chief.

“We love this community. We’ve totally invested everything in this community,” NiCole Fischer said. “A local guy came in and talked about all of the vintage pictures we have on the walls. I wish this was my town. I appreciate all of pictures we have here, but it has to be really cool to see these pictures if you were born and raised in Bonduel to be able to see all of this.”

The couple have five children. Four are in the Bonduel school system and one is in the Air Force.

“We always preach to our kids that you should do something for your community to make it better,” Keith Fischer said. “Don’t be the person complaining about things and not doing anything.”


WHAT: The Mill

WHERE: 201 S. Cecil St., Bonduel

WHEN: The coffee shop is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends. The boutique is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

PHONE: 715-851-4400

WEBSITE: www.themillbonduel.com