The Wanish family will tell you that they are proud to produce 100% pure maple syrup near Colfax, Wisconsin. But, they will also tell you that the new budding entrepreneur in the family, with a mind set on success and dedication to harvesting is 16-year-old Will Wanish.
Wanish in 2018, started tapping trees and making maple syrup with his uncle, Jon, who has been tapping trees for 20 years. After that season he was hooked and decided to start his own business and Wanish Sugar Bush LLC was born in 2019. His parents, Todd and Heather Wanish, have continuously encouraged his diligent work ethic and are proud of what he has accomplished.
Wanish said the decision to get into the syrup business came after the roots of the business were established in the family and now it’s his turn to carry on the family legacy. “My uncle and cousin have been doing it for years, so it has been in the family and I got involved and stuck with it,” Wanish said. “Continuing with this business after high school is my plan. It’s going well so far, so I want to become more known and have it become as big as possible.”
While Will was assisting his uncle, he was tapping about 800 trees and hauling to Cadott, but after that became too much travel he decided it was time to mutually part ways and begin his own operation. In 2019, he decided to build a shed at his house and take out a microloan to buy his own equipment. This was possible thanks to The Regional Business Fund (RBF Inc.) and Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) as they guided the Wanish family and assisted them in a small micro loan to begin the process. “The Micro Loan Fund Program provides small loans to startup or newly established small businesses. The key objective is to assist business owners who are unable to access traditional financing (bank or credit union). It’s always a great options, especially for someone who is so young and following their dreams,” stated Charlie Walker, President/CEO of CCEDC.
Today, he is tapping approximately 1,000 trees and has built a 30 x 30 shed with a 2 x 8 LP-fired evaporator. Wanish has produced 500 gallons of syrup so far and in 2021 he wants to produce 800 gallons or more of pure syrup from his roughly 1,000 tapped trees.