Opening Deadheads Corner

Behind the scenes: Opening Deadheads Corner

“Truly, that’s how it can be done, with an extreme amount of dedication and not alone.”- Will

Nestled beneath the iconic Mayer Drug sign at the corner of 6th Ave and 56th Street in Downtown Kenosha, a new storefront has emerged in 2024: Deadheads Corner. This establishment challenges stereotypes and proves that young entrepreneurial dreams can be born in Downtown Kenosha. Will, John, and Justin, the trio behind this venture, embody the spirit of community, friendship, and fun in their brand-new business venture. I got a chance to ask some questions that have piqued my curiosity in the community and was able to delve into the journey of the young men involved in the business. Keep reading to learn more about their inspiring endeavors.

When did this idea for this shop first come to be?

Will: “I came to John almost a year and a half ago now, and he believed in it, and now we’re here. And for me, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner. So when the opportunity came for both of us, and we were both about ready mentally and realistically, just in our lives, we decided that it was time to start planning it. We’re about a year and a half into it, and we’ve been open for two months. So it took about a year and a half to get the shop open and to find a spot. From the idea of us both agreeing on it, to creating the LLC to doing all the legal structure to build a business plan and actually creating a realistic idea and putting that into fruition.”

When did you start Deadhead’s Corner?

John: “I’d say two weeks into November the build-out started, and then we soft-launched the opening by January 12th. That was the day the register turned on.”


What made you come to Downtown Kenosha?

John: “So we looked in Milwaukee, we looked in Oak Creek, but we also kind of knew that we wanted to be somewhere where there’s a lot of foot traffic and that there was gonna actually be a lot of attention on the place because we do understand that businesses don’t survive without a lot of attention. I was struck with amazement with the number of events that you guys do and how like how active you guys are in the community because in the middle of January when we were open for maybe what like two weeks, when we didn’t even have a sign-up yet during the ice sculpture event, and I stood outside in the cold all day but it was still amazing because from sunup to sundown there were people everywhere. That was kind of exactly what we were looking for when we wanted a place to open a business. “

How do 3 young people open a business? 

Will: “They get blessed in life and they have a group of friends who are not hungry or greedy and they’ll just work for you because they love you and do you favors. Yeah, we kind of had to call in every favor we were owed. Because I think a lot of people ask the question, like, how did they do that? And so I’m like, I don’t know. Do you have a loyal group of friends and family around?”

John: “Every single one of the people that were involved are in completely different industries. Basically, everyone who contributed has had a different experience and something very useful in building this place. And then there are the people, our friends and family who worked here for free, my brother helped build a lot of our online presence. And T-Dog has been a massive help for when Will and I have to go be somewhere else.”

Will: “ We used to have the futon in the middle of the floor. We used to work all day. And then at the end of the day, sit down on the futon, eight bodies deep in here. And it’s just a time that we’ll never get back. I don’t know. the journey to opening the smoke shop was so much fun. So yeah, truly, that’s how it can be done, with an extreme amount of dedication and not alone.”


How do you choose what is sold at your shop? 

John: “Everything you see here is hand-picked, hand-curated, and we put our reputation on every product we want to sell. We don’t want to sell fake things. We don’t want to sell things that don’t work as advertised. And we also want to make sure that we’re in everyone’s best interest. We’re consumers of our own product, and we wouldn’t sell anything in here for a price that we wouldn’t buy it for.”

 How would you describe the products of Deadheads Corner? 

“We have some artwork, some collectibles, some snacks and drinks, as well as the products of the smoke shop side. At the moment it’s a very, it’s a very, I guess, standard smoke shop. We carry a lot of, a lot of smoke shop products like hookahs, glass, nicotine products, legal edibles, and flower, but eventually, we would like to get more into collectibles and stuff like that. We plan to have a clothing brand and we already have some of the collectibles in here for sale, but we’d like to branch out a little bit more.”

What’s next for Deadhead’s Corner?

John: “We really wanted to focus on getting the smoke shop up and running healthily and now we’re starting to get everything organized and we’re getting really comfortable with what we’re doing in the smoke shop area so that we can branch out and get a few more extra products and cool things. And it also really depends on the market itself, like the people who come in the store and what they’re interested in because we want to be a brand that stays here for a while and that’s how you do that. You build a good reputation and you sell the products that the locals want to buy.”

So I know you guys are new to Downtown Kenosha, but what has been a favorite thing so far?

Will: “The highlight of Kenosha so far… I like the views and the sunset down here and the sign on top of our building too. The Mayer Drug sign.”

T-Dog (Employee and Friend): “My favorite part of downtown Kenosha? The People! The people I’ve met out here are pretty nice and have good vibes. They’re my favorite thing about Kenosha so far.”

John: “I’ve lived in Milwaukee for the last four years, and I lived in Racine all my life, Kenosha isn’t the biggest town, but it has the most active and interactive people in it. Like, people want to network. People want to have a good place to live and have something going on every weekend. It’s a different change.”

Follow them on: INSTAGRAM
Open: 7 Days a week 10 AM-11 PM

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 • Article Written by Jenna Zeihen • Concept by Donny Stancato & Jenna Zeihen