Man finds a "fair" way to retire

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- "Who doesn't like Italian food?"

It is a phrase that Jerry Ensign is now living his summer by. He is a man who used to spend his days working in the catering and cooking business. Then it was time for retirement, but there was a problem.

"I retired and I tried that for about a year, and people begin to talk when you mow your yard to many times a day because I get bored quickly," he said.

Now, he is reaching back to those cooking and catering skills and really doing something he loves.

Loving the idea? Think you have got it in you? The Grantsburg man says the road to start your own stand is not easy -- you really have to be focused.

"When you first start into this, you have no idea who to call, how to get a hold of these people," he said. "You better know something about the internet and how to work it because that's your only saving grace, and then you just have to make phone calls, stay on top of it."

On top of that, he says you have to set yourself apart and be unique.

"You gotta be different, Italian is different, so it's been very easy for me," he added.

It is his first year coming to the Northern Wisconsin State Fair. But this is not his only gig on the list. He is booked up until September.

"We go to the Barron County Fair, Juneau County Fair, the Trempealeau County Fair, Burnett County Fair," he added.

And on Tuesday night, some fair-goers got a sneak peak of his Italian cooking at Mia Manja which means "my treats" in Italian.

It is their smiles he loves to see. And if it is the food that doesn't make you smile, his heritage will.

"I'm French Canadian, not a drop of Italian in me,"


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