Anchoring the "main street" (Jefferson Street) for over 100 years is Nina's Department & Variety Store. The two-story red brick building was built in 1911 by B.L. and I.W. Cohen as Spring Green's first "modern" department store. In 1916 Harris Marcus purchased the building and the business from the Cohen brothers to add to his chain of four department stores located along the Wisconsin River valley. For four generations the store has been owned and operated by the Marcus family.
Originally, Harris' sons Abe and then Sam managed the store as a full-line department store with men's suits, women's stylish fashions, furniture and other items for the home. In 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression, Sam took full control of the Spring Green store and changed the name from H. Marcus & Sons to The Economy Store, reflecting the new lower price of the variety store merchandise he added to the inventory. In 1946 Sam died and the store was renamed Nina, Inc after his wife, Nina Marcus. Shortly thereafter Sam and Nina's son George took over the store and emphasized the variety store aspect of the business. In the 1950s and 1960s locals affectionately referred to the business as "the dime store".
Sam & Nina Marcus
George & Helen Marcus
After George's death in 1978 his son Joel took over the business. In 1999 Joel's wife Judy Swartz Marcus joined the business. Around 2000 Joel and Judy decided to return the store full-circle to its department store origins and take its variety merchandise to a more upscale quality. In addition, several boutique departments were created including a natural fiber yarn department, classic and retro toys, and unique giftware.
Joel Marcus & Judy Swartz Marcus with John McGivern, host of MPTV's "Around the Corner with
John McGivern" in summer of 2014.
In 2002, Joel and Judy received the Sauk County Historical Society's Historic Preservation Award for restoring the building's facade to its 1920's vintage splendor and earning the building a Sauk Country Historical Site designation. In the summer of 2016 Nina's celebrated its 100th anniversary as a continuously owned and operated Wisconsin business. In the fall of 2022 Nina's was named #3 on Vidler's list of '10 of the Greatest 5 & 10 Stores Still Open in 2022'.