Quality of Life
In 1975 VARC was created and operated from the abandoned Vernon County Home. When VARC incorporated as private nonprofit organization in 1979, the name VARC came to represent the Vernon Area Rehabilitation Center Inc.
A community development block grant was written that enabled VARC to purchase its next location, a former butter processing plant at 830 N. Main in Viroqua. In its newly remodeled and expanded (6,800 sq. ft.) space, VARC added two new ventures: furniture restoration and assembly. VARC developed a reputation for high quality craftsmanship in furniture restoration. Our employees also assembled millions of tape cassettes for National Cash Register, VARC’s first major contract for assembly work.
VARC continued to expand and its clientele grew to about 60. Mobile trailers were soon needed for temporary office space, speech therapy and other rehabilitation services. Residential and supported employment services, offering options in housing and employment were added. VARC also purchased a building at 787 S. Main to house the offices of these two new programs, called Open Doors (for Opening Doorways to Opportunity). VARC was then operating out of three separate facilities, serving about 70 clients, transporting about 60 throughout the county, and employing a staff of 28.
Foreseeing the potential for continued growth, VARC’s Management and Board began to work with the Viroqua Industrial Development Committee in designing a plan to meet the community’s requirements. A new building was constructed in Viroqua’s Industrial Park.
Groundbreaking took place in June 1991 and the modern 21,000 sq. ft. facility was completed in October of that year. VARC’s operations at its three separate locations were then consolidated under one roof, and the larger 11,000 sq. ft. production area enabled the business to integrate its workforce. The larger facility allowed continued expansion and greater training opportunities.
Continued referrals for services and an increase in production contracts resulted in growth exceeding expectations. Over the next two decades, VARC expanded several times in Viroqua to meet customer requirements and accommodate the growing number of employees. During this time, VARC also expanded services into Sauk and Richland counties, constructing new facilities in both locations, with production and warehouse space totaling 160,000 square feet.