Category Archives: Local Business

New Look For Azteca

Readers of this blog know I love Azteca, South Milwaukee’s Mexican restaurant. Authentic, affordable, great service, great atmosphere — an atmosphere that got a makeover this week.

The picture below is from the Azteca Facebook page. It’s quite a change.

I wish Carlos and Rosie the best. They run a first-class establishment, and they continue to invest in their long-term future in South Milwaukee. We are lucky to have them, and be sure to stop by and check out the new look.

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Mixed Q4 Results For Caterpillar

Profits were up significantly for Caterpillar in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the company on Monday issued a positive earnings forecast for the new year … but there wasn’t a lot of positivity in the sector South Milwaukeeans watch closest.

Here is MarketWatch coverage. From it:

Oberhelman said the company sees some signs of improvement in the global economy, which should bode well for sales in its construction and power systems businesses. However, despite expectations that mining production will continue to rise, the company sees mining companies further reducing capital spending this year.

“As a result, we’re expecting sales in resource industries to decline modestly,” he said. “ We’ve already taken a number of restructuring actions to help improve our financial results and expect to take additional actions in 2014.”

Reduced spending by mining companies has taken a toll on sales of mining equipment, while Caterpillar’s sales of construction equipment have benefited from a recovery of home building in the U.S. The heavy-equipment maker has been closing plants that make mining equipment and laying off workers to reflect a sharp drop in demand in the sector.

Of course, I always worry about the “additional actions in 2014.” The Reuters story included this …

He characterized the moves as “tough decisions necessary to better position us down the road when economic conditions improve and our sales rebound.”

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what “tough decisions” are to come. Let’s pray the worst is over.

Also, check out coverage from the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal.

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Papa Luigi’s II: 4-6 More Weeks

So says the restaurant’s Facebook page

Be sure to visit Sal’s Cudahy location, and let’s support him when he reopens following the water damage sustained earlier this month.

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Papa Luigi’s II Update: “It’s Unbelievable The Stress”

Fox 6 has an update on the restoration work going at Salvatore’s/Papa Luigi’s II in South Milwaukee.

You’ll recall that a pipe burst last week and caused extensive damage. Sal is working hard reopen, and I wish him the best.

From the story

Even though Sal Purpora tried to stay positive, his nearly 50,000 square foot Papa Luigi’s restaurant was under water after a pipe burst in the restaurant’s sprinkler system — and crews were busy cleaning up what was estimated to cost half a million dollars.

It happened on Thursday, January 9th — and the restaurant is expected to be closed for one to three months.

“It’s unbelievable the stress. (The damage) could go up to $700,000,” Purpora said.

Adding to the stress is the fact that Purpora’s insurance adjuster couldn’t come out to check out the damage until four days after the fact.

Mike Wyne’s Fire and Water Restoration Company was hired to clean up Papa Luigi’s, and he says to ease your worries, it’s important to know exactly what you’re paying for, and what coverage you’re getting.

Fortunately, Papa Luigi’s will be covered fully.

“I can’t wait to open up those doors and say ‘hey, how you doin’” Purpora said.

Experts advise it is important to make sure you’re doing your preventative maintenance checks which could be the difference in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.

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“Change In Strategy” For Caterpillar?

Crain’s Chicago Business and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel both have stories about the 2014 prospects for mining — and the prospects aren’t good.

Obviously, this bears close watching for South Milwaukee and Caterpillar.

From the Crain’s piece, entitled “How Mining Woes May Force Cat to Change Strategy” …

In 2011, Caterpillar shelled out more than $8 billion for South Milwaukee, Wis.-based mining equipment manufacturer Bucyrus International Inc. It was the biggest acquisition in the company’s history. A year later, the company opened its checkbook once again, spending about $700 million on China’s ERA Mining Machinery Ltd.

Last January, ERA was marred by a financial scandal that cost Cat $580 million. Scandals aside, Mr. Oberhelman’s investment is foundering because macroeconomic trends have hammered demand for ore. Sales in Cat’s resource industries segment, which is principally mining, declined 42 percent from 2012. In the third quarter, mining revenue made up only 22 percent of sales compared with 32 percent the year before. And with commodity prices still flagging and the demand for mining equipment still lackluster, that only means more bad news for Cat in 2014.

“It begs the question: If mining is not a key driver, as investors what do we do?” says Mircea Dobre, a senior analyst at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. “Do we wait four or five years, or is there something else that is going to drive growth?”

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Extensive Water Damage Closes Salvatore’s/Papa Luigi’s II

Bad news for downtown South Milwaukee …

“Extensive water damage” has closed Salvatore’s/Papa Luigi’s II “until further notice,” according to the popular local business’ Facebook page.

This story on Fox 6 goes further — and says the restaurant, banquet and entertainment center might be closed for as long as three months, after sustaining up to $500,000 in damage. From it:

It was raining inside of his pizza place. That’s what the owner of Papa Luigi’s said happened on Thursday, January 9th. He saw it from his security cameras at home, rushed over to check it out, and was standing four inches of water.

The incident is another casualty of the bitter cold weather. A pipe burst in the sprinkler system, sending water virtually everywhere.

Papa Luigi’s is expected to be closed for one to three months. Insurance adjusters will be looking at the building Monday to check out the damage. For now, all parties and bowling leagues are cancelled.

I’ll keep you posted — and hopefully this terrific restaurant, banquet center and arcade will open soon. Sal has made a huge investment in this property, and it shows. In the meantime, please support Sal by visiting his Cudahy location.

Good luck, Sal!

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas 2013: A Recap

Shop local this holiday season — and here is the list of options I’ve presented on this blog the last few weeks …

Merry Christmas!

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13th Day Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Kids Resale

Here’s a bonus day in the “12 Days” series …

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a child, be sure to stop at the I Can’t Resist Kids Resale store, now located at 915 Milwaukee Ave.

Learn more in my previous post about one of our newest merchants, and check out their website and Facebook page.

Shop local this holiday season!

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Local Beer

I work for MillerCoors, so I need to get a shoutout in for our local liquor stores this holiday season …

Here is a list …

  • King’s Row, 1202 Milwaukee Ave.
  • Chicago Avenue Liquor, 309 N. Chicago Ave.
  • Marquette Liquor, 1123 Marquette Ave.
  • G&K Liquor, 1508 Rawson Ave.
  • B J Liquor Store, 2411 5th Ave.

(I took off Bully’s from last year’s list because it appears to be closed — at least that’s what the sign says on the door.)

And here are a few recommendations …

  • Coors Light and Miller Lite. You can’t go wrong with the two best-tasting Premium Light beer brands in the country. If you’re lucky, you might even find one of our limited-edition Miller Lite original cans around …
  • Redd’s Apple or Strawberry Ale. Two of our newest products – worth a try if you haven’t tasted them already.
  • Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. This new winter seasonal is really, really good.
  • Crispin cider. Our craft cider company has a number of terrific fresh-pressed apple and pear varieties.

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: NASCAR Collectibles

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The Brooks house is a NASCAR house. Our favorite driver: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford.

That’s why we’re really lucky to live in South Milwaukee, home of perhaps the only NASCAR collectibles store in the area.

Didn’t know about Green Flag Racing? You should stop by. It’s located at 1218 Milwaukee Ave., and it has some terrific gear for race fans of all ages.

Diecast cars, clothing, signs and more — this is the kind of stuff you can’t get at other stores, making this just the kind of destination retail business we should focus on attracting to this city.

People drive to South Milwaukee just to go to Green Flag Racing. We need more of that.

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Local Chains (Especially Ace Hardware)

I try and shop local whenever I can for Christmas … and sometimes that means a local chain.

My favorite? Ace Hardware. It truly is the “helpful hardware place,” with customer service that you simply can’t get at the big-box home improvement stores, Walmart, etc. And it’s convenient.

That’s why I’m willing to pay more to shop there. It’s worth it.

I was recently part of a panel discussion at the Milwaukee Forum about chain vs. local shopping. My argument: It’s not an “either-or” argument. It’s “both-and.” There is room for both chain and local retailers.

Ace is the best of both worlds.

Here is the Ace website. And here is my 2012 12 Days post on this.

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Studio One Art Glass

Now, a closer look at my favorite local artisan shop: Studio One Art Glass.

Kim and company do a lot first-class custom work, so check them out if you’re interested in a new stained glass window, door or cabinet. They also have a terrific retail shop full of sun catchers, candle holders, clocks and other items at variety of price points.

The best part: It’s likely Kim made made those products right in the basement of the building.

Stop by and discover Studio One, if you haven’t already. It’s a real gem … and a great example of the type of destination retail business I’d love to see more of in South Milwaukee.

Here is their website, and here is my 2012 12 Days post on Studio One.

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Local Eats

Continuing to shine the light on local businesses this holiday season …

Why not give the gift of food this Christmas?

Azteca, Nona’s, China Chef, Creative Catering — those are just a few of our great local restaurants that are worth a trip, perhaps for a gift certificate or a holiday dinner.

My 2012 post has more details, keeping in mind that I can’t list every restaurant in town … just a few of my favorites.

What’s your favorite? Post your comments below!

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12 Days Of South Milwaukee Christmas: Physical Fitness And Health

Update: Don’t forget Anytime Fitness, too. There is information in the comments section of this post.

Why not give the gift of good health this holiday season?

My 2012 12 Days post talks about some of the local options, including Sorce Martial Arts, Anchor Fitness and Dowling Community Acupuncture. I’ll add a few more to that list …

  • Moxie Fitness, 1234 Milwaukee Ave. Here is my previous post on Moxie, which opened earlier this year.
  • South Milwaukee Fitness Center (located on the high school campus). My dad is a member, and it’s very affordable.
  • South Shore YMCA. OK, this is across College Avenue from South Milwaukee, but it’s worth a plug here.

In other words, there are lots of local choices for those focused on wellness in 2014. Take advantage of them.

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12 Days of Christmas: Donn Powers Jeweler

Today, some love for our local jeweler …

You have a lot of choices on where to buy your jewelry, and I encourage you to shop local this holiday season and pay a visit to Donn Powers Jeweler, 2110 10th Ave.

You get a nice selection, along with terrific customer service — in fact, chances are you’ll run into Don if you stop in. And they service what they sell, which is something  you just can’t at get most competitors.

Check out their website here. And here is my 2012 12 Days post on Donn Powers.

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