Category Archives: Local Business

Welcoming Drexel Town Square

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I was happy to attend today’s formal groundbreaking of Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square downtown development, and I left impressed.

The project was called “transformational,” and I can’t disagree. What an opportunity for Oak Creek — a chance to create a city center from scratch with a mix of civic, retail, residential and other uses.

Over the next five to seven years, you’ll see a new city hall, library, hotel (Four Points Sheraton), big box retailer (Meijer), apartments and small Main Street merchants rise from the site at Howell and Drexel Avenues. Farmers’ market, splash pad, ice skating, a town square, greenspace … the list goes on. Added to that list Saturday was Water Street Brewery, which announced its plans to build at Drexel Town Square at a ceremony held at the site.

I’m excited about the project. Some might view it as a negative for South Milwaukee — simply more competition for us when it comes to attracting retailers to our city. I take a different view. This is not “us vs. them,” not zero sum. Yes, Drexel Town Square ratchets up competition, but a project like this lifts the entire region, the entire South Shore, South Milwaukee included. We are all better because of projects like Drexel Town Square.

Learn more details on Drexel Town Square here, and check out more coverage from Saturday’s groundbreaking from Fox 6, CBS 58 and the Business Journal.

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Filed under Local Business, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee

Meet The Mayor: First Session Is May 10, And More Dates Announced

Don’t forget to stop by Azteca Restaurant from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, for the first Meet the Mayor session.

No topic is off limits, so bring your ideas, concerns, complaints, compliments … or just stop by and say hi. And enjoy some great authentic Mexican food while you’re there.

I’ve also locked down dates through the summer, so mark your calendars. Each session is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 7: Studio One Art Glass, 1333 Milwaukee Ave. Stop by and check out some of the terrific hand-crafted art glass pieces Kim has for sale at his store — and learn more about his custom work.
  • Saturday, July 12: Max A. Sass & Sons Funeral Home, 1314 Manitoba Ave. Mike and company have done a lot with the former St. Mary’s School, and it looks great. See for yourself on July 12.
  • Saturday, August 16: Moxie Fitness, 1234 Milwaukee Ave. Stop in learn more about some of the cool programming Tori and Cindy are offering.

See you soon, and bring a friend!

 

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Filed under Community, Local Business, South Milwaukee

Downtown News: Welcome Two New Businesses From Cudahy

Fancy PawsGraveyardSome encouraging news downtown … and we’re just getting started!

First, let’s welcome two new businesses, both moving from downtown Cudahy after more than a decade there. I had a chance to meet both merchants on Saturday.

  • Fancy Paws, a dog grooming business, is already open on the corner of 12th and Milwaukee Avenue. Owner Donna Mae Straseski offers grooming for all breeds, large and small, and supplies. Above, she is holding Bailey, fresh from a bath.
  • Graveyard Records & Move Maniacs, which bills itself as the “Midwest’s largest horror collectibles store,” is also moving to downtown South Milwaukee, and is expected to open in late May, early June. When you talk about unique destination retail, this is it. Really cool stuff that I guarantee you can’t get at Walmart, Kohl’s, Target or Southridge Mall. Owner Dave Curtis is pictured above outside the store at 1013 Milwaukee Ave., formerly home to Kelvin Schroeder Jewelers.

Please join me in welcoming these two new stores to South Milwaukee!

And two more notes …

South Milwaukee Carpet, located in the former Garden Theater building, is closing after more than 30 years in business. Bonnee and Gary are holding their retirement sale now, and I wish them well. Also, Tai Ping Chinese Restaurant has closed, but will reopen under new ownership, according to a sign at the restaurant.

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Filed under Development, Local Business, South Milwaukee

Strong Earnings For Caterpillar

Some good news in Caterpillar’s first-quarter earnings report, which came out Thursday … but mining continues to struggle.

From the Reuters story

Caterpillar said it expected its sales to the global construction industry to increase 10 percent from 2013, up from a previously anticipated rise of about 5 percent.

But it cautioned that 2014 would be “another very tough year” for mining, another key market, and that its outlook reflected an anticipated drop of about 80 percent in sales of large mining trucks from the company’s peak year in 2012.

Adam Fleck, an analyst at Morningstar, said he was pleasantly surprised by the company’s “very solid cost control in construction in particular,” where operating margins continued to grow and “were at their highest quarterly level in several quarters”, even though they were typically more compressed than in the mining equipment category.

Fleck said the weakness in mining “wasn’t terribly surprising” and added that because that once-critical business accounted for just 17 percent of sales and 12 percent of operating profit in the first quarter, any continued weakness in the sector was “more of a headline risk than a true economic one.”

The better-than-expected report was tinged with caution. Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said the Peoria, Illinois-based company was watching several regions closely. Having visited China recently, he said the construction industry there was facing challenges.

Caterpillar was also concerned about the situation in Ukraine and Russia, he added.

The news followed stories this week of mixed dealer data and of reduced 2013 compensation for the CEO.

Of course, we’ll continue to watch the Caterpillar news closely, especially that from the mining front, given our (and Oak Creek’s) position as the center of Cat’s global mining operations.

With that in mind, I had a really positive meeting with several local Caterpillar officials on Friday, as part of my ongoing efforts to introduce myself to local elected official and business owners.

I look forward to keeping lines of communication open … and I have Caterpillar’s commitment to do the same. Having a strong partnership with our largest employer is a priority for me as mayor.

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Filed under Caterpillar, Local Business, South Milwaukee

Calling All Youth: Summer Job Help Available

Here is information about a program through the Milwaukee Area Workorce Investment Board.

The goal: “Hhelp young people enter the world of work, build their resume and be introduced to a potential career.”

The application deadline is May 9.

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Filed under Local Business, South Milwaukee

More Caterpillar Layoffs

More bad news for South Milwaukee’s Caterpillar operations …

This time, it’s another 60 layoffs at the local plant.

Learn more in the Business Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and keep these workers and their families in your thoughts and prayers. From the Journal Sentinel …

Caterpillar, which has its mining equipment division based in Oak Creek, shut factories and cut its worldwide workforce by 13,000 people last year, including about 400 jobs in Milwaukee and South Milwaukee.

Previously, the local plants employed more than 800 people.

The Peoria, Ill.-based company said it continues to take actions to reduce costs and better align its workforce with business needs.

“While some cost reduction measures have already been implemented, further measures must be taken in the near term. We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, but we must take steps to position the company for long-term success,” Caterpillar said.

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Filed under Caterpillar, Local Business, South Milwaukee

Happy Anniversary, Moxie Fitness

Moxie Fitness is celebrating one year in South Milwaukee with a series of special events through the weekend.

It starts tonight with a “Fitness and Fun” event and contines Saturday with an open house and free fitness class and Sunday with bike ride featuring noted author, businessperson and triathlete Sally Edwards.

Check out the full schedule on their website.

And thanks to Moxie for calling South Milwaukee home!

Moxie is at 1234 Milwaukee Ave. Tell Tori I said hi.

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Filed under Local Business, South Milwaukee