Category Archives: Local Business

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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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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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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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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June Reopening For Papa Luigi’s II

It looks like it might be June before Papa Luigi’s II in South Milwaukee reopens following what could be $1 million in water damage sustained this winter.

The Milwaukee Post has the story. See page 6.

I wish Sal the best as he continues to work towards a grand reopening. He has invested so much in his establishment, and it’s wonderful to see him committed to coming back bigger and better than ever come June.

In the meantime, please support Sal by eating at his Cudahy restaurant. It’s the same great food, service and atmosphere.

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New Name (And Aim) For South Milwaukee Chamber Of Commerce

Good-bye, South Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce. Hello, South Milwaukee Community and Business Association.

The change in name — and goals of the group — was recently finalized, with the bylaws for the new association being approved at a meeting on Feb. 18.

The revised objective of the organization: “promoting civic and business interests of South Milwaukee.” And membership is open to “any individual, business, association, organization or any other legally organized group with legal standing interested in the welfare of South Milwaukee.”

So, what does this mean? It somewhat remains to be seen, as the organization plots a new path.

Previously, the mission of the chamber was “to promote the economic development of the South Milwaukee business community” and “enhance our city by offering a variety of social and marketing events; beautification programs; and ongoing support and camaraderie for our business community.” There will certainly be elements of this in the association’s future, including its holiday decoration and street banner programs.

I wish the association well with its new aim — and I remain a proud member of it.

Similarly, I look forward to the new South Shore Chamber of Commerce taking root. This organization should fill some of the void left by the end of a traditional local chamber while taking a broader approach to promoting business from Cudahy, St. Francis and South Milwaukee. Its goal, according to its Facebook page …

The business and purpose of this corporation shall be to advance the commercial and industrial interests of the communities it serves; to interest itself in legislation and administration in said communities; to inform the public as to successful commercial, industrial and civic expansion, all for the general interest and benefit of said communities; strive for a general recognition and understanding of the rights of legitimate enterprises; and generally carry on and conduct any lawful business or businesses whatever for the promotion of this corporation and its interests, the interests of its members and particularly the interest of the communities it serves.

I look forward to joining this organization as well — and to continue in the effort to promote and enhance local businesses. Communities are better off when the voice of local business is heard loud and clear.

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Filed under Community, Local Business, South Milwaukee