Celebrating Local Business Growth, In and Out of South Milwaukee

It was exciting to read about the newest venture for South Milwaukee’s Sara Lewkowski and Aaron Ruiz, owners of Avenue Coffee downtown.

They will be opening Supernova Coffee & Doughnuts as part of the part of the cool new 3rd Street Market Hall in downtown Milwaukee.

From the OnMilwaukee.com story …

Lewkowski says she always loved coffee shops. In high school, one of her favorite pastimes was hanging out in local coffee houses with friends. And she says she often thought about how fun it would be to own a shop of her own. 

“I didn’t really know if it would ever happen,” she says. But, thanks to a series of fortuitous events, her coffee house dreams did come true, albeit almost a decade later. And it started with a trip to the West Coast.

In 2014 Lewkowski and Ruiz moved to California, where they lived and worked for about a year. While they were there, Lewkowski took a job as a barista and worked in operations for a small vegan raw snack food company. Ruiz worked a temp job and played music for tips on the Santa Monica Pier.

When they returned to Milwaukee, Lewkowski branched out, working for Classy Girl Cupcakes and East Side Ovens before taking a job at the South Milwaukee coffee shop MKE City Sippers. She also decided to enroll in the baking and pastry program at MATC where she first met chef and instructor Kurt Fogle.

When the owner of the coffee shop decided to sell the business in 2016, Lewkowski and Ruiz expressed interest. By September of 2016, they’d purchased the shop, renaming it the Avenue Coffeehouse.

And as they celebrate their fifth anniversary, they will grow, building on their local success with a second location.

It’s a terrific South Milwaukee small business success story, and I can’t be happier for Sara and Aaron. I can’t wait to try out their shop downtown — especially their unique doughnuts.

They are not alone.

  • The Avenue Coffee story reminds me of Taco Stop MKE, another story of a former South Milwaukeean who returns home to open a small business that is building on the strong performance of its local store with growth outside of the city. Taco Stop now has three locations, including in Elm Grove and (most recently) Brady Street.
  • Azteca Restaurant MKE also comes to mind. It’s been fun to watch Carlos and Rosie find growth through food trucks — three in all, to go along with their Milwaukee Avenue restaurant.
  • And then there is MilitaryConnection Collectibles, which is using its South Milwaukee store and museum as a base of operations for continued growth in online sales and at shows. I was excited to be part of the ribbon cutting for the newly renovated and expanded space downtown on July 31.

And these are just the start. Our redevelopment pace is quickening, across the city — and small businesses are at the foundation of that success.

Comments Off on Celebrating Local Business Growth, In and Out of South Milwaukee

Filed under South Milwaukee

Comments are closed.