March 29, 2017
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Sheet metal fabricator moving to Bristol

An Antioch, Ill., sheet metal fabricating company will relocate to Kenosha County, bringing its 25 current employees with it, and looking to future expansion.

Prestige Metal Products has purchased an 85,000-square-foot building near the intersection of 193rd Avenue and 83rd Street in Bristol. The company fabricates sheet metal, including stainless steel, parts for use in the the food and pharmaceutical industries, and other diverse applications, such as rail car components.

Presitge Metal Products purchased a building that had been owned by Cincinnati-based Home City Ice Co., for $2.35 million. Some of the space has been leased to other tenants for the time being.

The Agenda: Could a remakery fix a broken downtown?

Everyone who has an opinion on the future of downtown Kenosha seems to think that at least one kind of business or service is missing. And, if city leaders could attract that singular business, all our troubles with empty buildings, cracked sidewalks and broken windows would disappear.

For some, that magic bullet would be a destination retailer. (Think Duluth Trading Co., Urban Outfitters or Restoration Hardware.) Others seem to think we need another restaurant, maybe one with more of a national or regional draw. (That usually comes from people who haven't been east of 22nd Avenue for 20 years.)

Others think downtown would benefit from more events and activities — and they should be free and family-friendly. Honest to God, people have actually said that to me. (Again, usually coming from those who haven’t been downtown since The Leader Store closed.)

Chuck Aiello Jr., front, works on a flower arrangement. He started Aiello Mid-Town Florist 60 years ago. His son Chuck Aiello III (back) works with him. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Aiello’s Mid-Town Florist going strong at 60


Chuck Aiello Jr. had just gotten out of the Army.

After serving during the Korean Conflict, he wanted to develop a career for himself. His father was a barber, but the younger Aiello didn’t want to follow in his father’s career foot steps. Armed with his G.I. Bill educational benefits he chose to become a florist.

While his father never doubted his son’s work ethic, at first he seemed a little skeptical about his son’s career choice.

Premium Outlets in Pleasant Prairie ( kenosha news file photo )

Premium Outlets sees spring activity


The Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets Mall is adding a new store, True Religion, a designer jeans retailer, and announced four stores with spring expansion and remodeling plans.

Cristin Newton, a mall marketing and business development director, said True Religion, a Vernon, Calif.-based designer jeans retailer will open April 24 in a 2,700-square foot space that had been vacant. It will be in the south plaza between the Chico’s and Brooks Brothers Factory stores.

“We are so excited to bring True Religion, one of the most iconic denimwear brands around, to our center this spring,” Newton said.

Linda Hoover ( )

Hoover tapped to lead Educators Credit Union


Educators Credit Union announced that Linda Hoover has been appointed chief executive officer and president of the financial institution. Hoover had been serving as interim CEO.

Hoover, a Racine native, joined Educators in 1987. She has managed most of the business units of the credit union at one time or another. Hoover had served as the Chief Operations Officer until her appointment as interim CEO in December 2016 following the death of long-time CEO and President Gene Szymczak.

ECU board of directors member Bill Halsey said of Hoover’s selection.:“She is a consistently innovative team director and problem solver, with an impressive capacity to lead staff in advancing services to our members. We also believe that Linda’s creativity will enable Educators to evolve its mission and advance Member priorities, especially in this ever-changing technology environment.”

People wait in line for the grand opening of the new Aldi grocery store on Thursday. ( Brian Passino )

Second Aldi opens in Kenosha


North side residents welcomed another new supermarket, discount grocer Aldi, into their neighborhood Thursday morning.

Two hours before the official 8:30 opening, shoppers and curiosity seekers were lining up outside the store hoping to become one of the first 100 to receive a gold ticket that could have won them a gift card worth up to $100.

The new Aldi store at 3524 57th Ave., near the intersection of Green Bay and Washington roads, is the city’s second of that chain. It is located near the Somers Wal-Mart supercenter, which includes an expanded grocery section, and Festival Foods store.

HARIBO, a German company known for manufacturing goldbears and other gummi treats, will be building a 500,000-square-foot facility in Pleasant Prairie. About 400 jobs will be created in the first phase. ( ap file photo )

Haribo to build in Pleasant Prairie


Kenosha County is about to get a little sweeter.

German candymaker Haribo will build a $242 million manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie, on the Abbott site the village recently purchased for investment.

Haribo is the maker of the Gold-Bear gummy candies. This will be the company’s first manufacturing facility in North America. It is expected to bring about 400 jobs to the area when it opens in 2020.

Gordmans goes away while Gander Mountain open for now

Retailing in brick and mortar stores is becoming as clunky and outdated as an 8-Track player bolted to the underside of the dashboard of a 1972 Chrysler Cordoba. We had the front page story this week of Gordmans, a funky off-price chain, filing for bankruptcy. It will close all of its stores.

The Kenosha store, with its bright purple facade, helped revive the south end of Southport Plaza on Green Bay Road a few years ago.

Unfortunately, this creates a new challenge for the leasing company. Mid-America Real Estate Corp. certainly hit a home run with the recruitment of Fresh Thyme Farmers Market. Let's hope it can do as well with this new gaping hole at one of the busiest intersections in town.

Lindsey Pollak talks about millennials in the workplace at UW-Parkside on Thursday, March 16, 2017. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

Millennials in the workplace still a puzzle for some employers


Employers who continue to struggle with how to attract, hire and keep millennial employees got a lot of good advice from a well-regarded author and leading voice on millennials in the workforce. Lindsey Pollak was the speaker for a daylong conference on the multigenerational workplace at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Thursday.

“I didn't mean to become an expert (on millennials),” Pollak told a large crowd in a morning session. “I meant to become an expert on careers and how to succeed in the workplace. It became clear that the generational differences we are all experiencing are critical to understanding how to build a successful career.”

Pollak is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Becoming the Boss: New Rules for the Next Generation of Leaders.”

Thomas Ogilvie, owner of EZ Pack N Ship, located at 8032 22nd Ave. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

EZ Pack N Ship rewarded with special recognition


"I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company" a business entrepreneur once bragged in a series of TV commercials.

The same sort of story could be told about Thomas Ogilvie.

As the owner of a computer and technology support company, as well as other ventures, he worked from his home, not too far from EZ Pack N Ship Etc., 8032 22nd Ave.

Ericka Viola ( )

Ericka Viola joins Epic Real Estate


Ericka Viola has recently joined Berkshire Hathaway Epic Real Estate as a sales professional.

She will be responsible for residential real estate consulting for buyers and sellers. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has 15 years in the behavioral sciences industry.

The Ladder is a weekly column that features workplace news about area residents. New hires, promotions, awards, personal or company recognitions, and any news about individuals relating to their profession or place of employment are welcomed. For publication, please send items to Rex Davenport at or call 262-656-6269.

Ericka Viola ( )

Erick Viola joins Epic Real Estate


Ericka Viola has recently joined Berkshire Hathaway Epic Real Estate as a sales professional.

She will be responsible for residential real estate consulting for buyers and sellers. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has 15 years in the behavioral sciences industry.

The Ladder is a weekly column that features workplace news about area residents. New hires, promotions, awards, personal or company recognitions, and any news about individuals relating to their profession or place of employment are welcomed. For publication, please send items to Rex Davenport at or call 262-656-6269.

Wendy Baumann ( )

Women in business is focus of Thursday event


Entrepreneurship and empowerment will be the focus of a Thursday morning event to mark Women’s History Month.

The special networking session will feature guest speaker Wendy Baumann, president of the Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation.

Under the theme “Strong Women, Strong Coffee,” business owners and would-be entrepreneurs will meet from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in the BioScience Building at Gateway Technical College, 3520 30th Ave.

The Agenda: What keeps us at a job?

Based on last Sunday’s column, and this one, it would appear I have an overly developed interest in research, especially as it relates to the workplace.

Most of us work for a single reason: the paycheck. But other elements keep us in a job. We like the work we do. Or, it’s only a 12-minute drive from our house to the office. Or fear keeps us from seeking something better.

But for a good number of us, our boss is the reason we like our job.

James R. Popp ( )

Popp new Johnson Bank president


Long time Milwaukee banking executive James R. Popp has been named president of Johnson Bank and executive vice president of Johnson Financial Group.

Popp has served in the banking industry since 1988. Most recently, he was market president of Chase Bank in Wisconsin and Minnesota and managing director for Chase Middle Market Banking in Wisconsin.

Popp will officially join Johnson Financial Group in May. A resident of Mequon, Popp is an active member of the Milwaukee community, having served with numerous statewide organizations and partnered with several nonprofits during his career.

Michael Polzin is chief executive officer and founder of Leeward Business Advisors, a local company focused on helping clients advance their businesses through technology and other solutions. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Leeward Business Advisors focuses where IT and process come together


Fortune 500 companies have the resources, both internally and financially, to deal with the disruption caused by changes . Especially as those changes come about through technology.

A local company sees itself as a bridge to provide mid-sized companies with the kind of information technology and business consulting services that may have been difficult to obtain in the past. Kenosha-based Leeward Business Advisors positions itself as a trusted source for both technology and business process guidance, especially at the place where the two critical areas intersect.

“Essentially, technology is unlimited,” said Michael Polzin, the company’s chief executive officer. “First you have to imagine it. Then you have to imagine it in a way that aligns to the business value. In the mid-market (business world), those services just aren’t available. Often (executives in smaller or mid-market) companies just aren’t aware of what technology is capable of.”

Commuters rely on Interstate 94 as they travel to and from work in and around Kenosha County. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

The Agenda: Hitting the road


The recent warm weather got me started on a little spring cleaning of my Kenosha News desk. Under a pile of old Milwaukee Business Journal issues, printouts of Los Angles Times articles, a couple of hand written thank you notes, and a few press releases from Pleasant Prairie, was a study from a year ago on the patterns of Kenosha County commuters.

Every year, local governments, non-governmental organizations, the state and feds all produce research and data that help us understand ourselves — at least statistically. The 2016 Kenosha County Out-Commuter Analysis was a good dive into both hard numbers and attitudes of those among us who leave the county every day to work.

The study was underwritten and shared by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance. Knowing everything it can about our local workforce helps KABA encourage even more companies to locate or expand in the county. The study was an adjunct to a broader survey, the Labor Analysis of Kenosha County, which was conducted about the same time.

State-chartered banks show solid growth

Net income grew 3.5 percent and net lending increased by 1.4 percent at Wisconsin’s state-chartered banks in the year ending Dec. 31 compared to the previous year, according to data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Compared to 2015, Wisconsin’s 166 state-chartered banks:

- grew net income to $536.2 million, up from $518.3 million;

Spring shows signs of growth and change for area businesses

The warm weather of the past week convinced more than a few trees, flowers and shrubs to poke through the ground, or pop out a few buds. History tells us that this foolish enthusiasm will be met with more days of real winter, in all probability.

If you have hung your parka in the back of the closet, or rolled your snow-blower into its summer niche in your garage, you might want to rethink those moves. But the warm weather did get many of us moving about, seeing more of Kenosha than we might have observed during the icy, gray days of December and January.

For example, the new O’Reilly Auto Parts store on 22nd Avenue, just south of 80th Street, should be open in time for shade tree mechanics to buy parts for their repairs under shade trees this summer.

Work continues at the site of the former Chrylser Engine Plant. The city is hoping for a transformative development to come into the site. ( Brian Passino )

The Agenda: What’s down the road for the Chrysler site?


The slow process of rehabilitating the former Chrysler factory site is both exciting and frustrating.

It took literally years for the buildings to be razed. But it is encouraging to see blocks and blocks of flat land, and to imagine how our city might be transformed by its future use.

I have been vocal about my concern over what will probably be the first steps to developing the acres of land. Before the first building rises from the remediated dirt, streets will crisscross at least part of the site. As I complained previously, this would seem to limit the possible uses of the land itself. What if one big-thinking developer envisions the land encircled or bisected by a grand boulevard? Laying down streets that conform to our existing street grid may be good for installing water and sewer lines, but why do we have to follow a 19th century street grid for a 21st century Kenosha?

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