December 8, 2016
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Surviving Christmas is the theme of a monthlong message from Immanuel Baptist Church. The 110-year-old church is using 21st century social media and an electronic billboard to communicate with the community. ( SUBMITTED PHOTO )

The Agenda: A 2,000-year-old message


There is a reason why high-traffic roads and highways are lined with billboards. They are an effective medium. They work.

We are accustomed to seeing billboards pitching mattresses, pickup trucks, personal injury attorneys, soft drinks and just about every other consumer product. And, occasionally, we see a church using a billboard to promote a onetime event or holiday services.

In some ways, that’s what Kenosha’s Immanuel Baptist Church, 6009 Pershing Blvd., is doing. But the 110-year-old church is also tapping into social media and new technology to communicate its 2016 Christmas season message: Surviving Christmas. Over the three Sundays leading up to Christmas, the church’s messages will be “Holding it Together,” “Blessed or Distressed” and “Giving is the Gift.”

A house is under construction in the Golf Glen Estates subdivision at the corner of highway A and 22nd Ave. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Search Kenosha building permits by map


A free app to find out what kinds of remodeling projects are going on in Kenosha neighborhoods and who is doing the work is being made available through a company that matches homeowners to contractors.

BuildZoom, a San Francisco-based company, which has compiled building permit data for more than 85 million home improvements throughout the country from over 600 cities and counties, as of this week added Kenosha to the list, according to founder Jiyan Wei. The firm analyzes trends in the construction industry and began compiling for permits last year. The company generates leads for contractors, who pay only if they win the job, according to the firm’s website.

“Our goal is to provide homeowners with a free, public resource to help them better understand what’s happening in their neighborhoods,” he said.

Sherri Gorecki, Michael Ploch and Mary Jo McCarthy. ( )

The Ladder: Community State Bank opens new Lake Geneva branch


A mid-December opening is set for a new Community State Bank location in Lake Geneva. Located at 580 Broad St., the building is currently undergoing renovations.

The local office will be headed by Michael Ploch, market president. Joining him will be Mary Jo McCarthy, retail manager, and Sherri Gorecki, universal banker. “We are very excited to serve the Lake Geneva and Walworth County communities,” said bank CEO and President, Scott Huedepohl. “We’ve spent our time building a quality team of employees to help us expand into Walworth County.”

Community State Bank, a $325 million locally owned and operated community bank, is headquartered in Union Grove.

Karrie Wichman ( )

Wichman joins Johnson Bank


Johnson Bank has announced that Karrie Wichman has joined the bank as mortgage loan officer.

Wichman has 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, with a background in retail banking and branch management. She previously served as branch manager at JP Morgan Chase for more than 12 years.

Wichman graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Parkside with a bachelor's degree in economics and minor in mathematics. Wichman is a member of the Southshore Realtors Association and the Racine Kenosha Builders Association.

BMO Harris Bank sells Pleasant Prairie building

BMO Harris Bank has sold its Pleasant Prairie branch and 31 other southeastern Wisconsin branch properties to a California-based real estate investment company in a sale-lease-back deal valued at $46 million.

Under the sale agreement to San Diego-based Realty Income Corp., BMO Harris will continue personal and commercial banking operations as usual with no name change or changes in services to customers. BMO Harris will lease the buildings from realty Income Corp.

Chicago-based BMO Harris said the sales are part of a company initiative to sell such branch properties and lease the buildings, rather than own them. The move takes advantage of the “attractive real estate market,” according to a statement from officials.

Brian Andrew, Johnson Bank chief investment officer ( )

The Agenda: Local financial expert looks ahead


With the outcome of the 2016 election now part of history, we wait to see what a Donald Trump presidency will mean to us. Depending on your political views, or just your nature, you probably think you know what to expect over the next four years.

I have views, too, but I know that whatever we think might happen probably won’t. That could be good or bad.

Upon the news of Trump’s victory, global markets took a deep nosedive — a drop that, while severe, was short in duration. Unless something horribly tragic happens, markets are poised to see records broken through the end of the year. Critics and supporters of the president-elect seem to hold wildly different ideas of what’s ahead for investors, however.

Kenosha native Kendra Scott built her multi-million-dollar jewelry and retail business out of her childhood dreams sketching fashion designs. She will open her first Wisconsin store next year in Brookfield. ( SUBMITTED PHOTO )

Kenosha designer Kendra Scott to open first store in Wisconsin


Kenosha native and nationally known jewelry design Kendra Scott will open her sixth retail outlet, and her first in Wisconsin, next year. The store, which was announced Thursday, will be located at The Corners of Brookfield.

Scott was born in Kenosha and moved to Austin, Texas, when she was 19. In 2002, she combined her love for fashion and her design talents to create her own line of jewelry. She opened her flagship store in Austin in 2010. The Kendra Scott brand is best known for its captivating colors and unique designs that offer a luxurious look at an affordable price for every woman and every occasion. The Corners of Brookfield location will also feature the Kendra Scott Color Bar, an innovative jewelry customization experience.

The Kendra Scott retail locaiton will join other retailers at The Corners, including Anthropologie, Arhaus, BelAir Cantina, Café Hollander, Evereve, Francesca’s, Free People, lululemon athletica, L.L.Bean, Paper Source, Scout and Molly’s, and Twigs.


News creates new sales team


The Kenosha News has created an inside sales team, working within our advertising department.

Members of the team have a combined 47 years of experience, and are ready to help customers with their classified advertising needs, whether it be selling a home or vehicle, finding a tenant, rummage sales, and offering your business services.

The team includes:

The new owner of the often-troubled hotel on the Kenosha Harbor promises extensive changes that will enhance the building and the neighborhood. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

The Agenda: Harborside hotel changes good for downtown Kenosha


For those wanting to see actual physical change in downtown Kenosha, your wish is about to be granted. When the sign for the Best Western Harborside on Sixth Avenue was covered with a wrap indicating a new identity, the starter's pistol was fired.

Change is going to come to the troubled hotel, and it appears it will happen quickly.

According to the new owner, Rajiv Singh, president of Kenosha A & P Hospitality LLC, a lot of the the change will be driven by the hotel's new affiliation with the Wyndham Hotel Group. It now carries the Wyndham Garden banner, a brand familiar to business travelers and corporate travel account managers.

Potente resigns as Kenosha News editor

Joe Potente has resigned from his editor role at the Kenosha News to pursue other interests.

Mike Larsen, the managing editor, will be in charge of the newsroom while a national search for a new editor begins.

Kenosha News Publisher Randy Rickman said, “Joe has had a positive impact at the Kenosha News and he’s going to be missed by all. Please join me in wishing Joe the best of luck in his new endeavor.”

Cory Wilson ( )

The Ladder: Honda of Kenosha names sales manager


A lifelong Kenosha resident, Cory Wilson was recently promoted to general sales manager at Honda of Kenosha. Wilson has been with the dealership for six years, moving from sales consultant to sales manager.

Randy Wilson, a former law enforcement officer, has worked at Honda of Kenosha for five years. A lifelong Kenosha resident, he has achieved Silver Sales status with Honda for three years running. The recognition is granted to sales consultants with the highest customer satisfaction and vehicles sold over the course of the year.

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, or call 262-656-6269.

Jockey spotlights post-adoptive services

Jockey International Inc. in Kenosha has announced “Show ’Em Family” in recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month in November, an extension of its brand campaign “Show ’Em What’s Underneath, Show ’Em Your Jockey.”

“Show ’Em Family” is centered on Michael Cottone, an adoptive father, and his son Vincent, who represent the gift of family. Jockey established a corporate initiative, Jockey Being Family Foundation Ltd., in 2005 with the mission of strengthening adoptive families and preventing the return of children to the foster care system.

To support adoptive families and the cause, consumers can purchase a “Jockey Being Family” bear online at For each bear sold during the month of November, 100 percent of the sales will be donated to “Jockey Being Family.”

The former Dairyland Greyhound Park is for sale. Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian has said a national developer has expressed interest in the site, with an eye toward building a manufacturing or industrial development. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC )

Manufacturing use for Dairyland?


This article has been revised since its original posting.

Sitting empty and unused since 2009, the 228-acre parcel of land that was originally home to Dairyland Greyhound Park may — at last — have a buyer.

According to Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, the city has been informed that a buyer is in a due diligence period, with a sale possible in the near future.

Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch welcomes Vonco Products to the new Salem Business Park. The packaging company will be the first tenant of the park and is relocating to Wisconsin from Lake Villa. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

The Agenda: Miss Illinois seems to be losing some of her charm


Illinois, especially Lake County along the Wisconsin border, must be feeling kind of rejected these days. I shouldn’t compare the once-booming business landscape of the flatlands with that former cheerleader-prom queen from your high school everyone worshipped. But I guess I just did.

Since I used that metaphor, I figure I will just dig a deeper hole. Wisconsin is like the tall, gawky girl who sat next to you in home room. Over the years, she developed into not just a beautiful woman, but one who is incredibly smart and interesting. Oh, and she isn’t on the hook for stealing tens of millions of dollars in state pension funds.

In the past weeks we’ve written stories about several companies who have given Illinois the goodbye look and moved significant operations to Kenosha County. Illinois, the former prom queen, must be feeling kind of hurt. People seem to working diligently to help other girls get a date to the homecoming dance.

The Gateway Technical College Kenosha campus. ( GATEWAY PHOTO )

Gateway training program has helped 51 companies


Gateway Technical College, under grants awarded by the Wisconsin Technical College System, will train more than 400 employees with companies in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties.

The Workforce Advancement Training grants totaling $248,081have been awarded to 12 companies and a multi-company consortium within Gateway’s tri-county educational jurisdiction. The grants awarded to the companies and administered by Gateway are between $8,000 and $50,000, depending on the type of training provided.

Under the grant program, Gateway will perform training at company workplaces during the 2016-17 academic year.

Packaging company Vonco is relocating from Illinois to be the first company to move in the Salem Business Park. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Illinois firm to be first tenant in Salem Business Park


For the second time in two weeks, local business development officials announced the recruitment and relocation of a printing and packaging company from Illinois into a local industrial park.

At a ceremony Thursday, Vonco Products LLC was unveiled as the first tenant of the Salem Business Park. The company and its approximately 85 employees will move across the state line from Villa Park into a purpose-built 80,500-square-foot building in Salem.

“When we began to imagine the (company's) future, it felt like our culture needed to be unleashed without restrictions,” said company owner and president Keith Smith. “We began to ask: 'What if? What if we had a custom-designed building? What if we had a new printing press?'

Christopher Naumann speaks during the fourth annual State of Downtown address Thursday morning at the Kenosha Woman's Club. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

State of Downtown: Making progress


Downtown Kenosha, despite some challenges, is slowly improving its image and progressing along on a master plan that was created to attract new businesses, tenants, and creative ventures, with more than $2.12 million in reinvestment in the area under construction.

Downtown Kenosha Inc. Executive Director Christopher Naumann said that although there are some challenges, there has been progress. During his address at the fourth annual State of Downtown presentation, Naumann noted investments that have come during the 12-month period that started in June 2015, including facade improvements, signage improvements and equipment improvements.

Naumann said 14 new businesses were established during that time frame, producing 50 new full-time jobs and 44 new part-time jobs. Business retention is improving, he said, with several business expansions.

Affiliated Foods Midwest merges, expands footprint

Affiliated Foods Midwest, which has warehouse operations in Kenosha, has merged with Associated Wholesale Grocers.

The combined cooperative will operate as Associated Wholesale Grocers with more 1,000 independent members. The combination of retailers makes AWG the largest wholesale grocery cooperative in the United States, its operators claim.

Affiliated Foods Midwest operates a warehouse and distribution center at 8100 60th St.

( )

Salem Business Park nets first company


Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch will be on hand Thursday for a ceremony at the Salem Business Park where she will unveil the first company to move into the large industrial-business park in western Kenosha County.

The business park, still under development, is located just west of State Road 83 and north of County Highway C in Salem. It has 65 acres of developable land that can be divided into segments of two to 10-plus acres. A tax increment financing district was created to support the development, with funds to be used for sewer, water, roads and curbs.

The Kenosha Area Business Alliance contracted with an outside civil engineering firm and independent public financing consultants to determine the financial feasibility of a business park in western Kenosha County. That process aimed to identify sites, infrastructure, as well as cost to acquire and prepare land. The Salem location was selected from a list that included sites in Paddock Lake, Salem, Twin Lakes and Bristol.

Uline's corporate headquarters in Pleasant Prairie, as seen from the air in July 2014. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Uline remains in growth mode


Uline Corp. will move 600 employees from Lake County, Ill., to the Kenosha area and will add another 500 workers companywide by spring or early summer 2017.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Unick said 200 to 250 of the new employees will fill positions in Kenosha County. Some will work in corporate headquarters positions in Pleasant Prairie and in positions at the company’s newest distribution center, an 800,000-square-foot facility in Kenosha scheduled for completion by spring.

A second headquarters facility, currently under construction on the corporate campus at 12575 Uline Drive in Pleasant Prairie, is also expected to open next year.

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