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Montessori’s Renaissance Faire, page 15

Inland Seas School, page 8

Volume 5 • Issue 7

July 2008

Doing business in Bay View By Carl Engelking & Michael Timm


n the past five years, many independent businesses have blossomed along Kinnickinnic Avenue, driving rapid growth and promise for the street—but a promise not completely delivered. For the second part of our business analysis series we talked with owners of one-of-a-kind Bay View businesses, both new and long

This year 1,400 people per week are expected to patronize 42 vendors for the 17 weeks of the market. ~photo Katherine Keller

Volunteers, vendors create summer institution

South Shore Farmers Market marks 10 seasons By Jill Rothenbueler Maher “There’s a spirit at the market. Once you have experienced it you don’t want to go anywhere magine throwing a party without any else. You can sing in your tent and dance in your partygoers. That was the original fear of tent and no one looks at you like you are nuts,” the volunteer organizers of the first South said Mertens. Shore Farmers Market, a Bay View institution which started humbly 10 years ago. The orgaMertens works in her tent herself and recnizers sent letters of invitation to farmers within ognizes many customers. She even introduces an hour’s drive of Bay View. “We really did not newcomers to other people and hands out free know if anybody was going to come that first bread loaves to new parents. year,” said Kathy Mulvey, organizing commitJohn Miksa, co-owner of The Natural Path tee member. In the first year, seven vendors apLLC, has sold natural products like soaps and peared in South Shore Park. offered chair massages at the market for seven Concerns slid away as the open-air market years. He appreciates the sense of community focusing on fresh, Wisconsin food gained moamong vendors and customers. mentum, with 15 vendors by the end of 1999. “It is like a family reunion, especially the first Its size and popularity increased around 2001, day of the market,” said Miksa, who loads his Mulvey said, and then plateaued until about supplies in a car each Friday night, before driv2004. It has burgeoned since 2005, with added ing from his Delaware Avenue storefront to entertainment and an earlier mid-June start to South Shore Park each rain-free Saturday mornthe season. ing. Miksa, who doesn’t use a tent, doesn’t atCrowd estimates have grown from three to four digits. This year, over 1,400 people per week are expected “There’s a spirit at the market. Once you have to patronize 42 vendors for the 17 experienced it you don’t want to go anywhere else. weeks from June through October, You can sing in your tent and dance in your tent and no one looks at you like you are nuts.” Mulvey said.


—Dolly Mertens, Wild Flour Bakery

Variety of Vendors Market vendors describe the community atmosphere and good organization of the market. Dolly Mertens of Wild Flour Bakery has been a vendor since 1999 and is enthusiastic about the market. Her company participates in several area markets, but South Shore is her favorite and her tent has been profitable.

tend on rainy days because his soaps would be ruined. Weather is also a factor for longtime vendor Dave Jurena, co-owner of The Soup Market, who sells soup and added root beer this year. The owners monitor the forecast and scale back production if significant rain is expected, Jurena said. Set-up for vendors involves preparing tent, table, and merchandise. The Saturday routine begins around 3:30am for Lynn Lein of Yuppie Hill Poultry, in her ninth year at the market. She does chores on her farm, then arrives at the park by 7am to set up and cook for the 8am opening. Yuppie Hill prepares and sells about 200 breakfast sandwiches and 70 to 100 lunch sandwiches each Saturday. Lein’s mother, sister, and nieces help cook and

Families enjoy the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra June 21. ~photo Jill Rothenbueler Maher


“It’s the wrong time to be raising rents here,” said Ikeler. “If you want to keep businesses here I don’t understand why landlords would do this.”

Business owners would like vacant storefronts on KK filled up—for aesthetic reasons and to generate more daytime foot traffic and crossover business. ~photo Michael Timm

the block.” Steve Goretzko, owner of Sven’s Café, 2699 S. KK, looks at the vacancies as a reminder that established, to get their perspectives on the uncertainty still exists for the future of KK. local business climate. He believes that development of the area is at We focused on KK, and although we didn’t a tipping point, and although growth has been speak to every business, certain themes emerged strong, it could still go either way. Goretzko about doing business in Bay View. thinks that filling vacancies is essential for the success of KK. Low rental costs have fueled much of the rapid growth and appeal in the area. But as the “What happens if you fill every storefront?” desirability of Bay View increases, the low rents Goretzko said. “[Then] Everyone’s got double that attracted businesses for years are beginning the business.” He said filling the vacancies with to rise, and some businesses feel they’re being shops that are open daily would increase foot priced out. traffic, benefiting all the businesses. Lori Bansemer, owner of the Bay View Barber, Parking is another issue that surfaced with saw rent for her former 300-square-foot shop at business owners, and it’s an issue of feast or fam2421 S. KK jump from $760 a month to $1,095 ine on KK. Some storeowners lack any parking, in one year. Although she acquired the business while others have plenty. Though local patrons two years ago, Bay View Barber existed for more may be more familiar with places to park, people than 40 years at that location. Bansemer moved from outside down the street to the forBay View “We can’t raise our prices,” said Newman. mer Puente’s Barber Shop may overlook location. But she fears in- “We can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re trendy now so these public our prices are going to go up.’” creasing costs will force her parking areas to relocate again. or get confused by the complicated street grid. “If this trend continues I won’t bring my business down here anymore,” said Bansemer. Stacy Stangarone owns Annona Bistro, 2643 S. KK, with her husband Joe. “Business is not Fashion Ninja owner Areka Ikeler is also seeflourishing like we thought it was going to,” she ing rent rise at 2671 S. KK, a building that went said, attributing this mainly to lack of parking. on and off the real estate market in the space of a few months. She would like to see angled parking implemented on the street, not only to free up spots, Her current store is too small, she said, and but also to slow down traffic. She feels that people she’d like to move into a larger facility. She drive too fast down KK and miss the stores along would consider relocating her business outside the street. And trying to cross the street is “like Bay View if the rent were more competitive playing Frogger,” she said. elsewhere. Christine Wakeam owns Spare Parts Antiques, “It’s the wrong time to be raising rents here,” 2210 S. KK, and blames local delivery vehicles said Ikeler. “If you want to keep businesses here for some parking woes. I don’t understand why landlords would do this.” “Jimmy John’s is really the thorn in my side. Their delivery cars take up between four and six Taxes concern small business owners who are spots all day and night,” said Wakeam. also property owners. Wakeam suggested that their delivery drivers Julie Newman, owner of Shape Up Shoppe, park their vehicles off KK to open up spots for 2697 S. KK, saw her property taxes skyrocket potential retail customers. this year. Her taxes on average went up roughly $200 to $300 annually. This year, her taxes went A number of businesses in the area offer ample up almost $2,000. parking for their customers. Sven’s, Brickyard Gym, and Classic Slice Pizza all either share or “We can’t raise our prices,” said Newman. SEE PAGE 10 “We can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re trendy now so our prices are going to go up.’” Filling Gaps & Finding Spaces While property taxes and rental costs are pressuring existing businesses, many slots along KK remain vacant, some for years. KK business owners are concerned these vacancies are having an adverse affect on the area. Jennifer Morales owns Broad Vocabulary, 2241 S. KK, which carries a unique collection of feminist publications. Three vacant storefronts separate her store from the next occupied building to the south, Café LuLu. She said the vacant buildings are filled with garbage and are an eyesore to the public. “Not only do these vacancies look bad,” said Morales, “I feel like they divide the street and discourage people from walking further down

INSIDE Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 4 Pg 5 Pg 6 Pg 7 Pg 8 Pg 9 Pg 10 Pg 12 Pg 13 Pg 13 Pg 14

Meet Tailor Hans Billerbeck Seminary Woods Letter Campaign Four Libraries Could Close Sales Tax for Our Parks, Buses? Options for Bay View Schools Meet Rudi: Scientist Paparazzo New Crew-Based School Volunteers Landscape BVHS Willie & Uecker Reviewed Breathalyzers Inside Cars? Solar Village for Army Reserve? A History of Groppi’s Summer Spent Locally

July 2008  

July 2008 Issue

July 2008  

July 2008 Issue