Focus on Calumet
A bi-weekly update on economic development opportunities in Calumet County
and the region for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities.

Monday, June 29, 2020
WEDC “We’re All In” Grant Application Update
Over 50 small businesses based in Calumet County that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 applied for $2,500 “We’re All In" grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Thanks to all the businesses for applying, and for the assistance from Chambers of Commerce, lenders, accountants, and others who assisted in getting the applications turned in by the deadline. We’ll follow this story and hope to report on local business successes as grant decisions are made.
UWO COVID-19 Economic Impact Survey Shows Wisconsin Businesses Pivoting to Online Services
Wisconsin businesses continue to demonstrate resilience during the pandemic as 41% of respondents to a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh statewide economic survey indicate they have introduced or expanded online services over the last three months.
“The survey results illustrate a business community that is reopening. Like any economic shock or natural disaster, the early days of this process have brought a reassessment of conditions and plans to move forward,” said Jeffrey Sachse, director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS). “Responding businesses have proven extremely resilient but challenges remain in tourism-driven and customer-facing industries.”
Results from the third in a series of monthly impact surveys also revealed that businesses continue to seek financial assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis, with 60% of respondents requesting assistance and 52.4% receiving aid.
“Estimates of business survivability increased, with only 10% of respondents estimating survivability of less than three months,” Sachse said. “It will be important to continue to assess this measure throughout the summer as many businesses continue to operate with significant restrictions.”
Appleton and Green Bay Among Wisconsin Metros Gaining in Ecosystem Ranking
Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Appleton made significant gains in a leading startup ecosystem ranking of 100 countries and 1,000 cities, registering “amazing momentum,” according to the report’s authors. 

StartupBlink is a global start up ecosystem map and research center that works with dozens of governments, municipalities, and economic development corporations on the development, mapping, and benchmarking of their startup ecosystems, and support networks for entrepreneurs.

Green Bay’s ranking of 446th was up 44 places, while Appleton came in at 581st, an improvement of 35 spots. Madison rose 26 spots in StartupBlink’s 2020 Global Rankings Report to 98th globally, while Milwaukee jumped 31 spots to 132nd.
“The positive showing of Wisconsin cities in StartupBlink’s global startup ecosystem ranking is a testament to the culture of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that exists throughout our state,” said Aaron Hagar, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation. “Four of our local communities ranking highly among the top 1,000 globally showcases the strength and passion for startups and small businesses we see throughout Wisconsin and is continued evidence that supporting entrepreneurs is good for our local communities as well as the state’s overall economy.”

StartupBlink’s 2020 Global Rankings Report is  available for download here . A profile of Madison appears on page 218 of the report. The StartupBlink interactive database and map is accessible at . Wisconsin startups have the ability—and are encouraged—to add their own information to StartupBlink’s database directly on this site, so the full breadth of entrepreneurial activity in Wisconsin can be represented. StartupBlink’s annual report is read by tens of thousands of decision-makers and has been featured in more than 1,000 articles to date.
Durable Goods Shipments Begin to Bounce Back
Industry Week, by IW Staff , June 25, 2020
In May, new orders of durable goods increased by $26.6 billion to $194.4 billion in May, an increase of 15.8%. The sharp rise in new orders begins to erase losses generated by two months of crushing COVID-19 related losses: new orders fell by 18.1% in April, and only slightly less in March. Increases in orders were driven mainly by transportation equipment, which shot up 80.7% from $20.9 billion to $46.9 billion.
Shipments and unfilled orders of durable goods also increased in May following two months of decline, but lagged behind new orders. Durable goods shipments increased 4.4% to $198.5 billion following a decline, in April, of 18.6%. Shipments of transportation equipment rose 12.1% to $46.5 billion. Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods only rose 0.1% to $1,108.6 billion, which follows a loss in April of 1.5%.
Brief Retail Updates
From Mike Troy, Retail Leader
Target continues to take action  regarding employee relations. This week, the company recognized a new holiday  commemorating the end of slavery and followed through on a pledge to increase wages permanently to $15/hour .

Walmart is venturing deeper into health care with a notable acquisition that gives it talent and technology to help reduce patient cost and manage access to services .
Financially distressed shoppers have a friend in Amazon after the online giant waived its Prime fees and worked with USDA to expand access to SNAP program participants in 36 states including Wisconsin. Food deserts may be a thing of the past .
REMINDER: Business COVID-19 Support Resources
  • The Calumet County Small Business Disaster Loan Fund still has funds available to provide loans of up to $5,000 at 1% interest to Calumet County businesses.
  • The US Chamber of Commerce has created a customizable workplace flyer suitable for use with employees and customers.
  • WEDC’s 15 specific industry reopening guidelines for businesses are very thorough and contain specific instructions for safely operating nearly every type of business from small to large.
  • The NEW Manufacturing Alliance has created a COVID-19 Directory to facilitate connections between companies offering personal protective equipment and related products and services and companies seeking them. Click here to visit the directory.  
  • The CDC has updated face covering guidance including washing and drying instructions.
FREE Small Business Survival Coaching Available Throughout Calumet County
This is a challenging time for many small business owners and Calumet County wants to help. That's why a new partnership has been started with the Rural Ideas Network to offer all small businesses free access to " Small Business Survival Coaching" until June 30, 2020.

The Rural Ideas Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that specializes in helping rural entrepreneurs and communities spark growth. Their experienced business coaching team will help develop an Outbreak Survival Plan through a series of virtual one-on-one sessions. This service is specifically designed to help create relevant solutions to the current crisis. Working with a coach, participants will:

1. Complete a cash flow analysis
2. Learn about any available disaster relief funding
3. Consider alternative income opportunities (online, etc.)
4. Review tools and strategies for remote working (if it’s an option)
5. Evaluate down-time improvement opportunities

This service doesn’t replace the SBDC counseling services offered by Ray York. It is an enhancement to that service because the Rural Ideas Network has a larger staff capacity and is able to spend more time with each business. It may be especially useful for businesses that are trying to determine disaster relief funding, assess their continued viability, or just need an external set of eyes and ears to help make critical business decisions.
Business counseling is also available through the Small Business Development Center. Ray York is eager to serve entrepreneurs and start-ups that are considering going in to business, and it isn’t too late for businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19 to contact the SBDC. Use the online contact form, or reach Ray by phone (920-946-9379) or email.
Community Updates
Sale of City Land in Chilton
Chilton Journal, June 18, 2020
A recommendation is being made to the Chilton City Council to approve the purchase of approximately six acres in the TID #6 for approximately $3,000 per acre.

Bob Cullen informed the City Plan Commission that for the last one and a half years he has been working with Kaytee on putting a 100,000 square foot warehouse up similar to what he did for Briess. The proposed development is located west of the former Vogt homestead off Irish Road and is in TID #6. The development will consist of approximately six acres of land. Cullen said time is of the essence.

Kaytee is planning on putting production in the plant on the other side of the railroad tracks and they need warehousing. The biggest challenge for Cullen is that Kaytee wants to be in by November 30. The problem Cullen is experiencing is the pressure of time. According to Cullen, the tax revenue for the development would be somewhere between $36,000 and $42,000 per year. Kaytee would sign a seven-year lease with the option to purchase. Cullen stated he has been working with Al Mueller at Kaytee and their CEOs.

Kaytee has a lot of trailers and they want to get them into a warehouse. Cullen thought the project was still a year out, but then all of a sudden, they need the warehouse now.

City Mayor Tom Reinl said, utilities can be brought in from the back side of the lot which will help expedite the project. Cullen has spoken with J & E Construction and they are willing to help him achieve the short timeline for completion of the project.
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton to Close Doors for 2020, Plans to Resume Live Performances in 2021
Andy Thompson , Appleton Post-Crescent, June 25
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will close its doors to audiences in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was announced Thursday. The PAC intends to resume normal operations in 2021.
“While it is heartbreaking that, in the current climate, we cannot gather in person for live performances, it is the right decision to keep our staff, volunteers, touring artists and community safe,” Fox Cities PAC President Maria Van Laanen said in a news release.
“As we work with the touring industry, health care professionals, and our government agencies to determine the best way to move forward, we must make the hard decision to close our doors until 2021 in order to preserve our community’s gathering place for generations to come,” Van Laanen said.
The PAC will announce 2021 performances in August, she said.
Local Business Updates
The Chilton Furniture Difference is Inviting You to Visit - Top 10 Reasons
By Mike Mathes, Tri County News , New Holstein Progress Edition, May 28, 2020
Selecting home furnishings can be a challenging experience. Whether you are trying to select one item, upgrading the design of a room, choose the right bedding, or furnish a whole apartment or home – the questions can be overwhelming.

Where do you begin looking? How can you find what you are looking for? How can you make the most appropriate choices? The task can be daunting … unless you start by embracing the Chilton Furniture experience.

As the area’s most complete home furnishings showroom and design center, Chilton Furniture offers many advantages to help your planning and selection process.

The invitation is open. Chilton Furniture welcomes you into its amazing showroom for an enjoyable, relaxing shopping excursion. The invitation is simple, you are encouraged to “Come and experience the Chilton Furniture Difference.” TM

Top Ten Reasons
If the open invitation isn’t enough to convince you to make Chilton Furniture your first home furnishings stop, then consider The Top Ten Reasons to entrust your home furnishings needs to the tradition of great customer experiences at Chilton Furniture.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons customers choose Chilton furniture, and keep coming back! We have numbered them for your convenience – but they are all priority reasons in our eyes.
Tri-City Keeps Hopping During Shutdown
By Mark Sherry, Tri County News , New Holstein Progress Edition,
May 28, 2020
Like many small businesses throughout the world, the doors to Tri-City Small Engine in New Holstein have been locked for the last several months because of the virus pandemic. That does not mean, however, that nothing has been happening behind those doors.
Josh, Scott, and Matt Buechel (l-r) along with Rudy, of course -- have made improvements to their Tri-City Small Engine showroom and shop and remained very busy during the pandemic shutdown.
As a matter of fact, Tri-City Small Engine has been a beehive of activity. That is usually the case at this time of the year as people pull out their yard equipment and decide to get it tuned up or fixed for the season ahead, or they decide it is time for a new piece of equipment – perhaps something their stimulus check can help fund.

But for Scott and Lori Buechel and sons Josh and Matt, the pandemic shutdown has only made one of their usual busy seasons even busier. With many people finding they have more free time at home, they have stepped up their lawn and garden efforts – and Tri-City Small Engine is a popular destination when equipment breaks down or does not work. In addition, Scott said a number of other repair shops in the region shuttered their businesses during the pandemic, bringing even more business to the New Holstein shop.
Endries Announces New Acquisition
The Brillion News , June 11, 2020
Endries International announced last week that it has acquired All-West Components & Fasteners Inc. All-West was founded in 1978 in Seattle, Wash. with the help of Rick Peterson, the current CEO of the company and past president of both the Pacific-West Fastener Association and STAFDA. Mark Peterson, Rick’s brother, joined the organization in 1982, and has been the company’s president since 2015.

Over the past 30 years, All-West has been focused on serving the original equipment manufacturing market and providing technical fastener solutions to their customer base. Operating under ISO 9001 accreditation, the company’s 24 associates operate from a headquarters in the Seattle suburb of Auburn, Wash. and branches in Spokane, Wash. and Boise, Idaho.

Endries is a leading distributor of fasteners and Class-C parts serving industrial Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s) worldwide. From its headquarters in Brillion and eight U.S. and international distribution centers, Endries provides over 500,000 SKUs to its customer base. Endries operates primarily through a Vendor Managed Inventory model, managing C-part categories for its customers across diverse industrial end markets. Endries partners with OEM customers through robust replenishment systems that provide products and support services which are critical to maintaining the manufacturing process.

“We are excited with the top level team of associates that will be joining the Endries family. The cultural and customer service philosophies that Rick and Mark have built aligns perfectly with the foundation at Endries. This acquisition will enhance Endries’ ability to grow our business with the combined expansion of our product offerings and geographic footprint that All-West brings in the Pacific Northwest,” said Steve Endries, President of Endries.
Upcoming Events
Register today to share your company's job openings at the July 15 Drive Thru Job Fair.
Click here for more information about the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association's first ever drive thru job fair on July 15.
#CloseTheDistance - CEO Leadership Conversations on Pandemic Business Recovery Strategies

Thursday, July 9
Thursday, July 16
11:00 am - 12:00 noon
The CEO Leadership series is returning on Thursday, July 9, to continue each Thursday at 11:00 am over the summer. Learn how Wisconsin's business leaders are adapting their organizations to survive the COVID-19 crisis and thrive in the Next Normal emerging economy to come.
Marketing Made Lean
Marketing Made Lean is a four-part, 12-hour marketing series designed for marketing professionals and small businesses.
This series enables you to solidify your value proposition and align products/services with your customer’s needs. You'll identify current and potential customer segments, maximize your marketing resources while driving sales and profits, explore and develop your marketing channels and create customer service strategies. You won't want to miss this engaging and interactive series!

Wednesdays, July 8 - July 29, 2020  
Fee: $199
Virtual, Instructor-Led I   Details  I  Register
Explore Starting a Business

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Details   Register
Work for Yourself
at 50+
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Finance Your Business, the Right Way
Give yourself permission and time to fully understand your business financials and make better decisions.
Join the FVTC Venture Center and SCORE Fox Cities for this NEW, dynamic series. Discover how to receive the loan or investment you need to launch your startup or grow your small business. This workshop series is for startup and growth companies in all life stages and within all industries.

Mondays, July 13-August 3, 2020 | 8:00 am - 12:00 noon
Fee: $399.00
Virtual, Instructor-Led
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