Focus on Calumet

A bi-weekly update on economic development in the Calumet County region for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities.
Monday | November 21, 2022
The Silver Tsunami in Business Ownership
Nationally, our local business landscape is going through a dramatic shift. In Wisconsin, nearly 50,000 privately held businesses are owned by Baby Boomers -- people aged 55 and over. These businesses employ 671,000 people with a $26 billion payroll and $135 billion in revenues. In Calumet County, which is slightly younger than other counties, 46% of privately-held businesses, or 291, are owned by people over age 55. (Source: WI Center for Employee Ownership
With almost half of privately-held businesses with employees having owners over age 55, there will be a massive ownership changeover of locally-held businesses as owner retirements move forward in the upcoming years. The vast majority of these business owners do not have a succession plan in place, and increasingly, many are finding it hard to find a buyer when they are ready to sell. As a result, some of these companies will quietly close, a small percent will be passed on to family members, others will sell to another local owner, and some will be sold to a larger company or out of area buyer.  
Succession plans can take 5-10 years of dedicated planning to successfully implement. Local business owners who are interested in learning more about succession planning, or who would like free support to begin a succession planning process are encouraged to contact Mary Kohrell to take the first steps. 
Scoops Ice Cream in Chilton Wins Major Awards
by WFRV Local 5 Live, November 15, 2022
The votes are in, and Scoops Ice Cream House in Chilton makes some of the best desserts in the nation.

At the North American Ice Cream Association Conference in Fort Worth, Texas the team received four awards for their Milk Chocolate, Death by Chocolate, Madagascar Vanilla, and Strawberry.

Editor’s Note: We’ve always known Scoops makes the best ice creams around, and now there’s proof. Congratulations, Scoops!
When JB Arepas opened on Nov. 5 at 2303 S. Oneida St., owner Esther Palermo described the response as "crazy," with large numbers of people coming in. "It's very cool," she said.
Palermo, her husband Jesus, and their three children operate the restaurant in a plaza next to Trigales Bakery, just down the street from Niemuth's Southside Market. The family has lived in the Fox Cities for six years, Palermo said and started serving food last summer at area farmer's markets.
On JB Arepas's menu, arepas are filled with several kinds of toppings, stuffed with cheese, or put into soup. The restaurant also serves savory empanadas and tequeños, which are Venezuelan cheese sticks that Palermo says are, "like cheese curds."

You can find out more about the restaurant through its Facebook page.
Ariens Company Museum Hosts K-8 Education Night
By David Nordby, The Brillion News, November 17, 2022
The Ariens Company Museum in Brillion is quickly becoming a go-to spot for area education and other community events.
The museum hosted ‘K-8 Education Open House Night’ last Thursday and welcomed teachers from nearby Brillion to other districts like De Pere. “We have STEM stops that they’ll see along the way when they go to the museum,” Keith Polkinghorne, who is the museum’s curriculum developer and educator, said.
The museum has undergone major revamping over the past half-decade. It now has a built-in education center for primarily K-8 students. >>Read More 
Going Off-Grid
FTI’s Lakeside Vision Center helps customers see the possibilities of renewable energy
By Meghan Diemel, Insight on Manufacturing
Located just outside of Stockbridge on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, the Lakeside Vision Center is helping manufacturers and other interested business leaders imagine what’s possible with off-grid microgrids, eMobility charging and digital power solutions.

The 19,000-square-foot, multifunction meeting and lodging space is the brainchild of Faith Technologies Inc. and its division brands Excellerate and EnTech Solutions. FTI officials see it as an embodiment of the future of the company, where customers and the community can see energy independence through the execution of new technologies in real time.

Tom Clark, Faith Technologies’ chief experience officer, says the company made the strategic decision to engage in this market because it aligns with the company’s vision to not only develop practical energy solutions, but become the leader in clean energy solutions. Clark says one of the largest future challenges the country will face is energy production; this center helps current and potential customers understand the possibilities of renewable energy. >>Read More
Grant Opportunities
Employee Retention Credit (ERC) for Restaurants
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association together with Adesso Capital is excited to help put money back in restaurant budgets. Restaurants may be eligible to apply for the ERC tax credit for retaining employees during the pandemic, up to $26,000 per W2 employee, even if you received PPP funding. 
Vibrant Spaces Grant
Wisconsin Economic Development has issued it’s newest grant program -- the new Vibrant Spaces Grant. It is a pilot program within the Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant Program, is designed to assist with creating vibrant and engaging communities that make it easier to recruit and retain residents, sustain a robust labor force and enhance local quality of life. Grants in amounts from $25,000 to $50,000 are available to help local communities develop and enhance public spaces. Applicants must agree to provide a 1:1 match of the grant amount. >>Learn More
Main Street Bounceback Grants
The Main Street Bounceback Grant program provides $10,000 to new or existing businesses and non-profit organizations moving into vacant properties in Wisconsin’s downtowns and commercial corridors. Funds can be used to pay leases or mortgages, operational expenses, and other business costs related to the newly opened location.

The reimbursement grant program is open to new or existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space as of January 1, 2021. Calumet County. Contact the grant program coordinator at East Central WI Regional Planning Commission for information. Application deadline is Dec. 31, 2022.
Calumet County Business Start-Up and Expansion Assistance
WWBIC Training & Programs Catalog
WWBIC is a leading innovative statewide economic development corporation that’s been “Putting Dreams to Work” since 1987. WWBIC helps open the doors of opportunity by providing underserved individuals who are interested in starting, strengthening or expanding businesses with access to critical resources such as responsible financial products and quality business and financial training. >>View WWBIC's Training and Programs Catalog
Business Start-Up and Expansion Assistance
Ray York of the Small Business Development Center serves Calumet County with business assistance to existing and start-up businesses throughout the county. Small Business Development Center services are available at no cost to businesses. Ray’s goal is to provide opportunities to clients by guiding them to make informed decisions to start, expand, or transition their business. He can be reached by phone at (920) 946-9379 or
Upcoming Events
Marketplace Conference: Connecting Wisconsin Business Owners
Presented by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, MARKETPLACE is the Governor’s Annual Conference on Diverse Business Development. This event, being held Dec. 6 and 7, connects business owners from across Wisconsin seeking to do business with state, federal and local governments as well as the private sector. The conference provides the opportunity for established minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ+-owned businesses and small businesses to learn from and connect with resource providers, government representatives, corporate buyers and business professionals to lay a foundation for new partnerships and business opportunities.
E-seed Express: Entrepreneurship Training at FVTC
Thinking of starting a business? Need help? E-seed™ Express assists start-up, early-stage entrepreneurs and experienced small business owners in developing management and planning tools for their businesses. Participants develop a business plan through completion of weekly activities and business planning templates. Experts provide insight into legal, management, marketing, technology, accounting and financing aspects of operating a successful small business. >>Additional Information and Registration
Business & Industry Complimentary Training
Fox Valley Technical College offers a variety of small business-oriented free training and seminars monthly. Please visit their website to view their calendar of classes.

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