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

Monday, July 13, 2020
WEDC Report Assesses Ongoing Economic Impact of Pandemic, Outlines Recovery Priorities
“Wisconsin Tomorrow – An Economy for All” has been submitted to Wisconsin lawmakers and the Governor by WEDC. New North will work with WEDC and other state agencies to help address the three top priorities identified, which include:

  • Get Everyone Back to Work: Wisconsin’s workforce has been transformed by COVID-19. Many service-sector jobs, particularly in retail and restaurants, have been eliminated and are not likely to return. It will be crucial to reskill and train people who lost their jobs. The pandemic has reinforced access to high-quality childcare, early childhood education, and health care as essential to the economy.
  • Fix Broadband: The pandemic has highlighted the digital divide in our state. Education, e-commerce, remote working, and even contact with government depend on access to computers and high-speed internet.
  • Support Innovation: Innovation fuels job growth, as well as flexibility and resiliency in our businesses. In a time of constrained resources and risk aversion, Wisconsin has the chance to use its innovative, entrepreneurial spirit to launch its recovery. 
Apprenticeship Program Leads to Hire by Utilities
Tri County News , July 2, 2020
The State Youth Apprenticeship program, sponsored by the Department of Workforce Development, helps students prepare for careers while still in high school.

This program allows the students to develop the technical and specific job skills that employers are seeking. New Holstein High School, working with CESA 6 (a nonprofit, cooperative educational service agency), offers the Youth Apprenticeship program to its students.
Nathan Boehnlein and his parents, Carol and Terrance, review his offer letter from New Holstein Utilities.
During the 2019-’20 academic year, seven students from New Holstein High School participated in the Youth Apprenticeship program.

One of those students, Nathan Boehnlein, worked with New Holstein Utilities (NHU) to learn more about the career of an electric lineworker. During the school year, Boehnlein worked more than 450 hours to become educated on the daily work of an electric lineworker. After working for over eight months for NHU he made the decision that he wanted to pursue a career as a lineworker. NHU had a lineworker retire in April, creating a staff vacancy in the Electric Department. Randy Jaeckels, NHU general manager, said the utility was impressed with Boehnlein’s potential during the youth apprenticeship for a career path as a lineworker.

On May 11, New Holstein Utilities offered Boehnlein a position as an apprentice lineworker. He started his career with NHU on June 8. Boehnlein’s family met with Doug Olig, New Holstein High School principal, and Jaeckels to discuss his experience with the Youth Apprenticeship program and review NHU’s offer letter.  
Businesses Invited to Participate in New Round of COVID-19 Impact Survey Until July 20
Wisconsin businesses are invited to participate in the most recent round of the COVID-19 impact survey being offered by WEDC in collaboration with Wisconsin’s nine regional economic development organizations and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

This is the fourth round of the survey, which is being used to help the sponsoring organizations better understand how to help Wisconsin businesses recover from the pandemic. Responses are due July 20. Businesses that have participated previously in the survey can use this link . Businesses participating for the first time should use this link .
National Retail Updates
The health care industry and retailing's role in it is changing rapidly. Millions of Americans experienced telemedicine for the first time in recent months and in the coming years Walgreens is planning to disrupt how and where people receive care from primary care doctors. The retailer is converting unproductive selling space in as many as 700 stores to a new type of healthcare experience.
This will be the new look of healthcare at as many as 700 stores in 30 markets where Walgreens plans to convert an average of 25% of the space to doctor offices.
COVID-19 is not letting go. Americans are still not safe and it is unclear when the frayed nerves of a nation will be eased by improved treatments or a vaccine. Until then, the work from home phenomenon persists and the longer it does the less likely it becomes workers will want to return to offices. The shift to working from home promises to have a lasting impact on virtually every aspect of retail in ways that are now beginning to be fully understood .
As Independence Day is observed against the backdrop of most unusual circumstances, Walmart highlighted a major accomplishment in support of those who serve and defend the nation
Event Planning during a Pandemic
WEDC Blog Post, June 29, 2020
Events are an essential feature of downtown communities, both attracting attendees from outside the community and bringing people together from within the community to celebrate. With most communities canceling events and unsure when they will be able to resume programming in light of the pandemic, WEDC’s downtown development team is offering some ideas for how communities can adapt. These include a focus on smaller events and virtual events, as well as events that can be planned in a short amount of time—so communities can adopt creative strategies instead of simply going the whole summer without any events.
Think fast: Planning an event in two weeks
Many community events are planned months or even a year in advance, but with so many unknowns amid the pandemic this hasn’t been possible. Now that the prime event season of summer is here, with many communities’ best-loved events canceled, it is still possible to plan events with shorter notice and provide a source of hope, positivity, and connection for your community.

It will be important for events to adhere to the new safety guidelines. For example, with retail stores beginning to reopen, a community might hold a shopping event with social distancing guidelines in place.

Events planned on short notice will need to be promoted virtually, rather than with printed materials. Marketing and promotion can even begin in advance of the event date being finalized; announce the event with dates TBD to begin building excitement and anticipation.
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 Business Counseling Available to Calumet County Businesses
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
City Center Apartments
The Brillion News , July 2, 2020
Construction on the City Center Apartments in downtown Brillion is underway. The project will be four stories, 40 units and have options for 1-3 bedrooms. (David Norby photo/BN)
A rendering of the City Center Apartments, which will include some underground parking .
Note: The Brillion Redevelopment Authority and City of Brillion have persevered for years to bring this WHEDA tax credit project to fruition. Congratulations!
Local Business Updates
PPI announces the completion of major cost improvement program
The Brillion News . July 2, 2020
Working in conjunction with Focus on Energy and Brantmeier Electric of Chilton, Professional Plating Inc. (PPI) embarked on a total and complete changeover to LED lighting in their production facility. This investment amounted to approximately $315,000. Focus on Energy provided input and support to the program. While Brantmeier Electric provided expertise and leadership for a comprehensive successful design and layout that met the needs of the business.
Some of these statistics include the following:
• Focus on Energy Incentive - $19,288
• Demand Savings – 53 kW
• Annual Electric Savings – 348,417 kWh
• Lifecycle Electric Savings–6,025,073 kWh
• Annual Electric Cost Savings - $27,000

Professional Plating remains committed to improving their workplace with the better lighting conditions, as well as reducing the overall long-term footprint of utilities used while reducing costs in doing so.
Shown accepting the Focus on Energy check are (l-r) Carl Weber, PPI Maintenance Manager; Ted Verhaagh, Energy Adviser for Focus on Energy; Mike Brantmeier, Owner of Brantmeier Electric; and Larry Dietz, General Manager of PPI.
Local Cooperatives help with $50K Dairy Donation
Tri County News , July 2, 2020
CP Feeds, LLC along with Country Visions Cooperative have teamed up with some of their supply partners to donate $50,000 of dairy products to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Pallet shipments of butter and cottage cheese will be donated to provide ongoing support of much-needed food to the eastern Wisconsin area as well as support dairy producers and the dairy industry’s supply chain.
Elanco, Church & Dwight, Adisseo, and Balchem are some of the partners, along with Nutra Blend, RP Nutrients, Zinpro, Land O’ Lakes, CHS, and CoBank that have joined with these companies by matching donations and providing additional funding for this effort.
Jim Loefer (left), general manager of CP Feeds, LLC, and Steve Zutz, CEO of Country Visions Cooperative, teamed up to help make a $50,000 donation of dairy products to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin.
Note: It’s nice to see a local business like Country Visions Cooperative involved in such an important project by helping to match dairy farmers and local residents who are food insecure.
Country Visions' Retail Space Opening on Track
By David Nordby, The Brillion News , July 9, 2020
Country Visions Cooperative is still on pace to open the retail portion of its new Brillion location this fall. The farm supply cooperative purchased the former Shopko Hometown on West Ryan Street this spring and is waiting to have plans approved by the state.

Retail, warehousing, and offices will fill the 36,000-square foot steel building that sits on 5.7 acres of property. Those three aspects have been planned for since the purchase was finalized. Approximately 9,500 of the 36,000-square-feet will be open to the public for retail. The goal opening for that is sometime in October. The warehousing and offices are planned to be complete by spring 2021.

The retail area of the building will not have a direct relationship with the
office area. Around 30 employees will work in the corporate area.
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 16
Thursday, July 23
Thursday, July 30
11:00 am - 12:00 noon
The CEO Leadership series continues on Thursday, July 16, and 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.
Explore Starting a Business

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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Thursday, July 16, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
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