MILWAUKEE – The
Brass Rooster, a Milwaukee-based custom hat maker and retailer,
has won a nationwide small-business contest.
John and Kate McLaughlin, the shop owners, beat nearly 1,400
other entrants to win the “Spotlight on America’s Backbone”
contest, which was sponsored by U.S. Cellular Corp. Prizes
include $5,000 cash, up to $25,000 in advertising, a year of
wireless service, four iPad Airs and two iPhone 5s.
Contestants were asked to answer questions about the best and
more challenging parts of owning a small business, as well as
discussing the future of their business.
"It's fantastic to be able to get recognition for the hard work
and commitment my wife and I put into our business," John
McLaughlin said. "We're just blown away and are so lucky to be
affiliated with a company like U.S. Cellular who supports small
businesses. It's really important to us and we're thankful."
The Brass Rooster opened in 2011 at 2479 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.,
Bay View. They make hats by using century-old equipment
purchased from a retired master hatter in Detroit.
"My husband and I are very pro-local business and abide by the
'made in America' mentality," Kate McLaughlin said. "We started
our business during a time when the economy wasn't doing so
well, but we weathered the storm by saving, cutting our budget
and tracking where every last penny was spent. We threw
everything on the line because we believed in what we were