Development in all sectors
Village administrator says outlook of 2018 looks positive

By Brandon Anderegg

Jan. 3, 2018

MUKWONAGO — Over this past year, Mukwonago has seen an influx in the number of businesses from big-brand names like Starbucks and Qdoba to mom-and-pop shops like the Green Rabbit and the Feather and Fringe.

In 2017 alone, 28 businesses joined the Mukwonago Area Chamber of Commerce, according to April Reszka, executive director of the chamber. She said teamwork between the village and the chamber has been instrumental to a growing Mukwonago.

“The synergy between the chamber and the village is critical to offering an inviting environment to make a great impression on potential property buyers, renters and business owners,” said Reszka. According to Village Administrator John Weidl, the village has seen an increase in development in all sectors, which includes public, private and nonprofit.

“In the early 20-teens, we were building $6 million a year and now in 2017, we’re at $12 to $14 million a year,” said Weidl. “We’ve exceeded our rolling five-year average for new growth every year I’ve been here.”

Larger businesses like the YMCA in Mukwonago have expanded, but business has boomed for even the smaller shops like the Country Porch at 110 Main St., according to owner Ken Kurt.

“The small business, at least in Mukwonago, is considerably better than it was in 2016,” said Kurt. “I can also speak for other dealers in town. They’ve done a whole lot better than last year.”

Kurt said people are willing to spend money nowadays and there is a greater appreciation for uniquely crafted art. He also said the new presidential administration has motivated people to buy products from the United States.

“They like it handmade in the USA, let’s put it that way,” said Kurt. “People are willing to spend more money on not just art, but functional art.”

Moreover, small businesses like End of the Leash owned by Susie Bower-Rodriguez and her husband Joe Rodriquez have become an integral part of the community from providing teens with their first job to hosting a variety of community events. “Our employees live and work in our communities,” said Bower-Rodriguez. “We are constantly trying to be a part of the community and give back when we can.”

She said 2017 was actually the slowest year since the store opened in 2005. However, she said this has been the case for many stores due to online competition from Amazon and other big-box retailers.

To get ahead, Bower-Rodriguez and her husband are thinking out of the box and have been adapting to internet competition by providing their customers with a special experience that can’t be replicated online, she said.

“It’s a fun environment and we provide a unique atmosphere even for people who don’t have pets,” said Bower-Rodriguez.

She said community involvement, partnering with local businesses for events and loyal customers have kept them going and will continue to do so into the new year.

Big plans

A few of 2018’s larger development prospects include a new Aurora Health Center in Mukwonago to be located at 120 Chapman Farms Blvd.; and ProHealth Care, which will add a multimillion dollar expansion on their current facility at 240 Maple Ave., according to Weidl. He said the business climate is good and will continue improve in the coming years.

“The village is going to continue doing what it can to be a business-friendly and family-friendly environment,” he said. “Anecdotes aren’t evidence, but every year when we meet with local businesses, they all say they are exceeding expectations.”