West Bend Commons Task Force aims to encourage entrepreneurs

By Brianna Stubler

March 26, 2019

Traffic moves along Main Street Monday morning in downtown West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

WEST BEND The West Bend Commons Task Force met Monday to prepare updates for a meeting next week.

Committee chair Peggy Fischer said it was a great meeting and she will put together a more formal informative review for the bid board.

The group consisted of Fischer, two members of the Downtown Association, Adam Gitter and four Business Improvement District board members. They discussed a grant opportunity and timelines.

Member Tony Jasen suggested the group work to drive traffic downtown to promote area businesses, and the task force has since been working on plans to do so. After discussion, they decided foot traffic would be beneficial and could further other city goals, which could have a positive domino effect on the city.

Another suggestion by Jasen that has since been furthered is an entrepreneurial grant opportunity. One way to make this possible is securing a reduced rent for an entrepreneur in the beginning stages and gain footing downtown.

Overall assistance was discussed including marketing, banking, legal services, information technology, space, networking lunches, lending and Small Business Administration assistance, monthly mentoring meetings, and an onboard program facilitated by the city.

Task force members agreed to reach out to people throughout West Bend to lend a hand in this endeavor. In this way, whomever receives the grant will be handed the necessary tools to succeed and have important connections as well. It also furthers the process of starting new businesses and ensures the niche that led to past successes is continued, Fischer said, possibly encouraging others to set up shop in West Bend.

By the end of April, the task force plans to meet with grant partners.

West Bend presently offers 10 community services, 19 financial service companies, 22 restaurants, 23 health and beauty stores, 34 shopping-related enterprises and 41 service providers. Through this grant, the city is looking to increase those numbers as well as the diversity of offerings to residents and visitors alike.