Kettle Moraine Appliance's new location offers shoppers state-of-the art experience

By Sheryl Popp - Special to Conley Media

May 20, 2019

 Kettle Moraine owner Jim Otten is flanked by his family as he cuts the ribbon to his new store on Pioneer Road in Cedarburg.
Photo by Mark Justesen

CEDARBURG — Kettle Moraine Appliance of Cedarburg is now the largest appliance showroom in Wisconsin. On May 15, the business had its official grand opening ribbon-cutting. It took owner Jim Otten four years to reach that moment.

Otten has owned Kettle Moraine Appliance in West Bend since 2000, when he bought it from his brother, who founded the business in 1986. In its early days, the store sold Tappan and Speed Queen appliances. Over time, the store expanded both in brand names and types of merchandise sold. Otten often thought about having a second store in Cedarburg.

“We serviced a lot of appliances in Ozaukee County for years,” he said. “I thought this was the perfect place to expand.”

The second Kettle Moraine Appliance store opened on Washington Avenue in Cedarburg in 2012. Within a few years, Otten noticed the Formart Container building while driving his daughters to gymnastics classes. “I thought it would make a great warehouse for us,” he said.

Otten made contact with the building’s owners, but they could not agree on a price. The building was listed with a real estate agent for a year, and was then for sale by the owner for a year. After that, Otten revisited with the building’s owners and an agreement was reached two years ago.

“They had not produced anything for three years,” said Otten. “There were several fires and the roof needed to be replaced. Everything had to be brought back up to code.”

Once he began to absorb just how big 72,000 square feet really was, Otten decided to use half the building as a state-of-the-art showroom and half as a warehouse. He served as his own general contractor on the remodel. American Design from West Bend is responsible for the overall design of the new space. It now has plenty of space between displays and plenty of room for lounge space, offices and desks on the first floor.

 The 72,000-square-foot showroom means that a whole lot of appliances can be showcased.
Photo by Mark Justesen

A second floor has more offices and a conference room. The color scheme of bold gray, muted orange and the original, rescued medium-blue floor makes a pleasing impression. The floor is made of acid-stained concrete. It went through a four-step grinding process, then was stained, burnished and finally polished. It adds a great deal of character to the showroom.

But Job 1 was emptying the building.

“Part of our arrangement was that I bought it as-is,” Otten said. “All the machinery and pots were still here. It was an enormous effort to get everything out to dumpsters. It took a whole year to do the demo. Empty, it was something to see. I had always wanted to build something from scratch.”

Otten wanted functional test kitchens and six feet between everything. He added new lines of appliances; GE, Miehle and LG. The mattress showroom was expanded and bedroom furniture was added. Parking is expanded and more concrete will be poured out behind the building for truck usage.

“Everything here is tenfold bigger than our other stores,” Otten said. “We are really happy with the outcome. The shell of this building was in great shape. It was important to the city that we brought it back. And all the people who have visited since our soft opening have been really complimentary.”


Kettle Moraine Appliance & Sleep Center
N144 W6050 Pioneer Road Cedarburg

Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.