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0914, 06 May 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Four branches of Guaranty Bank closing in Washington County

The Feds have shut down Guaranty Bank in Milwaukee and the fallout will affect four branches located in stores across Washington County. According to the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – Guaranty Bank branches inside retail outlets that will not reopen in Washington County include the Walmart locations in West Bend and Hartford, the Pick ‘n Save in Germantown and the Piggly Wiggly in Slinger. Branches in Washington County that will re-open during normal business hours include the West Bend branch at 876 S. Main Street.

New Honda car dealership coming to West Bend.

There’s a Honda car dealership coming to West Bend. Morrie’s Automotive Group of Minneapolis was officially awarded “the point” in April.

“We’re excited to open a Honda store in West Bend,” said Karl Schmidt, CEO with Morrie’s since 2009.

“They are specific in their naming structure so it would be Honda of West Bend or Morrie’s Honda –something like that.”

Schmidt was in West Bend on Friday, April 31 scouting properties. “We met with Ben Weiland from CBRE and we flew over and looked at real estate and made a few calls,” Schmidt said.

An exact location for the new dealership is expected to be determined within the next week; the new store should be operational in 12 months.

“In order for that to happen we have to start construction in 4 to 5 months from now,” Schmidt said. “The manufacturer has an expectation to function on five acres and the store will probably have $60 to $70 million in total revenue selling 1,500 to 2,000 new and used cars a year.”

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said the Morrie’s group sounds a bit like “the Twin Cities version of Russ Darow.”

“It’s absolutely exciting for West Bend,” said Sadownikow. “Honda is a big name and not only from a development standpoint but bringing visitors from outside the area; we’re looking for that.”

In terms of another car dealership coming to West Bend, Sadownikow said overall the city’s business base is pretty well rounded.

“It’s a positive we’re an attractant for a national automobile dealer franchise,” he said. “It’s a positive our community is being recognized as being viable not just for Ford, Chevy, GMC and Chevy which we’ve had for a long, long time but now Nissan and Honda taking a look at West Bend is important.”

Craig Sorbo, general manager of Russ Darrow Chrysler, said West Bend will be a good fit for Honda. “The more the merrier; it’s just going to drive more people to this community,” he said.

Sorbo talked about a strong bond with other area auto dealers like Heiser and Boucher. “Right now everybody’s on the same page and we want to do what’s best for the community, what’s best for the customers and I think this is great.”

The new Honda dealership will be full service; carrying new and used vehicles, parts and service.

“We’ll bring 60 to 70 new jobs, which is exciting for the area and for us,” said Schmidt. “We love the Wisconsin market and hope to be a good partner in the area and do well.”

On a side note:

-Morrie’s has a Mazda store between Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire.

– The closest Honda dealership is 91st and Brown Deer Road in Milwaukee. There’s also a dealership in Appleton and Sheboygan.

-Morrie’s Automotive Group started as a family business by Morrie Wagener in the early 1960s. Wagener worked with imports in the Twin Cities area and over the years acquired different franchises and built the business.

Mary Hafeman featured on the Golf Channel this week

PGA Professional Mary Hafeman of West Bend was on the Golf Channel Tuesday morning and she sure did put West Bend and the West Bend Country Club in the spotlight.

Hafeman, owner of Mary Hafeman Golf Experience and a 1975 graduate of West Bend East High School, was live in the TMJ 4 studio on Capital Drive in Milwaukee and spoke with the Golf Channel’s Cara Robinson about her success with player development.

Hafeman credited her roots in West Bend and her family for her success. “I grew up in West Bend, Wisconsin. My dad had to learn how to play golf and he got my whole family, my six brothers and sisters out on the course. We joined a club and my PGA Professional Don Hill at the West Bend Country Club made the most fun experience on the course and we just couldn’t wait to go to junior golf and play.”

Watch for more golf updates from Mary Hafeman as she reports for the during the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, June 12 – 18.

Meredith Vande Zande awarded Rick Riehl Scholarship

West Bend East High School basketball player Meredith Vande Zande was presented the Rick Riehl Memorial Scholarship during Monday’s Class of 2017 Scholarship & Awards Program.

Vande Zande, 17, said she returned home from a school trip to Peru and received the letter of notification about the award. “I am so excited,” said Vande Zande.

A scholar athlete, Vande Zande carries a 4.0 G.P.A. and will be named class valedictorian. She plans on attending the University of Minnesota and will study nursing.

“I went to one of Rick Riehl’s basketball camps at Concordia when I was in middle school and they’re really such a great family and I feel very honored to get this scholarship,” she said.

Details of the scholarship read: Rick Riehl was an educator and coach in the West Bend Schools for 32 years, teaching high school English and coaching more than 60 sports seasons. Rick was a tireless advocate about the importance of sports. He dedicated much of his life to strengthening the quality of athletics in both the youth and high school programs.  Type: Technical or Academic   School:East or West  Amount:$10,000 ($1,250 per semester)

“This scholarship will help me tremendously,” said Vande Zande. “Just thinking about the number of hours I’d have to work to earn $10,000 is insane and this will just be so helpful.”

Funds for the award were donated by friends, family, and those that knew Riehl since his battle with what was likely Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Royce Quilting sign

The Royce Quilting sign leaning up against the side of the building on S. Main Street in the West Bend Plaza has been a bit of a conversation starter. Many wonder about the future of the store but the simple answer is – during the last snow storm a semi was unloading in front of the store, hit the sign and ripped it off the side of the building. While the ladies inside Royce Quilting are skilled at mending, this is going to take more of an industrial fix…. and a hydraulic lift.  The repair should be underway shortly.

Mayor Sadownikow speaks in Madison

West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow joined lawmakers in Madison on Wednesday at a joint news conference to talk about several bills regarding the “dark store theory” which is a question on whether operating stores should be taxed the same as a closed retail business location.

The mayor’s comments are below.

“In West Bend we have a pretty smart, intelligent community and we understand the issue and that is there’s a loophole in the law. Some smart folks identified that loophole and businesses such as Walgreens are choosing to exploit that loophole to the detriment of our home owners, agricultural and small business and we’re simply asking for that loophole to be closed.

A real-world example is that West Bend has two Walgreens stores and combined they sold most recently for $14 million. Through court action they are now being assessed at less than $5 million. Approximately a third of the sales price and what that means to us is about $175,000 in revenue split up between the city, the county, tech college and the school district. Checks had to be cut back to Walgreens and in fact our West Bend School District cut an $80,000 check back to Walgreens – of course, more than a full-time equivalent of an educator.

We’re simply asking for the loophole to be closed.”

Vote for Green Tree Elementary teacher Kelly Louk

There’s an effort underway in West Bend to push Kelly Louk, the 2nd grade teacher at Green Tree Elementary, to the top of the charts at

Nicole Manriquez reached out and asked for help. I nominated my daughter’s teacher for teacher of the month at She won back in March and I recently found out she is now a finalist for Teacher of the Year. I nominated her because my daughter can be extremely challenging and I feel Kelly plays a huge part in her success. Kelly is kind, loving, patient and just has a way of communicating with her. It takes a special person to be a teacher, but some teachers go above and beyond. I am hoping she wins teacher of the year. It’s a great way for her to know she is appreciated. Voting can be done daily and runs through noon on May 22.

West Bend firefighters receive Heroism Award

Badger Firefighters Association President Ron Naab presented Heroism Awards this week to Lt. Alan Hefter and Motor Pump Operator Kyle Demler for their lifesaving efforts on September 16, 2016 when they saved an 18-year-old woman from the basement of her burning house.

Owner of Chapman’s Market dies

Raymond (Chappy) Chapman, 96 from West Bend died this week. Chappy’s career included working in a factory, painting, working as an apprentice electrician and meat cutting. In 1959, Ray opened Chapman’s Market on the north side of town.  His meat market was famous for its summer sausage, brats, and minute steaks.  He serviced customers across the country and forwarded summer sausage to soldiers in Vietnam. His business success was attributed to a strong work ethic and a jovial personality which he whole-heartedly shared with his customers, friends, and family. A Mass of Christian Burial is Friday, May 12 at 11 a.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church.

Updates & tidbits

The 5th annual Banner ArtWalk is May 13 at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Fifty hand-painted banners will hang from the second-floor railing in the atrium entrance of museum. Those attending can explore the Museum of Wisconsin Art free of charge.

-Wednesday, July 26 is Senior Citizens Day and Military Day at the Washington County Fair. Special discounted admission for ages 60 and older is $5 for the day as well as Sunday, July 30. Also, any card-carrying military person and a guest are admitted FREE on Wednesday, July 26. This year the Washington County Fair Military Committee will be recognizing all Women Veterans and Gold Star Families.

– Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Park Pavilion, Washington County Law Enforcement Agencies will host a Law Enforcement Memorial.

– The annual Ride of Silence is Wednesday, May 17 in the parking lot just south of the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The ride starts at 7 p.m.

– There’s music and food and a live auction at the 11th annual Samba Chicken Dinner on Saturday, May 13. Tickets are available at Romie’s BP in Allenton, Landmark Credit Union-Hartford, Bergmann’s Appliance in Slinger or from any music director at Slinger High School.

Remembering the Outlet Mall

The process started Tuesday and wrapped up Friday afternoon as the locally-known ‘bridge-to-nowhere’ was removed from downtown West Bend.

That landmark brought back memories about the Outlet Mall. Below is an article I wrote in February 2006.  Remembering the Outlet Mall.

Last week we gave an update on what was happening around the old Outlet Mall in West Bend. City Engineer Judy Neu said Veterans Avenue will be narrowed this summer and the road will be raised about four feet to bring it above the flood plain.

Discussing the Outlet Mall, led to questions about ‘what stores used to be IN the mall?’

“Maus Jewelers started out in there,” said Judy Neu. “I think the Shoe Rack was in there, along with a little restaurant and there was also a place to buy kitchen utensils,” said Neu recalling a West Bend Company Outlet which she thought was also in the mall.

Prior to the Outlet Mall Neu said there was an old bar and a bunch of little buildings tucked up along the river. “There used to be an old milk house in there and I’m finding it as I dig,” Neu said about all the old foundations from the buildings and the water mains and storm sewers from days gone by.

Local historian Joe Huber also remembered the Outlet Mall. “Going down the east side of the hall there was a Quality Candy, and a restaurant, and then Regal Ware had an outlet, and then Minnesota Woolens, and then there was a pot and pan and kitchen gadget store that had everything,” said Huber. “On the north end of the west side was The Paper Tree, the West Bend Company had an outlet, and then for a while there was an outfit that sold grandfather clocks.”

Former mall owner Steve Picus also recalled a house wares outlet and a party store and a couple of other things.

“There was a Manhattan clothing store which was more of a men’s store and there was a restaurant on the north end and the cookie lady was in there too for a while,” said Picus who believed The Cookie Lady was the name of the shop.

“When Field’s Furniture took over the mall the sausage place was there, the house wares outlet was there and the Paper Factory were the only three left in the building, almost until the bitter end.”

In its heyday, Picus said there were about 20 stores in that building and you could walk from one shop to the other. “The whole center of the furniture store was the center isle of the Outlet Mall and there were stores on both sides,” said Picus painting a picture of the interior of the mall.

Former Alderman Tom O’Meara remembered the Outlet Mall as a HUGE attraction that pulled in people from across the state.

“It was busier then hell, there were buses all the time,” said O’Meara about the shoppers that came in from Green Bay, Minneapolis, La Crosse, Eau Claire, Dubuque, and Chicago.

“It was really major, major stores. There was no big anchor tenant, just a series of small shops,” said O’Meara remembering an old ice cream parlor. “What finally killed the Outlet Mall in West Bend is when an even bigger mall opened in Racine.”

Checking with the Washington County Historical Society we came up with this list of stores that once made up the West Bend Outlet Mall: The Cookie Jar, Dinner ware Incorporated Factory Outlet, House ware Outlet Store, Maus Jewelry Imports, Newport Sportswear, Paper Factory, The Sock Market, General Shoe Factory, Knit Pikker Factory Outlet, Little Red Shoehouse, Uncle Wonderful’s Ice Cream Parlor, The Card Shop Inc., Cheese Outlet and Sandwich Shop, Decor Drapery Outlet, Mitchell Handbags and Active Sportswear, Mountain Camper, Svoboda Industries Inc, Oshkosh B’gosh, Bass Shoe Outlet, Van Heusen Factory Outlet, Genuine Article, Regal Outlet, and Rainbow Fashions,

Michelle Marie I remember this little kiosk!

Shirley McDaniel Schwartz I can see your Mom behind the counter at Maus Jewelry.

Marty Angell My kids n I and my friends wld go shopping there all the time. Walk the bridge n then walk down town. SPEND Hrs THERE! N money! !! Was fun back in the day! ♡:)

Kathleen Sell Use to shop there all the time! My mom bought one of the grandmother’s clock from Svaboda & my husband & I put it together & stained it. I inherited it & it stands in my front hall today!


0914, 06 May 2017


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