The business communities of Greenfield and West Allis experienced a number of additions this year.
The top business stories for 2016 are:
Home decor store fills former Kmart location
The partially vacant former Kmart store on 27th Street got new life this year when the home decor retailer At Home opened Sept. 1.
Kmart closed in April 2014. The Bounce Realm children's play facility continued to occupy part of the building after Kmart closed. It had to move in late 2015 to provide space for At. Home.
The Greenfield store at 4601 S. 27th St. was At Home's second in Wisconsin. At Home offers more than 50, 000 items. Among them are seasonal and holiday decor, patio furniture, home furnishings, wall art and decorative accents, rugs and housewares.
Farm to table comfort food comes to West Allis
The Farmer's Wife, opened this fall in West Allis at 6533 W. Mitchell St. offering farm to table Sunday dinner type comfort food.
The restaurant is on the far edge of the Six Points area, but city planners said they hope it can spur redevelopment in the area.
The Farmer's Wife, open for lunch and dinner, has gluten-free, meat-free, dairy-free choices every day.
Culver's opens saluting hometown Greenfield
When a Culver's Restaurant opened Oct. 3 at 6031 W. Layton Ave., it was not only in Greenfield but of Greenfield.
The new restaurant sports memorabilia from both Greenfield and Whitnall high schools. Former band and sports team uniforms, photographs and other memorabilia can be glimpsed on the walls.
They dined, they dashed
To put themselves more on the dining map, a dozen West Allis purveyors of food and drink lay down a challenge to teams with hearty appetites to swoop in, eat or drink the challenge offering, post the challenge on Facebook and dash out the door in hopes of being the first team to finish all 12.
The name of the challenge was "Dine and Dash" and the first 12 finishers got a $50 gift certificate to the establishment of their choice among the 12. The winner picked first.
Even West Allis Mayor Dan Devine had a team in the May 21 dash.
All year work progresses toward Meijer spring 2017 opening
All year long, workmen buzzed in and out of the site of a new Meijer super store at 60th Street and Layton Avenue, working toward an opening next spring.
But this fall, Greenfield High School students and staff benefited from the store coming in because the high school got a driveway onto Layton Avenue with financing the project made possible. The driveway and other improvements in the area are possible because property taxes from the Meijer store will all go to the city to pay for them instead of being split up among the schools, Milwaukee County, the MMSD, MATC and the state. Keeping the money in the city is possible because Greenfield set up a special taxing unit called a TIF (tax-incremental finance district) around the store. When the $4.5 million in improvements are paid off, the tax money will start being split up.
The TIF is a little different than most TIFs. Instead of getting a site ready for development, it will make improvements around a development that is already approved - an inspiration of Mayor Michael Neitzke. The TIF is around the Meijer super store.
2016 adds dash of style and flash to Becher Street
Even though KaBobs Bistro, West Allis’ newest entry to the dining scene, is across from a garage, it would be at home on Milwaukee’s East Side or in Whitefish Bay.
KaBobs Bistro opened this spring at 6807 W. Becher St. to offer a wide-ranging menu. For example, it starts diners out with such appetizers as Bib Shooters — lettuce cups filled with diced chicken, onions, wild rice, sweet peppers and a light Asian sauce. For meat lovers, there’s the Triple Threat — smoked ribs on a stick, petit beef kabob, marinated chicken skewers with citrus barbecue sauce. Or you could have a Texas flat bread pizza.
Entrees favor specialty burgers but there are also such offerings as the Backyard Bob at $12.95 of grilled beef tips, corn-on-the-cob, mushroom, red onion, cherry tomato, zucchini and yellow squash over KaBobs special rice blend.
Vegetarians and even vegans find a chef ready and willing to accommodate their style.
The owner is Bob Nicholson grew up less than a mile away from his new restaurant. He went on to be a chef in the corporate world and actually cooked for the senior President George Bush when he visited the Racine Marriott where Nicholson was executive chef.