business

Maayan Silver

From the outside, it appears as though not much is going at the Milwaukee Mall. But inside, local entrepreneurs are running businesses, and running them without a lot of outside support. Located on the triangular intersection of Fond du Lac and North Avenue, the building was originally a Sears, Roebuck & Company store, built in 1927. Local newspapers at the time reported that it brought hundreds of jobs into the area.

courtesty of Pete Cooney

Locally made popsicles, spring rolls and other innovations may just be the key to spurring growth on Milwaukee's near west side. 

Mitch Teich

The ancient Greek storyteller known as Aesop may or may not have really existed. The stories generally credited to Aesop are from the realm of the fantastic; they’re fables that seek to offer a lesson.

The employees of a Milwaukee manufacturing company recently might have thought they were hearing a fable. But it turned out to be a true story that was – for them – just as fantastic. And it goes by the name of ESOP, or Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

Fotolia

If you work for a big enough employer, it's likely that you've been urged to participate in the company's wellness program. It could be an educational seminar or an office-wide weight loss competition, something that incentivizes healthier lifestyle choices. The idea is healthy employees increase productivity and save a company money. 

Couresty of the Small Business Administration

Small businesses are a vital part of Wisconsin's and the nation's economies. When these businesses struggle, it often portends deeper issues for the economy at large.

Access to tools and networking needed to start and grow your own business can be difficult to attain without the proper resources.

Arthur Thomas / Biz Times

We know that Milwaukee’s manufacturing industry has changed greatly since the days when much of the big things in America were assembled here.  The transformation of the Menomonee Valley and the 35th Street corridor are both testaments to that shift.

But one hold-out from those days has been the industry that builds mining equipment. Two major companies employed a substantial workforce to do that job. But more recently, that industry has seen its fortunes erode as well, with jobs eliminated outright or moved elsewhere.

Former Muslim employees at the Ariens Company in Wisconsin have filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination.

The group acting on behalf of the former workers is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. CAIR says the company has refused to make accommodations for prayer breaks.

The problems between Muslim employees and Ariens management started earlier this year, according to Maha Sayed, a civil rights attorney for CAIR.

Mitch Teich / WUWM

No matter what our DIY aptitude, nearly all of us have a simple tool kit around the house to take on basic jobs. You probably have a hammer, a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, an odd assortment of hex keys for your IKEA and Target furniture and often, an adjustable wrench.

One of the main frustrations users have with the adjustable wrench is trying to keep it tightened down on the bolt they're working on.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

The Council on American Islamic Relations plans to file an EEOC complaint against Ariens, a Wisconsin company about 90 minutes north of Milwaukee.

In January, the firm changed its policy regarding prayer times for Muslim workers. Instead of continuing to allow them to pray when their faith dictates, particularly at sundown – which changes, Ariens set specific times. The 50-plus workers and company management have been unable to come to an agreement.

In January, the company established two set 10-minute breaks per shift, for Muslim employees to say their daily prayers. Beforehand, the 53 workers could say their prayers when their faith requires such as as sunset, which moves with the seasons.

When the company began enforcing the policy, dozens of its Muslim employees of Somali descent walked off the job in protest. Since then, according to the company, 32 of the workers have begun abiding by the policy, 14 resigned and this week, Ariens terminated seven who violated the company edict.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A Wisconsin manufacturer insists it's being reasonable with its Muslim employees. Starting this month, Ariens Company in Brillion has begun requiring its Muslim workers to pray during pre-assigned breaks, not when their faith requires prayer. The company says otherwise, the production line is disrupted. Dozens of those workers have left, but the group lobbying on their behalf is urging them to return, while it seeks negotiations.

Christian Delbert / Fotolia

Clearing snow from your driveway or a parking lot seems like it’s one of those activities you’d never be able to turn over to an app, but now even snow plowing has entered the Digital Age.

Plowz and Mowz has been called the Uber of snow removal and lawn services. The New York company offers on-demand plowing and mowing, and is now into its second winter of operations in Milwaukee - one of its top growing markets.

Druh Scoff / Flickr

Jessica Bell took a roundabout way to marry her passion for wine with her career. Bell studied economics at Duke and worked as a successful investment banker in New York City before a “quarter-life” crisis led her to move to Spain to work at a winery.

Despite the years it took her to make her career revolve around wine, Bell quickly realized it was a "natural fit."

There are not nearly as many strikes these days versus years ago, but a big one is playing out in Sheboygan. Hundreds of UAW members have been picketing the Kohler Company, while contract talks have stalled. The union reportedly wants Kohler to abandon the two-tier wage system it enacted years ago. Cheryl Maranto says the outcome will be telling, because unions don't wield nearly as much clout as they did years ago.

Svyatoslav Lypynskyy, fotolia

Back in the day, the notion of the family business was a part of our cultural vernacular. But a report in The Economist found that while the number of family-controlled businesses is still growing globally, it is diminishing in this country.

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