Biz News

Steakhouse planned for 833 East building under construction

Madison-based Noble Chef Hospitality has announced that it will open its first Milwaukee restaurant, to be called Rare Steakhouse, in the 17-story office tower that Irgens is building at 833 E. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee.

Irgens has said that it wanted to attract a “white tablecloth” restaurant to the ground floor of the building, called 833 East.

Rare Steakhouse will be a steak and seafood restaurant that will feature in-house dry aged Allen Brothers steaks and more than 400 different wines.
Noble Chef Hospitality was launched in 2006 and, in addition to Rare Steakhouse On the Square in Madison, operates Buck & Badger Northwoods Lodge on State Street in Madison; Capital Tap Haus on State Street; the Ivory Room Piano Bar on State Street; and Freiberg Gastro Pub on Monroe Street in Madison.
The 833 East building is expected to be completed by February 2016. Rare is expected to open in early 2016 and will feature seasonal outdoor seating.

Fewer manufacturers report growth in mid-year survey
More than 60 percent of manufacturers reported that they are in growth mode, according to The Paranet Group’s 2015 mid-year survey. That is down from 73 percent at the end of 2014.
The strong U.S. dollar, a decrease in mining and military contracts, and an increase in exports from Canada and Mexico were cited as reasons for slower growth. Other factors were weak oil pricing and seasonality.  
The manufacturers who identified themselves as in growth mode attribute that to new products and diversification. “While some markets are weak, having the ability to flex to other markets and new products has helped overall profitability,” the report said.
The top challenges manufacturers have faced thus far in 2015 were listed as: staffing problems; sales pipeline problems; price increases from suppliers and the refusal of customers to pay more; budget constraints; overseas suppliers and foreign bureaucracy; and new product capabilities and budgeting.
Other challenges mentioned by numerous members were: culture clashes; the oil and mining sector collapse; the lack of time to plan ahead; and freight issues.
More than 100 local manufacturers responded to the survey, which was conducted by The Paranet Group, a Wauwatosa-based manufacturing trade organization that provides best practices for manufacturers in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Johnsonville Sausage buys Watertown building to establish new production facility
Sheboygan Falls-based Johnsonville Sausage LLC has purchased a 63,000-square-foot building in the Watertown Business Park that will be used to support the company’s fresh sausage operations and production. The building sold for $2.2 million.
Johnsonville said the facility, which is expected to begin operations in spring 2016, will create 30 jobs in the next year, with the potential of adding 70 more to support company growth.
The sausage company previously conducted its Watertown operations at a facility located on Division Street, where a fire occurred in May.
Since the fire, Johnsonville said it has engaged its Watertown members through training programs and community volunteering at local organizations, such as the Octagon House and the Rock River Rescue Foundation, and paid them a full wage.
“We have been proud to operate in Watertown for nearly 35 years and are pleased for our business-and for our 120 local members-that we can remain part of the community,” said Ralph Stayer, founder and chairman of Johnsonville Sausage. “We also look forward to creating at least 30 new jobs and welcoming even more Watertown residents to the Johnsonville family.”  
The new building, formerly occupied by label printer Multi-Color Corp., is located at 1222 Perry Way.

Metro Milwaukee home sales up 12% in July
Home sales in the four county metro Milwaukee area were up 12.1 percent in July, according to the latest report from the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors.
There were 2,199 homes sold in July, versus 1,962 the same month in 2014. July was the sixth month of positive sales and fifth month of double digit sales, both consecutive, this year.

“The housing market is functioning very efficiently,” said GMAR president Mike Ruzicka. “Buyers are out in force and very active. Sellers are pricing their homes correctly, with many homes in ‘move in’ condition receiving multiple offers. Overall, the market appears to be balanced, with neither the buyer nor the seller dictating pricing.”
Each month in the first quarter saw double digit increases in listings, but since then only one month had an increase. June’s 3.1 percent increase in listings, while welcome, was anemic compared to what the market was consuming, Ruzicka said.
The seasonally adjusted inventory level (the time it would take to sell all of the homes on the market at a given time) for July was 7.4 months, down from June’s 7.7 month level. The seasonally adjusted level was 8.5 months in July 2014.
“Tight inventory – the theme of the 2015 market – is holding back some buyers, causing them to delay their purchase a few weeks until a home is listed that is to their liking,” Ruzicka said. “This presents an opportunity for sellers who are thinking about getting into the market this summer and into the fall.”
Snap-on acquires assets of Italian manufacturer
Kenosha-based tool manufacturer Snap-on Inc. announced that it acquired the assets of Italian manufacturer Ecotechnics S.p.A. for approximately $13 million.
Based in Sesto Fiorentino, Italy, Ecotechnics designs and manufactures automatic vehicle air conditioning maintenance equipment for OEM dealerships and the automotive aftermarket worldwide.
Snap-on said Ecotechnics will be part of the company’s repair systems and information group. Ecotechnics had approximately $12.4 million in sales in 2014.
Snap-on spokesman Rick Secor said Ecotechnics has about 50 employees, and the acquisition will not result in anyname or location changes.
MorganMyers wins awards
Waukesha-based MorganMyers and clients earned three awards at the American Agricultural Editors’ Association 2015 AAEA Communications Awards ceremony. Awards were given out at the Agricultural Media Summit in July.
Award winner selections were based on achievements in research, teaching and extension activities. MorganMyers and Illinois Soybean Growers took home first place for the Get in the Game advertorial. Another first place award was bestowed upon MorganMyers and Illinois Farm Families for the watchusgrow.org website. Additionally, the Illinois Soybean Association’s “What’s in Manure?” article, which ran in Illinois Field & Bean magazine, captured a third place honor.
MorganMyers is a strategic communications firm that serves food-focused brands.

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