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Profits, lending increase at Wisconsin credit unions

Wisconsin’s state-chartered credit unions increased profits by 21.6 percent and lending by 10.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, according to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Aggregate net income for the 156 state-chartered credit unions totaled $68.5 million, up from $56.3 million in the first quarter of 2014.

Total loans were $20.4 billion, up from $18.5 billion in the same period a year ago.

The delinquent loan ratio also improved, dropping from 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to 0.8 percent in the most recent quarter.

Kesslers to open store in downtown Milwaukee

Germantown-based Kesslers Diamonds announced that it plans to open a store in downtown Milwaukee in the George Watts & Son Building at 761 N. Jefferson St.

The new store will open Oct. 1, occupying 2,200 square feet of space in the building.

Kesslers currently has five stores in Germantown, Greenfield, Brookfield, Appleton and Madison. The company also plans to open a store in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Nov. 1.

Company president Richard Kessler said he also is excited about being part of a wedding-focused destination, as the George Watts & Son Building is home to George Watts & Son, Watts Tea Shop, Zita Bridal Salon, and Walny Legal Group.

Kesslers Diamonds deals exclusively in diamonds, and claims to be Wisconsin’s largest seller of diamonds and diamond engagement rings.

The downtown Kesslers space is being designed by Milwaukee-based Retailworks, Inc. The company said the interior space of the downtown Kesslers store “will be a visual showpiece with unique finishes, specialty lighting, and clever focal points. Key windows will have New York style’ art installations, creating a buzz on Mason and Jefferson streets.” Changed on a regular basis, those displays will become a “must see” for locals and out-of-town visitors, Kessler said.

The space was made available when DeLind Gallery of Fine Art owner William DeLind decided to retire and close the business. Watts said he immediately thought of Kesslers Diamonds as a new tenant for the space, based on its reputation and the synergies the diamond center would create with the other businesses there.

Metal-Era plans to expand plant

Metal-Era, a roof edge and ventilation system manufacturer, plans to add an addition of about 35,000 square feet to its 110,000-square-foot plant at 1600 Airline Road in Waukesha.

The company recently purchased the American Iron & Alloys building next door, which sits on a 6.8-acre site at 1700 Airport Road. Metal-Era bought the property for about $2.2 million from an affiliate of New Berlin-based James Luterbach Construction Co.

The acquisition of that property gives Metal-Era room to build an expansion onto its facility, said company president Tony Mallinger.

Metal-Era recently added about $800,000 worth of new equipment and has added 15 to 20 employees since late last year, Mallinger said. The company leases about 10,000 square feet of space in Pewaukee.

American Iron & Alloys will continue to occupy its building and will lease it from Metal-Era, Mallinger said.

Milwaukee to host 2015 Skate America

U.S. Figure Skating has announced that Milwaukee will play host to the 2015 Skate America, an international figure skating competition.

The event, Milwaukee’s first ever major international figure skating event, will be held at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena from October 22 to 25. It is one of six stops in the International Skating Union Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.

A field of 56 ladies, men’s, pairs and ice dance athletes, many of whom are Olympic and World-level competitors, will be announced in June. Skate America’s past titlists include five-time World champion and two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan and Olympic champions Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton, Evan Lysacek, and Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

The Skate America delegation will be hosted by the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. More information and ticketing will be live on the event website at on May 12.

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