Business notes


Vermatic Products, a New Berlin-based manufacturer of single and multiple clamp assemblies for tubes, pipes and hoses, has been purchased by a new business venture and renamed Vermatic Inc. Cathy Kraatz has been appointed president to the woman-owned company. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Privately held Vermatic Products ( was founded in 1975. Vermatic’s cushion-clamp assemblies are used to reduce shock and vibration caused by fluid surges in pipes, tubes, and hoses used in both mobile and stationary industrial applications. Industries served include railroad, agricultural equipment, material-handling equipment, refuse haulers, steel mills, forklifts and fire and rescue trucks. Vermatic plans to diversify its product line, immediately expanding it to include stainless steel hardware to meet much of the demand in the market today. The company is at 1785 S. Johnson Rd.

Landmark Credit Union reported growth in assets during 2002 of 17.5%, to $698 million. Ron Kase, president, said the year also brought the credit union a new business-lending department and new offices in Watertown, at Midtown Center in Milwaukee, and a student-run branch inside Waukesha North High School. Several new records were achieved, including first mortgage loan volume to $342 million, indirect loans to $131 million and new members, to 97,986. Due to the economy, loan delinquency increased slightly to 1.15%.

Frank Gentile Subaru in Racine has been awarded Subaru Stellar Performer Certification status. The program recognizes Subaru dealers nationwide who adopt operational standards established by Subaru of America in the areas of customer sales and service processes, facilities and systems. It focuses on improving overall quality and consistency in the ownership experiences of Subaru customers. "We are pleased to be recognized in this way by Subaru," stated Ralph Gentile, president of Frank Gentile. "Customer satisfaction is and always will be our No. 1 priority. Our goal is to exceed the expectations of each of our customers."

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Lakefront Brewery has released Cattail Ale, a Wisconsin-style mild ale, the first to join the ranks of the Milwaukee brewery’s year-round beers in six years. "The Cattail Ale is a special formula we’ve been working on for a while to reflect a style of ale indigenous to Wisconsin," says Russ Klisch, president of Lakefront Brewery. "We recognize the demand for a handcrafted mild ale in our lineup to appeal to wider audiences. As such, we’re expanding into a new market and do not anticipate cannibalization of our existing products. This recipe is a true craft ale brewed with only water, yeast, hops and malted barley, in keeping with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516." Lakefront Brewery shipped the first cases and kegs of Cattail Ale to Beer Capitol at the end of March. The ale will only be available in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties until inventories are built to allow wider-ranging sales, noted Klisch.

New Berlin Plastics has been awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification for quality system management by National Quality Assurance, USA. "Everyone at New Berlin Plastics is very proud of this important achievement," said Mark Siewert, chief operating officer. "By becoming ISO 9001:2000 certified, we have positioned ourselves as a leader in the injection molding industry, exhibiting our commitment to quality in all aspects of the organization. We are particularly pleased that our employees were able to achieve this important goal in less than one year." The company is a molder of precision components utilizing engineering grade thermoplastic materials. "Since Mark and I acquired New Berlin Plastics in 2001 we have worked with our employees, customers and suppliers to transform the company into an injection molding manufacturer which can compete in the 21st century," stated Jeff Held, president.

Susan K. Wehrley, president of Susan K. Wehrley & Associates in Brookfield, has released her new book called The Secret to I AM, an inspirational book intended to help people find peace and wisdom during chaotic and unpredictable times. "With the Four Secrets in the book: Embrace your Uniqueness, Embrace the Unknown, Embrace Intuitive Wisdom, Embrace the Love of Go Within, readers will be able to have the courage to live in the moment with an open-heart, yet have positive expectancy in the future," she said. The book is available on he Web site and will be available in the bookstores soon.

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The Mail Boxes Etc. at 544 E. Ogden Ave. in Milwaukee has been purchased by Dean Koch and Erran Bennett, who have owned and operated the Mequon Mail Boxes Etc. since the mid-1990s. The Mequon store, in the Mequon Pavilions, has been the top-grossing Mail Boxes Etc. store in the Milwaukee area since 1997, according to Bennett and Koch. More than 3,000 Mail Boxes Etc. locations around the United States, including the 14 in southeastern Wisconsin, will begin re-branding to The UPS Store this month. The re-branding, scheduled for completion by September, will be the largest such effort in retail and franchise history. The unveiling follows UPS’s March 25 announcement of a global branding initiative featuring the first redesign of the UPS logo in more than 40 years. The owners of nearly 90% of Mail Boxes Etc. centers, or more than 3,000 of the approximately 3,300 U.S. locations, elected to re-brand as The UPS Store following a year of testing and a month-long series of franchise area meetings across the country. Mail Boxes Etc. is a subsidiary of UPS.

Jim Winistorfer has launched the Milwaukee office of Clarity Strategies, a partner of Clarity Consulting, a nine-year-old research firm in New York. Clarity provides market research, customer analysis and competitive intelligence studies. Winistorfer, a former client of Clarity, had been general manager and a marketing and sales executive with Waukesha Bearings (Dover Corp.), Johnson Controls and Cooper Power Systems.

Great Lakes Concrete Pumping has opened in West Allis, serving commercial and residential construction projects with Schwing concrete pumps and placing booms. "There has been consistent growth in construction in metro Milwaukee," said Dick Farrell, company president. "Because of that growth, we realized that this market offered an opportunity to expand our pumping business." Farrell most recently worked with Putzmeister America in Racine, and Construction Forms in Port Washington.

Seattle Sutton’s Health Eating has entered the Milwaukee market with a facility at 1233 N. Marshall St. on Milwaukee’s east side. Marian Topp is the independent distributor at the Milwaukee location. The company offers prepared meals for home consumption. "This is a great opportunity to provide people with freshly prepared, healthful meals that are affordable," Topp said. "It is not a fad diet, it’s a healthful eating plan, providing the food, in portion sizes, that people should be eating." The company provides customers with 21 meals weekly – breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days. Target customers are people who want to lose weight as well as those with medical needs requiring a strict diet, and those who simply want such convenience. Topp, of Whitefish Bay, opened the Milwaukee location as an opportunity to teach her children about family business operations. "With kids ranging in age from 15 years to 9 months, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to provide them with hands-on experience," she said. "They help with anything from creating and distributing flyers, direct-mail marketing, banking, distribution, customer service, and organizing the office." There are also distribution sites in Elm Grove, Racine and Shorewood. The business ( was founded in 1985 by Seattle Sutton, a registered nurse. Today, it has annual sales of approximately $16 million. Its headquarters are in Ottawa, Ill.

The First National Bank of Hartford has selected PULSE Online to deliver Internet-based services for its customers. PULSE Online is an Internet banking program introduced by PULSE EFT Association, an independent, national industry-owned and controlled electronic funds transfer (EFT) network. Bank Vice President Tony Andereck said the bank’s ability to control the Web-enabled messages, appearance and functionality, along with the ease of implementation, were key factors in selecting PULSE Online. "We will provide customers with a comprehensive online product that reflects the quality, image and reputation that our bank has built over nearly 100 years of service," Andereck said. He said that The First National Bank of Hartford would begin offering its account-holders online banking in June after testing is completed in April and May. Bank customers will be able to perform a wide range of operations online, including accessing and viewing their account balances and transaction details, transferring money between accounts, paying bills, reordering checks and contacting a customer service representative. The First National Bank of Hartford has served its community members since 1907 and currently holds $136 million in assets.

April 18, 2003 Small Business Times

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