Former Jackson Park bar slated for small manufacturing development

Owner of Snack America seeks MEDC loan

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A former bar near Jackson Park in Milwaukee is being converted into a roasted nut manufacturing business and retail store.

3419 Forest Home Ave.
3419 Forest Home Ave.

John Otradovec, the owner of Snack America LLC, purchased the two-story, 10,838-square-foot building, at 3419 W. Forest Home Ave. last fall for $69,950. Otradovec, who has a background in construction, said he has already started remodeling the property.

He has requested a $250,000 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. to refinance his mortgage and continue his remodeling and expansion plans.

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“I want to add a wholesale commercial kitchen and a factory outlet store,” Otradovec said. He is also planning to open a coffee shop.

“I’m hoping for a spring opening,” Otradovec said. “The loan would solidify all of my funding needs, but I’m moving forward regardless.”

The MEDC loan and finance committee will review the request today.

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Alderman Mark Borkowski, who represents the district Snack America will be located in, said he is impressed with Otradovec’s ambition and believes this is a good use of the building.

“Snack America is the first of many dreams John has,” Borkowski said. “I’m very encouraged by what he wants to do. Once this takes off, I’m going to encourage him to follow through on his other projects. He’s a good guy and I’m excited for him. I’m thankful he picked my aldermanic district and I’m going to run through walls for him.”

Otradovec purchased Snack America in 2001. At the time, the former owner was selling the cinnamon roasted nuts at fairs. Otradovec continues to sell the product, mostly at local festivals and automobile races including at the Slinger Speedway, but hopes by opening a permanent manufacturing business he will be able to package the product and sell it to local restaurants and possibly grocery stores.

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“It would have been easier if I had bought a building that was ready to go, but the price was right,” Otradovec said. “We’ll get there, it’s just taking a little longer than I wanted it to.”

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