Downtown Kenosha
Business Owner Newsletter
Dear Downtown Business Owner,

Here is your September 2014 update on Downtown Kenosha, Inc. activity including events and opportunities. There is a lot to share this month, which means there is a lot happening in our Downtown! Please take some time to read through the newsletter and feel free to ask questions or share your feedback! You can contact the Downtown Kenosha, Inc. office at 262-925-3463 or email us anytime.
State of the Downtown Recap

Thank you to all those who attended the 2nd Annual State of the Downtown address on August 28th at the historic Woman's Club of Kenosha. Many thanks to the Woman's Club for their generous hospitality and breakfast. Guests heard examples of Downtown's positive momentum and focus on the Downtown Strategic Development Plan. Updates on recent and ongoing development projects were provided, including the Heritage House, streetcar expansion, residential projects, indoor market study, and new and renovated businesses. Additional initiatives such as streetscape enhancements (wayfinding signage, bike racks and new banners), marketing efforts (website update, social media and events) and business resources (revolving loan fund) were detailed as well. To view the slide presentation of these items and more, click HERE.


Featured guest speaker, Scott Freres, Principal of The Lakota Group, provided an insightful look at Downtown's progress since adopting the Strategic Development Plan. He explained the importance of placemaking as an essential foundation and how Downtown Kenosha is taking significant steps in "building our place". He stressed how the Strategic Plan is a lateral tool which should be tweaked and aligned with changes in the economy, markets, and other influences. Scott gave Downtown Kenosha an impressive grade of A-/B+ for its efforts over the past year and closed with these key messages:    

  • CHANGE will continue to occur over time - be patient
  • Flexibility is key to continued success
  • The more partners involved, the more voices heard, the better the outcome
  • Focus on developing a PLACE
  • Continued observation and evaluation is critical
  • Build upon the already great places within the community

To see Scott Freres' full presentation, click  HERE.

Executive Director Search Update

Over 30 resumes have been submitted for the Downtown Executive Director position. Application deadline was August 15th. Resumes are currently being reviewed by the DKI search committee and interviews will take place over the next few weeks. The goal is to have the new Executive Director hired and in place within the next 30 to 60 days.

New Bike Racks

As was done in the past by the Kenosha Lakeshore BID, Downtown Kenosha, Inc. will be purchasing additional bike racks for the downtown area courtesy of the City of Kenosha budgeting funds to purchase them. If you are interested in having a 5-bike (approximately 3' long) or 7-bike (approximately 5' long) rack installed in front of your business or property, please contact Zohrab Khaligian via email by Friday, September 5.


After all the requests are received, City staff will assess each location to determine the best locations.  Criteria will include proximity to existing (and proposed) racks, space available on the sidewalks including distance from doorways, lightpoles, sidewalk furniture and other obstructions, and how much bicycle traffic might be generated by the business and surrounding businesses. Once the assessment is completed, the City will purchase and install the bike racks.  

Fall Fest 2014:
A Message from Event Chair, Kevin Ervin

By now I hope you've heard that the City of Kenosha is planning their Third Annual Fall Fest, and that this year Downtown Kenosha, Inc. is looking to expand this event and bring some of the focus Downtown. This event coincides with Downtown Second Saturday on October, 11th.


Much of the daytime activities will be concentrated in Library Park from Noon to 3:00 pm and will include face painting, live music and pumpkin decorating. Fall Fest will also coincide with the Kenosha Public Library and UW-Parkside's annual Big Read event. The book this year for the Read is Fahrenheit 451, so as the Fall Fest is happening in the park, the Library and Parkside will be putting on events related to Fahrenheit 451 and The Big Read.  This looks to be a great opportunity to attract some of the visitors to Library Park into the Downtown business district.

Below are a number of activities being planned and where our Downtown businesses can get involved to help their own business and contribute to the overall success of the event:

Carriage Rides & Storefront Decorations

Black Tie Carriage Service will provide rides from Library Park (for a fee) to customers. This is costing business owners nothing, but in order to maximize the effectiveness of these rides and give the riders a reason to come Downtown we'd like to see widows and store fronts decorated in a fall, Halloween or even a Fahrenheit 451 theme.  Much like what the ice sculptures did for the SnowDaze festival, we believe some creative fall displays will attract visitors/shoppers to Downtown.


Outdoor Movie
Thanks to a partnership with Happenings Magazine and Kenosha Public Library, an outdoor movie will be shown on City Parcel A (the vacant land across from Trolley Dogs) at approximately 6:00pm (depending on sunset). At first we wanted to show Fahrenheit 451, but that is already booked.  Instead, we are keeping with the theme of the book and showing a more current movie which deals with similar dystopian themes: Divergent.  Once again, this is costing business owners zero. In case of rain the movie will move indoors to the Rhode Center for the Arts.


Costume Contests

Just prior to the start of the outdoor movie, we plan to hold a number of costume contests. The contests would be held in four categories: pets/children/teens/adults. What we need are prizes. If you'd like to contribute prizes please contact me.


The next planned activity is a "traffic generator" much like the Scavenger Hunt during June's Second Saturday. This activity will be called "Build a Monster". Participants will be given a master sheet with a monster printed on it. They will then have to go to participating businesses to collect body parts (pieces of paper with parts printed on them), which will be taped to the master sheet. Once completed, the customer will receive a card containing the names of participating businesses. These businesses will then offer a one-time 20% discount on their next purchase.  If you'd like to participate, please contact me.

$4.51 Specials

We'd also like to see businesses get creative and come up with a $4.51 (for Fahrenheit 451) special for the day. This can be anything, depending on your business.  We think this is a really fun way to tie into the Big Read event, and as with the above listed ideas, very low cost idea to implement.

Zombie Ride

Another event happening on October 11th (by coincidence) is the Ride of the Living Dead ("Zombie Ride").  We really have nothing to do with this, but feel it is another asset to the Fall Fest and really makes it a large event catering to many different ages and interests.

The success of events like this really depends on the participation of our Downtown businesses. As word spreads about these events, more people will find reasons to come Downtown. But as the saying goes, (and I'm taking liberties here) if we DON'T build them, they won't come. I have already heard from some of you with some good ideas to add to the event.  I look forward to hearing from the rest of you.

Thank you,
 - Kevin Ervin
Business Opportunity: Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

The Kenosha Festival of Cartooning will be held September 25-27 at the Kenosha Public Museum and welcomes nationally and internationally-known cartoonists to share their stories, display their work, conduct workshops, and meet fans of the funny pages and other forms of cartooning. The majority of the festival events purposely happen in Downtown Kenosha and festival organizers will encourage attendees to explore Downtown businesses during their time here. 

This event will feature a special Downtown business display in the hall where the event presentations will take place.  Businesses are invited to place their business cards or brochures here in exchange for a $25 donation to the festival or its charity auction. Click HERE to email an inquiry if you are interested.  

Lightin' Up 2014

It's never too early to start making your holiday decorating plans! Be sure to mark your calendar for Lightin' Up on Friday, November 28th. Plans are underway for this annual event in partnership with the City Tree Lighting festivities. The business decorating contest will return, so watch for details coming soon on how to register to be on this popular "Downtown light tour" !

Save the Date: Retail Symposium October 14

The 2nd Annual Retail Symposium will be held October 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Manpower Global Headquarters in Milwaukee. Celebrating "everything retail" (and including restaurants and services businesses), the conference will include inspiring keynote speakers, informative breakout sessions, retail-focused vendor trade show, and networking with like-minded business owners. Registration details to come. Click here for contact information.

Check Your Business Listing on
As mentioned in last month's Business Newsletter, the Downtown website is undergoing a "facelift" and the new will be launched soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to review your free business listing in the site's Business Directory and make changes and updates as needed. Click HERE for instructions on how to submit your new content.
SEPTEMBER Event Highlights 
DESIGN Committee
Tuesday, September 16th @ 6pm @ Breakwater Bar & Grill.



Monday, September 22nd @ 6pm @ Kaiser's Pizza & Pub


Click HEREto learn more about Downtown Kenosha, Inc. Volunteer Committees.
JULY 2014

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JULY 2014

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Engaged Users - 13,284

Got Downtown BROCHURES?
Make sure you have an ample supply of the current Downtown Kenosha Business Directory & Map!  Brochures can be picked up at the Downtown Kenosha, Inc. office (at KABA, 5500 6th Avenue, Suite 200 - above Jockey) or at the Kenosha Area CVB office (corner of 56th & Sheridan). Or email us and we'll deliver them to you!
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Downtown Kenosha Inc.
5500 6th Avenue, Suite 200, Kenosha, WI 53140
(262) 925-3463 | Email