SPOTTLIGHT — Is Winter A Good Time To List My Home, or Not?

December 2, 2017

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

The housing market has slowed down, as it always does, this time of year — the holidays and the winter months.

Have you taken your home off the market? Or if you’re ready to sell, have you convinced yourself to wait until spring? And you’re probably thinking, who has time to sell a house now?!

From my perspective, we have somewhat gotten away from the historical winter slow-down. Like I’ve stated before, buyers look for homes 24/7, 365 days a year, thanks to the internet. It’s a little like going to the grocery store to pick up only a few things but coming home with a bag full of items you had no intention of buying. But because they were in front of you, you bought them!

Likewise, homebuyers may say they are not buying until the spring but then they go online, just to browse the market…and they fall in love with a home. They can’t help themselves, they have to see that house, and bam! They’ve bought themselves a house — in winter!

Another consideration is that there are corporations that are in the process of relocating employees now. They want them in place by the first of the year. That means the employee needs to purchase a home before the year ends so that they can start their new job on time. But there are also employees moving and needing homes all winter long.

Know that those, who put their home on the market now, experience less competition. That’s because so many people take their homes off the market and don’t relist until spring.

And another bonus of listing now is that because of the ongoing shortage of homes in the current market, it’s still a seller’s market! You are in control!

Worried about disruption? Remember, you can show your home when you wish, therefore protection your family and your plans from disruption. If you sell now, you won’t have to be in that extremely competitive spring market where you could potentially get less money for your home.

Buyers who venture out in the winter weather are rather serious buyers. Would you go out in a snowstorm or on a cold rainy day just to look at a house for recreation? You’d have to be pretty serious about purchasing a home in that kind of weather, so I would recommend that you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Winter buyers are serious!

As I stated above, the spring market is extremely competitive when all those homes come back on the market. Then the spring market becomes a buyer’s market and you may not get as desirable a price for your home that you would have in winter.

Toni Spott Sustainable Agent, Keller Williams Realty;
Facebook: TheToniSpottTeam;

Second Annual Christmas on KK Dec. 1

November 2, 2017

“Christmas on KK,” an event that combines merriment, shopping, and charitable giving, will take place Friday, Dec. 1, from 5pm until approximately 10pm. It is being staged by business owners on the north end of Kinnickinnic Avenue between Archer and Smith streets.

All money raised from the sale of raffle tickets sold during the event will be donated to the Bay View Community Center (BVCC). Likewise, the Bloom Center for Art and Integrated Therapies is planning an ornament make-and-take from 5:30 to 7:30pm, where proceeds will be given to community art therapy programs. Two pop-up shops will donate 10 percent of their event sales to other to-be-determined charities.

Bay View Homes will host Letters to Santa from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Participants will make a small donation and write a letter to Santa and receive his reply by mail.

Cherubini and Keri Torgerson of Mac’s Pet Depot organized last year’s Christmas on KK, which Cherubini said raised $600 for BVCC. “Last year we had 13 businesses participate, and many of them said they were busier than they were on Small Business Saturday,” she said.

More info, schedule, and updates: Facebook, Instagram, and


St. Francis Custom Motorcycle Builder Wins National Competition

November 1, 2017

A welding class at St. Francis High School was the initial impetus that propelled Steve Dietzman on the path to becoming a highly accomplished custom-motorcycle builder. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.”

That was the tagline that advertised Easy Rider, the 1969 cult classic biker movie.

Since then, thousands have surrendered to their wanderlust to ride the nation’s ribbons of highways on two wheels, in search of their own America.

Champion custom-motorcycle builder Steve Dietzman of Studio Cycles stands ready to outfit them with his rad rides.

Steve Dietzman, a modest 25-year-old, rose to national prominence this year with his custom-built 1968 Triumph Bonneville Chopper. He won the Retro Modified Class category of 2017 International Motor Show (IMS). Dietzman believes his attention to detail and his passion to go above and beyond helped him win the competition.

“I went to [the IMS] for about three years as a spectator, so that motivated me to finish up my bike and enter it in the show,” he said.

Dietzman’s custom-built 1968 Triumph Bonneville Chopper was the winner in the 2017 International Motor Show’s Retro Modified Class. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Milwaukee’s Royal Enfield (retail store of British motorcycle manufacturer) sponsored the retro Modified Class category. Dietzman won a trophy, a Royal Enfield motorcycle, and a cash prize.

The Compass caught up with Dietzman on a sunny September afternoon as he worked in a workshop near in the Tippecanoe neighborhood. Motorcycles in various stages of completion were staged throughout the shop.

Most of Dietzman’s motorcycles are projects for his friends. He pointed to a Harley-Davidson Panhead, stripped down to the frame, wheels, and fuel tank. “This is my buddy’s Panhead. He got married and started a family at 23, so that’s what happens,” Dietzman said, pointing to the bike’s shell, indicating his friend’s progress on the rebuild has been slowed.

Another friend dropped off a Honda for a full custom build.

On display was one of Dietzman’s most recent accomplishments, a sleek blue and chrome 1979 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Chopper. The bike was featured in a motorcycles-as-art exhibit curated by Michael Lichter at the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The iconic rally began in 1938 and is held annually in the first week of August in Sturgis, S.D.

Dietzman performed the fine-tuning, welding, and mechanical aspects of the build. The paintwork is outsourced to his buddy, artist Rome Urbaniak. “Some people think it’s my best work yet,” he said, referring to the Shovelhead, “but I don’t think so. I always strive to go above and beyond, always pushing, pushing one step further. I hope my best work is yet to come!” he said.

Dietzman owns five motorcycles, three in driving form. His Triumph Bonneville is his favorite.

Teen Passion

Dietzman started riding motorcycles when he was 16. His first bike was a 1969 Honda 350. “My friend and me used to rent a single-stall garage not far from here during high school and we hid our motorcycles from our parents,” he said. “We called it ‘the studio’ because it was tiny. The name carried over to Studio Cycles.”

Dietzman’s parents found out about his motorcycle after one of their friends saw him cruising around Bay View. “After I caught wind of this, I decided to drive my bike home one day. Their response to me having a motorcycle was well received! I believe they knew (about my bike) longer than I thought they did,” he said.

Dietzman is a 2011 graduate of St. Francis High School. The school has a woodshop, but hasn’t had an auto or metal shop for some time, Dietzman said. So during his junior year, he participated in a school-to-work program and studied welding at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s downtown campus.

“I realized I didn’t want to do welding as a career,” he said. However, he immediately connected with the fabrication aspect of welding that he could use it for work on motorcycle frames and parts.

When he sought a deeper understanding of engine mechanics, he took a small engines class at MATC, along with auto tech training.

He built his first motorcycle when he was 18, a 1977 Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster. “It was totally stock and (I) made it into a bobber. I changed the frame and everything on it,” he said.

The bike was featured in a motorcycles-as-art exhibit curated by Michael Lichter at the 2017 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Bobbing a bike involves stripping extraneous bodywork from a motorcycle, including removing the front fender and shortening the rear fender.

Dietzman finds motorcycles primarily via Craigslist.

For his commission projects, clients usually have a general idea of what they want and Dietzman fine-tunes it for them. He gets ideas from social media. He studies photos and considers how to make good ideas even better.

Despite holding a full-time sales position at Fastenal, an industrial supplier, along with his own business, Dietzman still finds time to mentor bike builders of the future through BUILD, a nonprofit educational organization that pairs teams of high school students with bike-builder mentors. The St. Francis High School program started in 2011, during Dietzman’s senior year. He and four other students participated in the program’s inaugural year.

“School was a little boring for me, but to go work on those motorcycles after school was awesome,” he said. “I remember skipping work to go work on motorcycles. That gave me the kick start to want to work on bikes.”

Dietzman serves as a mentor in the St. Francis High School program.

He helps students gain valuable life and interpersonal skills while restoring vintage motorcycles. They start out with a motorcycle chassis that is in rundown condition and turn it into a full race bike. They learn a wide range of skills, including motorcycle design, welding, fabricating, painting, and even fundraising. At the end of the build, the bikes are raced at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Other high schools that offer BUILD include Bradley Tech, Pulaski, New Berlin, South Milwaukee, Shorewood, and Muskego.

Still in his 20s, the sky, or the open highway, is the limit for Dietzman. While he loves making custom bikes and might expand into a larger workspace with a storefront, he’s keeping his full-time job and will see where the road takes him.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the Bay View Compass. 

Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part Two

November 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

Looking south, the intersection of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Potter Street. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Last month Part One of this series looked at property ownership on Bay View’s main commercial district focusing on the stretch of South Kinnickinnic Avenue between East Bay and East Conway streets. Analyzing the construction dates, it is apparent that development moved from north to south on the street that has long-served as Bay View’s most prominent commercial strip and a main thoroughfare.

This month we look at the section of Kinnickinnic between Homer and California streets. Private homes are scattered between the commercial buildings along the entire swath of Kinnickinnic from East Bay Street to East St. Francis and many of those commercial buildings include dwelling units. The mercantile buildings, for the most part, are two-storied with storefronts at street level and apartments above, although in some instances, there are also apartments behind the storefronts. Examples of those are the Alchemist Theatre building, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic and the South Shore Gallery & Framing building, 2627 S. Kinnickinnic.

The earliest existing example of a mid-century modern apartment building is the “two-story ranch-style” that now houses the Tessmer law practice, 2616 S. Kinnickinnic, that was built in 1958. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Constructed in 1968, this was the only solely-apartments-building in the Bay/Becher to Homer stretch of KK, the section featured in Part One of this series, until Dwell was built in 2012. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Another trend that becomes apparent, as one travels south on KK is the introduction multi-unit apartment buildings. The first example, though not first-built, is two-story Lannon Stone, 2390 S. Kinnickinnic, on the north side of Café Corazon. The stark contrast of its mid-century modern architectural style to that of the existing buildings most likely raised a few eyebrows when it made its debut in 1968.

The earliest existing example of the mid-century modern apartment building is the two-story “ranch-style” that now houses the Tessmer law practice, built in 1958, 2616 S. Kinnickinnic. Two more examples are found at 2501 S. Kinnickinnic, built in 1961, and 2549 S. Kinnickinnic, in 1967. The 2501 building was used as a location site in the 2011 Bridesmaids movie.

The multi-use Dwell development was constructed in 2012. It features retail units at street level and apartments above. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Now, half a century later, there is another apartment-development boom on Kinnickinnic. The new buildings are characterized by three- or more stories with retail at street level. Century-old architecture of a bygone Bay View is being razed for the new construction.Since we published Part One, the Compass learned that the Bay View Bowl property is listed for sale.

The .29-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Conway Street includes the two-story bowling alley/apartment building and 17 parking spaces. To the south, the parking lot faces Dwell, the apartment and retail development constructed in 2012.

The two vacant lots above, 2557-2557 and 2563-2565 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, were purchased by Scott Genke in 2016 for $250,000 each. The 2016 assessment was $16,900 for each parce

This Who Owns What on KK Property List includes the ownership and assessed value of the properties located on the 2000 to 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and a small section of South Howell Avenue. Addresses, built-dates, ownership, and assessment values were found in the City of Milwaukee Assessor’s records. Read Part 1 of this report.

A likely development site is the northwest and southwest corners of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and South Herman Street, where 10 parcels are owned by entities associated with Milwaukee developer Tim Olson.

The most obvious potential development site in this strip is the northwest and southwest corners of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and South Herman Street, where 10 parcels are owned by entities associated with Milwaukee developer Tim Olson. The parcels include the former Bella’s Fat Cat restaurant, a large empty lot, and eight homes. 

These homes on the west side of South Herman Street between Kinnickinnic and Montana Street are three of the eight homes in the parcel featured in the satellite photo below. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Developer Scott Genke added apartments to the roof of the King Building, 2534 S.Kinnickinnic Ave. The building originally served as the King Chevrolet dealership when it was built in 1928. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part 1

October 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. South Kinnickinnic Avenue, Bay View’s Main Street, is a focal point.

A three-part report that takes a look at property ownership and value on Bay View’s Main Street

There is a building boom in Bay View. The flurry of development is concentrated on Kinnickinnic Avenue, with two exceptions. Those are the Hide House Lofts, 2615 S. Greeley, and the massive Stitchweld apartment complex just west of Kinnickinnic.

The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. (The complex was later renamed Urban View.) There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units.


The recent burst of high-density housing in Bay View began in 2005 with the construction of Bay View Commons on the southwest corner of Becher Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. There are 21 condominiums above the street-level retail units. PHOTO Katherine Keller

In 2010, the Hide House Lofts were completed. Composed of 60 affordable-housing units, the north portion of an old industrial building was demolished to make way for the development.

The construction of the Dwell retail/apartments development on Kinnickinnic and Conway Street was completed in 2012. Seventy apartments perch above the street-level retail space. A small commercial building (Lone Feather), an apartment building that resembled row houses, and several homes were razed.

Scott Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic, last year, adding 14 apartments above the first story retail space.

This cottage is the oldest structure along the 2000-2400 stretch of South Kinnickinnic. City records indicate it was built in 1840. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The massive Stitchweld development occupies a triangular parcel bound by Ward Street, Robinson Avenue, and railroad tracks. While parts of the project are still under construction, the first of the 288 apartments are now occupied. A segment of the parcel was the site of the original Harnischfeger company, whose owners manufactured mining equipment and invented the electric crane. That building was razed, as well as several others, including two adjoined buildings that housed Sweet Water Organics aquaponics briefly, before it went out of business.

There are a number of dilapidated structures, such as these two buildings north of Café Lulu that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The Vue is currently under construction at the southeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Ward Street on the site of the former Faust Music buildings. Prior to Faust, the buildings were the home of the Stollenwerk hardware store and warehouse. Vue will offer street-level retail and four stories above it that will house 69 apartments.

Another mixed-use development will be constructed on the former Hamburger Mary’s site on the southeast corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue. The development will include first-story retail space and 144 apartments in the five stories above. The existing one-story building, once the site of a gas station that was succeeded by a series of hamburger restaurants, will be razed, as well as two duplexes and a cottage on Archer Avenue.

Including Vue, 666 new units have been added to Bay View’s housing stock since 2005.

What’s next?

It is certain more developers are looking for an opportunity to stake a claim in Bay View. Where?

The land and building that host the diminutive Tradewinds art supply store was assessed at $500 about 15-20 years ago, said owner Edward Herbert, Jr. It was assessed at $87,000 in 2017. PHOTO Katherine Keller

A site with good potential to be the next development is directly north of Hamburger Mary’s on the corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic. Currently, Oasis Coffee and Tradewinds are located there.

Catherine Rohde owns three parcels that border the east side of Kinnickinnic that are bounded by Stewart and Bay streets. She has placed her parcels on the market and said there’s interest in the property but there’s a hitch.

She doesn’t own the notch of land on the corner of Stewart and Kinnickinnic, where the Tradewinds art supply building resides. Edward Herbert, Jr. owns that parcel.

Rohde and Herbert are both willing to sell but to date haven’t received compelling offers. Selling both parcels is complicated because a buyer must negotiate with both Rohde and Herbert.

Rohde said she’s received offers that were enticing but Herbert’s minimum price quelled potential buyers’ enthusiasm.

Herbert agreed. He said there is active interest in his property and he’s willing to sell, but he hasn’t received “a decent offer.” Referencing the spike in property value on Kinnickinnic, he said, “Fifteen or 20 years ago my property was assessed at $500. Now it’s $90,000.”

Kinnickinnic Avenue possesses is an eclectic array of buildings — commercial and residential. There are 15 private homes in the 2000 – 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Amazon is killing his retail art supply business so he’s prepared to sell. Herbert will not reestablish his business after he finds a buyer for his property.

The empty lots, 2557-2563 S. Kinnickinnic, adjacent to Alchemist Theatre, could be the site of another apartment development. The Journal Sentinel reported that Scott Genke of SK Property Development, LLC, purchased the empty lots in 2016 for $500,000. At that time each was assessed at $16,900. Last year Genke redeveloped the King Building, 2534 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., adding 14 apartments (King Lofts) above the street-level retail space.

What other properties might attract development?

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

The Backyard Bar property, 2159-2161 S. Kinnickinnic, is for sale. It consists of two buildings (one is set back on the lot) and a vacant lot.

Russell Chicks owns a swath of residential properties, 2131-2151 S. Kinnickinnic. They’re just south of the American Estates (antiques) building that was sold to KK 2133, LLC. Shirley Konopsky is the registered agent. She told the Compass that she is Tim Olson’s aunt. Olson owns numerous properties in Milwaukee.

The (former) Shogun Tattoo building, 2208-2210 is for sale. It abuts the Vue development.

There are two properties adjacent to Razor barbershop. One is vacant and there is a single, one-story building on the other that resembles an old machine shop or garage. City records indicate Leto owns his barbershop building and the empty lot. He is listed as the registered agent for the one-story building.

There are also a number of dilapidated structures such as the two buildings north of Café Lulu, the tiny little one-story building on the southwest corner of KK and Smith St. that might attract the attention of those looking for a place to build on KK.

This chart lists the ownership and assessed value of the properties located on the 2000 to 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and a small section of South Howell Avenue. Addresses, built-dates, ownership, and assessment values were found in the City of Milwaukee Assessor’s records. Read Part 2 of this report.


SPOTTLIGHT — Is There Any Value to Upgrading My Home?

September 1, 2017

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

So you’re thinking of maybe upgrading some rooms in your home and you’re wondering if there is any value to it. The simple answer is yes!

But first and foremost, do the upgrade for you! Live with it and enjoy it. What I see time and time again is people living for a long time with some aspect of their home that doesn’t thrill them. Then they do the remodel or upgrade right before they sell which means they’ve fixed it up for someone else.

Which home upgrades are good investments? Well, not all home improvements are good ones.

According to Remodeling Magazine (, you’re less likely to recoup your investment in a major kitchen or bathroom remodel than with basic home maintenance or upgrades such a such as new siding. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. Replacing roofs and windows was also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more when the home was sold.

The only home improvement likely to return more was a minor kitchen remodel that would cost, roughly $15,000. That, on average, returned 92.9 percent. Don’t let that discourage you from redoing the kitchen or bathroom, since buyers see those two rooms as those they want upgraded.

What Remodeling Magazine doesn’t state is that the most important thing you can do is take care of the basic home maintenance. Things that you need to do on a yearly basis are to have the furnace and hot water heater inspected, and if needed, repaired or replaced. Check your roof and gutters to make sure they are in good condition, and if not, replace. Make sure you do not have water in your basement and the foundation is in good condition. These are not the sexy things to do but they are essential to the upkeep of a home and should be done before any other upgrades!

Deciding what rooms to upgrade is important. If you are thinking about upgrading your kitchen perhaps but you only have one bathroom in the house, I would highly recommend that you try to add another bath, if possible, first. That investment returns an average of 86.4 percent.

Please don’t do the work yourself! Hire a licensed contractor to it. Get permits and lien waivers for the work done. Shop around for a good contractor, seek referrals, and do your own research after you’ve narrowed down the field to one or two that seem like the best choice.

Curb appeal is also important. This too can be an upgrade. New siding or paint or a new front porch can be a game changer.

As for color, most homeowners think it’s good to follow the current trends, but that’s not always a good thing. Today’s trends become yesterday’s not-so-cool thing in a hurry. Find something that has a timeless feel to it. As much as you may think that neutrals have a boring feel to them, they work for most people. When you have incorporated a neutral palette, it makes it easier for potential buyers to imagine their preferred color palette.

In the end, what you get back on your home after home improvements, really depends on the value of your home, the value of the homes in your neighborhood, and what’s going on with the housing market in the area you live in. Over-improving your home for the area you live in doesn’t make any sense nor will you get your money back.

To read the 2017 Cost/Value Report for Milwaukee: Note, you will have to register (free) before you are able to view the data.

Toni Spott Sustainable Agent,
Keller Williams Realty;

Facebook: Toni Spott’s Real Estate Resource;
Twitter: @ToniSpottsRealEstateResource

KK’s Glorious Flower Baskets

September 1, 2017

By Sheila Julson

This summer Kinnickinnic Avenue from Morgan Avenue to Becher Street was again beautified with bountiful hanging baskets. A project of the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), the basket arrangements will be displayed through September or mid-October, weather permitting.

The more successful of the baskets that bedeck Kinnickinnic Avenue are planted with Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, a bright pink petunia, and Supertunia Vista Silverberry petunias, typically white with pink accents. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

This was the second year that Custom Grown Greenhouses (4507 S. Sixth St.) created the baskets for the KK BID.

“We’re really pleased with the beauty of the baskets,” said Mary Ellen O’Donnell, BID board member and chair of its streetscape committee. We continued the contract with them this year and didn’t go out to bid because we were so happy with them last year.”

O’Donnell said this year they deferred to Custom Grown owner Paul Budzisz and his team, allowing them to select the flowers, whereas, in previous years, she and other BID members helped select them. Each basket is a little different and is planted with varieties of petunias, dragon lady begonias, sweet potatoes, lantana, and Carlina, among others.

Custom Grown handled all aspects of the project. They selected the flowers, planted the baskets, placed them on the brackets, watered them, and will remove them at the end of the season. The baskets are saved for reuse by the BID, O’Donnell said.

The 2017 budget for the project was $9,000. “There were high watering costs last year, so what we did was up-the-budget a bit to accommodate that,” O’Donnell said. “But we’re on track to be a little under budget this year.” There are about 58 baskets, she noted.

Budzisz has owned Custom Grown Greenhouses since 1988. “This year, they (BID) let me do my own thing to see what works best and what doesn’t,” he said. “There are some combinations where maybe we can cut down on the watering, and we also want to see people’s reactions (to the plant choices and designs).”

The more successful baskets are planted with Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, a bright pink petunia, and Supertunia Vista Silverberry petunias, typically white with pink accents. Neither requires deadheading and both are drought resistant. “They perform the best and most baskets with those turned out very well,” Budzisz said.

Some of the other baskets include Dragon Wing begonias with yellow sweet potato vines, lantana, and pink begonias. Budzisz is particularly pleased with the results of the baskets near the Immaculate Conception church on the corner of Kinnickinnic and Russell avenues. Those baskets hold begonias, Carlina, a white cascading plant, purple petunias, and blue ivy. They have grown successfully and Budzisz has heard good feedback from passers-by when he watered the baskets.

Custom Grown Greenhouses owner Paul Budzisz and employee Claire Raasch try to incorporate plants that don’t need much maintenance when designing their hanging baskets. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Budzisz, along with employee Claire Raasch, who has been at Custom Grown for 25 years, tries to incorporate plants that don’t need much maintenance.

Challenges like inclement weather and vandalism have been minimal. “We might have to touch them up occasionally,” he said, “but the only thing that happened was last year, when a basket fell. The hanger broke and the basket was lying on the ground. We think it was because last year’s sweet potato vines grew to where they nearly touched the ground and they got caught on something or had been tugged. This year’s vines don’t grow that long.”

Custom Grown works with other municipalities including Whitefish Bay, Wauwatosa, and Germantown, providing and caring for flowers and other plants. While much of their business is retail, they also grow plants for the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds and for the Milwaukee County Zoo.

More color on KK

In addition to the hanging baskets, the KK BID also maintains the Art Stop site north of the KK/Howell/Lincoln avenues intersection and about six concrete planters owned by the BID, located in the vicinity of KK and Lincoln. O’Donnell said they were purchased and installed by a former, now defunct Bay View business association.

“Not every business was (using) the planters in front of their businesses,” said O’Donnell. The BID let businesses that wanted to use its planters continue doing so. For those who did not, the BID took them over. The BID added an additional planter at the south end of KK in front of Rusty
Sprocket Antiques.

PHOTO Katherine Keller

Additionally, Custom Grown provided the plants at the base of the new gateway signs on KK at Morgan Avenue and at Bay Street. The Becher sign was installed on an existing landscaped mound that is maintained by the city, O’Donnell said.

The sign just south of Morgan Park was installed on a barren island. “We wanted to put some nice landscaping around that sign, so we purchased planting materials from Custom Grown for both locations, as well as for Art Stop,” O’Donnell said. The BID contracted Curative Care, a nonprofit that hires people with disabilities. “They have a landscaping team as one of the services they provide. We were really excited about working with the organization. They planted at the two sign locations, as well as on the bare areas of the Art Stop. Custom Grown is doing the watering until the plants are established. Curative Care is handling the weeding and cleaning.”

Budzisz credits projects like KK BID baskets for promoting gardening and encouraging people to add more beauty and color to their properties. He said he hopes the trend continues to catch on with individuals and businesses.

SPOTTLIGHT — Do You Know What Style Your Home Is?

August 1, 2017

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

What exactly is home style in real estate terms? Home style refers to architectural style. There are more than 38 different styles and 26 of those are more popular than the rest.

The top 15 styles in order of popularity are, according to an article published by American Home Shield: Modern, New American, Contemporary Cottage, Texas, Colonial, Victorian, Italianate, Mediterranean, Ranch/Rambler, Bungalow, Beach, Cape Cod, Craftsman, Florida, and Georgian.

Craftsman homes are one of the most popular styles in Midwest but Traditional is more popular in the Northeast and Mountain regions, though it is also popular in the Midwest. The Ranch/Rambler is one of the more popular in the Southwest. Geographical area plays a large role in the style of home and how it holds up in specific climates.

Ever wonder if the style of your home is the style that was original to its construction? A lot of homes have morphed into a completely different style over time due to renovation and remodeling.

If a home has been significantly altered, the original style is usually discovered during a remodeling project. Taking down walls and finding secret areas you never knew about are sometimes discovered. Sometimes original detailing is uncovered and revealed.

Whether you are thinking of remodeling, adding on, or just improving curb appeal, it’s always good to know the style of your home before you begin. There is nothing worse than a home with no continuity of design after a remodel or addition.

Worse yet is an interior with choppy flow from room to room when dramatically altering the original style.


My home, for example, was an original Center Hall Colonial built in 1945. Originally it had two bedrooms, one and a half baths, a galley kitchen, living room, and a dining room. My husband and I have done two remodeling projects. We added one full bath on the second floor and two more bedrooms. On the main floor, we removed walls to open up the kitchen and incorporate a three-season room. We completely transformed the first floor to an open concept. It is no longer a Center Hall Colonial but our Malibu Beach home. Just call me Barbie!

Our new design incorporates continuous flow from room to room and successfully melded the old architectural style with the new. Our project illustrates that you don’t have to stay true to the original style. You can incorporate your own and tastefully integrate the old with the new.

Review the list of architectural styles from, so next time you are driving down the road, test your style skills and see how many you can get right.

Here’s to lots more sunny days and great home style!

Toni Spott Sustainable Agent, Keller Williams Realty;

Facebook: TheToniSpottTeam

Bay View Run Series goes the distance for the community

June 30, 2017

By Sheila Julson

Wild Workouts & Wellness is sponsoring the Bay View Run Series, four benefit runs that take place between July and November.

Wild Workouts is a personal training and fitness business in Bay View formed by owner Amber Budahn in 2011.

The individual events are Run for the Parks, Dash to the Bash, The Great Pumpkin Chase, and Turkey Trot. Registration fees are donated to different Bay View charities, and the runs represent Budahn’s dual mission not only to help change the lives of her clients, but also to promote community health by supporting local organizations.

Originally, each of the four runs began as a discrete event until Budahn decided to combine them this year as a series.

“I figured that now that we’re doing all these runs, let’s just make it a series,” Budahn said. “These events can work together on a common good, which is supporting community organizations and promoting community fitness. The more runners we have at each event, the more donation dollars we can give. By having a series, each run supports and promotes the others.”

All are 5K run/walks. Participation fees for the four runs are about $20 each. There are no fees for the Turkey Trot except for a donation of nonperishable food, which is given to the Bay View Community Center’s food pantry. Runners and walkers are not required to secure sponsors.

Run for the Parks
takes place July 25 at 6:30pm at Humboldt Park. The run is in its eighth year and helps support The Park People with its efforts as citizen stewards of Milwaukee County Parks. Through a partnership with Bay View Neighborhood Association, some of the funds are used to make improvements in Humboldt Park. “At Run for the Parks, runners start at the band shell on a Chill on the Hill concert night, and there’s a nice little get-together after,” Budahn said.

Wild Workouts & Wellness helped with last year’s Run for the Parks and will be more involved this year by volunteering on the course with tasks such as directing runners.

The impetus for Dash to the Bash was born when Budahn, a longtime Bay View Bash participant, struck up conversations with Sue Loomis, one of the Bash organizers. They talked about ways to get people to the Bash earlier in the day and came up with the run. The first one was held last year.

This year’s Dash to the Bash takes place Sept. 16 at 10:30am. Runners take off near Sven’s on Kinnickinnic Avenue and wind through Humboldt Park. Proceeds go to the Bay View Community Fund (BVCF), which in turn gives funding to local organizations including Canine Cupids and Kompost Kids. Budahn said last year’s inaugural Dash to the Bash had about 100 participants and that $150 in proceeds were donated to BVCF.

Last year, Tom Held, a personal trainer at Wild Workouts & Wellness, coordinated with the BVNA to create The Great Pumpkin Chase, a run that benefits BVNA and that is part of its annual Pumpkin Pavilion event. Racers are encouraged to wear costumes, so creativity and panache win this run rather than speed and endurance. The Pumpkin Chase features a quarter-mile kids’ run around the lagoon.

“We’re going to build that up a little this year by having people in costumes around the course, with parents and other volunteers,” Held said.

The Pumpkin Chase premiered last year and drew about 30 participants, Held said. Costumes included a shark, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and even the Bay View fox. The event raised $135 for BVNA.

The Turkey Trot was the first run Budahn established. She started it 13 years ago, when she first began working as a personal trainer
— before she formed Wild Workouts & Wellness. “I just wanted to get people together on Thanksgiving morning for a light run, and we never stopped doing it,” Budahn said.

Bay View Community Center’s president and CEO Linda Nieft said the 2016 Turkey Trot generated 11 large boxes and 13 bags of nonperishable food for the pantry, equal to about $1,000 in value. She said that food donations typically increase around Thanksgiving, but the Turkey Trot donations are especially helpful to meet the needs of families using the food pantry at that time of the year. Nieft said the center’s teen leadership and emergency preparedness group, the Ready Kids has volunteered at Turkey Trot in the past and may do so again this year.

Giving Back

Wild Workouts & Wellness has grown to 370 clients since opening in 2011, Budahn said. She opened her second site in February 2016, a 3,600-square-foot-space at Delaware and Rusk avenues in the former Threadworks (and briefly, Bay View Area Redcats) building. Hintz grocery store occupied the space in an earlier era. The second location focuses on boot-camp-style workouts, while the location on Delaware just north of Oklahoma Avenue is dedicated to one-on-one and small group workouts.

The business has expanded its wellness offerings, including a nutrition program and a free weekly summer run on Wednesday evenings. As a newer mom — her son Frank turns 2 years old this month — Budahn plans to offer mom and baby workouts, for which she said she’s received many requests.

“Bay View is a special place. I live here and I work here, and it’s great to be an addition to it,” she said.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to the Bay View Compass.

Outpost Natural Foods Co-op Wins Sustainability Star Award 

June 1, 2017

Outpost Natural Foods Co-op has been named a Sustainability Star by National Co+op Grocers (NCG) for excellence in sustainability efforts. The award recognizes food co-ops that demonstrate outstanding leadership by making a positive impact on social, environmental, and local economic issues.
At its annual meeting in April, NCG honored Outpost for engaging staff in sustainability through the store’s green teams and through an online employee engagement game called Cool Choices, where the co-op recognized over $60,000 and 632,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (C02) in savings!
Sustainability Star award winners participate in Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program that helps co-op grocery stores measure their impact, drive improvements, and share the story of their important work with community members and other co-ops. This marks the second year that NCG has highlighted leading co-ops with Sustainability Star awards. Outpost is one of 10 co-ops nationwide honored for its 2016 performance.
In 2012 Outpost deepened its commitment by tracking metrics in 11 key areas throughout the business and recently published a “highlight report” noting their key impacts since this reporting began. 
Cooperative sector businesses are known for being innovators in sustainability. Earning Sustainability Star recognition shows that a co-op is leading the way, not only by excelling in sustainability pursuits, but by sharing the details and results of their efforts for the benefit of co-ops and communities around the country.
View Outpost’s Sustainability Report:

South Shore Farmers Market Opens June 17

June 1, 2017

The long-awaited 2017 debut of the South Shore Farmers Market is Saturday, June 17 from 8am to noon. Musicians Nickel & Rose will perform at 10am. The Squeezettes perform the following week, June 17, at 10am.

SPOTTLIGHT — Preparing to put your home up for sale

June 1, 2017

By Toni Spott

Toni Spott

Putting your home up for sale can be an extremely stressful time. There are ways to avoid much of the stress by being proactive and getting things ready prior to that day.

Pay for a Home Inspection
The biggest hiccup in the whole home sale affair is the inspection. So before you even think about doing anything, have your property inspected first. You will know in advance everything that is wrong with your home before it goes on the market.

If you find that your home has major defects, the advantage is you can address them on your budget.

That means you can research the cost of the repairs so you won’t be at the mercy of a buyer telling you, for example, that it would cost $10,000 for a particular repair, instead of the $2,000 it would actually cost you.

Also, it gives you the gift of time. Time to really find out what those costs are before crunch time, when you may only be given a day to respond, or the deal goes south.

Additionally, by conducting a pre-listing inspection and being cognizant of any and all defects, you can disclose those to the buyer.

The buyer will then write an offer knowing your home’s condition. They cannot come back after their inspection, if they choose to have one, and say they want those defects fixed.

There is language in the WB-11 Offer To Purchase that protects the seller who chooses to have an inspection and who discloses aspects of a home that need repair or improvement: “Defects do not include structural, mechanical or other conditions the nature and extent of which Buyer had actual knowledge or written notice before signing this Offer.”

Don’t Wait to Discard or Pack
The day after you decide to sell, act as though you are moving out in two weeks. Get rid of all that junk that’s been accumulating and those things you no longer use.

Use three sorting categories — boxes for the garbage, boxes for charity, and boxes for the stuff you want to keep. This way when you have an accepted offer, you are will not be stressing out about how to get out of the house in 30 days but with 30 years of stuff to dispose of, or worse, move.

Eliminating everything you really don’t need and prepacking frees you up in those final crucial days right before you move, so you have time for more important things like focusing on your new residence and what it holds for you.

Once you’ve gotten all of the technical stuff out of the way, clean your home. Wash the walls, doors, windows, cabinets, countertops, etc. Remove personal photos, jewelry, medicines, and everything that has value.

Decluttering is the name of the game. Go with the less is more theory. When a buyer walks through your home, you want them to remember what the home itself looked like, not your decorating.

Paint the interior if it hasn’t been painted in the past several years.

Then bring in a real estate agent who can advise you about what else you need, or do not need to do to make your home more saleable.

Happy selling!

Toni Spott Sustainable Agent,
Keller Williams Realty;
Facebook: Toni Spott’s Real Estate
Resource; @ToniSpottsRealEstateResource

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