Pete’s Pops, Triciclo Peru, Hands in Harmony– you know them, you love them, and they are all located in the Near West Side’s up and coming commercial corridors!

This week I had the opportunity to speak with Allyson Nemec and Kelsey Otero, Co-Chairs of Near West Side Partners’ Commercial Corridor Development Working Team. Together, this team aims to creatively activate the commercial corridors of the Near West Side and attract, retain, and support high quality local and national businesses.

Pictured Above: Co-Chairs of Commercial Corridor Development Working Team Allyson Nemec (left) and Kelsey Otero (right).

Allyson works as a founding principal and architect at Quorum Architects and is an adjunct professor of architecture at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Allyson works and lives in the Near West Side with her two sons, Will and Jake, whom are employees of neighborhood businesses (Triciclo Peru and Pete’s Pops). Within the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team, she provides architectural input to business owners looking to relocate to the Near West Side.

Kelsey works as the Associate Director of Social Innovation at Marquette University’s 707 Hub. In the Near West Side, she runs Rev-Up MKE, a Shark-Tank style small business competition focused on helping start-up entrepreneurs get the support needed to make their businesses successful.

To learn more about Rev-Up MKE, click the link here.

As a whole, the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team consists of over 20 members from different businesses and organizations across Milwaukee, including Menomonee Valley Partners, Town Bank, Ogden Realty, and Neighborhood House. Kelsey shared that “our community is really driven by the strength of our Main Street. [It is important] to make sure we have a diverse set of businesses that offer a diverse set of products and services that residents, employees, and visitors can patron.” As mentioned previously, some of the diverse businesses that have been supported by the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team and Rev-Up MKE include Pete’s Pops, Triciclo Peru, Hands in Harmony, Lisa Kaye Catering, and A Goodman’s Desserts.

Pictured above: Triciclo Peru(Left), Lisa Kaye’s Catering(Center), and Pete’s Pops(Right)

In the future, the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team wants to focus on working with Near West Side businesses to promote sustainable job growth and workforce development. Additionally, they would like to continue collaborating with NWSP’s Safety Working Team and PARC to make sure the commercial corridors are practicing sustainable economic development and are auto, pedestrian, and bike friendly.

Finally, I asked Allyson and Kelsey what Near West Side residents and those from the greater Milwaukee alike can do to support the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team. Unanimously, the Co-Chairs answered that the best thing people can be doing is to patron Near West Side businesses. Eating and shopping locally is so important, as is encouraging others to eat and shop locally. Kelsey shared she commits to ordering takeout food from at least one Near West Side restaurant each week.

The Made in the Near West Side series is a great way to try a new local place each week that NWSP highlights on social media. Check out some previous videos from the series below:

#MadeInTheNearWestSide: A Goodman’s Desserts

#MadeInTheNearWestSide: Everything Grows


#MadeInTheNearWestSide: Lisa Kaye Catering

Allyson also shared that Near West Side residents can help assist the goals of the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team by partaking in neighborhood beautification efforts. This includes planting flowers and greenery, maintaining outdoor public spaces, and partaking in community clean up events. At the end of our conversation, both Allyson and Kelsey shared how grateful they both felt to be a part of the Commercial Corridor Development Working Team. Allyson noted the Team is “incredibly hard working” and people “come [to the monthly meetings] not just to see what other people are doing, but to see what they can do, too.” Kelsey added, “this committee is incredibly committed… and it’s just been a joy and a privilege– they’ve taught me so much.”

Many thanks to Allyson and Kelsey for speaking with me and the entire Commercial Corridor Development Working Team for all they work they are doing to make the Near West Side a better place to live, work, and play.

Commercial Corridor Development Working Team Members: John Hennessy – Hennessy Group and BID #10 Chris Holmes – Penfield Children’s Center Vanessa Koster – City of Milwaukee DCD Dan Naumann – Laundry Cares Foundation Allyson Nemec – Quorum Architects Kelsey Otero – Marquette University Michelle Kramer – Menomonee Valley Partners Melissa Muller – Quorum Architects Lindsey St. Arnold Bell – Near West Side Partners Stelio Kalkounos – 5 O’Clock Steak House Gino Tassara – Inspired Artisans Ltd. Derek Reinke – Ogden Reality Eric Wozny – Town Bank Charlotte John-Gomez – Siebert Foundation Norm McGee – Neighborhood House Oby Nwabuzor – Envision Growth and American Heart Association Steve Ewing – Steve Ewing & Co. David Griggs – One 5 Olive Anna Weirick – Near West Side Partners

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