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The latest business news in Northeastern Wisconsin
Northeastern Wisconsin

Northeastern Wisconsin

Serving Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto,
Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, and Winnebago counties.

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Selected headlines — 11/22 edition of The Business News

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Area's largest public companies

'Burke is young at heart

Fond du Lac company makes products that focus on of play

Not many companies get to say they’re in the business of play, but that’s been the heart of the BCI Burke Company for 101 years. BCI Burke Company, often referred to as Burke, didn’t start in the play space, but it did start in a place ripe for play — a Fond du Lac family farm replete with outdoor space galore for imaginative play. Today, Burke’s company headquarters remain on that very same land, although now featuring an abundance of new buildings, technology and equipment and employees passionate about play. It’s been quite a journey for a company with beginnings in the weather stripping and radiator business. The founder, J.E. Burke fabricated the company’s first slide for a family friend. That set the stage for work in a whole new space. Today, Burke is a leader in the playground, outdoor fitness and recreation industry, providing play to parks and recreation spaces, schools, churches, community centers, homeowners’ associations and daycares.

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A blessing for artists, shoppers

Local art among the gift options at area shop

By Amanda Lauer alauer@thebusinessnewsonline.com

With Christmas quickly approaching, there’s been some concern about the availability of gift items to purchase because of recent issues with the supply chain in the United States, but for folks within driving distance of Weyauwega, there’s a business that has a variety of gift options and no supply chain concerns at all. Blessings & Friends, 123 E. Main St. in downtown Weyauwega, is a working-artists’ studio and retail shop that offers unique, handmade items — all produced in Wisconsin. The business was opened in 2016 by Mary Beisner, a stained-glass artist, who’d been creating art in that genre for more than two decades through her original business, Blessings Glassworks. “I never meant to have a store, it was an accident,” Beisner said. “I started stained glass as a hobby, and it just continued to grow to the point where I had to move the studio three separate times because I was running out of room.”

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People who make a difference

YMCA is at the center of Schmidt’s volunteer efforts


For Manitowoc native Emily Schmidt, who works as a children’s long-term support case manager for Manitowoc County, turkey dinner is not the focus of her Thanksgiving Day. Instead, when she rolls out of bed in the wee hours of Nov. 25, she’ll be lacing up her athletic shoes to head down to Manitowoc’s Red Arrow Park to once again volunteer for Festival Foods’ annual Turkey Trot run-walk community fundraiser. Held in various locations in Wisconsin — including Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Oshkosh and Manitowoc — since its founding in 2008, the Turkey Trot has statewide raised more than $3 million for community charities, most notably for the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Clubs. More than 110,000 people have participated in either the five-mile or two-mile events as well as the “dog jog” for participants who register their dogs to be part of the fun.

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Growth strategies

One-man paint shop has grown

What started out as a one-man auto painting facility in 1989 has grown to an approximately 100-person staff that today focuses entirely on painting and specialty coating of large, industrial-type vehicles, many of which are for the nation’s defense department and their customers. No matter what they painted then, to what they paint today, quality has been at the forefront of their business model. It is in their mission statement and is part of their company culture. “We got our quality mission because when the company was doing auto body painting, you had to have that auto body finish just right,” Jared Nelson, financial manager at Quality Paint & Coatings (QPC), and son of the company’s founder and owner, Charles Nelson. “It’s really important that what you see with your eyes is appealing and looks perfectly spot-on with no discrepancies, blemishes or anything that wouldn’t make the paint job look perfect,” he said. “We’ve always held ourselves to a higher standard along those lines of quality.”

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