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Below is a collection of media including videos, audio and news articles featuring the Door County Economic Development Center.


Hatco Corporation Named Door County Industry of the Year

Door County, WI – The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that Hatco Corporation is the winner of the Door County Industry of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes a local construction, service or manufacturing business that has made a substantial impact on the community and enjoyed significant accomplishments during the past year. The announcement came during the DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Hatco Corporation is a leading innovator and manufacturer for the foodservice industry, specializing in the design, production, sale, and service of equipment that improves efficiency and profits for today’s competitive foodservice operations. Founded in 1950 by Gordon and LaReine Hatch of Milwaukee, the company has succeeded for more than six decades by providing many inventive solutions or product enhancements for customers to meet critical needs within the industry, as well as by maximizing performance standards of products with superior engineering and production. Today the company has an extensive line of products that are sold worldwide into many different styles of commercial foodservice establishments. In 2012, the company received the Governor’s Export Achievement Award at the 48th annual Wisconsin International Trade Conference.

In the past decade, Hatco has completely revamped their manufacturing to a lean process that allows a greater variety of products to be manufactured in relatively low volumes; products are not built until an order is received. New technologies are routinely incorporated into the products to fulfill customer requests for equipment that is easier to use, less expensive to operate, allows more flexibility in their process, and can tolerate the harsh environment of a commercial restaurant kitchen. In addition, Demand Flow Technology uses a series of quality checks and tests to meet rigid performance standards for every product.

This large-family company of approximately 340 local employees is made up of highly-skilled technical workers and engineers, professionals in purchasing, human resources, quality assurance, and administration, all considering themselves as support to the talented and cross-trained manufacturing workforce. In May of 2007, Hatco Corporation became 100% employee owned. Hatco operates with an empowered workforce within a corporate culture that “works smart, has fun, and keeps learning.” It is also a workforce community made up of team member owners who hold each other accountable and to high standards of excellence.

Hatco Corporation has grown consistently through the years resulting in the company becoming one of the largest and well-known private employers in Door County. The goals of the investment strategy are not only to expand capacity and capability, but also to improve productivity. Since 2012, major capital reinvestments have been put back into the company in the form of a 65,000 square foot manufacturing space and separate customer and staff training rooms, as well as a company-built healthcare clinic that is open to all Hatco employees and their families at no charge.

Creating long-term positive impact for team members as well as a means to lower rising health care costs was the inspiration behind Hatco’s decision to build a clinic in the factory and staff it with a nurse practitioner and physical therapist. The clinic is just one element of a major wellness initiative that began in 2012. Additional wellness tactics include yearly health assessments, smoking cessation classes, on-site exercise classes, YMCA membership stipends, and ongoing fitness challenges for the team members.

Hatco supports the Door County community in a variety of ways through both direct and in-kind support of organizations and events. Major organizational support is designated to the Door County YMCA and the Maritime Museum. Volunteerism and involvement of team members in the community are also encouraged.

“We are pleased to recognize Hatco Corporation as our industry of the year,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “Their recent growth and investments are a key indicator of optimism for a brighter future. They have been an important part of our local economy for many years and we can only hope that will continue for many years to come.”

This year marks the 41st year of the Door County Industry of the Year Award, first presented by the Door County Chamber of Commerce in 1973. Last year’s award winner was Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli. Other recent winners of the Industry of the Year Award include WireTech Fabricators, Roen Salvage Company, Door Peninsula Winery, and N.E.W. Industries.

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the county and its residents. Founded in 1989, DCEDC has been successful in helping existing businesses create and retain thousands of jobs through a myriad of programs and initiatives. Additionally, DCEDC places strong emphasis on fostering entrepreneurial instincts in county residents as well as those who vacation on the Door County Peninsula. Door County Economic Development Corporation offices are located within the small business incubator DCEDC founded in 1997 at 185 East Walnut Street in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park.


A.J. Frank Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Door County, WI -The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that Mr. A.J.  Frank, owner of Door County Trolley, Inc. (http://www.doorcountytrolley.com/), is the winner of the annual Door County Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The announcement came during the DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Door County Trolley was started in 2000 to provide transportation around the peninsula for tourists and visitors who had in large part come to the area by private automobile. From a modest beginning, Door County Trolley is today involved in providing a broad array of interesting, entertaining, fun, and diversified recreational and educational tours for visitors to the Door County peninsula.

Among the many tours the company provides to customers includes: Premier Wine Tour, Lighthouse Tour, Ghost Tour of Door County, Haunted Olde Sturgeon Bay, Spring Blossom Trolley Tour, Culinary Trolley Tour, and Winter Wonderland Tour. The company also provides weddings and private charter tours, as well as classic car wedding packages and classic car special events.

Since starting the business, the number of trolleys has grown from one to eleven, and annual ridership has grown from less than 500 to well into the tens of thousands. On any given day in the season, up to 750 Door County visitors experience a ride on one of A.J.’s trolleys and find a new and wonderful way to see the spectacular treasures of our area.

Door County Trolley’s direct payroll is 13, expected to grow to 15 by June 2014. There are also the jobs created by partner businesses with which A. J. has forged relationships. Additionally, there are the jobs that are created in all of the other businesses which benefit directly from increasing numbers of satisfied visitors who return to Door County for the unique recreational activities provided by Door County Trolley.

“It is our pleasure to recognize A.J. Frank with the Entrepreneur of the Year award,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “His business adds greatly to the visitor experience in Door County. DCEDC was proud to help A.J. out with financing when his business was young, and we have been thrilled to watch his company’s continued growth and expansion. We wish him nothing but continued success.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates those individuals who have taken the initiative to start and grow a successful small business in Door County. Eligible businesses include those with fewer than 50 full time employees, exhibiting exciting growth potential and that have at least three years of successful business experience. Last year’s winners were the Wienke Family, owners of Wienke’s Market in Southern Door.

The Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the county and its residents. Founded in 1989, DCEDC has been successful in helping existing businesses create and retain thousands of jobs through a myriad of programs and initiatives. Additionally, DCEDC places strong emphasis on fostering entrepreneurial instincts in county residents as well as those who vacation on the Door County Peninsula. Door County Economic Development Corporation offices are located within the small business incubator DCEDC founded in 1997 at 185 East Walnut Street in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park.


Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli Named Door County Industry of the Year

The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli is the winner of the Door County Industry of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes a local construction, service or manufacturing business that has made a substantial impact on the community and enjoyed significant accomplishments during the past year. The announcement came during the April 30, 2013 DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Renard’s Cheese is a family owned and operated business that is now on its third generation of cheesemakers. Over the past 51 years, Renard’s Cheese has become an iconic Door County business, and is on a trajectory to successfully build upon that status for many years to come. Though many things have changed throughout the years, their commitment to producing quality, gourmet, and handcrafted cheeses has never wavered.

This precise art has awarded Renard’s not only a reputation of great standards but also the ribbons to match. Their award winning Two-Year Aged White Cheddar is one of their best selling cheeses. Over the past several years, they have expanded their product line to include flavor infused cheeses such as; Morel & Leek Jack, Cranberry Jalapeno Monterey Jack, and over 50 other specialty cheeses. One of their newest creations is the Door County Untouchable Cheddar, where they soak their Two-Year White Cheddar in Simon Creek Winery’s Untouchable Red Wine for three days.

Today, Ann and Chris Renard are still focused on a proactive approach to running Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli, which has been evident in the expansion of their product offerings, their increased national distribution, new sales routes throughout the state and the new retail location that was built this past year. The addition of their 1900 square foot retail store has allowed them to increase their cheese offerings and bring in more local products, as well as add a new deli for their customers to enjoy.

Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli of Sturgeon Bay has been averaging 40% growth over the past couple years, which has allowed for many new and exciting additions to the company. In 2010, Renard’s Cheese had six employees; today they have 29 year-round employees. Ten of these employees were added this past fall to accommodate the expansion of the new facility as well as production needs. In the months following the grand opening of the new retail store their business increased a remarkable 70%.

Both Ann and Chris are active in the community, and they provide support through the business as well. Since 2003, they have conducted the Carrie Ann Renard Memorial Golf Outing. Carrie Ann Renard was Chris’ sister, who was very active in Southern Door School Sports. In honor of her memory this annual fundraiser is held every July and all the proceeds are given to the Southern Door School Booster Club. Renard’s Cheese is also participating in Reading Rewards, which is designed to promote reading as well as healthy snacking. Ann and Chris are also very passionate about the services that are provided by Door CANcer, which offers help to local cancer patients.

“We are pleased to recognize Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli as our industry of the year,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “They have been an important part of our local economy for many years and we can only hope that will continue for many years to come. Chris and Ann represent an exciting new generation of cheesemakers and owners for this Door County company.”


Wienke Family Named Entrepreneurs of the Year

The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced recently that the Wienke Family, owners of Wienke’s Market in Southern Door County  are the winners of the tenth annual Door County Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The announcement came during the April 30, 2013 DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Wienke’s Market has been a family owned-and operated business for over 35 years. Don and Jane Wienke moved to their unique Door County farmstead in 1967. When their hobby garden became too large for their family, they started selling their bountiful crops in a roadside stand. Blemished fruit and vegetables were canned and preserved by both Don and Jane’s mothers. In 1982 their barn was converted into a market.

In 1990, the barn was insulated to become a year-round facility. A federally and state approved kitchen was added to enable the Wienke’s to process pickles and jams from the recipes passed down from their mothers. Today Wienke’s Market is a year-round destination for visitors and locals of Door County.
The company produces over 100 canned food items on site in Door County, which includes over 30 pickle varieties, pie fillings, and over 50 jam varieties. All products are made in small batches without additives or preservatives. They have over 200 wholesale accounts throughout the state of Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Upper Michigan, and Iowa, and in 2012 they expanded to include the states of Alaska and Nevada.

Their company has seen an average of double-digit growth over the past three years, and they hope to continue to reach out to new customers and expand their business further than the upper Midwest, while continuing to offer a great product for their customers. The company donates to basically any organization that asks, and they employ 20-25 people from the local area year-round on a full-time or part-time basis, and add 5-10 seasonal employees.

“It is our pleasure to recognize the Wienke Family with the Entrepreneur of the Year award,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “This home-grown company is at the intersection of agriculture, manufacturing and tourism in Door County, bringing the three pillars of our economy together. We wish them nothing but continued success.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates those individuals who have taken the initiative to start and grow a successful small business in Door County. Eligible businesses include those with fewer than 50 full time employees, exhibiting exciting growth potential and that have at least three years of successful business experience. Last year’s winner was Dan Schwarz, owner and founder of Dan’s Fish, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay.


Dan Schwarz Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Dan Schwarz, founder and owner of Dan’s Fish Inc. in Sturgeon Bay (http://www.fullfish.net/dansfish.html), is the winner of the ninth annual Door County Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

 

 

This year’s award winner has been distributing superior products both locally and globally since his teen years.  Dan Schwarz and his company have demonstrated the ability to profitably grow regardless of economic climate, effectively adapting to change and maintaining environmentally and fiscally sustainable practices.

Dan’s Fish, Inc. is a family operated business that specializes in fresh water fish. The company processes, distributes, exports and imports seafood from all over the world. It also manufactures value added products such as breaded seafood and cheese, and manufactures specialty products such as Great Lakes whitefish, as well as various fish roes. The company also owns Sturgeon Bay Cold Storage and Seafood International, based out of Estonia in the European Union.

 In 1992, Dan formed International Fine Foods to internationally market caviar from the state of Wisconsin. Dan’s activities in exporting caviar, a product that formerly had been discarded, have proven a significant source of income to Great Lakes fishermen and their families. For several years, Dan’s Fish has conducted caviar business with companies from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Japan, Russia and other countries. In 2009, Dan’s Fish was named by the federal Small Business Administration as the Wisconsin Small Business Exporter of the Year.

As a Sturgeon Bay-based organization, Dan’s Fish is active in the local business community, and provides financial and in-kind support to many area non-profits, including the Door County Maritime Museum, Boys & Girls Club, churches, Door County Skatepark, baseball leagues and the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees.