By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Community Warehouse first opened its doors in 2005 on the southside, it opened its doors again, this time with their second location on the North Side. The official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony took place September 28, 2017, in front of a crowd of eager shoppers and loyal employees.
The Community Warehouse, a nonprofit organization, was created with one intention in mind: to help low-income families in Milwaukee, reshape and rebuild their neighborhoods. Included in this were new jobs, accessible and affordable materials and a place for the community to thrive. Now with its recently established Bronzeville location, the board of directors and residents alike are looking forward to the positive changes it will bring.
CEO Nick Ringger kicked off the grand opening with a word of thanks. He thanked God for the opportunity to establish a new location and stressed that in a world that’s often divided this is an exciting time to come together and unite. Throughout his speech, Ringger cited the importance of this location and the impact of the neighborhood.
“[It’s exciting] to be in a neighborhood we believe in,” he said, “and a neighborhood we’re going to develop.”
Included in this development is a new coat of paint for the building’s walls: an iconic shade of bright blue.
After Ringger, Aldwerwoman Coggs of the 6th District took the mic to share a few words.
She admitted that when approached with the idea to replace the Value Village with a Community Warehouse, she was a bit shaky on the idea. However, she trusted and believed in the plan and the potential it could have within the community and ultimately decided to support it.
One of the great aspects of the Warehouse, according to Alderwoman Coggs is that the items available for purchase be they groceries or home improvement materials are reasonably priced. Additionally, she said the Warehouse ensures that “people from the community continue to be employed and the neighborhood [continues] to take advantage.”
Sue Eick, director of lending for IFF, the Community Warehouse’s lender, likewise spoke about the impact Community Warehouse will have on the community.
It’s an impact that has already started taking place. For example, combined with its original location, the Community Warehouse has employed 44 people, with plans to hire more. One employee Jakwan Goodman, said that the store is an opportunity to bring the community together in peace, safety, and enjoyment.
Eick mentioned that unlike other non-profits, the Community Warehouse relies on a unique model that nonetheless plays a vital role in the community. Part of its role is a recently established reentry program that helps felon accumulate back into society. Additionally, Eick also stressed how happy IFF is to make loans to nonprofits that prove they’re worthy of investments. At the conclusion of the speeches and recognition of all those who made it possible, Alderwoman Coggs and Ringger sliced through the red ribbon.
Afterwards, guests were invited inside to enjoy refreshments and shop around. While some grabbed carts others snagged applications.
One customer, Lonita Thomas-Gold remarked how proud she is of the new location. She originally shopped on the southside location and attended the grand opening to catch a glance at the setup and compare the price range. So far, she is very pleased with the results and is looking forward to other potential changes.
She hopes it will, “bring the community back together like it should be.”
With the grand opening tucked under its belt, the Community Warehouse will continue to celebrate with a sale that’ll last through September 30, 2017.