Haribo working on plans to double size of Pleasant Prairie plant as it looks to build 2 million square feet

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Haribo chose Pleasant Prairie for its U.S. candy production plant in 2017 after considering more than 100 sites.

With production underway at its U.S. candy plant in Pleasant Prairie, Haribo of America is already designing a second phase of equal size, with two more that could bring the total plant to about 2 million square feet.

The second phase that is in the planning stages would bring 400 more jobs to the facility in addition to the 400 already expected for completed buildings, said Wes Saber, executive vice president and CFO of Haribo of America. He talked about the facility Haribo built west of Interstate 94 in Pleasant Prairie during a Milwaukee Business Journal Power Breakfast held Thursday in Milwaukee.

“We will double the size of our phase 1 with the second phase,” Saber said during a Q&A with Milwaukee Business Journal editor-in-chief Mark Kass.

The Wisconsin facility is making Haribo’s Goldbear gummi candies for the U.S. market. The international company has been active in the U.S. since the early 1980s, but has shipped its candies into the country from other plants around the world.

09-21-23 Wes Saber Haribo Power Breakfast
Wes Saber spoke at the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Power Breakfast on Sept. 21, 2023.

Candy production started in December in Pleasant Prairie. Saber said that in Wisconsin Haribo has 187 direct employees, plus about 60 employed by other companies for shipping operations. Haribo intends to fill 220 more jobs for the buildings it has already completed in Pleasant Prairie, he said.

“We are deeply rooted in Wisconsin now,” Saber said.

Haribo reported spending $148.5 million on that first phase of construction, according to the most recent data available from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The state in 2017 awarded up to $22.5 million in tax credits for Haribo, and has released $8.6 million of that to the company thus far.

HARIBO factory photo 2
A 2021 photo of the Haribo of America plant during construction

Three future phases would each bring another 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and shipping space, bringing the total Pleasant Prairie facility to about 2 million square feet, Saber said.

“That’s a lot of gummi bears,” Saber said of its production output.

Once all four building wings are completed, the facility will have a footprint in the shape of an “H,” Saber said, making it “the largest ‘H’ on Earth.”

The Milwaukee office of Gilbane is the lead builder for the second phase of work, and Mead & Hunt is doing the design work, Saber said. Outreach has begun to contractors to set the construction schedule, he said.

“They have already started the work with us for Phase 2,” Saber said.

Future additions to the plant could also include an experience center to attract visitors, and a store.

Sean Ryan, Milwaukee Business Journal

How frozen pizza giant Palermo’s plans to grow Funky Fresh spring rolls into a national brand.

Funky Fresh Spring Rolls owner, TrueMan McGee (left) and Palermo's director of business development, Jasper Fallucca, with an assortment of McGee’s Funky Fresh Spring Rolls at Palermo's headquarters on West Canal Street in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.

You might not see a lot of parallels between frozen pepperoni pizza and healthy spring rolls, but it somehow works at Funky Villa.

That’s the name of the unusual partnership between frozen pizza giant Palermo’s and the creator of Funky Fresh Spring rolls.

The catalyst for this combination came in 2017 when Giacomo and Jasper Fallucca of Palermo’s Pizza met TrueMan McGee the owner of Funky Fresh Spring Rolls at a food and beverage event.

Giacomo Falluca recognized himself — and his family’s business roots — in McGee’s approach to growing his small spring roll business which operated from the Sherman Phoenix and was found at various farmers markets and online.

Falluca’s parents were entrepreneurs and started with a bakery in 1964, that became a pizzeria in 1969. A local grocery store owner was impressed by Palermo’s pizza and encouraged the Fallucca family to join the frozen food business.

Today, Palermo’s fills grocery stores frozen food sections with multiple brands and pizza choices, and employs hundreds in the Menomonee River Valley.

Funky Fresh helps diversify Palermo’s product mix

Recently, Palermo’s has been interested in expanding into healthy handheld snacks. The Fallucas determined that Funky Fresh fit the bill – it’s a product with room for growth and a large social media following.

Palermo’s invested in Funky Fresh and is a majority stakeholder in the business, a move that comes with significant marketing and product development muscle.

“As the partnership continues, we are exploring new product lines and areas for growth,” said Jasper Fallucca, director of business development at Palermo.

“Funky Fresh is the brand. But there’s no reason why we can’t do Funky Fresh, this or Funky Fresh that,” he said. “We can do a bowl, we can do a burrito, we can do burgers — you can do anything you really want.”

Rolls started with healthy options in mind

In 2013 McGee was laid off from work in construction, and while he was a wrestling coach he decided to become a healthier version of himself. He created a concoction of sweet potato and black bean nicely rolled up into a traditional spring roll.

“I just always believed that this was the second act of my story, where things are starting to get good,” McGee said.

Usually spring rolls are deep fried, however Funky Fresh products are a healthier alternative that can be cooked in an air fryer, or in a pan with a little olive oil. The wrapping of the rolls has the same texture as a crepe but still achieves the crunchiness of a conventional spring roll.

It is perfect for snacking and eating on the go. They sell for $9.99 for a pack of four. For both Fallucca and McGee it was important that the product remain healthy but also accessible.

McGee started selling his products door to door and participated in farmers markets and festivals throughout the city. In 2018 he opened his own shop at Sherman Phoenix where he offered his products. In May of this year, thanks to the Palermo partnership, McGee had decided to expand to convenience stores and left the Sherman Phoenix.

More:Funky Fresh Spring Rolls is leaving Sherman Phoenix so its founder can focus on making the business a national brand

The rolls are now made at Palermo’s headquarters. The recipe for the spring rolls is the same and the brand is focused on four core flavors: buffalo chicken and kale, chicken and broccoli mushroom and chicken club. There is also a vegetarian option of black bean and sweet potato.

For McGee it was very important that the ingredient quality be the same.

Funky Fresh products can now be found in Milwaukee area stores such as Sendik’s, Outpost Natural Foods, Festival Foods, Woodman’s and Piggly Wiggly.

Funky Fresh also plans to be in school cafeterias and universities. Palermo’s plans expand the brand nationwide.

Palermo’s has been expanding its products with new healthy options like min-calzones, gluten free pizza and the Primo Thin line, a pizza with lower calories and carbs.

An assortment of TrueMan McGee’s Funky Fresh Spring Rolls at Palermo's headquarters on West Canal Street in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.

Fallucca and McGee believe that frozen foods can be healthy and practical.

“Why can’t we make a breakfast bowl that is clean and healthy and easy? Or why can’t we make a spring roll that, you know, after school, a mom comes home wants to give their kid a quick snack that’s also healthy. Why can’t they just put this in an air fryer? Leave it, come back 10 minutes later and have a product ready?” said Jasper Fallucca.

Funky Fresh is continuously expanding and testing new flavor combinations and products.

“We’re currently doing like 150 store tests where we’re doing demos, getting sales, but also getting feedback and talking directly to customers and seeing exactly what the customer wants,” McGee said.

“We will then continue to build relationships with grocery stores and expand from there.”

Fernanda Galan, Journal Sentinel

Sweet potato chip manufacturer expanding Muskego plant

Jackson’s Chips, a Muskego-based manufacturer of kettle-cooked sweet potato chips, is expanding the size of its facility, adding 10,000 square feet of space, which will nearly triple its production capacity.

The company opened the facility less than two years ago at S64 W15569 Commerce Center Parkway, across a cul-de-sac from Eagle Park Brewing Company’s Muskego brewery.

Jackson’s Chips says it will add two new, high-capacity kettles, as well as two additional high speed packaging lines and seasoning systems that will allow it to nearly triple its pounds per hour production capacity and run up to four different products simultaneously. The company will also quadruple its storage space and install a high-density, racking system.

The expansion project started in late August and is scheduled to be completed by early November.

In June the company established a second, full-time production shift and added overtime required to meet growing customer demand. James Marino, chief executive officer of Jackson’s, said that the company expects to continue to add jobs to meet increased consumer response to its products.

“Adding the two new kettles means that we can process more than one million pounds of sweet potatoes each week and make more than 600,000 bags of kettle-cooked sweet potato chips a day,” Marino said.

The new kettles will be equipped with the latest technology, including features that will optimize usage of its featured ingredient – avocado oil, Marino said.

Jackson’s Chips was started as a family business by Scott and Megan Reamer of Colorado, who began making sweet potato chips in their kitchen in an effort to create a snack their entire family could enjoy, especially their son Jackson, who required a restrictive, low-inflammation diet due to a rare auto-immune disorder.

The couple appeared in 2017 on the television show “Shark Tank” and gained a $1.25 million investment from panelist and entrepreneur Rohan Oza.

“From the start, we have only used non-GMO sweet potatoes sourced directly from farmers whose products are full of natural flavor, high in fiber, and loaded with antioxidants. Hearty slices are cooked low and slow to maintain the nutritional integrity and bring out the best flavor and texture of our chips and provide a crunchy, delicious snack people can feel better about eating,” Jackson’s founder Megan Reamer said.

Today, Jackson’s Chips can be found at Costco, Sendik’s, Woodman’s, Whole Foods, Festival Foods, Metro Market, Kwik Trip, Outpost Natural Foods, Pick ‘n Save, Fox Bros. Piggy Wiggly and other retailers.

Andrew Weiland, BizTimes

Food & Beverage Manufacturing Facility Ready for Lease

Orange & Fifth is expanding.

Owner Brian Miller is purchasing a building on Milwaukee’s northwest side that he says is “ideal for food and beverage manufacturing.”

At more than 40,000 square feet, the Milwaukee-based building includes warehouse and office space and can be modified for food production.

Prior to Orange & Fifth, Miller was owner of Miller Baking Co., best known for its Pretzilla line of products.

Interested food and beverage companies can contact Brian directly at brian@orangeandfifth.com.

Milwaukee-area manufacturer introduces $15,000 retention bonus to combat turnover

After sustaining substantial turnover among production employees, pet food maker Stella & Chewy’s revamped its strategy for retaining them: A $15,000 bonus if the company cuts in half its voluntary turnover the next three years.

“We thought that would really get people’s attention,” said the Oak Creek company’s chief people officer Bruce Larson.

The initiative at the privately-held firm takes a different approach than hiring and retention bonuses many manufacturers implemented in recent years. Those bonuses typically pay new employees a bonus shortly after joining a company and then additional bonuses if they stay for multiple months or a year.

Stella & Chewy’s tried the popular signing bonuses in the past, but they only brought new employees in the door and didn’t decrease turnover, Larson said. The company continues to grow its sales, but high churn among production workers led to relying heavily on temporary workers, he said.

The company sustained 62% turnover in its production-employee ranks in 2022, which Larson said isn’t unusual in the food industry. Stella & Chewy’s use of temporary workers peaked at 39% of production hours, he said.

Larson, who started with the company in November 2021, acknowledges that three years is a long time for employees to await a retention bonus. However, he said the program has been well received.

Turnover is down to 37% so far this year after introducing the “Stay” plan in April that includes the retention bonuses, Larson said. Also, the company reduced temp-worker hours to about 10% of the total, which he said is a good level.

The 500 production workers at Stella & Chewy’s are paid in a range of about $17.50 to $24 per hour depending on the position, work shift and length of service, Larson said.

The first cohort of employees eligible for retention bonuses is comprised of production workers and their leaders who were hired on or before March 31, a company spokeswoman said. The company also authorized a second cohort consisting of production workers and leaders hired between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024.

Stella & Chewy’s executives believe the company’s management and employees both need to strive to improve the work environment to achieve the goal.

The idea is to create a workplace culture where employees don’t want to leave, chief operating officer Dave Kapic said in a video on the company’s website.

The company’s management is encouraging existing employees to be more welcoming to new hires, Larson said.

“We’re asking employees to work on a successful culture in their department,” he said.

The bonuses are part of a larger program that includes Stella & Chewy’s introducing updated on-boarding practices for new employees, an improved paid time off policy and extending parental leave beyond mothers to also include fathers, Larson said.

As for how Stella & Chewy’s will pay for the bonuses, Larson said the program will prove to be self-funding if the company attains the retention goal. That’s because Stella & Chewy’s will increase productivity while reducing expenses for both paying temp staff and constantly recruiting and training employees.

Larson said he presented the concept to the company’s top executives and board and won their support.

“We’re hoping to attract better and better people to openings to work here,” Larson said.

Rich Kirchen, Milwaukee Business Journal

Lush Popcorn expands into Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood

Milwaukee’s Lush Popcorn is expanding with a second location.

The popcorn maker, owned by siblings Marcia and Marc Taylor, debuted in 2014 and has been a tenant of the Sherman Phoenix Marketplace since the development opened in late 2018. Lush Popcorn is now expanding to the city’s Riverwest neighborhood in place of the former Klinger’s East, 920 E. Locust St.

Marcia Taylor acquired the property last year, according to OnMilwaukee’s coverage of the longtime bar and grill’s closure. State real estate records show Glen and Susan Klinger sold the building for $575,000.

Lush Popcorn’s store is near other food and beverage businesses, including Black Husky BrewingCafé Corazón and Seven Swans Creperie.

The new location has retail space, a popcorn and lemonade factory and a tasting room for popcorn, cocktails and other snacks, according to a news release. Lush Popcorn said in the announcement that it plans to mark its grand opening at the new store with celebrations from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23.

The business started off with a white chocolate popcorn before expanding its selection, which now includes liquor-infused treats. Examples of Lush Popcorn flavors include maple bourbon, Wisconsin cheddar, cookies and cream and CBD white cheddar.

Some flavors are also available with vegan recipes.

In addition to its two shops, Lush Popcorn vends at local farmers markets. Its products are also found at other purveyors, such as Ray’s Wine and Spirits.

Sari Lesk, Milwaukee Business Journal

Regulatory Update: July 1 – July 31, 2023

This update includes FDA updates, FDA warning letters, and other articles of interest, including a bill banning chemicals in food, warnings for Delta-8 THC products, PFAS found in juice, and more.

FDA Updates

FDA Provides Update on Proposed Changes to the Human Foods Program
June 27: FDA is proposing to create a unified Human Foods Program (HFP), which includes a new model for the Office of Regulatory Affairs (ORA). Earlier this year, the FDA Commissioner announced a restructuring of the HFP. FDA is proposing additional changes that include establishing ORA’s core mission as conducting investigations, inspections, and laboratory testing for all FDA-regulated products, merging compliance functions currently managed within ORA into the HFP, realigning eight Human and Animal Food laboratories that are currently managed by ORA into the HFP, unifying state and local food safety partnership functions, and realignment of certain resources and personnel. More information can be found here.

Bill Banning Chemicals in Food Advances in California
June 30: The California Senate Committee on Health approved a bill (AB 418) to ban five chemicals from candy, cereals, and other processed foods. The bill, which is the first of its kind in the nation, prohibits the use of food products containing brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propylparaben, red dye 3, and titanium dioxide, beginning on January 1, 2025. As discussed in our April 2023 update, several groups and trade associates oppose the bill. More information can be found here.

Companies Warned for Illegally Selling Delta-8 THC Copycat Snacks
July 5: The FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned six companies to stop selling Delta-8 edibles that look like name-brand snacks such as Doritos, Oreos, Cheetos, Jolly Rancher, and Nerds. The warning letters were issued to the companies for illegally selling copycat food products containing Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Delta-8 THC. According to the agencies, these products can easily be mistaken for traditional foods like chips, cookies, candy, gummies, or other snack food items. FDA is concerned that these products can be accidentally ingested by consumers, including children, or taken in higher doses than intended. More information can be found here.

FDA Releases Update of Priority Guidance Topics for Foods Program
July 6: FDA and the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR) released an updated list of draft and final guidance topics that are a priority for the FDA Foods Program to complete during 2023. The list updates the guidance agenda released in February 2023 and focuses on Level 1 draft and final guidance.  A list of final guidance topics, as well as links to guidance documents released since February 2023, can be found here.

FDA Update on Post-Market Assessment of Certain Food Ingredients
July 12: FDA released a public inventory of certain food ingredients that the agency has determined to have unsafe uses in food because they are unapproved food additives and lists of select chemicals currently under the agency’s review.  More information, including the public inventory database and list of chemicals, can be found here.

FDA Disagrees with WHO Report about Possibly Carcinogenic Sweetener
July 13: A report released by the World Health Organization determined the sweetener aspartame may “possibly” cause cancer. This new classification is based on a review of limited evidence and does not change the recommended limit on the daily intake of artificial sweetener. The FDA has disagreed with the new classification. More information can be found here.

FDA Reissues Two Temporary COVID-19 Guidances
July 13: FDA re-issued two temporary guidance documents originally published during the COVID-19 public health emergency for certain regulatory requirements that involve onsite visits abroad under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  The two guidances extend the enforcement discretion policies issued during the public health emergency relative to supplier onsite audits for the FSMA Preventive Controls for Human and Animal Food rules and the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule, and onsite monitoring activities and duration of already-issued certifications for the Accredited Third-Party Certification Program, when certain circumstances are met.  More information can be found here.

Findings from Voluntary Pilot Program to Evaluate Third-Party Food Safety Standards Alignment
July 17: FDA announced the findings from the voluntary pilot program to evaluate alignment of private third-party food safety audit standards with the food safety requirements in two regulations issued to implement the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act – 1) the Preventive Controls for Human Food and 2) the Produce Safety rules.  More information can be found here.

FDA Denies Citizen Petition on Phthalates in Food Packaging and Food Contact Applications
July 24: FDA denied a petition requesting that the agency reconsider its denial of a citizen petition issued on May 19, 2022. The citizen petition requested a ban on the use of eight ortho-phthalates and revocation of the prior sanctioned uses for five ortho-phthalates in food based on alleged safety concerns.  FDA concluded that the reconsideration petition does not provide a basis for modifying the FDA’s response to the original citizen petition.  More information can be found here.

Food Safety Modernization Act 2024 User Fees Announced
July 28: FDA announced fiscal year 2024 user fee rates for the Third-Party Certification Program, the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, and for domestic and foreign facility reinspections.   For recognized accreditation bodies and accredited certification bodies, as well as the initial and renewal fee rate for accreditation bodies applying to be recognized in the Third-Party Certification Program, the fee is effective on October 1, 2023 and will remain in effect through September 30, 2024. The 2024 annual fee rate for importers approved to participate in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program is effective August 1, 2023 and will remain in effect through September 30, 2024. The 2024 fee rate for domestic and foreign facility reinspections, failures to comply with a recall order, and importer reinspections are effective October 1, 2023 through September 30, 2024. More information about the Third-Party Certification Program 2024 user fee rates can be found here.  More information about the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program 2024 user fee rates can be found here. More information about the 2024 domestic and foreign facility reinspection fee rates can be found here

FDA Publishes an Update on Sesame Allergen Labeling
July 28:  FDA published “Catching Up with Califf: An Update on Sesame Allergen Labeling on Food Packages,” by Robert M. Califf, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Sesame was added as the ninth major food allergen earlier this year when the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research Act went into effect. Sesame is now required to be listed on food labels as a major allergen. The update provides information on the work underway to help sesame-allergic consumers find safe food options.

FDA Warning Letters

Imported Food: FDA issued 6 warning letters to importers for failure to develop, maintain and follow a Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) for imported food and produce.  FDA also issued a warning letter to a California importer for FSVP violations in response to a recent recall event associated with enoki mushroom products imported from a foreign supplier that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

Unapproved New Drugs: A warning letter was issued to a Missouri entity selling bee propolis and other products alleging the use of marketing claims that render the products as unapproved new drugs.

Delta-8 THC Products: FDA issued warning letters to 7 companies selling Delta-8 THC products (such as gummies, sour worms, Stoneo Oreo Cookies, Hot Cheetos, Delta 8 Rope Candy, Pot Tarts, Trips Ahoy medicated chocolate cookies, Delta 8 Nerds Candy, Dope Rope Bites, D8 chocolate bars, THC infused nacho chips, etc.) that are adulterated because they contain an unsafe food additive and may pose a serious health risk to consumers. FDA is also concerned that Delta-8 THC copycat foods may be attractive to children and mistaken for traditional foods.

Dietary Supplements: FDA issued warning letters to two companies for violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations related to adulterated dietary supplements.  FDA alleged that the supplements have been prepared, packed, or held under conditions that do not meet CGMP requirements for dietary supplements.

A database of warning letters can be found here.

Other Articles of Interest

Coca-Cola Sued over PFAS-laden Simply Tropical Juice
July 17: A consumer class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York alleges that Coca-Cola Company falsely advertises its “Simply Tropical” juice products as all natural, while failing to disclose that they contain high levels of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS. The complaint accuses Coca-Cola and its subsidiary the Simply Orange Juice Co. of breach of warranty, violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breaking federal and New York deceptive trade practices, negligence and unjust enrichment. More information can be found here.

Dole Sued over Sugar in Fruit Products Marketed as Healthful
July 5: A class action suit was filed against Dole Packaged Foods LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that it deceptively represents various fruit products as healthy, nutritious, and beneficial to the immune system despite a high sugar content that increases the risk of various illnesses. The complaint asserts that Dole markets fruit bowl snacks to children even though the snacks have 166 percent more added sugar than the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit. More information can be found here.

USDA and Bipartisan State Attorneys General Launch Agricultural Competition Partnership to Help Reduce Anticompetitive Barriers Across Food and Agriculture Supply Chains
July 19: USDA launched a partnership with bipartisan attorneys general in 31 states and the District of Columbia to enhance competition and protect consumers in food and agricultural markets, including in grocery, meat and poultry processing. More information can be found here.

Demand for Meat in China Could Lead to Much Larger Imports
July 31: According to a recent USDA report, meat consumption in China has increased significantly since the 1970s. USDA economists said per capita meat consumption in China could increase 40% by 2031. The USDA report said: “This trend creates new opportunities for exporters in the United States and other countries, but it also poses food security challenges and environmental impacts.” A copy of the USDA report can be found here.

Lawmakers Push FDA to Regulate Cannabidiol as Dietary Supplement
July 27: Lawmakers and hemp advocates urged the FDA to regulate cannabidiol products as dietary supplements during a hearing before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care and Financial Services. Advocates say consumer safeguards in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act would apply to CBD products if regulated as dietary supplements, including good manufacturing standards, adverse event reporting, strict labeling with warnings, and potential child-proof packaging. Meanwhile, congressional leaders in both chambers are seeking public input and announced a bicameral Request for Information about FDA regulation of CBD products. More information can be found here.

This Regulatory Update covers information from July 2023. Please contact Paul Benson, Taylor Fritsch, or Leah Ziemba for additional information on regulatory issues that may affect your business. For access to articles and resources from our Premium Member law firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, visit michaelbest.com.

Reaching Goodness One Cookie at a Time

Alan Goodman learned to bake under duress.

As a child, after lying about his whereabouts after school – playing basketball instead of going to the library – he paid his penance by helping his mother in the kitchen. But his punishment had unintended consequences: he started to enjoy it, and soon graduated to baking using family recipes.

Capitalizing on his baking skills and passion didn’t cross his mind until nearly 40 years later when he attended a friend’s dinner party, bringing homemade bread pudding as a dish to pass. 

“When it was time for dessert, my friend pulled me to the side. He said, ‘Look at everyone tasting your dessert. Look at how happy they are. You should be selling this.’  That was the first time that I thought about baking as a business,” he says. 

But the entrepreneurial spark wasn’t quite ready to ignite. Nearly a decade later, the long hours of his corporate job caught up to him and he quit to pursue baking as a passion project. He researched what it meant to be a successful entrepreneur, and, finding inspiration in young entrepreneurs in Milwaukee’s African American community, started A Goodman’s Desserts in 2018.

Using his treasured family recipes, two scratch-made desserts were added to the menu: a glazed butter cookie, and his famous bread pudding.

The inefficiencies of opening a brick-and-mortar bakeshop didn’t sit right with Goodman, a Lean practitioner. He opted for an e-commerce model with a retail rollout strategy, working to fulfill orders from a rented commercial kitchen.

Like many entrepreneurs, Goodman has had no shortage of roadblocks to overcome: gaining customers and credibility, funding (“That’s always an issue”), and maintaining confidence and perseverance, especially as a self-proclaimed introvert.

“Even though I have run a business or two, it’s vastly different on my own. It’s not as simple as taking a product from your kitchen to retail – there are many steps in between,” he explains. “And you won’t be able to accomplish those tasks on your own. I had to abandon that mindset quickly.” 

Introversion hasn’t stopped Goodman from scaling up. He has three pitch competition wins under his belt: Rev-Up MKE in 2019, Project Pitch It in 2022, and the AARP Make Your Move Entrepreneur Contest, which earned him a meeting with celebrity entrepreneur Daymond John.

His devotion to basketball also came full circle when he secured the Milwaukee Bucks as a customer during the 2020-21 Championship season, which Goodman calls “a dream come true.”

While success has seemingly come quickly for Goodman, he considers owning a business “one of the hardest and scariest things [he has] ever done” and says more can be done to support his and other local Black-owned businesses.

“Get to know us,” he urges. “Find out why we have our businesses, our vision, and what motivates us. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy. By supporting our businesses…you’re helping us to employ local residents who want to make an honest living and improve their lives.”

And of course, purchases and referrals go a long way. “Recurring purchases help us stay in business,” Goodman says. “When you like something, be an advocate for us.”

As the volume of orders continues to grow, Goodman is transitioning into a co-manufacturing arrangement and moving to selling wholesale. This new era of his business will free up time in the kitchen, allowing him to do what’s most rewarding – forging relationships.

“I want customers to eat a good dessert and feel good and happy as a result. And to take those good feelings and serve someone else,” he explains. “We need more goodness towards each other. That brings me joy.”

Emily Allen, FaB Wisconsin

Sprecher releasing soda made with Door County apples

Glendale-based Sprecher Brewing Co. announced Wednesday that it is releasing a limited-edition Honeycrisp Apple Blend soda. The limited fall seasonal soda is made exclusively with a blend of Honeycrisp, Cortland and McIntosh apples handpicked from Wood Orchard LLC in Door County.

Sprecher Honeycrisp Apple Blend soda will be available starting on Sept. 18. It will be available across the Midwest and in other select markets throughout the country.

“Given the strong Wisconsin summer sales of Door County Cherry Soda, we anticipate that the majority of our Wisconsin retailers will again be offering our new fall seasonal Honeycrisp Apple Blend Soda,” said Gary Goldstein, chief sales officer for Sprecher Brewery. “Wisconsin retailers already lined up include but are not limited to Festival, Woodman’s, Sendik’s, Metcalfe’s, Piggly Wiggly, Trig’s and many other local independents retailers. From its introduction in May, consumers purchased our limited-edition seasonal Door County Cherry Soda at a brisk rate proving their love for all things Wisconsin. We’re confident that this fall release of Honeycrisp Apple Blend Soda in partnership with Wood Orchard from Door County will be just as well embraced. It is an amazing fall seasonal soda.”

“We truly enjoy partnering with other Wisconsin businesses to make unique hand-crafted sodas and this is one you won’t want to miss,” said Sharad Chadha, Sprecher CEO and president. “We’re combining Wood Orchard’s flavorful apples with raw Wisconsin honey in our gas-fired brew kettles and the result is a soda filled with flavor that speaks to why we all love fall in Wisconsin.”

Sprecher brews more than 20 different craft sodas as well as 12 craft beers. Since 2020, the brewery’s sales are up more than 250%, according to the company.

Andrew Weiland, BizTimes

Wisconsin expected to produce nearly 5 million barrels of cranberries this year

Wisconsin’s cranberry growers are expecting a 4.97 million barrel crop in 2023, based on U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC) crop projections.

Wisconsin will remain the largest cranberry producer in the world, growing and harvesting approximately 60% of the nation’s supply. This will be the 29th year that Wisconsin has led the nation in cranberry production.

The other largest cranberry growing states and their 2023 crop size projections are: Massachusetts at 1.95 million barrels; New Jersey at 561,000 barrels, Oregon at 520,000 barrels and Washington at 168,000. In total, the U.S. crop is expected to be 8.17 million barrels, according to the CMC. Wisconsin’s final 2022 crop came in at 4.84 million barrels.

“Wisconsin is a global leader in cranberry production, generating $1 billion in state economic impact and providing thousands of local jobs across the Wisconsin, and we are proud to continue that tradition in 2023,” said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. “Our 250-plus multigenerational family farmers are hard at work preparing for harvest season, and will soon have another crop of cranberries ready for tables across the U.S. and around the world.”

Wisconsin cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in central and northern regions of the state. Approximately 5% of this year’s crop will be sold as fresh fruit, and the remaining cranberries will be frozen and stored for longer-term sales as frozen berries, dried cranberries, juices, sauces and more. Wisconsin’s cranberry harvest typically begins in late September and runs until mid-October

Andrew Weiland, BizTimes