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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.


Selected headlines — 12/10 edition of The Business News

Art blends past with today

Desire to ‘do a unique project’ led to Then & Now Art

by Nancy Barthel

When you meet Jacob Sieg, 32, and see his Then & Now Art, your first reaction is likely to be: “Wow, just how cool is that.” For photographer and history buff Sieg, this passion for blending the past with the present day is a dream come true for this accidental entrepreneur. Accidental because his Then & Now Art business, now seven years old, was built off of a whim. It was the desire to “do a unique project,” Sieg said, for the grand opening of a portrait studio he and business partner Randi Jo Market were having on historic Barstow Street in Eau Claire in 2011 that leads directly to his business today. 

With a historic photo of Barstow Street in hand, Sieg decided to recreate the image. “The first photograph that we did was of a night scene on Barstow Street,” he said. When he compared the images, “The photos looked so much alike ... the photo looks exactly the same, but in color." So Sieg decided, "What if we combine the photos."

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Dreamer became a Doer

Once a refugee from Thailand, she now owns Mai’s Deli

by Jean Peerenboom

Mai Vang is a dreamer who turned into a doer when she and her family went from selling stuffed chicken wings at a Downtown Appleton Farmers Market booth to opening Mai’s Deli at 104 S. Memorial Drive in 2010. Their story drew the attention of Appleton Downtown Inc., which this year awarded them the Dreamers and Doers Award for “their determination to succeed.” Vang’s story begins in Laos during the Vietnam War. She was about 14 years old when her family fled Laos for a refugee camp in Thailand where she learned about cooking Thai food. Four years later, she met her husband, Fong Lee, and they dreamed of coming to the U.S. to live out the American Dream, as they understood it. Her son, Lang Lee, explained that for them the American Dream meant escaping war and having a sustainable life.Read More

People who make a difference

Prigge has a desire to ‘do good’

Jason Prigge’s involvement in the Manitowoc community stems from a desire to “do good” for mind, body and spirit. Prigge, CEO and co-founder of Vagabond Creative Studio, with his wife, Tina Prigge, is an artist by trade who runs a full-service creative agency. His passion for both well-executed storytelling as well as the area he loves is perhaps most evident in the series of Coolest Coast videos he took it upon himself to create and present with the Coolest Coast hashtag. The videos showcase the beauty, natural amenities, local events and people of the area in an effort to dispel some of the perceptions of the area. “One movie like ‘Making A Murderer’ on Netflix can affect people’s opinions across the country on this community,” he said. “I love this community. I paint murals downtown and have done many other things to further beautify this area, and I knew I had to do more to showcase it.”Read More

Growth Strategies

EGI is ‘an American Dream story’

“It’s an American Dream story.” That’s how Joe Lauer, president and co-owner of EGI Mechanical in Seymour, described his journey from an entry-level position in the trades to owning the company that he started working for 23 years ago. “I was in sheet metal for 12 years, and then I was a pipe fitter for 10 years. I got out of the union when I got into management,” Lauer said. “I’ve had every job in the company except accountant. I started out as a helper, then an apprentice, then a journeyman, then became a foreman, became project manager/estimator, then vice president of the company, and then ended up buying the company with my business partner, Joe Pues.” EGI Mechanical started in 1995 in Greenville. “Six months into this company, I came over as a welder,” Lauer said. “We were building tanks and different things for the paper industry. Since then, we switched over — we do a lot of work in the food industry, we work in dairy and canning. The ethanol industry is huge for us.Read More

The List

Largest SBA loans in the area

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