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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 — 1/17 edition of The Business News

The list

Largest school districts

A lighting industry fixture

energybank products used by businesses around the world

Manitowoc-based energybank offers results businesses can literally take to the bank through the development and application of solar-powered LED (light-emitting diode), high performance LED and Internet of Things (IoT) controls and metering. It’s been the calling of Neal Verfuerth, founder and CEO of the company, for years. Incorporated in 2012, energybank is founded on decades of industry experience in product innovation, U.S.-based advanced manufacturing and project implementation. It’s taken hold as the company recently moved into a larger space at 601 Reed Ave. “It will allow for a much bigger facility with its 46,000 square feet,” Verfuerth said. “It’s a beautiful building, and right here in Manitowoc, which was important because we didn’t want to move from Manitowoc.” Verfuerth started energybank in 2012, after “being retired for all of about three weeks when I decided to test some fixtures,” he said. “Lo and behold, I was making fixtures again.” The company got its legs under it in 2015, quickly becoming an industry leader in the creation of high-performance LED Done Right and solar-powered LED lighting products that stood apart from other LED products on the market.

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Area grocery offers Asian favorites

Family-owned business has been serving community since 2005

By Cheryl Hentz

One of the first Asian grocery stores in the Green Bay area, Main Oriental Market has survived a recession, graffiti vandalism attacking the business in 2020, and a pandemic that is entering its third year. The market was founded by Kao Shoua Yang. She and her Hmong parents came to America from Laos as refugees of the Vietnam War when she was 13. “They came with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” said daughter, Tara Yang. “They didn’t have much and they were lucky to have a hot meal every day,” Tara said. “As she got a bit older, my mother wanted to build an Oriental grocery store that sold specialty Asian staple foods that people of all income levels could afford, especially those who couldn’t afford such foods at a traditional storefront.” Tara’s father, Bruce Yang, had also come to America as a teenage war refugee. He eventually met and married Kao Shoua, and together, they began working toward her dream of getting their Asian food grocery off the ground.

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People who make a difference

CASA is a big part of Holstrom’s volunteer efforts

“You always have the time to make a difference.” That’s the motto Kirsten Holstrom lives her life by. Making a difference in her community is never far from her mind despite the fact that she is a loan-operations coordinator for The Stephenson National Bank & Trust in Marinette, has two part-time jobs and a busy family life. In October, Holstrom was honored by the bank with the 2021 Mary L. Staudenmaier WINGS Award which stands for “Worthy Individual Noted for Generous Service.” The award is named in honor of the bank’s former chairperson and long-time president. Holstrom was honored for her 495 hours of volunteerism to the Marinette-Menominee community with CASA of Menominee County, Rainbow House, St. Vincent de Paul, Abundant Life Mission and Haircuts for the Needy. She and her husband, Chris Holstrom, and their two children live in Menominee, Mich. Holstrom is a Menominee native, but points out her dad was from Marinette, just across the Menominee River.

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Growth strategies

They help others make Headway

Six years into their journey at Headway, Andrew Verboncouer, Eric Verboncouer and Jon Kinney have the opportunity to turn the tables and put some of their expertise to work on behalf of other startups. Of course, that’s what the company’s focus is. Headway, 520 N. Broadway in Green Bay, helps startups validate and launch new ideas in the market, followed by helping them focus on their customers and keep them in the market. It does so for fledgling startups as well as ones that already have a foothold in the market and want to take it to the next level. “We’re really here to help founders launch and grow,” said Andrew, chief executive officer and partner. The company’s trajectory is in the technology space and includes a lot of work in software as a service (SaaS) although its process and services can benefit any industry and startups and corporations alike. At its foundation, Headway helps startups and corporate innovators build successful products that solve problems through design thinking, intuitive interfaces and the latest scalable technologies. It’s been so successful that it’s ranked in the Inc. 5000 list for fastest-growing private companies for the past three years.

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