Near West Side Partners Works To Help Businesses Evolve And Reopen Safely

May 21, 2020

Milwaukee-area businesses are struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic. Although businesses in much of Wisconsin are allowed to reopen without any official guidelines, Milwaukee and many of its nearby suburbs have safer-at-home orders limiting business activity. Still, as the pandemic wears on, local businesses are figuring out how to change their business model to fit the needs of their community while maintaining safety.

Near West Side Partners has been working with businesses in its neighborhoods to help them find the best path forward.

"They’re in uncharted territory and they’re trying to just figure out what makes sense as far as for the safety and the wellness of their employees, their patrons — but also what makes sense as far as the future and reopening," says Keith Stanley, executive director of Near West Side Partners. 

Kelsey Otero is the co-chair of the organization’s Commercial Corridor Working Team. She's been working with restaurants on different ways to continue engaging with customers during the pandemic. One thing they developed is cooking classes featuring signature dishes from local restaurants. It's part of a series called, "Made in the Near West Side." 

"Each of these businesses that have been selected have put together a demonstration of them cooking one of their more popular items and they've also put together a take-and-bake kit," Otero explains. "So, it allows consumers to not only patron the business and get some of the ingredients and products that they love from that restaurant, but also to take it home and learn some of the trade secrets."