Muskego Patch has often been 'accused' of being pro Chamber of Commerce. As a business that is a member of said organization, we stand guilty as charged. After all, if the point of any Chamber of Commerce is to promote business, existing and potential, and the lament among many here is that we don't get or retain enough business to help with taxes, it's not a bad stance to take.
One of the newest businesses, Island Ice Cream, has come on scene and unwittingly united folks who were dug in on opposite sides of the lake park debate. The Common Council approved the business agreement in a unanimous vote and in glowing terms and residents also feel it will be a great addition to the park. Aside from the 'who doesn't like ice cream' rationale, consider this:
- Island Ice Cream is a private business in a public building which will provide another reason to dock or bike to Muskego's Idle Isle Park beginning this summer. There are few public/private enterprises in the city, and although probably the tiniest of businesses, its success might encourage further partnerships to flourish.
- Although weeks away from opening, the shop has already started to develop a Facebook following, encouraging feedback on favorite ice cream flavors, promoting a contest to get to 500 'likes' by opening date (tentatively, it's June 22) and even asking for submissions for logos. Shameless self promotion, specifically on social media sites, often raises more awareness than being one of 50 coupons stuffed into a mailer than many people throw out without opening.
Sauced has used this to great success, being open just under a year in a location that has seen many businesses come and go. Conversely, the departure of Mama Mia's may indicate marketing wasn't effective in the conventional avenues they chose to use. Both are great restaurants with great food, but where Muskegoans get their advertising is likely changing. In general it seems you like to know who your restaurants are as much as what's on the menu.
Island Ice Cream owner Kristin Formolo has been overwhelmed by the positive response from all parties, including parks and recreation where her request to fill the space was first made.
"Craig Anderson (parks director) was so helpful throughout the process, and since then we've felt everyone's support and excitement," said Formolo.
Speaking of shameless self-promotion, Formolo said it was something she read on Muskego Patch that led her to make the call to Parks and Rec in the first place. This is precisely why we're here.
Hopefully, the early excitement will translate into a robust first year and more to come next year for this small business, which could in turn pave the way for other businesses to consider less than traditional venues. It could also represent a more creative way to think about bringing business into the city, as the recent marketing study has recommended.
Until then, I'm voting for orange chocolate chip.