Archives for November 2017

#ThinkLovePlay Feature

Meet Laura Wiegert, SVP Marketing from Investors Community Bank! Very involved in the community, Laura shares why she loves Manitowoc County! Laura also helped launch the #ThinkLovePlay campaign!

Why do I love Manitowoc County? It was a job move that first brought me to Manitowoc County in 1991. At the time I thought it would be a blip on the radar; a pit stop in my life journey, but 27 years later here I am! And I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love the professional opportunities I have had in this community. Not only do I have a wonderful job at an amazing company, I have had numerous opportunities to get involved in business, nonprofit and networking groups. From volunteering with the Chamber, Progress Lakeshore and other nonprofits to helping launch the #ThinkLovePlay initiative, this meaningful volunteerism has provided a fulfilling aspect to my career that I am not sure I would have gotten in larger communities.

I am able to network with individuals from other companies at all levels, from the CEO on down. And I am able to be part of vibrant business circles that have helped me grow personally and professionally. I love being able to work, share and volunteer in this community… and feel like I am making a difference.

Positive experience: Manitowoc County is a very supportive and close knit community. I’m proud to work for an organization that recognizes that and gives back to the area. One amazing example is the bank’s Community Impact Program, which allows every bank employee to annually designate $200 to the charity of his or her choice. In 2017, this resulted in $24,300 being donated in total, including Manitowoc area charities such as The Haven, Holiday House, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lakeshore Humane Society, and more.

I’m honored to say that giving and community support are at the heart of who Investors Community Bank is as an organization. The bank also provides corporate support to local nonprofits such as the Capitol Civic Centre, Manitowoc Youth Baseball, local schools and colleges, and many other nonprofits that help our county grow, thrive and succeed.

Favorite things about our area: I appreciate the small town feel of Manitowoc County. I love being able to go out in the community and always run into someone I know, whether it’s at a restaurant, festival, or concert at the Capitol Civic Centre. My roots are in Upper Michigan and this area reminds me of that ….A close knit community; a sense of family and neighbors helping neighbors.




The Manitowoc Public Library is a forefront of the County! Having over 200,000 people walk through the MPL doors, the library is a huge resource for many residents and visitors.

Why do we Love Manitowoc County:  Manitowoc County is such a unique and special place filled with caring individuals who truly have the community’s best interests at heart. Manitowoc Public Library is continually impressed by the support we receive from our community. It’s easy to see that Manitowoc values MPL, from the usage of our daily services and physical resources, to the enthusiastic attendance at our programming and events. On average, we have over 200,000 people walk through our doors on an annual basis! This doesn’t even take all of the additional online usage and outreach efforts into account. In addition, the community always shows up to back our fundraising efforts and is completely supportive of the new ideas we try at MPL.

Finally, who wouldn’t love the beautiful scenery Manitowoc County has to offer? We have a beautiful lakeshore and MPL is fortunate to have great views of both the Manitowoc River and Lake Michigan. This incredible natural asset affords us an incredible array of outdoor activities—great hiking, phenomenal biking, wonderful beaches, and, of course, our car ferry, the Badger. As a community, we must continue to strive to create an awareness of these great attributes for visitors to the lakeshore and for one another, as well. We have so much to offer—as a community and an institution—and we’re proud to be part of Manitowoc County.

Manitowoc County Positive Experience: A few months ago, an MPL staff member shared this story with me and it instantly became one of my favorites. It truly highlights our wonderful community and all it has to offer. It tells the story of a man who lived in Upper Michigan that tragically lost his wife approximately six months ago. After a few months, he realized that he could no longer live in his current town of residence. It had become unbearable. Every time he stepped outside, someone asked him “How are you doing?” And there were simply too many reminders of his wife. So, he got in his car, and he started to drive. While driving south on I-43, he started to see signs for Manitowoc. While he had never heard of the city, he thought to himself “What the heck!” and pulled off at the Manitowoc exit. Driving around town, he decided that it looked pretty nice, so he decided to stay for a few days. During that stay, he frequently stopped in at the library. He loved that he could use the internet for free and stay connected with family. On one of these visits, he saw the flyer for a grief share program at Hope Church. He was still grieving for his wife, so he thought this might be a good opportunity for him to connect and decided to check it out. He became a regular at the grief share meetings and credits the library for helping connect him to this resource. As a result of these meetings and the friendly service he received at the library, this man decided to permanently relocate to Manitowoc. One of the reasons he decided to stay indefinitely in Manitowoc was MPL! We couldn’t be more proud.

It’s hard to pinpoint a single characteristic which we love about this community. As I mentioned above, there is so much Manitowoc County has to offer. MPL serves the role of providing educational resources to every demographic in our community regardless of age or background to meet their educational, recreational or cultural needs. As a result, MPL has the opportunity to connect with our residents and organizations in so many different ways. One characteristic which surfaces all the time is the community’s willingness to help and support our local non-profits. Our community is proud of these organizations, including MPL, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Haven, and so many more. There is also a positive attitude towards collaboration in serving the greater needs of our community. This positive attitude and focus on collaboration is beneficial for all concerned parties: our organizations and ultimately, our community. We are proud to be part of this collaborative network.

We are excited about this Think. Love. Play. initiative in Manitowoc County. What a great opportunity to share all that Manitowoc has to offer to our residents and visitors. MPL is proud to be part of this.






Meet Michelle Kaczmarowski! (Owner/photographer at MK Photography and team member at Schenck)! Learn why she think’s, love’s and play’s in Manitowoc County…Read about her awesome neighbor and what he has done for their street!

Question: Why does your family, business or you love Manitowoc County?
I was born and raised a Yooper, so I am a transplant. I grew up in Marquette, MI on the shores of Lake Superior which means I was very spoiled as far as scenery is concerned. From the time I was young I knew I would never feel “at home” unless I was near a lake so I love that Manitowoc County is right on the lakeshore! From the beautiful sunrises to the beach-side concerts and festivals, there are always incredible opportunities to create beautiful photos and enjoy making memories with friends and family.

Question: Please share a (specific) positive story that you have experienced while living in Manitowoc County?
A few years back we experienced a hail storm that came seemingly out of nowhere. The drainage grates on our street were completely blocked with hail, leaves, branches, and whatever else the wind and rain tossed into the mix. The water was pooling in the street and the neighborhood was at risk of having one common theme – flooded basements. Fortunately for everyone we have an incredible neighbor who was out in the street with his rubber boots and a pitch-fork making sure each and every grate was unclogged! He made sure all of the water was drained before it could do any damage. In summer he often does the edging work on the sidewalks for the entire neighborhood. He has a beautiful garden which he shares – both in the way of sharing the food he harvests as well as teaching both kids and adults in the neighborhood how to properly pick things like raspberries. He even makes his own honey and shares it with everyone! In winter he will snowblow driveways just to be kind. He is always outside working on his house, his garden, tending to his bees, and helping out anyone and everyone who needs it. He has done many wonderful things to make our life in Manitowoc just that much better.

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County?
Not to sound like a broken record, but hands down it’s the lakeshore! My husband and I are fortunate enough to live less than a mile from the lake so I get to gawk at it every day on my way to work. I am also fortunate to work in a building that is very near the lakeshore with windows that provide stunning panoramic views of Lake Michigan all day long. I love the fact that we have so many great small businesses on 8th street that are right near the lakeshore as well. What’s better than a morning coffee, some shopping, and a walk to the 8th street bridge to enjoy (and photograph) the view?! I also appreciate the “small town” feel in Manitowoc. I tried living in a big city for a while but it simply wasn’t the right fit. I love that I am only a mile from work which means I can bike or walk if I feel like it, that trips to major cities don’t require a “weekend away”, and that everything I need is quite literally less than 5 miles away at any giventime.                                                                                             






Meet Natalie Hamilton, mother, wife, nurse, photographer and small business owner of graced. Learn why Natalie think’s, love’s and play’s in Manitowoc County!

Hi everyone I’m Natalie Hamilton, owner of Graced in Manitowoc County. My husband and I John are US Navy veterans and transplants to the Manitowoc area. I am originally from the Milwaukee area and John grew up in Denver. We relocated to Manitowoc for John’s job at Aurora Medical Center, he is a Nurse Anesthetist. We reside in Manitowoc and have lived here for 3 years (a perfect place to grow and raise our family). We have four children, Tyler, James, Norma Jean and Anna and a golden retriever, Henry! When not working, I like to slip away and ride with my daughters at Forward Horse Farm in Manitowoc; I like to think it keeps me sane at busy times! Pictured is my horse and I, Slammer.

We love Manitowoc County because it has allowed us to grow as a family and personally as a small business owner! Knowing my customers by first name basis, having acres of farmland to ride on, feeling safe and have the many amenities of a small town atmosphere; we love calling Manitowoc our HOME!

Labor and Delivery Nurse by trait, I’ve had big dreams, I mean really big dreams, simply with hardwork and a leap of courage, graced was developed. We envisioned the small retail space a place where people could rent items, mostly unique vintage finds, to style weddings and events. As planning for graced was underway we realized that we not only wanted to be a store that catered to brides and couples. We wanted to be a place where anyone could stop by and find something that they loved and could envision in their home. We decided to add in retail and focus on smaller home decor items, developed the graced box while specializing in unique sourced items sourced from small businesses throughout the US…

…and here we are, graced opened June of 2016. With tremendous support and thanks to social media and the awesome Manitowoc community spreading the word, we have had visitors to graced from Green Bay, Appleton and even as far as Madison and Milwaukee!






Fox Hills Resort of Mishicot think’s, love’s and play’s in Manitowoc County! Manitowoc County easily becomes home to both those just passing through and those looking to relocate permanently:

Question: Why does your family, business or you love Manitowoc County? 

Manitowoc County easily becomes home to both those just passing through and those looking to relocate permanently. Quiet, safe and clean towns and villages, lots of things to do, friendly people and abundant natural resources are what set Manitowoc apart from other places.  And LAKE MICHIGAN!  It’s beautiful shoreline with super clean beaches, boating, fishing and just a spectacular ambiance all year long make Manitowoc County’s towns and villages great places to visit or to live.  We love telling our resort guests about the resources available to them during their stay that are just a short drive away.

Question: Please share a (specific) positive story that your business has experienced in Manitowoc County?

When we worked with Angel Mueller on Epi-Pen training here at the resort, we realized not just how caring our community is, but also how driven our community members are to be innovators and great makers of change.  Angel’s son, Dillon, died from anaphylaxis as a result of a bee sting.  Despite their grief, Angel and her family made the decision to educate everyone they could on the use of life-saving Epi-Pens.  We held both community and staff training sessions here at the resort, and now have Epi-Pens available for our trained staff to assist in emergencies.  Angel and her family have taken her crusade to the State of Wisconsin, and Dillon’s Law, which allows trained individuals to carry and administer Epi-Pens to those in the crucial time of need when exposure to an allergen happens, is now a reality!

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County?

Something that’s great about Manitowoc County is the abundant natural resources.  Here in Mishicot,  you can get on the Ice Age Trail for a hike, or on the East Twin River with a canoe, and we are so close to Point Beach State Forest and of course, Lake Michigan and hundreds of little lakes too.  Manitowoc County is lush with trees and wildlife, with lots of parks too – really an outdoor enthusiasts dream!  With so many agriculturally based businesses – from dairy farms to alpaca farms, wineries and cheese shops, lily farms and nurseries – taking care of our land and resources, takes care of our businesses too.

Like so many towns around the country, Manitowoc has weathered its share of changes and challenges.  Unlike so many towns around the country, it remains a great place to live, work and visit.







Meet Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director, Capitol Civic Centre! From living in Los Angeles for 25 years to stumbling upon Manitowoc County, now calling it home for 7 years! Learn why Matthew Thinks. Loves. Plays in Manitowoc County!

Question: Why do you love Manitowoc County? 

After finishing college at UW Whitewater I lived in California for 25 years, but never lost my fondness for Wisconsin where family roots run deep. In 2010, I decided that it was time to leave Los Angeles; it was time to come home. Looking for opportunities around the state I stumbled upon a position in Manitowoc. I did not know Manitowoc, so I did my homework. Having spent my career in the fields of performing arts and entertainment, I was impressed with the depth and breadth of talent here on the Lakeshore, the amount of passion for the arts, and the stunning venue the people of the Lakeshore had preserved—the Capitol Civic Centre.

This is a fine town full of good people. Manitowoc has had a rough time with the loss of much traditional industry over recent decades, but the promise and potential of this community and its people remain strong; I think our future is bright.

I’m particularly moved by two aspects of living here. The first encompasses the opportunities for us to make this downtown something vibrant, charming, and special for residents and visitors alike. The second has to do with the easy access to miles and miles of bucolic country roads and vistas, which I enjoy on frequent drives away from the hustle and bustle of town.

Question:  Please share a (specific) positive story that your business has experienced in Manitowoc County?

It was 30 years ago – 1987 – that the old Capitol Theatre, which was built in 1921, was given a new lease on life. The restored Capitol Civic Centre, the “Jewel of the Lakeshore,” opened in October, 1987. The subsequent years have seldom been easy for this organization, but they have always been rewarding. Saving and then operating this venue as a nonprofit organization speaks volumes regarding the heart of this community. Nonprofit organizations must have ongoing support to exist and meet the changing needs of the people they serve. That this community rose to the occasion to save the Capitol 30 years ago, and that the Capitol continues to meaningfully serve the Lakeshore, are just two examples of why this community can be proud.

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County?

The contrasts of my life in LA, where it can often take 60 minutes to go 10 miles in traffic, and here are many and dramatic. Besides the tremendous difference in the simple cost of living between there and here, here I live just over a block from work. My home has a beautiful view of the USS Cobia, the river, Lake Michigan, and more. Also, here I get to know and work with so many people who care about this community, folks working to make our community and world better.

Winter aside (I confess that I don’t do well with winter), leaving LA and coming to Manitowoc was a good move for me.





Meet the Company HUI! Based in the Kiel area, as a business they enjoy that this area is a great place to learn different trades. There are many opportunities around here to start at an entry-level position with a good salary and work your way up. Learn more why HUI  think’s Manitowoc County is great place to live and work in!

Question: Why does HUI  love Manitowoc County?

As a business, we enjoy that this area is a great place to learn different trades. There are many opportunities around here to start at an entry-level position with a good salary and work your way up. We also enjoy working with Lake Shore Technical College students. It’s a great employment base for us, and because we are located so close to the school we are able to offer flexible schedules to the students so they can work for us while they attend school.

Personally, we enjoy the location of Manitowoc County. You get to enjoy the safe, quaint community while only being an hour away from any large venue or event available in larger nearby cities. We also love the beautiful landscape in this area. There many outdoor activities to enjoy like the lakeshore beaches, inland lakes, parks, camping locations, public hunting land, and hiking trails.

Question: Please share a specific positive story that your business has experienced in Manitowoc County?

In the past, we were a satellite location for Lakeshore Technical College. We enjoyed collaborating with the college to offer a class at the company for HUI employees and other people from the area.

We have also appreciate this area’s excitement for Junior Achievement and robotics programs. Our employees love working with young students to help encourage their interests.

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County?

Our favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County is the atmosphere that comes with living here. You get to be a part of a smaller community, so you end up getting to know a lot of people. There is also a variety of great school system options, good employment opportunities for workers and employees, and a mix of affordable real estate options as well. It’s a great place to live and work!







Meet Lucy-Ann! From feeling safe and able to grow as a young professional in Manitowoc County, the opportunities are endless….Learn why Lucy-Ann Think.Love.Play’s in Manitowoc County!

Question: Why do you love Manitowoc County?

I love Manitowoc because everything is within ten to fifteen minutes’ drive for me. Compared to Maryland where my family lives, Manitowoc has minimal to no traffic. I appreciate this community because, even though the population is predominantly Caucasian, I feel safe as an African American woman.

Question: Please share a (specific) positive story that you have experienced while living in Manitowoc County?

I was very surprised and impressed when I heard about the Voces de la Frontera and the Manitowoc Human Rights Coalition groups. These two groups collaborate to coordinate Stand Up To Racism events. Taking into account the demographics of Manitowoc, I assumed that people in such a small community are not considering the effects of racism towards its minority population.

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County?

My two favorite characteristics about Manitowoc are feeling safe and the lakeshore… I love the life I am building for myself as a young professional in Manitowoc. The size of the community makes it easy for me to get involved.





Meet the Goff Family! They braved out the rain to let us take their #ThinkLovePlay photo. From living in a safe community to enjoying the local businesses, learn why the Goff’s #ThinkLovePlay [Manitowoc County]

Question: Why does your family love Manitowoc County?

We love that almost every weekend, there is something going on here in Manitowoc County, from festivals to farmer’s markets.  We love that if Manitowoc doesn’t have what you need, Green Bay, Sheboygan and Appleton are only 45 minutes away.  We love the Point Beach State Park and the hiking and running trails it has.  We love the many playgrounds and parks, especially Schuette Park.  We love the fact that we feel safe letting our kids play in the front yard, safe to go for nighttime runs throughout the city, and safe to travel anywhere in the city.  We also love some of the awesome stores in downtown Manitowoc, including Graced, Manitowoc Coffee Company, and Wrap It Up.

Question: Please share a (specific) positive story that you have experienced while living in Manitowoc County?

This year our daughter turned 3 and we decided to just do an informal party with a backyard cookout.  We invited all our neighbors, friends and family thinking that most would not show up since it was simply just an informal get-together.  We ended up having over 35 people show up and celebrate this little girl’s third birthday!  She felt so special and we felt so grateful to have so many awesome, supportive people in our lives. The best part of living in Manitowoc is definitely the people.   They are supportive, giving, kind, and caring.  Another example of this is with Natalie from Graced.  A few years back, I decided that I wanted to take my woodworking hobby and move it towards a “tiny” business.  I reached out to Natalie to see if she would be willing to take some of my builds and sell them on consignment in her store.  She was definitely willing to support me by featuring and selling some furniture, but she took it another step and hired me to build a shelving display.  I have since built numerous displays, cutting boards, and more for Graced.  That work has led to many other connections and business for my Northern Roots Woodworking “tiny” business.  Her willingness to support a fellow entrepreneur and local small business literally turned my hobby into a profitable (if I ever stop buying more tools) business!  We have made so many lifelong friends here and are so grateful to live in Manitowoc County.

Question: What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County? (Ex. recreation, culinary experiences, historical, lakeshore, feeling safe, small quaint community, local shopping)

Our favorite part of Manitowoc is the outdoor activities that are available to us.  As a trail runner, having some awesome trails within 10 minutes of your front door is something many people don’t have, and I have 3 great options in Schuette Park, Woodland Dunes and Point Beach State Park!  My family was hiking in Point Beach when my son, Tucker, lost his first tooth.  Now every time he has a loose tooth, we have to back for a hike because that is the “only place that works for getting his tooth out.” We also love the lakeshore beaches and trails for walking, biking, running, and even some swimming. We spend a lot of time outside. Wisconsin summers cannot be beat and the Manitowoc County has a ton to offer!






Meet the Moore’s and small business owner and manager of The Medicine Shoppe in Two Rivers and why they #ThinkLovePlay in Manitowoc County!

1. Why does your family, business or you love Manitowoc County?

We love living here because it has everything we need. We love being outdoors and there are a variety of ways in Manitowoc County to get out and enjoy nature. We love hiking at Woodland Dunes and the it’s hard to beat the beaches in summer in Two Rivers and at Point Beach State Park. We can go hunting in the backyard and don’t have to go far to find good fishing. We feel safe here and feel that it’s been a great place to raise our two boys. We’ve been very pleased with the schools in the area and have enjoyed the programming at Lester Public Library. We’ve found some great places to eat and shop. And since we’re within driving distance of the “big city” life of Green Bay, Milwaukee and even Chicago, those experiences are not hard to obtain yet we can still easily get back home to our preferred non-city living.

2. Please share a (specific) positive story that you have experienced while living in Manitowoc County?

Perhaps the best part of living here are the people themselves. Several years ago we bought a house in Two Rivers. The first day that our new house was open to us, my wife went to work and I started moving a few little things from the duplex we had rented. Somehow in the chaos of the move, I managed to lock my car keys and my phone in my car. We didn’t have a phone in the new house yet so I found myself in a neighborhood I’ve never been in, standing outside my new house feeling fairly hopeless. I decided my only option was to find a neighbor who had never met me, explain the situation, and hope for the best. I noticed a car in the garage at a house across the street so I figured this was as good a place as any to start. I rang the doorbell and likely said a little prayer. When the woman opened the door, I nervously introduced myself and shared my predicament. She immediately handed me a phone so I could call my wife. But to my surprise she then handed me a recent newspaper clipping. It was an article that featured The Medicine Shoppe (my employer) and highlighted what the other pharmacists and I were doing to improve patient care. She had heard we were moving in across the street and thought we might like an extra copy of the article! Needless to say, my wife and I felt pretty comfortable in our new neighborhood after that.

3. What’s your favorite characteristic about Manitowoc County? (Ex. recreation, culinary experiences, historical, lakeshore, feeling safe, small quaint community, local shopping)

Our favorite characteristic of Manitowoc County is that it’s the perfect combination of nature and community. It has the “up north” appeal of pine trees and outdoor recreation without the headache of the nearest amenities being an hour away. It’s small town living, but with local shopping, dining, and educational opportunities that don’t make us feel we’re missing out on the big city experience. And it’s the ability to enjoy recreational activities in a setting that’s peaceful and devoid of the metropolitan “clutter” of other areas.