Focus on the Entrepreneur: A New Kind of Mall
With the help of the FVTC Venture Center, a wide range of services are under one roof in Wisconsin’s first manufacturing mall.
Longtime business associates Chuck Duginski, owner of Grassroots Machining, and Nick VanderHeyden, owner of Industrial Machine Services and apprenticeship completer of Fox Valley Technical College, both needed to expand their businesses. “We knew that if we housed our services together, we could buy the right facility,” Duginski states. “With this big space we invited others, including Jason Harold of J.W. Welding.”
Today, 1351 Kimberly Drive in Neenah is home to a variety of manufacturing services, including welding, machining, industrial maintenance, engineering and more. Duginski and Harold, both E-seed™ training completers through the FVTC Venture Center, give credit to the program for their success and for a cooperative endeavor known as the Manufacturing Mall.
Duginski had been a successful machinist for 30 years before going on his own. “I was working nights and weekends in my garage making custom parts, and starting my own business seemed like a logical next step,” says the 54-year-old Menasha native.
First, Duginski’s wife, Mary Beth, insisted that he enroll in the Venture Center’s E-seed program. “E-seed really got me started in the right direction,” he says. “I learned what to expect as a business owner, the regulations involved and all the financial aspects.”
The Manufacturing Mall has received significant news coverage based on its pioneering concept of serving the customized needs of area and even global manufacturers under one roof.
Caffeinate Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Last October, the FVTC Venture Center led the designation of Appleton, Wisconsin as a 1 Million Cups entrepreneur site. The 1 Million Cups initiative is sponsored nationally by the Kauffman Foundation. It’s a free, weekly program designed to educate and connect entrepreneurs over a million cups of coffee nationwide.
1 Million Cups Free Networking Sessions
Each Wednesday, 9-10 a.m.
FVTC’s Venture Center
5 Systems Drive, Appleton
Open to the public
No registration required