We sat down with Jeanette Kelly of Captain Mike’s/Captain Quarter’s & Rob Greskoviak of Vill D’ Carlo, two downtown Kenosha business owners and board members of The Kenosha Lakeshore Improvment District (B.I.D) to find out what’s going on in downtown Kenosha.
The Kenosha Lakeshore BID was created by the City of Kenosha in 1986 to allow businesses to develop, manage and promote Downtown Kenosha and to establish an assessment method to fund permitted activities. The BID Board meets each month, on the third Tuesday at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Downtown Kenosha at 8:30am. Meetings are open to the public.
What do you love about being a business owner in Downtown Kenosha?
Jeanette Kelly of Captain Mike’s and Portside Catering: The people – Downtown Kenosha has such a great community vibe to it and I love being a part of that. We also meet so many different people that pass through here in the summer and it is so great to see them enjoy the downtown as much as we do.
Rob Greskoviak of Villa D’ Carlo: Being across from Lake Michigan and all the seasons in Wisconsin. It’s great to see the up and coming businesses and the new construction ie: the Mayor’s downtown plan and the new apartment buildings going up.
Why did you choose Downtown Kenosha for your business?
JK: I have always lived downtown or close to downtown and so when myself and Michael were able to purchase a business that was already located in Downtown Kenosha ….. that part was easy. Also, there’s nowhere better to be in Kenosha on a nice summer day than Downtown near Lake Michigan!
RG: I did not; my mother married the owner Carl Ruffalo. I have been working there since 1977.
Why did you decide to join the BID board?
JK: Myself and Michael like to be active in the community and this felt like a good way of bringing some of my experience to something bigger than just my business. Bobby was retiring from the BID and she referred me and it was such an honor to have her support and blessing. It’s an opportunity for everyone downtown and in the BID area to pull together to make downtown a more attractive place to do business and visit.
RG: I wanted to make a difference and have a voice in the direction of BID, where the funding was spent and better transparency and communication with the BID tax payers.
Where do you see Downtown Kenosha in 5 years?
JK: I think Downtown Kenosha will continue growing as a tourist destination. We had so many people from Illinois discover Kenosha over the past few years and they love the charm, Lake Michigan and the entire downtown vibe.
RG: With the Mayor’s plan completed, the lakefront apartments on the south side of downtown completed, and hopefully a grocery store.
What are some of the long & short term goals you would like to see get done during your term on the BID board?
JK: I’d like to see more inclusion from businesses that don’t sit on the board. Myself and Michael have been sitting in on these meetings for quite a while and contributing as public members and that option is there for anyone in the BID area. In the long term, it’s all about making downtown better. The board did a fantastic job in the past year with the bike racks and lights so more touches like that.
RG: I am just looking to encourage additional development for Downtown and seeing it grow – the Mayor’s plan, the Brindisi apartments west of the Villa started and others. We are already making positive changes in recent downtown holiday decorations and promotions.
What is your favorite Downtown event?
JK: Fourth of July but I have to say, the Tall Ships event is also right up there. Hopefully we can get them back sooner rather than later!
RG: Tribute Island music festival run by the Carmichaels of Happenings Magazine.
Support local by visiting these fine businesses
Captain Mike’s 5118 6th Avenue • captainmikespub.com • portsidecatering.com
Vill D’ Carlo • 5140 6th Avenue • villadcarlo.com
Learn more about Jeanette & Rob by listening to their interviews on the Ktown Connects Podcast
Rob – Spotify • Apple Podcast
Jeanette – Spotify • Apple Podcast
Q&A and photos by Donny Stancato
Featured image of Jeanette Kelly from portsidecatering.com
Edited by Jason Hedman
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For everything Kenosha see visitkenosha.com
(This article first appeared in Vol 16. #1 2023 Go Downtown Kenosha Magazine)