Special Spaces: Changing Lives One Bedroom at a Time

Here at Steinhafels, we are humbled to play a small role in so many wonderful community organizations. One of those groups is Special Spaces Wisconsin, which helps to create dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

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We’ve partnered with Special Spaces for several years now. The Steinhafels mission is to help people create the homes of their dreams–so Special Spaces is a perfect fit. In a typical interior design project, the living room or family room is usually the focal point of the redesign. But in the case of Special Spaces, the bedroom is the crown jewel of the project! We get to help furnish bedrooms that are true escapes and safe spaces for kids who just want to be kids.

Today we’re going to take a closer look at a recent project in Milwaukee. KK is a 10-year-old who’s been through more in her short life than most of us can even imagine battling in a lifetime. She was in the hospital during her dream bedroom makeover, but when she finally made it home she was delighted to discover her very own “special space” to heal, find comfort and peace.

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KK’s story has been an inspiration to Steinhafels Waukesha Sales Manager Becky Morgan. Becky took some time to tell us more about the Special Spaces program, and why KK’s story has had such an impact on her.

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What inspires you about KK’s story?

Becky: “She’s a fighter! She beat leukemia, had a heart transplant, her body is fighting her new heart, and her leukemia came back. This little girl is just 10 years old. No one should ever have to experience this, let alone a child. Her focus should be on Pokemon and enjoying life, not fighting to live.”

You mentioned KK’s mom being an amazing woman. Tell us a little more about her.

“KK’s Mom. She is a single mother who works in a nursing home, and raises 10 children varying in age from 18-3. When I first visited the home, the children were all happy, there were wonderful notes from school on the fridge, extra curricular activities posted with pride on the fridge, thankful children (one of the youngest was so excited about the gallons of milk in the fridge, he kept saying thank you, thank you). I grew up with both parents and only one sibling, and I know that was not an easy task, so for one parent dealing with the amount of curve balls she has been given–she is truly an impressive mother!”

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What was the focus with KK’s bedroom redesign?

“KK really loves Pokemon and that was the focus for her space. Special Spaces meets with the family and child to make sure they get what they want. The most important part was making sure they had beds, and a bright space to retreat to when needed. The 2 other bedrooms were made to feel the same way–new beds, and space of their own.”

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The Steinhafels Waukesha Store Sales Team held a food and supply drive for KK and her family. Can you tell us more about this?

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“The supply drive came about as I was sitting with a coworker, talking about the needs for this family and how hard the mom works. I am about to be a mother myself, and hearing the heartache that this family is going through brought me to tears. My mother in law also has cancer and she is such a fighter, but I know the toll it takes on her each and every time she has chemo or a bad day. She needs comfort, space and basic necessities. As I was listening to the needs of the family I could not help but immediately want to dive in and get what I could. My parents also taught us to give when we can and to always help others, so to me this was top priority.”

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“We also have some amazing sales associates on our staff. Cheri (a Bedroom Specialist) overheard the needs and immediately said we need to help this family! I talked with our staff and they were all ready to help. They suggested a food drive. I was ecstatic that they were all so ready to jump in and help. They came everyday with food and daily necessities. We also had a great deal of cash donations. With the cash donations I went and got each child and mother a little caddy that I filled with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, toothbrushes, hair brushes, nail polish (they needed something fun), hair ties, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, chapstick, etc. We made the mom a special basket filled with pampering products like face-masks, bubble bath, soothing lotion, etc. We were also able to fill a laundry basket with cleaning supplies, hand soaps, detergent, laundry needs, feminine products, kitchen products, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, cooking supplies, and extra soaps and toothbrushes. It was also very important for me to get a huge tub of animal crackers as this was part of the story on their initial visit (the little guy wanted some, and what kid should go without animal crackers??)”

“Renae Williams (Bedroom Specialist) also took it upon herself to make sure each child and their mother had brand new pillows. She came in like Santa Clause with a bag larger than her, filled with brand new pillows–because she said everyone needs a comfy pillow. Steinhafels donated some decorative pillows to jazz up the space too! Kas Oriental Rugs also donated four beautiful rugs for the family, one for each of the bedrooms, and a beautiful rug for their living room.”

How proud are you of your staff?

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“I couldn’t be more proud of them! All I did was tell them this family’s story. They took their own initiative to make such an impact on this. I said give what you can, bring a can good or a toothbrush. They went so far above and beyond, it brought tears to my eyes every single time I walked into our break room, and then watching the family’s faces as they walked into their home was one of the best feelings I have ever had. I am so proud to be a part of this team–I could not ask for better people to surround myself with. Steinhafels is so very lucky to have these wonderful people working for them!”

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We also want to give a shout-out to the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, Majic Productions, and all of the other amazing volunteers for their work on this makeover. We are so glad we could play a part in bringing a smile to KK’s face!

Steinhafels Employee Takes the “Honor” Flight of His Life

The nation will take time out to honor the brave men and women who served our country this Veterans Day, Saturday, November 11. It’s a proud day for our country, but also a day that brings back difficult memories for many of our nation’s finest.

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Organizations like the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight are working to help ease the pain of those memories. The Honor Flight happens several times a year, and takes veterans (World War II, Korea, and Vietnam) to see their monuments in Washington D.C.

The day ends with a huge welcome home event at Mitchell International Airport. Steinhafels has partnered with the Honor Flight for years, through various donation drives, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Mail Call” program.

But this Steinhafels blog looks at the Honor Flight from an even more personal angle–through the eyes of a veteran who works for our company. Theron Kramer has been part of the Steinhafels work family for 5 years, and has a skilled role in our Corporate Warehouse.

Before his time with Steinhafels though, Theron served our country as an Army Sergeant–deploying to both Kuwait and Iraq during his time in the service. Theron is one of many veterans we are proud to call part of the Steinhafels family.

Theron had the chance to be a Guardian on this past weekend’s Honor Flight. He was kind enough to share little bit about the experience with us.

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Steinhafels: Thank you for your service! When did you serve?

Theron: I served with Bravo Company 2/128th Air Assault Infantry in the Wisconsin Army National Guard in August 2003. I was honorably discharged as a sergeant in Aug 2011 with Alfa Troop 1/105th Calvary.

How about the gentleman you escorted on the flight?

Theron: Mr. John Tilch served with 1st Infantry as a combat medic in Phuoc Pinh, Vietnam in 1967. Mr. Tilch was given a spot on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and needed a guardian for the trip. I was very honored that he had asked me to go with him.

Why did you decide to join the service?

I joined the army because of the September 11th attacks. I felt like I needed to do something to help.

What is it like to be on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight?

The flight to Washington was filled with excitement and anticipation. The flight back, however, was filled with many emotions. Every veteran on the flight received “mail call” letters from back home.

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I had never been to Washington D.C. before, and didn’t know what to expect while touring the memorials. Each memorial left you with a different emotion. The World War II memorial felt a bit cheerful and triumphant while the Vietnam wall was very mournful. The Korean War memorial was more dark and eerie.

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What was the most emotional part of the journey?

In my opinion the welcome home at General Mitchell International Airport was the most emotional part of the trip. To see the large volumes of strangers, service members and family was so inspiring. Especially for Mr. Tilch, a Vietnam veteran, who didn’t get that ‘welcome home.’ This trip was for him, and I am filled with pride that he finally received the welcome home he deserves.

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Why is the Honor Flight so important?

I think events like the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight are so important because it’s necessary to remind veterans that their selfless acts were appreciated, and that their call to duty did not go unnoticed.

I want to express my extreme gratitude to the staff at St. Paul School and Parish for their generous contributions. I also wanted to acknowledge the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight for the outstanding job that they do. Thank you!

And thank you Theron, for being a wonderful employee, and an example to other young men and women who want to take that extra step to protect the freedoms we are so lucky to enjoy here in the United States.

Help Steinhafels continue its support for veterans during our Veterans Day Sale, which runs through the end of business on Friday, November 10. Steinhafels will donate 5% of all sales to Fisher House Wisconsin. The Fisher House Foundation provides a network of comfort homes, where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment at the local VA.  

Also, Steinhafels is a proud Presenter of the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight “Mail Call” again this year. You can send a letter to a veteran on a 2018 flight! The Journal Sentinel will make a $10 donation for each letter received.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

attn: Mail Call

333 W. State St.

Milwaukee, WI 53203

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UPDATE: Fisher House Wisconsin 1,000+ Strong!

From the Fisher House to the Honor Flight, Steinhafels is proud to support our local veterans.

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As we celebrate our 6th year supporting Fisher House Wisconsin, we are incredibly proud to have donated more than $250,000–towards providing a ‘home away from home’ for military families that have a loved one receiving treatment at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

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We are excited to report that since the ribbon cutting of the new Milwaukee Fisher House in Spring 2016, more than 1,000 families have been helped!! 

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Help us continue our support during our Veterans Day Sale this week, from Tuesday, November 7-Friday, November 10. Steinhafels will donate 5% of all sales to Fisher House Wisconsin.

Check out our original Fisher House Blog HERE.

And thanks to all of our generous customers for your continued support of all of our community efforts!

Steinhafels and Randall Cobb team up to “Go Gold,” and fight childhood cancer

Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is known for his slick moves and poise on the football field, but it’s what he’s doing off the field that truly has some families in Wisconsin proud to call him their favorite Packer.

Cobb and his wife Aiyda are involved with “Gold in September,” a childhood cancer non-profit dedicated to increasing funding for childhood cancer research.

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Gold In September (G9) was created by Annie Bartosz of Hartland. Annie’s twin brother Jack was diagnosed with cancer when they were just 4 years old. Jack died after battling for almost 7 years, and Annie became determined to turn the world “Gold” In September for every child.

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G9 partners with Centers of Excellence Hospitals across the country–which can offer Phase 1 Clinical Trials. G9 also works with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for these various hospitals in just a few short years. You can learn more about how to donate to G9 HERE.

Cobb recently joined in the fight, and Annie actually first got to meet him at a recent event at our Appleton store!! To see her reaction when she first met one of her football idols was just priceless.

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Annie recalls that special moment. “It was really cool. I was obviously blown away, since he’s one of my favorite football players. I was also blown away by the fact that he’s just so humble and down to earth despite being a Wisconsin celebrity and NFL celebrity. And just…he’s not trying to take credit for anything. He just wants to do his part in helping the world be a better place, and I think that’s really cool.”

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The event was a special appearance by Cobb and fundraiser for G9. Cobb, Annie, and her mother Sarah all took a few minutes to speak to the crowd, and Cobb was gracious enough to take pictures with guests. The event was produced by the USA TODAY NETWORK – Wisconsin. Check out this video we produced to hear Cobb’s special message for all of us.

We spoke with Sarah and Annie briefly after the event–about their struggles with losing a brother, son, father, and husband to cancer (Annie’s father John died a couple years ago after succumbing to the long term effects of cancer treatments he had years ago). Their story truly is heartbreaking and inspiring one that we can all learn from.

Steinhafels: What is the G9 message?

Sarah: Gold in September is a very simple concept. Gold (G) is the color for childhood cancer, and September (9) is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I think awareness will drive action, and what we really want people to do is think about Gold in September, in the month of September, as awareness month. But now we have 11 months of action. It is every day–there are children diagnosed every day, there are children dying…every day. That cannot be our reality. We want to make sure kids not only survive, but thrive, following a cancer diagnosis. And when the community comes together, not only are we supplying funding for new research and  clinical trials, but really, that’s the hope that families need to be able to put one foot in front of the other, day after day, in the face of something that is so incredibly unbelievable, and difficult to handle.

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Steinhafels: How do you do it, after all you’ve been through?

Sarah: I don’t know. There are days I’d like to just lay in bed. I miss my son Jack tremendously, I can’t even put into words. He should be turning 16 and taking Drivers Ed classes. My husband John was diagnosed in his early 20’s, and survived another 20 years, but died in his 40’s. When you ask how do I do this…I don’t want anyone else to feel like this. I don’t want anyone else to feel the sadness and despair that our family feels. We have more laughter in our house than tears, I’m proud to say that. We know that’s what Jack and John would want, and we’re just trying to fulfill the hope and enthusiasm they brought towards life. We can do that for ourselves and help people along the way as we go.

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Steinhafels: Annie, you’re just a kid, but you’ve been through alot. What do you want to tell other kids who are struggling?

Annie: I want to let other kids know they’re not alone, and they can do their part in making a difference in the world, whether it’s helping one kid have a smile on their face today, or helping many kids hopefully have the chance to survive cancer. And I just think you can do anything you put your mind to. I never thought Gold in September would be this big–so let your dreams run wild, cuz you never know what will come from them.

Well put Annie–LET YOUR DREAMS RUN WILD! It’s events like these that truly bring us all together as a community, and we at Steinhafels hope this is just the beginning of a long partnership with Annie, Sarah, Cobb, and Gold in September.

Check out a full photo gallery of the event HERE!

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Design For a Difference: Prepping For the Big Reveal!

The big weekend is here for our Decorating Solutions interior designers who have been working on “Design For a Difference–Madison.” DFAD is a national campaign focused on design makeovers for non-profit charities. Madison-based FLOOR360 is the local ambassador of this national movement!

This year’s makeover is at Centro Hispano, which provides crucial services to Madison’s Hispanic community. Local design pros, including our designers Patti, Michelle, and Debbie have volunteered their own time since April 2017 to help plan this makeover. Patti, Debbie, and Michelle are based at our new store on High Crossing Boulevard on Madison’s East Side.

Our designers are re-creating the “Dream Room”– a place where teenagers can hang out, do homework, work on art projects, and just relax.

Check out this video featuring our designers in the final stretch. Steinhafels also donated several pieces of furniture to this awesome community project.

Stay tuned to our Steinhafels blog and Social Media pages–the big reveal is this weekend, and we’ll be tracking it and will bring you the latest!

 

Milwaukee Film Fest Lounge Redesign: The Big Reveal!

Over the past week you’ve hopefully had the chance to check out the Milwaukee Film Festival. The fest is one of the largest in the entire COUNTRY, and Steinhafels is excited to be a Producing Sponsor this year!

Along with the sponsorship, we are proud to have our name on the “Steinhafels Stage” in the Film Fest Lounge, which was redesigned by our Decorating Solutions Interior Designer Lori Green.

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Kristen Heller is Operations Director of the Film Festival. While the actual movies the number one focus of the fest, the Film Fest Lounge is also a key component of the experience–especially for the filmmakers who attend the fest.

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Heller explains, “Our filmmakers come from all over the world, some have interpreters, and most of them it’s their first time to Milwaukee, so this is a main base for them. It’s kind of like their own little escape if they wanna do work and just relax, or if they have a screening coming up and they want to relax–this is a place we can take care of them.”

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The Lounge is also open to the public during select hours. As you can see in these BEFORE pictures, the space has an industrial, modern look. Lori says she wanted to build on that. “We wanted a little more modern twist to it, so we did the grays, the metals and some of the vases. And obviously some of the fill-ins with the boxes for the books and things like that. So it was really enjoyable, it was easy–that’s what we wanted, simple and real clean lines.”

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THE RESULT!

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Check out this short video of the redesign process!!

Heller says working with Lori and Steinhafels was a seamless process. “Like even just me working with Lori in the store–everything came together organically, and it just felt like a good fit all around.”

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Lori admits this is her first time at the Film Fest. She says she’s excited to be a part of it, and to see some movies that will inspire. “I just like the overall feeling of being uplifted. I don’t like anything scary and that kind of thing, but something I can equate myself to, and my life, and my family.”

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You still have the weekend, and most of next week to check out the fest and be inspired! Closing night is Thursday, October 12.

The Film Fest is also Supporting Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Check out Lori’s Walk and Talk Video about the space!

And Click HERE for a full gallery of pictures!

Steinhafels also helped with the design of the fest’s new VR Gallery, which features several virtual reality exhibits.

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Steinhafels to make its Red Carpet Debut at the MKE Film Fest!

As Steinhafels continues to broaden its horizons when it comes to community outreach, we are excited to announce one of our newest and most exciting partnerships to date–the Milwaukee Film Festival! Both of us have the goal of expanding people’s imaginations, and transporting them to new and exciting places–either through the art of interior design or film–so it seemed like a natural fit!

The fest is a year-round, film-related nonprofit. This year’s festival runs from September 28 to October 12, and TICKETS are now available. The Milwaukee Film Fest is one of the largest in the country, and we’re lucky to have such a great institution here in Milwaukee.

Our partnership started months ago, as we started to talk with the fest about ways we could work together–both through our Decorating Solutions Program, and our State-of-the-Art LED Studio.

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Today we’re going to focus on the design aspect of our partnership. The fest asked us to assist with the design and furnishings for the INOVA gallery. Longtime Steinhafels Interior Designer Lori Green was up to the task. She says, “I was excited when I was asked if I would like to be a part of the Milwaukee Film Festival project.”

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The gallery is comprised of a stage, dining tables/lecture seats and a bar, and has a cozy lounge atmosphere. Festival organizers suggested some pieces they liked, and then Lori started working her design magic! She explains, “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Kristen Heller, who works for MKE Film as the Operations Director. We have selected all the pieces and the accessories.”

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The fruits of their labor will be on display for the fest’s Opening Night, Thursday, September 28. We don’t want to reveal TOO much now… but here’s a few sneak peaks at the design process!

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We want to thank the Film Fest for working with us on this exciting project, and we look forward to more in the future.

Check out our media partner OnMilwaukee’s LIST of 10 must-sees!

One of the “Best Food Trucks in the World” To Make Its Steinhafels’ Debut!

It’s been named “One of the best food trucks in the world” by several media outlets. They’ve been doing the food truck thing since before it was the “hip” thing to do… and now they’re rolling into the Steinhafels Corporate parking lot on Thursday, September 14, from 11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m.

It’s STREET-ZA time!!

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(Photos Courtesy Street-za website and Facebook)

Street-za keeps it relatively simple–gourmet pizza by the slice. Steinhafels is excited to welcome them as this month’s featured food truck.

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Founders Scott and Steve talk about the truck’s origins on their website:

The idea of starting Streetza came to us in fall of 2008. At about 2 a.m. we noticed the lack of good street food in Milwaukee. We set out to create the most delicious pizzas with the most unique and freshest toppings. And, we wanted everyone to be a part of our truck. Our Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans have been involved every step of the way. From selecting our logo and truck design, to helping us develop different types of pizzas.”

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This “crowd-sourcing” idea has been used by many businesses since, and it’s one of the things that makes Street-za so unique.

Our special Steinhafels menu covers the pizza basics!

Pizza By the Slice ($4)

-Choice of Cheese, Sausage, Pepperoni, Veggie, or Slice of Milwaukee (Sausage, Pepperoni, Mushrooms, Onions)

Lunch Box ($6)

-Any slice of pizza, one slice of garlic bread, soda/water

Garlic Bread ($3)

Soda or Water ($1)

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A friendly reminder… This is not a company-sponsored event. Please punch in/out as you would normally do for your lunch break. Street-za has been made aware that service needs to be as speedy as possible! Cash and Credit Cards are accepted.

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Some of the Media Hype! (from Facebook)

“The #1 Food Truck In The US” – Bloomberg

“One of America’s Favorite Food Trucks” – The Food Network

“One of the 10 Best Food Trucks in the U.S.” – GQ Magazine

“Perfect-Pie, Super Slices – Streetza offers generous slices” – TIME Magazine

“This mobile pizzeria might be the greatest thing to come to Milwaukee’s nightlife since the happy hour.” – Milwaukee Magazine

“Best Street Food in the City” – OnMilwaukee.com

“Mouth-watering gourmet slices” – The Onion / AV Club Milwaukee

“Reader’s Pick, The Best Eats from the Streets” – The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Adventures of the Steinhafels’ Bees: It’s Honey Time!

There’s a lot happening here on the grounds of the Steinhafels Corporate Center in Waukesha. Hundreds of orders processed daily, dozens of trucks coming and going, and more than 3,000 pounds of honey being produced.

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Umm.. wait.. huh?! Honey? This is a furniture blog, right?!

It is, but at Steinhafels we value being a part of the community, and reaching out beyond the doors of the stores.

So when Indian Summer Honey Farm in Germantown asked us if we’d like to house a few bee hives on our campus in an effort to help grow the local honey bee population we said sure! After all, we are lucky to sit on a beautifully vast piece of land–it seemed to be the least we could do.

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Well, just a few months later, beekeepers at Indian Summer are getting the chance to harvest the fruits of the bees’ labor… all 2.4 million of them!!! (Remember how I said 3,000+ pounds of honey? That takes a lot of bees!)

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Here’s how the numbers break down:

-40 hives with 60,000+ bees in each.

-160 boxes, equaling anywhere from 3 to 4,000 pounds of honey!

So what’s going to happen to all of that delicious nectar? Caleb Werner with Indian Summer explains, “We will extract the honey and sell the majority of it wholesale to either Sprecher or one of our other accounts. We also have a small store that we sell honey from at our farm.”

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And even though we love hanging out with our buzzing buddies… they can’t endure the Wisconsin winter in their present hives. They will remain here for another month as the crew prepares them for their winter getaway–Florida! Caleb and his crew will treat them for mites, and make sure that they are healthy and ready to head south. What a bunch of lucky bees!

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I can write all about what it was like to watch the workers pull the honey from the hives, but it’s much more exciting to SEE it. Check out a video of the process.

And stay tuned to our blog for more unexpected adventures–from bees to bookcases–we got you covered!

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Back To School Drives and Pies at Steinhafels

It’s back to school season! While it’s a fun time for some… for others, it’s a challenging time emotionally and financially. A simple school supply list can cost parents hundreds of dollars. It can also be a hard time for non-traditional and adult students who are heading back to school, or pursuing a new career.

We are so proud that our employees have taken it upon themselves to hold various back to school drives over the years, to help those who are struggling at this time.

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The Appleton team once again decided to collect items for COTS, a transitional shelter helping individuals experiencing homelessness. The goal is to end homelessness by helping people transition to self-sufficiency and independent living. They collected for adults that are not only working, but pursuing further education.

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In addition, our Waukesha Sales, Corporate, and Warehouse teams have worked together to collect supplies for a local grassroots effort, Ms. Cynthia’s Back to School Bash, which helps supply children in Milwaukee’s inner city with book bags and supplies for the coming year.

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This year, we had a little extra fun with this particular donation collection. Check out this VIDEO from our Waukesha Store’s pie-in-the-face contest. All money from tickets sold went towards school supplies.

Having fun AND raising money for a good cause. This is why we love our employees so much!!

**Note for employees: Please let Katie in Corporate Store Sales or Susanne in Appleton know if you’d still like to make a last minute donation!!