An old Milwaukee business joined forces with an even older Wauwatosa business.
A brand new chain business is entering the oldest part of Wauwatosa.
And, Wauwatosa agreed to give up one of its very oldest features – a natural one, Schoonmaker Creek.
In separate actions, all of which have been reported on before, the Wauwatosa Common Council on Tuesday night approved:
- Stein Gardens & Gifts taking over the retail garden center business of Hawk's Nursery, 12215 Watertown Plank Road
- A Qdoba restaurant at 1417 Wauwatosa Ave. in the Village
- An application to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to take over jurisdiction of Schoonmaker Creek
Hawk's, Stein joint agreement goes ahead
Hawk's Nursery owner and landscape architect Joe Kresl agreed to lease his retail operations to Stein, while keeping independent control of his landscaping services business on the same site.
The joint operating agreement also brings Hawk's landscaping services to the customers of 11 other large Stein garden centers in the metro area, affording him an opportunity to expand that business.
Stein will operate both the indoor and outdoor retail business on Watertown Plank Road and has agreed to substantially the same seasonal business hours Hawk's offered.
Some customers bemoaned the "loss" of an old-line local business to a chain, but Hawk's — founded in 1875 in upstate New York and expanded to Wauwatosa in about 1893 — had in fact been on the brink of disappearance before Kresl bought and rebuilt it beginning in 1993.
Stein may be a chain, but it is a local one with a 65-year history of its own, and under CEO Mark Birmingham, who took over three years ago after a stint at the top of Allen Edmonds shoes, promises to upscale Stein's service and selection.
Qdoba coming to a Village near you
Qdoba is a welcome new tenant in the Village, as it fills two vacancies in the strip mall at the north end of the district between the anchors of Starbucks and Baskin Robbins — both chains.
A very little grumbling about yet anoter chain was heard, but Qdoba is considered a solid business, most consumers like its offerings, and there was no official opposition.
In fact, Qdoba's proposal came in just about the time the Common Council began considering possible prohibitions on chain restaurants in the Village and on North Avenue in East Tosa.
In debate, the Village was excluded from the proposed zoning amendment, leaving only North Avenue under consideration for the "formula restaurant" prohibition. That will be discussed Monday by the Plan Commission and then, likely, Tuesday by the Community Development Committee.
Creek to change hands again
Finally, a feature of Wauwatosa found here by the first settlers, both Indians and Europeans, is being offered up to MMSD by the city after more than 150 years in its official care.
Schoonmaker Creek has been both beloved and abused by Wauwatosa as its caretaker. Trickling through the Washington Highlands — once an Indian village, for a century one of the nation's most respected designed subdivisions — it is the natural centerpiece of the landscape, an inviting excuse for lush, winding parkways, a stone-lined channel, arching bridges and long, sloping lawns.
Upstream, though, it is buried and forgotten, confined to culverts that have been proved inadequate to contain more and more frequent floods.
The proposed deal with MMSD will give over official jurisdiction, but according to the parties to the agreement, there will still be a joint effort to control flooding in the historic watershed of Schoonmaker.
The arrangement could save Wauwatosa millions of dollars in the upcoming East Tosa Sewer Project.
Ald. Jim Moldenhauer said Tuesday that members of the Wauwatosa Homeowners Association, representing the Highlands, after initially asking for a slow-down of the process to learn more about its implications, were unanimously swayed by its potential benefits and now enthusiatically in support.
In fact, neighbors who had at first held up a stop sign said last week that after a chance to review the proposal, it was "met with applause" by WHA members.