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Category: Member News

Learn who’s growing, changing, moving and more! Stay on top of what’s new with your neighboring businesses. We share news releases and announcements from your peers in the Madison area. Want to toot your own horn? Use our Submit Member News form to share your own stories.

Photo by Richard Hurd

DoorDash Announces Winners of the Madison COVID-19 Restaurant Relief Grants

March 4, 2021



Winners will use funds provided by DoorDash’s Main Street Strong effort to help offset the costs associated with running a restaurant amid the ongoing pandemic and local dining restrictions.

MADISON, WI – Today DoorDash announced the winners of the COVID-19 Restaurant Relief Grant program provided through its Main Street Strong effort. These grants are a part of DoorDash’s five-year, $200 million Main Street Strong Pledge to empower local communities, which included a $10 million grant effort across select cities, states, and counties in the U.S. and Canada.

The grants are being administered by Hello Alice and can be used to cover operating costs during this challenging time, including rent, payroll, purchasing PPE, expanding outdoor dining capacity, and other expenses.

The below Madison restaurants have been selected to receive $5,000 grants through the program:

  • Bierock
  • Bistro 525
  • Cafe Domestique
  • Cranberry Creek Cafe & Catering
  • Crostini Sandwiches 
  • Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry
  • El Rancho Dos Mexican Grill 
  • Estacion Inka
  • Fair Trade Coffee House
  • Gates & Brovi
  • Green Owl Cafe
  • Harvest
  • La Taguara
  • Lazy Oaf Lounge
  • Madison’s
  • Mad Seafood Boiler 
  • Mickie’s Dairy Bar
  • Nick’s Restaurant 
  • Off Broadway Drafthouse 
  • Orient House Chinese Restaurant 
  • Osteria Papavero
  • Parkway Family Restaurant 
  • Pizza Extreme
  • Roll Play
  • Salads UP
  • Sconniebar
  • Teddywedgers 
  • The Jet Room
  • Tutto Pasta State Street
  • Valentia Coffee

All restaurants who applied for a grant will receive free access to the Hello Alice platform, which offers peer-to-peer networking, mentorship, and tools such as the COVID-19 Restaurant Resource Center, a curated list of industry-specific resources, information from fellow restaurant and food service owners about the challenges they’re facing, and how-to guides designed to help restaurants reopen the doors and get back to business.  Hello Alice will begin grant distribution in March, with all restaurants receiving their grant by early May. 

“We are very excited to have been selected as recipient,” said Sofia R. Pezua, Manager, Estacion Inka. “As we are struggling to cover our business expenses, this grant will allow us to meet those needs and continue to keep our doors open for takeout and delivery while more measures are put in place for restaurants to be able to open for dine-in safely. Thank you!”

When launching the program, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said, “COVID-19 has been devastating nationwide, and has taken a serious toll on our small businesses. Restaurants have searched tirelessly for resources to keep their doors open during the pandemic, as they’ve faced a number of hurdles. I’m thrilled about DoorDash’s relief contributions which will help safeguard our local restaurants during this time of crisis.”

“Restaurants have faced unprecedented challenges in the last year, and DoorDash is proud to support them,” said Alexi Madon, Senior Manager, Government Relations, Central at DoorDash. “It is our hope that these grants will help restaurants as they continue to navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.”

During the first round of DoorDash’s Main Street Strong COVID-19 relief grants in 2020, 85% of restaurants stated that one of the biggest impacts on their business was reduced sales due to COVID restrictions, and 82% cited lost revenue attributed to the declining economy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DoorDash has taken significant active steps to ensure the safety of its entire community, including providing:

●   $120 million in commission relief and marketing investments

●  50% reduction in commissions for local restaurants with five or fewer locations in the first months of the pandemic, plus 0% commissions for the first 30 days for restaurants new to DoorDash

●   Free personal safety equipment for Dashers, including hand sanitizer, gloves, wipes, and masks

●   Two weeks of earnings replacement for eligible Dashers affected by COVID-19

●   COVID-19 screenings and telemedicine appointments for just $4 for Dashers, per visit

●   Partnering with BlueVine, a leading provider of small business banking solutions, to provide a customized Payment Protection Program (PPP) application for merchant partners to help make PPP loans more accessible.

For a full list of winners across the U.S. and Canada, see Hello Alice’s blog here. Read more about DoorDash’s latest efforts to help the local merchants, Dashers and communities it serves here


About DoorDash

DoorDash is a technology company that connects consumers with their favorite local and national businesses in more than 4,000 cities and all 50 states across the United States, Canada, and Australia. Founded in 2013, DoorDash enables local businesses to address consumers’ expectations of ease and immediacy and thrive in today’s convenience economy. By building the last-mile logistics infrastructure for local commerce, DoorDash is bringing communities closer, one doorstep at a time.

Photo by Richard Hurd

Keller Real Estate Group Starts Construction on $25 Million Downtown Landmark Development

New Gateway for Downtown Madison
Keller Real Estate Group Breaks Ground On a $25 Million, Multi-Family Housing initiative “Avenir”
A transformative development for the corner of West Washington Avenue and Bassett Street

Upscale Project includes 96 apartment homes, 2,000 sq. ft. of specialty retail, 100 heated indoor parking spaces, 100+ bike parking spots and a Bike Maintenance Station for residents. Completion slated for April 2021.

Madison, WI—March 1, 2021—-Keller Real Estate Group (Keller) has started construction on the $25 million AVENIR, a mixed-use development with 96 apartment homes and 2500 sq. ft of ground-floor specialty retail space on 510 West Washington Avenue. The six-story AVENIR will transform a prominent and formerly underutilized ¾ acre downtown site, into a vibrant multi-family residential community that will create a signature gateway to the downtown and add much needed density to the existing stock of quality housing. Nine inefficient and outdated rental properties , owned by Keller, were demolished to make way for the project. The upscale AVENIR, (named for the future or time to come), includes studio, one-, two-and three-bedroom apartment homes and is slated for occupancy in spring of 2022.
Ald. Mike Verveer, 4th District, who represents the area, applauded the AVENIR development for embracing the Mifflandia Neighborhood Plan (adopted in 2019) in shaping its design and for creating an iconic benchmark project to help guide future initiatives:

“As one of the first significant development projects since the Mifflandia Neighborhood Plan was adopted, Keller’s AVENIR is a standard bearer in expressing the criteria and vision outlined in the plan and a genuine testament to the hundreds of neighborhood stakeholders who actively participated in that important process.”

Alder Verveer added: “The AVENIR will be an enduring asset in beautifying and animating the West Washington Avenue corridor, and act as a catalyst for thoughtful development initiatives that are steered by the Mifflandia Plan in the future.”

The 6-story AVENIR takes advantage of its expansive site with an open H -shaped layout and features white brick construction that rises up through the first four floors. Herringbone patterned bricks will highlight the window spandrels. The stepped back upper two stories of the building will be clad with a lightweight, medium grey cement board siding and accented with black metal window frames and balcony railings. Generous building setbacks, recessed and cantilevered balconies, tall windows, rooftop terraces, a series of walk-up apartments and canopied entrance ways all modulate the scale of the AVENIR complex.

An inviting ground floor corner storefront space at AVENIR will be designed with glass and transparent materials to engage bypassing pedestrians. Along the street corner, an 18” raised terrace will provide outdoor gathering and dining space, further animating the street. Landscaping plans will sensitively preserve large existing trees and a newly planted double tree canopy will help create a special sense of place for the neighborhood.

The AVENIR is conveniently located within a few blocks of the Wisconsin State Capitol, the Overture Center for the Arts, and the Kohl Center on the lively Washington Avenue Corridor that is home to over 40 businesses, including locally owned specialty restaurants, retail outlets and fitness studios. Residents of the AVENIR will enjoy a host of amenities including an outdoor elevated terrace and lounge that includes a conference room, a grill station , outdoor seating and dining and a shaded trellis area overlooking West Washington Avenue; a yoga and wellness center, secure package delivery, 100 heated underground parking spaces, over 100 enclosed bike parking spots and a bike repair station.

Sustainable elements incorporated in the AVENIR design will include “green” roofs on the 2nd and 5th floor roof terraces, CO and NO2 gas detection in the enclosed garage for intelligent exhaust air and make-up air control, and a 92% + efficient central domestic hot water system. LED lighting will be utilized throughout, including occupancy sensors in public spaces and the parking garage.

Construction and permanent financing for the $25 million AVENIR is being provided by the First Business Bank. The general contractor for AVENIR is VJS Construction Services, a family -owned company founded in 1947, and headquartered in Pewaukee, WI. Madison, WI-based Potter Lawson, Inc. an award-winning architecture, planning and interior design firm established in 1913 is the architect of record.

About Keller Real Estate Group
A trusted regional developer and property manager recognized for high qaulity and enduring projects, Keller Real Estate Group was founded in Madison,WI in 1950, and maintains offices in a historic 1931 Art Deco building at 448 W. Washington Ave.The company’s roots and capital investments in downtown Madison are deep with award winning mixed use projects such as Bassett Walk, City Place Apartments, Tuscan Place, and Washington Court and Wilson Bay that have helped strengthen and revitalize the Bassett Neighborhood. Keller Real Estate Group

Photo by Richard Hurd

WPS Health Solutions joins movement to improve diversity and inclusion


DeAnne Boegli
Vice President of Communications

WPS Health Solutions joins movement to improve diversity and inclusion

MADISON, Wis.—March 1, 2021—Mike Hamerlik of WPS Health Solutions joins more than 1,600 Chief Executive Officers and Presidents across the nation to pledge action on supporting a more inclusive workplace for employees, communities, and society at large.

CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion™ is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

“My commitment is driven by the understanding that meaningful change around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) starts at the executive level. This pledge offers me the opportunity to lead by example,” Hamerlik said. “Signing the pledge signifies a symbolic step on our DEI journey. We now join more than 13 million other employees within 85 industries around the nation to advance inclusion at work.”

In signing the pledge, WPS commits to:

  • Cultivate a workplace that supports open dialogue on complex and sometimes difficult conversations about diversity and inclusion.
  • Implement and expand unconscious bias education.
  • Share best practices.
  • Create and share strategic inclusion and diversity plans with the WPS Board of Directors.

Click here to view a list of companies that have signed the pledge.

About WPS Health Solutions

Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation is a nationally regarded benefits administrator for a variety of U.S. government programs and a leading not-for-profit health insurer in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation utilizes “WPS Health Solutions” to refer to our entire enterprise. Within our enterprise, there are three divisions, including Government Health Administrators, Military and Veterans Health, and WPS Health Insurance/WPS Health Plan/EPIC Specialty Benefits. WPS Government Health Administrators manages Medicare Part A and Part B benefits for millions of seniors in multiple states, and WPS Military and Veterans Health serves millions of members of the U.S. military and their families through TRICARE and Veterans Affairs programs. Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation has been based in Madison, Wis., for nearly 75 years. For more information, please visit

Photo by Richard Hurd

The Creative Company welcomes Chris DuPre to its public relations team

Chris brings editorial, social media, and nonprofit experience to the company

MADISON, WI (February 25, 2021) — Chris DuPre has joined The Creative Company as Public Relations Director. Chris has deep experience leading editorial, digital and social media efforts tailored to helping clients tell their stories.

Among his recent experience was building audience and connections in corporate social media, where he grew a fledgling social presence into an industry leader. He has worked with nonprofits in executing successful capital campaigns and helped all manner of clients gain exposure in traditional and new media.

“Everyone loves a good story, but getting that story to people who need to hear it can be a challenge,” Chris DuPre said. “Having been in those editorial and assignment gatekeeping positions, I can help our clients tailor messages that will reach and connect with readers, viewers, and listeners.”

Laura Gallagher, President and Founder of The Creative Company said: “We are delighted Chris has joined The Creative Company. He brings to the agency a wealth of experience and deep expertise to help our clients have the best possible reputation management and brand leadership outcomes.” 

DuPre’s experience ranges from daily newspapers to nonprofit editorial promotion and leadership to regulated industry communications. He’s especially excited to join The Creative Company’s crucial work with nonprofits. “Some of the most exciting developments in our community are coming from the nonprofit realm,” he said.

About The Creative Company, Inc.

The Creative Company is Wisconsin’s leading PR and Digital Agency that represents leading nonprofits, businesses, and entrepreneurs, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. The Creative Company is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise by the State of Wisconsin, is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin, and is the recipient of many creative awards and accolades including Best Places to Work and Best Ad Agency in Wisconsin.

Visit for more information.

Photo by Richard Hurd

JP Cullen Ends 2020 As Safest Year in Firm’s 129-Year History

In a year where safety has become the top priority for most worldwide, ending the year as the safest on record for the firm is a feat JP Cullen is ecstatic to share with its staff and clients. There are two metrics used for safety:

  • Incident Rate or IR: a measure of how often a recordable injury or illness occurs over a specified period of time, typically one year
  • Days Away, Restricted or Transferred or DART: metric to measure how many workplace injuries and illnesses required employees to miss work, perform restricted work activities or transfer to another job within a calendar year

With over 1,000,000 hours worked, JP Cullen finished the year with a 1.59 IR which is almost half of the national average of 3.0 and a DART of .20 far below the national average of 1.80.

“2020 was a year filled with many ups and downs. Safety is not a spectator sport and it takes a team effort to be able to accomplish what we did in 2020,” says George Cullen, Co-President. “Thank you to everyone for looking out for your fellow workers and keeping our job sites safe for our clients.”


JP Cullen Website:

JP Cullen Social Media: Blog | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube


JP Cullen is a fifth-generation family-owned business. Since 1892, we have taken on the most challenging government, education, healthcare, commerce, industrial, arts & entertainment and historic restoration projects across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Today we are a $400+ million full-service preconstruction and construction company with 800 employees, managing projects from $1,000 to over $100 million in size – from new construction (office buildings, university buildings, residence halls, healthcare clinics, chemical, food and beverage, manufacturing, and power plants) to additions and renovations (healthcare facilities, K-12 schools, chemical, food and beverage, manufacturing, and power plants) to specialized work (e.g. steel erection, masonry, carpentry, historical restoration, equipment installation).