2nd annual Veteran Business Showcase highlights veteran businesses of Central Wisconsin

Published: Apr. 22, 2023 at 8:40 PM CDT
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PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW) - When you stroll through the Veteran Business Showcase that UW-Stevens Point hosts annually at Artist and Fare in Plover, you’ll find plenty of tables worth checking out. It’s all meant to create awareness towards veteran-owned businesses in Central Wisconsin.

“I like people to realize how many veteran-owned businesses are in central Wisconsin,” says Patrick Gatterman, Director, Small Business Development Center, UWSP. “And then kind of an opportunity to talk to them and see what they offer, maybe get some business from that for the veteran.”

While they all have the ‘veteran’ title in common, their paths taken to create their businesses are their own.

“I went to college at UW-Stevens Point and took some real estate classes at that point and bought a house while I was in college and just fell in love with it at that point,” says Joshua Zimmerman, Broker/Owner, NextHome Priority. “I still graduated college but got my real estate license back then and just stuck with it ever since.”

“When I retired in 2019, I wanted to create something unique,” says Craig Cook, Owner, Fall Line Outfitters. “So I created an outdoor store with a premise on fly fishing. And it’s kind of molded into something pretty unique.”

The showcase was free for anyone to attend, offering plenty of community support.

“That’s the best part. We like to try to volunteer and give back to the community as much as possible,” says Zimmerman. “To see the community come out and support businesses like ours, all the vets in area, it’s just great to see that.”

Plus, some love between those who’ve been in their shoes.

“It’s definitely got a different feeling to it,” says Zimmerman. “It’s a brotherhood and stuff like that that we can all connect and have the same experiences in ways just like no other.”

“Owning a small business is really hard for mentorship,” says Cook. “And that comradery and brotherhood that we talk about that the military provides. So when you’re able to get not only veterans and business owners together at the same time. It just makes it for a pretty good event.”

The showcase also highlighted veteran resources for business support in the area, including the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce and Wisconsin Procurement Institute. Click here for more info on the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Click here for more info on the Wisconsin Procurement Institute.