Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Huge Crowd At Sherman Phoenix Opening

Fire-ravaged bank now home to a market with 28 local businesses.

By - Dec 1st, 2018 03:23 pm
Large crowd at Sherman Phoenix grand opening. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

Large crowd at Sherman Phoenix grand opening. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva.

Optimism was in the air Friday night as a near capacity crowd packed the Sherman Phoenix to celebrate the market’s grand opening.

“There are a couple lessons here. If you want to see something done right, have a woman do it. If you want to see something done spectacularly, have two women do it,” said Mayor Tom Barrett in brief remarks at the landmark project’s opening.

The mayor was praising the work of partners Juli Kaufmann and JoAnne Sabir who led the $4 million redevelopment of the former BMO Harris Bank in the city’s Sherman Park neighborhood. The duo has spent the past two years tirelessly working to recruit tenants and funders for the unique project.

The 24,887-square-foot building is now filled with a variety of locally-owned businesses and non-profit vendors, including Funky Fresh Spring Rolls, Queens Closet consignment shop and Embody Yoga. The project website touts 28 vendors (listed below) in three categories food, culture and health and wellness, effectively making the marketplace a one-stop shop for the mind, body and soul.

Visitors will find a handful of familiar names, like Purple Door Ice Cream, as well as new-to-Milwaukee restaurants like Buffalo Boss, a black-owned quick service restaurant. The Milwaukee Buffalo Boss is operated by Taj Pearsall.

The Friday evening soft opening was a major milestone for the project, but more work remains as a number of tenants continue to build out their spaces. According to a post on the marketplace’s Facebook page, the market currently will be most vibrant between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tenants set their own hours, but the building is open daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

The building was one of a handful that were heavily damaged by fire during the August 2016 unrest in Sherman Park. The partners determined that the building, originally built in 1926 as the Sherman Park State Bank, had good bones and was a key neighborhood anchor.

To bring the project, located at 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave., to reality, Kaufmann and Sabir had to assemble one of the more unconventional financing packages ever created. But, given that the project itself was anything but conventional, the complicated web of funds acquired via large donors, crowdfunding, small investors, and government grants seems appropriate.

The final package relied on everything from equipment donations from Johnson Controls to investments from a who’s who of community-minded Milwaukeeans. And a lot of hard work by two very dedicated women.


Tenant List

  • 2 King Barber Shop
  • 9th Cloud Therapy
  • Amri Counseling
  • Buffalo Boss
  • Confectionately Yours
  • Embody Yoga
  • Funky Fresh Spring Rolls
  • Gener8tor/Fellowship Art
  • Hands At Home
  • Hello Beautiful
  • Honeybee and Sage Wellness
  • Lush Popcorn
  • Maximizing Potential
  • Next Level Vegan
  • None Above
  • Prenasis Hair Gallery/Shampooed
  • Purple Door Ice Cream
  • Queens Closet
  • Rhoyal Trinity Locs
  • Sabir’s Karate and Fitness Center/Studio 1969
  • Sauce & Spice
  • Shindig Coffee
  • Silver Talisman Local
  • So Greedy
  • The Lash Factory
  • Theresa Do My Nails
  • Vibez Creative Arts Space
  • Vickie Design Studio

The Building After the Fire

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