Sophie Bolich

Sherman Phoenix Launches $2 Million Capital Campaign

Now approaching its fifth anniversary, the group plans to use funds for future growth.

By - Nov 28th, 2023 03:57 pm
Site of Sherman Phoenix Marketplace, 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Photo taken Sept. 11, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of Sherman Phoenix Marketplace, 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave. Photo taken Sept. 11, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Even as Sherman Phoenix prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the small business marketplace is keeping an eye on future growth. In tandem with the milestone, the Sherman Phoenix Foundation has launched its first capital campaign with the goal of raising $2 million by the end of 2024.

Funds from the year-long campaign, dubbed And Still Rising, will allow the foundation to purchase the building, 3536 W. Fond du Lac Ave., and make improvements such as increasing capacity, repaving the parking lot and upgrading building systems.

It will also support long-term initiatives to provide mentorship, training and other resources to small business entrepreneurs, building on the successes of existing marketplace-run programs including the Phoenix Rising Academy and Business Community Network.

Stacia Thompson, executive director of the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, said that the campaign will strengthen the marketplace while priming the business for long-term success.

“Over the last five years, our impact has been felt throughout the Milwaukee community,” she said in a statement. “We are still rising and looking forward to another five years and beyond.”

TrueMan McGee, owner of Funky Fresh Spring Rolls and former tenant at Sherman Phoenix, and Giacomo Falluca, CEO of Palermo’s Pizza, are the campaign chairs.

“As a mentor, investor and faithful customer to Sherman Phoenix businesses, I can share first-hand the impact of the Sherman Phoenix: its ability to amplify the businesses housed within it and convene the community around it to enhance the vitality of our entire region,” Falluca said in a statement. “We all benefit from the Sherman Phoenix and I’m honored to help lead the effort to ensure we can continue its fantastic work now and into the future.”

In announcing the capital campaign, Sherman Phoenix touted its previous accomplishments. Since its 2018 opening, the marketplace has been home to nearly 50 small businesses, many of which have gone on to open their own brick-and-mortar locations throughout the city. Currently, 25 small businesses operate within the building; 30% of those are founding businesses.

The business also launched the Phoenix Rising Academy for entrepreneurs of color, provided over 100 small business pop-up opportunities and hosted over 250 community programs and events. Sherman Phoenix sees more than 100 visitors per day and employs over 75 Milwaukee residents.

In addition, 89% of the marketplace’s founding businesses are still in operation after five years — a much higher success rate than the national average.

“Like our entrepreneurs, the Sherman Phoenix has learned, evolved and is positioned for continued impact,” the marketplace said in a statement.

Sherman Phoenix is also nearing the end of an earlier, month-long community campaign, I Got 5 On It. Each day in November, excluding weekends and holidays, different business owners conducted a takeover of the Sherman Phoenix Instagram account.

The marketplace will close out the month with a free, community event on Tuesday, Nov. 28, or Giving Tuesday. The event will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature live music, food and prizes.

To donate to the Sherman Phoenix, text Got 5 On It to 44321 or visit the Sherman Phoenix website.

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Categories: Food & Drink

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