A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats – Letter from CEO and President John Schmidt
There has been a lot of information shared in the last couple of weeks about U.S. Venture’s proposed headquarters in downtown Appleton—some accurate, some not so much. We want to get back to the heart of the matter and explain the reasons why we want to be in Appleton. Most especially, we want to share something we feel has gotten lost in the discussion, which is this: We love this community.
This isn’t the first time we needed to move to accommodate growth. U.S. Venture got its start in a two-bedroom family home in Kimberly in 1951. Several years later, the company moved into a larger, but small, office on Washington Street in Combined Locks. When we moved for the third time back to Kimberly into our current building in 2010, it was hard to imagine outgrowing its 60,000 square feet. We constructed our current building with the company’s future growth in mind; however, we grew faster than predicted and have to consider relocating again.
Our current building is beautiful and has served us well, it just isn’t big enough. We plan to sell this building, and we’re looking forward to seeing what company makes it their new home. The Kimberly community has supported us through and through. We’re grateful to them and we’ll miss 425 Better Way.
When we began looking into options for relocation, we did so with a new and important question in mind: where do we want to continue our growth, and how can we most positively impact our community? When word got out that we were relocating, we were recruited by cities both near and far—including cities like Kansas City, Tulsa and Baton Rouge which offered significant incentives. But our roots are here. The Fox Cities is home. This is where we belong.
U.S. Venture believes in giving back to our community. The single most important step we can take to further our giving is to move into downtown Appleton. The move will allow us to more deeply integrate ourselves with the work of local nonprofits, provide a healthy financial boost to the downtown community, and attract significant reinvestment by others into Appleton’s downtown—some of which has already begun. These developments will create generations of tax revenue for Appleton from what is currently an underused and blighted area.
We wholeheartedly believe our team members will love the downtown Appleton experience and the vibrancy, diversity and amenities of an urban setting. While some question our move for being a mere four miles down the road, we know U.S. Venture’s proposed headquarters will bring a new population to downtown Appleton. More than two-thirds of the team members who work in our current building do not live in Appleton. After internal polling, we also know much of our workforce does not frequent the downtown. We can change this. What excites us the most is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the downtown and give our team members the chance to experience the arts and entertainment scene, restaurants and bars, and new community engagement opportunities.
They say a rising tide lifts all boats. We believe this to be true, and all along, our focus has been on creating a new chapter for our community. It’s time for growth. It’s time for revitalization. It’s time to rise.
This column was originally published on October 4, 2019 – “U.S. Venture headquarters project will boost downtown, attract reinvestment, help Fox Cities grow.”