Photos Becky Vinz & Jan Christensen Our Milwaukee is a business alliance that advocates for locally owned businesses that provide a genuine, quality experience – in celebration of our community’s unique character. www.ourmilwaukee.net “Our Riverwest Location has worked out better than we expected. It has been a positive.. delighted to be here.” says Paul Miller, one of the principals at Alterra Coffee. Miller adds that good local businesses distinguish us from other cities and adds vibrancy to life in Milwaukee Alterra’s Ramie Camarena, Projects & Communications Coordinator 2999 N. Humboldt Blvd. Riverwest Currents asks Ramie a few questions: Are many of the staff Riverwest residents? Quite a few people live in the neighborhood, myself included. Many of my co-workers are also my neighbors which is a pretty cool thing. Do you encourage employees to walk or bike to work? Absolutely! We have been a sponsor of Bike To Work Week for several years and are now partnering up with both MCTS and the Bike Fed of Wisconsin to promote the new Bikes on Buses program. (Coincidentally, one of the baristas from the Humboldt café modeled for the MCTS brochure that explains how to safely use the racks.) We provide some indoor bike parking for employees and will soon have cycling route maps available for staff, compliments of the Bike Fed. Also, Alterra now offers co-workers the chance to take advantage of the new Bicycle Commuter Benefit Act, making them eligible for reimbursements of up to $240 a year in bike-related expenses. Anything else you would like to add? Supporting our local businesses is extremely important to helping maintain Milwaukee’s unique character. Every time a local gem shuts its doors for good, the community mourns the loss. What we need to realize is that we can prevent this from happening. Even if you shift a percentage of your spending from big-box to local, it will make an impact on the community. It’s not an issue of all-or-none, and I think that is an important distinction to make – where you choose to spend your dollars is one of the easiest ways to make a difference. Tell your favorite local businesses about joining Our Milwaukee. Every member makes us stronger!