The home of AriensCo, Brillion, Wisconsin, is a small and spirited city of 3,200 residents, all of whom contribute to a great sense of community. AriensCo has been a major part of this community, helping to build much of what Brillion is today by both drawing from and relying on the citizens of Brillion to see it through decades of success.
AriensCo took advantage of some recent opportunities to give back to Brillion when it participated in a series of local events, including Habitat for Humanity’s Rock the Block initiative and the Bazaar After Dark night market. Both were intended to give the city an economic and morale boost for people who call Brillion home. AriensCo Chairman and CEO Dan Ariens also announced Brillion Works, LLC., a new business venture designed to attract economic prospects to Brillion.
Rock the Block is a community revitalization initiative that provides financially feasible solutions to lower-income homeowners who need help with critical home repairs, reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. Rock the Block partnered with 400 volunteers and local contractors to help with these home repairs, completing housing projects quickly and keeping their costs to a minimum. In just three days, these volunteers made improvements to 21 private residences and 15 community properties including the Brillion Historical Society and the Brillion Nature Center.
Traditionally, Rock the Block had kept its focus to the immediate area of the Fox Valley, but with convincing from local businessman Bob Endries, combined with community support, Habitat for Humanity agreed to try something new and bring Rock the Block to Brillion. Roughly 50 companies, organizations, families and individuals raised nearly $400,000 for the event, including both AriensCo and the Ariens Foundation.
“This event taps into a tremendous amount of energy in Brillion, Wisconsin,” Dan Ariens said. “We’re making a real important mark on what northeast Wisconsin looks like and showing how a small community can raise positive momentum.”
AriensCo also participated in Bazaar After Dark, presented by Pulse Young Professionals Network, a program of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. The event, which welcomes street vendors, food and live entertainment, is designed to bring awareness to lesser-known precincts of the Fox Valley and give them an economic boost through the estimated 10,000 attendees from surrounding areas.
AriensCo played a part in the bazaar by opening the doors to its newly renovated AriensCo Museum for event goers. The museum takes attendees on a trip through Brillion’s history to showcase the importance of American manufacturing in the region from the time Henry Ariens, AriensCo founder, started inventing. The highlight in the museum was its life-size snow globe. For a suggested donation of $5, families could enter the snow globe and take pictures so AriensCo could give the proceeds back to the Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity.
“Bazaar After Dark gave us a wonderful opportunity to share the redesign progress of the AriensCo Museum with people from Brillion and other communities in the region,” Ariens said. “We were front and center to nearly 10,000 people, many of whom took their kids into our life-sized snow globe in the museum and stopped by our tent on the street to learn about career opportunities at AriensCo.”
Hot on the heels of the company’s work with Rock the Block and Bazaar After Dark, Ariens announced the development of a new business district on the old Brillion Iron Works property. Brillion Iron Works was a large foundry that closed in 2016, discouraging the economy and the morale in the community.
The new district, Brillion Works, LLC., will redevelop more than 100 acres of land in Brillion. Its direct access to Highway 10 and central proximity to the supply of strong work ethic in the nearby cities of Appleton, Green Bay and Manitowoc is an attractive sell to both new and existing businesses looking for solutions to match their growth.
“We’re kicking off the new Brillion Works, LLC.,” Ariens said. “We’ve got a lot of work in front of us to build these 19 buildings on the 142 acres of land we’ve acquired, but together with other efforts to address the community’s needs with housing and events like Rock the Block, we’re headed in the right direction.”
The community’s combined efforts from Rock the Block and the Bazaar After Dark, coupled with the announcement of a new business park, are giving Brillion a bright outlook for the years ahead.