Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport unveiled its new Bronzeville Crossing retail store during a ribbon cutting ceremony with a host of local dignitaries on Tuesday morning.
Located on Concourse C, the shop features maps and graphics highlighting the Bronzeville neighborhood and its history. The airport is working with vendor Paradies Lagardiere to add locally made items from the neighborhood to the shop in the future.
According to a press release from the airport, "Bronzeville Crossing highlights the collaboration between MKE and retail partner Paradies Lagardère to source local products from Milwaukee County neighborhoods and make them available to travelers. This partnership also highlights Milwaukee County’s vision to achieve racial equity by supporting local businesses owned by people of color."
At the moment the shop, which replaces a previous convenience store, sells snacks, beverages, reading materials and some Milwaukee souvenirs.
"We couldn’t be more thrilled that Bronzeville Crossing is our latest retail shop to open as part of this major refresh," said Airport Director Brian Dranzik. "Bronzeville Crossing is more than just a retail location; it’s a place where travelers can come together in the spirit of the neighborhood.
"The maps, graphics and music in the new store take travelers on a journey inside the heart of Bronzeville while providing a top-notch shopping experience for passengers."
Present at the kickoff were Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson, Milwaukee County Supervisors Willie Johnson, Jr., Felesia A. Martin and Jason Haas, Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs and Dranzik.
"I appreciate them highlighting the Bronzeville neighborhood and allowing local vendors to benefit from it," said Coggs, whose 6th Aldermanic District includes Bronzeville.
"I also believe the store provides a great way for travelers to get a little experience of Bronzeville."
The shop will be open from 5 a.m. until the final departure from the concourse each day.
"I’m really impressed by the changes they made to the retail in the concourse of the airport," said Haas.
"There’s going to be a Garden District restaurant there soon, for instance. They have a shop called Bay View Exchange. Super local tie-ins."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.