Brew City Boxes suggests you think outside the box. The cardboard box, that is.
The local business was started in 2012 by Bay View’s Chris Gross and rents reusable boxes for local moves so people don’t have to find their own boxes during an already-stressful time.
The process is pretty simple. Boxes can be ordered online or over the phone and then business owner Chris Gross drops off the large, plastic, stackable boxes and picks them back up post-move.
"We provide plastic boxes as well as reusable wardrobes and dollies for moving," says Gross. "The area I cover is flexible (in metro Milwaukee). I am working to be able to cover the Madison area, as well."
The cost varies depending on how many boxes are ordered and how long customers want to keep them. To get an idea, for 35 boxes, it costs $100 for a 14 day-day rental. (It’s $20 for each additional seven days.) Seventy boxes cost $175; 15 cost $55.
Brew City Boxes will help determine how many boxes a person or family needs and can provide a quote if requested.
"Plastic boxes are not a direct comparison to cardboard. While cardboard may be a little less expensive, they really do not compare," says Gross.
Brew City Boxes was originally in the Bucketworks space, 705 S. 6th St., but now that the collective relocated to The Shops Of Grand Avenue, Gross says he is shopping for new space even though he is currently still a Bucketworks’ member.
Gross owns the business with his wife, Johanna.
"I manage all the day-to-day operations and Johanna helps out with street fairs and anytime I need an opinion on something I am doing," he says.
During his "previous life," Gross did regulatory compliance for an airline and traveled four or five days a week.
"I had to travel four or five days a week which meant quite a bit of time away from my family," he says.
His job required him to spend a lot of time on airplanes, and one day, while reading a Delta magazine, he had a revelation.
"As I was looking through the magazine, I saw a franchise opportunity for Rent A Green Box. I explored this, but at the time they were interested only in California," he says.
Gross researched three other franchises, but after being told it would cost about$250,000 he decided to do it on his own.
"Another reason I wanted to do it on my own was that I am a big supporter of local businesses, and I could not be a member of a group like Local First Milwaukee if I were a franchisee," says Gross.
In July of 2012 he quit his job and started pursuing Brew City Boxes full time. It has, so far, been a fulfilling experience.
In the future, Gross hopes to expand his territory and offer green packing materials for customers.
"Currently, I recommend customers use things they already have such as towels and newspaper for the move, but not everyone is willing to do this," he says. "My goal is to reduce the amount of waste when moving, so I may look at collecting the used materials to provide to others for free."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.