Column by Isaac Showaki
Ten years ago, my life changed for the better when I left the big cities behind and moved my life and business to Wisconsin. I’m proud to call this Midwestern state my home; not just for its scenic beauty and friendly people but also for the opportunities it has offered my family and my business.
THE CHARMS OF WISCONSIN
When I moved to Wisconsin years ago, I settled in Madison, a city that has truly captured my family’s heart. The city and surrounding area offer an abundance of natural beauty, with large parks and pristine lakes that surround it. We love spending time outdoors, whether it’s biking or hiking, and the scenic landscapes provide the perfect setting for these activities.
Beyond the beauty, what truly makes Madison stand out are the people. Wisconsin residents are exceptionally friendly and welcoming, a stark contrast to my experiences in other places. The tight-knit community is not only heartwarming but also reassuring and feels safe, making it a perfect place to raise a family.
Madison has offered us the best of both worlds, combining the conveniences of a big city with the intimacy of a small community. For example, my daily commute is 10 minutes – very different than the hours I spent traveling to work in a larger city. This allows me to enjoy more free time with my family and doing the activities I love. Embracing a healthy work-life balance is something I’ve found easy to do in Wisconsin and I make it a priority for my employees as well.
Adapting to Wisconsin’s winters was a challenge, especially coming from Mexico. However, I was quick to forget the cold when the summer and fall seasons arrived. My kids have developed a love for the winter and the snow, making every season more enjoyable.
A BUSINESS HAVEN
Moving Octopi to Wisconsin was a game-changer. Unlike my previous experiences in a big city where starting a business felt arduous, Wisconsin welcomed me with open arms. The state’s affordable cost of living was a huge bonus, and the support I received was unparalleled.
From the outset, I found that people were eager to help. The process of figuring out the permits I needed and applying for grants to start my business was made remarkably easy, thanks to the assistance from the Department of Revenue and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Wisconsin is the prime location for a manufacturing business. The state offers a highly skilled workforce, especially in manufacturing, and provides valuable incentives for manufacturers. Focus on Energy is a standout program that we’ve benefited from, helping us upgrade our equipment to be more environmentally friendly. This support has allowed us to identify and acquire the right equipment for our facility, ultimately making us more efficient.
Wisconsin has also proven to be an excellent location for Octopi as a beverage manufacturer. The state’s low beer tax, combined with the presence of top-notch manufacturers for canning lines, packaging lines, and processing equipment, has made it an ideal hub for our operations. The wealth of knowledge and expertise in the beer and beverage industry here has been another valuable asset.
Wisconsin is more than just a place I call home; it’s where I’ve marked significant milestones in my life. It’s where I moved as a newlywed, bought my first house, welcomed my first child, and embarked on my entrepreneurial journey. Wisconsin will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s the backdrop to these cherished memories and experiences. It’s where I plan to spend the rest of my life.