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A new business joins Manitowoc's downtown revitalization; a look at 'On The Surface' and the city's growth

Posted at 5:46 PM, Dec 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-21 18:46:45-05
  • Manitowoc's growing downtown continues to see businesses added. The City's community development department estimates that one area of downtown is home to 200 businesses and 2,330 jobs.
  • On The Surface is a retail goods and tile store on Manitowoc's 8th Street. Owners Jeff and Meagan Stegemann say they are very excited to be a part of the downtown's growth. Meagan left her career as a teacher to take part in the venture.
  • Abbey Quistorf, Manitowoc County's Chamber of Commerce director, says that a vibrant downtown is very important to a city. She believes these new businesses can draw people downtown and grow the area.

In the past decade, Manitowoc has revitalized its downtown. That revitalization is not only attractive to tourists and visitors, but businesses are now drawn to downtown Manitowoc.
Jeff and Meagan Stegemann are the owners of On The Surface, a retail store on Manitowoc’s 8th Street.

"We've been watching it grow for years,” Meagan said of downtown.

The Stegemanns opened their shop in September. This was a tough choice for Meagan, who had a career as a teacher.

"Leaving my career of 24 years, it was a big leap,” she said.

But the draw to downtown was great for the Stegemanns and their business venture.

"We love the downtown, we love what the city has done with the downtown,” Meagan said. “We think the other businesses that have invested in the downtown are amazing as well, so we wanted to be a part of that."

A downtown that is continuing to grow.

According to estimates from the City's community development department, the area of downtown is now home to about 200 different business and a whopping 2,330 jobs.

Chamber of Manitowoc County Director Abbey Quistorf talked about what it means to draw new businesses to the area.

"It's always important,” Quistorf said. “New businesses bring new vitality and new ideas, different perspectives to our area."

She says a vibrant community center is what every downtown strives to have.

"It's going to draw not only businesses, but it's going to draw people to want to live downtown, do their shopping downtown,” said Quistorf.

A quality that the Stegemanns have begun to see in Manitowoc.

"It's nice to see people walking around, enjoying downtown with a variety of businesses and see life down here again,” Jeff said.

Progress Lakeshore is a company that advises startups and entrepreneurs. They said that they have helped 92 different people with business ideas in Manitowoc County in 2023 alone throughout the county.