Want to support local businesses during this long, long, winter? A new campaign from Milwaukee Downtown BID #21, dubbed “MKE It Local,” is making that a little easier—and tossing in a bunch of free gift cards, too.

The MKE It Local campaign is encouraging Milwaukeeans “to escape from their caves, celebrate safely, and continue to support local restaurants and retailers.” Head over to the spiffy MKE It Local website and you’ll find oodles of information (and videos) on various restaurants, bars, and shops located in neighborhoods and districts in and around Downtown Milwaukee.

“We recognize that the pandemic has deeply affected the majority of our local businesses,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, in a press release. “This is what prompted myself and fellow BID leaders to seek out ways in which we could lend our support. Aside from catalyzing economic development initiatives, business improvement districts foster community. Now is the time for us to rally around the businesses that make our neighborhoods vibrant and distinct.”

And just to make things sweeter, $10,000 in gift cards will be given away via a WISN 12 Facebook contest from December 21-30. Each week, 50 winners will walk away with $100 gift cards from local Milwaukee businesses. Fun!

Here’s the press release:


Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 and near Downtown neighborhoods launch “MKE It Local” campaign to support locally-owned businesses
$10,000 in gift cards to be awarded by yearend to 100 persons

MILWAUKEE (Dec. 21, 2020) – Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 is spearheading a “MKE It Local” campaign to call attention to restaurants, bars and shops in the central business district and more than 10 surrounding neighborhoods. Featuring two bears opting out of hibernation to join in the city’s frosty fun this winter, the campaign’s graphics encourage Milwaukeeans to escape from their caves, celebrate safely and continue to support local restaurants and retailers.

Near downtown neighborhoods participating in the campaign include Brady Street, The Brewery District, Downer Avenue, Downtown Milwaukee’s East Town, Downtown Milwaukee’s Westown, East Side, Harbor District, Historic Third Ward and Milwaukee Public Market, King Drive, Menomonee River Valley, Near West Side Partners and Walker’s Point. Directories of bars, restaurants and retailers within these neighborhoods can be found at www.MKEitlocal.com. Information regarding on-site dining, outdoor dining, carryout, curbside pick-up and delivery options for the businesses are included. Video vignettes spotlighting amenities of each neighborhood also give visitors a flavor for each district.

“We recognize that the pandemic has deeply affected the majority of our local businesses,” said Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21. “This is what prompted myself and fellow BID leaders to seek out ways in which we could lend our support. Aside from catalyzing economic development initiatives, business improvement districts foster community. Now is the time for us to rally around the businesses that make our neighborhoods vibrant and distinct.”

As part of the MKE It Local campaign, $10,000 in gift cards from local bars, restaurants and retailers will be given away via a Facebook contest hosted by WISN 12 between Dec. 21 and Dec. 30, 2020 to spur dialogue around the city’s many gems. Each week during the contest, 50 winners will be randomly selected to receive a $100 gift card from a local business in Milwaukee.

For more information on the MKE it Local campaign and how to support Milwaukee’s locally-owned businesses, visit www.MKEitLocal.com.

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.