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Customer Spotlight

The New Face of Celebration

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The reception space at Denizen MKE.

Amber Bricco and her wife, Rachael Flood, were walking their dog in their Martin Drive neighborhood when a vacant building on Vliet Street called to them. “We said, ‘What if we just see if the building is up for sale?’,” Amber said. They tracked down the building’s owner and met with him at Valentine Coffee, another Vliet Street small business. He was open to selling. More than a year later, with the help of MEDC and the SBDC, the couple purchased the building and had plans for what would become the wedding and events space Denizen MKE


Through a year of hard work, the blighted building was transformed into a beautiful, thoughtfully designed reception space, restroom suites and a bar. Denizen MKE’s loan not only covered the building, but the equipment for hospitality, such as ice machines, sinks, a dishwasher, beverage coolers, chairs and tables. An outdoor space takes advantage of nice weather, and the location directly across from Washington Park adds a hint of nature in the urban setting. An experienced staff, all of whom the owners have worked with in the past, offer bartending and other support services for events.

“Our motto is ‘Entertain something different’.” 

The Denizen MKE business philosophy that embraces diversity and inclusivity extends beyond its walls. Amber and Rachael look for ways to use Denizen MKE and their experience to make connections in the community. In March, they held a Let’s Talk Women event, highlighting 20 women-owned food businesses and featuring drag queens. In April, Denizen MKE started hosting music nights Wednesdays, including food trucks and kids’ programs, running until Washington Park Wednesday concerts start in July. Amber hopes events like these will help other business owners and the neighborhood grow. The business is contributing a portion of their sales and working with West Vliet Street Inc., a group of Vliet Street businesses, to find solutions to traffic issues on Vliet Street and to beautify the area with weed clean up, flowers and trash and recycling bins.  


“I love working with a client for a year. I love hearing what’s important to them and their story,” Amber, who has been planning events since her late teens, said. “Everybody is happy. There’s not often a reason to get upset when everybody is celebrating together.” The intentional planning and values-driven business philosophy have paid off. Since opening February 2, Amber said the ongoing joke with staff is that the biggest problem they have had is figuring out how to open a paper towel dispenser.

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The Denizen MKE staff (left to right) Angela Figueroa, Mackenzie Briskie, Michael Anderson, Rachael Flood, Amber Bricco, Kaylie Adamowicz, Jae Evangelista. (Photo credit: Roost Photography)

Denizen MKE is located at 4227 W Vliet Street in Milwaukee. Find out more about the venue and their services. 

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