Shape Up Shoppe

2697 S. KK Ave. Milw. WI 53207 
414.481.2108

THE SHAPE UP SHOPPE BAY VIEW HISTORY - Interview

Dennis and Julie Newman love the Bay View area and have supported it through thick and thin for 35 years.  Dennis's family has been here since the early 1900's [seriously] and he convinced Tosa Julie, an urban girl at heart and his friend at the time, to consider making Bay View home to her business in 1981. Yes; now Bay View is trendy and the hipsters love it; but in the day it wasn't considered the ideal neighborhood. Students graffiti-ed the store front daily and the Newman's waited in their car drinking coffee until the high school bell rang and then painted over it...daily. They tried to get the alderman to move the bus stop closer to the school [and are still trying with no help] after students rocked a Tosa member's car with the mom and small children it in bringing her kids to the shoppe daycare.  Cars have been stolen, and crime was common.  But a member had a great idea; if you can't beat them join them! Put chalk out and paint a chalk board on the store front! It worked and the chalk board is still there to remember the old days. Dennis Newman became the percussion leader and Drum Line Director for BVHS for many years and took them to 1st Place in competition and built a wonderful relationship with the students. The Newman's helped to build Bay View by convincing three other female owned businesses to move to Bay View and six families to move to Bay View. They had three Shape Up Shoppe Tosa locations but consolidated to Bay View. They urged many Tosa, Brookfield, Oconomowoc, Whitefish Bay and Shorewood residents to give Bay View a try and many are still members! Julie Newman was trainer to the Milwaukee Admirals, Brewers Dance Team and many other teams and put Bay View on the map! After hearing the comment that her business was located over the "bridge to no where" she campaigned and did the warm up for over 200 runs and got the word out that great businesses are in Bay View. The Newman's purchase gift certificates from any new business in Bay View and send their members to support neighboring businesses DAILY! 

Volunteerism is essential to the Newman's and little know fact, were honored with  "Volunteers of the Year Award" two consecutive years. They prefer not to get into details. After having homeless people sleep in their business doorway that became one area of hands on involvement which included their kids. Their children were also "volunteered" by their parents to sing for para vets, senior centers [not the plush locations] join inner city choirs, and share the company of urban groups so that they could enjoy all types of people and live equality...trying to not shelter them to Bay View. Church and community volunteerism is ongoing and there are hundreds of diverse examples that remain private. They are involved with eleven urban schools or groups. The Newman's will not say "no" to anyone.

Family is everything! The shoppe currently hosts many mother-daughter teams. The kids tumbling classes of the past have even been taught by older siblings. Children of members have their birthday parties at the shoppe. Children of members are in parades with the shoppe. The Newman's children have had members for babysitters and they have babysat for members. And yes, the Newman children "volunteered" to clean the shoppe for years! Bay View students are not vital adults and shoppe members. Julie's mom was involved for many, many years and is greatly missed by all. Just this year the shoppe hosted a tear-jerking Mother/Daughter Valentine class. When the shoppe does a team menu, spouses often join in the menu and do the cooking and get involved and support their significant other. Family is everything. 

I am a daughter of a member that decided to write this article for credit for my journalism class after hearing it was the Shape Up Shoppe's 35th anniversary. I came there as an infant in the day care and it will be with great pleasure and honor to join the Shape Up Shoppe upon graduation.  

 nameless by request