Looking to explore Wisconsin and support women-founded attractions and travel spots? From luxury retreats to craft beer, food tours and cheesemaking, here are eight women-led businesses to check out on your next Wisconsin adventure.
Wild Wellness: Wild Rice Retreat
Heidi Zimmer started with a dream — to create a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat on the scenic shores of Lake Superior. In May 2021, that dream will become a reality, when Wild Rice Retreat welcomes its first guests. Located just outside of Bayfield, Wisconsin, the gateway to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wild Rice is the Midwest’s first all-inclusive wellness retreat. Rooted in the idea of exploring and supporting expression in nature, Wild Rice Retreat offers a home for healing guided, personal and group retreats, meeting space, and events following the pillars of nourishment, expression and movement.
Creative Collaboration: The Bronzeville Collective
The voices of Milwaukee’s Black, Brown and Queer creatives had few outlets in which to share their work — until the Bronzeville Collective came along. Launched by Lilo Allen, Tiffany Miller, Tomira White and Jasmine Barmore, this collaborative storefront offers everything from homemade candles and soaps, to jewelry and handmade art.
Located in the Historic Bronzeville Arts and Culture District, almost everything in this vibrant space is either handcrafted or designed by Black and Brown Creatives.
But, First, Cheese: Marieke Gouda
Born and raised in the Netherlands on a 60-cow dairy farm, Marieke Penterman has cheesemaking in her DNA. So it makes sense that she’d make it to Wisconsin sooner or later. Marieke is the founder of Marieke Gouda in Thorp, WI, where she creates authentic Dutch Gouda Cheese. She’s a true pioneer; while there are 1,200 licensed cheese makers in Wisconsin, only 60 of them are women.
Spotted Cow Calling: New Glarus Brewing Co.
Deborah Carey and her husband Daniel co-founded New Glarus Brewing Co. in 1993, kicking off a beloved (and fiercely independent) craft beer kingdom that continues to this day. As Founder and President of one of the most successful Wisconsin breweries, she really does it all — except brew the beer, that is. Find their flagship beer, “Spotted Cow,” served at most bars and restaurants as well as widely available for purchase — only in Wisconsin. While traveling to New Glarus — Wisconsin's “Little Switzerland" — get a fresh look at this expansive brewery.
Follow the Food Guru: Milwaukee Food Tours
Food was a passion for Theresa Nemetz — but she never thought it would turn into a career. During a trip to NYC, destiny called when she and her husband took a food tour. Afterwards, she realized that their hometown of Milwaukee had more than enough of a diverse culinary scene to do something similar. And so, Milwaukee Food Tours was born.
Today, Theresa and her team showcase the city’s rich Italian, German, Irish and Polish immigrant history, sharing their unique stories and flavors.
Farm to Fork: Pasture and Plenty
For Christy McKenzie, food and community are inextricably linked. And it’s that belief that led her to create Pasture and Plenty, a combination restaurant, test kitchen, market and home delivery service that provides ready-to-eat meals and meal kits.
Working closely with more than 30 local farms, ranchers and bakers, the Madison-based outfit has been a key connector between producers and consumers.
Must Love Kringle: Kringle Cream
Kringle Cream is a Puerto Rican rum-based liqueur produced with Wisconsin cream and blended to taste like kringle, the Danish sweet designated in 2013 as Wisconsin’s official state pastry. When the Kringle Cream brand was threatened with bankruptcy a few years back, Margaret Ebeling who is the founder of Madison-based business had her company, Nordic Distillers, step up to save it.