West Side Stories

A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.

Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.

Checkout Charity, Parking Protection and the Write Stuff

Tosa Business, Restaurants, Community

A few years ago, we had lots of solicitors at our front door – religious groups, kids selling candy, grown men looking for donations, people with petitions. Not a week went by when someone didn’t ring our doorbell for a cause. I wasn’t a fan of these unannounced visitors. My solution was a “no soliciting” sticker that I found at Puhl’s Hardware Store. I put it on my front door and we’ve been blissfully “solicitation-free” for quite a while.

This holiday season, I’ve noticed a trend toward retail charity. It’s hard to find a store where you won’t be asked whether or not you want to make a donation. Thus far, I’ve been asked to contribute to the MACC Fund, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the USO, and several others.

Although I applaud the stores for selecting a charity and making a donation, I’m not thrilled about being solicited every time I shop. I sometimes shop at our local grocery stores several times a week. After a while, I honestly start to think about finding a different store to avoid the sales pitch. If I’ve already donated earlier in the week, saying that still makes me feel less than charitable. I’m all for supporting those in need, but I prefer to do it in private, without a line of people watching me. I feel enough pressure passing by the Salvation Army bell ringer and not feeling guilty even though I may have donated to a red bucket at a different store. I guess I wonder, can’t the stores just donate and make a big deal out of it and not put us on the spot? Or am I looking at this the wrong way?


In case you haven’t noticed, Tosa’s Village is hopping. We have lots of restaurant and retail choices. With this success, however, comes a nagging and somewhat divisive issue – parking. Three businesses, The Chancery, Robertson’s True Value and One-Way Cafe, have made their parking lots exclusive. The Chancery has a small “guard shack” with someone patrolling the lot to make sure that only Chancery customers park there. (Honestly, I have no clue how they do this.) Robertson’s and One-Way Café have a posted sign in front of their lot.

In the interest of full-disclosure, in the past, I’ve been guilty of parking in both of these lots when visiting other businesses. (Although I have also patronized both of these businesses as well.) I guess that many others have done the same which is why they felt the need to guard their parking lots. I completely understand why these businesses want to protect their investments and make sure THEIR customers have somewhere to park. On the other hand, I think ALL businesses benefit from each other’s success. A vibrant village is a happy village. What do YOU think? Are you stealing parking spaces from other businesses?


As anyone can tell you, good communication skills are vital to success in school and in the business world. Writing skills are especially difficult to develop. Megan Ripple, an English teacher at DSHA High School has recently opened The Writing Center LLC in Wauwatosa to help students and professionals. Whether you have a student that wants to improve their writing in school, a high school senior working on college essays or you’re a business professional that wants to polish your written communication, Megan can help you. I can vouch for the fact that Megan is an EXCELLENT teacher. She is young and enthusiastic and was very inspiring to my own daughter. For further information, visit her website: www.writingcenterofwi.com

Wishing everyone in Tosa a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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