New look signals new life for former car dealership building

THE FORMER Ernie von Schledorn car dealership on South Spring Street in Port Washington ihas been given a facelift and a new sign declaring the buidling the new home of Hollander Chocolate. The shadow of the former sign could be seen on the building last year when Hollander owner Doug Podzilni (inset photo) showed off his company’s products while announcing the move. Photos by Sam Arendt

Ozaukee Press staff

If you travel along South Spring Street in Port Washington, you’ve likely noticed a big change in recent weeks.

The former car dealership at 1180 S. Spring St. has gotten a facelift.

Gone is the former grey-blue facade and the faded dealership name that was emblazoned on it. It’s been painted chocolate brown with a new, backlit sign spelling out the name of the new owner, Hollander Chocolate.

“We want to make the outside of the building look as pleasing to the eye as we can,” Hollander owner Doug Podzilni said. “This is the face of our company.”

Hollander Chocolate, which produces high-quality chocolate syrups and powders, primarily for the cafe and restaurant industry, announced plans last year to convert the former car dealership into its headquarters — including its offices, innovation lab, distribution center, coffee shop, gift shop, chocolate museum and an interactive innovation lab.

The work is being done in three phases, and Podzilni said that they are on schedule.

He said the company had hoped to do work on two new loading docks on the south side of the building, but needed to redesign the area due to some engineering challenges.

Within the next 90 days, the company will remove some of the light poles in the middle of the parking lot and erect three flagpoles on the southeast side of the lot, he said.

That needs to be done before the company seal-coats the parking lot and does landscaping work in spring.

But improvements to the exterior of the building are only the start. Inside the building, Podzilni said, 10,000 square feet of the new logistics area have been completed and the office area is being gutted.

“We’re peeling away the layers to see what exactly we can do,” he said, noting the work will reveal the location of the heating and ventilating runs, information on which walls can and can’t be easily removed and other things that will help them when designing the facility.

“We’re hoping to have the ingredient and finished good storage area complete in the next 90 to 120 days,” Podzilni said.

Then, the company can begin transfer storage of key ingredients and finished goods from its Germantown facility to Port, he said, noting Hollander has received its food-handling license from the state.

By fall, he said, he hopes to begin moving personnel into the new  offices, with the public spaces being open by the end of next year.

“We’re on track,” Podzilni said. “We’re making good progress. We have people working in there every day.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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