Please introduce yourself:
Hi! My name is Kristina Campbell and I am the owner of The Branch at 1501 in Uptown Racine.
I was born in Kenosha and then moved to Milwaukee for college to be an art teacher. During student teaching, I decided to switch majors and finished my degree in interior design. I worked in Milwaukee for about 13 years as a interior designer and then began working in event design. I love design and love that I am able to incorporate art into my job as well.
My husband, Jim Campbell, and I have four children, a 15 year old, 6 year old and twin 3 and a half year olds. Our lives are quite busy! There is never a dull moment at our house. Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with a severe cognitive and speech delay at 2 years old. You may have met her this summer if you have stopped into the cafe. She has taught me so much over the years; patience and determination and to never give up, just to name a few. Our 6 year old son is going to be one of the nicest people you will ever meet, I can just tell already. The twins are complete opposites despite being twins, as their personalities are developing. They have us laughing all the time at the way they express themselves and the things they say.
How did your life’s journey bring you to Racine?
My husband’s job was in Illinois and my job was in Milwaukee, so in 2008 we moved to Kenosha so the commute was the same for the both of us. After a while we both realized the travel was too much. I began doing more event design and growing a business. I began looking for a space to host events in both Kenosha and Racine. I had looked through many different buildings in search of something that would be unique and unlike a typical venue. When my realtor took me to the old bank building and I walked in and saw the vault, I immediately knew I had walked into the perfect space.
What do you like best about Racine?
My favorite, favorite thing of all about Racine is the community. I have met so many amazing people in the last year doing wonderful things. We have hosted many fundraisers for truly deserving causes, art events and gallery nights and the support for the arts in Racine is still growing! I also love the potential that Uptown has to flourish as an art community. The initiative has begun with the first installation of a mural by Nicole Zoe Miller. If you have seen the red bird on the curve on Washington, that’s us! We cannot wait to uplift our community’s architecture with more vibrant art in Uptown.
Please give some examples of how your work has made a positive impact on the community:
My hope is that every day I am able to do something to have a positive impact on someone’s life, even if it’s small things. Creating an environment that gives local artists a place to display their work, musicians to perform, local students to have open mic night. We have an art club at The Branch that provides youth in the area an activity and a great space to create in. The group has done many art projects and plan to do more. On a larger scale, I hope that The Branch becomes a positive impact in this community creating a warm, welcoming place for people to meet, have work conferences, corporate events, weddings, etc,. but also becomes the place to go for community events. The building lends itself to so many different types of gatherings.
I am also the chair of the revitalization wave team with Visioning a Greater Racine. We are working hard on many projects and adding beautification to Uptown! We successfully raised money to purchase 24 new flower pots along the street. We also held a fundraiser at The Branch for an art mural on a building on Washington Avenue, which is in the process of being painted now! There are vacant/abandoned buildings in Uptown that will be getting a facelift by the beginning of September. Our team is working with a local photographer to create art to hang in some of the vacant buildings.
What’s the least understood aspect about what you do?
The least understood aspect of running a business is the challenges of the day-to-day operations. There are so many behind-the-scene details that need to be perfect in order for customers to have a great experience.
What would you like to accomplish during the next year?
There are so many personal business goals that I have for the next year. My main goal is to work on my marketing. It is something I always seem to set aside because of all the other aspects of the business that take priority. Keeping up with social media is a job in itself!
My goals for my business, extend beyond my building. I would love to see all of Uptown become the heart of Racine that it once was. With some help from local groups such as What’s Up Racine, Visioning a Great Racine, Racine Revitalization Partnership and so many others that are helping out, we are making huge strides forward. New businesses are moving in and we are working on getting more.
Uptown Festival is coming up on Oct. 6 with live music, artisan vendors and food vendors.
What’s the best way to contact you?
or (262) 751-1775