MILWAUKEE — After a second day of record cold and a week of staying indoors, residents are fed up with cabin fever. Many businesses remained closed Thursday, but in Sherman Park, one place knew it had to open.
The Sherman Phoenix was forced to close Wednesday due to the record cold. However, with temperatures expected to warm up Thursday, they opened a little later to give residents a place to visit.
"All week long, people have been inside dealing with cabin fever," said Trueman McGee, head roll master at Funky Fresh Spring Rolls. "We wanted to get our customers back out and just get back moving into the groove of things once this weather breaks today."
"We're opening our doors for the community to come out of the cold," said Adija Smith, owner of Confectionately Yours Bakery. "So many people have cabin fever. We did some brainstorming yesterday to see what we could do to help encourage and promote exercising of the minds of the young people. We decided to brave the cold, come out and prepare the building so people can come in today."
Smith's bakery is one of several businesses inside the new Sherman Phoenix. After the violence and unrest of 2016, the Sherman Phoenix rose from the ashes to create a more communal space. After the record cold temperatures, it served just that purpose.
"I've been trapped in the house the last two days," Steven Hunter of Milwaukee said. "Figure I'd come out and be around people. It's so cold. I went outside and a snowman was crying."
"I've been in the house all week because I haven't had access to my office," Richard Badger of Milwaukee said. "So I'm working remotely today, and I've been working remotely from the house, so today I'm working remotely from here."
"We wanted to get our customers back out and just get back moving into the groove of things once this weather breaks today." —Trueman McGee, head roll master at Funky Fresh Spring Rolls
"This is a community place," Smith said. "We're there for them. We're going to be open today. We're encouraging people to come out. It's very cold but layer them up, bundle them up. We can find warmth in each other in activities and being in each other's company."
It won't just be a place for adults today, either. Milwaukee Public Schools have been closed all week. So the owners here are encouraging families to bring their kids.
"Just come, bring a book, bring a game and we can improvise," Smith said.
The Sherman Phoenix opened at 11 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. today.