Your Biggest Vision Ep. 71- Juli Kaufmann and Maanaan Sabir, Partners in the Sherman Phoenix Project

I had the privilege of sitting down in person with Juli and Maanaan, two founders and key leaders in Milwaukee’s Sherman Phoenix project.

 

The Sherman Phoenix is an incredible initiative in one of the most segregated neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Sherman Park. It started after the tragic fatal shooting of Sylville Smith. Out of outrage and tragedy, the community came together to rise out of the ashes and create the Sherman Phoenix- an entrepreneurial hub in the heart of the neighborhood that empowers local business owners.

 

Tune into this episode to hear:

 

  • How the Sherman Phoenix has transformed one of the historically most difficult neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and what it means to the community
  • The challenges of taking on such a rapidly growing project (who else can relate to that?!)
  • What other cities going through racial segregation can adapt from this incredible initiative 
Hear Juli Kaufmann and Maanaan Sabir, Partners in the Sherman Phoenix Project, talk about the transformation of neighborhoods in Milwaukee!
Podcast Episode  

Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais: Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I’m your host Leah and I’m the founder of Urban 20 Something. But today I am in a different urban environment. I am in the neighborhood of Sherman park in Milwaukee and I am here with two leaders and entrepreneurs that are part of the Sherman Phoenix initiative. And we have a very exciting show for you today. So I’m going to have them introduce themselves and then we’re going to dive into what the entrepreneurial community in this part of Milwaukee looks like. 

 

Maanaan Sabir: I am Maanaan Sabir and I represent the Sherman Phoenix and also Cindy coffee. 

 

Juli Kaufmann: And my name is Juli Kaufman and my company is called Fixed Development and I am one of the code developers of the Sherman Phoenix in Milwaukee. 

 

Leah Gervais: Thank you guys so much both for sharing this with us. So are you both from Milwaukee? You are? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Yes

 

Leah Gervais: And you are? Okay. So what does this, I guess project mean to you as part of the town that you’re from in the city that you’re from and how has it changed the city that you grew up in? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Well then, first part of that question, that’s a broad, it’s a broad, broad question. Um, you said, how has this project changed us as a community? 

 

Leah Gervais: Yes your community.

 

Maanaan Sabir: Well, first of all, I think the tapestry of the community has greatly changed in the sense that people start, are starting to see the collaboration of many different sectors of people from outside of the community come together, uh, within this building in little ways outside of the building, uh, around, uh, education, urban, urban investment, re-investment. And then also the call to action for people who have come, who have left the community, this community as a kind of natives. And those people are starting to come back. And so that’s the, that’s the greatest part. And, um, and that was a challenge in the past because all of the manufacturers had left. So American motors, you had AL Smith, you had, uh, very, very large manufacturers leave this community and the people who work in those factories, uh, especially the AL Smith’s, uh, left. I mean, um, I always tell the story that I had two relatives that, um, ultimately retired from, uh, from AL Smith. 

 

But they retired in a different way. Uh, they, they committed a suicide because of the fact that, uh, the company left so abruptly and they were laying people off and almost in mass. And so it’s really hard to see that go- to see your family go that process. But then, um, but it’s easy to see the reinvestment of, uh, of moral, uh, aptitude from the standpoint of, um, businesses, business owners really wanting to, uh, bring their business back into this community. And so, and wanting to stay and then hire people in this community. I like that. So that’s real true love and change. Exactly. And we, so we have 29, ultimately 29 business owners, uh, who are in love with this community that I don’t think they came to this… I don’t think they came into this building without knowing someone in this community. And some of- a lot of the people knew me. A lot of people knew Juli and now that people knew Joanne. So ultimately, you know, it will, I think it was just, uh, their, their roots and people wanting to just, you know, not go downtown. They wanted to come right here in the Sherman park area where something actually meant something. Yeah. 

 

Leah Gervais: Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us. And please accept my condolences for your family members. I can’t imagine the trauma that you went through and I just want to make sure you obviously can tell the story better than I can, but just so everyone listening is clear that we are in one building where there’s 29 businesses in a neighborhood that was historically experiencing businesses fleeing from it. And that’s just an amazing transformation. And the Phoenix comes from the representation of this being a building that underwent a fire and the burning from the ashes. And would you like to share a little bit about the shooting that sparked this initiative? 

 

Juli Kaufmann: Sure. Um, the Genesis of the project is really, um, uh, in 2016, there was really something boiling across our country around the dynamics between the police policing and communities in the African American community in Milwaukee was no different in many ways. It’s a microcosm and more intense. Um, we are regrettably known for our historic segregation and racial inequity as a community. And, um, unlike many, like many other cities across the country, we had a police involved shooting of a black man right here in Sherman park. And you know, the, the frustration that Manen referenced around economic disinvestment over time and many other reasons, you know, all of that boiled up at that point in time and a number of buildings were burned in the aftermath of that shooting with the frustration people felt around how, um, how all of this had manifest over the years. And the building were in the Sherman Phoenix was a bank. 

 

It had historically been built as a bank in the 1920s, and it had been in banking through its entire history, um, until the burning, it was burned, uh, as a response to that frustration. And so Joanne, whom went on reference, Joanne Severe, she is my partner. We were working together at the time and what we’d like to say is we use and real estate as tools for social change and we called essentially called to bring the work we do around the city to this particular neighborhood. And we started by having listening sessions, listening to neighbors and saying, what can we take from this bitter experience and make it positive. I am a product of white suburbia and I have lived in this community for many years and been frustrated with the lack of change I see and wanting to be the change myself. And this presented me with a personal opportunity to recognize my privilege and to use that provision in a way that might finally change the trajectory. 

 

And so we came together and listen to the community and what they want is what everybody wants on their main street. They want ice cream and they want pizza and they want yoga and they want help and they want happiness and they want a table to talk to their neighbors. The amount places in Milwaukee, frankly, where we all come together, where we’re not so segregated anymore. And so what has manifest from that vision is what you see today, the what [inaudible] described, which is these amazing entrepreneurs all starting these incredible businesses, Britain making available right here in Sherman park. And while it does certainly draw from the neighborhood, it draws from throughout the community and beyond because there’s a hunger for these kinds of spaces for entrepreneurship and for consumers to come and join the conversation. But there are so few opportunities. So we’re really excited to have that be a change in what Milwaukee looks like now. 

 

Leah Gervais: Amazing. And so on these 29 businesses, you get the sense that there is a mix of seasoned entrepreneurs and brand new entrepreneurs. And it sounds like one of the core principles that you all had as you develop this was entrepreneurship, mentorship and making sure that you’re set up for success, basically. Can you tell me a little more about how you, how you are supporting entrepreneurs and how you even, you know, that’s, that’s resource intensive. It’s not easy to find. So help like that. So how have you done it? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Well, um, the majority of the relationships that we have harvested over the amount of years that, you know, Julia has been doing development. Um, I’ve been in the community, uh, doing health and wellness and then my wife also in the nonprofit world. I think that a combination has come together in a perfect blend in order to help, uh, back the entrepreneurship stronghold here at the Sherman Phoenix in the sense that, um, you do definitely have a, a lot of people who are, um, new newbies in entrepreneurship and some people will work and some people won’t. It’s not perfect, but I do know that, um, when you do have that, that nice mixture, everybody kinda mentors each other. And that’s the, that’s the purpose of the Sherman Phoenix is mentorship. Like, as such as you said, is that, um, I’m a seasoned entrepreneur. I do make a lot of mistakes. I probably make more mistakes than the actual, you know, brand new entrepreneurs in this, in this, um, complex. But what we do know is that when you have a complex such the, uh, sermon Phoenix, everybody, uh, harvests and loves, um, the fact that you’re learning something new every day and that’s what this community is about. This community is about education. Yeah. And, and, um, and the willingness to serve, uh, from the aspect of entrepreneurship. 

 

Juli Kaufmann: You know, one thing I’d add that Maanaan didn’t mentioned was that they had started a small business in a different neighborhood called Lindsey Heights. And as entrepreneurs of color, African American entrepreneurs, I’m bringing health and wellness to a neighbor that typically didn’t see it. They were selling fresh juices in a business called the juice kitchen at a location where folks were very skeptical that people would pay $6 to $8 for that product. Well, they had lines out the door from the minute they opened. And it’s not a, it’s not a surprise to them knowing the community and the work they do and the real pent up demand for that. But what they also found the pent up demand for was entrepreneurship. And so they were being, you know, approached almost daily too, from folks saying, Oh my God, you’re doing this, you’re living this dream. I have this dream. I have this thing. I do help me understand how to do it. So really it was relational, not transactional. I say that a lot. The way the mentorship happens is by, by just really investing in those bilateral relationships, what, what do you have that I can benefit from and how can we work together? This is definitely a community. It’s not competitive. It’s collaborative. Even coming down to how we built this building, you know, Joanne’s background was certain skills and expertise. Mine was certain skills and expertise. I have this sort of real estate, traditional financial background. She has a deep invested connection to the community. We came together and said, how can we learn from each other and build a piece of real estate together rather than trying to do it ourselves where we each had some strengths but collaboratively really made it stronger. So that model is replicated the other way. 

 

It’s replicated in terms of the mentorship you talked about in the capacity and support we give entrepreneurs is by reaching out to pros. So we’re in a coffee shop right now and Shindi coffee and I’m enjoying severe, worked with Colectivo coffee. One of the founders of a very established brand here in Milwaukee came out and said, I would like to make a difference. How can I help? And he provided some mentorship around a new product line. They weren’t familiar with. [Inaudible] pizza here. Sauce and spice, another example. Um, we have a pizza restaurant in new entrepreneur who’s never done this before. Partnered with Giacomo [unable to transcribe], the CEO of Tolarmo’s most pizza, one of the biggest icons of frozen pizza in Milwaukee. So we, the mentorship is found in many different ways.

 

Leah Gervais: Right. And it sounds like the mentorship isn’t just a component of the model here, but it is integrated in the principle of community, which is why you all did this to begin with. So it’s, it’s, it’s right in there with it. What is an unexpected challenge that you’ve had since you’ve done this? If you can pick one, is there something where you were like, no, this has to be out of left field.

 

Juli Kaufman: We did not expect to run a mall number one. So I don’t everything about what that means. Having 29 tenants in one building is chaos at all times.

 

 

Leah Gervais: Sure, sure. So what about now that like what about the potential challenge of you run out of space? Do you have to start turning people away? My just adding stress on you guys?

 

Maanaan Sabir: First of all, think what’s the, once you run out of space, you just keep building, 

 

Leah Gervais: Just keep going higher? It’s a skyscraper.

 

Maanaan Sabir: Exactly,we could tear it down, build it again. But I think, um, one of the challenges of being in this environment is the fact that we are a product of Milwaukee’s red line. And that’s very, very tough because we’re so segregated that people are scared to come into different neighborhoods and certain neighborhoods where, um, the media portrays certain blocks as very, very violent and in this it’s kind of hard because you’re, you’re fighting back and we all know that 4% of, you know, the most violence it happens. Uh, most violence happens from and by 4% of the people on a particular block or a particular neighborhood. And so it doesn’t necessarily mean that, um, that this violent neighborhood, uh, is, is violent. It’s not, it’s not violent at all. And so what we’re, what we’re doing is we’re challenging one the stereotypes and we’ll also challenging the invisible red line that has, uh, destroyed Milwaukee. I mean, literally destroyed. And it’s very unique, um, to see this, these barriers breaking down over this period of time. You know, any given day you will find a, uh, Asian family, you know, talking to a black family here or a Latino family talking to a white family, like these barriers are breaking down so much here in this Sherman Phoenix. It almost seems like an outer world experience, especially when you come in, you leave out. You’re like that was like a family reunion. 

 

But in reality, that’s the way it is supposed to be. But what, what was failed. What failed in the integration of the 60’s is that nobody was prepared. Everybody or a lot of people rebelled. And so now we have this slow integration in certain pockets and, or our neighborhood in Milwaukee, um, where people are starting to figure out who other people are. And that’s the, I think rather than maybe say that’s a challenge. That’s a plus too. That’s a huge plus in Sherman park in Sherman park is, has, is probably one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Milwaukee. So you’ve got a huge Jewish community right up the street. But then you have, uh, you know, like you’ve got a growing long population off of center street over here. And then you have, you know, our white families moving back into the neighborhoods. So you find, you find there’s a [inaudible] nation have a whole lot of people coming back to this neighborhood, seeing that the, there’s no true re-investment, but less, uh, economic reinvestment in more of, you know, a personal investment knowing that, you know, these neighborhoods aren’t that bad. Right, right. They’re just not that bad.

Leah Gervais: The media.

 

Maanaan Sabir: The media it’s the media. Yeah. Right. Cause violence can happen anywhere. Right. Anywhere.

 

Leah Gervais: So how have you marketed the Sherman Phoenix and do you?

 

Maanaan Sabir:I think the majority of it is just word of mouth. A lot of it’s word of mouth. We’ve done a good job with, um, talk with your communication with the communications. Um, we have, we get a lot of uh, media, [inaudible]. As you know, the, the, the, the layout of the building is, it looks as though it’s supposed to be a warehouse, but when you come in you see all this color.

 

Leah Gervais: Right, like icecream.

 

Maanaan Sabir:Yeah, the color of icecream.Then you see [inaudible] and a Buffalo on the side. So, um, the, the, I think one of the media word of mouth and people are just tired of being, you know, cooped up in the same old thing. You know, you want to eventually you want to venture out. 

 

Juli Kaufmann: Yeah. And, and I would just add to respond to a couple of your questions. There is a, there is a challenge in this in terms of marketing. I mean, I think this was a heavy lift. Um, this is a complicated, complex project in general. And then each business itself is a microcosm of that challenge. It’s challenging to run a restaurant. It’s challenging to sell retail. These are things across America where it’s hard. So, it’s no different than it’s hard here. And I would say that marketing is done by each individual business to the extent that they do at well, you know, they’re more successful as a building. We’ve just been like trying to catch our breath to raise enough money to open the doors. You know, we haven’t finished, we didn’t have signs for six months for goodness sake. And I think word of mouth helps, but we also live in our own bubbles and we think everybody has heard of the Sherman Phoenix. 

 

Well, you know, it turns out the vast majority of people have never heard of it. No surprise. So, there’s learning curves there and then there’s lack of funding. You know, it’s like anything else. People need to just keep coming and supporting these businesses. And the more they do that, the more we’ll keep getting the word out. But I think, um, that’s definitely a challenge. We’ve learned about is how do you keep relevant, you know, this also a society where we’re, where we live by Twitter, you know, it’s like a very short attention span and people are like, I love the Phoenix. It’s the greatest thing walkie ever. And it’s like, when have you ever been there? How often are you coming back? It requires some level of commitment and so sustaining that will be something that I think will continue to be a challenge. 

 

Leah Gervais: Sure, sure. And I’m sure that especially in these first few years, it’s just about getting it up, getting it, going, getting it moving and having people understand about it. Do you think, could you ever envision a situation where you come up with a, a blueprint or a framework where another mid-city America could, could do something like this? Is that the dream? 

 

Juli Kaufman: No, cause I need a nap and I prefer to retire. I think it is, um, Maanaan can speak to it from a different sense, but is completely replicable. It’s not rocket science. What it takes certainly is a huge amount of commitment and passion and willpower and investment from individuals willing to lead. And then a bunch of community members willing to support it. But, the fundamental tenants of it around the real estate are co-development. That you bring people who are grounded in experts in community organizing committee development with experts in real estate co-developing with two people at least who know that is a key piece of the secret sauce, community responsiveness. So that’s not rocket science, but it’s like, Hey, don’t just bring a national chain that works for your bottom line developer. Bring businesses that are of buy in for the community that the community wants. They want coffee, they want pizza, they want ice cream. 

 

And then, you know, the final thing is community ownership. And one thing that’s not well known about the Sherman Phoenix is that, um, Maanaan mentioned red lining. Well, these projects don’t get financed. They don’t get financed because of racism. They don’t get finance because they’re way too expensive to rebuild inequality way. They don’t appraise the systems that our traditional financial systems don’t underwrite them in a way that works. So, we had to raise money from our own, if you will. So, this building is predominantly financed by, um, a cohort of almost a hundred individuals, many who are neighborhood residents who invested their own dollars on it. So, when this building churns out rent that pays the bills, it then pays the return back to the neighbors. So, its research relating wealth in a very unique way. And all of those community owners of this building are very vested in the success. So, they are the customers of all these businesses, right? So, all of that really are, that can be replicated in any community and there are tons of disinvested main streets all across the country where those elements exist, where there’s [inaudible], where there’s absentee owners and all of these things can be taken to different communities. 

 

Leah Gervais: Okay. Have you seen any change in the surrounding neighborhoods other than Sherman park because of the Sherman Phoenix has this, yeah. Tell me about it.

 

Maanaan Sabir:I think people, see the Sarma Phoenix as this, this anomaly that they can. Okay. Um, and, and kind of copy in their neighborhoods. And we have a lot of people who are trying to do that. Um, you and we more power to them, definitely want people to continue to grow. Um, if, if it’s this type of model or if it’s another type of model, we definitely want to see people who, something, you know, quite similar to what we’ve done here in this community. So yeah, we’ve seen many different parts of Milwaukee change. Um, not, not too far away from here. There’s a number of places I’ve been bought up by investors that want to do pipe similar things. So yeah, we, we see the, we see the change coming, but what we want to see is less of the change in terms of property and more the change for, with people.

 

How are we turning, how are we returning to people, what type of impact I would make in relationship to the kids that are coming up under the guise of the Milwaukee public school system. The charter school system. In the Montessori school system, all those other things, schools, school systems that are out there as hugely, uh, that are, um, educating our children in our communities. What are we doing to impact those kids? And we get a lot, it was funny because we get a lot of kids coming through, especially during the school year that, um, that want to talk to a lot of the entrepreneurs. And what we’re finding is that, you know, the majority of the kids, you know that the money is money is kind of King, you know, cash is King sometimes. And so, uh, we’re, we’re stressing and especially when they come through to make sure that, you know, they get an education to you and within the education you understand how to manipulate money to make sure that you can make a positive impact in your community. And so those two things and making a strong comeback, especially in our community, as long as we make an impact, uh, in our communities through, you know, strong reinvestment. 

 

Leah Gervais: Wow. That was really inspiring me here. And I’m sure, you know, it feels like you guys have taken on a lot with this. There’s a lot of responsibility with it. There’s a responsibility to the community, to the business owners, to the investors. But it all sounds like it’s working together in a way that not one of them can do individually alone. And that’s a very powerful thing. It’s amazing to see. What’s your big dream for the Sherman Phoenix? What would it be in 10 years? Is it going to be the medics New York time feature from Milwaukee? Like how this all started? 

 

Juli Kaufmann: Well, I mean in 10 years if Milwaukee is a profoundly more integrated and racially equitable city, um, that would be an amazing thing. But I don’t hold any delusions about, you know, that kind of change happened that fast or one project being that impact. But it is powerful to see how we change the hearts and minds of not just the kids in this community who now see entrepreneurs who look like them and they can role model. But, of folks who look like me and work in circles I work in who are changing their hearts and minds around what their responsibility is, what their white privilege manifest as, and what their behavior needs to change. Because there’s always a sense that it’s other people’s responsibilities. So I feel like there is a narrative here that is being told about that shift that fundamentally necessary in places like Milwaukee. I mean, I hope in 10 years that this building itself, we have so many thriving entrepreneurs that the, the only reason they’re moving out is not because they’re failing is because they’re succeeding so widely. They need to expand to a larger facility making room for the next pipeline of entrepreneurs. Um, and I do hope that people replicate this. It’s, it’s really, we’ve got to shift away from the bottom line being the only, only financial, certainly if there is a bottom line that it’s shared that it’s shared equitably, but there’s more than a financial bottom line. There’s a social bottom line, there’s an environmental bottom line, there’s a cultural bottom line, and all of those impacts matter to what the health and prosperity of everyone in our city. And I hope that we move a little bit closer to that vision of reality. 

 

Leah Gervais: Shifting gears a little bit slightly, so my audience is, they’re almost all entrepreneurs and when you’re a new entrepreneur, you, you guys know how it is. You have like no money. Like it’s a joke how much money you feel like you don’t have all the time and you have no sleep and it’s just, it’s a lot. Um, but for those who are new entrepreneurs or small business owners or anything like that, and they do want to integrate more racial equity into their business practices and they feel like it’s everyone else’s responsibility, but there’s, maybe they don’t have enough resources, do you have any tips or actionable things they can do to, to start thinking differently about hiring, about producing content? Pleaseand let me share.

 

Maanaan Sabir:Know, I think one part is, um, is location, location, location, location. Two is know the community like no, the community maybe that should be one. Yeah. Um, and it’s interesting. Uh, Martin Luther King in the 60s, uh, lived in one of the more poverty stricken areas of Chicago for an entire year. Rats, roaches, gnocchi. Um, they even have footage of him. Um, I think the, that the ice had built up so bad on the side of the, of the apartment building that he was living in. He took a shovel and he started shoveling the soil out in order for the people to, to break the ice so they can kind of warm the building back up. Um, if we want to, if you want to like make that impact as entrepreneurs and you want to know the people you have to be with the people. So spend time before you even open your doors, spend time in the community, not advertising your business, not trying to, you know, hand out flyers, nothing. Just spend time knowing what the community means. Like, you know, go six miles out, two miles out, whatever, whatever the radius is. Know the community. Figure out who the people are, how they are living, um, visit the schools. That’s one of the best places to be. Business schools volunteer for an entire year or before you open your doors. Always, always know the community. 

 

Leah Gervais: You also don’t need to be an entrepreneur to do those. It’s still a

really great way to spend your time. Do you have anything that you want go on?

 

Juli Kaufmann: I think that what I see from sort of, um, I guess coming from the white perspective would be that I have a lot of peers who feel like they have a lot to offer in terms of um, helping tell folks how to do things well. And um, I just recoil whenever that happens because there is so much brilliance and it’s nearly lack of opportunity whether real estate or it’s just been disinvested for so long. If you are seeking to find ways to better integrate your business, whether that’s because you want to market something, you want to hire whatever the PR, whatever your motivation is, you need to start certainly by what on said. But part of that is just listening, listening with Austin authenticity. And accepting that you need to change ultimately because you cannot come from outside and come in and absolutely know what’s best. So, a lot of that, um, um, entrepreneurs are feeling like all they’re doing is like they’re the expert in their field. You’re not when it’s, um, a different cultural setting where you don’t know the norms, where you don’t have vested community relationships, or your family hasn’t been raised there. And it’s that ability to listen, be authentic and be humbled, um, that you might be wrong. Some of the time is really important skills to cultivate when you’re trying to do the work.

 

Leah Gervais: Very powerful. Well, thank you both so much for sharing this. Is there anything else you want to share about entrepreneurship specifically or specifically about this coffee shop that you feel like has been a really big help in growing it or anything like that? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Yeah, so, we are sitting in Shin Dig coffee. It’s probably the best coffee in Milwaukee. Also, um, I think we’re, we’re transitioning into a, a worldwide brand. And, um, I say that now we’ll find out another five years from now. But, um, we’re located at 35, 36 West [inaudible], in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, right in the heart of Sherman, Phoenix and the Sherman park area. And you can’t miss us because we’re all yellow.

 

Leah Gervais: [Unable to transcribe]

 

Maanaan Sabir: Called it with my wife. We were a juice bar. We were called “The Juice Kitchen” at one point in time. We transitioned into being the Shindig coffee. Um, but we still do a little bit of juice and a little bit and a little bit more coffee. 

 

Leah Gervais: So, what’s it like owning a business with your spouse? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Actually, it’s great. It’s challenging, but you want to make sure that you have a, you have your priorities straight, your personal priorities straight. So, you want to know where you’re going before you ask responsible what to do. Um, that’s the, that’s the main thing. I think one thing about myself is that, um, I’m really focused in where I want to go and no one’s going to stop. So, not my mom. Not my spouse, not my family members, no one will stop me. I want to make sure that hit my Mark. And so as long as you’re, you’re clear, then the other person will be clear. You’d be come to the table in the same second, but it’s that it’s maybe best sponsor this more partnership that’s, this is your partner that you’ve always got to come to the table and do the same things you would do with any other business partner. So, but it’s, it’s fun. You can’t take the business home. Don’t do it.

 

Leah Gervais: So, before you, so you owned that juice bar, not in the Sherman. Like you owned it before it was in this building.

Maanaan Sabir: Yeah. So, we all did it at the innovation, the Wellness Commons, uh, on, on North Avenue and Milwaukee. And um, we started to, because we want to cause one to cause a change in our family more than make sure that our son was kind of healed from his, his [inaudible]. And we, we did it and 10 years later from that moment we were here, The Sherman Pheonix. Wow. 

 

Leah Gervais: Congratulations. And it’s amazing that it’s gone beyond product and now it’s a community that you’re fostering as well. 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Well, with the help of everybody, I think that’s the, that’s the, the greatest part about this whole thing is that, you know, the trophy is, you know, everybody is smiling and they leave it here and there. You know, they even get upset when we close. What is it? What does the best part about it? You can get some type of emotion instead of emotion. You got a thousand true fans such as Kevin Kelly said. He said, you know, rather than have a 100,000 people, you want a thousand true fans. So we have a thousand true fans. 

 

Leah Gervais: That’s great. All right. I have three lightning round questions for you guys. Are you ready? Yeah. What’s your go to on a day when nothing is going right. 

 

Juli Kaufmann: A nap.

 

Leah Gervais: A nap. That’s a good one. 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Focus on the next day to get up earlier. 

 

Leah Gervais:Nice. What is, what are you most proud of in your career so far?

 

Juli Kaufmann: Sherman Phoenix.

 

Leah Gervais: Good answer. 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Um, seeing my family smile and knowing that all the rest of all, a lot of my family members actually work here. 

 

Leah Gervais: Oh, I love that. Do you guys have a business podcast or book that has kind of helped you on your journey or that’s a go to when you need motivation other than mine? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: I think there’s a number of podcasts I probably listened to. Uh, um, but mine are like not even their past, like kind of social 

 

Leah Gervais: Lay it on me. What is it, what keeps you inspired and grateful? 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Uh, he’s a biohacker so I listen to science. I love like deep, deep science stuff that, Oh, I wouldn’t want to try to get to it. So, uh, it inspires me because it takes my mind off everything. 

 

Leah Gervais: It makes a lot of sense.

 

Juli Kaufmann: Yeah. I don’t have a, I just restarted reading read very, very recently. It’s been like 10 years since I read and I don’t podcast coming old yet. I’m, except for yours. So my, my learning tool is, uh, taking trips to other places and then in golfing myself into a neighborhood within that community, it’s atypical to really learn, listen and experience. So, I take back that observation into my work and refreshes me. 

 

Leah Gervais: How can people find out more about the Sherman Phoenix that aren’t in Milwaukee. 

 

Juli Kaufmann: ShermanPhoenix.com is a great place to start and then just Google it. You’ll see a million links around, um, how we did the real estate, how the businesses are doing, drill down in each of the businesses. But ShermanPhoenix.com is a great place to start. 

 

Maanaan Sabir: Google, uh, Julie Kaufman and Google Joanne Severe. That’s my wife. [Inaudible] she is the brains behind me.

 

Leah Gervais: Well, all this will be in the notes of this show, so thank you both so, so much for sharing. This is hugely insightful and congratulations on this amazing project.

 

Juli Kaufmann: Thank you so much.

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