Bank, Wienery change hands

by Peter Frost

The Wienery, a West Bank diner famous for its Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian roast beef sandwiches, was sold earlier this month after 16 years in business.
Arik Johnson, 29, and Jay Olson, 22, both Cedar-Riverside natives, purchased the restaurant for an undisclosed amount.
“We’ve been eating here since we were kids, and when the chance arose for us to buy it, we thought, ‘Why the hell not?'” Johnson said.
The restaurant is the only one of its type in the area, and it earned its reputation over the years for its food and its original owner and chef, Jerry Petermeier, who stood out for his big beard and Hawaiian shirts.
The Wienery’s new owners don’t plan on making any major changes to the menu, but they do plan on serving breakfasts later this year.
When asked how they bought the Wienery, Johnson and Olson said, “The owner really liked both of us, so he was glad to sell it to us.”

ù Riverside Bank, on the University’s West Bank, was recently purchased by a Wisconsin-based Associated Bank Corp. for $89.1 million.
Riverside was founded in 1973 and has since grown into one of the more profitable small-banking chains in the state by specializing in banking with small- to mid-sized businesses from which it draws 90 percent of its business.
In 1998, the Minneapolis Community Development Agency recognized Riverside as the small- business lender of the year. It is second only to Norwest Bank in dollars loaned to Minnesota small businesses.
Despite its success, the bank’s founder, David Cleveland, had been looking to sell the bank for some time when the much-larger Associated Bank came along.
Associated holds $11.6 billion in assets compared to Riverside’s $334 million and controls more than 200 branches in four states compared to Riverside’s five branches in one state.
For Riverside employees, the merger has been a painless one.
Under the agreement, Cleveland will stay on as president for the next three years, and none of the bank’s 138 employees will lose their positions because of the merger. The Riverside name will also be kept.
For Riverside customers, the merger will yield some major improvements.
When Cleveland decided to sell the bank to Associated, the idea was to merge with a bank that would give Riverside access to more resources.
“With the merger with Associated, we’re really going to be able to offer more products and services,” said Andrea Ferkingstad, Riverside’s marketing manager.
Thanks to Associated’s massive lending power, Riverside will be able to expand its lending and provide larger loans to its business customers.

Peter Frost and Kane Loukas cover business and welcome comments at [email protected] and [email protected]