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MEET KIM

Kim celebrating a birthday with her brothers and sisters

Kim celebrating a birthday with her brothers and sisters.

A NORTHEAST WISCONSIN CHILDHOOD

I was born and raised in Green Bay, and it still represents a feeling of home for me. The site of the Scray Hill antennas, Lambeau Field, going over the Shawano Hill knowing you’re a mere 20 minutes away from home, even the smell of the Green Bay paper mills — still makes my heart beat fast!

Nearby Dykesville also holds a lot of family memories — one of them being the endless summers I spent at my great-grandmother Florence Meyer’s little cottage trailer and my grandparents’ (Bob and Gert Delorit) cottage at Red River Park. The crawdad catching, countless bonfires, catching and fileting what seemed like a thousand perch, the awesome 4th of July firework displays we could see across the Bay, and even those times in the winter where we’d have to wait for the cottage to heat up to a decent temperature — those are all pieces of growing up that I remember very well. When we weren’t at Red River Park, our family traveled all over Wisconsin, following my Dad’s (Denny Delorit) fast-pitch softball career. These are just some of the great memories that helped shape the person I am today.

Thanks to my grandmother Gert and her business — the Delorit School of Dance — and my own self-assertiveness, I had wanted to be a performer. After I graduated from Green Bay’s East High School, I earned a dance scholarship to the University of Utah. A torn muscle cut that dream short, and my second love — waitressing at Happy Joe’s on Mason Street — was the beginning of my love for the restaurant industry.

Kim with her grandmother Gert Delorit

The Beginnings of an Entrepreneur

My restaurant career took me to Sioux City Iowa — where I met my husband — and then to Minneapolis. I was hired to be a part of the management team of the first million-dollar Dairy Queen in Apple Valley, Minnesota. From there, I went to being a “turn-around expert” at a local Italian restaurant, and then onto Papa John’s Minnesota. I decided that if I was going to work 70 hours a week for little benefit, I’d rather work for myself. It was around that time when I found out that a long-standing restaurant in Door County — the Village Cafe — was for sale.  

With my Mom, Mary Jo Delorit, as my business partner, we started to explore purchasing the restaurant. I knew I had a lot to prove even if only to myself. Could we do this, having no personal capital of our own and financing 100% of this business venture? Would we prove all the naysayers wrong? Could we fit in with Door County, not truly being locals? We took the leap – be it crazy or courageous. I moved with my husband Todd from Minneapolis to Door County in April 2000, and we were running Village Cafe that summer. Soon after, I found the answers to my questions were yes, yes, and..yes.

That one courageous leap has turned into five highly successful, and locally focused, businesses. In addition to the Village Cafe, there’s Villaggios, Mojo Rosa’s, Bangkok, Pink Bakery and a grocery line, Door County Pantry. I employ over 100 people at my restaurants and all of them are full-time, year-round endeavors. With my business management experience from over the last 30 years, I’ve learned that gumption and knowledge can get you anywhere, and hard work and leadership will gain you a life.

Kim with her mom and now-retired business partner Mary Jo Delorit

Kim sitting in one of her Door County restaurants, Village Cafe

Being a Part of Something Bigger

Being a small business owner also gives me an opportunity to put into practice what I’ve been taught all my life: lead by example, be accepting and kind to everyone, and love what you do. The unconditional love of my parents — and the strong female role models in my life — have given me the life experience and the knowledge to be a leader.

Over the past few years I’ve gotten involved more in community and business development while serving on the Egg Harbor Business Association as well as the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Destination Door County (previously the Door County Visitors Bureau). During this time I’ve felt a pull to put my actions where my values are and be part of something bigger than myself. I believe this run for Wisconsin State Assembly District #1 is the best way to do that. My passion — both professionally and personally — is to give those around me a way forward, and create ways for them to feel stable and safe. Stability and hope — those are things that all of us want, and all of us deserve. Those two things are possible for the present and the future.

Kim with the strong women in her life — Mom Mary Jo Delorit, grandmother Gert Delorit and great-grandmother Florence Meyer, along with her Washington Middle School Principal

Kim with her husband Todd in front of the Washington Monument

I have so many people to be grateful for on this journey — my husband Todd, my family, and my work family in particular. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to take this next step. I thank them for always giving me space and always challenging me to do better. And now, I have all of you to thank, too. Let’s make a change together. Let’s see how we can start shaping our government to reflect our values, to make a better future for our communities, and use some common sense to get there.

MEET KIM

Kim celebrating a birthday with her brothers and sisters

Kim celebrating a birthday with her brothers and sisters.

A NORTHEAST WISCONSIN CHILDHOOD

I was born and raised in Green Bay, and it still represents a feeling of home for me. The site of the Scray Hill antennas, Lambeau Field, going over the Shawano Hill knowing you’re a mere 20 minutes away from home, even the smell of the Green Bay paper mills — still makes my heart beat fast!

Nearby Dykesville also holds a lot of family memories — one of them being the endless summers I spent at my great-grandmother Florence Meyer’s little cottage trailer and my grandparents’ (Bob and Gert Delorit) cottage at Red River Park. The crawdad catching, countless bonfires, catching and fileting what seemed like a thousand perch, the awesome 4th of July firework displays we could see across the Bay, and even those times in the winter where we’d have to wait for the cottage to heat up to a decent temperature — those are all pieces of growing up that I remember very well. When we weren’t at Red River Park, our family traveled all over Wisconsin, following my Dad’s (Denny Delorit) fast-pitch softball career. These are just some of the great memories that helped shape the person I am today.

 

Kim with her grandmother Gert Delorit

Thanks to my grandmother Gert and her business — the Delorit School of Dance — and my own self-assertiveness, I had wanted to be a performer. After I graduated from Green Bay’s East High School, I earned a dance scholarship to the University of Utah. A torn muscle cut that dream short, and my second love — waitressing at Happy Joe’s on Mason Street — was the beginning of my love for the restaurant industry.

The Beginnings of an Entrepreneur

My restaurant career took me to Sioux City Iowa — where I met my husband — and then to Minneapolis. I was hired to be a part of the management team of the first million-dollar Dairy Queen in Apple Valley, Minnesota. From there, I went to being a “turn-around expert” at a local Italian restaurant, and then onto Papa John’s Minnesota. I decided that if I was going to work 70 hours a week for little benefit, I’d rather work for myself. It was around that time when I found out that a long-standing restaurant in Door County — the Village Cafe — was for sale. 

Kim with her mom and now-retired business partner Mary Jo Delorit

With my Mom, Mary Jo Delorit, as my business partner, we started to explore purchasing the restaurant. I knew I had a lot to prove even if only to myself. Could we do this, having no personal capital of our own and financing 100% of this business venture? Would we prove all the naysayers wrong? Could we fit in with Door County, not truly being locals? We took the leap – be it crazy or courageous. I moved with my husband Todd from Minneapolis to Door County in April 2000, and we were running Village Cafe that summer. Soon after, I found the answers to my questions were yes, yes, and..yes.

That one courageous leap has turned into five highly successful, and locally focused, businesses. In addition to the Village Cafe, there’s Villaggios, Mojo Rosa’s, Bangkok, Pink Bakery and a grocery line, Door County Pantry. I employ over 100 people at my restaurants and all of them are full-time, year-round endeavors. With my business management experience from over the last 30 years, I’ve learned that gumption and knowledge can get you anywhere, and hard work and leadership will gain you a life.

Being a Part of Something Bigger

Kim sitting in one of her Door County restaurants, Village Cafe

Being a small business owner also gives me an opportunity to put into practice what I’ve been taught all my life: lead by example, be accepting and kind to everyone, and love what you do. The unconditional love of my parents — and the strong female role models in my life — have given me the life experience and the knowledge to be a leader.

Kim with the strong women in her life — Mom Mary Jo Delorit, grandmother Gert Delorit and great-grandmother Florence Meyer, along with her Washington Middle School Principal

Over the past few years I’ve gotten involved more in community and business development while serving on the Egg Harbor Business Association as well as the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Destination Door County (previously the Door County Visitors Bureau). During this time I’ve felt a pull to put my actions where my values are and be part of something bigger than myself. I believe this run for Wisconsin State Assembly District #1 is the best way to do that. My passion — both professionally and personally — is to give those around me a way forward, and create ways for them to feel stable and safe. Stability and hope — those are things that all of us want, and all of us deserve. Those two things are possible for the present and the future.

Kim with her husband Todd in front of the Washington Monument

I have so many people to be grateful for on this journey — my husband Todd, my family, and my work family in particular. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to take this next step. I thank them for always giving me space and always challenging me to do better. And now, I have all of you to thank, too. Let’s make a change together. Let’s see how we can start shaping our government to reflect our values, to make a better future for our communities, and use some common sense to get there.

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Kim Delorit Jensen for Assembly
6674 Hidden Drive
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