A rebel with a cause and a growing business

Rebel Converting completes addition to its Saukville wet wipe facility while its owner continues his efforts to ensure kids have bicycles of their own

WET WIPES AND bicycles may seem like an odd combination, but not for Mike Kryshak, who posed with a classic bike in an office filled with the wipes his company, Rebel Converting, makes in Saukville. Kryshak, whose company recently completed a 10,000-square-foot expansion, donates hundreds of refurbished bicycles to children every year. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press staff

Rebel Converting in Saukville recently completed its second addition in twice as many years, and owner Mike Kryshak said the expansion illustrates the company’s commitment to Saukville.

The wet wipes producer added nearly 10,000 square feet and five more loading docks to its 40,000-foot facility at 700 N. Progress Dr. at the end of last year.

The company received an occupancy permit for the new space, which will be used primarily for storage, last week.

During the project, material was being housed outside of the facility.

Last year, Kryshak bought the building the company has been renting since opening in 2012.

In 2015, the company underwent a 3,200-square-foot addition.

Kryshak said he considered moving to other areas of Ozaukee and Washington counties, but remains committed to Saukville.

“I like Saukville as a community. This is our home,” he said, noting the expansion cost about $800,000.

Rebel Converting has 39 employees and, while Kryshak said he is seeking additional material handlers and machine operators, the company has invested in automation.

“This is a tough labor market right now,” Kryshak said.

Rebel Converting makes products for about 40 vendors in the towelette industry. Kryshak said nearly half the products his company makes are exported to Canada.

Beyond expanding his business, another priority for Kryshak is giving back to the community by sponsoring area sports teams such as the Saukville Rebels youth football organization and Ozaukee High School wrestling team. He also helps with the Ozaukee County Shop with a Cop Christmastime event.

He said his favorite cause is donating used bicycles to children in Wisconsin and even abroad.

Last year, Kryshak participated in a program with the Lake Ferry Express that donated 600 bikes to children in Milwaukee, and he is planning on participating again this spring.

He said people who donate a bike will receive a round-trip ticket for the Lake Michigan ferry.  

Two years ago, the event gave away more than 1,500 bikes.

His employees often help with the charitable efforts.

“I don’t ask them to help, but we usually have 30 people show up. I think that gels everyone together. It’s great to see your workers sharing your passion to help others,” he said.

Kryshak said his commitment to sharing with children the sense of freedom that comes from owning a bike stems from his childhood, when he was a newspaper boy in Whitefish Bay.

“When I had the paper route, that was my first taste of freedom,” he said.

Kryshak has helped organize other philanthropic efforts, such as donating backpacks for students in need and hundreds of socks for homeless veterans through Mr. Bob’s Under the Bridge Inc., a Cedarburg nonprofit organization. He recently supported a sock drive at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington.

“I hope that will help save a couple feet from the cold this time of year,” he said. “I really want to help get more young people involved in charitable causes.”

Outside of work and charitable giving, Kryshak is an avid runner. He is currently on a strict diet as he prepares for the Milwaukee Marathon in April.

“My diet pretty much consists of yams and chicken. My wife won’t even touch some of the food  I make,” he said.

Prior to starting Rebel Converting, Kryshak operated a similar type of business in Milwaukee called Multi-Pack Solutions.

He said he sold the business because he wanted to run a smaller-scale operation that would continue to produce a high-quality product.   

While his company is expanding, so too are the opportunities in Saukville, he said.

“I really can’t wait to see what’s going to become of Saukville in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said. “The leadership in the community, from the cops to the village administration, is second to none. This is a great place to own a business.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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