Biz Buzz Monday: SW Wisconsin catering company owner plans to add services

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from across the tri-state area. In addition to this update from Benton, Wis., we will share other developments in Tuesday’s edition.

A year after opening a catering business and event center, a southwest Wisconsin business owner looks to continue to grow.

Kelli Kerrigan opened Kelli’s Place, 67 E. Main St., next to McCarthy’s Tavern in Benton last October. Kerrigan also co-owns New Diggings General Store.

“The last few years, I ventured into more and more of the catering,” she said. “I believe COVID(-19) helped that. We basically shut down the bar and were offering meals to go. We had this (Main Street) building at the time, which helped perpetuate my desire to cater for people.”

The building that houses Kelli’s Place originally was built as a general store in the 1850s. Kerrigan said it was formerly a diner that had been closed for 10 years by the time she bought the building four and a half years ago.

After three years of renovations, Kelli’s Place now is an event center that can comfortably fit 50 people, as well as a catering place. An Airbnb rental is also located in the upper level of the building.

Kerrigan said the catering portion of her business is about 80% cooking and 20% baking, noting that people love her cheesecake.

“I’ve been asked a lot this year for a list of what I cater,” she said. “I often tell customers or potential clients that it’s easier to offer a list of things I don’t offer, and that’s fried foods and turkey-and-dressing sandwiches.”

She said she most enjoys the creativity that comes with cooking, and she likes to meet with clients to create a menu that fits their personality.

“I really tailor my catering to my client,” she said. “Although that might be kind of different, I think people are enjoying it.”

Kerrigan added that she hopes to launch a website by the end of the year, after which she can begin the next phase of her business: a set to-go meal menu for either pickup or delivery.

“Oftentimes, I’ve catered parties and had people ask me to think about delivering for their parents who don’t drive anymore,” she said. “But without a website, I can’t function without it. I need to take steps toward the ultimate goal.”

Kelli’s Place can be reached at 563-581-7014 or via email at The business can also be found on Facebook.