Wisconsin Knitwear was established in the United States in 1979, but is actually an extension of a sweater company originally started in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by my Zaida (grandfather), Julius Arenzon in the 1940's.

My family's history and the company's as well, runs from Poland, where Julius was born, to Argentina to the United States.

His son, Mauricio (my father), immigrated to the United States in 1963 and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Along with hard work and dedication, Mauricio and Sheila (my parents), continued the family tradition and started Wisconsin Knitwear, Inc.

Thank you for visiting!  Please read about us in the Milwaukee newspaper and throughout this page.

- Steven Arenzon, President

Steven Arenzon, President
Knit Hats
Wisconsin Knitwear World Headquarters - Click on picture to read history of our building.
Julius "Zaida" Arenzon - circa 1956
Mauricio Arenzon - circa 1956
My true heroes. As they say - "If it wasn't for them" Thank you Mom and Dad
For Wisconsin Knitwear, it’s not just about making money

Mason Crosby’s game-winning kick against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 15 set off an “unforgettable week” for Steven Arenzon.

A few months earlier, Crosby’s Green Bay Packers had a 4-6 record when quarterback Aaron Rodgers said what became much talked about around the state: “I feel like we can run the table,” Rodgers said.

They almost did. The Packers went on to win their last six regular-season games and make it to the playoffs, during which Crosby kicked a 51-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Cowboys 34-31 in the NFC divisional round.

That inspired Arenzon to produce “Run the Table” knit hats at his factory, Wisconsin Knitwear, Inc., located on the south side of Milwaukee. “We used them to capture the spirit of our football team and raise money for the Jewish Community Food Pantry,” Arenzon said.

The Arenzons wear “Run The Table” hats. From left are Steven, Robin, Scott, Naomi (in frame), Jordan.

 “The next morning we started running these hats and just handing them out,” said Arenzon, known as the “Hat Man” around town. “We had requests from all over – from North Carolina to Afghanistan to Italy.” As the company gave the hats away, Arenzon suggested to recipients that they make donations to the Jewish Community Pantry. “We had such an incredible feeling that week; we were on such a high. I don’t think I slept the entire week. I’ll never forget it.”

Arenzon inherited his sense of giving from his parents, Mauricio and Sheila, who began the business in 1979.

Steven Arenzon’s entire family – wife, Robin; daughters, Naomi, 20, and Jordan, 14; and son, Scott, 18 – have been involved in the charitable arm of the company, which began Gift of Warmth in 1998. “We try to do it every year,” Arenzon said. “We’d drive around the neighborhood on cold days and see kids with nothing on their heads. It is aggravating to see kids outside freezing. So we started donating to local shelters and teamed up with local police officers. We’d donate to the police department a couple thousand hats at the beginning of winter and they would distribute them around the neighborhood.”

The company also is involved with the state’s Big Bundle Up campaign, which is in its sixth year giving warm clothing to those in need. In a recent three-year stretch, Wisconsin Knitwear provided 4,700 hats to Big Bundle Up, which were donated to the United Way of Greater Milwaukee.

The company’s hats are custom-made and shipped around the world. “I remember every hat we’ve made,” said Arenzon, whose company also donates scarves and headbands.

“What we donate is all first-quality stuff,” he said. “Years that we don’t have a lot of overruns, we still make the donations. Because it (donating) is something we want to do.”

The company also donates to organizations in which the three Arenzon children are involved. The three used their family’s giving to create b’nei mitzvah service projects.

“It’s a good experience for my kids, something we hope they take with them to whatever profession they get into,” said Arenzon, who keeps his car trunk full of hats when he’s on the road, and hands the hats out.

The company, one of the few knitting companies left in the country, also helped sponsor the 2015 JCC Milwaukee Maccabi Games.

Mauricio and Sheila Arenzon now live in Florida and have maintained their membership in Temple Menorah in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Knitwear is an extension of a sweater company originally started in Argentina by Mauricio’s father, Julius.

Mauricio is proud of his family’s giving, in keeping with Jewish values. “They help other people,” Mauricio said. “We’re very proud of them and Steven is very proud when he gives a donation.”

A friend once asked Mauricio, “Steven gives so many things away to charity, does he make any money?”

To which Steven replies: “I want my kids to learn that business is not all about just making money.”

* * *

At a glance

What: Wisconsin Knitwear

Owner: Steven Arenzon (family includes wife Robin and three children: Naomi, Scott and Jordan; parents Mauricio and Sheila started the business)

Charitable work: Gift of Warmth, Big Bundle Up, Jewish Community Pantry, local shelters, 2015 JCC Milwaukee Maccabi Games

Mauricio’s business advice: Talk to people, be nice to people and don’t make promises you can’t keep.

Website: WisconsinKnitwear.com



MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Giving the gift of warmth. Milwaukee police are working to distribute dozens of winter hats — donated by a south side business owner and his daughter. Those hats will be handed out by officers when they’re on patrol.

There are many things officers work to put a cap on. Usually, it’s crime.

“Often, when police go out in neighborhoods we are meeting someone in crisis. You never know when you might need somebody`s help out there on the streets. Hats for us, it`s the winter, and hats keep you warm. No different than gloves. The majority of heat is lost through your head. It’s the winter. It`s a great tool,” Milwaukee Police Officer Alfonso Morales said.

Hundreds of hats have been donated. They’ll “ride along” with Milwaukee police officers on patrol, and they’ll be handed out to those in need.

This effort began with Jordan Arenzon.

“You can bring a bunch of these and hand them out to so many people,” Arenzon said.

Arenzon is going a service project as part of her Bat Mitzvah.

“I am doing a project called Gift of Warmth and I give these hats to police officers so they can give them out in the area. My dad donated them from his company. We have a little bit over a thousand,” Arenzon said.

Arenzon’s father owns Wisconsin Knitwear. Together, they’re hoping to cap off a cold winter.

“I know there’s a need here,” Arenzon said.

Police have already begun distributing the hats.


Local knitting company donates winter hats for Milwaukee's homeless

Jan 13, 2015  By Marshanna Hester, CBS 58 WDJT Milwaukee, WI

Inside Wisconsin Knitwear on Milwaukee's south side is a flurry of activity.

"It's a long process, but well worth it," said owner Steven Arenzon. "It's all done by hand, with needles and chain and the machine."

The spinning spools of red, black and green can make you dizzy, but when the colors intertwine, the results can be life changing.

"To see what we do and what we start from scratch and what we accomplish at the end, it makes me feel good," he said.

Wisconsin Knitwear has specialized in producing and manufacturing winter hats, masks and scarves for 35 years. It's one of a few knitting companies left in the country.

As many as 5,000 hats are shipped each day to companies worldwide with the 'Made in the USA' tag. But, no delivery is more meaningful for Arenzon than the those in his community.

"Driving around the city and seeing children and adults who don't have hats especially in this weather," he continued. "This is not fun and you just want people to stay warm."

That's why Arenzon didn't hesitate to donate 1,200 hats to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission as part of the Department of Tourism's "Big Bundle Up" campaign. Winter weather items are collected across the state and given to agencies in need.

"There's a need. It's chilly out," said Megan Kimps with the state tourism agency. "We brought them here and they're going to go to good use."

The donation is coming at a critical time in the community, as the city's homeless is trying to survive in dangerous sub-zero temperatures. Rescue Mission leaders say they've been busy providing emergency shelter for men.

"We don't turn anyone away on these really cold nights," said Dan Ryan, assistant development director. "We have our shelter with about 200 beds. We can bring out additional mattresses and even if we run out of space then, the men can still come and stay in our lobby. We want to make sure everyone is safe and warm on these cold nights."

"We have collected 32,000 items to date and the program this year, just ended on the second and we already have 10,000 items this year alone," Kimps added. "So we're really excited to continue to grow this program and make sure people are warm.

Wisconsin Knitwear has participated in the "Big Bundle Up" program since it started four years ago. As long as the 150 year old machines keep turning inside the business, Arenzon says he's ready to give back to the place he calls home.


by Tracu Neuman

Dec 20, 2011
Scott Arenzon, a seventh grader from Maple Dale School, wrote a letter to MPD while preparing for his Bar Mitzvah. As part of his mizvah (good deed) project, he decided to give away warm knitwear to local kids. His father Steven, owner of Wisconsin Knitwear, donated the hats and gloves.

We talked to Scott about his project as well as Milwaukee Police. The officers who volunteered say they were honored to help Scott with his cause.


By Shelley Walcott 

December 4, 2009

MILWAUKEE - As the weather turns cold, 13-year-old Naomi Arenzon prepares a gift of warmth. Her family is donating two-thousand knit hats in honor of Naomi's bat mitzvah. "I would like to help people who don't have stuff for winter and who need it," said Naomi.

Naomi's father Steven owns Wisconsin Knitwear on Lincoln Avenue. The hats are manufactured on site at the south side company. And after deciding on the donation for Naomi's mitzvah project, the family spent this evening, packing up the multi colored hats.

And they enlisted the help of police in District 2, so the hats could be distributed in areas where people will need them most this winter. Officers arrived today, to collect the box loads.

"We can hand them out as we see kids walking around or walking to school in the morning, if they don't have a hat, we're going to hand out a hat to them, so they don't freeze their ears off," said Captain Donald Gaglione.

And kids won't be the only ones who benefit. "We're giving these hats to homeless shelters, abuse shelters and just people who need it," said Naomi.

A well appreciated gift of charity in tough economic times.