Meet some of Madison’s veteran-owned businesses

With Veteran's Day at the end of the week, we're appreciating some of the unique and inspiring veteran-owned businesses in the Madison area.
Two people standing in a river with a sunset and rolling hills behind them
Photo courtesy of Tina Murray
A photo captured during one of She-Nanigans Fly Fishing's destination trips.

Madison is home to nearly 10,000 veterans; a diverse group of individuals who contribute to the community in countless ways. As the country celebrates and honors all those who have served on Friday, Nov. 11, here are a few businesses in our own backyard founded, operated and owned by veterans.

She-nanigans Fly Fishing
She-nanigans Fly Fishing provides an array of services, from private lessons, group instruction and guided destination trips. She-nanigans seeks to “demystify” fly fishing for those interested in learning, and specifically offer opportunities for women, families, those with disabilities, youth or anyone who has little access or exposure to outdoor recreational activities.

She-nanigans owner and founder Tina Murray served in the Army in the late seventies and early eighties as a part of the first women’s group to train with men at Fort McClellan in Alabama. After being honorably discharged and attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Madison Area Technical College, Murray spent 28 years in the Madison Metropolitan School District, specializing in experiential education and environmental education.

“Reconnecting to nature brings lower blood pressure, the release of happy hormones, improved health, decreased anxiety and overall wellness,” says Murray. “I wanted to further an avenue for women specifically who wanted these elements in their lives.”

Murray is one of two women and the only veteran to be licensed as a fly fishing guide in Wisconsin.

She-nanigans Fly Fishing, 920-345-6556,

Operation H.E.E.L. 
Operation H.E.E.L. (Heal & Empower Every Life) is a “trauma-informed nursing practice that offers Animal-Assisted Therapy for humans as well as dog training and coaching,” with a focus on holistic approaches to healing, recovery and stress management. Based out of Marshall, Operation H.E.E.L. specializes in military children services, animal-assisted interventions in public or private settings and dog training classes.

Operation H.E.E.L. was founded in 2016 as a joint effort of two sisters, Cindy Brosig and Nancy Lester, both of which are veterans. Brosig served as a registered nurse for the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps from 1995 to 2004, where she was stationed all over the world. Lester currently serves active duty in the U.S. Air Force – just recently returning from a tour in Turkey. Lester holds veterinary and public health degrees, caring for military dogs and monitoring public health for Air Force. The sisters were inspired to launch Operation H.E.E.L. after seeing firsthand the toll military service can have on a family.

“I truly enjoy continuing to serve our country through supporting the health and wellness of local community families, both military and non-military, and their companion dogs,” says Brosig. “All too often the best medicine and cure is the dog already sharing space with the individual or family.”

In 2016, Brosig received the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Woman Veteran of the Year Award for her services to service members and the community. “It validated the need for our services,” she says.

Operation H.E.E.L., 1570 Traut Rd, Marshall, ​608-239-5671,

a woman outside petting a black dog

Photo courtesy of Cindy Brosig and Operation H.E.E.L.

Operation H.E.E.L. co-founder Cindy Brosig.

Spark Spices
Spark Spices is a Madison-based artisan spice company selling hand-crafted, unique spice blends that “spark up your tastebuds.” Blends include burger jazz, smokin’ glory and zesty snap. Spark sells spice bundles, drink mixes and various dry rubs and seasonings all from its online store, but can be found at local markets in the summer and holiday fairs in the fall. 

Spark Spices founders Mike and Karen Wendt are both Army veterans who met in 1977 while stationed in Hawaii. Six months into his retirement in 2014, Mike grew restless and missed frequent human interactions. Using his expertise from 35 years in the meat industry with Tyson Foods, Mike aimed to create a company that provided artisan spice blends different from what is found in stores. 

“We are family-owned and operated. Everything from blending, packaging, shipping and marketing is done by someone in our family,” says Karen Wendt.

Spark Spices, 715-321-1350,

Mojo Home Interiors
Mojo Home Interiors is a “dynamic interior design and remodeling duo” of business partners Maria Kovach and Jodie Amerell. Based out of Monona, Mojo offers interior design development services, space planning, cabinetry design, product specifications, as well as project management services for remodeling projects.

Mojo co-owner Maria Kovach was a Command & Control Specialist in the United States Air Force for nine years, serving two overseas tours. After her service, she worked in a few administrative office jobs before attending Madison Area Technical College’s Interior Design Program and becoming a Certified Remodeling Project Manager. 

“We’ve mastered the art of looking at the big picture while obsessing over the finer details,” says Kovach. “We are a one-stop shop that masters your design project from beginning to end.”

Mojo Home Interiors, 6328 Monona Drive, Monona, 608-513-0309,

Photo a pristine kitchen with white countertops and cabinets and a black island

Photo courtesy of Mojo Home Interiors and Maria Kovach

Photo courtesy of Mojo Home Interiors and Maria Kovach

Other Madison-area veteran-owned businesses

Kaylee’s Garden Early Child Care and Education, 1293 N Sherman Ave, 608-709-1755,

Race to Destiny Board Games, 820 W Wingra Dr. #259072, 608-333-7775,

Evolve Massage, 1777 W. Main St, Sun Prairie, 608-478-5762,

JDog Junk Removal and Hauling844-438-5364,

Schreiner Family Chiropractic, 901 Kimball Ln, Verona, 608-848-0058,

Restoration Cider Co., 507-383-5150,

D3 Consulting, 608-217-4979,

Simply Weddings Planning & Design, 537 W Main St, Suite 205, Sun Prairie, 608-512-8475,

Badger Honor Flight, 608-616-0243,

Warrior Songs, PO Box 8805, Madison, WI 53708,

If you know of another great veteran-owned business in Madison to add to our list, please send a note to

Newsletter Subscribe Footer22 Cover Wallpaper