Building a legacy: CF couple mourn loss of mentor, continue to grow businesses


Building a legacy: CF couple mourn loss of mentor, continue to grow businesses

CHIPPEWA FALLS – Mike and Sissy Knopps shy away from the term power couple. 

They’re a typical midwestern entrepreneurial husband and wife team who don’t like to toot their own horn. But sometimes, the horn must sound. At the ages of 35, the Knoppses have built an empire in the Chippewa Valley. And never has it been more apparent to them than now – after a mentor recently passed away.

Steve Pregent, a well-known entrepreneur in his own right, died of Leukemia in January at age 74. The Knoppses mourn the loss as fellow businesspeople, but also because for more than 10 years, Pregent and the Knopps couple have been sharing tricks of the trade and a close bond. In 2013, Pregent enlisted the help of Mike Knopps to sell a property.  “Getting a listing from somebody is earning their trust,” Sissy Knopps said. “It means they believe in you. Steve (Pregent) and Mike (Knopps) earned that trust both ways.”

The streak continued for years, including Mike renting a portion of the old Packerland building on River Street from Pregent in 2019, and then purchasing the building from Pregent in 2021. “We feel honored that he chose us when selling some of his buildings,” Mike said. “There are a lot of investors in the area, but he chose us to pass that onto because he thought we were a good fit.” The building was full when Pregent sold to Mike – 13 suites of tenants and 43 storage units. All of the tenants – machining, computers, builders, heating and cooling operations – stayed in the building purchased by Mike. One of the reasons Pregent was so well-liked was because of his integrity, said Mike. “He even followed up with a lot of the renters to make sure we were treating them right,” Mike said. “I had to continue to build that trust. It took him almost a year to sell us the next property.”

Even before Mike made Pregent’s acquaintance, he had the be-your-own-boss bug. In 2007, when Mike was just 18, he ran his own fencing business called ProFence and Fab. He also received his Brokers License, started his own metal fabrication business called The Company, and continues to purchase properties throughout the Chippewa Valley. 

Sissy became an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) and a Seller Representative Specialist (SRS). Every year since 2017, she has been awarded a membership into the International Sterling Society. This prestigious honor recognizes the top 17 percent Coldwell Banker sales associates and representatives worldwide. In 2023 however, Sissy landed among the top 11 percent worldwide.

In 2023, Sissy Knopps helped her clients with home buying and selling and reached $5.3 million in sales. In 2021, Mike and Sissy founded Valley Properties, a commercial real estate company. Valley Properties owns and leases 35 commercial units in the downtown Chippewa region. Additionally, Sissy manages three short-term rental properties on Lake Holcombe and continues to buy properties to flip and builds new properties to sell. The couple also has three children. “We like to be busy,” Mike said as a matter of fact. 

Although Mike and Sissy have the business-owner chops, they said they are grateful to have connected with Pregent for his experience and additional advice. They’re glad they took advantage while they could. “He gave us the business mentality to buy commercial properties, and it was nice to have that sounding board,” said Sissy. “It’s sad we can’t call him to bounce ideas off of anymore. “We hope we’re doing him proud, and we will continue to build our own legacy like he built his.”

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