Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Shops for the New Year

Shoppers/readers: the Madison area is chock-full of fun and exciting new shops that have opened in the past six months. If you haven’t already visited these shops, here’s your chance to in the New Year!

Store: ARCHIVE Vintage Art
Location: 183 W. Main St., Stoughton. 205-9252
Opened: May 2007
Owner: Sharon Beckman

What was your inspiration for opening the store?
I always collected interesting paper goods. When I lived in Paris, I traveled all over and would buy anything that caught my eye and always thought, ‘Wow, that would look great in a frame someday.’ I always thought it would be an adventure to own your own business.

Why did you pick downtown Stoughton?
It’s got a great downtown. And I thought the store would fit in well on Main Street. I live here and moved here about two-and-a-half years ago.

What do you carry?
Antique art from 1850–1960. Everything from original paintings to prints to postcards to sheet music to button cards. Anything I think looks good in a frame.

What’s your background?
I have a fine arts background. I was graphic designer for over twenty years. I went to college for a fine arts degree with major in painting and a minor in French and graphic design. I also spent two years in Paris painting and I spent sixteen years in New York doing graphic design.

What stores and restaurants do you frequent in Stoughton?
Badfish Creek really comfortable outdoor clothing; The Stolen Heart for gift items; Woodland Studios has a great gallery space; Vincenzo’s wine bar; El Rio Grande has great Mexican food; Midnight Moon bead store; Catfish River Antiques is one of the best antique stores I’ve been to anywhere, ever.

What do you like most about Stoughton?
It’s got such potential. We drove here downtown one night and thought, ‘Wow, what a vibrant downtown!’ It’s kind of like that best-kept secret around Madison.

Store: Modern Bead
Location: 743 N. High Point Rd. (Sauk Point Square Shopping Center). 828-2323.
Opened: December 15
Owners: Shannon McCarthy and Troy Baumann

What do you sell?
Beads and related supplies. Our specialties are Swarovski crystals, natural stones and sterling silver. We also have classes and parties. People can also buy smaller quantities of beads and then just use the tools in-store. We’re really trying to get people who have been wanting to try beading.

What is your background?
I went to school for theatrical design but have beading my whole life. The first time I sold some jewelry I was twelve years old. My husband (Troy) was a buyer for a Madison store for a number of years and he was also a store manager. We kind of talked about opening a shop together. It’s mostly something we planned to do together for years and years and just finally did it. I had seen bead stores that carried some of my favorite things, but Madison didn’t have my dream store. So I created my dream store.

What do you like most about owning a store?
To me it’s definitely when people come into the store and they’re as excited about beading as I am. It’s about sharing that love. For me it was an exercise in self-control when I used to go into beading stores and try not to buy everything! Having someone walk out of our store and say, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ Empowering people to try it, and seeing that they have a creative bone in their body after all.

Store: Cambridge Stoneware Pottery
Location: 217 W. Main St., Cambridge. 423-9700.
Opened: July 2007
Owner: Jim Rowe (Rowe is former owner of Rowe Pottery Works, also in Cambridge, but is not associated with the company anymore).
Note: I spoke with store employee Diane Luginbuhl, and not Jim Rowe, who was out of town.

What does the store sell?
The shop sells saltware pottery as well as colored pottery. (Editor’s note: According to the website, salt glazing first became popular in the 1800s; most of Rowe’s creations are replicas of historic pieces.) Cambridge Stoneware also sells kitchen stuff like linens, kitchen accessories, glassware and serviceware.

What is salt glazing?
It’s an old traditional way of making pottery. Our new kiln is environmentally friendly. With the traditional salt glaze, you’d get sulfur burn-off, and we don’t have that anymore.

What’s the price range of your items?
Prices range from $10–$150.

Where else do you like to go in Cambridge?
Right across the street from us is Tru Bar and Grill. They’re known for their wood-fired stove. There’s also the Woodshed (home décor, furniture) and Sienna River. Katie’s Corners has Scandinavian décor food and wine. Voyagers makes custom jewelry.
Cabin Fever is new and geared for people who have log cabin homes or want log cabin décor.

Store: Vom Fass
Location: 3236 University Ave. 204-0300.
Opened: Beginning of December
Owners: David and Justin Gibson
Note: all questions were answered by Vom Fass employee David Eisner-Kleyle.

What does Vom Fass sell?
Oils, vinegar, whiskey, wine and spirits.

Why did the owners choose Madison for the first U.S. location of Vom Fass (there are two others worldwide)?
We chose Madison because of the demographic here. Madison has a more European way they think about food. They shop at farmers’ markets and there’s a wide variety of foods around the area. I mean, think about all the cheese we eat. Also, the owners that bought the franchise are from the Wisconsin area.

What is different about Vom Fass than, say, a typical liquor store?
We’re not trying to be a mass liquor store or anything. We have relationships with every one of these products. What you’re getting here are some of the most traditional, highest-quality products in Europe. And we’re all about tasting. When [customers] first walk in, they’re pretty overwhelmed. There’s such a difference in these products; they’re so palatable. Everyone says ‘Wow;’ it’s the most heard word around here. You just really have to taste the products. They’re just so amazing.

What have been the most popular products so far?
Hazelnut oil and the Waldburg balsam raspberry vinegar.

Do you have any upcoming events?
[We will have a] grand opening in the next couple of months. We will be doing tastings, probably a [few] classes here on-site. Being the first store in the U.S., we really want everything to be in order.

Store: Wisconsin Cutlery and Kitchen Supply
Location: 3236 B University Ave. 204-0560.
Opened: Beginning of December.
Owner: Bill Peterson

Why did you pick Madison as the place to open your store? (Editor’s Note: It’s actually right next door to Vom Fass)
I had lived in Madison and wanted to come back here, and I have family that lives here.
I just thought that the location, with Penzey’s close by, with all of the food people, it would be a natural fit. I signed a lease a day or two before Vom Fass did.

What were you doing before this?
I ran a store in Chicago. That store was a cutlery store and they did a lot of knife sharpening. I used to be a rep for a knife manufacturer. I called my rep friends in and said, ‘Let’s see what we can sell.’

What do you sell?
Gadgets are a huge part of the business. I have a wall of gadgets probably thirty-five feet long. [I carry] Forschner knives (it’s the same company as the Swiss Army knife), Mac Japanese knives (I’m the first dealer in Wisconsin that has that brand), Meesermeister, a good-quality German knife, and Shun, another Japanese knife.

Why do you have all of those European companies?
Well there’s only two American manufacturers, but they’re food-service grade. There isn’t any real American manufacturers that make a “retail” knife. I’m just getting started now.

How do you differentiate your store from other area kitchen stores?
I do knife sharpening. I sharpen knives by hand, which is totally unique to this area.

What’s the response been to your store so far?
Positive. I don’t think many people know about it yet. The exposure here has been so good with Vom Fass and Penzey’s; it’s helped out a lot.

What’s been your best selling item so far?
Silicone Zone—it’s silicone cooking [items]. [They are the] hottest items I’ve got. Trivets, spatulas, the pastry brushes, muffin pans, ice cream trays, things like that. They’re colorful and unique, too. It’s one-hundred percent silicone.

1 comment:

Space Oddities said...

oooh thanks for introducing these new shops! I am especially excited to check out ARCHIVE Vintage Art!