Sunday, July 15, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes

This is my 100th post and I struggled thinking of something spectacular enough to do that would justify it being #100. I finally decided to bring it full circle and write about downtown Waukesha and the changes that have happened in the last year because..well...there have been many. I do believe that almost all of them have been for the better.

Let's start with West Main Street and this is one of the latest changes to happen. Bodway's is now Mainstream. From a Freeman article, Tony Bodway decided to sell the business to two customers with great bar & grill experience. You shouldn't notice too many changes but some great additions like more drink specials and more sports on TV.
Mainstream, formerly Bodway's

The Carpet Store on the West End went out of business and the building was purchased by George of Waukesha Tattoo. So many rumors are going around about what the building will be but I will not go into those because they are just that - rumors. Whatever it becomes, I know it will be amazing because George is a great business owner in Waukesha.

O'Brien's Photography Studio and The Sign Shoppe closed to make way for the mildly anticipated Kendall Apartments that will be coming to the west end. The discussions about this building and parking are completely comical at times when listening to the suggested resolutions. I believe that the Alderman of downtown has so many fish to fry that the changes coming to the west end are not a priority. Not saying that his current concerns don't need attention (because they definitely do) but anyone can see that some of the decisions made for parking at the west end will not pan out well. Watch for bumpers on the road. (not speed bumps folks, I'm talking bumpers getting ripped off cars from close quarters!)
Former O'Brien's Photography and The Sign Shoppe - Soon to be Kendall Apts,

ReStyle Studio went into the former Katydids. ReStyle was located in the Meadowbrook Shopping Center. It is a home goods consignment shop and has unique pieces from local artists. In May, Restyle opened a women's clothing consignment shop. I currently consign with the shop and cannot tell you how trendy the shop is. I have never been into such a classy shop for consignment - just makes you really feel good about having your clothing there.

ReStyle Studio on Main Street. Home Consignment
ReStyle Studio Women's Clothing Consignment Boutique
River's End Gallery expanded by buying the old Sprizzo's location (that was also a gallery for a bit.) The two locations were turned into one with a beautiful new stone facade added to the front. It is truly a beautiful gallery.

Newly expanded River's End Gallery on Main Street
American Tattoo is now Jedi Tattoo. The owner of American Tattoo put the shop up for sale and left for Florida. There are many stories going around as to why he left, but I won't get into it. Jedi Tattoo brought a huge interactive dinosaur to Freeman Friday Night Live two weeks ago that was a great hit with the kids.

Jedi Tattoo on West Main Street
There is a recent rumor of a beer pub going into the old Save N Save however there is a lot of work needed to the building and people are questioning if it will be able to open. There is another beer pub slated for the old Beer Goggles/Mainstage/Sheperds (depending how old you are!) I guess this was brought up once before but people question how the copper brew kettles will work in the building.

Clinton Street Gallery moved to Main Street next to The Steaming Cup to have a larger space. (No renaming was done.) Their former location was filled with a record/DVD/CD resale shop that has some of the rarest albums that I have seen.

Clinton Street Gallery now on Main Street
Healing Forest Studio went into the old Mango Clothing store and Mango moved next to Nice Ash on Main Street into a former H&R Block location. The Studio offers fine art classes and Mango now has more exposure.
Mango on Main Street

While I'm on this part of town, can anyone explain to me if ?Harlow's? is open? It still has salon stuff inside but I never see anything change or anyone go in the place. 

Three Sister's Spirit relocated to Clinton Street in a building that had been vacant for a while. The building has been remodeled with lovely apartments above it now. The location is smaller for Three Sister's Spirit but they didn't need so much space before.

Key Westconsin has been thriving during the Farmer's Markets due to smart planning of opening up in the AM for breakfast on Saturday's and getting people to see the menu. I love the food and the fun atmosphere. They are also doing some great things with the blog and social media. Hope they keep it up and if they can't - they can give someone's email a jingle - AHEM!
Key Westconsin
People's Park finally reopened bigger and better than ever after a fire in February of 2011 shut them down for a year. They expanded to add a bar and additional seating onto the second floor as well as...wait for it...rooftop dining! I have yet to get to the rooftop but the second floor is very nice.

People's Park - Main St & Clinton St.
The Potter's Shop has turned into a large class space and the artist's that had their work in the shop have spread out around downtown into other galleries.

No restaurant has filled the vacant location in the The Clarke Hotel. Rumor is that the location is extremely overpriced for the size, but still looking for a tenant.

Bieg Boutique is moving from the 5 Points to Broadway as part of The Clarke Hotel. They don't need such a large space and have decided to be a bit of a gift shop for those staying at the hotel.

Bieg Boutique moving from the 5 Points
Bieg Boutiques new location on Broadway
Beading Hearts Studio relocated to the 5 Points from South Street to the Three Sister's Spirit former location. This move alone doubled the business the DeDe had been doing. She has now added yarn in addition to her beautiful beads and classes.

Beading Hearts Studio  now on the 5 Points
Bells and Whistles and Blush Wedding & Event Planning has just opened in downtown. This shop will feature custom wedding accessories as well as the planing office for weddings.

Bells & Whistles on Broadway
RiverMill Foods on Main Street just celebrated 1 year in downtown. This shop has the best salad/soup/sandwich combos in my humble opinion. And don't get my started on their cheesecakes. (insert Barney Stinson Lengendary quote here). I am glad this place opened on the 5 points.

Alterations Unlimited recently closed without much of an explanation. Lena's is still open on Broadway for those that need a seamstress.

Montecito Ristorante and Lounge opened in El Ranchito's former location. They put in a clear garage door and offer a great indoor/outdoor lounge with amazing drinks. The inside of the restaurant is hard to see with the tinted windows (that they cannot do anything about). I have yet to eat here but the drinks are mighty fine. El Ranchito moved up to the Aurora Pharmacy strip mall on Delafield and has since closed. Nothing is in the strip mall, which means there are two completely empty strip malls in Waukesha - odd, yet Walgreens and Aldi's want to annex into the city, tear down homes, put in retention ponds and build new - doesn't make sense to this girl!
Montecito on Broadyway - taken from RiverMill Foods

A Stroke of Genius - Paint, Canvas and Wine Studio opened on Broadway near Gaspar. I have to walk this area again because I didn't see it today. But if there is wine, its been added to my list as a must-do. 

I saw on my walk today that a Fran'tic Screen Printing will be going in next to the River Mart and Popcorn store on Broadway & Main Street (its a walk thru location). This used to be Soundwaves way back when. It will be interesting to find out pricing and capabilities as I have always wanted to make custom shirts for a party.

Pandora's Closet opened on Main Street that I believe is a consignment or second hand clothing store. These owners also opened The Furniture Closet, a second hand furniture store on Broadway. I have not been into either of these but I do know that the owner/manager? of Pandora's Closet is always cheerful and polite and keeps his store front immaculate and sweeps the sidewalk.
Pandora's Closet

The newest store to Waukesha is called Copacetic, a hat store. This went into Serendipity Scrapbooks old location. I have yet to get in here.
Copacetic on Main Street

Fox River Antiques became Antiques and Uniques on Main. The vintage hardware portion of the mall closed and is now a gold and silver buying shop. The two antique shops in the bank parking lot relocated to Racine Ave near Dairy Queen. The status of the buildings was questionable on many levels. There are the ever looming convention center rumors and also the buildings were literally crumbling on the tenants. They are available now for short term leases but I wouldn't suggest anyone moving in unless your product cannot be destroyed when the roof falls in.

Former Antique stop that moved to Racine Ave.
Gold & Silver buying shop
Escamilla Entertianment & Dance Studio opened on Gaspar Street next to Chill in a former record store? (The windows were always papered up but I believe that is what it was). Now the windows are open and you can watch the dancers in action. They are terrific. The studio offers classes that I might join in the next year.

Allo! Chocolat expanded into the former Coffee N Beans to offer a studio with chocolate classes. These classes are open to the public or can be done for special occasions - work parties, bachelorette parties, birthdays, ladies clubs.

Allo! Chocolat's classroom space at Main Street Plaza
O' What A Day Cafe opened in Main Street Plaza just a few months back. This is a gourmet cupcake shop with many daily flavors offered. They are delicious. They hope to have Alterra coffee and sandwiches in the near future.

Oh What a Day Cafe at Main Street Plaza
Cookies Galore & More unfortunately shut its doors this year, but Cake Pops by Design opened. I have seen their creations and they look fabulous. They have limited store front hours and are mainly by appointment but keep them in mind for a unique treat to give someone.

Cake Pops by Design
Andrea's Hair Studio opened on Broadway near Rochester Deli and just down from there it seems that another hair salon will be opening. The place didn't have any beauty supplies or look to it yet, but the window says opening soon. Andrea's looks very nice and modern but I have not had any services done by them.
Andrea's Hair Studio on Broadway

Fiesta Peluche I believe is still in it's first year. This is a party supply store on the East End of (downtown) Broadway.  I have never been in but the window paint looks fun enough that if I'm looking for some party supplies in the future I will head on in.

Fiesta Peluche & new hair salon on Broadway

This is on the other side of the river but I still consider it downtown so I'm adding it. Yanke Saloon has closed and I believe the bar was purchased by Fuzzy's. When I walked by last week, the interior was being completely gutted so we shall see what it becomes. Not sure the status of the apartments above but with the building being so gorgeous, I think that they should be remodeled like the ones on Clinton that are above Three Sister's Spirit.

HOLY CRAP - that was way more information than I thought I was going to have on downtown Waukesha. I'm sure I missed a spot or two but I truly hope my information is accurate and I tried to stay away from the gossip when I could and just talk about first hand experiences.

So I hope you enjoyed by 100th post and with the Waukesha County Fair running Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22 on the Waukesha Expo Grounds, I will have very limited time to blog due to the marketing support that I give the Fair. For all the details on the Fair, visit the website. (yes that was a partial shameless plug!)

Until my next post, Happy Eating!

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