Hometown Established brings creative retail to National Avenue
Milwaukee is home to myriad of mighty married couples, including Laurie Viduski and Michael Reese, who – among other endeavors – run a shop called Hometown Established, 321 W. National Ave.
The couple moved the shop last fall from a different Walker's Point space on Mineral Street. The new location is only about 100 square feet, but because of the large windows and smart curation of the items, it feels cozy, not cramped.
There are more than 90 artists' and makers' work inside Hometown, most of whom are locally based. Wares include candles, jewelry, clothing, home goods – similar to the offerings at other local shops such as Sparrow Collective and Waxwing – but also unique finds like handwoven rugs from an alpaca farm in Eau Claire, handcrafted jams and jellies, Bittercube bitters and wooden benches from Willow Design.
"We want to support as many artists and shops as we can, so it's important that each shop has some different things, too," says Viduski. "Hometown offers more of a 'general store' type of thing. We are trying to make the shop a place people can go for everyday items since there is so little retail in the area at this time."
Viduski, who was raised in Saukville, obtained an art history degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She later worked and volunteered in several galleries, including the Villa Terrace, before launching her own business where she also sells her own jewelery, scarves and sewn items. Reese is a woodworker, employed by Built 360 in Riverwest.
The couple started out selling their creations at Makers Market and other craft/art/makers events.
"It's really cool to see how many people, who started at Makers Market, are now independent artists," says Viduski. "There are so many creative people living and working in Milwaukee."
Viduski says the support of other business owners and organizers – including Steph Davies from the Waxwing, Mike Brenner from Brenner Brewing Co., Team Nerd Letterpress and artist/organizer/writer Cortney Heimerl – have helped create a thriving, independent makers' scene in Milwaukee.
"Since the beginning, everyone in the neighborhood and local community have been great. Our collective goal is to help each other because the more opportunities there are for artists and makers, the better it is for everyone," says Viduski. "We all want to see the neighborhood grow in a positive way and spread the word about all the unique and exciting things happening around every corner in Walker's Point."
In the near future, Hometown will host events and extend its hours, but for now, Viduski and Reese are adjusting to life as parents. The couple welcomed a son, Quinn, two weeks ago.
Currently, Hometown Established is open Thursday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"The most exciting aspect of this for us is that you can now buy almost anything locally, from soap to home goods," says Viduski. "It reminds me of going back to our grandparents' time, when people made their own things and knew exactly where they came from."
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