The Deals and the Dish on Where You Need to Shop
Dec 16, 2013
10:26 AMWindow Shopping
Last Minute Shopping Guide: Shop Madison’s Great Boutiques
Time’s a-ticking and Christmas is only nine days away. For last-minute shoppers who are just waiting to pick up that perfect something—or for gift-givers who still like the cheery atmosphere of a retail store and the touch and feel of actual product, our city has got plenty of options for local present paradises. Got a fabulous foodie, pint-size delight or fashion maven to shop for? Here are a selection of some local shops that I’ve written about in past Window Shopping columns to check out.
Great Gift Boutiques
Anthology is so noteworthy, it was actually mentioned in The New York Times’ “36 Hours In” series. This alt-craft paradise offers notecards, jewelry, T-shirts, totes, craft supplies and kits, decorative papers and more. Need I mention that prices are particularly wallet-friendly here, too?
Chiripa is a fun and festive riot of a store that offers handmade crafts from Mexico, like punched-tin stars and ornaments, handmade pottery and other gifty, fun items.
For art enthusiasts, step into Hatch Art House (shown left) for a wonderful variety of locally made art including prints, paintings, cards, jewelry and more. Owner Tammy Schreiter is an encyclopedia on all of her artists and can give some wonderful recommendations for any shopper.
J. Kinney has always been one of my favorite gift shops. I liken it to a palate-cleanser of a shopping experience. The clean, airy atmosphere is akin to a cheery garden cottage (I love their wood-frame screen front door) and the botanical theme carries throughout the shop. Find home décor and accessories, gardening accents and jewelry.
Local shopping options are peppered all throughout the city. For west siders, Willow Creek is a delightful home décor store that’s got chic little vignettes of how you’d love your dream home to look. It’s got a great mix of tabletop/kitchen goods as well as decorative accents.
Eclectic and edgy, Monroe Street’s Zip-Dang has locally made T-shirts, prints, clothing and jewelry. Owner Natalie Bass and her husband Mike have peppered the shop with covetable finds like whimsical animal prints and Mike’s photography, too.
Monroe Street’s a stone’s throw is like Madison personified in clothing. Find fashionable yet totally functional wardrobe staples for women like sweaters, leggings, dresses, jackets, socks and more—most with a somewhat active/outdoor bent—like zip-ups that you could wear from workout to beyond.
Although it’s cliché to say, who doesn’t love a great deal? Even better if the deal is a unique, yet totally covetable piece of jewelry, handbag or top that’s fashionable to boot. Verona’s The Purple Goose boasts gotta-have-it tops, dresses, leggings, jewelry and more in a cozy home-turned-store.
I love Middleton’s Neena (shown right) for a few reasons. The selection of super stylish workout gear-turned-everyday wear is one. The refined, polished interior with friendly staff and an encouraging atmosphere is another. It’s the perfect addition to Middleton’s quaint downtown.
Fitness Enthusiasts and Weekend Warriors
Got a fitness fanatic on your list? Atwood Avenue’s Catalyst offers cool workout gear and loads of running-shoe options. Unsure of what to get? Pick up a gift card and let your giftee choose their favorites.
Heritage brands are very popular right now, and Duluth Trading Co.’s downtown Mt. Horeb store is stocked with must-haves for guys, like their trademark Longtail T-shirts and Ballroom Jeans. Also find picks for women (tops, jeans, basics) and gardening gear and work stuff for guys—like tool belts, work truck organizers and tool sets. Their online store at duluthtrading.com is very slick, too.
For triathletes and running enthusiasts, Endurance House is where it’s at. I love it because they offer solid running advice from experienced triathletes and marathoners on shoes, gear and clothing. They’ve got the best selection of not only super cool running shoes but the most advanced styles on the market.
Tired of stopping at big-box sports stores with hit-or-miss employees that may or may not know how well those snowshoes actually work? Hit up Fontana for seasoned experts and a hand picked selection of outdoor gear by Patagonia, Burton, Icebreaker, Marmot and more. P.S.: you can shop their staggering selection online, too! fontanasports.com
Step into one of Tabby & Jack’s two locations in Fitchburg or on the Square (with a new location opening in Middleton soon) and pick up a holistic treat, toy, outfit or food for your four-legged friend. The friendly, inviting atmosphere is just what a local pet boutique should be like.
One of my personal favorites, Fromagination is a big-city artisanal cheese and food shop right in our downtown. It’s simply bragging rights that we’ve got such a treasure with experts on staff that know their stuff. With a staggering variety of Wisconsin cheeses and gourmet treats (Quince & Apple preserves, Potter’s Crackers, Dean & Deluca candies, New Glarus beer and more) anyone can put together the perfect gift basket for a beloved foodie on their list.
Other quality foodie stores:
Cool Cooking at The Kitchen Gallery
If you’re like me and want to give the younger set on your list something more meaningful than a video game or movie, get yourself to Whoops! and Co. and pick out a board game, craft set or educational toy instead. The well-versed staff gives great recommendations on what to buy for kids of every age.
patty cakes has an adorable selection of kids' clothing and gift items. Lace "bubble" dresses, wild socks, handmade hair bows, tutus and much more are waiting for a very important child in your life. (Please note the shop has moved locations since the column was written to 6138 Mineral Point Rd.)