Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shopping Local in Metro Milwaukee: A Visit to Fischberger's Variety

Every so often in this blog, I leave the book world behind to focus on Milwaukee. In particular, my focus is on homegrown retail with genuine physical footprints. I've been remiss of late, but some desperate moves by our online competitor (more on that tomorrow) has reminded me that it's important to emphasize all the great local shopping that we have in this area.

I recently saw an informal online survey of where folks were going to shop local this holiday season. Aside from a few nice Boswell mentions, the store that seemed to dominate the conversation was Fischberger's Variety, located at 2445 North Holton Street. Now I know some of my customers shop Fischberger's regularly, but I am quite convinced that not all of you know about this treasure, located just across the Milwaukee River on Holton, just north of North Avenue.

Started by Sarah and Jeff Ditzenberger in 2006 (per Sarah, though one other source said 2007), Fischberger's started out aiming to be a modern variety store, echoing the recently closed Ben Franklin on Oakland and Locust (that's corrected from North--thanks, John!) They slowly morphed into more of a gift shop, being that they were not able to get a lot of the staples (staples didn't exactly come up, but transparent tape did) at the pricing and quantity that would work for them.

There is still a wonderful fabric and notions area. Long-time readers of Boswell and Books might remember that we bought fabric there to make curtains for our magazine storage area. There is also candy, toys, home goods, books, cards, and a nice selection of ephemera.

As our friend Johanna said when she visited several years ago, "This so much reminds me of stores in Austin." See, there's no need to go to South by Southwest anymore.

The only reason I don't visit Fischberger's more is because I love Sarah's taste and I'd be worried about stealing all her ideas for Boswell. We both love our matryoshkas and forest creatures and the like. There's a very nice selection of ornaments too.

Best of all, you're only blocks from Northern Chocolate (2036 North King Drive) and Fein Brothers (2007 North King Drive). What? You haven't been there? I have a lot of work to do.

Fischberger's Variety
2445 North Holton Avenue
Monday through Friday, 11 am to 7 pm
Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm
(414) 263-1991

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