Christmas (Shopping) Comes Early

Gallerie of Shoppes offers a way to buy gifts while helping a good cause

BY Patrick Mares

November 7, the 41st Gallerie of Shoppes arrives at the Lambeau Field Atrium from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thirty vendors from locations outside the Brown County area will offer clothing, home décor, gifts and specialty foods, among many other products. The event is sponsored by the Green Bay chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization or P.E.O. established in 1859.

All proceeds raised support educational opportunities for area women. The Gallerie boasts over $500,000 in scholarships awarded over the last four decades for women returning to school.

Carol Wilinski, P.E.O.’s Publicity Co-Chair explained a bit more about this year’s event and the organization that spawned it.

“There are nine chapters in the Green Bay area,” Carol said “five of which are responsible for the Gallerie of Shoppes. The revenue is generated in two ways, we have the ticket sales at five dollars each. And then we get a percentage from the vendors that come as well.”

The Gallerie had simple beginnings.

“It was really just a number of women who got together,” Carol said “and decided they wanted to put the thing on. Gosh, I think my first time was back in 1992. Back then, it was held at the Midway Hotel near the stadium, but as it grew, we needed a larger venue.”

Ms. Wilinski was pulled into the P.E.O. by some friends who knew she attended the Gallerie regularly.

“This was the most organized group I’d ever known,” Carol said “when they said they were going to do something, it got done.”

Shops that rent a space who have traveled from a great distance, are chosen to make the Gallerie a ‘destination’ rather than something that could be replaced by a drive into town.

“We have quite a few shops coming in from Door County,” Carol said “from Cedarburg, near Milwaukee, Franklin, West Bend, Illinois, Tomah, Berlin, Neenah, Madison.”

The invitations to vendors from farther out came as members asked some of their favorite not-quite-local stores to participate, and who realized and appreciated the benefit for the fund-raiser.

“The reason that I have always loved going,” Carol said “is it’s before Thanksgiving, before the hustle and bustle of the holidays start. I personally do a lot of my Christmas shopping at this event. It’s a really fun day.  We have mens things too, and there are men that come. But a lot of people seem to make it a girl’s day out. And the chance to go shopping in the Lambeau Field Atrium just adds something to the experience.”

We focus on fun.  We truly love doing retail, we love the products we sell, enjoy working with our customers and love to see those customers connect with our products. They tell us over and again that we actually make shopping fun by surprising the consumer with our choice of merchandise. 

I was a heavy industrial structural engineer and my wife an interior designer.  We both wanted to change careers.  After my wife graduated from law school we moved to central Wisconsin where we came across the wonderful community of Princeton. In 1999 we completed the renovation of our 1882 building, complete with loft for easy commute, and opened Twister.  At the time It was primarily a home accent store.  Today home accents are a minor component of our business.

Over the years we have seen the market shift in so many ways and have adapted to what we are today. I cannot say we focus on any one thing we have so many things!

We sell fashion, fashion accessories, kitchen, kids (toys), wine, beer, liquor, home goods, and we have an espresso café.

Vintique is a destination-style experience boutique.  The emphasis is on our customers, providing unique choices along with a feeling of nostalgia, hope, comfort and joy! At Vintique we want our customers to enjoy their shopping experience and to always be pleasantly surprised.  At the Gallerie of Shoppes we will create a mini version of our historic downtown Neenah location.  Shoppers there will find unique designers, eclectic choices of clothing, gifts and accessories.  Our Christmas items will be coming with us to the Gallerie of Shoppes as well.   It will be a unique collection of great finds!

Vintique opened on October 1st, 2009.  Establishing ourselves in the community is an ongoing process.  Vintique works from the heart, not the mind with an eclectic mix of new and old.  Currently we have women’s  clothing styles from over 100 designers throughout the world.  Our jewelry is all locally made by more than fourteen area artists.  Many of our pieces are one of a kind.  The accessories that we offer are also from a wide variety of designers.  The clothing, gifts, accessories and home decor all have a romantic, inspirational, vintage or retro feel, telling a story as statement pieces.  Our gifts are unique and eclectic as well as fun.

Vintique has true vintage from the 1900’s through the 1970’s.  Antiques are used throughout the shop for displays as well as being for sale in the shop.    

Panache is a boutique that offers fun, fashionable clothing and accessories that are trend driven and timeless to delight an array of ages and tastes.  Panache will be showcasing styles that have been selected exclusively for the Gallerie of Shoppes event.  Come shop Panache and experience a boutique atmosphere where you’ll find your own sense of style with clothing, accessories, shoes, and some gift items.

May of 2002 Panache opened its doors.  With a degree in interior design and having a passion for colors, textures, and style, opening my boutique was another fun way to use these talents with clothing and accessories instead of only home décor.

Panache is always evolving. Every season I try to introduce new lines that keep things current.  Tastes change and yet some lines I’ve had for 13 years because they are tried and true.

GOS_BlacksmithClothingBlacksmith Clothing Co.
Blacksmith Clothing Co. established in 2010, offers on-trend clothing for men and women of all ages. The fashion-forward merchandise, not ironically, is showcased in a sturdy, historic masonry building that actually once housed the village blacksmith, slightly off the beaten path, in downtown Egg Harbor.

Our customer base has taken off and grown exponentially. Why? Customers are not only coming back, they’re spreading the word. Probably the most common comment we hear from returning customers is that they get continual compliments from their garments bought at Blacksmith Clothing Co.

Our conscientious commitment to customer service ensures all shoppers will enjoy their visit.

The business hasn’t changed from it’s original concept, as we gauge the lasting trends that sweep the fashion scene so customers can be right on top of today’s styles, especially lines coming out of New York and California.  

Men’s fashion in particular is growing steadily. Seriously, guys of all ages show an interest in today’s fashion. The newer men’s styles are basically the classics with strong attention to cut, detail and mixed fabrication.

In addition to tops, jackets, tunics, dresses, outerwear, and accessories, we have a strong selection of footwear. When we select a sandal, shoe or boot for the shop, the design must be both striking and comfortable enough to wear all day, and of course on-trend.  We also carry fashion jewelry directly from New York jewelry houses; these styles are fluid, so we make semi-annual buying trips to keep up with jewelry that works with, and compliments today’s fashion wear.

GOS_paper_DollsMonticello on Jefferson
We are a women’s boutique in Door County that has been in business for 21 years.

We are, and always have been “American Made,” even when the apparel lines were few and far between. One popular line is, “The Happy Seams of Monticello” because their clothes are made by artists who love and live for their business.

No child labor, No prison labor, No locked up in foreign countries being paid pennies.

The quality, craftsmanship, and fabrics are real and feel different. Actually, everything about our store feels different.
We dress people. Build their wardrobes with them. A whole lot of personal interaction. People trust us.

Our customers come to us for one-of-a-kind items, clothes with personality and character. We dress everyone, from the art gallery owners of Door County, and bankers in Chicago, to the women who are going on safari in Africa, or a weekend in Paris. Our customers are world travelers, sophisticated and lively folks who have found us over the years. Mothers, daughters and grandmothers.

We are a “Town and Country” lifestyle boutique featuring upscale, fun and affordable clothing.  I opened in 1980 as an art gallery and also sold hand painted t-shirts I had brought back from Aspen. They were expensive, yet were so well received that I decided to “outfit” them with exciting clothing including denim, jackets, skirts and dresses. I then became known as, “The Store for Beautiful Dresses.”  
We have a great following and our customers tell us they always find something they wouldn’t find anywhere else. 

GOS_image1Ladies Choice Boutique
A ladies clothing boutique.  We carry clothing, jewelry and accessories for every season. We have been a participant of the Gallerie of Shoppes for over 12 years.  This year we expanded our booth which means more room for you to shop, but best of all we are able to bring even more of our great merchandise with us!

Crivitz is one of the many unique vacation areas located in beautiful northeastern Wisconsin.  With many lakes, rivers and parks, thousands of visitors pass through our area.  I thought it would be a nice addition to our community to have a store for women to shop. In 2007 we opened Ladies Choice Boutique.  

It has been a unique endeavor.  Clothing changes, and transition from season to season, so we are always looking for new things to bring into the store.   My sales associates set us apart from the big box stores, providing individual assistance to each one of the guests who walk through our doors.

We sell missy sized women’s clothing – casual to dressy casual with handbags, gloves, hats, scarves, and costume jewelry.

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