The building downtown
that houses Willows Gallery at 126 E. Wisconsin Ave. will
soon house the Children’s Play Gallery.
Amber Gramza/Enterprise staff
OCONOMOWOC - The downtown gallery that is known for its
unique artwork and everyone being greeted at the front
door by a springer spaniel named Willow will be leaving
its current location and looking for a new space.
Mother and son
pair Mary Rose Mansour and Josh Phinn have been leasing the
location at 126 E. Wisconsin Ave. and will be in business for
two years in January. That part of the building has been bought
by the new owners of the Children’s Play Gallery, Denise and Bob
Mantz. The couple lives in Rubicon and purchased the name rights
and assets of the gallery during the summer after it announced
its closing in Delafield.
“We had been
there with our grandchildren and thought maybe we could do
something about it closing,” Denise Mantz said.
She said they
spent a lot of time looking around for the right location and
she said having Roots next door, it made sense for the mothers
who might need a cup of joe before playing and exploring with
With the new
business coming in, Phinn and Mansour will have to close the
gallery Dec. 1 and have everything moved out by Dec. 7.
“I really like
what is going on in downtown Oconomowoc and to see a good
business not be there is sad. ... Unfortunately there is no way
we can use the space and still have them there,” Denise Mantz
shutting down during the holiday season sale window will be a
huge hit. Some of the gallery’s 19 different artists have
donated paintings to the owners that will hopefully help to
offset for them finding a new location.
a wonderful response and the artists have been very sympathetic
to the situation,” Phinn said.
Phinn said the
gallery has seen a strong costumer base in the city, but that he
and his mother are more than willing to look at different
afraid of moving. ... We’ve looked at some spots in downtown but
nothing has felt right,” Phinn said. “We want to get to know the
local chambers, organizations and the people involved in a
community before we move so we know what we’re getting into.”
there is a 50-50 chance they might not find a place but if they
do close, it may not be indefinitely. He said they are open to
ideas and locations. For more information, email
said with grandchildren ranging from 12 months to 11 years old,
she is excited for this opportunity to become part of the
community. She said the Children’s Play Gallery will have old
favorites like the pirate ship, treehouse, play vet clinic, art
room and a toddler area along with new items that will have past
“customers feel familiar with it, but still feel excited because
there is a little extra there.”
said that she is hoping to be able to open by late January or
early February and is looking for contractors.
information, go to the Children’s Play Gallery Facebook page or