Turning the corner
Former music store at Barstow/South gets new owner,
new lease on life

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

April 8, 2014

 This building on the southwest corner of Barstow and South Streets, which has stood largely empty for years, could soon become a restaurant, photo studio and more.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Ė A former music store at the corner of South and Barstow Streets has been vacant since the mid-1990s, but now the building has a new owner whoís searching for the perfect vision for the spaces.

"When I first moved to Wisconsin, I remember driving around and learning the area and seeing that music store on the corner. I thought it was such a cool location and I always had it in the back of my mind," said John Ozug, who purchased the property Dec. 30. "Iím a real estate investor and I really like whatís going on in downtown Waukesha. I want to be a part of that."

Ozug said the building is actually one space thatís interconnected, and thus has four different addresses: 757 Barstow St. and 209, 211 and 213 South St.

Different spaces of the building have served as all manner of businesses over the years, from a music store to a comic book store to (most recently) a print shop.

Ozug said thereís lots of rehabilitation to be done on the building, and the first tenant will likely be his wife Wendy, who plans to open a photography studio in the former print shop space.

"We think thatís a great location for that business Ė right next to Chef Jackís catering and right next to the Rotunda, where they do 200 weddings a year," Ozug said. "There are opportunities for collaboration there."

As for the main corner space with all the windows, Ozug said heís open to suggestions.

"The windows, lighting and high ceiling will lend itself well to either retail, or weíre toying with the idea of a trendy spot for people to hang out," Ozug said. "Iím very open to ideas, but thatís the next phase."

A former Social Security office in the building also offers old architecture, large wooden beams, skylights and other features that Ozug said could provide an opportunity for a willing and creative businessperson.

"If people have ideas and are willing to do the work, I would be willing to do some profit or rent-sharing, and Iíd love to find someone whoís willing to take a chance," Ozug said. "Iím very open to ideas and suggestions.

"This isnít something I need to hurry up and do something to today. I want to think about it, work with people and come up with the best fit for downtown Waukesha."

Ozug said anyone who might be interested in sharing their ideas should contact him at johnozug@gmail.com.

"Iím not in this to make a killing Ė I like hanging out downtown and Iíd love to have a more vibrant, thriving downtown," Ozug said. "The best way for me to help with that is to be an owner."

Email: spryor@conleynet.com