The end of an era
Peddler’s Corner owner retiring after 32 years

By Colleen Jurkiewicz - News Graphic Correspondent

April 15, 2014

Joan Ewe, who has owned The Peddler’s Corner since 1982 is retiring at the end of April.
Photo by Mark Justesen

CEDARBURG - The Cedar Creek Settlement is losing one of its longstanding tenants. Joan Ewe, who has owned The Peddler’s Corner gift shop since 1982, will be retiring at the end of April due to health concerns.

Ewe, 83, suffers from macular degeneration and is legally blind.

“I loved doing it (the store),” she said. “I’ve been there for such a long time. The rest of me is pretty healthy; it’s just that I can’t see.”

Ewe opened The Peddler’s Corner 32 years ago, when she was introduced to the Cedarburg area by a friend who owned a shop in the city. At the time, Ewe worked in food service at a school and lived in Milwaukee with her husband, Donald, who passed away in 2004.

“After 12 years, I was tired of food service,” she said. “I came out and looked around and I found Peddler’s Corner and talked my husband into it. And here I am.”

The Peddler’s Corner, located in The Cedar Creek Settlement in historic downtown Cedarburg will close at the end of the month
Photo by Mark Justesen

She started out with the inventory inherited from the last tenant, and gradually came into her own as a retailer.

“Baskets were big at the time - people were just buying baskets, and mugs were really big, too,” she said. “I probably had a hundred varieties of mugs. Now people are so mugged-out!”

The gift shop began with just one room, but after several years, Ewe was urged by her landlord to expand.

The Peddler’s Corner became known for its selection of high-end gift items and specialty collectibles. Ewe traveled to Chicago and Minnesota to stock her store with brands like Jim Shore, Dept. 56 and David Frykman, and she enjoyed a customer base that traveled long distances to visit The Peddler’s Corner.

“I still have customers in Illinois that call me and come in and several from Fond du Lac and the Sheboygan area and Appleton. They still come in, especially for their Christmas items. I’m really going to miss that,” she said.

Her secret to success after 32 years? “I really loved it. I loved doing what I was doing. I enjoyed getting new things and then hoping that people liked them,” she said. “I made so many friends and it’s just been really hard for me right now to say goodbye to all of them.”

Ewe lives at Lasata Senior Living Campus in Cedarburg and still works at The Peddler’s Corner on Fridays and Saturdays. She hopes to stay close with her staff of seven part-time employees, whom she affectionately calls “my girls.” Two employees have been with her for more than 27 years.

The store will close at the end of April, when Ewe’s lease expires. Until that time, The Peddler’s Corner is hosting a going-out-of-business sale, featuring 60 percent off all full-priced items.