A woman and her clock shop
Little Swiss Clock Shop opened in 1968

By Emily Zantow - Special to The Freeman

June 22, 2017

Karen White opened the Little Swiss Clock Shop in Waukesha in 1968.
Submitted photo

WAUKESHA — Karen White and her husband, Edward, opened the Little Swiss Clock Shop in 1968 in downtown Waukesha and a lot has changed since the shop first opened, including its name.

“My husband was a watchmaker and that’s what created my interest. His passion was restoring old antique watches and clocks. He loved doing that, but when you’re in business, you can’t just do your favorites,” White said.

“When we started out in business, we were the ‘Little Swiss Watch Shop,’ and it didn’t take too long before there was a demand for clocks. We started putting in a few clocks and the demand was so great that clocks finally overtook the watches,” said White.

Clocks chimed and cuckooed in the background during the phone interview as White explained how her business has evolved. At one point, there were three Little Swiss Clock Shops, the other two located in West Allis.

“To be successful in business, the time commitment is the biggest fact to consider. You have to be here regularly. That means six and sometimes seven days a week,” said White.

Little Swiss Clock Shop offers repairs and an array of timepieces including: pocket, wrist and sport watches as well as grandfather, wall, mantel and chime clocks. Barometers, whimsical, novelty and musical clocks are also available.

“People very often treat our store like a museum. They will often bring their relatives from out of town down to Waukesha specifically to see our clocks,” White said. “We meet so many people, from all walks of life.”

Since White’s husband passed away in the early nineties, she took over the shop, which currently staffs five people including a watchmaker.

“When people buy something here, they expect us to service it. It’s not like going to a department store where you just go and pick-up your item, put it in your cart and check out. When they come here, they expect us to be knowledgeable about the product, and explain it thoroughly and to be here for servicing, not just at the time, but throughout the years,” said Miller.