store front of Brown St. Emporium, which may open at
W359-N5740 Brown St.
in the fall or spring.
OF OCONOMOWOC — Imagine a retail space that doesn’t sell
mass produced goods and is void of “Made in China” tags.
A store committed to selling artisanal goods from local
independent vendors, a year-round craft fair for Lake
“This is stuff you can’t buy at Wal-Mart,” said Dan Von
Rueden, owner and operator of Brown St. Emporium,
located at W359N5740 Brown St. in the Town of
Oconomowoc. “This stuff will make you think ‘how did
they think of that and then how did they make it.’”
Brown St. Emporium began when Von Rueden bought the
building earlier this year for his job as an electronic
service worker. A job that has taken him all over the
country for the last six years.
bought the building because I like the area and was
looking for a home base for work,” Von Rueden said. “The
idea came to me over time with people coming in and
telling me how a craft vendors’ space would be great
a combination of an antique mall and a craft fair. The
overall goal is to spotlight creative minds in the area.
Von Rueden admits this isn’t a completely original idea
and pointed out other cities have these spaces, but he
has an idea based in the community.
are an art-based community,” said Katie Miller,
executive director of the Oconomowoc Chamber of
Commerce. “A lot of people here are artists at heart,
they love to create.”
Rueden said he is dedicated to having diversity in the
store. Part of the application process is making sure
not everyone is selling candles and baja hoodies.
“Right now we’re taking applications for vendors,” Von
Rueden said. “I’d love if the community would get
involved with filling booths and setting up the space
inside the building.”
sign will welcome customers to Brown St. Emporium when
the artisanal goods store opens at W359-N5740 Brown St.
Miller said it’s great to see this building getting new
use in this creative space. The market for locally
crafted goods has expanded and this business could fit
that need perfectly.
are in the very early stages of this project,” Von
Rueden said. “I’m still finishing up the storefront
look. Then we’ll have a grasp on the next step.”
Rueden said they are taking the business one step at a
“Once we’ve got the store full of vendors, then we’ll
plan our grand opening,” Von Rueden said. “I’d love to
open in fall, but we might have to wait until the
Brown St. Emporium vendor applications can be picked up
in person or found on their Facebook page,
facebook.com/Brown-StreetEmporium. Von Rueden is
looking for as many applications as possible.