Two new downtown businesses open in time for fall

By Hannah Weikel - Freeman Staff

Oct. 31, 2017

Len Scarpinato of Pewaukee gets his hair cut at the Leather Strop Shop in downtown Waukesha on Friday afternoon. The barber shop offers clients a shave and free beer during appointments.
Hannah Weikel/Freeman Staff

WAUKESHA — More than a dozen new shops and boutiques have opened in downtown Waukesha this year, including two in the same city block — Leather Strop Barbershop and Treasure Trove.

Though the two new businesses offer drastically different items, both chose to open in the fall, after the rush brought by Friday Night Live in the summer.

Treasure Trove

For Treasure Trove owners Ingrid and Mo Hammad, the colorful storefront now open in downtown Waukesha is the actualization of decades of dreaming and wishing.

Ingrid, originally from Chile, and Mo, born in Egypt, moved to Waukesha for Mo’s executive chef job at Carroll University, but the two found a perfect venue for Ingrid’s dream art studio and boutique.

Ingrid is a painter and jewelry maker and runs the shop most days. Mo said she plans to someday fill the store with her own handmade wares, but for now the shop stocks silver and pearl jewelry, patterned scarves and perfume oils among other things.

Still, Ingrid’s creativity weaves through the store through a three-wall mural she painted with deep reds, purples, blues and gold.

“Pearl and silver and gem stones are her heart and soul,” Mo said. “Every time we leave the shop for the night, she passes by the window to see all the beauty inside.”

The shop officially opened two and a half weeks ago and the Hammads are still tweaking their store hours, Mo said, but they plan to stay open as late as 11 p.m. or 2 a.m. on weekends.

For now, though, Treasure Trove is open 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed Monday. It is located at 329 W. Main Street.

A window at Treasure Trove in downtown Waukesha displays colorful
jewelry and stools Friday afternoon.

Hannah Weikel/Freeman Staff

The Leather Strop Barber Shop

There aren’t many places where someone can get a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, a shave and a haircut in one stop, but the Leather Strop Barber Shop, now open downtown, offers just that.

Kathy Lucas, owner and sole employee of the Leather Strop, lovingly calls her new business a “boy-tique” and even offers male manicures that she says are popular among businessmen in Waukesha.

The business is named after the historic leather strap used to sharpen blades before a shave. Lucas collects them and has hung a few behind her counter at the shop — one even dates back to the Civil War, she said.

The rest of the barbershop is covered in old barn wood she brought in by U-Haul from a blown-down barn on her father’s property in rural Wisconsin. The light fixtures are made from exposed bulbs and tarnished wires for an old-fashioned, rustic feel.

Lucas said she stumbled upon the downtown Waukesha location by accident, but signed the lease days after she took her first tour of the storefront next to People’s Park.

“I love it out here. I looked at five buildings before I found this one,” she said.“ Downtown Waukesha reminds me of a little Madison.”

The Leather Strop has been open for just over a month, but there have already been lots of return customers, Lucas said.

The shop takes mostly appointments and opens every day at 11 a.m. It is located at 807 Clinton St.