Adding local flair
BLiNK Artisan Boutique leases space at Mayfair; owner hopes part of larger trend

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Feb. 13, 2018

BLiNK Artisan Boutique owner Lori Reed temporarily opened a store with handmade items from 12 vendors in Mayfair Mall. The store will remain open until the end of April.
Submitted photo

WAUWATOSA — Malls aren’t known for their collection of local stores, but BLiNK Artisan Boutique owner Lori Reed hopes her store’s success at Mayfair Mall is part of a larger trend.

The store, which sells items made by individual artisans and crafters at a location in Oconomowoc and another in Waukesha, will occupy the space formerly rented by Coach in Mayfair until the end of April. This is the second time BLiNK has temporarily leased a store space at Mayfair Mall. During the Christmas 2017 shopping season, Reed and her vendors set up a store in the Michael Kors space, which she was a great success.

She hopes the same will be true for the new BLiNK pop-up store that opened Saturday in Mayfair Mall.

“We got great response from the customers,” Reed said of last Christmas. “They are excited to see something new in the mall. We keep our prices very affordable.”

She added customers also like supporting local businesses, and a time when many people are turning away from big box stores, she’s happy they can offer something unique.

“People are starting to recognize how important it is to support small stores,” she said.

BLiNK Artisan Boutique owner Lori Reed is temporarily renting a space in Mayfair Mall to introduce new customers to items her vendors make.
Submitted photo

The Mayfair shop will have 12 vendors selling a variety of handmade and upcycled items including jewelry, metal cut-out signs, wood signs, license plate art and handcrafted scarves.

Chris Jaeger, senior general manager of Mayfair, said having locally owned stores like BLiNK in the mall is part of a longtime approach to having the right balance of shopping options. In fact, Jaeger said there has always been store turnover so he doesn’t think today is any different than years ago.

He said having some local store operators is important to Mayfair Mall management and that local and regional “merchants are really on their game” in terms of quality of their products and their level of customer service.

“We look at regional, local players as a great way to complement what we have going on here,” Jaeger said.

In addition to giving shoppers another option at Mayfair, Jaeger said it provides an opportunity like Reed the ability to see what the Mayfair marketplace can do for them.

Some other locally operated stores at Mayfair are Fox’s, a clothier, and Board Game Barrister, a game store.

“These guys go out to the shows themselves,” Jaeger said of the local retailers. “When they go out they are their own buyers and see what trends are out there and what the hottest and latest craze is.”

Reed said she feels like now is a good time to be at Mayfair with people getting spring fever and Mother’s Day and Easter a short time away.

One of the added bonuses of having the mall presence, Reed said, is it creates buzz about BLiNK and then shoppers visit their Oconomowoc and Waukesha stores, and also go to area craft shows.