Experienced retailers open farmhouse chic store in Hartford
Shop offers new and vintage items to home decor and handbags

By Eileen Mozinski Schmidt - Special to Conley News Service

Jan. 9, 2019

 Shindigs is a new retail store in downtown Hartford. The store, which is owned and operated by Sue and Bill Gessert, is located at 64 N. Main St. and includes an emphasis on farmhouse chic style and offers a blend of merchandise including new items, vintage, home décor, gifts, handbags, jewelry, and more.
Eileen Schmidt/Special to Conley News Service

HARTFORD — Experienced retailers and southeastern Wisconsin natives Sue and Bill Gessert have returned to the area to bring a new store to downtown Hartford. Shindigs, located at 64 N. Main St., opened last fall with an emphasis on farmhouse chic style and a blend of merchandise including new items, vintage, home décor, gifts, handbags, jewelry, and more.

“We really love the Hartford downtown,” said Sue Gessert, describing the growth of the area. “We wanted to be part of that.”

Gessert said she and her husband were born and raised in Menomonee Falls, and moved to Florida in 1977 to help her husband’s family with a hardware store and gift shop.

Upon retirement, the Gesserts were looking for a new entrepreneurial opportunity in Wisconsin, where some of their family members reside, and decided on the downtown Hartford location.

The Main Street location has been home to several retailers in the past, said Scott Henke, executive director of the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce.

He noted that the Gesserts are both owners and operators of the space, and their retail experience from other cities is valuable.

Shindigs’ owners have “a real eye” for creating a store that attracts customers and are “continuing the buzz we’ve created in downtown,” Henke said.

He noted that Hartford’s downtown offers a variety of options for shopping, dining and entertainment, with the anchor of the Mineshaft, a restaurant and gaming location popular throughout the region, and other retail and dining businesses like Shindigs available.

 Shindigs is a new retail store in downtown Hartford.
Eileen Schmidt/Special to Conley News Service

Shindigs opened in October 2018 and a grand opening is slated for spring of this year.

Gessert said she and her husband are planning a merchandising trip to Atlanta, when they will purchase store merchandise for this spring and upcoming seasons into next year.

The name Shindigs was selected to capture the store’s welcoming feel and to encourage the celebration of everyday life, Gessert said.

The business owners have found the area to be welcoming, both among the residents and fellow business owners.

“It truly has a small town feel. It’s been refreshing,” she said.