Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Pleasantries was the first tangible movement to tangible forward progress, the first actual rung on the ladder of recovery. I said we had three planned steps. I think it’s safe to begin the reveal of the second rung on our three rung ladder. It resides at 1227 East Wilson Street, a block off of Williamson Street, right around the corner from the Crystal Corners Bar.

It’s a little bungalow built in the early part of the twentieth century, a one-story brick structure. My imagination tries to picture a family living here in what was barely six hundred feet of space. Trying to divide that into a kitchen, living room, a bathroom and then two bedrooms confused my mathematically programmed mind to the point of an overwhelming migrane. Our potential landlord tried to point out the layout to us but the whole thing made those Asian cubicle homes look not so inventive or original.

So this is it, our new store/office, the reincarnation of our New York enterprises. Named by our daughter, this is to be the home of Pleasant Living. Until we actually open the door I’ll be chronicling the progress of how we’re moving along with all the giant steps forward and the tiny steps back.
Early on in our arrival in Madtown we made the rounds of the local retail markets in pedestrian neighborhoods. There's the Monroe Street area next to the university and the East Johnson Street corridor, but the one that fit our criteria best was the William Street neighborhood beginning at the Yahara river and ending just before you run into the Capital Square.

One of the stores on Williamson Street that we fell in love with was the Kitchen Gallery, a beautifully done kitchen store with a professional staff.

It's an anchoring force in this small pocket of retail reminiscent of what we loved about big city retail. The Willy Street alley is the kind of area crammed with tiny shops in pre-war buildings lined shoulder to shoulder like little soldiers holding fort against the big box stores and malls of the current suburban retail scene. 

This little retail pocket exemplifies Madison's diversity by hosting a wide range of offerings like a clock repair store that has graced the street for almost fifty years, the Jamacian Jolly Bob's making you question if you're in Madison or somewhere in Miami Beach,

a home converted into a store dedicated to all products hemp

and the long living Willy Street Co-op - a food collective offering natural and organic local products since 1974. 

The mastermind behind the Kitchen Gallery, Tom Christensen, also serves as the resident real estate agent for the Willy Street – Jennifer area. In the early part of summer when we finally decided it was time to make the move from idea to reality with our business we stopped by to talk to Tom. We had been surfing the net for possible available locations but hadn’t found anything that fit our criteria. It was Tom who showed us the space at 1227. We were in love. Step one completed – finding the right spot. A place just the right size to dip our toe into the market without feeling like we were jumping in over our heads. The lease has yet to be finalized. There are still hurdles ahead but here’s to the hope we haven’t jinxed our karma by a too early reveal.
More to come.

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