Do you think a restaurant or even a retailer would look great on the corner of Jefferson and Mason Streets, in Downtown Milwaukee? I do, and I'm guessing George Watts and Son, 761 N. Jefferson St., does too as the iconic local retailer is floating the idea of leasing its first floor space and moving its entire showroom to its upper floors.
In business since 1870 and at its current Italian Renaissance-style building since 1922, the still family-run Watts would consolidate its impressive "luxury tabletop and gift emporium" once a new tenant for its 8,126-square foot first floor space is secured.
Currently, Watts' has one tenant, the Delind Gallery of Fine Art, on its first floor. "We share customers and it's truly a synergistic relationship," said Sam Watts, the fifth generation president of George Watts and Son.
Watts would like to expand on its success with Delind.
"It's all about creating more buzz in Downtown," said Watts. "We decided to put some feelers out there to see if there is interest in the space, but we are not definitely making a move one way or the other. If the right offer came along -- similar to the Delind Gallery, and a synergistic business was interested, we would certainly be hard pressed to not look at it."
Watts has been evolving over the past several years. And finding tenants for its first floors is another step forward for the Milwaukee icon.
"However, as it stands, we are really just trying to measure the market. Our desire was to see if there is an interest and the right business so we could create an 'emporium' of sorts," said Watts.
Watts was clear that "nothing is (set) in stone" and that the store and Tea Room are not closing. "My grandmother, who is still the sole owner of the building and the sole owner of the business, would never allow it and the board of directors, her children, have no interest in relocating or closing," Watts emphasized.
"We want to be smart with our asset and our first floor is an incredible oppo…Read more...