Today, I posted an article about a man who wears all orange. Coincidentally, I also interviewed a man this week who dresses entirely in white.
Bob Okpara sells sunglasses from his wooden cart on Wisconsin Avenue during the week and near Bradford Beach on the weekends.
He started his business in the late ‘80s after receiving a masters degree in industrial technology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. He was born in Nigeria but came to the United States to attend undergraduate school in Eugene, Ore.
"I’m also the deputy mayor of Milwaukee," says Okpara.
The cart was made in Colorado and Okpara added large drawers to accommodate his extra stock.
A large painted sign reads $2, but the sunglasses range from $2 to $10. He wouldn't reveal where the sunglasses come from, but he did admit that he routinely rotates out certain styles for up to 10 years because they eventually come back in fashion.
"These were ‘Miami Vice’ glasses in the ‘80s and now they are popular again," he says, gesturing to some Don Johnson-esque shades.
Okpara wears white every day – including white sunglasses – so he stands out. He says he has 10 white suits.
In the ‘80s, Okpara lived in the Brady Street area but today lives on the North Side. He transports his sunglasses cart to and from Downtown and the lakefront via a trailer that’s hitched to his vehicle.
He had parked the car and trailer at a lot on 4th and Cherry Street for more than 25 years without issue, but two weeks ago, someone stole his trailer and he was forced to buy a new one and find a new, safer parking spot.
The new parking space is further away and forced him to be late for work.
"I like to get here by 11, otherwise people have to wait for their sunglasses," he says.
Okpara, who plows snow in the winter months, says his sunglasses cart isn’t too heavy or cumbersome.
"Not when you have muscles like these," he says, flexing and laughing. "I figure when I can’t push the cart up the curb anymore, that’s when I know it's time to retire."
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published May 27, 2015
As a way to heal after the break-up of an 11-year relationshsip, Monica Lee started Free Hug Day in 2013. On June 20, she will host the event for the third time.
Published May 24, 2015
Many Milwaukee women are major contributors to local business, and here are 11 who are providing life-enhancing outlets for Brew City shoppers and, in many cases, building community at the same time.
Published May 23, 2015
Nick Ramsey is the poet laureate of Racine. Yes, Racine has a poet laureate, and Ramsey was nominated and later appointed to the two-year position in October 2013. Ramsey will read from his new chapbook, "Rhymes & Rambles," on Saturday, May 30 at Wilson's Coffee & Tea in, aptly, Racine.
Published May 21, 2015
Anyone who's traveled from General Mitchell International Airport in the past few years has most likely noticed the "Recombobulation Area" signs that hang just beyond the security checkpoints. Is "recombobulation" even a word?
Published May 20, 2015
This year, PrideFest, which takes place June 5-7, will feature three bathrooms labeled "gender-neutral" to ensure comfort and inclusiveness.
Published May 18, 2015
Fixture Pizza Pub is opening soon in Walker's Point at 625 S. 2nd St. in the former Boom / The Room space.
Published May 16, 2015
The Memorial Weekend Classic returns to Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove next weekend. The event will include the standard races as well as a free kids' carnival called "Leroy Butler Day at the Races" on Sunday. The carnival takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. and Butler will be there promoting his anti-bullying campaign.
Published May 15, 2015
Milwaukee is - and has always been - a town with many olfactory offerings. Here are six strong ones.
Published May 13, 2015
Cafe at the Plaza, 1007 N. Cass St., reopened today after being closed for renovations since March 30.
Published May 13, 2015
Kelsey Miller has exactly one month of bartending under her proverbial belt, but she already digs it. And she can mix a mean Old Fashioned.