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.Â
He started his business in the late â€˜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.
"Iâ€™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 â€˜Miami Viceâ€™ glasses in the â€˜80s and now they are popular again," he says, gesturing to some Don Johnson-esque shades.
Okpara wears white every day â€“ including white sunglasses â€“ so he stands out. He says he has 10 white suits.
In the â€˜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 thatâ€™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 isnâ€™t too heavy or cumbersome.Â
"Not when you have muscles like these," he says, flexing and laughing. "I figure when I canâ€™t push the cart up the curb anymore, thatâ€™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 30, 2016
We hadn't dropped by Kegel's Inn for a few years, so we decided to stop in for the famous fish fry. Once again, we were not disappointed with the fare or the space, which has housed a German bar and restaurant since 1924.
Published May 27, 2016
According to a source, Yield, 1932 E. Kenilworth Ave., closed last night and once word spread through social media, so many customers showed up it turned into a "borderline block party."
Published May 27, 2016
My family and I decided to head to Schaumburg, Ill., this past weekend to visit Medieval Times, one of nine locations in the chain, to find out - among other things - what would happen if we asked for a fork. Turns out, 'twas a beauteous adventure and better food experience than expected.
Published May 25, 2016
Today on FOX's "Studio A," OnMilwaukee's Molly Snyder reads host Bryan Kramp's tarot cards. Tune in to find out if he got the Devil card or not. In the meantime, read about the local tarot scene from Jen CintrÃ³n and Theresa Reed, aka The Tarot Lady.
Published May 23, 2016
Reinventing ourselves takes a lot of guts, something all five of these women - who switched careers at the age of 40 or older - have plenty of. Some left the corporate world, some joined it, but all of them share one thing in common: they are now closer to their True Norths.
Published May 20, 2016
Paul Hepp will launch his new brewery-and history-tours-by-bus business that's simply called Fun Beer Tours on Friday, May 20. Hepp says Fun Beer Tours is a mix of his two passions: craft beer and local brewery history.
Published May 19, 2016
It was a rollicking soft opening tonight at Urban Bay View, 2301 S. Logan St., the second business venture of Paul Jonas, who also owns Tonic Tavern, and is managed by longtime Tonic bartender and bellweather of the service industry, Paul "PK" Kennedy.
Published May 18, 2016
Harley-Davidson launched a new concept in Milwaukee, Portland and Los Angeles today: a pop-up bike share that gives riders the chance to test out the new Dark Custom Harley-Davidson Roadster. In Milwaukee, the pop-up popped up in the Third Ward on Broadway.
Published May 18, 2016
Josh Silberman, who grew up on Milwaukee's North Shore, knew at a young age that he wanted to have a career in film and television in Los Angeles. He was partially inspired by his cousin, the great Gene Wilder, and partly by his own love of adventure and travel.
Published May 17, 2016
In late May, Sprecher Brewing Company will introduce three new "hard sodas": Hard Cherry Cola, Hard Orange Cream and Hard Cola. The local brewery already offers Hard Root Beer, Hard Ginger Ale and Hard Apple Pie.