By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published May 04, 2005 at 5:36 AM

{image1}People often tell Andrea Kopan that her artistic and innovative shop, Oniomania, 6430 W. National Ave., belongs on the East Side.

“I thought about it, but West Allis is where we live,” says Kopan, 32, who opened the eclectic boutique a couple of months ago with her partner, Dale Dehmlow.

Kopan, a jewelry artist for 13 years, says she spent years pining for her own shop, and even purchased display racks and other business essentials knowing it would happen when she found the perfect space.

“One day I was on my way to the gym and I saw this place for rent. An hour later, it was ours,” says Kopan. “I always believed I’d know the right place when I saw it.”

The charming yellow structure is across the street from the bustling West Allis Farmers' Market and just a couple of blocks from Greenfield Avenue, where new businesses are cropping up around the already-popular Crawdaddy’s restaurant.

“It’s starting to happen (in West Allis),” she says. “In five years it will be a whole new neighborhood.”

Oniomania, which means “the irresistible urge to buy things,” consigns the work of 15 local artists, including Terry White, Laurie Kestelman, Ramona Peeple, Beth Sager and others. Jewelry, mosaics, fiber art, pewter, painted furniture, hand bags, pajamas, natural soaps and umbrellas are a few of the artistic and amusing adornments.

The prices are fair, definitely less than you’d pay on Downer Avenue. The cheerful space is cozy yet airy, well-stocked but uncluttered. It's a smaller version of Brady Street’s Dragonfly and Mermaid Alley on Vliet Street.

Dehmlow, a printer by trade, says he was inspired by Kopan’s creativity when the couple started dating a few years ago. His desire to torch silver is the ideal balance for Kopan’s delicate beadwork.

“He plays with fire, and I don’t,” she says.

Oniomania’s grand opening celebration takes place on Friday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Friday night party features hors d'oeuvres, beverages and tarot card readings.

Oniomania is open Tuesday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. For more information, call (414) 727-9797.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.