Milwaukee is filled with hidden retail gems boasting unique collections of housewares, clothing, jewelry and one-of-a-kind gift items. In this series, we're highlighting some of the best of the bunch and giving you all the information you need to shop smarter while supporting local artisans and business owners.
6430 W. National Ave., West Allis
When Andrea Kopan opened her art-and-gift shop almost 15 years ago, she told people it was located in "soon-to-be-fashionable West Allis." And it turns out, she was right.
"There has been so much growth in West Allis in the past few years," says Kopan. "And it's been good for business."
Oniomania – which is loosely translated to mean "insane shopping" in Greek – consigns the work of more than 25 artists. Items for sale include jewelry, candles, journals, lights, scarves, potholders, purses, lip balms, soaps, frames, kids stuff and more. Most of the stock is handmade with a few items purchased from small and / or Fair Trade businesses.
"The key to our success has been rotating our stock and always having different things," says Kopan.
Part of Oniomania's success story also comes from genuine customer service and customer recognition. Since the first year, Oniomania has offered a free pair of earrings during a customer's birthday month.
"The best part of running this business is that I've met so many unique people," says Dale Dehmlow, Oniomania's jewelry artist-in-residence and main employee since the first day of business.
Oniomania is located in a small free-standing building that is more than 120 years old. Kopan also sells her wares beyond the building at the Madison farmers market and numerous pop-ups including this weekend's Pfister Holiday Marketplace.
"I love to buy things that make people happy, that make people laugh, that make them say, 'this would be perfect for so-and-so,'" says Kopan. "That's what keeps me in this business."
Oniomania is open during the week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is also open on Sundays until Christmas.
Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.
As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.
She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that.
Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.
Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.
In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!
When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.