By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 17, 2005 at 5:20 AM

{image1}After a successful decade running Yellow Jacket thrift store, 2225 N. Humboldt Blvd., owner Jennifer Rau opened a second boutique in Chicago.

Yellow Jacket 2, 2959 N. Lincoln Ave., is located in Chicago's Lake Park area and is twice as big as the Milwaukee store. But Rau says she doesn't find Chicago shoppers to be any hipper or more fashionable than her customers in Brew City.

"Our loyal Milwaukee customers are super stylish," she says.

Yellow Jacket features vintage clothing, unique new fashions, costumes, wigs, jewelry, shoes, trinkets, knick-knacks and more. For both shops, Rau personally handpicks most of the stock by traveling weekly to thrift stores and estate sales in small towns where the competition for cool stuff isn't as great and the prices are lower.

Cutting out the middlemen and women has allowed Rau to offer unusual and retro fashions for fair prices. Choosing every garment herself also guarantees a high level of quality.

"We have the same high standards at both Yellow Jackets," she says. "And both are well organized, helpful and have a friendly staff."

YJ2's clientele is older and a bit more sophisticated than the mostly young shoppers in Milwaukee. Many of Rau's Chicago patrons are stylists, actors, movie people and business folks.

"The hipsters haven't found us yet," says Rau who opened the shop in December after living in Milwaukee for most of her life.

Rau, 34, moved to Chicago to be with her husband, a musician and print master at the Art Institute of Chicago. Rau says she married her best friend last May, after a 13-year friendship. Today, the two are business partners and co-owners of both businesses and a 1935 bungalow in Chicago's McKinley Park neighborhood.

Someday, they hope to expand within the fashion industry by opening another store in Los Angeles or Tokyo, offering Internet-based fashion consulting and breaking into movies, but for now, they have other things to focus on.

"These days I have family on my mind. Family first, then we'll consider opening Yellow Jacket 3," says Rau.

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.