Lavish textures, touchably soft cashmeres, organic cottons, buttery leather goods and beautiful gifts greet the visitor to Min’s — Shorewood’s newest store on Oakland that will likely become a staple for gifts and special wardrobe items.
If Min’s looks familiar to you but you can’t place it, you may have shopped there in Lake Geneva as recently as Halloween, where the store thrived for four years on Broad Street. Owner Lynn Waite (a.k.a. Min) closed that shop and opened in Shorewood in the former Allstate location at 4451 N. Oakland Avenue on Nov. 3. The name has its origins in Lynn’s childhood — Min was her nickname growing up. Being in Shorewood allows her to be closer to her sister and her three children — two of whom graduated from Shorewood High School — and her grandchildren, with whom she spends her infrequent time away from Min's.
After seeing the stylish mannequins out front, I walked in on Wednesday ... and again on Thursday ... and was honestly blown away by the gentle power and depth in the collection. It is comfortable, and comforting. A steady stream of mostly women came to check out the striking latest addition to the Oakland shopping district in Shorewood.
"One customer told me she didn't want to leave," said Min. "I treat the store as my home away from home. I want people to have fun in here, and know that they will leave with something they would not likely find anywhere else around. It's fashion with a twist."
The collection is an eclectic mix of wearable pieces, capes, stylish hats (made in Czechoslovakia of felted rabbit fur), French hair accessories, one-of-a-kind leather bags and wallets, unique scarves in light and heavier textures, lightweight and packable puffy vests, arm warmers in glowing tones, leather mittens, jewelry, neat boxes, and home goods like carafes (my favorite, if I had a normal guest room with a side table, a plate of grapes and cheese, and that carafe, it would be perfect) and gifts.
This is seriously a place that I recommend stopping with your mom because she will admire your sudden good taste, and you’ll find a leather bracelet or necklace for your sister, too (Not hinting – I swear). Prices range from $8 for a silk headband from Japan to the exclusive, extravagant sweater that may be just the perfect mainstay for the winter wardrobe.
Min's background is in the arts and set design, and she has also had her own jewelry line for 15 years. Her talent for display and experiences in other cultures are reflected in the artful selection and placement of items in the store as well as in the jewelry and leather goods she creates.
“It’s always fun to come in and see all the new pieces,” said assistant Sarah Hamrick.
The items change frequently and new pieces added often. There are items from all over the world, sourced, or occasionally created by Waite.
“She goes to a lot of shows and finds different things that are off the mainstream,” said Hamrick. "I like to really offer fashion with a twist. I am one of only five stores in the U.S. to carry leather goods by French artisan Jaques Gomme, for instance."
Hours are currently 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but "check for the mannequins," Min advises, referring to the well-dressed and accessorized mannequins she places out front when she is open. Min's is a definite destination when heading to Oakland shops this holiday season.