Little Monsters – a Special Children’s Shop
By Cynthia Sommer (April 2015)
Little Monsters is a unique children’s clothing and toy store. The eyes of most drivers streaming downtown on Farwell just past the junction of Maryland, would notice the distinctive glass and wood building on the right containing the tee-pee in the front window of this shop (2445 N. Farwell). The retail space of Little Monsters is a dream for the owner and the shopper.
The owner, Andie Zacher, has been at this site, located a block from Whole Foods and across the street from the Maryland Avenue Montessori School, for 3 ½ years. Prior to becoming an independent business owner, she worked for 12 years as a manager and buyer for Boutique Bebe on Downer before it closed due to the retirement of the owner. The timing was right to make the big, though scary, leap to open a business. The closing of the Downer store and two other children’s stores in the Third Ward at that time was an added consideration. Zacher’s husband strongly supported the decision, and the unexpected availability of the retail space in the Keller/Dewan Dental Building insured that the dream of a shop could become a reality. The distinctive triangular glass and wood building that won the Mayor’s Design Award is owned and managed by Lora Keller and her husband Mike Dewan, whose dental practice is located above the shop. Andie has found Lora Keller’s support and friendship important in the success of her business.
Little Monsters has a great mix of children’s clothes, toys, books, accessories and candy. This cross-merchandizing provides a better balanced and a more democratic pricing of products to attract a broader range of customers. Andie buys what she likes and hopes from her experience that she knows what kids and parents want. Girl’s and boy’s clothes, from infant to size 10, come from national, international and local designers. Local artists that design material with Milwaukee and Bayview images are now used to create unique bibs, blankets and soon to come quilts.
Stack boxes from France, foreign language building blocks and Jellycat soft stuffed animals are artfully and colorfully displayed and intermixed with clothes, shoes, books and other accessories. Customers can choose from heirloom classic wood toys and puzzles from Germany and France or buy retro Fisher Price toys. Shoppers can also choose from displays of “just fun” toys such as finger puppets, mustaches, paddle balls, bows and arrows, or superhero figures.
Adding to the shopping experiences are the jars of old fashioned candy located at the checkout desk. They bring back pleasant memories for the parent and grandparent shoppers and, of course, get the attention of the kids. Also, the nearby tee-pee in the corner of the shop that contains toys, is more than a window dressing – it becomes a kid’s secret hideout in which to play while his or her parents are shopping.
Little Monsters is open Monday-Saturday from 10 am to 5:30 pm with extended hours on Tuesday until 7 pm. They will gift wrap purchases which any busy mother would consider a plus. So whether you need to buy a baby shower or birthday party gift or just shop for your own family, stop by the Little Monsters for a great shopping experience.