Tucked away deep in the heart of the Village in Wauwatosa, Blue Lapin is a great find for people who like to shop for things a bit out of the ordinary.
Located at 7600 Harwood Ave., Blue Lapin sells a variety of indoor and outdoor merchandise for the home and garden. Sue Webb, who opened the business with her husband, Dennis, at its present location four years ago, describes her store and displays as "traditional meets shabby chic."
"I've learned you can't be everything to everybody," Webb said. "Many customers have told me they find the atmosphere in the store to be inviting."
Many of the items she sells - including wind chimes, jewelry, decorative tin animals, pottery, art, trellises and furniture - are handcrafted by local or national artists.
"What I really love is when people come in to browse and find things they didn't think they'd find," she said. "That's the kind of shopping I like to do - I like to be surprised."
Prior to its location on Harwood Avenue, Blue Lapin was open for business in a basement location just across from Little Read Book on State Street, a site Webb was in for four and a half years. The previous owner had a store that sold similar merchandise to Blue Lapin's, and Webb found that store very comforting to shop and visit.
When that store closed, Webb and her husband decided to open Blue Lapin.
"I had been a physical therapist assistant for the past 21 years; I decided it was time for a change," she said. "It was definitely a learning experience, as I knew very little about retail, but the store has been very well received. We've been open for eight and a half years, and the support from the community has been wonderful."
Blue Lapin offers an eclectic mix of decorative and functional items. It carries moss pots, topiaries and hummingbird feeders, as well as beeswax and soy candles, tiles, soaps and more.
Webb said she was inspired to name the store Blue Lapin after seeing "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," a play written by actor Steve Martin, at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater in the mid-1990s.
"Lapin," which means "rabbit" in French, struck a chord with her, and she eventually settled on Blue Lapin as the name.
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JUST THE FACTS
BUSINESS: Blue Lapin
ADDRESS: 7600 Harwood Ave.
PHONE: (414) 443-0977
OWNER: Sue and Dennis Webb
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
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