Sophie Bolich

New Gift Shop Coming to Brady Street

MJ's Apothecary & Gifts will stock artisan, handmade products from Wisconsin-based businesses.

By - Jan 3rd, 2023 05:03 pm
Site of future MJ's Apothecary & Gifts, 1689-1691 N. Humboldt Ave. Photo taken January 3, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future MJ’s Apothecary & Gifts, 1689-1691 N. Humboldt Ave. Photo taken January 3, 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

From custom-made shoes by an Italian cobbler to goat-milk soap from a small-town farm, high-quality, local products have always brought pleasure to Mary LaVanway.

Whether on a weekend getaway in Wisconsin or an international adventure, the world traveler steers clear of kitschy souvenirs, seeking out unique art pieces, body care products and more from each of her destinations.

Her newest venture aims to remove travel from the equation, bringing her selection of handmade products from makers across the state to a single storefront at 1689 N. Humboldt Ave., just south of Brady Street.

The new shop, MJ’s Apothecary & Gifts, would offer goat milk lotions and soaps, essential oils, candles, incense, bath bombs and more — all sourced from Wisconsin makers.

LaVanway said she also hopes to feature products such as candles and art prints from Milwaukee businesses.

“That’s what I’m going for, is quality products,” LaVanway said. “It’s going to start small, but it’s going to be quality and high-end. It’s just going to be really nice things that I like.”

After a 30-year career in the healthcare clinical research field, LaVanway said her semi-retirement from the corporate world has freed up time for projects, such as the new store, that she’s always wanted to do.

A Lower East Side resident, LaVanway said she and her friends often take road trips to destinations throughout Wisconsin, where they explore local craft shows, art walks and small businesses.

As a result, nearly all of the products that will be sold at the store have been tested and approved by LaVanway and her friends.

“A lot of what I have, I’ve previously bought from the shop itself,” she said. “I visit the vendors and I’m going out to the farms to pick it up, so I know what I’m getting.”

Formerly a tailor shop, the 660-square-foot building is located next to Art Smart’s Dart Mart & Juggling Emporium and Sole Salvation consignment shop.

LaVanway described the space as small and rustic, which she plans to use to her advantage by curating a shabby-chic aesthetic with elegant touches. The finished space will include rugs, antique furniture, white curtains and possibly a chandelier, she said.

LaVanway, who has partnered with Brady Street BID to open the business, said it’s part of an effort to revitalize the street amid the lingering effects of COVID-19 and other factors.

“It’s going to be a very neighborhood-focused, community-focused store” she said. “That’s why I’m working with the BID.”

The new store could open as soon as late January, LaVanway said. The plan is for MJ’s Apothecary & Gifts, once open, to operate Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Online shopping, accessible through a QR code that will be posted in the shop’s front window, will be available 24/7, with in-store pick-up during store hours. 


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One thought on “New Gift Shop Coming to Brady Street”

  1. 45 years in the City says:

    Whenever something opens on Brady other than a bar, tattoo parlor, smoke shop, or hairdresser – it’s cause to celebrate. Best wishes!

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