Here in Wauwatosa, we’re extremely proud of the countless small, local businesses that fill our city with charm and magic.
Many of these shops are women-owned and operated and, with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day both falling in March, we’re sharing the stories of the strong women who own businesses within our five dynamic districts.
What you’ll find: An array of impeccably-arranged fresh flowers, vintage items, occasional furniture, home decor, original artwork (including Deb’s personal creations), greeting cards, unique gifts, jewelry, natural botanicals, and more!
The Owner: Deb Fowler
Her Story: Deb attributes her lifelong passion for art, design, and nature to her Grandmother, Phyllis, who she describes as the embodiment of Mother Nature. By the third grade, her vision of owning her own store to sell her art and handmade objects came into focus.
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, she worked as a graphic designer, but was ready to artistically challenge herself further. She then tested her botanical creations at Wauwatosa’s green market, where her one-of-a-kind wreaths, arrangements, and fresh florals sold-out weekly — this success springboarded the opening of The Flower Lady on Harwood Avenue, her original tiny flower shop.
Since 1994, Deb and The Flower Lady have helped the community mark life’s special occasions — big and small — through generations.
What you’ll find: Custom leather offerings, leather alteration and repair, selection of jackets, shearlings, fur accessories, handbags, and more!
The Owner: Cindy Hein
Her Story: It all started in the 1980s when Cindy was doing tailoring, alterations, and custom bridal out of her own home. She went on to study costuming in the theater department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, and worked with a leather designer who taught her the ins and outs of sewing with leather — that’s when she became hooked.
Heinsight opened in Wauwatosa in 1997 where all the work is done on-premise with Cindy’s Labradoodle, Maggie, keeping a close eye on the daily operations.
What You’ll Find: A delicious and truly beautiful European meal paired with unique cocktails.
The Owners: Vesna Madunic & Marija Madunic
Their Story: Sister duo Vesna and Marija Madunic started their culinary journey as employees during college and bought Gracious Catering in 1995. Putting their spin on the business, it soon became Gracious Events, Catering and Event Design where they expanded their from-scratch catering options to also include floral and event design services.
Their next adventure brought them to open and operate the café at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001 and, in 2003, they opened Bjonda, a high-style restaurant and bar in Wauwatosa. To create a more casual yet still creative and inventive dining experience, Bjonda became Firefly in 2007 and quickly became a go-to place for delicious food and great vibes.
What you’ll find: Sweet treats, coffee, and unique gifts.
The Owner: Liz LeFevre
Her Story: Merry founded La Tarte in 1990 when she began supplying upscale groceries in the Milwaukee area with her signature Granny Apple pie, dessert bars, and cookies.
In 1995, she moved her business from its Brookfield school kitchen location to its present location in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Wauwatosa. This move gave Merry a small storefront cafe where she could offer her pastries, espresso drinks, soups, pottery made by her sister, Barb, and more.
Since then, Liz LeFevre purchased La Tarte after 12 years of working for Merry and has now owned the bakery for over 7 years. Liz grew up baking with her family and also has a degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI.
What you’ll find: An array of personal care products, soaps, candles, cards, clothing, and more!
The Owner: Carolyn Goris
Her Story: Carolyn started out creating window designs and visual merchandising for local shops around the Milwaukee area, which is where she found the opportunity to bring her own vision to life.
On Thanksgiving in 2019, Caroyln opened Mooi’s doors with the help of her family. Her mother, Mary Goris, often helps out during store hours, and her daughters help out on the creative side behind the scenes. It’s certainly a family affair!
What you’ll find: An endless variety of cheese, hand-selected wine, fine meats, and gourmet accompaniments
The Owner: Sabina Magyar
Her Story: Sabina’s deep knowledge of food, wine, and cheese stems from her travels through Budapest and Tuscany, as well as her work in New York for Michael Skurnik Wines.
She continued her education of cheese at Murray’s and Bedford Cheese Shop while cutting cheese at Blue Apron and the Park Slope Food Co-op in Brooklyn.
With her extensive knowledge and training, Sabina is now among the recipients of the American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals (ACS,CCP) and brings her expertise and passion for European-style cheese to her shop in Tosa Village.
What you’ll find: Women’s clothing, accessories, and gifts, as well as tailoring and dry cleaning services
The Owner: Sydney Sanger
Her Story: Sydney’s grandfather originally owned Hyde Park since 1960 and passed down the family business to Sydney in 2014.
Since then, she’s been hard at work turning the once tailor and dry-clean-only business into a women’s clothing, accessory, and gift shop.
Other Women-Owned Businesses
Arté Wine and Painting Studio by Kelly Cannizzaro
Beauty Mark Hair Salon by Keely Glorioso
Black Twig Bakery by Julia Block & Chelsea Zweig
Cafe Blue by Carly Yiannackopoulos
Clara Healing Institute by Kristin Belkofer
Copper Robin by Simone Gaspar
Fancy Pants Pet Salon by Erin Hennen
French Country Pine & Design by Kirsten Termuehlen
Front Runner Chiropractic by Dr. Beth Ringwelski
Giltee MKE by Lisa Gilson
Hermanas by Gabi & Betsi Zierath
J. Goll Beauty Lounge by Jamie Goll
Legacy Gym MKE by Brittany Holterman
Megan Papachristou Photography by Megan Papachristou
Milestone Plumbing by Jessica Cannizzaro
Miss Molly’s Cafe by Molly Sullivan
Nourish Skin and Sugar Studio by Anna Jarecki Cure
Plate Pleasures Eatery by Mia Redmond
PowerCycle Wauwatosa by Kayla Jo Vogds
Salamander by Leslie Matson & Chelsea Shapiro
Shop Privy by Erin Juzenas
The Little Read Book by Linda Burg
The Ruby Tap by Brooke Boomer, Sarah Nelson & Dan Nelson
Tosa Yoga by Melanie Landgraf
Urban Beets by Dawn Balistreri
Yo Mama! by Becker Berger
Know of a Wauwatosa woman-owned business that we missed? Email us at info@discoverwauwatosa to let us know!