Sun Prairie shops

Creative Chemistry

Sun Prairie's Female Entrepreneurs and their Cute and Clever Shops
By Elle Duncomb-Mills | Photos Courtesy of Kate & Co. and The Wire Basket

Sun Prairie, a fast-growing community just northeast of Madison, is quickly becoming a creative shopping destination. Vital to this transformation is a group of fearless female entrepreneurs, who through their passion and creativity are breathing new life and excitement into the downtown area and beyond.

“There’s always a lot going on in Sun Prairie now,” says Cindy Stanek, owner of The Wire Basket. Her antique furnishings, décor and clothing business has flourished since opening two years ago. Stanek thought Sun Prairie shoppers might share her fascination for the history and beauty of older items, and today her shop has become a hot spot for chic vintage finds.

“It’s all about giving people ideas, and having fun,” Stanek says. Unlike most jumbled antique stores, Stanek carefully arranges her shop into separate design collections, giving shoppers inspiration for how to use items in their own homes.

“We try to cater to everybody,” Stanek says, explaining how she balances her rustic farm-chic aesthetic with the desires of each customer. One of her favorite collaborative tasks is searching for items on shoppers’ wish lists—a quest that often leads her to flea markets and antique stores around the state. “It’s all about what our customer is looking for,” says Stanek, “and I just love the hunt.”

Another exciting addition to the downtown area is Kate & Co., a re-love store and workshop space owned by Kate Baldukas. The former parole officer felt the business would allow her to continue to help people in a different, more positive way.

“My main mission is to help people learn to relax and enjoy a project that doesn’t require perfection,” says Baldukas. Whether you want to update a family heirloom or breathe new life into your fave antique rocking chair, Kate & Co. offers start-to-finish guidance and materials for every DIY project. Since opening just one year ago, Baldukas admits she’s been astounded by the enthusiasm surrounding small businesses in Sun Prairie.

“I feel a lot of excitement from my customers, who are coming in and seeing what’s available to them downtown now. I hear a lot of ‘I didn’t know there were so many cute stores down here!’ from people” says Baldukas.

Other female-owned retail gems include Letters on Main, the brick and mortar counterpart to online store Lindsay Letters, that offers chic gifts and goodies with unique custom lettering. Nearby Board and Brush holds workshops where you can create your own rustic sign with reclaimed wood. Prairie Flowers and Gifts offers fresh flowers and other trinkets perfect for special occasions. The Piano Gal Shop, owned by 2017 BRAVA Woman to Watch Marta Hansen, is a go-to spot for everything piano-related: instruments, repairs, tuning, lessons and even up-cycled accessories created from retired pianos. ReKindle Upscale Resale offers pre-loved goods, ranging from furniture to clothing and various knickknacks, and Brass Tacks Resale provides a curated collection of secondhand furniture and home décor.

With so many fabulous businesswomen at the helm, Sun Prairie’s small business circle is blooming with creative and collaborative energy. Baldukas admits, “The people are just fantastic here, and the [commercial] environment is extremely supportive.”

To that we say: You go, girls!

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